Hooray for Hollywood (D.C.-style)

Posted May 7, 2003 at 6:24pm

The critics are raving: “Loving and lovely”

— The New York Times.

“A little film masterpiece” — San Francisco Chronicle.

“As exciting as the best of fiction” — Denver Post.

The object of their affection? “Stone Reader,” a new film opening Friday at Washington’s refurbished Avalon Theater on Connecticut Avenue Northwest. The filmmaker: Democratic ad man Mark Moskowitz.

In “Stone Reader,” Moskowitz, who works for The Campaign Group, a leading Democratic media firm, traces his attempts to track down novelist Dow Mossman as he crisscrosses the country filming political ads. Mossman, author of the highly acclaimed novel “The Stones

of Summer,” essentially disappeared from

the face of the earth after the book was published 31 years ago.

A special premiere of “Stone Reader” is scheduled for 7:30 tonight at the Avalon. Moskowitz will be on hand to answer questions, and a reception will follow in the theater lobby.

If any politicians show up, they won’t be the first to see the film: Moskowitz has already screened the movie for Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and former first lady Barbara Bush.

Chico and the Woman. Former Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico, one of the myriad Democratic contenders for retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald’s (D-Ill.) seat, has tapped an Illinois native to be his field director.

Lindsey Marcus joins the Chico campaign after a stint as campaign manager for former Clinton administration trade official Ira Shapiro, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination last year in Maryland’s 8th district. Marcus has also worked as an international trade and public policy consultant and as a foreign affairs officer at the State Department.

Coincidentally, Marcus is the second campaign manager for an unsuccessful 2002 Democratic candidate in Maryland’s 8th district to sign on with an Illinois Senate campaign. Mike Henry, former manager to then-state Del. Mark Shriver (D), is now campaign manager for businessman Blair Hull (D).

Both Shapiro and Shriver finished behind now-Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) in the 8th district primary last September.

Boomer. A veteran of Connecticut and D.C. politics has taken a job as the $85,000-a-year special assistant to Connecticut Gov. John Rowland (R).

David Boomer, who served as Rowland’s legislative aide and press secretary for six years when Rowland was in the House, will work on a variety of issues in Hartford, including economic development and education. He and Rowland have known each other since the early 1980s, when Rowland was a state legislator and Boomer was a press aide to House Republicans.

Last year, Boomer was campaign manager to Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), who won a tough Member-vs.-Member contest against then-Rep. Jim Maloney (D).

Target: Victory. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a political action committee that works to elect openly gay and lesbian candidates, has hired Mark Spengler as director of development and senior strategist.

Spengler worked at the Democratic National Committee in various capacities and was an aide to then-Rep. Pat Williams (D-Mont.). He spent the past year living in Germany and working as a consultant for several clients, including — from 3,000 miles away — the Vermont Democratic Party.

Since its founding in 1991, the Victory Fund has raised $3.5 million for gay and lesbian candidates and has conducted polls and schooled its candidates on the political process. There are 244 openly gay, lesbian and bisexual elected officials in the United States.

Christian Charity. The new campaign manager for a long-shot GOP Senate candidate in New York has a history with long shots.

Christian Winthrop, campaign manager for 33-year-old candidate Michael Benjamin, was campaign manager last year to former Navy SEAL Dave Rogers (R), who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.).

Benjamin, who works in the financial services industry and runs a nonprofit volunteer organization, is the only Republican to have officially entered the race to challenge Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) next year. Benjamin was the GOP nominee against Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in 1996.

First in the Nation. By now you may have read that the Museum of New Hampshire History in Concord has just opened an exhibit dedicated to the state’s vaunted first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What you may not have known — unless you got one of its news releases — is that the museum is trying to attract journalists to the exhibit, not just by touting how interesting it is, but by boasting of the great visuals for TV reports and still cameras.

The exhibit, chock full of memorabilia, portrays the thrill of victory and the agony of the feet: Dwight Eisenhower waving from an open car in Concord, John F. Kennedy greeting voters at a dog-sled race in Laconia, and Mario Cuomo announcing he will not be a candidate in 1988.

From a museum news release:

“The TOP Five Reasons to report on, or from, the Primary Exhibit:

“1. You can gather background on the New Hampshire Primary.

“2. The exhibit offers great visuals for B-roll or establishing shots.

“3. The museum’s exhibit space also serves as a quiet, visually interesting place for live remote stand-ups while in New Hampshire.

“4. You could use this space to interview candidates — Kerry contrasted with Kennedy? Dean with McGovern?

“5. Primary historians and representatives from the New Hampshire Political Library will be available for interviews and questions — just let us know when you need them.”

Now that’s what we call savvy PR.