Hollywood on the Potomac

Lessons Learned ...

March 5, 2014

It wasn’t all about rogue regimes, but the center of conversation at the book party for Dancing with the Devil author Michael Rubin at the Kalorama home of Juleanna Glover and Christopher Reiter did delve into the cost of diplomacy and how, in Rubin’s opinion, when not backed up by sanctions and military force, could become the shortest path to war.  He explained why below.

In his forthcoming book, Rubin uses historic evidence to show that when America sits across the table from rogue regimes, the result is seldom peace.  He backs this up with a number of cases to support this theme.  “Soldiers spend weeks analyzing the lessons learned after every military exercise, but rarely do diplomats ponder why their strategies toward rogues have failed,” he noted.  “Dancing with the Devil” represents an opportunity to apply these lessons of history, rather than repeat them to America’s detriment.”  Rubin is a former Pentagon official.


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SongwritingWith: Soldiers

March 2, 2014

“I started writing songs when I was about 10 years old,” said singer-songwriter Darden Smith in an interview with Hollywood on the Potomac. “Then I sort of got more into it in high school playing all sorts of coffee shops and things like that and really bad bar bands.  Then I went to college and when I was 19 started writing songs and playing in clubs around Austin, Texas.  I did that all through 19, 20, 21 and then made my first record at 23 and put it out on my own little label and it took off from there.” 

Darden will be in DC area on April 8th and 9th hosting a songwriting retreat for veterans in Virginia for his non-profit SongwritingWith: Soldiers series before heading to Houston to give the keynote presentation at the Global Alliance for Arts & Health 25th Anniversary conference.  He explains the art & health connection below.

We were a bit stunned that he could have his own record label at 23.  He explained that he got a little help from his friends.  ….  sort of like a kick-starter campaign in today’s world.  “I got people to give me money to make a record and then just printed it up, pressed it up.  I got really lucky -  I was really driven,  I was really motivated.  I worked at it and started when I was 10, so I just stumbled into this thing.  I come from a totally non-musical family and I just found songwriting.  It was a mystery to me that I could do it.  I lived in a little bitty town on a farm and I didn’t know anyone else who wrote songs, so it’s something that I had that no one else had.  So that was part of it for me when I was very young -  I had a secret weapon.  

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Chance for Life!

February 24, 2014

A $10,000 seat at the 2014 World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas wasn’t the only reason 200 poker players showed up at City Tavern Club in Georgetown on Saturday.  The real reason was Kennedy Synder and the real winner was the Spinal Cord Tumor Association.


Kennedy wasn’t dealt a good hand when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of pediatric spinal cord cancer at age 2 with little chance she would make it for even six months.  Now 13, she’s still in the game and the very reason why the tournament is in its ninth year.

“It was a lot of fun for a great cause,” said Bret Baier of Fox News. “I am not a great poker player as clearly shown by how fast I was bumped off the table, but it was a blast.  And hearing Kennedy speak about the fight for new research for spinal cord cancer was very powerful”  Check out Bret’s very funny and very serious attempt at winning in the below video.

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