Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 8, 2015

October 1, 2015

D.C.’s Spotlight on ‘Spotlight’

David Simon was right at home on stage at the National Portrait Gallery, moderating a post-screening panel of people who made the film “Spotlight” happen.

“I’m going to start with the artifice of the film. As a newspaper reporter for 13 years, this was porn — in the best possible way,” said the former scribe for the Baltimore Sun and creative force behind HBO’s “The Wire,” “Treme” and “Show Me a Hero.”

The crowd that gathered for Wednesday’ night’s opening of Double Exposure: The Investigative Film Festival roared in approval. For an auditorium filled with journalists or the people who love them, the movie and its story was a celebration of journalism at its best: The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-Prize winning series about serial sexual abuse and the cover-up in the Catholic Church. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:57 p.m.

September 29, 2015

Back to the Future Brewing With Bluejacket

When dreaming up Bluejacket Brewery, Neighborhood Restaurant Group Beer Director Greg Engert said he “wanted to create a place that was limitless.”

Almost two years and 150 different beers after its opening, Engert and his crew show no signs of limiting their production anytime soon. Engert says he sees Bluejacket’s role as not only “an incubator for beer ideas and experimentation,” but also to serve as an anchor in the developing Navy Yard neighborhood. Full story

September 28, 2015

Investigative Film Festival Opens in D.C.

(Bryan Bedder/Getty Images File Photo)

Edward Snowden will participate in a panel discussion via Skype. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images File Photo)

The Founding Fathers thought so much of the power of the press they reserved a special spot for it in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Perhaps it’s appropriate then, that the inaugural Double Exposure: The Investigative Film Festival and Symposium would make its home in Washington, D.C. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:53 p.m.

September 14, 2015

Getting on the Big Bus, an Alternative Commute

Tourists on the top deck of a double decker tour bus wait in a cool drizzle for the bus tour to depart Union Station in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tourists wait for the Big Bus to depart Union Station. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Where Roll Call Dares Logo(Thumbnail)There are worse ways to get around Washington than riding the Big Bus.

Poncho-frocked tourists typically are the only ones trekking about on D.C.’s double-deckered tour buses. Frazzled locals, meanwhile, cram into rising-fare Metro trains that come with the added excitement of death by smoke inhalation, multiple stabbing wounds, derailment or the banality of chronic delays and overcrowded discomfort. Full story

September 8, 2015

Larry David Lends a Hand to ‘Fed Up’ Campaign

Larry David sits on the floor of the Fleet Center on the night Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., was nominated as the vice presidential candidate,at Democratic National Convention 2004, in Boston.

David, between bites, urged support the “Fed Up” Kickstarter campaign. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Larry David, as only Larry David can do, is  urging people to support efforts to get the food documentary “Fed Up” in the hands of the nation’s just-back-in-school teachers to help educate students about the food industry’s peculiar way of adding things (See: sugar, lots of it.) to its wares.

“Hey, I’m Larry David. I’m having a fantastic meal here,” he says on a video taken ostensibly from his dining room table and posted on the “Fed Up” Kickstarter page. “It’s all fresh stuff. Fresh healthy stuff from my ex-wife’s garden, and because she gives me the food, I have to do something in return for her, of course. I’m divorced seven years and I still have to do this stuff,” the “Seinfeld” and “Larry David Show” creator smirks.

And the ask? To back the Kickstarter campaign’s $150,000 goal. “All you have to do is, ehhh, give a little money, eh?” he says, taking a bite and pointing to his plate. “Everybody should eat like this,” he adds, signing off with a simple, “all right.”

The filmmakers and team behind “Fed Up” have done other unconventional campaigns. Last year, as part of the documentary’s release and to parry criticism from the food industry, one publicity poster had a simple image: two M&Ms, one with “F” and the other with a “U” against a white backdrop and alongside the words “Fed Up. Now Playing.”

The campaign, currently with about $38,000 pledged, has until Sept. 30 to raise the rest of its target.


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By Jason Dick Posted at 1:44 p.m.
Eat, Movies

September 2, 2015

National Book Festival Features Zero Members of Congress

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 15th annual National Book Festival features the largest-ever contingent of writers (175) for Saturday’s literary shindig at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown D.C. And while there will be no shortage of political and policy tomes being hawked and talked about, there will be a noticeable absence from among the authors among us: members of Congress.

Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 12:53 p.m.
Getting Lit-erary

August 25, 2015

Mission Impossible’s Adorable View of Congress

“The time has come to dissolve the IMF,” thick-necked spymaster Alan Hunley tells the Senate Intelligence Committee. And just like that, the gavel comes down in “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation” on Ethan Hunt and the Impossible Mission Force, and the big, bad CIA gets to absorb the best elements of Hunt’s daring-do team of operatives.

(And, of course, after being disbanded at the beginning of the fifth installment of the franchise, they are reinstated by that same committee at the end of the movie after proving their mettle — also at the behest Alec Baldwin’s Hunley.)

