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Smithsonian Exhibits da Vinci's 'Codex'

Leonardo da Vinci's rarely shown “Codex on the Flight of Birds” comes to the District.

September 12, 2013

Leonardo da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds.

Pages in the Codex on which da Vinci discusses the importance of lightweight structures and sketches a mechanical wing.

As a part of the celebrations and events recognizing the “Year of Italian Culture in the United States,” the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will showcase the works of Leonardo da Vinci. The exhibit “Codex on the Flight of Birds” unveils da Vinci’s sketches and notes exploring human flight—400 years before the invention of the first airplane.

The “Codex” exhibit, which runs from September 13 through October 22, will give visitors the opportunity to view the notebook in The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age gallery. Another piece of the exhibit includes a model of an ornithopter, which is an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings—very similar to the sketches found in the Codex. While da Vinci is well-known for his art, the Smithsonian hopes this exhibit shines a light on the other subjects that he excelled in, such as engineering, mathematics, and geology. The Codex shows how he was able to bring his other interests into his art.

“Everyone, when they think of da Vinci, thinks of the Mona Lisa, but he was an inventor and really an innovator for his time,” said Alison Mitchell, a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian. “I think it’s really unique to make the connection between the Codex and his thoughts on flight centuries earlier to all the other objects in the museum that are modern.”

This rare exhibit has only been shown outside of Italy a handful of times. It was organized by the museum, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Italian Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC, and the Biblioteca Reale in Turin.

“Bringing Leonardo da Vinci’s 'Codex' to Washington in 2013, as we celebrate the Year of Italian Culture and 50 years of collaboration in space between Italy and America, means hosting a dialog between the Renaissance and modernity, tradition and innovation,” said Claudio Bisogniero, the Italian Ambassador to the United States. 600 Independence Ave., 202-633-2214


By Olivia Owens


Q&A: Meghan McCain Talks Feminism and New TV Show

Senator John McCain's daughter discusses her new Pivot network talk show.

September 11, 2013

Meghan McCain, Raising McCain   
Meghan McCain (photo: Kevin Lynch)  

From same sex marriage to millennial veterans and the effect "sexting" has on dating, Meghan McCain's new talk show covers what matters most to her generation. Intelligent, fun, and decidedly "not preachy," each episode of Raising McCain explores a hot topic, with the help of a revolving cast of expert guest hosts. Certainly, the New York-based daughter of senator John McCain has never shied away from expressing opinions she's passionate about, and her new role as talk show host is no exception. In advance of the September 14 premiere of Raising McCain on the Pivot network (10 p.m.), we spoke to McCain about millennials, post-feminism, and what her dad thinks of the show. 

So where did the idea for Raising McCain first come from?
MEGHAN MCCAIN: I always wanted to do a talk show for young people. When I was growing up I used to really love MTV News . . . The VJs discussed really important issues—politics, AIDS in America, and things that really impacted my life.

How do you pick the show's topics?
MM: When we first went into meetings with my producers, it was as simple as one of my girlfriends screen-shot this guy sexting her and said, 'What am I supposed to do? I like him, but we've only been out on that one date. What is he doing?' And I started laughing and I was like, 'Technology is killing dating.' And I looked at my producers and I said, 'Ding! That's an idea for a show.' Every single episode has some inspiration that's literally from my life . . . Am I a feminist? Am I allowed to be a feminist? I want a man in my life and I'm a republican and all these different things.

Speaking of being a feminist, these days the word has gotten a bad rep. What does being a feminist mean to you?  
MM: You know, it's so funny, that was the inspiration for [an] episode, because I didn't know if I was allowed to consider myself a feminist. I had been asked that question when I had given speeches before, by college students, and I always considered myself a feminist, but I had a lot of pushback. You can't be a republican, you can't be pro-life, and still be a feminist . . . For me, it's just about wanting equality to men, period, in every single form. I consider myself a post-feminist, which I think more accurately describes the average American woman . . . I want the same options a man has in this world.

