Hollywood on the Potomac
“She looked at me and said congratulations and welcome to the family because everybody in my family was dyslexic and I went to feeling completely isolated to feeling completely embraced and held and connected. That was really the beginning of my life in the arts,” Sally Taylor told Hollywood on the Potomac at the 31st Anniversary Gala of the Lab School of Washington honoring outstanding Adults with Learning Differences. The singer-songwriter is the daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon.
This year the awards were presented to Justin Theroux, Actor, Screenwriter and Director, currently starring in “The Leftovers” on HBO; Sally Taylor, Musician and Artist, Founder of CONSENSES; Dean Bragonier, former Martha’s Vineyard restaurateur and founder of NoticeAbility.org; and Louis “Bo” Polk, business executive and venture capitalist.
“On the one hand, it explained a lot,” Justin Theroux told us regarding the first time he realized he had a learning difference,”because I wasn’t doing well in school. On the one hand it was slightly depressing and then again, it was slightly liberating, I guess, when you realize at least ‘I’m not crazy and there’s not anything necessarily wrong with me.'”
Earlier in the day, the honorees spent the day visiting The Lab School and engaging with the students via a Q and A assembly where they had the opportunity to hear personally how these successful people struggled with many of the issues that they themselves face.
“The way we got involved in Breakthrough is a great story,” Linda Boff, Executive Director Global Brand Marketing GE, told Hollywood on the Potomac at NatGeo and GE’s advanced screening of “Energy on the Edge” — part five of the six-part Breakthrough series airing on the National Geographic Channel.
“Our vice-chair of Business Innovations Beth Comstock met Brian Grazer in Hollywood nearly four years ago,” she explained, “and Brian does these ‘curiosity conversations.’ They hit it off and they started talking about the marriage of Hollywood and science. GE is always on a quest to tell a story and to find great storytellers, so the germ of the idea began three-and-a-half, four years ago. It was born out of curiosity. It was born out of passion for how to you tell a great story and how to get some Hollywood minds behind some really interesting and important topics. He actually just wrote a book called A Curious Mind.”
“We started to muse,” she said. “What could this be? We thought about it as how could we take topics like energy, aging, neurology, water, things that are important to the world and put a human lens on them. The stories are important, but the characters behind them are also quite important. We wanted to be able to tell the story of the scientists and also some of the breakthroughs in their fields. Together, we had the opportunity to approach National Geographic, and once we had them on board, we all came together and said, ‘What are issues that will be important to the National Geographic audience? What are topics that GE thinks are important? What are stories that Brian and Ron Howard want to tell?’ We triangulated them and wound up with six great topics, but there could be 60, there could be 600; these are the six we’re starting with.”