Back in “This Town,” Georgetown Dish writers, editors and advertisers fresh from summer vacations and business trips to spots around the globe gathered at Cafe Milano Monday night to talk shop, exchange experiences, participate in gossip about local politics or just play catch-up.
Guests sipped on Cafe Milano owner Franco Nuschese’s exquisite wine and consumed trays of tasty hors d’oeuvres.
Jim Bell, CEO and founder of Beasley Real Estate, who travelled to London, said he plans to make a major announcement into a local market very shortly. (We were clued-in but we are holding back until his PR rep D’Ann K. Lanning officially breaks the news to all media outlets at once).
D’Ann took down time on her own, venturing near Los Angeles to The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa.
Back from Nantucket were Dr. Tina Alster and Paul Frazer.
It was the Mediterranean for Bonhams' Martin Gammon, who spent most of the month in the Greek Isles, while Washington Fine Properties' Kimberly Casey visited the beaches of Mallorca and Ibiza.
Just to mention a few other trips taken by contributors, advertisers and friends of the Dish: they included places such as Puerto Rico, Russia, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Estonia, Lake Tahoe (Nevada), and South Beach (Florida).
Staying close to home was on some agendas, too. Constance Chatfield-Taylor spent the summer fixing up her historic house in Upperville, Va.
Resident wine connoisseur, Gregoire Poirier tasted his way through Bordeaux (mais bien sûr) and New Mexico.
Social photographer Neshan Naltchayan ventured to the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., and plans to return in mid-September to cover the Miss America Pageant. After seven years in Las Vegas, the national pageant is finally returning home to Atlantic City where the pageantry began way back in 1921. Neshan, always one to know the inside story on so many things, regaled those details to party-goers who were not up to snuff on the pageant update.
After delectable desserts of chocolate truffles and lemon tiramisu, guests made their good-byes toting gifts of Dish water bottles.
There’s a hollow in a crooked old tree on the C&O Canal towpath off 31st Street in Georgetown that’s becoming a showcase for cute stuff purposely put there.
Just a few days ago, it was a hoot. A wide-eyed wooden owl peered out at passers-by.
The hollow has been the dwelling of tiny dolls, too.
Families, many of them tourists, stop to inspect the objects and take snaps.
Joggers swish past the hollow and miss the fun of it all.
Perhaps souvenir hunters eventually take the objects….Whooo knows?
But that’s okay, since it could be a fine Georgetown memory for a kid from another country.
On the other side of the canal languishes the pathetic wreck of a barge that once was pulled by mules. That historic tragedy seems to garner most of the attention from tourists. But the hollow is a much more cheerful amusement.
Whoever is tucking those little objects in the hollow, bravo.
Long-gone U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, the once savior of the tow path, also a Pacific Northwest outdoorsman and rather an oddball himself, surely would have tipped his walk stick.
To look for the tree, from M Street, walk down the left side 31st Street toward the river; after you pass il Canale restaurant, it’s a handful of steps on the left.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”