These are topics that provoke thought and inspire debate. How will you deal with the critics?
MM: It's a half-hour show, but we try to get as many different opinions as possible . . . I'm not here to lecture anyone, I'm not here to preach, I'm not here to say I know more than you, I'm just here with questions and I want everyone to come along and help me try to find the answers. I anticipate that everything I do is controversial—it's just my life . . . But I hope more people, especially women, find something they relate to in it than not. I'd rather take a risk and do something I believe in than be scared of critics.

The show targets millennials, but what does your dad think of the show?
MM: My dad watched the first few episodes and I was shocked how much he liked it. I was quite nervous, because I swear on the show and I'm much wilder than I am around my dad on camera. And he's 77 years old and he really liked it! 

Raising McCain Sneak Peek: 

Raising McCain debuts September 14 on the new Pivot network at 10 p.m. ET.

by Simona Rabinovitch


Brilliant Beauty Tools from Sephora

Look fantastic this fall with exclusive items from the beauty powerhouse.

September 10, 2013

by Laura Mullen (@lauramullendc)


Tiffany & Co.'s New Atlas and Fall Leather Collections

The iconic brand launches timeless Roman-numeral jewelry and textured handbags.

September 09, 2013

This fall, Tiffany & Co. introduces a new collection of their timeless Roman numeral-themed Atlas jewelry, as well as an elegant line of textured leather handbags by designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex. Both collections are already popular among celebrity trendsetters like Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Hudson.

Actress Lea Michele debuted the new Atlas style last month, when she wore the hinged bangle in 18-karat rose gold with diamonds ($9,000) while accepting her Teen Choice Award for “Choice TV Actress: Comedy.” Created by renowned Tiffany designer John Loring, the line is inspired by Greek mythology’s Atlas—a god who holds a large spherical globe in his hands—to symbolize its universal impact. Loring’s new sleek, ageless collection builds upon the raised Roman numerals he first used in his antique Atlas watch from 1983, and features matte and polished necklaces, bangles, pendants, earrings, and rings in 18-karat gold (yellow, rose, and white) and sterling silver with diamonds ($250-$9,000).

Lambertson and Truex’s tailored, textured fall bags ($50-$16,500) made with exotic leather skins in rich hues like moss, orchid, and frost, are geared toward the adventurous traveler. Stylish Crosby totes in haircalf and leather, and Chelsea hobos of leather and soft suede, have abundant space for on-the-go necessities. For sophisticated urbanites, the boxy Sabrina frame evening bags in crocodile and textured leather, and metallic Tatiana clutches, are designed for dazzling nights on the town. Fittingly, they’ve already graced the red carpet with Gisele Bündchen, who carried the Sabrina clutch in graphite metallic ($1,195). 

by Jasmin Rosemberg


Q&A: Blondie's Lead Singer, Debbie Harry

We chat with the songstress on Blondie's upcoming tour stop in DC—and their new material.

September 05, 2013

Blondie lead singer, Debbie Harry.

Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie in 1977. Blondie celebrates 40 years in 2014. 

The legendary members of Blondie—known for hits such as “Heart of Glass,”“One Way or Another,” and “Tide is High”—have set DC as one of their first stops on the 2013 “No Principals Tour.” They’ll perform with X, a punk rock band that gained favor in the late 1970s, at the 9:30 Club on September 9 (815 V St. NW, 202-265-0930; 7 p.m.; tickets are $43 on 930.com). Listen in as we talk with co-founder and lead singer Debbie Harry about what District audiences can expect from the multiplatinum-selling group—and her thoughts on its looming 40th anniversary.

So you’re winding down from a world tour?
DEBBIE HARRY: Well, it’s not the entire world just yet. We’re sort of looking to do that for the next year, the next season. But we just came back from a very good UK and European tour. So getting a little bit of a break…but not enough!

Are you excited to be back in the States?
DH: I’m excited in general about putting on the show, and I think that the combination of the two bands is really kind of cool. I’ve been getting a really good response from the Blondie fans in general that X and Blondie are going to be doing a show together so I think it’s a really good bill and I’m looking forward to that. It’s always great when you’re interested in the band that you’re working with and you want to hear their music.

Do you typically stop in DC?
DH: Well, it’s either directly in DC—which is a little bit unusual—or in the immediate surrounding area like either in Virginia or Maryland.

