Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 27, 2015

Posts in "Art for Art’s Sake"

February 20, 2015

A Scientist Grows Art in NoMa at Gallery NK

Gallery NK on K Street Northeast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Gallery NK on K Street Northeast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Tucked away amid the rowhouses of NoMA is a once run-down warehouse transformed into a clean modern contemporary art gallery. The quaint studio, Gallery NK, is the creation of Turkish born artist Nihal Kececi.

With true Turkish hospitality, Kececi and her daughter Julie welcomed this reporter into their gallery with coffee, tea and desserts. There, we chatted and I learned of her journey from Turkey to K Street, and more specifically, 321 K St. NE. Full story

February 5, 2015

When Interior Decorating Questions Get Weird

Young's office boasts a gavel made from a walrus penis. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Young’s office boasts a gavel made from a walrus penis. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Some members of Congress go their whole lives without being asked about their office decorations. Others have it foisted upon them.

So it was when Roll Call and WAMU went to the Capitol to report on why members display particular pictures of parents, presidential memorabilia or patriotic nutcrackers. It just happened to be on the day The Washington Post published Ben Terris’ story about Rep. Aaron Schock’s “Downton Abbey”-inspired red Rayburn office digs. Full story

February 3, 2015

George, Ellen or Groucho? National Portrait Gallery Asks for Votes



The National Portrait Gallery is going to put one of three comedians — George Carlin, Ellen DeGeneres or Groucho Marx — up on its “Recognize” wall, and it wants the public to weigh in.

Announcing, “this is no laughing matter for the Smithsonian museum,” the curators of American culture want to display one of the three funny folk on its relatively new feature that highlights “one important person in our collection as chosen by readers of”

So who’ll it be? The man who outlined the seven dirty words you can’t say on TV?


The woman who broke Twitter with her selfies at the Oscars?


Or the guy who had no idea how an elephant got in his pajamas?


Vote until Feb. 15.


Correction, 9:30 a.m.:

An earlier version of this story misidentified the gallery sponsoring the “Recognize” wall.


The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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October 31, 2014

Senegal Represents at Phillips Collection

(Clark Mindock / CQ Roll Call)

(Clark Mindock/CQ Roll Call)

The paint filling in the sketched lines on an alley wall behind the Phillips Collection couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

The artists who stood on scaffolding and ladders, reaching to the highest portions of the mural with bright yellow, red and orange paint on Oct. 23 had come from across the Atlantic to decorate the wall. For them, artistic expression is necessarily political, and having their culture represented on a wall in the district is an important means of connecting the people of the United States with the people of Senegal, West Africa.

“The idea of doing this work here … opens people’s minds to the fact that there are artists in Senegal,” said Muhsana Ali, an artist who has lived in Senegal for 13 years, though was born in the United States. “In general, people don’t know a lot about Africa. … Doing this kind of work here gives people the opportunity to see them as real people.”

(Clark Mindock / CQ Roll Call)

(Clark Mindock / CQ Roll Call)

Sheep peer out from the mural — an animal that is sacrificed during religious traditions in Senegal. A figure carries a fish with a spiked head — perhaps a representation of a symbol found on the West African CFA Franc, the currency in Senegal, and the fishing industry.

They are images you don’t see on the news today when you hear about West Africa.

“I’ve heard a lot of people saying that the air is heavily charged with fear around Ebola,” Ali said. “This kind of lessens the fear, I think.” Full story

February 28, 2014

D.C. Jewish Film Festival Has Hill in Mind

The 24th annual Washington Jewish Film Festival is under way, with a full slate of films airing through March 9 at area venues and a series of talks at the Library of Congress for cinephiles on their lunch break.

Among the 64 films from 18 countries are offerings from familiar names such as John Turturro from the United States, with his film “Fading Gigolo” to more obscure fare, such as Kibwe Tavares’ short film from Tanzania, “Jonah.” The festival is focusing on films from Poland this year, a country with a rich cinematic history and a complicated, tragic history with Jews, as films like “The Man Who Made Angels Fly” and “Mamele” make clear.

