Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 20, 2014

Posts in "Down Time"

October 20, 2014

What To Do in D.C.’s In-Between Times

Well, we all know what we’ll be doing in two weeks: sweating out election returns. And next week is Halloween. But what about this week — particularly if you’re not on the trail or otherwise — should you find yourself in Washington, D.C.?

Phillips Goes to The Wall

The Phillips Collection is getting a little help with its exterior decorating this week, inviting four Senegalese artists — Muhsana Ali, Fode Camara, Viye Diba and Piniang (Ibrahima Niang) — to paint a mural on the wall of the museum’s Hunter Courtyard that will be unveiled to the public Thursday at noon. “The Leading Edge Ideas: Inside the 21st Century Museum” is part of the Phillips’ partnership with the State Department’s Office of Art in Embassies and is designed to set the stage for this weekend’s International Forum Weekend. (Don’t act like you didn’t know it was International Forum Weekend.)

Lincoln Gets Pressed

Thinking about an Honest Abe costume for All Hallows’ Eve? Bone up, then, on a relatively unexplored chapter of the 16th president’s biography — his relationship with the press — Thursday at the National Archives. Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer will discuss his latest book, “Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion,” with Frank Bond at the Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater at 7 p.m. Admission is free. In his review of the book for Roll Call, John Bicknell wrote, “With his usual sparkling prose and exhaustive research, one of America’s foremost scholars on the 16th president has given us a robust portrait of the nexus between American politics and the press. As much as it is a telling slice of Lincolniana — the kind of detail-rich tapestry we have come to expect from Holzer — it is also a lively history of mid-19th century journalism.”

Cemetery Pre-Party

The lively folks over at Congressional Cemetery get into the swing of Halloween things on Saturday with their annual Ghosts and Goblets party on the cemetery grounds. The event follows in the footsteps of the cemetery’s Dead Man’s Race 5K earlier this month and August’s Day of the Dog, which combined animal adoption with food trucks and local breweries at the historic resting place that also doubles as D.C.’s premier dog-walking park. The party starts in earnest at 8 p.m., though VIP access gets one in the gates at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $70, which includes drinks. To purchase tickets or learn more, go here.

Related Stories:

Lincoln and the Power of the Press’ Elucidates Symbiotic Relationship Between Politicians and Journalists

The Ghosts Who Stare at Goats or All-You-Can-Eat-At-Congressional Cemetery

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

September 5, 2014

A Welcome Back Calendar

Short Cuts

The DC Shorts Film Festival starts on Sept. 11, showcasing an international slate of 150 short-length films in 90-minute blocks through Sept. 21. Close-in venues like the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H St. NE and Landmark’s E Street Theater at 555 11th St. NW will host shows, but so will further flung ones like the Angelika Film Center and Cafe Mosaic in Fairfax, Va., and the Anacostia Arts Center across the river from Capitol Hill. For a full run-down of films, go to dcshorts.com.

The (Ken) Russell Building

The Library of Congress is in the middle of screening a series of the late Ken Russell’s films, and it’s a great bunch focused on music, laced with Russell’s trademark kinkiness and bathed in the peculiarity of the 1970s. On Sept. 12, the library screens 1970′s “The Music Lovers,” the story of Tchaikovsky’s marriage. A chamber piece this is not, as it focuses on the composer’s attempt to distance himself from his homosexuality, only to have it backfire when he marries a nymphomaniac. It’s a rarely screened part of Russell’s body of work, showing at 7 p.m. at the Pickford Theater on the third floor of the library’s James Madison Building on Independence Avenue. On Sept. 19, the Pickford shows Russell’s 1975 “Tommy,” the filmmaker’s adaptation of The Who’s rock opera starring Roger Daltrey, Jack Nicholson, Ann Margaret, Elton John and just about anyone tripped out from the ’70s music scene.

