Runaway Spoon

From Monaco with Toasts & A Fine Summer Night

July 9, 2015

Julie & Syd Butler, Ambassador Doyle, Fred & Karen Schaufeld & Nora Pouillon (of Nora's Restaurant) (Photo by: Zaid Hamid 2015) Julie & Syd Butler, Ambassador Doyle, Fred & Karen Schaufeld & Nora Pouillon (of Nora's Restaurant)

On one of D.C.’s rare rain-free and sunny evenings so far this summer, Monaco’s Ambassador Maguy Maccario Doyle opened her Kalorama residence to more than 90 guests from the New York and D.C. diplomatic, political, business, media, social and philanthropic communities.

The occasion?

The Reception at the Monaco Residence (Photo by: Monaco) The Reception at the Monaco Residence

To celebrate His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco’s 10th anniversary as the principality’s sovereign. Prince Albert acceded to the throne in 2005 with the passing of his father, Prince Rainier (the husband of American icon, Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco upon their marriage).

Carolyn 'Bo' Aldige( left) of the Prevent Cancer Foundation & Lorenzo & Sophia Ravano (Photo by: Terry Crouch) Carolyn 'Bo' Aldige( left) of the Prevent Cancer Foundation & Lorenzo & Sophia Ravano

During her remarks Tuesday night, Ambassador Maccario Doyle (Ambassador to the USA and Canada) cited some of Prince Albert’s most significant accomplishments in the last decade including his marriage to former Olympic swimmer Princess Charlene (Wittstock) and the recent birth of their twins, Crown Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, and the establishment of his eponymous foundation for the environment which, since 2006, has supported hundreds of conservation and preservation projects around the world in the areas of developing renewable energies, combatting the loss of biodiversity and improving universal access to clean water.

Reta Jo Lewis (left) Tomas Abreu (Monaco's honorary vice consul in Miami) and Monaco's Ambassador (Photo by: Terry Crough) Reta Jo Lewis (left) Tomas Abreu (Monaco's honorary vice consul in Miami) and Monaco's Ambassador

The Prince was in DC last May to accept top environmental honors at the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards dinner and participate in a global leadership forum at National Geographic’s headquarters.

The Prince, a keen sportsman and explorer, also raised and strengthened Monaco’s image on the world stage (“Monaco is open for business!”) by increasing its diplomatic presence throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and in South and North America, the latter with whom it shares deep and binding ties.

Among the guests catching up on old friendships, networking with new ones and participating in a champagne toast to Prince Albert were Dr. Neil Parsan, ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United States; Iceland’s Ambassador Gair H. Haarde and Mrs. Haarde; Portugal’s Ambassador Nuno Brito; John E. Beale, Barbados’ ambassador and permanent representative to the Organization of American States and his wife Leila Mol BealeSheila M. Switzer, program chairman of the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide and her husband Thomas Switzer of Global Diplomatic Resources; Xavier Fco. Equihua, managing director of Federal Strategies Group; Ambassaddor Peter A. Selfridge, US chief of protocol and assistant secretary of State, with his wife Parita; and former US Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall


Ambassadors or representatives also attending were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paraguay, Yeman, Argentina, France and Liechtenstein.

Adding to the universal flavor were others from Peru, Mexico as well as executives from financial and diplomatic organizations.




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Two Mega Stars in One Week

June 18, 2015

Singer/songwriter Michael Bolton dined on Marina pizza Tuesday for lunch at il Canale.  He gained his first major hit as a songwriter, co-writing "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You."

Another major hit was "When A Man Loves A Woman."

On Monday for dinner, one of the most acclaimed film stars ever, Julianne Moore, dined at il Canale with her family.

The American/British actress won an Oscar for her lead portrayal in Still Alice, the real-life story of a professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.  Moore's long list of roles and credits is impressive.

At il Canale, she dined on Salmone alla Siciliana.

