Charles Wheelan, the scribe behind “Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread From the Data” and “Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science” swings by for Monday’s Roll Call Book Club to talk about his latest offering: “The Centrist Manifesto.” Wheelan, a Dartmouth professor of public policy, is a bit fed up with the gridlocked shenanigans of the Republican and Democratic parties and calls for a centrist third party that can focus on the big issues, instead of just run for re-election and trade partisan snipes. If you think this isn’t exactly a novel idea, hear Wheelan out. He is, after all, the guy who successfully marries nudity and statistics. “The terminology may sound intimidating, but Wheelan handles it well and is a patient teacher. If you’re the kind of reader whose flagging interest can be revived by cracks about the Kardashians or the author’s faux self-deprecation, you’ll enjoy Wheelan’s style,” our own Randolph Walerius wrote of “Naked Statistics” last year.
“People ask me if I put ‘naked’ in the title just to sell books. The answer is, ‘yes!’” Wheelan cracked. He’ll discuss his book at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE starting at 6 p.m. We’ll serve snacks and adult beverages, and give out free copies of “The Centrist Manifesto” on a first-come, first-served basis. To register for this free event, click here.
Most Best of D.C.
The Washington City Paper’s Best of D.C. shindig is Wednesday at the historic Carnegie Library at 801 K St. NW, a block-party-worthy soiree of the city’s favorite beer, wine, burgers, oysters, bar, chocolate, gelato — you get the picture. Tickets are $80 for general admission. The $125 Very Important Person tickets are already sold out. Lots of local artists, performers and that admission fee gets you the open bar experience. For more information go to Washington City Paper’s website.
Undocumented Screening, Redux
Former Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas returns to the District for another screening of his compelling documentary “Undocumented,” which chronicles his uniquely American journey as an undocumented immigrant and his push for an immigration overhaul. On Thursday, he’ll host a screening of “Undocumented,” which has been updated since its initial release last year to reflect current events, at the Newseum at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The movie starts at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a panel discussion with Vargas, executive producer Janet Yang and FWD.us founder Joe Green. To RSVP, go to Eventfarm.
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
PHOENIX — Monday’s snow is a reminder of why Major League Baseball long ago decamped for Arizona and Florida for its spring training schedule. With snow on the ground in Washington, Opening Day seems a long way away on the East Coast.
Here in the Valley of the Sun, teams are starting to make preparations to return to their home cities — or Australia for the season opener in the case of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers — but there are still plenty of exhibition/tune-up games to go, including at Roll Call After Dark’s favorite locale, Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where the Oakland A’s have long made their springtime home.
But if you’re not fortunate enough to be soaking in the rays in Arizona or Florida, there’s still plenty to do in Washington, even as it throws off the last vestiges of winter storming. Full story
Need to catch the retelling of one of Shakespeare’s seminal histories? How about the cinema of peace and war in the Middle East? Or how about a trip down South, by Southwest?
Richard III, Extended
If you’re looking to build on your “House of Cards” knowledge, you’re in luck, because the Folger Shakespeare Library has extended its current run of “Richard III” through March 16.
The evil that Kevin Spacey’s Vice President Francis Underwood does is right out of the playbook of the Bard’s tale of the wicked, deformed Richard III and his blood-bathed rise to power. Tickets range from $30 to $72. 201 East Capitol St. For more info, go to folger.edu. Full story
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!
Presidents Day: It’s more than just a long weekend dedicated to selling mattresses. To scope out part of the legacy of one of the two POTI who make up this most American of holidays, the National Archives is showing Jake Boritt’s “The Gettysburg Story” on Wednesday at its William G. McGowan Theater to commemorate President Abraham Lincoln’s Feb. 12 birthday.
Boritt’s film, screened last year on PBS, is a 60-minute chronicle of aerial, time-lapse and 3-D animation photography that tells the story of what happened on one of the bloodiest days of Lincoln’s presidency and helped turn the tide in the Civil War. Narrated by actor Stephen Lang (who starred in the films “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals”), the movie will be followed by a discussion with Boritt, Lang and Gabor Boritt, a Civil War scholar.