The free noontime talks March 3-5 and March 7 at the Library of Congress provide a nice way for those interested in the films and the issues they bring up to break up the day, and lunch hour, on Capitol Hill.

On March 3, Dan Shadur discusses his documentary “Before the Revolution” in the Mary Pickford Theater in the LOC’s Madison Building. On March 4, Diana Groo discusses her documentary, “Regina,” along with Alan Reich, in the Pickford. On March 5, Karen Kohn Bradley, Pierre Dulaine and Diane Nabatoff discuss “Dancing in Jaffa” in Room LM 642 of the Madison Building. And on March 7, Jason Hutt and Salo Levinas will talk about “Sukkah City” in the Madison’s Law Library Multimedia Center, Room 240.

And there’s no way we can skip mentioning a movie from South Africa called “Noye’s Fludde,” a short film by Mark Domford, based on the Noah flood story, but starring South African opera star Pauline Malefane as a female Noah and sung entirely in Xhosa. Wrap your head around that one!

February 14, 2014

Sky Sitney, Veteran Head of AFI Documentary Film Festival, Moving On

Sky Sitney, festival director of the AFI Docs documentary film festival, and a long-time programming hand for its predecessor, the AFI Silverdocs film festival, is leaving her position at the end of the month.

Sitney, who was artistic director previous to her gig heading up the festival and signed on nine years ago at the documentary festival, will be joining the facult at Georgetown University’s film and media studies department as a visiting professor. She’s says she’ll be dabbling in “a variety of creative projects” according to her farewell note.

“After nearly nine years, the time has come for me to make a change and to make room in my life for new adventures,” she wrote, adding she plans to remain deeply involved in the film community.” She’ll be missed at AFI Docs by that film community, where her roots run deep. In addition to her long-time affiliation with the festival, she’s the daughter of P. Adams Sitney, a co-founder of the Anthology Film Archives in New York. Full story

February 7, 2014

Calendar: Monuments Men Get Their D.C. Shoutout

When you think about it, “The Monuments Men” is the perfect movie for Washington: Educated nerds defeat the Nazis, save crown jewels of Western civilization.

George Clooney’s old-school World War II flick about the military’s Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program was released in theaters on Friday, including at the District’s great Uptown Theater. The city’s other cultural institutions, meanwhile, have geared up exhibits to provide some context for the real-life heroes that made the monuments men so monumental.

The National Gallery of Art, for instance, is unveiling an exhibit on Feb. 11, “The Monuments Men and the National Gallery of Art: Behind the History,” in its West Building Founders Room. The exhibit features photos, documents and other items.

Down the street, the National Archives has on display “The ‘Hitler Albums’ — Meticulously Documented Plunder,” a record of the Nazi’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, or ERR, the point agency for the Third Reich’s efforts to loot art in occupied countries.

The “Hitler Albums” were documents that catalogued the most priceless of the art for a planned museum dedicated to the Nazi leader. Thirty-nine of the albums were discovered by U.S. forces at the Nazis’ Neuschwanstein Castle and turned over to the MFAA. They’re on display until Feb. 19 in the Archives’ East Rotunda Gallery. Also on Feb. 19, Richard Edsel, author of “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History,” the primary source for Clooney’s movie, will be part of a panel discussion at the Archives’ William McGowan Theater at 7 p.m., that will cover his books, the real-life MFAA, the film and his foundation, the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. A book signing will follow the discussion.

Roll Call Book Club Continues

Roll Call’s book club is back on Feb. 13, and in a new venue. Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin discusses his new book (co-written with New York Magazine’s John Heilemann) about the 2012 presidential election, “Double Down.”

A sequel to the duo’s “Game Change,” one of the definitive chronicles of the 2008 presidential race, “Double Down” weaves a complicated tapestry that reveals the humor and humanity of its principals, the people laying it on the line for a shot at the most important elected office in the world.

