Hollywood on the Potomac

As Time Goes By

August 31, 2015

The three faces of Ingrid Bergman: “I didn’t do anything I’ve never done before. But when the camera moves in on the Bergman face, and she’s saying she loves you, it would make anybody look romantic.”  Humphrey Bogart.  “In my whole life I never had a woman so much in love with me as Ingrid was.  The day after the picture (Saratoga Trunk) ended, I couldn’t get her on the phone.”  Gary Cooper.  “I’m only interested in two kinds of people, those who can entertain me and those who can advance my career.”  Ingrid Bergman.

his weekend, The Embassy of Sweden hosted multiple events in her honor to celebrate her Life & Legacy at the House of Sweden in Georgetown with two new exhibitions.  Saturday marked the Bergman Centennial.  One of the world’s greatest actresses of all time, she was both beloved and controversial. She was seen as both a role model and a danger to the morals of society of the times.

While Leamer was finishing up the touches on As Time Goes By that would become a best-seller, I was a guest in his home in Santa Monica.  There was lots of anticipation as Dr. Petter Lindstrom, the Swedish surgeon whom actress Ingrid Bergman abandoned for a scandalous affair with and subsequent marriage to Italian director Roberto Rossellini and the father of her first child Pia, was expected for breakfast and Leamer wasn’t sure if he would show up.  He did and related how the marriage ended in a firestorm of scandal: Her fans were horrified. The affair was even denounced from the floor of the U.S. Senate.

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What's in Your Wallet?

August 26, 2015

If you were paying any attention to the stock market yesterday, you realize by now that your wallet has shrunk.  Some are calling it “Black Monday.” While it can’t all be blamed on the Chinese, we’d like to thank them anyway for “Unlocking the Gates of Hell” – a reference actually to a segment of The Hungry Ghost Festival (Yu Lan) during which many Chinese make efforts to appease their ancestors by ‘feeding’ them at roadside fires where they burn faux money and other offerings for use in the afterlife.  The US will likely hit 18.1 trillion in debt by mid-November, according to the Congressional Budget Office. We’d like to be appeased in this life.

We checked in with our economist friend Andrea Sommariva (formerly of the IMF in Washington) who has spent many years in China. He explained it this way: “There are several reasons why China has devalued the Yuan in recent weeks, ranging from falling exports to a declining growth rate. But there are some doubts whether devaluation of the Yuan and expanding public works will jolt the economy back into action. This is due to what is happening to China’s labour market. For many years, China’s labour market has been tight as people moved from rural areas to cities in search for work. From 2010, many people have aged out of the labour market, pushing the ratio of job offers to seekers upwards. This indicates that the China economy has reached a limit of its supply capacity. Economic stimulus, such as devaluations and public works, may have limited impacts on economic growth. The only way to revive economic growth is through increase productivity per worker, which requires a more efficient allocation of resources. But it will take some years to make workers more productive and, in China’s case, to liberalize the economy to achieve a more efficient allocation of resources.”

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Carter at 'Camp David'

August 23, 2015

“To say this is one of the most important stories to put on our stage is a complete understatement,” said Artistic Director of Arena Stage Molly Smith at the world premiere of Camp David. “It’s important to be reminded of a moment—now 35 years ago—when people from very different cultures and perspectives risked their lives and careers and put themselves on the line personally, intellectually and spiritually by sitting down to forge an agreement.”  Hollywood on the Potomac was there on opening night in 2014 and chatted with the stars and filmmakers.


“Through Lawrence’s (Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright) brilliant script,” she noted, “this incredible cast and with the incomparable access and research provided through Gerald Rafshoon, audiences will viscerally experience the complex and deeply human process of these pivotal negotiations.”

The pivotal negotiations to which she was referring became known as the Camp David Accords where a treaty was formed between Israel and Egypt by then respective Presidents Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin, and Anwar Sadat.

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