The screening starts at 7 p.m and is free to attend.
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.
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 cqrcbooks-halperin.eventbrite.com. Complimentary copies of the book will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual Congressional Dinner, now in its 70th year, unofficially kicks off the capital’s season of formal and semi-formal schmooze-fests on Feb. 5 at the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental. As any student of D.C. parties knows: This is the fun one.
The foundation, a nonprofit borne of the old Women’s National Press Club, raises awareness of the need for diversity in newsrooms and sponsors internships and educational projects for aspiring journalists. It also recognizes the accomplishments of sometimes underrepresented segments of the media, such as regional reporters in Washington through the David Lynch Memorial Reporting Award.
Plus, it’s a blast. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., will bravely take the mic to hoist a few zingers around the crowd of assembled pols, scribes and power brokers. They even got an early start by cutting a video debating who’s funnier.
Reception is 6:30 p.m., dinner and the program start at 8 p.m.
Wisdom Gin Club
Erik Holzherr, owner of Wisdom Cocktail Parlour, Church and State and Atlas Arcade is a man of many liquors, but there’s a spirit that is closest to his heart and he’s starting up the Wisdom Gin Club to show his love for the clear stuff.
On Feb. 6, he’ll let the world in on why he believes it is first among equals.
Twenty bucks will get you in for a guided tour of nine gins, including Leopold’s Gin, Half Moon Orchard Gin and local boys Green Hat Gin. Holzherr, Dan Searing and other specialists and ambassadors will be your guides. The club’s kickoff gets started at 7:30 p.m. at Wisdom, 1432 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. RSVP at Wisdom’s blog.
Jesse Ferguson Happy Hour
Friends, frenemies and colleagues welcome Jesse Ferguson, deputy executive director and communications director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, back to D.C. on Feb. 7 at the Hawk ‘n’ Dove for an extended happy hour.
“Let’s celebrate Jesse for showing cancer who’s boss the best way we know how: with a happy hour,” USA Today scribe (and Roll Call alumna) Susan Davis, head of the “Jesse Ferguson Return Happy Hour Organizing Committee” implored greater Capitol Hill recently via email.
Ferguson has been shuttling back and forth from his family’s home in Richmond, Va., and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center since discovering cancer in his cheek and neck. He announced earlier this month on his personal blog that his doctors feel they have nipped the frightful situation in the bud.
The libations in the upstairs bar at 329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. get under way around 5 p.m.
And how does one withstand the latest polar vortex assault? Hunker down, hang out, listen to music, watch movies, eat beet fries and hoist a few drinks.
Real Life Monuments Men
The National Archives 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. Free. The Archives is at Constitution Avenue, between Seventh and Ninth streets Northwest.
Toki Gets Taken Over
Austin-based food-trailer-turned-mini-dynasty East Side King roars into town Friday to take over Toki Underground at 1234 H St. NE. Visiting ESK chefs Paul Qui, Moto Utsunomiya, and Jorge Luis Hernandez will sling away for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. until closing time. No reservations, and space is, as any visitor to Toki knows, small. It’s a first-come, first-served shot at noshing at some of ESK’s Thai Chicken Karaage, Beef Tongue Kare Kare Buns, Beet Home Fries, Fried Brussels Sprout Salad, Liberty Rie and Tori Meshi.
Get a ‘Rope’
Hill Center and Friends of the Southeast Library are showcasing some of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-”Psycho” work over the next month, starting on Friday with 1948′s “Rope,” a Jimmy Stewart flick about the consequences of philosophical musings.
Future screenings will bring “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Strangers on a Train” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” to 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Discussions will be lead by Tom Zaniello, facilitator of Capitol Hill Village’s Cinephiles film discussion group and author of a forthcoming book on Hitch. They’re all free, but register ahead of time for a spot at hillcenterdc.org.