The event starts at 6 p.m. at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. It’s free, but please register at Complimentary copies of the book will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

January 21, 2014

Archives Presents Film About Real Life ‘Monuments Men’

The National Archives, if it’s not under 10 feet of unmelted snow on Thursday, is showing a documentary about some of the real-life “Monuments Men” who helped safeguard Europe’s great art from the Nazis during World War II.

The Archives will screen “The Rape of Europa” at noon at the William G. McGowan Theater, a 2006 documentary about the Allies’ attempts to protect the continent’s cultural heritage.

Sound familiar? That’s the premise of the highly anticipated film by George Clooney, “The Monuments Men,” which is set to be released Feb. 7.

Both flicks look like they’re worth a gander.

November 13, 2013

‘Anchorman: The Exhibit’ Sweeps the Newseum Into Planet 1970s

The Newseum became a little bit more of a big deal on Wednesday as “Anchorman: The Exhibit” was unveiled.

TV crews roll tape during the media walk-through of the "Anchorman: The Exhibit" at the Newseum on Tuesday.

TV crews roll tape during the media walk-through of the “Anchorman: The Exhibit” at the Newseum on Tuesday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

The exhibit — created in partnership with Paramount Pictures, which is releasing “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” on Dec. 20 — brings together some of the more iconic artifacts from the 2004 Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman,” including the Channel 4 news desk, Sex Panther Cologne and Ron Burgundy’s burgundy suit.

“Maybe our ruby slippers are Ron Burgundy’s signature suit,” Carrie Christoffersen, the Newseum’s director of collections, said at Wednesday’s press walk-through. Full story

November 8, 2013

Weekend Calendar: Winston Groom, Bridesmaids and The Gettysburg Address

It’s a long weekend, but there’s plenty to do around Capitol Hill, starting tonight with the Roll Call Book Club and continuing through the weekend, when visitors to the Library of Congress can see a copy of the Gettysburg Address.

Winston Groom’s ‘Aviators’

“Forrest Gump” author Winston Groom’s latest book, “The Aviators,” came out Nov. 5, and the author himself is dropping by the Roll Call Book Club on Friday to discuss it and sign his books at CQ Roll Call, 77 K St. NE at 6 p.m. For this nonfiction book, he tells the story of the early years of aviation, focusing on how Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindbergh helped shape things. The event is sold out, but keep checking Eventbrite’s listing, as some folks have had to beg off, leaving a couple spots here and there for the taking.

Mothers, Lock Up Your Sons

The Union Market Drive-In wraps up its fall Encore Series season Friday night with a screening of “Bridesmaids,” which was chosen by patrons via social media. And what does that say that the popular choice is rated R? That we love comedies about Gen X slackers who are afraid of commitment and drink too much! As Union Market says on its website, the film is “not recommended for children.” Hey, they might as well know what life has in store, no? Free. Gates open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Four Score and …

The Nicolay copy of the Gettysburg Address, which many historians presume to be the first draft, will be displayed at the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building’s Great Hall, starting Friday through Nov. 19, the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s delivery of the address in Gettysburg, Pa. On Nov. 20, the Nicolay copy will head to the LOC’s Civil War in America exhibit on the second floor of the Jefferson Building. First Street and Independence Avenue SE. Free.

Jury Notice for an Art Show

The first annual EMULSION: East City Art regional juried show opens on Nov. 9 at Gallery O on H, at 1354 H St. NE. The opening reception is at the gallery from 7 to 10 p.m. the same day. The exhibition runs through Jan. 18. With so many neighborhoods opening up for artists in the eastern part of the District, this could be a landmark event.

November 1, 2013

Weekend Calendar: Fall Activities Abound on Hill

Happy Day of the Dead! There’s no way around it now: We’re firmly in the grip of fall, hurtling toward winter. Before we get to the really cold stuff, there’s time to do some autumn-appropriate stuff right here on Capitol Hill.

