Hollywood on the Potomac

Au Revoir

December 26, 2017

“Most of you think that you have been invited by Francesca and in a sense it’s true,” joked Gérard Araud, The Ambassador of France at a reception he hosted in her honor as she says goodbye to her post as Social Secretary and moves on to MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). “In a sense it’s true because she has been inviting a lot of people that I don’t know. First, everybody from the State of Rhode Island. To be frank, I was lucky that she was from Rhode Island and not California. There are 600,000 Rhode Islanders and approximately 40 million from California. So really, even this residence would have had some limit issues. There were also, of course, her friends, but it was great. It was really great to meet the friends of Francesca.”

“She’s going now to work for Charles Rivkin (new head of MPAA). She’s going to meet movie stars, and I think it’s a major reason why she’s leaving. I don’t see any other reason,” Araud continued with his well know sense of humor. “The first quality of Francesca, she’s quite a snob. I think it’s quite important for a Social Secretary to be quite a snob. It’s fairly easy to explain. She’s from Newport. The second aspect of Francesca is that, basically, she’s barely met a computer during her life which gives her a reputation as a sort of fantasy. Of course, I’m joking. Francesca has been with us for so many years, and when I say so many years, immediately you have to understand that means so many Ambassadors. Really, she worked for the Ambassadors the way you are going through storms. Francesca had to go not only through the Ambassadors but through the spouses of the Ambassadors.  So Francesca, we have been a great team. We have had a lot of fun and I think you have had also a lot of fun with Pascal (his partner). I do think it was a great job we did together. You are always welcome here. Thank you Francesca. Thank you for your energy, your vitality. So be happy. Best to you! “

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December 21, 2017

Every single morning pretty much every one of us wake up to Anna, Jake and Dan because they have some of the best insights of what’s going on in this town, and we are following you religiously and breathlessly most days,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and Chief Executive Officer National Restaurant Association, at Politico Playbook’s 1st Annual Holiday party at the NRA headquarters in downtown Washington, DC.  “You and your readers often spot the town’s most notable people when they’re dining in restaurants in our local community, and that’s where everybody looking for a good time will go.”  She was, of course, referring to Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman and Daniel Lippman, the trio with whom you share your morning coffee.

“As you know, Dan, Jake and I took over a little over a year and a half ago and we have really grown the footprint of the Playbook community.,” said Anna Palmer.  “We have our Playbook authors from across the country here tonight. These people are doing what we do in DC in their states. They are the must-read go-to authors that are giving you kind of the insights that you’re curious about what’s happening at the state level in Illinois or New York or everywhere that we are. It’s been an incredible year for Playbook. We launched our Playbook power briefing, we have a deal in Ohio breaking now, we are hitting your inboxes every day of the week to try to cover what has been obviously an amazing new environment this past year. Nothing in 2017 would be possible without all of you. The Playbook community is what makes Playbook special. It is all of you who read us, who contribute to us, who spot people at restaurants. And we are just looking so forward to an amazing 2018. So thank for celebrating with us tonight. Now please eat, drink, and be merry. Cheers. Happy holidays!”  We did.

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'The Vanity Fair Diaries'

December 17, 2017

Tina Brown is a modern Becky Sharp – bouncy, ambitious, calculating and ruthless: That’s Roger Louis, The Times of London. I don’t know how you get The New Yorker and The New York Times  to rave, but you did,” said Tammy Haddad when introducing Tina at The Jefferson Hotel in honor of her new book The Vanity Fair Diaries. “The Diary is the perfect stocking filler for any social x-ray and for anyone who yearns to wallow in nostalgia. But even students of our time will find the presence of Brown’s observations a source of amusement. The decade’s greatest symbol she observes, turns out to be not a person but a building, Trump Tower. Okay, we have to start there.”

Book synopsis: “Tina Brown kept delicious daily diaries throughout her eight spectacular years as editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Today they provide an incendiary portrait of the flash and dash and power brokering of the Excessive Eighties in New York and Hollywood. The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983 – 1992 is the story of an Englishwoman barely out of her twenties who arrives in New York City with a dream. Summoned from London in hopes that she can save Condé Nast’s troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Brown is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of the competitive New York media world and the backstabbing rivalries at the court of the planet’s slickest, most glamour-focused magazine company. She survives the politics, the intrigue, and the attempts to derail her by a simple stratagem: succeeding. In the face of rampant skepticism, she triumphantly reinvents a failing magazine. Here are the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions―the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. In the diary’s cinematic pages, the drama, the comedy, and the struggle of running an “it” magazine come to life. Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries is also a woman’s journey, of making a home in a new country and of the deep bonds with her husband, their prematurely born son, and their daughter. Astute, open-hearted, often riotously funny, Tina Brown’s The Vanity Fair Diaries is a compulsively fascinating and intimate chronicle of a woman’s life in a glittering era.”  Publisher

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