District-based U.S. Royalty celebrates the release of its newest album, “Blue Sunshine,” this Saturday with a show at the Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE, followed by an after party at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar just down the street at 1104 H St. NE.
The show is $15 at Rock and Roll Hotel, with doors at 7 p.m. and show starting at 8 p.m. Spires opens. No cover at Little Miss Whiskey’s, where the party is slated to start at 10 p.m.
As official Washington begins to trickle back to work in this new year, the city’s cultural institutions are getting back into the swing of things, too.
American Letters From Abroad
Politics and Prose bookstore is hosting a couple of American literature’s heaviest hitters on back-to-back days: Chang-rae Lee and Gary Shteyngart. Lee, a Korean-American, and Shteyngart, a Russian-American, present vivid and weird representations of the American experience. Both were born abroad (in Seoul and Leningrad, respectively) and are tied closely to their respective immigrant communities. They are also thoroughly American, having come to the United States at young ages and having succeeded in a profession among the most difficult to break into: writing novels. And, as they are both 40-something and firmly in Generation X, there’s a bit of desperation, humor and sadness in their writing. Perfect for the times.
Lee, the author of such books as “Aloft,” will read from his latest novel, “On Such a Full Sea,” on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. Shteyngart, the author of “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook” and the more recent “Super Sad True Love Story,” will read from his forthcoming memoir, “Little Failure,” on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. Both events are free at the Politics and Prose flagship at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Hill Center’s Packed Schedule
Hill Center here on Capitol Hill has a dense set of upcoming events. On Jan. 7, the cultural center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE will partner with ITVS Community Cinema to present a free screening of “Las Marthas,” a documentary about the monthlong (!) annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas. The Society of Martha Washington’s coming-out ceremonies are quite a sight to see, and provide a look at American culture that will be news indeed for many. The film starts at 7 p.m.
The National Symphony Orchestra fills up the calendar later in the week, with its NSO in Your Neighborhood program. On Jan. 9, the NSO will present a chamber performance featuring flautist Aaron Goldman, clarinetist Eugene Mondie and bassoonist Sue Heineman, starting at 7:30 p.m. and going until 9:30 p.m. On Jan. 10, the NSO brings in its “Jazz Night Club,” featuring several musicians including violinists Glenn Donnellan, Terri Lee and Jan Chong, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Both events are free, but those interested are encouraged to register at Hill Center’s website.
Cracker, Camper Check In
If you don’t get your fill of Gen X signifiers from Lee and Shteyngart, you’re in luck: Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven are playing the 9:30 Club on Jan. 11. Cracker, which initially grew out of the disbanding of Camper, headlines. Perhaps to show how all of us Gen Xers roll these days, it’s an early, 6 p.m. show at 815 V St. NW. Twenty-five bucks to get in.
Eat, read, drink and watch movies. Sounds like a pretty good week.
Eat for a Cause
A quartet of deliciousness is teaming up on Monday to feed not just D.C.’s discriminating palates, but the needy as well. Toki Underground, Maketto, Buffalo & Bergen and Rappahannock DC have put together a nice four-course meal at Rappahannock Oyster Bar at Union Market, with proceeds going to benefit Miriam’s Kitchen. Full story
So long, Thanksgiving. Hello, holiday party season! This week the Senate may be away, but the festivities are in play, starting with the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the West Front and the Capitol Hill Chanukah Celebration at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Capitol’s Mansfield Room.
And even if you’re not into indulging your inner Scrooge, there’s still plenty to do around Capitol Hill this week, including taking a look at some of the capital city’s dark secrets through the eyes of its most storied detective, and a concert at the Library of Congress by country royalty Rosanne Cash, daughter of the Man in Black.