For the time being, leave aside questions about why the House Intelligence Committee was left out of the decision, whether the president or National Security Council would have anything to say about it, and why a CIA man (Baldwin), as opposed to the director of national intelligence, would make such a recommendation. Focus instead on the moment the movie depicts a truly impossible mission. That’s not when Tom Cruise’s Hunt hitches a ride outside an airplane in the film’s opening sequence. No, it’s the even more fantastic spectacle of Congress moving with alacrity.

But members of the Senate Intelligence Committee can dream, no?


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July 30, 2015

Farewell, My Indigestion: Bidding Adieu to Restaurant Associates

But if youll eat it, you never have to prove your courage in any other way.”

— Gen. Corman, “Apocalypse Now”

It is the end of an era. Restaurant Associates, a paragon of institutional food service, is leaving the House side of the Capitol complex. House administrators, facing the end of Restaurant Associates’ contract, changed course, opting for new blood.

That new blood will come from Sodexo, which will arrive with promises of Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts. The transition, from the Ford Deli to the House Restaurant, will be complete on Aug. 10. Full story

July 24, 2015

Josh Oppenheimer Looks Into the Abyss With ‘The Look of Silence’

Josh Oppenheimer has an open invitation to the world with his new film, “The Look of Silence.”

“It’s saying, ‘look at the abyss,'” he says of the film, a companion piece and sequel to his Academy Award-nominated “The Act of Killing.” In that earlier movie, Oppenheimer spent years in Indonesia with perpetrators of the 1960s genocide of political dissidents there. Full story

July 23, 2015

Tennis Interruptus — Votes Intrude on Charity Match


Flake, left, and Merkley get the news. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Flake, left, and Merkley get the news. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Work, work, work. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., were warming up for Wednesday night’s Washington Kastles Charity Classic tennis match when they got the court-side call: They were needed back on Capitol Hill for a vote on the highway bill. “Some of our players are not here yet, because they are making our government run more effectively,” public announcer Wes Johnson said (even though the two were there and had to drop their racquets to return to the Hill).

The vote recall required a little last-minute scramble to the order of play, with Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., subbing in for Merkley to play with Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., for the Stars team against Reps. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, of the Stripes team. But all went swimmingly. Full story

July 17, 2015

Another Schumer for Washington to View

Sen. Schumer makes a cameo in some of the publicity material for "Trainwreck." (Screenshot)

Sen. Schumer makes a cameo in some of the publicity material for “Trainwreck.” (Screenshot)

This could be a first for Washington: When someone refers to “Schumer,” it may now require clarification. The senator or the comedian?

With the Friday opening of the Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck,” the aspiring Senate Democratic leader, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, might find himself eclipsed by his cousin, who stars, wrote and produced the Judd Apatow flick. Why? Well, to start with, it’s hilarious. The movie, that is. Full story

July 16, 2015

A ‘Pixels’ Party at Atlas Arcade

Atlas Arcade, the H Street establishment that serves up healthy dollops of vintage arcade games, libations and nostalgia, is hosting a “Throwback Thursday Pixels Party,” a nod to the upcoming flick “Pixels” and featuring a Ms. Pacman and Donkey Kong tournament.

A $5 fee (college students get in for $3) gains entry to the shootout, with bar tabs and movie merchandise at stake. “Pixels,” wherein Adam Sandler and friends save the world from extra-terrestrial video games from the 1980s, opens in theaters on July 24.

Party starts at 6:30 p.m., and the games begin at 7 p.m. at 1236 H Street NE. Sign up at


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By Jason Dick Posted at 3:39 p.m.
Drink, Movies

July 13, 2015

Kids Book Club Podcast Is Washington Journalist’s Latest Venture

Kitty Felde has taken her broadcast skills to the podcast.

The freelance radio reporter — whose voice was known to both Southern California and national audiences as a public radio and television storyteller for decades — is moving into a new phase of her career that includes elements of the past. Full story

July 10, 2015

The Cross-Border Chaos of ‘Cartel Land’

“Cartel Land” is not for the faint of heart, nor mind.

Journalists, documentary filmmakers and other storytellers fight and scratch for access. For his border-hopping film about Mexican drug cartels and the vigilantes on both sides of the Southern border who fight them, director Matthew Heineman might have gotten more than he bargained for.

Along the way he films a midnight meth-cooking session; gunfights in the streets of Michoacan, Mexico; and records, surreptitiously, men being tortured. “It was a frightening film to make,” he said in a recent interview with Roll Call. Full story

July 7, 2015

An Appointment With ‘The Exorcist’ in Georgetown

As the Georgetown Sunset Cinema series gets underway Tuesday night with “St. Elmo’s Fire,” the organizers have announced the TBA part of the program on Aug. 4, which they had initially left open.

Keeping with the spirit of the movies chosen (inspired by or filmed in Georgetown), “The Exorcist,” will be screened on the last day of the summer program’s repertoire. Afterward, everyone will go running up the Exorcist Steps off M Street. (Just kidding. We made that last part up. Exercise will have no part in the series.)

Free. Here’s the full schedule:

July 7 — “St. Elmo’s Fire” (Rated R)
July 14 — “State of Play” (Rated PG-13)
July 21 — “No Way Out” (Rated R)
July 28 — “Burn After Reading” (Rated R)
Aug. 4 — “The Exorcist” (Rated R)


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By Jason Dick Posted at 5:07 p.m.

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