An Innovative Discussion

Not to jump too far ahead, but Roll Call Book Club returns on Sept. 16 at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, where we’ll sit down with Aneesh Chopra to discuss his book “Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government.” Chopra, the first-ever chief technology officer of the United States, takes a tack most fear to these days: Extolling the good government can do in paving the way for new discoveries that can benefit everyone. From the Pony Express to the Internet, there’s a record. This free event starts at 6 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE and includes a free book, beverages and snacks. To register, go to our spot on Eventbrite.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

August 29, 2014

Congressional Cemetery’s Day of the Dog: It Could Get Ruff

dogs016 022312 445x292 Congressional Cemeterys Day of the Dog: It Could Get Ruff

Congressional Cemetery. It’s gone to the dogs. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional Cemetery will help usher out the dogs days of summer with its Day of the Dog, welcoming local breweries, food trucks, dogs and the people who serve them on Saturday.

The free event, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is just the latest good-vibe party to swoop in on the final resting place for so many Capitol Hill denizens. Last week, the cemetery’s latest 5K, Flee the British, brought the historically minded running crowd over for a race on the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington by the British army. The British muskets that doubled as the starting gun were a nice touch, as was “Dolly Madison” fleeing the redcoats in a golf cart. There were even redcoat hecklers. “Run, you cowardly Washingtonians!” one said from a hillock full of family mausoleums.

 Congressional Cemeterys Day of the Dog: It Could Get Ruff

“Dolly Madison” attempts to get away from a marauding British soldier and save Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Washington Post writer Joel Achenbach recently recounted how weird a conflict the War of 1812, including that “we are a little vague on the question of who won,” and “we have a decent idea of when it happened, because of the name, but given the critical events of August 1814, the conflict possibly should be called ‘the War of Approximately 1812.’”

In other words, the Flee the British race and Day of the Dog fits in perfectly for a quirky cemetery that last year employed a herd of live goats to dispose of the poison ivy and invasive weeds that threatened the grounds.

Eco Goat 18 080713 445x279 Congressional Cemeterys Day of the Dog: It Could Get Ruff

Release the goats! (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Every so often someone gripes about how appropriate it is to host such things at a cemetery. Pish posh. They’re probably the same sticks in the mud who groused about the Brits’ recent Twitter ribbing about the 200th anniversary of the burning, “a rather unfortunate event in UK/US relations” as the British Embassy’s press people dubbed it. Unfortunate, too, when so many people don’t get the joke.

But back to Congressional Cemetery. Amid the beer (Atlas Brew Works and Port City Brewing will be on hand), dog costume contest, raffle drawing for gate prizes and overall bonhomie, it’s a decent way to spend a Saturday.

When they stick me in the ground, I hope it’s in as lively a place as this.

 Related:

The Ghosts Who Stare at Goats or All-You-Can-Eat at Congressional Cemetery

Dog Days at Congressional Cemetery

Cemetery’s Sales Pitch: We Want Your Body

July 18, 2014

Roll Call Book Club: We’re Here to Make Sure You’re Not ‘Overwhelmed’

Theoretically, we still have the same 24 hours in a day our grandparents and their grandparents had. But it sure doesn’t feel like it. We’re “busy, busy, busy,” as the late, great Kurt Vonnegut Jr., wrote.

A city such as Washington is filled with strivers and striving, filling every conceivable moment with constructive, career-related activity. But that sense of compressed time is not just the purview of places like Washington. People have their hair on fire in Fargo, N.D., too, as Brigid Schulte tells it in her new book “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.” The problem, she writes, is spreading as we divvy up our days into a thousand pieces.

So what’s a person to do if they’d like to live a fulfilling life but still feel like they have enough time to shower in the morning and read the occasional book? Schulte will discuss just that, and her book and the research and, ahem, time that went into it on Wednesday at the latest Roll Call Book Club.

Some of the more eye-opening nuggets from Schulte’s book include studies that show that being pressed for time can actually make us dumber, by shrinking the prefrontal cortex of our brain; that Pat Buchanan, after helping sink a universal child care bill while in the Nixon White House, never had kids, and that “rough-and-tumble play” can actually make us smarter. She also delves into why — far from there being something rotten in the state of Denmark — the Danes are the happiest people on the planet.

One big note of appreciation for the book is its embrace of the finite nature of our lives. This isn’t always the cheeriest of topics, and you could probably hear book agents and publicists thinking to themselves, “can’t she lay off the we’re-all-going-to-die stuff?” — but it’s a necessary, bracing reminder of what’s a stake in our busy-busy-business.

