Hollywood on the Potomac

'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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Captured Economy

December 6, 2017

“I think the tax bill is illustrative of how Washington has for decades focused on tax policy as the end all and be all of growth policy,” Brink Lindsey, co-author of The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality told  Hollywood on the Potomac at a book party in his honor at the Kalorama home of Juleanna Glover and Christopher Reiter.  “So if republicans think we need to stimulate growth, their imagination is pretty much limited in thinking the tax cuts can get the economy moving again. In general, the evidence that those work is pretty paltry, so I’m afraid this bill we’re seeing now is mistimed and miscast. Instead, what Washington should be paying attention to is the vast and arcane regulatory code where all kinds of growth killing mischief is located.”

“In particular, what my co-author Steve Teles and I focus on in our book are areas of regulatory policy where special interests have captured or dominated the policy making process, twisting the rules for their own benefit and doing so in a way that slows down growth at the exact same time that it funnels income and wealth.  So right now, the US economy is suffering this double whammy of slow growth and high inequality and we’ve identified a bunch of policies that are actively contributing to both; which means the good news is we’ve identified ideas that could kill two birds with one stone. The tax bill does very well in my opinion for the people at the top. We’ll see how his base reacts to policy. Some of them seem to not be interested in policy one way or another: They’re interested in the show where a culture warrior is standing up against the people they don’t like and who they feel despise them,” he added referring to the President.

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'The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee'

December 4, 2017

“I worked closely with Sally Quinn. She trusted me and that was the biggest thing for me, having Sally’s trust,” director, producer John Maggio told Hollywood on the Potomac about his HBO Documentary on her late husband. The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee premiered at The Newseum in Washington, DC and airs on December 4th, 8 PM on HBO. “Everybody across the board from Kissinger to Woodward and Bernstein to Brokaw really wanted to partake in the film. They wanted to tell not just the little Ben chestnuts, but the real Ben story.” It has been nominated by The Producers Guild of America for its top documentary award and couldn’t be a more timely backdrop to today’s distrust and slamming of the press. “Ben was, at the end of the day, a newspaper man,” said HBO CEO Richard Plepler, “and I can’t think of a better maxim that he would embrace than the maxim of today’s Washington Post, which is ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’  Nobody understood that more viscerally than he did.”

“Ben hated lying,” Sally told us. “It drove him crazy. I think that the most important thing about this film is how important the truth is. And I think that the takeaway from this film is that it is the lie that is the enemy of the people, and not the journalists who expose it.  Although he used to say we print lies every day because people lie to us, he also said that the truth will emerge.”

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