Hollywood on the Potomac

Hubble's Cosmic Journey

April 19, 2015

Hollywood on the Potomac was relieved to know that scientists Dr. Jeff Hester, NASA Scientist and Chief Engineer for Creating the Camera Hubble Telescope and Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA Chief Scientist for Hubble Telescope 1979-1998, did not spend their childhoods dissecting ants and frogs in their basements: Au contraire. 

“For me personally, among my very earliest memories, it was watching them bolt astronauts into the Mercury capsules so I grew up fascinated with such things,” Dr. Hester told us.  “I was always fascinated with flight and as a kid I had microscopes so I was engaged in that kind of stuff. I was probably ten years old and a friend of mine had bought a dime store telescope and had it set up in the back yard so I went over.  He had it pointed at Saturn and it was so real, you could see the rings and it just floored me. Still to this day I can close my eyes and see Saturn sitting there in that little tiny telescope.”

Both were honored guests at the premiere of HUBBLE’s Cosmic Journey celebrating 25 Years of the Space Telescope hosted by National Geographic.  The two friends and colleagues had not seen each other for 20 years.  About the Mission:  On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Earth with the Hubble Space Telescope nestled securely in its bay. The following day, Hubble was released into space, ready to peer into the vast unknown. Since then, Hubble has reinvigorated and reshaped our perception of the cosmos and uncovered a universe where almost anything seems possible within the laws of physics. Hubble has revealed properties of space and time that for most of human history were only probed in the imaginations of scientists and philosophers alike. Today, Hubble continues to provide views of cosmic wonders never before seen and is at the forefront of many new discoveries.

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Spies and Corsets

April 15, 2015

“I found the transition into this role relatively smooth,” Heather Lind told Hollywood on the Potomac about her acting in TURN: Washington Spies, AMC’s spy series that launched its second season appropriately at the International Spy Museum with cast and director in tow.  A layered spy thriller, TURN is the untold true story of America’s first spy ring whose members turn against King and family to fight for freedom. Based on the book Washington’s Spies by Alexander Rose, TURN introduces us to The Culper Ring, a group of childhood friends who become George Washington’s secret weapon in turning the tide of the war and, in the process, revolutionize the art of espionage.

Heather plays Anna Strong, a kind of unlikely heroine. Lind delves into how it felt to be her from costumes to thoughts.  “I sort of understood what a corset does to my mentality,” she said of her period costumes and the mentality of women at that time.  “I understood the expectation socially of what a woman could and couldn’t do in that particular period. I’m not a method actor, but I sort of read as much primary source material as I could. I looked at paintings of the period and I read some Alexander Pope poetry and I read Alex Rose’s book Washington’s Spies. I wanted to gather as much information as I could. Once I got to the set and put all the costumes on I did what I know how to do which is just be that person and feeling that period. It starts to feel really immediate and comfortable. What I love about period pieces is you realize how universal the human experience is in many different time periods.”

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'The Martini Shot'

April 5, 2015

We weren’t surprised that George Pelecanos has a short Bucket List; after all, he is an award-winning author as well as a producer for The Wire. With 19 books under his belt, multiple producing credits and non-stop offers, it’s no wonder the list is short. It’s impressive though: “I’d like to direct,” he told Hollywood on the Potomac at a book party in his honor at The Woodley hosted by Andy & Mike Manatos, Jim & Ted Pedas and a Q&A with Garrett Graff, Editor Politico Magazine. “I think I could do a good job at that. And, I’d like to make a Western.”

Pelecanos is a proud Washingtonian of Greek descent who started working with his dad when he was 11 delivering food orders from his diner.  He has worked as a line cook, dishwasher, bartender, and woman’s shoe salesman before publishing his first novel in 1992.  “I was a kid,” he told us reminiscing about working with his dad. “It was a turbulent and exciting time for a boy.”  Those experiences were the impetus for his crime writing based on the underbelly of Washington.

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