“Whey we die, the e-mail in-box will still be full. The to-do list will still be there. But you won’t,” Schulte quotes Terry Monaghan, a time management and organizational expert, as telling a group of people looking to find a way out of what Schulte dubs “The Overwhelm.”

Things get under way at 6 p.m. and will run until about 7:30 at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Complimentary copies of the book will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and Schulte will be on hand to sign them. Heck, we’ll even feed you and provide something to drink. To register, go to roll.cl/schultebookclub.

July 7, 2014

Washington’s Biggest Repertory Cinema: The Great Outdoors

screenongreen 1 072406 2 445x297 Washingtons Biggest Repertory Cinema: The Great Outdoors

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The outdoor summer movie circuit is in full swing, with plenty of al fresco viewing to go around in Washington, including the grande dame herself, the upcoming Screen on the Green on the National Mall.

Screen on the Green, which is entering its 16th year, starts back up between Seventh and 12th streets on July 21 with “The Karate Kid,” that touchstone of 1980s and Generation X culture. It continues on following Mondays with “Lover Come Back,” “Key Largo” and “A Soldier’s Story.”

Debuting that same week is the Washington City Paper’s Summer Cinema series in the Heurich House Museum’s garden, a bit cozier venue than the National Mall located just south of Dupont Circle at 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. The first in the series, “Wayne’s World,” plays on July 24, with the next three Thursdays hosting “Clueless,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Beetlejuice.”

The city’s Film Office last month launched its Gateway DC Summer Film Series on the grounds of St. Elizabeth’s East Campus, the District’s only outdoor film series east of the Anacostia River at 2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. SE. On Wednesday, it will show “Talk to Me,” a feature film about legendary D.C. journalist Petey Greene. The series continues through Aug. 13 with “Life of a King,” “My Family/Mi Familia,” “Wall-E,” “Rize” and “Are We There Yet?”

Closer to the Capitol, the NoMa Summer Screen at Second and L streets Northeast, continues Wednesday with the “The Muppets,” the rebooted one with Jason Segel and Amy Adams, not the original with Richard Pryor and Charles Durning. The food trucks serving the NoMa crowd are scheduled to be Popped Republic, Kafa Mania, DC Slices, Crepe Love and Orange Cow. NoMa’s series continues on Wednesdays through Aug. 20 with “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Dark Knight,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Top Gun” and “The Sandlot,” with a rain date slated for the last slot and the film to be determined.

Also not too far from the Capitol is the Capitol Riverfront’s Canal Park series at 200 M St. SE. On Thursday, after a one-week hiatus, the movies fire back up near Nationals Park with “Balls of Fury,” the ping pong comedy. The “It’s a Whole New Game” theme will be in full effect, with Thursdays through Sept. 4 showing one sports movie after another. On July 17, Canal Park will show “Space Jam” and the following weeks will feature “Invincible,” “Bend it Like Beckham,” “Rudy,” “A League of Their Own,” “The Blind Side,” (a break on Aug. 28 in anticipation of Labor Day) and end with “Moneyball.”

So find a comfortable blanket for these free, dusk-time events. That’s a whole lot of movies.

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:30 p.m.
Down Time, Movies

July 3, 2014

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:34 p.m.
Down Time

June 30, 2014

Washington’s Independence Day Patriotic Palooza

fireworks 008 070413 289x335 Washingtons Independence Day Patriotic Palooza

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Independence Day in Washington is like Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., a patriotic palooza. As if the stakes couldn’t be higher on the grandest stage at the capital of the free world, we could, possibly, be treated to yacht rock legend Michael McDonald singing “Sweet Freedom” with the Muppets as a follow-up act.

Of all the major holidays, D.C. really shines (or smokes, or swelters) on Independence Day, with the capital city coming alive with fireworks, concerts, Major League Baseball and even a fairground with midway rides.

Sure, the National Mall is the big gathering spot in D.C. for watching the fireworks come Friday evening, with the temporary concert venue on the West Front of the Capitol all set to blast tunes from everyone from McDonald to the Muppets to Frankie Valli for the Capitol Fourth celebration. What a fool believes! But the Mall and the Capitol grounds are not the only places to watch the pyrotechnics, not by a long shot.