An Almighty Drive-In Experience

Union Market continues its fall season drive-in series on Friday with an All Saints Day showing of “Evan Almighty” at the Union Market Drive-In encore series. God, played by Morgan Freeman (no one else is allowed to play the big guy), asks Rep. Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark in anticipation of a flood. The congressman obliges. In 2007, when the movie came out, this seemed far-fetched. In 2013, after observing the last few collections of freshman who have been elected, it seems feasible.

Gates open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Free, at 1309 Fifth St. NE.

Pottery on the Hill

Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is hosting Pottery on the Hill this weekend, starting with a reception on Friday and extending into the weekend. The exhibit will showcase 16 artists, and folks will have the opportunity to both view and buy. Among the potters is former Washington Redskin fan favorite and renaissance man Chris Cooley, who seems to be holding up just fine in his post-NFL life.

Tickets to Friday’s reception are $25 and available here. That shindig starts at 6:30 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Cooley will also be giving talks at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday about his life as a sportsman and artist.

Street Level View

If you’d like your art in a different medium, check out the new exhibit Above the Radar III at The Fridge on Barracks Row. The exhibit shows off 25 artists from Los Angeles, New York and abroad, starting on Saturday. Curator Luna George brings many facets of the urban art experience, from street art to surrealism and more, for a month-long show. Among the artists showing are Cat Cult, Peeta, Robots Will Kill and XIST. Saturday’s opening reception is from 7 to 11 p.m. and is free; Sunday’s neighborhood reception is from noon to 4 p.m. and is also free, all at 516 1/2 Eighth St. SE.

New Gin

New Columbia Distillers, the team behind the District’s Green Hat Gin, releases its new gin for the season, “Ginavit,” at the Ivy City distillery at 1832 Fenwick St. NE on Saturday. The portmanteau of two excellent spirits, gin and aquavit, suggests an interesting flavor. “This is a hardy and savory cool weather gin,” John Uselton, the co-owner and distiller said in a release, promising a mix of “Scandinavian aquavit botanicals” and gin botanicals. They’re only making 100 cases, so drink it while you can. Suggested retail is $40, and your first chance to get it is on Saturday. Whatever’s left over heads to restaurants and retailers the next week.

October 21, 2013

Calendar: Back to Normal Around Capitol Hill?

Now that the shutdown is behind us, the full parking lots around the Capitol complex show clearly that Hill staffers have come back to work in full force this week. Because the next shutdown and debt crisis won’t start developing for a couple more months hence, there’s plenty of time to settle back in to regular life on Capitol Hill.

Karaoke in the Capital

The American Association of Political Consultants’ Mid-Atlantic chapter is putting on its third annual Karaoke in the Capital at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday. Hacks, flacks, lobbyists, pros, Democrats and Republicans are all welcome to belt out a few tunes at 1353 H St. NE. Proceeds go to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a charity that donates instruments to schools and helps bring musical education to kids who wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to it. It’s $15 in advance or at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the alleged entertainment begins at 8 p.m.

Documentary Central

Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital will be a hothouse for documentary films this week. “The Graduates/Los Graduados,” the story of several Latino students in the United States, screens Tuesday at 7 p.m. On Wednesday, “Herman’s House” screens at 7 p.m. The movie is about Herman Wallace, a prisoner who spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana and worked with artist Jackie Sumell on a “dream house,” as well as the human rights issue his case has brought to the fore. And on Friday, the Smithsonian Channel’s “Incredible Flying Cars” series will touch down for a showing of “Vertical Take-Off.” All screenings are free, but registration ahead of time on Hill Center’s website is appreciated.

