2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider
Convertible version of the Spider offers top speed, retractable hard top.
July 10, 2012
They say things only get better with time, and McLaren proves the adage true with the announcement of a second all-new model to its line-up: the MP4-12C Spider, a convertible manipulation of the 12C. The lightweight Spider features a distinctive Retractable Hard Top (RHT) roof that folds and stows itself—theoretically making this vehicle a luxury coupe and performance convertible all in one.
Power emanates from a commissioned 616 horsepower 3.8-liter twin turbo V8 engine and is paired to a 7 Speed SSG dual-clutch transmission, which allows the British sports car to run 0-62 mph in 3.1 seconds and top out at 204 mph. Currently, orders can be placed for the $268,250 Spider from McLaren retailers across the globe with an expected delivery date in December or early January. During the Concept Car Lawn during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance weekend, show-goers will be treated to an early viewing.
Pauly Shore Talks Pauly-Tics
The funny man takes on Washington with his new Showtime special.
June 28, 2012
If you see “Pauly Shore for President, 2012” signs begin to pop up around town, do not be alarmed. On June 30, Shore will be performing and taping Pauly-Tics, a new political comedy special for Showtime, at the 9:30 Club in DC. The special, which is set to air this fall, will bring together famed comedians and political figures. Capitol File caught up with the veteran comedian to talk about the upcoming program and his take on Washington.
What will make Pauly-Tics different from other politically themed comedy shows?
PAULY SHORE: This one has Pauly Shore! Not to mention we have a whole list of great talent, including Larry King, Michael Steele, Barney Frank, and hilarious comics like Godfrey, Vidur Kapur, and Rachel Feinstein. Plus it’s on Showtime, so you know it will be out there.
Why did you decide to create a political comedy special?
PS: Washington is a world I don’t know very much about, and a lot of my fans don’t know about it, either. ...I wanted to do something different that would engage both my fans and myself in a new way.
Tell us more about the special guests, comedians, and political figures who will be on the show and how you will incorporate them.
PS: The hilarious Rachel Feinstein, Godfrey and Vidur Kapur will each have a short set. [Other notables] like Larry King, Ralph Nader, Michael Steele, and Barney Frank will have their own segments on the show where they walk around the streets of DC with me. And [there is a] special appearance by Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Do you incorporate your own political views in your work, and does it favor certain candidates over others?
PS: Pauly-Tics is for everyone, bro. No hating.
Where do you find comedic inspiration?
PS: Just in my day-to-day life. I laugh at everything.
Who are you most looking forward to meeting during this process?
PS: Obama, duh! Can you please forward this to his people?
Coming from California, what do you see as the main cultural differences between Hollywood and DC?
PS: They are the same, except the buildings in Washington are thicker and scarier and most of them could use paint jobs.
Do you have any memorable moments from past shows in the DC area?
PS: Besides bow-tie shopping with Michael Steele? No.
Are you pursuing future TV specials and movies?
PS: One thing at a time! Let me get through this one!
Celsius X VI II Releases Another Luxe Cell Phone
Company prepares for the debut of their second mobile device, designed to last a lifetime.
June 22, 2012
French company Celsius X VI II, which specializes in luxury mobile devices that combine 21st-century technology with centuries-old Swiss timekeeping, has recently released a limited-edition phone for $312,000.
Designed to last a lifetime, the company’s first model, LeDIX Origine, is already on the verge of selling out. Luckily, their latest creation, the LeDIX Furtif, will be available at the end of June for those looking to give their mobile device a luxury upgrade.
The first mobile phone with a carbon fiber structure, the highlight of the LeDIX Furtif is still the tourbillon timepiece. Using 330 of the phone’s 700 mechanical parts, the LeDIX Furtif features the world’s most off-centered flying tourbillon. Framed with six golden wings and protected by shock absorbers, the tourbillon engine is showcased through a sapphire crystal breastplate.
Celsius X VI II has eliminated any magnetic effects on the LeDIX Furtif for the highest possible accuracy. They have also developed the Remontage Papillon, a patented system engulfed in the hinge of the phone. The Remontage Papillon supplies the watch movement with an added three hours of power reserve each time the phone is opened.