Any higher ground vantage point, whether it’s Meridian Hill Park or the Iwo Jima Marine Corps Monument in Rosslyn, Va., or the roof of a pal’s apartment building will offer all the views with fewer sweaty souls jostling for precious few spots.

The fireworks and Capitol Fourth are a small component of the festivities, though.

The Washington Nationals, fresh from a Midwestern road swing in Milwaukee and Chicago, are back for a homestead against the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. On Friday, the Nats will play the Cubs in an 11:05 a.m. game that will feature lots and lots of flags and many beer cans emblazoned with Old Glory. Fireworks are usually to be had. Such an early game lets everyone get out in plenty of time to find their ways to the Mall, Capitol or that pal’s apartment building.

And let’s not forget about the D.C. Capital Fair at beloved RFK Stadium, which started June 27 and extends through Sunday. We might not be a state or have a vote in Congress, but we’ve got a fair, complete with a ferris wheel, a petting zoo and wolf show (no word on whether Nats outfielder Jayson Werth will be attending) and illusionists, hypnotists and plenty of greasy food. This week through Thursday, the fair runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Starting Friday and going through Sunday, it runs from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Yacht rock, baseball, things blowing up in the night sky, fried food and carnies. What’s more American than that?

May 27, 2014

Time to Start Hanging Out Outside

The mercury is climbing in Washington, which means it’s time to start scoping out your outdoor lounging sites, including open-air movies right next to Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, NoMa Summer Screen returns to the Near Northeast neighborhood with a screening of “Back to the Future” to kick off its 2014 Unlikely Friendships theme.

Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 time-travel comedy starring Michael J. Fox as a teenager whipped back to the 1950s in a DeLorean is one of the seminal movies of the 1980s (Huey Lewis and the News! Christopher Lloyd! 1950s nostalgia!) and is always worth another viewing, particularly when shown outside with the benefit of your pals and mobile eating courtesy of this go-round’s food trucks: Popped!Republic, The Big Cheese, TaKorean, Red Hook Lobster and Dangerously Delicious Pies. As always, the movies are free, the food is not.

Full story

May 7, 2014

Rock & Roll Hotel Turning Japanese With Movie Offerings

Drinking/music venue Rock & Roll Hotel is offering a slate of Sunday night movies on their rooftop deck, and, perhaps inspired by The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese,” they’re going with a Japan-animation-themed slate.

Last week, they went with “Akira,” and this week are going with “Ninja Scroll.” For the May 18 show, it’ll be Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke,” and on the 25th it’ll be “Ghost in the Shell.”

Food and drink specials available throughout shows that start at 7 p.m. and repeat at 9 p.m. on an eight-foot projection screen. You’re also welcome to bring your own comfy seating to 1353 H St. NE.

 

April 28, 2014

Tourism Most Fowl: DC Ducks

rd1 445x333 Tourism Most Fowl: DC Ducks

The journey begins at Union Station. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

I have never met a self-respecting Washingtonian who has taken a DC Ducks tour.

This was no deal breaker.

The people who make their lives in Washington exist in sometimes uneasy concert with the tourists who journey here year-round to see the nation’s capital and its attendant attractions: museums, monuments, government edifices.

In places such as the Capitol or the National Mall, these two tribes occupy the same space. But on ventures like the DC Ducks tour, never the twain shall meet.

But what if they did?

Full story

April 23, 2014

DC Ducks Meets Roll Call After Dark

“There’s a lot of things you can do wrong,” said Capt. Bob, the DC Ducks skipper responsible for 19 souls in the “Rubber Duck” as it glided along the waterways of the Potomac, with Roll Call After Dark at the wheel.

ducks2 445x333 DC Ducks Meets Roll Call After Dark

The author, taking command. (Humberto Sanchez/CQ Roll Call)

DC Ducks boasts of being “guaranteed and safe,” but it doesn’t take a flight of fancy to imagine bad things happening in a vintage 1942 DUKW amphibious military vessel. But on Tuesday, the Potomac’s high seas were friendly, and the author was able to bravely turn “Rubber Duck” a few degrees here and non before ceding the con back to Capt. Bob.

If “Rubber Duck” could survive D-Day, it could certainly survive Roll Call.