What will your 9:30 Club audience hear?
DH: We have a whole bunch of new material. I think we have about four or five new songs, possibly more, that we’ll incorporate into the standard Blondie stuff that people know. And that’s pretty much what we did in Europe.... So we have expanded the show a little bit and added some visuals.

And you’re releasing an album before the end of the year?
DH: Yes, yes. The new material […] sort of previews what’s going to be on the release. It’s called Ghosts of Download. [Editor’s note: Each ticket purchased for a “No Principals Tour” performance includes exclusive new music from Blondie.]

The band’s 40th anniversary is next year. Are you looking forward to it?
DH: It’s kind of amazing to all of us. I mean who would have expected or thought that [we] would carry on for so long? And it’s just been sort of magical in that respect. We sort of have gone through a lot of ups and downs in the business in general... [But we care] about music more than caring about the business… I think we’re all looking forward to playing; we just want to get out there and kick some [butt]!

by Amanda Ziadeh
Photography by Brad Elterman/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic


5 Splendid Office Accessories

Redecorate your desk and stay organized, chicly.

September 03, 2013

Now that you’re back in the office after the long weekend, why not make your workspace a little prettier? After all, most of us spend more time at our desks than in our dining rooms. So consider trying these five tasteful accessories.

by Amanda Ziadeh


5 Chic Travel Essentials

Going away for Labor Day? Pick up these luxury accessories first.

August 29, 2013

Luxury takes on travel musts make for smoother and chicer travels. 

By Capitol File staff


DC Observes 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Events culminate with a commemorative march and presidential address.

August 27, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream" speech at March on Washington.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. waves to the crowd at the March on Washington August 28, 1963. 

Fifty years to the day of the historical March on Washington, the March for Jobs and Justice takes place this Wednesday, August 28, to commemorate the occasion. Marchers can walk along the famous route and gather at the Lincoln Memorial from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for Let Freedom Ring ceremonial events. 

Tens of thousands of people have already participated in related activities such as the August 24 march sponsored by the National Action Network, Martin Luther King III, and the NAACP. But this last big demonstration will feature an address from President Barack Obama, who will speak to the crowd from the Lincoln Memorial, the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963. 

“Dr. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech represents so much for me and my life, even though I wasn’t born yet,” says actor and author Hill Harper, who will co-emcee the Let Freedom Ring event. “From a historical perspective, alongside the Gettysburg Address, it is perhaps the most important speech in American history. And from a personal perspective, it represents an urgent call to our country for the end of racial hatred and discrimination and an urgent call for equality, dignity, and respect.”

Congressman John Lewis, who addressed crowds at the March on Washington in 1963, will also speak, along with Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, and Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson, according to the 50th Anniversary March on Washington Coalition. 

“I think visitors can expect an amazing day of speeches, history, song, celebration and inspiration,” Harper adds. “But more important than the amazing individuals who will take the stage, I think this anniversary offers all of us the opportunity to reflect on how far we've come over the past 50 years and how far we still have to go." Visit 50thanniversarymarchonwashington.com for details about the 1.6-mile route and find more event information at officialmlkdream50.com

by leslie quander wooldridge (@lesliequander)
Photography by Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Getaway Pick: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

New Fly Borgata jet service offers easy access to dining, spas, and entertainment

August 22, 2013

It’s time to put Atlantic City on your getaway list. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s newly launched charter jet service, Fly Borgata, makes it easier than ever to travel to AC’s premier dining, shopping, spas, gaming, and shows. The venerated resort, which recently underwent a $50 million room redesign, is now accessible via direct flight from select cities, including Baltimore (depart from Baltimore Washington International Airport) and DC (depart from Washington/Dulles International Airport).

Land at Atlantic City International Airport on a 30-seat Dornier 328 jet (about a 45-minute trip), followed by a quick luxury bus transfer. Discounted and complimentary packages are available to qualified My Borgata cardholders and some other “trade-up” cardholders; new visitors can receive overnight accommodations starting from $719 per person. “We’ve funded our own transportation,” says senior vice president of operations Joe Lupo, noting that jets are outfitted with leather seats and rooms are checked in before program guests arrive. “We wanted to make sure it was an upscale experience, not only quick but easy and comforting.”