Co-founder and co-CEO of Celsius X VI II, Edouard Maylan, cites the company’s goal as designing a technically superior phone with eternal value. Formed in 2006, the company started “with the dream of creating a completely micro-mechanical mobile phone, where every function of the mobile would operate mechanically through the sole human energy.” Maylan describes each device as “a piece of art taking six months [and] 35 craftsmen, watchmakers, and engineers to produce.”
The Furtif comes in three eight-piece limited editions, offered in a choice of pink gold, platinum, or black inserts. With the Furtif retailing for $315,000, Celsius is on their way to redefining the luxury phone market.
2013 BMW 7 Series Coming Soon to Showrooms
Newly spruced up 2013 BMW 7 Series adds more performance, luxury, efficiency, and safety.
June 15, 2012
The newly spruced up 2013 BMW 7 Series adds a touch more performance, luxury, efficiency, and safety to its already significant packaging.
Technically speaking, the V8 engine for the 2013 model has been given a boost—receiving a 45 horsepower jump and a torque increase of 30. Specifically, the 740i and 750i will feature BMW’s eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, xDrive all-wheel drive, Auto Start Stop, and a freshly enhanced powertrain. The ActiveHybrid has adopted the 6 cylinder to replace the previous V8.
The subtly revised exterior boasts new technologies, including LED headlights (LED fog lights are included on models without the M Sport Package) and a sleeker 9-slat kidney grille—opposed to the BMW classic 12-slat. But the internal changes are more of note, with the upgraded interface and redesigned iDrive (dubbed “iDrive 4.X”), which promises a crisper display, faster start-up, and a more functional navigation with the ability to learn your driving route. And for a little something extra, the Bang & Olufsen high-end Surround Sound system is also an available option.
Expect the new BMW 7 series: 740i, 740Li, 740Li xDrive, 750i, 750i xDrive, 750Li, 750Li xDrive, and the 760Li in showrooms late this summer with pricing starting at $74,195.
Reveling with Chef Robert Wiedmaier
DC’s favorite upscale down-home chef takes his noshes to Atlantic City.
June 13, 2012
Robert Wiedmaier of Mussel Bar is one of the key cuisine players at Atlantic City's Revel resort.
It’s 3 PM in Atlantic City, about three hours away from his Bethesda hot spot Mussel Bar, and chef Robert Wiedmaier—having just led a beer and cheese pairing workshop as part of Food & Wine’s Taste of Revel event—lets out a heavy sigh. “Please excuse me," Wiedmaier says. "I’m hungover.” This sort of confession might not fly inside District limits, but in America’s Playground, it seems to fit the bill.
Far from standard Atlantic City—a narrative that snakes its way through smoke-filled casinos, old carpeting, and seedy nightclubs—the newly opened Revel resort offers a super-luxe incarnation of New Jersey’s most infamous city by the water. Just ask Kim Kardashian, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson, and Jay-Z, who all made appearances at Revel during the Memorial Day weekend grand opening, which centered on a series of four concerts by the one and only Beyoncé.
The smoke-free 6.2-million-square-foot property boasts 14 restaurants. This includes not only the second outpost of Mussel Bar, but also O Bistro and Central by another DC favorite, Michel Richard, plus 1,800 hotel rooms with ocean views, myriad watering holes, two nightclubs, a strip of high-end shopping, and—of course—a giant floor of opportunities to win big.
And Revel’s image as a more upscale casino seems to be succeeding. “I hate casinos,” the former Four Seasons DC executive chef says flatly. “When [Revel] came to me four years ago, they said, ‘Would you like to put a restaurant in this new casino we’re opening up in Atlantic City?’ I said no. Then after I found out what they were going to do here, I said, you know what, I like that. This isn’t really a casino. It’s a resort with gambling.”
Michael Prifti, principal of Philadelphia-based BLT Architects, Revel’s executive architect of record, shares Wiedmaier's sentiments.
“It’s [Revel CEO] Kevin Desanctis’ vision to make Revel a resort proper that happens to have a casino in it,” Prifti says. “The property in its physical manifestation is an expression of that vision. By design, the elevators from the hotel towers don’t go to the casino. And the casino is different in its aesthetic, design, and layout than other casinos in Atlantic City.”