Middleburg Film Festival

The maiden voyage of the Middleburg Film Festival gets under way Thursday, and the intimate venues and vibe in horse country provide a full slate of great looking movies for the capital’s cinematic set. Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” kicks things off on Thursday, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday are packed with fare such as Alex Gibney’s documentary “The Armstrong Lie” about Lance Armstrong’s doping, “Capital,” the latest political thriller from legendary director Costa-Gavras, and “August: Osage County” by John Wells.

October 1, 2013

Attention Tourists: Nonessentials Will Help You See the Sights

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Tourists: They probably didn’t anticipate locked doors and barriers when they planned their trips to Washington, D.C., this week. Furloughed, nonessential feds: They’ve got some time on their hands. Perhaps they can combine forces for the greater good?

That’s the sentiment, at least, for scores of furloughed federal workers who are making themselves available on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (10th St. and Constitution Ave. NW) for a “Shutdown Guide for DC Tourists.”

The Washington D.C. Metro Council of the AFL-CIO is helping coordinate furloughed union members to distribute copies of the union’s “Federal Worker’s Guide to Shutdown DC” a handy-dandy pamphlet about seeing sights that aren’t closed down.

Afterward, perhaps the visitors can buy a nonessential fed a cold one at any one of the many friendly establishments in town that are providing comfort stations for the furloughed among us. We’re all in it together.

September 27, 2013

Weekend Calendar: Getting Crafty at Union Market, Seeing Sights While You Can

Even as Capitol Hill digs in for a long, long weekend of bickering, Washington City Paper is prepping its 10th annual Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair at Union Market. The weather is supposed to be perfect this weekend, which adds up to two days of awesomeness celebrating D.C.’s local underground art scene, as well as the food, drink, music, dance and everything else that makes the District what it is.



Crafty Bastards has always been a big draw, even in its nascent phases, when it was staged in an empty lot near the Columbia Heights Metro stop. More than 150 vendors, including some of D.C.’s most popular food trucks, breweries and artists will be plying their wares at Union Market’s spacious grounds, and when it’s time to drop out a bit, you can head to the New Belgium beer garden, a newbie to the festival.

“The beer garden is new, mostly though, we’ve really tried to up the production level. This is my first year, but all the feedback I’ve read through the years has been that it was overcrowded, tough to navigate, and not an event you could really spend some time in if you weren’t shopping.  We’ve added nearly 25,000 [square feet] of usable space. With that, we added an extra vendor tent, a dozen food trucks, picnic tables, wider shopping aisles … etc.,” said Stephen Ball, Washington City Paper’s marketing and promotions manager. Nicely done. Space to think, and drink! Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1309 Fifth St. NE. $5 each day. To get tickets in advance, go here.

Meanwhile, the Global Language Network and New York University’s Washington outfit are hosting a “culture and diversity festival” they’re calling G Fest at NYU’s Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center (1307 L St. NW) on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The event will feature booths, dance performances and all kinds of cultural happenstance from several participating countries’ attaches, including Brazil, Japan and Poland. To register, go here.

And, don’t forget to get that long-delayed tour of the National Archives or the Hirshhorn in this weekend. Who knows? They could be closed for a while the ways things are looking in Congress.


August 9, 2013

Aliens Want Your Tchotchkes for Pop-Up Gallery

Ellen Harvey: The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C., the tour of America’s capital city through alien eyes, has inspired the Corcoran Gallery of Art to host a one-day Community Pop-Up Gallery on Aug. 24.

Corcoran is inviting participants to bring unusual antiques, peculiar family heirlooms and curious collected objects from the past for a temporary display in its North Atrium. Participants and visitors are encouraged to discuss and examine the objects, make up a story about what they were used for, or just reflect on what the objects might tell us about society at the time.

Anyone interested in participating must submit an application, which includes a brief description of the object or objects to be displayed, and up to five high-resolution images.

Space is limited, and participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. The application deadline is Aug. 14, and notification of acceptance into the Community Pop-Up Gallery will be sent by Aug. 16.

The event will run from 11 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. on Aug. 24 at 500 17th St. NW; get your free tickets here.

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