- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Franken creation

Don’t find yourself getting enough of Al Franken?

Not to worry. Next month, filmmakers Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus will present “Al Franken: God Spoke,” described as one year in the life of the liberal author, political satirist and radio talk-show host.

Washington publicist Lindsay Currie tells Inside the Beltway the upcoming release is a “humorous but, more importantly, illustrative documentary about the weight of the media — especially the comedic media — on the last presidential election.”

Among those making cameo appearances: conservative pundit Ann Coulter, right-wing radio and TV host Sean Hannity, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, former Vice President Al Gore, left-wing documentary maker Michael Moore, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and environmental lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr.

Frey reply

“Ridiculous,” Inside the Beltway hears from embattled author James Frey, whose partially fabricated book, “A Million Little Pieces,” was all but torn to pieces by Oprah Winfrey when she yanked it from her prestigious book club shelf.

Mr. Frey takes issue with our column sources, who claimed they watched the author do an about-face after spotting Miss Winfrey’s best bud, Gayle King, at a recent fundraising gala attended by 500 guests in the Hamptons.

“I didn’t see Oprah and Gayle at that party. Far as I know, they weren’t there,” Mr. Frey says of the fourth annual VH1 Save the Music Hamptons benefit concert, hosted by Washington power couple and one-time Clinton insiders Jaci and Morris Reid.

Actually, we never reported that Miss Winfrey was in attendance. Miss King, however, who grew up in Bethesda and attended the University of Maryland, did attend the party.

Q&A; Cafe

Media mogul and Georgetown restaurant owner Carol Joynt has announced her fall lineup for the highly quoted “Q&A; Cafe.”

“[This] will be our fifth year doing the Q&A; Cafe at Nathans,” she tells Inside the Beltway of the informal discussions with leading newsmakers, which kick off Sept. 14 at the landmark M Street and Wisconsin Avenue Northwest watering hole.

The new lineup: Washington power broker and lawyer Vernon E. Jordan Jr., politician and pundit Patrick J. Buchanan, author and columnist Christopher Hitchens and PBS broadcaster Jim Lehrer, among others.

‘Herd mentality’

We trust that Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, will be treated to a more accepting, if not supportive, audience when she participates in a conversation today with Aspen Institute President (and Georgetown resident) Walter Isaacson, part of the 2006 McCloskey Summer Speaker Series being held in the Colorado Rockies.

If you weren’t watching C-SPAN over the weekend, the cable channel aired the Aspen Institute’s recent panel discussion featuring Hollywood heavyweights Norman Lear (“All in the Family”), actor and filmmaker Sydney Pollack (“Tootsie,” “Out of Africa,” “Absence of Malice”), and author and filmmaker Nora Ephron (“Silkwood,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail” and “When Harry Met Sally”).

One thing immediately became clear during this so-called “exchange of ideas”: while Hollywood likes to preach diversity and open-mindedness, it wants little to do with a large chunk of the American population — Republicans and evangelical Christians.

Our three favorite answers (each met with resounding laughter and applause) to questions posed to the panel: If handed a script in which the hero was a conservative Republican, would they make the movie?

Mrs. Ephron?

“I doubt it.”

Do you have friends who are evangelical Christians, or supporters of George W. Bush, or both?

Mrs. Ephron?

“No, I don’t.”

Do any of you know one of the 23 percent of Americans who consider themselves evangelical Christians?

Mrs. Ephron?

“No, and I am not ashamed of it. I just want to say that.”

Portions of the same discussion also were rebroadcast by “The Jerry Doyle Show,” which airs on more than 250 radio stations nationwide, including WTNT 570-AM in Washington from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.

The Talk Radio Network’s Lee Habeeb told Inside the Beltway yesterday: “We had a blast with the sound because Jerry was actually a Hollywood guy — he starred in the cult sci-fi hit ‘Babylon Five,’ and lived the life of the Hollywood star before taking a run at a congressional seat as a Republican.

“So he had some great insights about the herd mentality that prevails in Hollywood. It drove him crazy.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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