Wiedmaier, the man who utilizes beer bottle chandeliers and functional Harley-Davidsons to decorate his dining spaces—now numbering four in the DC area, including Brabo in Alexandria, and Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck inside city limits—has a valid point. The 130,000-square-foot casino at Revel was helmed by Scéno Plus, the same creatives who designed Cirque du Soleil’s theater in Orlando.
“[Atlantic City] is only three hours and 10 minutes away from DC,” Wiedmaier says. “You can come for the day, stay in the hotel, go see [a concert], go out to the great restaurants. I think it’s just a great place to get away for a day, have fun, go sit on the private beach, go to the spa. And if you want to gamble, go gamble, but that’s not the reason why you have to come here, which is very rare for what goes on in Atlantic City.”
And as far as his home turf is concerned, Wiedmaier has a few (admittedly card-free) tricks of his own.
“We’ve got a couple of projects in the making,” he says. “We’re getting ready to sign a deal to open up a Mussel Bar in Virginia, and I’m opening up Wildwood Kitchen by RW in Maryland in September. I stay busy, and I love DC. It’s a small town. You can’t compare it to New York in any ways or means, and I kind of like that. It’s a clean city, it’s beautiful, and there’s so much history there.”
Atlantic City might not be as squeaky clean, but Revel is sparkling—and perhaps that’s why Wiedmaier fits right in. 500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, 609-225-9851
Robin Givhan on Perfecting Your Professional Style
Award-winning fashion journalist shared tips at recent Jimmy Choo and Suited for Change event.
May 25, 2012
Jimmy Choo, the luxury brand of choice for many high-profile people, last week partnered with the DC-based charity, Suited for Change, for a well-heeled shopping event at the boutique at The Collection at Chevy Chase. Suited for Change, which provides professional clothing and career education to low-income women, and Jimmy Choo welcomed Robin Givhan, fashion correspondent and critic for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, as host. Capitol File caught up with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to get her take on appropriate footwear for commuting and how to look professional without wearing a pantsuit.
How long have you been involved with Suited for Change, and what has been your role?
ROBIN GIVHAN: I got involved with Suited for Change a little over a year ago. One of the board members contacted me about getting involved, perhaps even being a spokesperson. At the time, I was still at the Washington Post and serving in that sort of formal capacity was out of the question. It still is.
But much of what I write about has to do with the role fashion plays in the public square. Suited for Change helps disadvantaged women get back into the thick of the public swirl by using fashion as both a tool and a balm. I applaud their mission. My role is really informal: I spoke at their 2011 annual luncheon and participated in a Q & A with NPR’s Michel Martin during a cocktails and shopping night at Betsy Fisher.
How important is dressing well to one’s professional career?
RG: I think anyone who’s spent time in the work world understands that appearance matters because we live in a visual, frenzied culture. We make fast decisions based on an assortment of cues that we take in in a matter of minutes. Dressing for a professional career is not a matter of wearing trendy clothes or expensive ones. It’s about looking accomplished, polished, reliable and savvy to your employer. And personally, it’s about feeling confident.
Having covered fashion for many years now, what secrets have you learned from industry professionals about appropriate work gear?
RG: I’ve learned that no woman needs to be stuck in a business suit if that isn’t what makes her happy. Dresses, skirts and cardigans, and a host of other options look professional and contemporary. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned about appropriate work wear is fit, fit, fit. Have pants professionally hemmed to the shoes you plan to wear them with. Make sure jacket sleeves aren’t too long. Skirts should not pull across the hips. And if you’d wear it to a cocktail party or the beach, then no, it’s not appropriate for work. Nor is it appropriate for your commute to work. (I’m talking to you, flip-flop wearing folks.)
To whom can a career woman look to for solid fashion inspiration, and why?
RG: Look at the other women in your workplace and zero in on the ones who are respected. If you like their style, be inspired by it, but don’t slavishly copy it. I do think it’s possible to find inspiration in fashion magazines, as long as you remember that images are exaggerated for emphasis. Television shows can offer up style options. I’m thinking about The Good Wife (Kalinda, notwithstanding), Veep, and Scandal. And I think women who are professionals within the fashion industry can inspire other women to be more creative in their attire.
