HOLLYWOOD ON THE POTOMAC
Rules, blackouts and bees...
while two legends hold court
Looking for Art Buchwald? Dial party
Ever since the perpetual funny man checked into Upton Street's Washington Hospice, the community room resembles a casting call's dream featuring Ben Bradlee, The Kennedys, Jim Lehrer, Diane Rehm, Myra MacPherson and interviews with Brian Williams, Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw, to name a fistful. All the world's a stage and no one knows that better than "Artie", as he is known to his friends. The revolving door ushers in a daily cornucopia of colorful characters creating serial marquee moments and he loves it, despite the fact that he has denied life prolonging dialysis and is ready to take his schick elsewhere. After authoring a zillion books and columns, the Pulitzer winning, self-deprecating satirist told People Magazine: "Dying is easy, parking is impossible." Happy in his defiance of nature and always on his game, he continues to reiterate: "I'll Always Have Paris." And we, of course, will always have Artie.
Across town, it was no laughing matter!
It was not a belated April Fools Day joke when the Dirksen building was evacuated on the 3rd of April, minutes after the lights went out. Although interrupted by the warning, that didn't stop Golden Globe winner and two-time Oscar nominated actor Ed Norton, who was in town shooting "24 Hrs", from continuing the kick-off briefing for National Public Health Week. "If there was ever an issue that Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on, it should be creating healthy communities for American children," said Norton, unfettered by the circumstances. Some visitors got little more than a few minutes to leave the premises before mild pandemonium broke out and sent visitors into blackness. Taking their cue from Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia), who got into an incident with the Capitol police recently over not showing her I.D., everyone remained calm, cool, collected and willingly showed theirs.
Who rules America? Jr's, IIIs and IVs
At the AFI Silver Docs premiere of "The American Ruling Class", retiring editor of Harpers Magazine and now documentarian, Lewis Latham was joined by director John Kirby and producer Libby Handross as they explored the oft taboo subject of class, power and privilege in a democratic republic. Unlike Court TV's Dominique Dunne's "Power, Privilege and Justice" that covers the dark side of the rich and powerful, Latham explores how they get there in the first place by following two recent Yale graduates, one rich, one poor. A complicated interwoven scenario ensues where each grad struggles with the responsibility of power. Casting included Walter Cronkite, Kurt Vonnegut, Pete Seeger, Hodding Carter III, Harold Brown, The New York Times' Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and William H. Haft IV.
According to Dictionary.com, it's the longest word in the English language; so if you are trying to win The Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship, you may want to check it out. That's what Keke Palmer (Akeelah Anderson) did in Lionsgate's "Akeelah and the Bee", which was screened recently at an event organized by Reel Progress and The Center for American Progress. The feel good film follows Akeelah, a precocious eleven-year-old minority girl from Los Angeles with an aptitude for words (think "Karate Kid" meets "Jeopardy"). Palmer, along with director/writer Doug Atchison and actor/producer Laurence Fishburne took part in the post-screening Q&A. Said Fishburne: "I loved the script, I loved the character, I loved the story but was saddened by the fact that there weren't a lot of people that had come forward to finance it. So, I threw my hat in."
All the King's men
Larry King proved he can pull an audience off screen as well at his Annual Cardiac Foundation Gala where guests included Larry Jr., brother Marty Zeiger, producers (Sheik) Nile Rodgers and (Angela's Ashes) David Brown, coach Joe Gibbs, Redskins owner Dan Snyder, artist Bill Dunlap, honoree Joe Robert and singer Quincy Jones. But it was singer/ songwriters Denise Rich, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams, and Shawn King that claimed the night as well as Cosmopolitan lady Helen Gurley Brown.
He may have left his heart in San Francisco years ago, but he sure got it back in time to share it with friends, admirers, colleagues and Congressional members last month that included Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Gene Green (D-Texas), Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and Clay Shaw (R-Fla.) at an all star musical tribute in his honor at The Cannon House Office Building hosted by The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. So what's with all the Texans? "We appreciate good music, good artists," said Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, a Texas Democrat of course.