Gravy Boat

Hollywood Near the C&O

November 14, 2016

James Marsden (Photo by: il Canale) James Marsden

Hollywood types Woody Harrelson, Rob Reiner and James Marsden celebrated good times at Georgetown's il Canale on Sunday evening. The entourage also included Matthew George of Savvy Media.

They were in celebration for their forthcoming movie, "Shock and Awe," which is scheduled to appear in theaters in 2017.

Included in the menu were mushroom and sausage pizzas and four cheese gnocchi.

Reiner also was here for a screening of his new biopic "LBJ" as the 36th president, starring Harrelson.

The group ate in the semi-private dining room upstairs. Diners has a blast taking pictures with the celebrities.

As a sign of friendship, il Canale later provided a bottle of Sassicaia Grappa.

"Shock and Awe" is about a group of journalists covering the planned invasion of Iraq in 2003.  They were skeptical of the claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. 





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Cashmere, Prosecco and Caviar at Via Umbria

November 13, 2016

(Photo by:

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Via Umbria is hosting a special two-day event on November 18 and 19, featuring Umbrian cashmere, prosecco and caviar.


The event runs from10:00 am to 6:00 pm on both days, and Italian cashmere sweaters, scarves, hats, blankets and more, from the region of Umbria, will be available for sale.


Owners Suzy and Bill Menard just returned from a trip to the region, where they visited ESSERE, a company specializing in men and women’s knitwear, and providing cashmere for some of the top fashion houses in Italy.


Guests can sip on prosecco and taste bites from Chef Johanna Hellrigl while shopping.


Via Umbria is located at 1525 Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.

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Ambassador Herman Cohen Releases Book on African Leaders

June 23, 2015

Ambassador and former Assistant Secretary of State, Herman J. “Hank” Cohen, long-time Georgetown resident and author of Intervening in Africa: Superpower Peacemaking in a Troubled Continent, has published his second book on modern Africa.

In The Mind of the African Strongman, Ambassador Cohen offers insights into what has helped and what has hindered economic development and democracy in Africa since the end of colonialism.

(Photo by: Marc Cohen)

At a recent book-signing at DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired)-Bacon House, a club for professionals in the Foreign Service, Cohen was joined by family, friends and more than 100 guests including active State Department diplomats.

Reflecting on nearly four decades of work throughout the continent, in The Mind of the African Strongman, Cohen shares stories of his personal encounters with some of Africa's most legendary leaders. From Nelson Mandela to Muammar Gaddafi, Cohen gives readers a never-before-seen look at the men who defined modern Africa, as well as a behind-the-scenes account of dealing with U.S. Presidents, Secretaries of State, and other key leaders shaping U.S. foreign policy toward Africa in the the post-colonial / Cold War era.

Says Ambassador Cohen, "I spent most of my 38 years in the Foreign Service dealing with US relations with African nations. During that time, I had the opportunity to meet privately with many of the continent's first and second generation heads of state who came to power after the end of colonialism in the early 1960s. The highest priority for the United States during Africa's early days was to help the new nations achieve rapid economic development. A significant amount of resources was devoted to African development in the form of foreign aid and technical assistance."

Amb.Cohen signing books (Photo by: Marc Cohen) Amb.Cohen signing books

In Africa, Cohen was posted to five U.S. embassies and served as ambassador to Senegal. In Washington he was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under George H. W. Bush and Special Assistant for African Affairs to Ronald Reagan. Among other honors, he received the French Legion of Honor and the Belgian Order of Leopold II. Since 1994, Cohen has been active as president of Cohen and Woods, an international consulting firm specializing in assistance to American corporations doing business in Africa.

He went on to explain, "After the first half century of African independence, the results were disappointing. None of the African nations had made much progress toward lowering poverty and attracting investments. I believe that the disappointing results were due to poor leadership who made a number of bad decisions at the very beginning. Since I had known most of the leaders personally,  I decided that it might be useful to have them tell their own stories as a way of understanding why Africa is lagging behind. Basically, while we were encouraging new policies that could lead to rapid development, the early generation leaders had other priorities, such as preserving their national independence, gaining monopolies of political power, and favoring their own ethnic groups in distributing the fruits of low economic growth.

(Photo by: Marc Cohen)

Now, in retirement, I see the third generation of African leaders starting to adopt wise policies.  I am now more optimistic about Africa's prospects. The continent is also becoming a place for foreign investors to gain large yields on their investments."

Amb. and Mrs. Cohen, who moved to Georgetown in 1969, have lived in the same house on R Street since then, and enjoy dining and shopping in the neighborhood.

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