On a daily basis, for instance, Anna Wintour looks very much like the powerful executive that she is and she rarely wears a business suit. She doesn’t teeter around in four-inch platform heels. Diane von Furstenberg is both feminine and professional. And in politics, I think Nancy Pelosi looks sophisticated and elegant. Michelle Obama has pounded home the reality that the sheath paired with a cardigan is boardroom appropriate. Valerie Jarrett typically looks smart and stylish.
Designer Carolina Herrera on DC Style & More
Capitol File caught up with Herrera after a showcase of her latest collection.
May 18, 2012
Earlier this month, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation hosted its Second Annual Great Ladies Luncheon and Fashion Show at The Ritz-Carlton. This year, former first lady Nancy Reagan was honored with the “Great Ladies” award, and fashion designer Carolina Herrera accepted the award on Mrs. Reagan’s behalf. She also showcased her fall/winter 2012 runway collection at the luncheon, and was on hand to host (with Saks Fifth Avenue) an on-site boutique.
Capitol File caught up with Herrera the day after the ceremony at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase, where she met excited local customers at a crowded trunk show.
How is the Carolina Herrera customer in Washington different from your other customers in the US?
CAROLINA HERRERA: I think the Washington woman is very similar to all the women I design for—chic, sophisticated, and modern. It is important to remember, though, that a woman should not only dress based on the city and climate she lives in, but also [based] on her personality and style.
What trends will carry through from spring into fall?
CH: I try not to follow trends. Seeing everyone in the same thing from season to season would not be amusing, and fashion needs to be fun. We make it fun by incorporating bold colors in every season and making the evening pieces glamorous with volume and movement.
What five essential pieces should a well-dressed woman have in her wardrobe?
CH: A crisp white shirt, a pencil skirt, a little black dress, a wonderful pair of high-heel shoes, and a full-length mirror—the most important accessory of them all!
When you were growing up in Venezuela, who were your style icons?
CH: Growing up, I only really cared about my dogs, horses, and tennis.
Whose style do you admire now?
CH: Today, I admire Lady Gaga. She is consistent with her style and knows how to wear it.
Q&A With: Author Sarah Pekkanen
Author from DC area talks new novel, writing process, and how Washington influences her work.
May 15, 2012
Sarah Pekkanen, the Bethesda-based former journalist and international bestselling novelist, gives Capitol File the scoop on her new book, chick-lit stigmas, and the constant influence of the Washington area on her writing.
Tell us about what inspired you to pen your new novel, These Girls.
SARAH PEKKANEN: I wanted to write a novel celebrating the rich, nurturing bonds of female friendships for a few reasons. First, it seemed like the natural progression in my books, since all of my novels focus on the important relationships in a woman's life. My first book, The Opposite of Me, is about sisterhood. My second, Skipping a Beat, is about marriage.
These Girls, my third novel, is about female friendships. And because friends are so important to me personally, I was eager to plunge into the creation of three very different women who become roommates in New York City and form an incredible friendship. The current novel is told from alternating points of view of my main characters—Cate, Renee, and Abby—and each of these women is carrying a painful secret. They end up finding the emotional lifelines they need in each other.
How do you develop the characters for your books?
SP: I don't base characters on people I know—even though I can't tell you how many times people have suspected that they're the inspiration for a character! But everything I write is inspired by reality. All of my observations and thoughts and ideas are filtered through a kaleidoscope then sprinkled onto the page.
I also did some interesting research for These Girls, which is set in the world of glossy magazines. I went to New York and had a staff writer for a big magazine sneak me into headquarters early one morning. I got a great behind-the-scenes tour and some juicy gossip, which appears in a slightly different form in my novel.
How do you balance your characters' lighter moments with more serious topics in your novels?
SP: I love books that give readers insight into their own lives and relationships, but not in a heavy-handed way. I also love books that make me laugh. So writing books that delve into painful topics without feeling heavy or depressing is my way of trying to blend what I like most to read into my own novels. I also shy away from endings where everything is neatly wrapped up. I like uplifting endings, but not ones that are unrealistically perfect, because life never follows that script, as much as we'd like for it to.
You grew up in Bethesda and have spent most of your life in or around the District. How does Washington fit into your writing?
