Hollywood on the Potomac: Sites and Sounds

by Editorial

BRING IT ON

You didn’t have to be an employed journalist to take part in Journopalooza II benefiting Reporters Without Borders at the National Press Club. If that had been the case, the ballroom would have been mostly empty.

In a surge of support for both the beneficiaries of the event and out-of-work colleagues, hundreds of media types surfed adjoining party rooms even after they heard that a “suspicious package” might be somewhere in the building. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. Guests had been talking about a band called “Suspicious Package” and no sniffing dogs were sighted.

The band, which consists of investigative reporter Tim Burger, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Christina Sevilla, Washington Post cartoonist Tom Toles, the Los Angeles TimesJosh Meyer, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of HUD Bryan Greene went public after jamming in Toles’ basement. “It’s never too late to find a new hobby,” Burger noted.

Other engagements have included Andrews Air Force base, the USS Intrepid, and the embassies of Italy, Germany, Finland, and Denmark. Even former CIA Director Michael Hayden attended one of their events – looking for a “suspicious package” no doubt. Rumor has it that a concert in Italy may be next.

CALL FLO

Florence Henderson has a new gig. America’s favorite TV mom (of “Brady Brunch” fame) has gone into role reversal and now dispenses advice to seniors – technologically challenged ones, that is.

The mother of four was energetically endorsing her new venture at the Mandarin Oriental brunch preceding the Kennedy Center Honors with son Joe Bernstein in tow. “It’s because of him I joined the tech world after years of avoiding it. I didn’t want to feel stupid around my kids,” the now accomplished web surfer noted. Feeling left out: go to www.flohome.com

Honoree Robert De Niro debated Sen. Claire McCaskill on “the public option,” looking far less intimidating than he did in his Oscar-nominated role for best actor in Cape Fear; actress Christine Baranski, seated next to Pat and Michael York, graciously chatted with guests who mistook her for novelist Jane Stanton Hitchcock; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi popped by, only to head back to Capitol Hill for a health care vote.

Also mingling: honorees Mel Brooks, Grace Bumbry, and Dave Brubeck; actors Donald Sutherland, Michele Lee, and Ed Norton; Jean Kennedy Smith with her son William Kennedy Smith; and hosts Liz and George Stevens (who has probably received more industry awards than there were guests at the brunch).

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