Folks in Washington don’t quite know how to handle the red carpet, but they’re learning. Trial lawyer Bob Bennett, who contributed an essay to the inaugural issue of the magazine Capitol File on his passion – fishing – glanced at the imposing red carpet and was overheard remarking to his wife, Ellen: “This is way too much” as they headed for the door.
But most guests at the launch of Jason Binn’s magazine at the Watergate last evening kept one eye out for Capitol File cover gal, actor and activist Ashley Judd, who arrived shortly after 11 p.m., two hours after the party began. But at least one unimpressed guest, Olivia Schoeller, bureau chief for the German Berliner Zeitung, on the arm of Georgetown businessman Keith Lipert, remarked: “Being in a movie isn’t a huge accomplishment.”
The very British Lipert chimed in: “All the world’s a stage.”
Oh, to be on the list
Since the ultra-luxury publication is geared toward the A-list social circle, I asked several guests if it was important to them to be on the list. Here are a few responses:
Lobbyist Tom Quinn: “It’s not important, but it’s fun. If it’s a good A list, it changes all the time. The nice thing about Capitol File is it mixes everybody together from the political, social and business communities.”Real estate developer John Mason: “It’s only important if you think it makes you important.”One guest, real estate developer Brian Friedman, ogled the red carpet and admitted: “I’m a wannabe. I wannabe Brad Pitt.”City Councilman Jack Evans: “It’s a recognition of individuals who make a contribution to our city,” with Pam Sorensen, vice president of corporate development, Potomac Executive Biz, on his arm. She added, “It’s important so you can actually say you are on it.”Hmm, too many luxe pubs?The 344-page magazine is chock full of names and faces. “It’ll be interesting to see who survives,” said Evans, who is running for chairman of the D.C. City Council now that Linda Cropp has thrown her hat in for mayor. He speculated that there’s not enough advertising to go around for all the new luxury city magazines in town.… and Williams not running?But, of course, you figured this one out – although no announcement is forthcoming, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams is not running for re-election. Let’s see, a three-week European trip and City Council Chairman Linda Cropp throwing her hat in the ring. That should tell us something. But if you’re still skeptical, Jack Evans tells me that he sat with the mayor at a recent Nats game and Williams actually looked him in the eye “for the first time in seven years” and said he wasn’t running.Re-signing signaturesMark Smith and former almost House Speaker Bob Livingston, R-La., was talking about his recent purchase of Signatures restaurant from a group headed by embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Plans call for a name change, according to Smith. But expect the same magic from the same chef but this time out of the kitchen so he blends in with the environment.Basketball, Congress … now, securityFormer Rep. Tom McMillen, D-Md., is now cashing in on the homeland security industry – he experienced terrorism firsthand as a young Olympic athlete in Munich, Germany. Last spring, McMillen launched Fortress America Acquisition Corporation with a successful $46.8 million IPO. Former deputy Homeland Security Director Asa Hutchinson and former Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles are on his advisory board. Then in August, McMillan became president/CEO of Celerity Systems, which soon will be renamed Homeland Security Capital Corp. Its mission is to focus on and control investments in small- and medium-sized homeland security companies under $10 million in revenues that need capital and help in the government market.Can’t stay out of the frayBill Regardie’s plans for a new downtown newspaper, called D.C. Downtown News, are in a holding pattern because his partner, former GSA spokesperson and women’s history commission activist, Beth Newburger, backed out. Plans called for Regardie to handle the editorial side, and Newburger, the business for the every two-week free tabloid.