SP: I always work cameos of my hometown in my novels! My first two books were set in the D.C. area and Bethesda, and even though These Girls unfolds in New York, one of my characters has been living and working in Silver Spring, and we see her in that setting quite a bit. It's fun to go to a park or restaurant and think, "How can I work this into my next book?"
Where do you write? Do you have any rituals to get you into the right head space to create your characters and their dialogue?
SP: I wish I had some elegant, impressive story about my glamorous writing life, but the truth is, I have three young boys and I write on the fly. I've piled up pages in the orthodontist's waiting room, in the carpool pick-up line, at the movie Kung Fu Panda—anywhere and everywhere I can find a little pocket of time.
But now that I'm on a book-a-year schedule, I find that getting in a few big chunks of writing time really helps me meet my deadlines. Luckily I speak at book festivals every couple of months, so train or plane trips, combined with a night in a hotel room, allow me not only an uninterrupted night's sleep, but the chance to wake up early, order a pot of coffee, and write for hours. It's blissful!
You've been compared to authors such as Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin—that's a tall order in the world of women writers! How do your novels differ from what could be described as classic "chick lit?"
SP: Chick lit sometimes gets a bad rap, because people seem to think it centers around shoe shopping and dating. But writers like Jennifer and Emily delve into much more serious topics, and I aim to do the same in my novels. I don't have any problem with the label chick lit, unless it's used in a derogatory way. Most of the women I know are navigating the same issues—relationships and work—and my books center around those topics.
What’s next for you?
SP: I'm thrilled that I recently signed a new, three-book deal with my publisher, Atria Books, which is an imprint of Simon & Schuster. So I'll have a new novel coming out every spring through 2015! My novels are now being published in a total of 10 countries, which is also really exciting (the latest country to buy translation rights is Russia).
Bentley Reveals Luxe SUV: EXP 9 F
The luxury brand's first SUV boasts all the usual Bentley trappings, but raises some debate.
May 04, 2012
Bentley made a statement the night before the Geneva International Motor Show during VW’s Group Night, where each of the parent company’s brands showcased their latest and most spectacular vehicles. The British luxury maker wowed the crowd with its first SUV concept, EXP 9 F.
Massive 23-inch alloy wheels; the signature bold Bentley grille; a powerful 6-liter W12 engine that can make up to 600 horsepower; an 8-speed transmission; a fold-down champagne cooler; and luxury tailgating fit for the Kentucky Derby, seem to overly exceed expectations of consumers looking to purchase an ultra-elite SUV. Bentley’s sports utility vehicle is in competition with other luxe cars like the Range Rover and Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo. While the design and composition keep all the usual Bentley trappings, it is unknown if this foray into SUVs will be met with negative or positive feedback.
New Media Exhibit at The Newseum
Interactive HP New Media Gallery at The Newseum focuses on new media's influence on news.
May 03, 2012
In its first permanent exhibit since 2008, the Newseum's HP New Media Gallery, which opened to the public April 27, explores the challenges that new media presents to staying on top of breaking stories. In the age of smartphones, Google Alerts, Twitter, and Facebook, many of us have come to expect of-the-moment updates on the latest news, but this can prove daunting for the press, who often struggle to address the public’s desire for immediate content delivery. The Newseum seeks to answer these quandries in this completely interactive exhibit, presented in partnership with Hewlett-Packard.
“The HP New Media gallery will give Newseum visitors a chance to step into a three-dimensional social network,” said Paul Sparrow, senior vice president of broadcasting at the Newseum. The gallery uses technology and social media tools to educate visitors about the digital news revolution through a fully interactive experience from beginning to end.
Visitors can “check in” at a station near the front of the gallery, posting photos and comments on screens around the 2,500 sq.-ft. room; guests can also move to one of the two 10-ft.-wide touch-screen-covered walls to page through the stories and videos most prominent in the digital media age. Visitors may also choose to flip through the very latest news stories as they’re posted via websites and social media outlets, creating their own news pages to be displayed on screens around the room. Motion tracking is used in interactive games, and visitors can stay constantly updated on the news through live check-in updates and Twitter feeds as they explore the rest of the gallery.
“New media allows people to connect, to discover, and to share,” said Sparrow. The new gallery at the Newseum not only allows visitors to do so on-site, but also after heading home, where they can continue the social media experience at a special website. 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 888-639-7386
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.