We see many reasons to visit for Labor Day and beyond. For starters, the 11th annual Borgata Poker Open tournament series has its opening event on September 3 and ends with the televised open championship from September 15-20. And even if gaming isn’t your go-to, you’ll find plenty to do. Check out the 54,000-square-foot Spa Toccare at Borgata or the adjacent 36,000-square-foot Immersion Spa at The Water Club, the property’s adjacent boutique-lifestyle hotel. (The 50-minute “rock your senses” treatment featuring Swedish massage, hot stone therapy, and warm towels is sure to bring on bliss.)

Close out your visit with dinner at one of Borgata’s five destination restaurants—DC favorite Wolfgang Puck has the Wolfgang Puck American Grille, and burger king Bobby Flay offers Bobby Flay Steak—followed by a fun show at The Music Box theater. Visit flyborgata.com or call 609-317-7878 for information about the new jet service; learn about upcoming shows and other entertainment at theborgata.com.

by leslie quander wooldridge (@lesliequander)


Q&A: Ray Donovan's Johnathon Schaech

The Maryland native talks Showtime's breakout crime series and what's next.

August 21, 2013

Jonathon Schaech who plays Sean Walker on Ray Donovan.   
Johnathon Schaech plays movie star Sean Walker opposite Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight on Showtime’s new hit crime drama, Ray Donovan.  

Despite his myriad roles—How to Make an American Quilt with Winona Ryder, Hush with Gwyneth Paltrow—Johnathon Schaech (pronounced “shek”) was until recently most widely recognized for playing The Wonders’ lead singer in Tom Hanks’ 1996 writing and directorial debut, That Thing You Do! Now, the Maryland native is garnering attention with his role as a movie star opposite Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight on Showtime’s hit crime drama Ray Donovan, which broke viewership records and garnered Sopranos comparisons when it premiered on June 30.  

We caught up the real-life star, who will also appear as Tarak, antagonist to Kellan Lutz’s Hercules in March 2014’s Hercules 3D, to talk crime families, mythology heroes, and acting—that thing he does.

What’s your character on Ray Donovan, Sean Walker, like?
JONATHON SCHAECH: He’s a movie star. But I think Sean Walker is like a Tom Cruise or a Will Smith—in this different stratosphere of mystery and intrigue, where everything in his life is followed. He has an enormous amount of money and power.

Why do you think people respond to this show?
JS: I think because it’s so character driven, and the characters are so layered. There are a lot of plot twists that keep you intrigued and guessing. I also think the acting is stellar. Some of the work so far is astounding.

As the son of a Baltimore City law enforcement officer, do you find Ray Donovan accurate?
JS: With most material, you have to elevate it to the extreme, and go beyond real life to make it more interesting. I don’t know if there’s a Donovan family out there, but we can relate to them. They may have screwed up in one aspect of their lives, but we’re all dealing with our demons. And I think they make those characters really relatable.

What do you think Liev Schreiber brings to the role?
JS: He’s always his character, and always thinking. He brings an intense mentality and presence. And underneath that intensity, Liev has an incredible heart—you can see it, you feel it.

What kinds of projects do you gravitate toward?
JS: Something that really challenges me. I’ve played Harry Houdini, Judas Iscariot, and just did Hercules 3D, where the challenge was trying to become a force opposite Hercules. I gained 30 pounds of muscle, and it was quite a challenge to do that at my age.

Tell us about Hercules 3D.
JS: I think [Hercules 3D director] Renny Harlin has something special here. When you think of Hercules, you think of a tough guy with muscles and godly qualities. But the one thing that Kellan Lutz brings, that I don’t think anyone has ever captured with Hercules, is a vulnerability.

Why do you think people still connect you with your role from That Thing You Do!?
JS: I think there are a lot of dreamers out there, and a lot of people who would love to be singers and performers who just relate to the journey of the group, from being nobodies to rising to the top.

What would you like to do more of going forward?
JS: Ray Donovan has invigorated my acting career. You know what the truth is, and you want to get to that place where you can consistently tell it, and be pushed to tell it. I want to get home to my new family, but I want to make every moment of my life count.

Photography by Alan Mercer

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