Hollywood on the Potomac

Bipartisan Star-Studded Gala

October 19, 2017

Written by guest contributor Jeannette O'Connor 


Close to 500 guests gathered for a moving and inspirational night supporting UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. Held in the Atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the 4th annual Out of the Shadows Dinner featured celebrities, Congressional leaders, members of the Administration, well-known Washington philanthropists, corporate sponsors, individual supporters, researchers, and other leaders in the fight to stop Alzheimer’s. This year’s event raised more than $1 million.


The dinner, hosted by WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, was part of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s 2017 National Alzheimer’s Summit, and was renamed the Trish Vradenburg Out of the Shadows Dinner in memory of Trish Vradenburg, the powerful co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, who changed the course of the fight against Alzheimer’s through her relentless advocacy and humor. Before becoming involved in the Alzheimer’s fight, Trish was a sitcom writer for hit shows such as Kate & Allie, Family Ties and Designing Women. She and her husband George Vradenburg, former General Counsel for AOL, CBS and Fox, founded UsAgainstAlzheimer’s after losing Trish’s mom, Bea Lerner, to the disease.

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The Hex'

October 13, 2017

If you’re thinking of ticking off Sally Quinn, don’t!  It may seem like a stern warning, but the author of Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir has been successful at placing hexes on people that have treated her unfairly and they didn’t end up in a good place – they’re dead actually.  While she prefers not to focus too much on this aspect of her book, which was celebrated at the residence of The Ambassador of Germany Peter and  Mrs. Huberta von Voss-Wittig at their Berliner Salon, you can’t help but go there – it’s fascinating. Think Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


In order to understand her ‘hexes’ you first need to meet Aunt Ruth.  Quinn, who has lived in Georgetown since 1982, grew up in the deep South of Savannah Georgia and summers in a small town called Statesboro. While the area is known for it’s beautiful parks, horse-drawn carriages, antebellum architecture, there’s also Bonaventure Cemetery that became famous when it was featured in the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – which is where Aunt Ruth comes in!  Her family were Scottish Presbyterians and Aunt Ruth played the organ in the church.  “She also had this whole other side to her,” Quinn told Hollywood on the Potomac.  “They believed in the Scottish Stones and time travel and psychic phenomenon and ghosts and Ouija boards and tarot cards and astrology and all that and voodoo. And so I was brought up with that as my sort of alternate religion. I call it my embedded religion, because it was something I believed in.  And then I watched people put hexes on other people; I mean that was part of the routine. When you go to Savannah or Louisiana, New Orleans, every other store has a voodoo doll or something like that. And so when I got older, I used to tease my friends all of the time about putting hexes on people.”  In her book she references it this way: “I began to see the power of the mystical, the mysterious, and the magical. I had a glimpse of the spiritual as a possible substitute for religion – unorthodox as what I was seeing and feeling may have been.”  She also described to us her lifelong belief in the occult and worries that hexes she once put on three people may have worked,  but hopes that wasn’t the reason for their demise.

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October 10, 2017

“Irreplaceable” is what Patrick Jephson, Chief of Staff to Diana, Princess of Wales, told Hollywood on the Potomac without hesitation when asked to describe his ‘boss’ in one word at a celebration in his honor for the re-release of his New York Times bestseller Shadows of a Princess at The Watergate home of Michelle Kim, co-hosted by Janie Kim & John McCarthy.


Here’s what else we learned: They were both young with very little age difference (five years to be exact), but their relationship was always strictly professional, as it should be. That he hopes that his service to Diana was useful: “I was in an unusual position. There was no precedent for what I was doing. I was head of the newest royal household and I had to work very hard during difficult times to make sure that the other households, so far as possible, knew what we were doing and what our intentions were.”  On leaving the royal service: “One of the things about royal service is that when you leave you have left.  The turnover of courtiers throughout history has been fairly regular. It’s one of those jobs that you are grateful for. It’s an immense honor, and there are those who feel they cannot cut the tie, but it is an opportunity after royal service to use an extraordinary yardstick with which to measure all other opportunities that come in your life.”  He doesn’t have any current relationship with the royal family members: “I served my eight years. I was grateful for the honor. It was very intense and it has continued to give me an extraordinary personal and professional resource on which to draw, but I don’t have any current relations, contact with the royal family.”  On who he would like to take over the monarchy: “I made my choice by immigrating to the United States. I am a grateful and proud American citizen, and I will observe with close interest what happens in the future of the royal family.”

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