- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Beginning July 7, blondes will have more fun, on TV anyway. After weeks of breathless speculation, we can confirm that “Blonde Charity Mafia,” the reality TV show chronicling the lives of three twenty-somethings in Washington society, will debut on CW and run through early August.

Court is in session

Monday night, Washington was Shakespeare’s Illyria of “Twelfth Night” fame, as the Shakespeare Theater Company hosted its annual mock trial, this year pitting Malvolio against Countess Olivia in a harassment case.

The back story: In the play, Malvolio, a servant to Olivia, is having trouble in the Elizabethan workplace. His colleagues at court, with whom he’s not getting along, play a practical joke on him that results in his being locked away. After the Countess becomes aware of the underhanded ploy by her courtiers, she promises Malvolio that she will make things right by him.

There ends Shakespeare’s play, but … it seems Malvolio eventually went on to sue Olivia and was awarded $10 million in punitive damages for infliction of emotional distress. The Countess appeals the verdict — after all, it wasn’t she who perpetrated the ruse — and that’s where the trial begins.

The case was heard by Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, and Stephen Breyer.

Malvolio was represented by former Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clements and Olivia by appellate litigator and anti-trust lawyer Roy Englert.

Reached as he prepared for the trial, Mr. Clements told G2 he is doing his work pro bono, but thinks the trial will be “good fun.”

“I read the play in high school or college, or maybe both,” he said.

Mr. Englert said that when the Lawyers Committee for the Shakespeare Theatre asked him to participate, he jumped at the chance because “Twelfth Night” “has always been my favorite comedy.”

His tragedy of choice? “Not a very original answer, but ‘Hamlet.’”

Sayonara, Social Safeway

Just when were working on your tan and dusting off your spring shorts, Georgetown’s Social Safeway goes and closes on us. Green and Glover has confirmed that THE place to pick up groceries and be picked up in the process will be under renovation for eighteen months starting April 25.

What are DC singletons to do? Can the Whole Foods in Glover Park or perhaps the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan suffice for the next year and a half?

Send us your choice for a worthy successor to the Social Safeway at [email protected]

In like Flynn

“Dancing With the Stars” runner-up John O’Hurley is in town as Billy Flynn in the Tony Award-winning musical “Chicago” at the National Theatre.

“The smarmy lawyer part was perfect for me,” he said. “And he’s Irish too.”

When Mr. O’Hurley isn’t giving theater audiences the old “razzle-dazzle,” he’s promoting renewable energy through his company Energy-Inc. He told us he wants to explore innovative ways of recycling trash and landfills, and he said some of his company’s solutions “the EPA was not even aware of.”

Mr. O’Hurley said Rep. David Dreier, California Republican, has been his best supporter on the Hill.

Next up for the entrepreneurial actor is another “leading man part” — in “Spamalot,” which opens later this month in Alaska. While there, the former “Seinfeld” regular plans to meet with Gov. Sarah Palin, who could perhaps use the services of a master press manipulator like Billy Flynn.

Brokaw defends MSNBC’s leftward lurch

The red carpet was rolled out Thursday night at Pepco’s Edison Place Gallery for the opening of “Character Project,” an exhibit featuring 11 photographers’ perspectives on the character of America presented by USA Networks.

The exhibit, showcasing 125 portraits from the coffeetable book “American Character: A Photographic Journey,” is on a seven-city tour which began in New York on March 12th, and will travel to Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles.

Tom Brokaw wrote the foreword for the volume and hosted the event. “I’ve been a longtime fan of photography, and you don’t see a lot of documentary photography these days,” said the former NBC Nightly News anchor.

USA Networks is part of NBC Universal Television, which also owns NBC. Asked if he was concerned about sister channel MSNBC’s leftward lurch eroding NBC’s brand, Mr. Brokaw shook his head. “No,” he said. “The audience sorts all that out. The political commentary of Rachel, Keith and, to a lesser degree, Chris Matthews is clearly identified.”

Adrien Brody’s mother, Sylvia Plachy, was one of the exhibiting photographers. Her photographs taken during a trip through the South were on display, as was her son, who won an Oscar for his 2002 performance in Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist.”

Having immigrated to the United States from Hungary, Ms. Plachy is drawn to the South because it reminds her of Eastern Europe. “The South had a difficult time after the Civil War, since they felt like they’d lost their independence,” she said. “They have an affection for holding on to tradition and a deep appreciation for history.”

Also spotted at the event at the event: Dule Hill, Dominique Dawes, Tatyana Ali, and Luke Russert.

To contact Stephanie Green and Elizabeth Glover with a tip or to request event coverage, please e-mail [email protected]

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