Runaway Spoon

Who's Boring Now? -- Not D.C. & Its Artists

October 3, 2012


If creative leaders from elsewhere ever thought that art is dull in D.C., they are learning differently.

This city on The Potomac has always been on the cusp of challenging art, music, dance, theater, design, technology and everything else that’s forward-thinking. 

Rhona Wolfe Friedman & Councilman Tommy Wells (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Rhona Wolfe Friedman & Councilman Tommy Wells

On Wednesday night, the DC Arts & Humanities Commission hosted art leaders at a festive party that jumpstarted the annual meeting of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) Thursday-Saturday. It was the kickoff for Assembly 2012, where several hundred arts decision-leaders from states across the nation converge for the major gathering of public arts grant makers.

“The DC Arts and Humanities Commission is delighted to host the opening dinner of the NASAA at the home of chair Judith Terra,” said commissioner Rhona Wolfe Friedman.

Terra, a point-person for D.C.’s inspired society, welcomed the 80-plus guests along with Lionell Thomas, commission executive director.

The String Poets perform (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) The String Poets perform

Among those at the dinner with numerous state arts leaders were City Councilman Tommy Wells; Michael Kahn, artistic director of Shakespeare Theatre Company; Molly Smith, artistic director of Arena Stage; and a contingent of DC arts commission members including Lavinia Wohlfarth, Gretchen Wharton, Susan Clampitt, Rogelio A. Maxwell, Christopher Cowan, Danielle M. St.  Germain-Gord, and Mary Ann Miller.

Besides attending seminars, artistic performances, lectures and other events, the conventioneers will take excursions through downtown D.C.'s Penn Quarter. They also will be entertained by acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, The Washington Ballet and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey

Jonathan Katz (CEO, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies), Lisa Farrell, Councilman Wells (Photo by: Natalia Jantti) Jonathan Katz (CEO, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies), Lisa Farrell, Councilman Wells

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman is to address participants about how art and design are revitalizing communities and enhancing quality of life.



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Homeland Gives A Nod to Cafe Milano in Thriller

October 1, 2012

Internationally famous Cafe Milano got a cameo mention on the Emmy decorated Showtime’s Homeland during its TV season premiere this week. But if you weren’t paying sharp attention, you’d have missed it.  Stay alert during the reruns.

In a nutshell, here’s how the story line of Sunday night’s opening season 2 went as pertaining to the Georgetown restaurant:

Middle East journalist and shady operative Roya Hammad sets up a diversionary interview with CIA counterterrorism director David Estes to draw him away from his office during an intelligence briefing with Congressman Sgt. Nicholas Brody.  Brody, a clandestine Muslin and a potential candidate for vice president of the United States, is left alone in the CIA office.

Roya’s scheme is to give Brody time to break into Estes’ safe to steal a list of bombing targets.

When Estes has had enough of the probing interview with Roya in the CIA building's press room, the beautiful “journalist” delays him by inviting him to Cafe Milano for a Saturday night wine and dine date.  Estes accepts, albeit with some hesitation.  Thanks to the little delay, Brody manages to swipe the information from Estes’s safe just in the nick of time as the CIA director returns from the pseudo-interview.

Stay tuned Homeland/Cafe Milano fans. Will that R.S.V.P. be lost on the cutting room floor or will there be inclusion in a later episode? If it’s the latter, does Roya or Estes (a federal employee) pick up the tab? 

Plots do thicken like a good pasta sauce – especially in an election year.



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Japanese Ambassador to Retire

September 20, 2012

The very much respected Japanese ambassador to the United States is retiring after four and a half years in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki and his wife, Yoriko, made the announcement official in a letter to personal friends on Thursday.

“The time has finally come to bid farewell,” the ambassador wrote. “Yoriko and I will be returning to Japan in the beginning of November. I am retiring from government service.”

He continued: “What more can you expect as a public servant than to represent my country in this great and friendly nation!  Every moment was precious and meaningful. 

“The most trying experience was of course the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011. But we were enormously helped by the American government, soldiers, companies, NGOs, schools, churches and the American people, including children.  The Japanese, myself included, will never forget your friendship.

“There were also a countless number of happy events. The cherry blossom centennial was a great success thanks to all those who dedicated themselves to this memorable event.”

He went on to say: “We now truly think of here as our second home.”

The ambassador quietly told friends of his plans to retire at the Points of Light gala tribute at the Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.  on September 7.

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