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Hooray for Hollywood: DC Enters Film Animation at Gallaudet

May 28, 2015

Animation development company Pigmental Studios will establish its new headquarters at Gallaudet University’s campus in Northeast, D.C. city officials and filmmakers announced on Thursday.  Pigmental is to start work on animated feature film and TV series in its new home this fall.

Gallaudet Provost Carol J.Erting & Pierre Bagley (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Gallaudet Provost Carol J.Erting & Pierre Bagley

“It’s okay to call us The Hollywood of The East,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to open the news conference with Pigmental CEO and co-founder Marina Martins and Gallaudet’s Provost Carol J. Erting

Imaginative and colorful animated films with hit songs such as “Let It Go” is where a lot of the film industry seems to be going on TV and in movie theaters.  DC gets that. Not to be left frozen on the backstage steps as other cities take leading roles in digital  animated film production, the troupe of DC officials, Gallaudet leaders and LA executives revealed plans to put DC up on the billboards.


This will be Pigmental’s first venture into the nation’s capital's still nascent film industry.

Although the invitational event was billed as a news conference, in reality, it was a pep rally for filmmaking in DC.  Also, it was what the casting world calls a “looksee,” for potential moneyed investors who might yearn to get into the entertainment sector.

Aviva Kempner, Pierre Bagley & Marina Martins (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Aviva Kempner, Pierre Bagley & Marina Martins

“We look forward to working with Pigmental and Gallaudet to support their efforts to grow the District’s innovation economy,” said Mayor Bowser. ”By leveraging the District’s position as a hub for innovation and technology, we can improve the lives of District residents, create jobs, diversify our workforce, and grow a more sustainable creative economy.”

Pigmental  Studios is an independent entertainment company with “dedicated financing” for animated theatrical films and television series, says its website. ”Pigmental is currently active in international co-production projects in China, Korea and Spain.

“With an office in Los Angeles, Pigmental Studios is home to a corps of renowned animation artists and technologists who produce groundbreaking work in cooperation with international production partners.”

Among Pigmental’s current projects is KONG, which was announced at the Cannes Film Festival in May, 2014.  It is being produced as a Chinese co-production with producers Gary Zhang and JJ Kim of Aquamen Entertainment. 

Logo, Pigmental Studios (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Logo, Pigmental Studios

The first animated feature slated to be produced in the District will be a co-production with the creator of Despicable Me, Sergio Pablos, says Pigmental.

Pigmental’s first studio -- to open in a few weeks -- on the campus of Gallaudet University will be in the Appleby Building at 800 Florida Avenue NE, with an expansion planned for future development in a yet-to-be-built building on the 99-acre campus. JBG Cos is the development partner for the longer-term building project.

The District has agreed to issue a $250,000 grant to Pigmental to build out its new offices as part of D.C.’s tech fund incentives, according to the Washington Business Journal.

 “Today’s announcement shows the District’s commitment to attracting innovative companies to increase jobs and workforce development,” said Brian Kenner, deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development.  “By offering new skills training for Gallaudet students and local residents, Pigmental will help us further diversify our economy.”  Pigmental will initially employ from 20 to 40 people.

The announcement of Pigmental’s new DC studio is part of Mayor Bowser’s “innoMAYtion” initiative to highlight innovation programs that engage residents and position the district as a hub of innovative activity.

Judith Terra (left), Marina Martins & Elizabeth Webster (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Judith Terra (left), Marina Martins & Elizabeth Webster

Martins said that Pigmental will create an academic program in animation design and programming for Gallaudet students as well as offer internship and training opportunities. Gallaudet, established in 1864, is the world’s only university with programs and services designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Helping to spearhead Pigmental’s move into town is film producer/director Pierre Bagley, former director of the District’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.   Also, among those several hundred attending were Angie M. Gates, director of the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development,  Elizabeth Webster, director of Business Outreach for At-large City Councilman Vincent Orange, American filmmaker Aviva Kempner, Sharon Pratt Kelly, former DC mayor; Marie Collins Johns, former deputy commissioner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and arts and culture activist Judith F. Terra.

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