By Jason Dick Posted at noon
Down Time

March 28, 2014

Calendar: Time to Make Outdoor Plans, Finally

Amazing what a couple of days above freezing will do for everyone’s disposition!

Whether it’s planning some fun runs, mussing about among the cherry blossoms or gearing up for the return of the Washington Nationals, it’s nice to be able to go outside without cold weather gear, finally.

Run, Run, Run

One of the biggest outdoor activities of the season brings together not just the Cherry Blossom Festival crowds but members of Congress and the physically fit. April 6 is the annual Congressional Federal Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, a massive foot race that raises money for charity that contains the Capitol Hill Competition race-within-the-race. Race organizers on April 3 will present the a check to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in Room HVC-200 at the Capitol Visitor Center. Expect current and former members of Congress to attend. Congressional Federal CEO Charles A. Mallon Jr., is touting the 41 senators and 189 House members who are serving as honorary co-chairs of the race, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. The event starts at 10 a.m. Capitol Hill Competition runners can pick up their race packets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the same room. Full story

March 3, 2014

Snow Can’t Keep Down D.C. Movie Houses

Winter’s latest broadside to Washington has notched another snow day for the government and local schools, but hasn’t managed to totally shut down the movies, which is good news for moviegoers looking to catch up on Oscar contenders and winners that might have eluded them so far.

The 2014 D.C. Jewish Film Festival is in full swing, although it’s had to cancel a couple of screenings, but not all, for Monday. Among the casualties were Monday’s lunchtime talk with Dan Shadur at the Library of Congress about “Before the Revolution,” as well as the screenings of “The Sturgeon Queens” at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Md., at 7:30 p.m. and “Altina” at the Goethe Institut at 7 p.m. All the other screenings — “Master of a Good Name” at 6:30 p.m. the D.C. JCC and “Nothing Old About This Testament” at 8:30 p.m. at the D.C. JCC, and “Arabani” at the AFI Silver in Silver Spring, Md., are a go. For a complete list of screenings for the festival, go here.

The AFI Silver also has a pretty good complement of the Oscar winners and contenders on Monday, with showtimes for “12 Years a Slave,” “Her,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Nebraska,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Philomena.” They’ve also got some repertory fare, such as “The Crimson Pirate” and “Sorry, Wrong Number.”

Ditto for the E Street Cinema and the Avalon Theater in Chevy Chase (although they’ve canceled shows after 6 p.m. on Monday) and the West End Cinema. The Avalon and West End are showing a bunch of the Oscar shorts.

So if you thought “Philomena” looked kind of interesting or realize that it’s about time you saw “12 Years a Slave,” or you’re in the mood for a claymation film about a mystical rabbi from 17th Century Eastern Europe,  the snow day’s a perfect time for that, eh?

By Jason Dick Posted at 2:01 p.m.
Down Time, Movies

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 6, 2014

Max Baucus Is Running … the Beijing Marathon (Maybe) (Video)

Just moments after being confirmed on Thursday to be the United States’ top envoy to China, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he was considering running the Beijing marathon in October. “I’ve actually got my eye on the Beijing Marathon,” he said on the floor, noting his longtime affection for running.

baucus 445x296 Max Baucus Is Running ... the Beijing Marathon (Maybe) (Video)

Baucus, left, is thinking about running the Beijing Marathon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Baucus likes to hoof it. He made headlines in the 1990s when he walked the length of the Treasure State, more than 800 miles. In 2003, he ran a 50-mile ultra-marathon. It was during that 2003 race that he fell and banged his head. The bruising on his face when he returned to work was ghastly. He eventually had to have surgery to fix some bleeding in his skull, which stemmed from the injury.

Nearly 11 years later, Baucus doesn’t sound like he’ll seek out anything more than the standard 26.2 miles. He even joked on the floor that he might need to settle for the half-marathon in Beijing.

That might not be such a bad idea. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who came to the floor after Baucus was done signing off, reminded him of the horrific pollution levels in Beijing, which come from monitors “on top of the U.S. embassy.”

Word of advice for the new ambassador: If you run, you might want to don a mask, as many marathoners there do. And watch where you step. Because of the lack of public facilities, many runners urinated on the walls of the Forbidden City last year.

No shame in the half-marathon, 9K, or mini-marathon (4.2K), senator!

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...