Bill Press sits down on Tuesday at Hill Center with Terry Lenzner, arguably the District’s most seasoned private investigator. Lenzner has a memoir out, “The Investigator: Fifty Years of Uncovering the Truth,” which the two will discuss. Lenzner’s seen it all in a long career, including the murders of civil rights workers in the South, Watergate, the Unabomber and any number of high and low crimes. Lenzner will sign copies afterward. At the Hill Center’s Abraham Lincoln Hall at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 7-9 p.m. Free, but register at Hill Center’s website.
LOC to Cash In
Roseanne Cash will be at the Library of Congress for a three-day residency that starts Thursday and goes through Sunday, a project that will reveal to the public her new album, “The River and the Thread,” and include a “round robin” with other singer-songwriters and talk with a fellow Southerner, Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. The eldest child of the late Johnny Cash has a more-than-three-decades-long career and is a country legend in her own right. The fact that she’s kicking off her tour in D.C. at the library speaks to her enduring cultural imprint. On Thursday, Cash will premiere her new album in a concert at the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Coolidge Auditorium at 101 Independence Ave. SE. The tunes start at 8 p.m. The concert is free, sort of: You have to get tickets through Ticketmaster, which will charge a processing fee. The LOC says advance tickets are sold out, but there should be a decent number of “rush” tickets at the door. Friday’s round robin with Cash, John Leventhal, Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell and Amy Helm is at the Coolidge at 8 p.m. Her Saturday conversation with Trethewey at the Jefferson Building’s Whittall Pavilion is free.
Eat, Drink, Vote, Read
The Roll Call Book Club wraps up its 2013 series with Marion Nestle, who’ll drop by CQ Roll Call HQ at 77 K St. NE on Thursday night to discuss her new book, “Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics.” Co-hosted by our pals at Hooks Books, drop by at 6 p.m. for a little wine, some cheese and a discussion on what’s on everyone’s mind: What’s to eat?
The movie awards season is upon us. And while it’s not exactly the Academy Awards, there will certainly be a red carpet at the National Archives this week when Steven Spielberg is honored for his contribution to American culture. And that’s not all for a week that has every aspect of cinema represented.
From Private Ryan to Abe Lincoln
The Foundation for the National Archives is giving Spielberg its Records of Achievement Award on Tuesday for the film icon’s cinematic legacy. Leading up to the Tuesday award reception, the Archives has been showing some of Spielberg’s classic work, starting with “Saving Private Ryan” last week and culminating with a screening Monday of 2012′s “Lincoln,” a movie that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., arranged for senators to see on the Capitol grounds earlier this year. “Lincoln,” which scored Daniel Day-Lewis another best actor Oscar for his titular role, starts at 7 p.m. Free (first come, first served) at the William G. McGowan Theater at 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
For something completely different, the folks over at Atlantic Exchange are showing the new documentary “Narco Cultura” at the West End Cinema at 2301 M St. NW on Tuesday. This film, about the musical subculture of the drug trade in North America’s borderlands, looks kind of harrowing. Director Shaul Schwarz will be there to discuss the film with Atlantic Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the show starting at 7 p.m. Discussion to follow. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Printed Word Strikes Back
If you find the need to break from the moving image, Politics and Prose and the National Press Club are sponsoring the 36th annual Book Fair and Author Night at the Press Club (529 14th St. NW) on Tuesday night from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. More than 90 scribes will be on hand to hobnob and talk about their books, including Alice McDermott, David Wiesner, Mark Leibovich, Joe Yonan and even a public official or two — Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, we’re looking at you. All books need to be purchased at the fair. The event helps support the NPC’s journalism institute. Tickets are $10 for the public, $5 for members of Politics and Prose or the Press Club.
A Virtuous End to the Week
To round out the week, how about stopping by Hill Center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE on Friday for the latest in its Pre-Code Film Screenings series. For this week’s journey into the land of giddily wicked flicks, Hill Center will show “Virtue,” a gritty 1932 urban thriller starring Carole Lombard as a street-smart gal in New York City who befriends a cabbie and gets involved in a murder.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick