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July 25, 2014

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June 30, 2014

Washington’s Independence Day Patriotic Palooza

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(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?

June 15, 2014

Congressional Women’s Softball Game Highlights a Busy Week

Think it’s going to be a busy week in the Capitol, what with a full legislative calendar and House leadership elections? There’s just as much going on in the outside-work calendar, including a throw-down between members of Congress and the media and a telling of the Koch brothers’ tale.

softball048 062613 445x307 Congressional Womens Softball Game Highlights a Busy Week

Bendery, in a non-trash talking moment. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 6th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game is Wednesday night, and the trash talk is flying, including a radio “Softball Smackdown” featuring Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., and Huffington Post scribe Jennifer Bendery on the Bill Press Show. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Eventbrite. Proceeds benefit the Young Survival Coalition. The opening pitch is at 7 p.m. at the Watkins Recreation Center at 420 12th Street SE.

One of Washington’s high-profile film festivals, AFI Docs, gets underway Wednesday, with an opening night show at the Newseum of “Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey,” by Scott Teems. Actor Hal Holbrook, who has been portraying Mark Twain on stage for more than six decades, will be on hand to introduce the film. The festival, which as a full slate of 84 films, runs through June 22 at various venues in D.C. and Silver Spring, Md. For tickets and showtimes, visit the festival website.

Roll Call Book Club returns Thursday night, when we’ll sit down with Mother Jones Senior Editor Daniel Schulman to discuss his new book, “Sons of Wichita, How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty.” In case you don’t check in on the Senate floor every once in a while, the Koch brothers are kind of a big deal. However, the K-Bros that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made into Democrats’ bete noire, Charles and David, are only half of the brood. Schulman’s biography serves up juicy bits on the eldest, Frederick, who’s a patron of the arts, and Bill, David’s fraternal twin, an America’s Cup winner and to this day a bitter rival to Charles and David. This free event, complete with wine, cheese and a book giveaway, starts at 6 p.m. at Hill Center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Please register on Hill Center’s website ahead of time.

Friday is the day we wrap the voting for the annual Roll Call Taste of America contest. Pulling for the deep-sea heavyweight, Maine’s lobster rolls? Want to make sure Iowa bacon wraps itself in victory? Trying to make sure Maryland crab cakes scuttle to victory? Then vote at rollcalltasteofamerica.com. The winner will be announced at the following week’s 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park.

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 12, 2014

Calendar: Roll Call Book Club Scours ‘HRC’

Are you or your boss on an enemies list? It’s not as paranoid as you might think to wonder.

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Where do you stand with the Clintons? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

More than 40 years after President Richard M. Nixon’s list of political opponents and enemies made headlines, political reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes detail an undertaking by aides to then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., to chronicle what they call a “political hit list”  in the aftermath of her defeat in the presidential primary to Barack Obama.

Obama, of course, went on to win the presidency and tap Clinton as his secretary of State, but political battles leave scars, particularly in the halls of power. On Thursday, the Roll Call Book Club will be back in action at the Hill Center to discuss the book, as well as to feed and water the book-hungry political masses.

“There was a special circle of Clinton hell reserved for people who had endorsed Obama or stayed on the fence after Bill and Hillary had raised money for them, appointed them to a political post, or written a recommendation to ice their kid’s application to an elite school,” Allen and Parnes write. The list of people with the highest ranking, compiled by Kris Balderston and Adrienne Elrod, includes such luminaries as the current secretary of State, ex-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.; the Senate President Pro Tem, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.; and House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; as well as some senior Democratic elder statesmen like Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

But that was so 2008! Think so? Just look at whom the Clintons bestowed favors upon in the 2012 election (Howdy, now-Rep. John Delaney, D-Md.!) and take a look at their current political activity. Allen, now Bloomberg News’ Washington bureau chief, and Parnes, White House correspondent for The Hill, look deeply not just at the aftermath of the 2008 election, but Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom, with particular attention to the Benghazi, Libya, attacks, where Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others were killed on Sept. 11, 2012.

Benghazi has popped up again, with Republicans in the House revving up a special committee and prepping lines of attack for 2016. Hillary Rodham Clinton has already testified on the Hill about the attacks. But this party, and the 2016 race, is just getting started, so don’t be surprised if the nascent Democratic frontrunner gets another invitation to go under the microscope again.

So there should be plenty to discuss with Allen and Parnes. Things get started around 6 p.m. on Thursday at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. It’s free, as always, and we’ll supply the food and libations as well. The authors will be there not just to discuss the book, their reporting and to answer questions, but also to sign free copies of their book on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, see the listing on EventBrite.

April 25, 2014

Calendar: How Will Life After Leibovich Affect the WHCD?

It is the year of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner AL 1, or one year After Leibovich. While he wasn’t the first, Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” skewered the event and its accompanying cocktail parties, brunches and satellite offerings so hard that it’s worth wondering whether life at Nerd Prom will be different.

Will anyone enthusiastically tweet that they can’t believe they just saw Psy? Will the BuzzFeed Bowties and Burgers alterna-dinner at Jack Rose Saloon suffer a sophomore slump? Will Tammy Haddad change the mimosa schedule? Will news organizations now ignore people who had cameos in “House of Cards”? Will any celebrity selfies not be sponsored by Samsung?

