Heard on the Hill

Ugly Gerry wants you to know the ‘ugly’ truth about gerrymandering
Two guys in Chicago are drawing their weapons in D.C. politics

Gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as the court prepares to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ben Doessel is “not a huge picture guy,” he told me when I asked if he had any photos with his creative partner — and the other guy behind Ugly Gerry — James Lee.

But pictures of oddly-shaped congressional districts? He has twenty-six of those.

Tearing up the rules with puppets and Hendrix: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of July 29, 2019

Chairman Lindsey Graham waits for the start of a Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the Secure and Protect Act of 2019 on August 1, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators made their exit from D.C. for the August recess this week, but not before tearing up the Senate Judiciary Committee rulebook, making carpe diem puns and dressing up in matching outfits.

Watch: Staffers leap from the Hill to the improv stage
Heard on the Hill crashes improv rehearsal with a few staffers

Sam Schifrin and Geoff Corey, center, dive into an improv scene on Monday. Washington Improv Theater Executive Director Mark Chalfant is seen at right. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Why D.C. isn’t too uptight for improv
From the Capitol to K Street, staffers are saying ‘yes, and…’

Sam Schifrin and Geoff Corey, center, dive into an improv scene on Monday. Washington Improv Theater Executive Director Mark Chalfant is seen at right. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

Inside a bare room with concrete walls, they walk toward each other and lock eyes. “Johnny!” one shouts. “Stacy — did it happen?” the other responds.

Neither has any idea what they’re talking about, but that’s OK. This is improv, where uncertainty is a feature, not a bug.

‘Can’t get into that’: Mueller’s testimony was too hot to handle — Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of July 22, 2019

Rep. Mark Meadows takes a photo with his phone as former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Kathleen Rice assists former Knicks player Enes Kanter
Kanter says he canceled youth summer camp in Long Island because of threats from Turkish consulate

New York Rep. Kathleen Rice is helping NBA player Enes Kanter find a new spot for his basketball camp. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, 4:45 p.m. | Former Knicks player Enes Kanter has moved his youth basketball camp to Island Garden Basketball, an indoor arena in New York, according to his manager

The new Boston Celtics center had canceled a free camp at the Islamic Center of Long Island ahead of this weekend after threats from the Turkish consulate in New York, Kanter said.

The Eastern is one more reason to ‘wine’ about August recess
Does the world need another wine bar? No, but the Hill does

Bar manager and sommelier Daphne McDermott preps for the opening of the Eastern, a new wine bar in Eastern Market. (Kathryn Lyons/CQ Roll Call)

The Eastern — a new wine bar not-so-creatively named after its digs in the Eastern Market neighborhood — is set to open July 30, just in time for Hill staffers to sneak out of August workdays a little early to snag a deal at happy hour. 

“Midcentury modern” is the vibe, with a large front window that lights gold accents and deep green walls. The Eastern might offer a different atmosphere than its whiskey-soaked sister bar, Barrel, just across the street, but owners Matthew Weiss and Mike Schuster insist they want the mood to be “unpretentious and fun.”

Dark spirits were at play in Congress this week: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of July 15, 2019

A thunderstorm passes over the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“This has been a difficult and contentious week, in which darker spirits seem to have been at play,” said House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy during a long and stressful week on the Hill, which saw controversial tweets, members fearing Facebook and a House member straight up ditching his post on the House floor.

Rep. Will Hurd ‘honored’ to shave constituent’s head
Lisa Sanders, who lost her daughter in 2007 to a brain tumor, ‘braved the shave’ for cancer research fundraiser

Rep. Will Hurd shaves Lisa Sanders' head at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research on Tuesday. (Courtesy St. Baldrick's Foundation)

Rep. Will Hurd helped a hometown hero “brave the shave” Tuesday at a fundraiser for childhood cancer research.

The Texas Republican shaved the head of Lisa Sanders from Helotes, Texas, at a “46 Mommas” event hosted by St. Baldrick's Foundation — a volunteer- and donor-powered charity focused on curing childhood cancer, according to its website.

L for loser, a real clap and a gentle gavel: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of July 8, 2019

Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., conduct a House Judiciary Committee markup up in Rayburn Building on a resolution to authorize subpoenas related to the Trump administration on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)