Runaway Spoon

Film Party Leaps

July 17, 2013

James Hawthorn & Mom (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) James Hawthorn & Mom

Leap, an in-progress independent documentary being produced by James Hawthorn, a former DC-area creative artist -- now a Los Angeles filmmaker – was previewed at a party at il Canale ristorante in Georgetown attended by financial boosters, art supporters and others who gave the life-changing project a thumbs up.

Hawthorn’s first film is being funded partly through Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website based in New York. The $20,000 target raised is enough to jump-start the documentary.

Dick and Jane Stoker (left) & Jennifer Cho of the NewYork Opera Society (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Dick and Jane Stoker (left) & Jennifer Cho of the NewYork Opera Society

Art collectors Dick and Jane Stoker, guests at the event,  put Hawthorn over the top with their donation.

A “documentary exploring why some people take big risks and turn their dreams into action,” is how Leap was described. “What happens in your life when you play for it all?” The film will feature specific individuals who chucked in their old way of life to do something totally different, often without a safety net to catch them.

Invited guests at documentary (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Invited guests at documentary

In a talk to 40 guests on Tuesday night, young Hawthorn said he plans to interview risk-takers who “stand on the ledge” and then take “leaps of faith” in their careers to do things that change their lives forever.  Not all leaps of faith work out …some do, but “the journey is the thing,” he said.

Hawthorn himself took a leap of faith.  He fled a telecom desk job in Denver, packed up his car and headed to California to do what he loved, acting and directing.

The Kickstarter platform is a relatively new way to fund creative projects. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of donors. Recently, Fox News national did a highly favorable piece on the crowd-funding strategy, which helps raises money for projects from filmmaking, to eating establishments to dance groups to eco-friendly cars and so forth.

Alla Rogers enjoying il Canale food (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Alla Rogers enjoying il Canale food

Hawthorn, who grew up in McLean, Va., is the son of interior decorator, Barbara Hawthorn. She and Joe Farruggio, owner of il Canale, hosted the event.

Among those attending were sweet-harmony legend Joe Coleman and his wife, Dr. Vanessa Weaver of Potomac, Md.  If you’re so under the Golden-era music radar to not recognize Coleman’s name, here’s who he is: former lead singer with The Platters, and now head of JS Coleman Enterprises Inc. He also formed Leonard, Coleman & Blunt, which features past members of The Temptations, The Platters and The Drifters and has gone on the road. 

Emilia Philip and Cary Pollak (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Emilia Philip and Cary Pollak

Party guests also included Ken Harvey, former Washington Redskin linebacker turned author and a writer for The Washington Post;  Liz Bizic, a Merrill Lynch financial executive, international food writer Cary Pollak, Georgetown art gallery owner Alla Rogers, Emilia Philip of Luxe.Interiors+Design, and a host of others from the District, Maryland and Virginia arts and humanities communities.

The eventual total budget for Leap is $58,000. 

“We wanted to invite those people who so generously contributed to James’ documentary and to showcase what Leap is all about,” said Barbara Hawthorn, a McLean resident.  “It’s an inspirational project, with an incredible professional crew.”

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It'll Be Another Chance to Pitch DC Statehood

June 27, 2013

Stressing in a frustrated tone that the District of Columbia “still does not have full representation,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Wednesday swore in members of the Washington Commemorative Committee that will help pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington,  

Heading the DC committee is civil rights leader Dr. Frank Smith, an African American activist who has a long and stellar career of political and community leadership.

Upwards of 250,000 gathered in the pivotal demonstration in the District of Columbia on August 28, 1963, when Martin Luther King made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

“The events of that day – the prayers, the electrifying speeches, the stirring music – helped mark the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and reminded Americans of the nation’s long pursuit to fulfill its founding principles of liberty and equality for all,” stated a brochure produced by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and distributed at the swearing in ceremony.

In honor of that day, thousands are expected in DC in Saturday, August 24, 2013 for a commemoration of the original National March on Washington.

In the ceremonies at the Wilson Building, Gray swore in Fred Allen, Wylie Chen, Courtland Cox, Franklin Garcia, Charles Hicks, William Lucy, Dr. Frank Smith, Judith Terra, Dr. E. Faye Williams, the Rev. Reginald Green, Dr. John Franklin, Jerry Clark, Dr. Bernard Demzcuk, Elliott Ferguson, Dr. James Early and Joseph Madison.

Linda Cropp, former DC City Council chair, was named vice chairperson of the committee.

Gray said the committee’s mission is mainly two-fold:

“Identify and highlight local landmarks, works of art, civil rights leaders and artifacts identified as part of the District’s unique involvement and contribution to the historic 1963 March on Washington.

“Promote full civil rights for the District of Columbia and its residents….”

The committee chair, Dr. Smith, attended Morehouse College in Atlanta where he was a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He left Morehouse in his senior year to play a role in the Civil Rights Movement. He was involved and helped lead the planning and executing of protests and marches in Greenwood, Mississippi, during the Freedom Summer of 1964.  He was a member of the DC City Council in the 1980s.

In 1998, Smith became chairman of the board and CEO for the organization that worked to establish the African American Civil War Memorial and an accompanying museum.





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Couching on Capitol Hill

June 24, 2013

Neither an elephant nor a donkey was around to have a seat on this flashy sofa but, as intended, the PR gig did get some congressional derrieres.

Here’s the story line: This red and blue bipartisan Made In America sofa was parked at the U.S. Capitol to showcase a campaign effort designed to: (1) call attention to job losses on American soil, and, (2) close the divide, at least for a while, between political parties.

Barbara Hawthorn, chair, Advisory Council, Made in America Foundation (Photo by: Kevin Allen Photography) Barbara Hawthorn, chair, Advisory Council, Made in America Foundation

Members of all political persuasions were invited to sit on the sofa in a show of unity.

High-end furniture manufacturer Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman, winner of the 2013 “Best” MADE: In America award, handcrafted the sofa.

“Our manufacturing facility is located in High Point, North Carolina, where many, many companies have had to shut down or give in to overseas manufacturing,” said Gregg Arrington, VP of Operations.

The Couch in Congress project was done in partnership with MADE: In America, a non-profit educational organization based in Washington, D.C.  Although there wasn’t a scramble to do so, a few members did pose on the sofa at the Rayburn Building foyer during the three hours it was displayed there last week.  No political deals were reached—but it was a sofa, not a love seat.

MADE: In America, chaired by James DeLorbe, aims to foster a business climate conducive to the free exchange of ideas and information for the purpose of revitalizing and sustaining the competitiveness of American commerce and industry in a global economy. 

MADE: In America is comprised of business leaders, public policy makers, educators and citizens dedicated to designing and articulating a new way to promote American enterprise.





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