We’ll see. While Leibovich’s chronicle certainly cut deep, it’s unlikely it will change much behavior. The spectacle of the WHCD has always been ripe for snark, self-consciousness and self-righteousness. Even the term Nerd Prom is a form of faux self-deprecation, an attempt to show that one understands just how declassé the whole affair is, even while jetting from soiree to soiree, from the French Embassy to David Bradley’s house.

So go forth and enjoy the pre-pre-parties, pre-parties, dinner, alternative parties, post-parties, post-dinner hangover cure brunches and the rest. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, even as some of the events will seem like a 1970s disaster movie: Lots of talented people who used to be in the spotlight working it hard, waiting for the ship to be hit by a tidal wave.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to opt out of some of the week’s festivities, keep in mind a couple of things happening on Capitol Hill. This is the last week for the venerable Pour House, one of Pennsylvania Avenue’s last legit dive bars, which is pouring its last brew on April 30. There’s even a countdown clock on the Pour House website to show you just many hours and seconds you have for one last round of skeeball. The place that used to be Poli-Tiki will transition yet again, this time to a more upscale venue dreamed up by the folks behind nearby wine bar Sonoma.

On the night of the WHCD itself, local band Typefighter will be playing at the Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE for its “The End of Everything” album release party. Helping the crowd warm up will be another local outfit, Shark Week, which features Roll Call’s own Daniel Newhauser, a House leadership reporter by day, rock and roll drummer by night, with a little DC Ducks fanboy worked in on the side.

Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. It’s 12 bucks in advance and at the door. No rubber chicken dinner will be served.

And the day after features the Race for Hope Washington, D.C., 5K, which raises money for brain tumor research. For more information, go to braintumorcommunity.org.

April 21, 2014

Calendar: 10 Years of Sixth & I, Poetic Justice at Hill Center

Happy “Sixth and I Day,” Washington! To celebrate 10 years since the synagogue at 600 I St. NW was re-dedicated as the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, not just as a center of worship but a venue for music and other cultural and community events, the District has proclaimed Tuesday as “Sixth & I Day.”

Ten-year anniversary events are scheduled for later in the year, but in the meantime, the spot’s normal array of quality programming includes the Brad Mehldau Trio on Thursday night and its “Spring Brews” seasonal beer tasting on April 29. For more information on upcoming events, go to sixthandi.org.

Quite Poetic

One of the country’s most acclaimed poets, Edward Hirsch, comes to D.C.’s Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) on Wednesday night for the “Life of a Poet” series, to discuss, well, life, with Ron Charles, the fiction editor of the Washington Post. The free event, sponsored by the Post, the Library of Congress and the National Capital Bank, will be sort of a reunion. Hirsch spent years writing for the Post’s “Poet’s Choice” column.

He’s the author of eight books of poetry, with another one on the way this year, and serves as the president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York. The event starts at 7 p.m. in the Hill Center’s Abraham Lincoln Hall. Register at hillcenter.org.

Pull Into Dock

Casey Trees is putting on its inaugural Canopy Awards on Thursday at Union Market’s Dock5 space with food, booze, bocce and music. The event aims to fete “volunteers, friends and advocates who support our work promoting, enhancing and protecting D.C.’s tree canopy,” according to a release.

It will feature food pop-ups, the aforementioned bocce, a mini-golf course, photo booths, an open bar and musical performances from The Bumper Jacksons and Andrew Lipke and the Azrael String Quartet.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door, and can be purchased at caseytrees.org. It gets started at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Dock5 at 1309 Fifth St. NE.

Mix Tape

Martha Redbone, a musician with a slew of musical roots steeped in funk, blue, folk and Native American sounds, plays at the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H St. NE on Friday night. Her new latest album, “The Garden of Love — The Songs of William Blake,” brings it all together for a tune jambalaya.

Tickets are $28.50 in advance and $33.50 at the door; students get in for $20 with ID. They can be purchased at atlasarts.org. The show starts at 8 p.m.

April 14, 2014

Calendar: DC Brau’s Anniversary, Drive-In Movies Return, Record Store Day!

Ah, recess. The pollen and tourist counts are up and everyone not on the campaign trail has a chance to let loose a little.

DC Brau’s Leather Anniversary

Has it really been three years since the Beeraissance started in Washington? To mark its third year since returning beer manufacturing to the nation’s capital, DC Brau is celebrating its leather anniversary at Meridian Pint on Tuesday night with $3 pints of its Public, Citizen and Corruption brews.

Screen shot 2014 04 14 at 2.14.19 PM 211x335 Calendar: DC Braus Anniversary, Drive In Movies Return, Record Store Day!

(Courtesy of DC Brau and Meridian Pint.)

If the big three in DC Brau’s quiver aren’t enough, not to worry. Full story

April 4, 2014

Calendar: A ‘Naked’ Writer, a ‘Documented’ Filmmaker

A ‘Naked’ Writer’s Manifesto

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.

 

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 17, 2014

Taking the Long View on Recess Week

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

March 7, 2014

Calendar: Richard III Gets a Reprieve, Roll Call Heads South by Southwest

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

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 10, 2014

Archives Wishes Lincoln a Happy Birthday

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.

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 cqrcbooks-halperin.eventbrite.com. Complimentary copies of the book will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

January 31, 2014

Calendar: Let Prom Season Begin!

Grab those gowns!

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.

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