Hollywood on the Potomac

There She Was

September 14, 2021

The Miss America Pageant has survived many generations of viewers. Growing up, we all had our own experience watching Bert Parks, who hosted the annual Miss America telecast from 1955 to 1979, serenade the newly crowned Miss America with “There She Is, Miss America.”

“I watched it like everyone did,” author Amy Argetsinger told Hollywood on the Potomac of her childhood experience with The Miss America Pageant.  “I don’t think I started watching it though until I was in middle school. This was probably, in hindsight, a fatal error on the part of the producers because back then it came on TV so late. It would start at about nine or 10 o’clock at night which was really off limits for a lot of children. They probably would have done better if it was earlier to hook a really young generation of kids on it by airing it at seven o’clock or eight o’clock at night. I don’t remember being aware of it for many years before I was old enough to stay up that late. Once I started watching it was fascinating to me. I did not watch it through college because it was always on a weekend night when I had, you know, something more mature to do, but I started watching it in a big way after I got out of college.”

 

“Part of what hooked me,” she added, “was the fact that I was living and working in Iowa. In Iowa, pageant royalty was everywhere. My first two years there, there was a local woman who was in the top five of Miss America. And then one of my colleagues at the newspaper, one of our interns, competed at the local pageant and it suddenly was a little bit fascinating, but also demystifying. I started watching with a little more interest then. After I moved back to Washington in the mid nineties, my friend from Iowa who had competed was also in Washington.  I said, ‘Hey, why don’t we drive to Atlantic City and see the thing in real life?’  I don’t know if you’ve been but if you go there all of a sudden it opens your eyes to this big, crazy subculture that’s just devoted to the pageant and so much of it you never see on TV. It’s kind of an enchanting, charming, crazy culture of volunteers and coaches and hairstylists and little girls and princess dresses and sashes.”


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Lady Liberty

August 30, 2021

As we struggle with the arrival of many Afghanistan refugees, let us not forget compassion.  On the occasion of “Bastille Day,” France’s National Holiday on July 14th, the Ambassador of France to the United States Philippe Étienne presided over the inauguration ceremony for Washington D.C.’s own Statue of Liberty in the presence of The Secretary of State of the United States of America, The Honorable Antony Blinken & The Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic His Excellency Jean-Yves Le Drian.

 

Inside the original statue that resides on Ellis Island in New York Harbor, a plaque is engraved with words from “The New Colossus,” a 1883 poem by Emma Lazarus:

  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
   The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
   Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

“The first Lady Liberty was not given by the French government to the American government,” said Ambassador Etienne, “but by the French people to the American people.  Her little sister arrived in the U.S. as the result of a joint effort led by historians, artists, and engineers; civil society, cultural institutions and companies from both countries.  I am truly honored to receive this symbol of the friendship between the French and American people, this Liberty that enlightens the world – a core value for our nations that it is more important than ever to defend. And now, the statue will stand here in DC, as a great symbol, one of these innumerable traces of France in the United States.” 


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'He Named Me Malala'

August 22, 2021

This article first posted on September 26th 2015.

 

“This is really a father-daughter story that I think speaks to everyone,” director Davis Guggenheim told Hollywood on the Potomac at the Washington, DC premiere of He Named Me Malala presented by National Geographic Channel, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Participant Media, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, and The Malala Fund.

 

The father-daughter timeline goes like this: Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. She was named after a folk heroine. Her father entered her name on the family register, a virtual first in a male dominated society. The Taliban took over the Swat Valley and destroyed all schools for girls. Malala stood up for her rights to an education. ‘All I want is an education. And I am afraid of no one.’ That became her motto. She became a blogger for the BBC. She was targeted by the Taliban – hunted and attacked. She survived an almost fatal attack which brought on world-wide attention. She became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. How the father and daughter interacted throughout this timeline is revealed in He Named Me Malala, a must see. Bring the Kleenex!


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