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Expanding D.C.'s roots globally

July 25, 2011

Linda Harper (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Linda Harper
Not exactly a full-fledged safari, yet,  although D.C.’s former Mayor Anthony Williams and D.C. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barbara  Lang did discuss the advantages of business exchange programs with the African nation of Botswana at an informal event hosted by PR executive Linda Mercado Greene at the ambassador’s home this week.

Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, USA educated, began her post in D.C. in February. She told a group of about 30 that her country thrives as a democracy and welcomes tourists and trade partners. She stressed that Botswana extensively mines for a girl’s best friend—diamonds.

Among the group was Linda Harper, executive director of Cultural Tourism D.C., David M. Carmen, president & CEO of The Carmen Group, and Judith Terra, chair of the D.C. Arts and Humanities Commission.


Barbara Lang (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Barbara Lang
Diane Williams (left) and Linda Greene (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Diane Williams (left) and Linda Greene

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Blasts from the past come to a city needing cool

July 24, 2011

The Hard Rock rig (Photo by: Hard Rock Cafe) The Hard Rock rig
Congress and the public get up close and – almost – personal with Madonna’s “like a virgin” dress, a guitar used by Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson’s iconic  “Beat it  Jacket” on Thursday July 28 as Hard Rock’s 40th Anniversary Memorabilia Tour rolls up to Capitol Hill for a one-day public exhibition of some of the most famous guitars, glitzy clothes, and other celebrity memorabilia.  

Following a morning congressional viewing, fans will have their chance to experience rock history from the world’s great music legends.

The collection of 40 of music’s most iconic pieces of memorabilia will be on public display in a mega-rig truck from 11 am to 3 pm at Maryland Avenue SW and 3rd Street (between the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Botanic Garden).  Admission is free.

Members of Congress and other VIPs will tour the rig from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

Hot-weather paper fans shaped like small guitars will be given out as souvenirs.

Coordinating the rig-stop is Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn (D-TN), chair of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus, who represents parts of Nashville and Memphis.  Fred Cannon, vice president of government relations for Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), will give remarks on the importance of upholding the creative rights of songwriters and performers.

The Hard Rock on Wheels Memorabilia Tour contains some of the most insane or rare memorabilia that could be dug up from Hard Rock’s cafe and hotel vaults – an Eric Clapton guitar, Buddy Holly’s signature glasses, Jimi Hendrix’s custom Flying V, Johnny Cash’s handmade Grammer guitar, the dress worn by Katy Perry when she dove on a birthday cake, a feathered jacket worn by Brandon Flowers of The Killers, Justin Bieber’s skateboard, and a coat worn by Snoop Dogg in the movie “Starsky & Hutch.”

There also are pieces from Elvis Presley, AC/DC, KISS, Slash,  Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Janis Joplin, Bono of U2, George Harrison, Sex Pistols, Bob Dylan, Sid Vicious, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Morrisey,  Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas, Jim Morrison of The Doors, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, and Prince, among others.

“We are bringing out some of the coolest, most historic and rarest items in our collection,” said Jeff Nolan, rock historian for Hard Rock International

After the D.C. stop, the nationwide tour travels South.




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A political power fast lane from Baltimore to D.C.

July 19, 2011

Bonding can be a good thing, either on Wall Street or between two big city mayors whose domains are less than an hour apart on I-95.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is an odds-on favorite to be elected to a full term as mayor of Baltimore city,” said D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray at a fundraiser for the incumbent Tuesday night in the District. “I’m predicting here and now she’ll get 65 to 75 percent of the votes.  I’m delighted to call her a friend.” 

Early in 2010, Rawlings-Blake succeeded Sheila Dixon as mayor when Dixon resigned as a result of her conviction for embezzlement.  Rawlings-Blake had been president of the city council. Under Baltimore’s charter, the president steps in as mayor when the elected sitting mayor no longer is able to serve.

It was two hours of mayoralty bonding, as Gray and Rawlings-Blake greeted some 70 contributors to her election campaign. Baltimore’s primary is in September.

The mayors have common ground:  they headed their respective city councils before succeeding controversial mayors.

The fundraising reception was held at the Northwest D.C. home of Donald Richardson.  Besides Gray, other co-hosts were public relations executive Linda Mercado Greene, who has known Rawlings-Blake for years (they refer to each other as political sisters), and Zina C. Pierre, a D.C. civic leader and former broadcast journalist.

Among the guests were Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse of the Republic of Botswana and D.C. City Councilmember Yvette Alexander.

In her talk, Rawlings-Blake, 41, said she has accumulated a record as mayor that she is proud of:  reforming the school system, closing a large deficit without raising property taxes or laying off public safety employees, and leading a city that has experienced its lowest homicide rate in a generation.

“We are linked,” in many ways, she said of D.C. and her city. “We have our challenges, and we are meeting these challenges.”

Nobody asked her what she thought of the oft-floated alternative to Statehood for the District – returning all but the federal buildings core to Maryland, where Washington would be a big-city competitor of Baltimore for state dollars and political power.

     -- by Natalia Janetti



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