COLUMNS

Virginia pols on presidential tickets?

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • November 30, 2005

by Karen Feld

buzz
Speculating on the next presidential ticket seems to be the ongoing game in D.C., especially when White House approval ratings are on the decline. Many GOPers are bouncing Sen. John McCain‘s name around with that of Virginia Sen. George Allen as his running mate. And on the Democratic side, talk seems to be centering on Sen. Hillary Clinton and outgoing Virginia Gov. Mark Warner. And for what it’s worth, even Barbra Streisand told a colleague just the other day with certainty: “Hillary will be president.” Guess that means that Barbra will do her part when it gets down to celeb fundraising. Meanwhile, Warner supporters hope he doesn’t peak too early.Bush doubts trust

President Bush no longer trusts his dad for political advice, we hear, and he’s beginning to wonder who he really can trust inside the White House … certainly the first lady and his four-legged family members.

Honorees’ yuletide premiere

Kennedy Center honorees Robert Redford, Tony Bennett, Suzanne Farrell, Tina Turner and Julie Harris will have the first look at this year’s White House holiday decorations at a reception on Sunday afternoon before the actual Kennedy Center show and dinner.

Liza’s birthday bash

Since Washington will be momentarily transformed into a Hollywood of sorts for the Kennedy Center Honors festivities this coming weekend, I’ll take the opportunity to fill you in on other firsthand entertainment dish. While in Los Angeles over the weekend, I heard that Liza Minnelli is planning a big 60th birthday tribute at the Met in New York with tons of celebs. March 8 is the target date, and a TV deal is in the works as well. Billy Stritch is producing at the moment, but with Liza, all is subject to change on a whim. You all are the first to know this. It will probably be a show similar to the one Liza’s estranged hubby, David Gest, produced for Michael Jackson‘s 30th anniversary, and he’s planned another bash for Dionne Warwick at the new Kodak Theatre in L.A. on Jan. 26 and 27.

Joey Pants testifies before Senate

Joe Pantoliano, co-president of The Creative Coalition, was in town yesterday to testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the issue of proposed government censorship. The Creative Coalition is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Censorship is an issue of deep concern to all of us – but particularly to those in creative fields.

In the L.A. lexicon

Only in Los Angeles: LA Weekly lists an activist support circle, “an emotional support group for progressive and left activists to help fight off burnout, share frustration, fears, hopes and aspirations and learn coping skills for the long haul from like-minded folks.”

Writer Launer directs again

You may not recognize the name Dale Launer. He is the first to tell you that it’s the director and actors who get all the attention when a film is a box office hit, yet he describes himself as a writer first. You’ve probably seen his films: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Love Potion No. 9,” “My Cousin Vinny.”

And his ‘Nu’ work –

I recently met Launer, who was recognized as a successful screenwriter before trying his hand at directing. “Directing is creative on the fringes, but it’s hard work because you have to get up early in the morning,” the Los Angeles-based screenwriter-turned-producer/director told me. “Writers get up when they want, and it’s fun.”

He says an Oscar is always a mixed bag. “At the time when Marisa Tomei won the Oscar for ‘My Cousin Vinny,’ I was writing the sequel. She goes up to get the award and thanks her agent, publicist, boyfriend – and not me. I was pissed off. I thought: ‘She forgot to thank me; maybe I’ll forget to write her into the sequel.’ ”

Look for Launer’s new film, “Tom’s Nu Heaven,” which he’s written, produced and directed. If his track record holds, he’s not likely to be forgotten this time around.

Kennedy Center’s Family Theater ready

The Kennedy Center’s new Family Theater in the renovated AFI space officially opens Dec. 8 with Whoopi Goldberg‘s “Alice.” And on Friday, philanthropists Catherine and Wayne Reynolds will host a pre-opening party for their list of high rollers to get a glimpse of the space. The dinner will be served on stage at the Eisenhower Theater. Debbie Allen, Melissa Manchester and Kristin Chenoweth.

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