- - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

‘Real World: D.C.’ house to become museum

The “Real World: D.C.” mansion, which once housed inebriated young adults for the MTV reality show, will become home to the Laogai Museum, Curbed D.C. reports.

The residence, just north of Dupont Circle, reportedly had yellow wallpaper, pendulum lamps and a pool table during the filming of “Real World,” which commenced in 2009 and earned the lowest ratings ever for the otherwise popular series.

The Laogai Museum, which had been located in a row house on M Street, aims to “document and expose the Laogai, China’s vast and brutal system of forced labor prison camps,” the tourist attraction’s website says. In Chinese, “laogai” roughly translates to “reform through labor.” The museum is focusing on China’s forced-labor prisons and political prisoners.

“There was some pretty outrageous wallpaper that might have been left over from ‘The Real World’ that had to go,” a Laogai Museum program administrator told D.C. Curbed. “But it was pretty bare bones when construction started.”

The brick house served many purposes before becoming a nook for “Real World.” According to The Washington Post, the residence previously was a lesbian bar, a Blockbuster video store, an Ethiopian restaurant and a church, so transitioning it into a museum probably won’t be too much of a stretch.

Obama ‘has not been loyal’ to an old friend

The first family apparently is too cool for an old buddy, Hermene Hartman, whom the Obamas have known for more than 15 years.

Miss Hartman, publisher of the Chicago magazine N’Digo, told Chicago Magazine on Monday that her relationship with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama “used to be good,” but things have changed.

“It used to be superb before they got to the White House,” Miss Hartman said. “I haven’t been invited, and I’m insulted.”

Miss Hartman, who met Mr. Obama when he was trying to get her magazine to review his book “Dreams From My Father,” says the president is “not necessarily loyal.” Miss Hartman added that she has gone the extra mile for Mr. Obama, having gotten the Rev. Al Sharpton to support him during the 2008 presidential primaries before rival Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped out.

“In Chicago politics, that’s rule number one: Be loyal; dance with the one who brought you,” Miss Hartman says. “I was very loyal to Barack, but he has not been loyal to some of the people who were there for him from day one. … That’s my personal disappointment in him. Did you outgrow us, or did you forget?”

Ex-CIA operative to release spy-novel series

“Jane Bond” Valerie Plame Wilson, former CIA operative, is set to release her first spy novels next year based on her experiences combined with fiction.

The New York Times reports she has signed a book deal with Penguin Group USA to write a series of international suspense novels with Sarah Lovett, a best-selling mystery writer from Santa Fe, N.M., where Mrs. Wilson also resides.

The novel ideas were “born out of my frustration and continuing disappointment in how female CIA officers are portrayed in popular culture” Mrs. Wilson told the New York Times.

Vanessa Pearson, a character spawned from Mrs. Wilson’s imagination, might change that perception. Pearson is a fictional female CIA agent who will star in the novels and bears the same initials as her creator.

Mrs. Wilson told the New York Times, “They always tend to be cardboard characters, with heavy reliance on physicality. Of course the job has a lot of glamour. But it really is about being smarter than your average bear. Your mind is your best weapon. It’s great when you’re a good shot with an AK-47, but it’s about being clever.”

The New York Times reports that the novels will be completely vetted by the CIA before publication.

Mrs. Wilson received national attention when her identity was leaked by political columnist Robert Novak in 2003 after her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson publicly challenged the Iraq war.

Last year, Mrs. Wilson’s CIA memoir “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House,” and her husband’s book, “The Politics of Truth,” were combined to make a Hollywood thriller starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.

Compiled by Laura Donovan, Josh Kinney 2011 The Daily Caller

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