By Betsy Rothstein - 04/10/07 07:30 PM EDT
Dan Berger, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, was dining with Erik Gustafson, a lobbyist with the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, last week at the Blue Duck Tavern when who should walk in but Iggy Pop, who was in town to perform with the newly reunited Stooges at the 9:30 Club.
Gustafson, a diehard fan who had tickets for the concert anyway, really couldn’t contain himself — i.e., to ignore was not an option.
“I excused myself from the table and said, ‘Look, this is going to be embarrassing for you and me but this is my chance.’”
With that, he approached. “I introduced myself like some psycho groupie,” Gustafson explained. “I said, ‘Iggy, dude, I gotta say hi.’ He was very gracious, shook my hand. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome of about 30 seconds. ”
Such interactions can have payoffs. “We saw him live last night,” said Gustafson. “[He] stage-dived on me twice.” (Not to mention the fact that Iggy and the Stooges let Berger, Gustafson and their wives attend the concert free.)
But this was no ordinary stage-dive. Iggy Pop is allegedly the father of the move, Gustafson explains, saying, “We just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
After Iggy left the restaurant, Gustafson, Berger and Berger’s political action committee director, Erica Anderson, hung out with the rest of the Stooges — Scott and Ron Asheton (drums and guitar, respectively), Mike Watt (bass) and Steve MacKay (saxophone) — for three hours.
“It was a blast to hang out with one of the best punk bands of my generation,” said Berger. “And to talk music and politics with the entire band until the bar closed was fantastic. The icing on the cake was them putting us and our wives on their VIP list and then seeing them live the next night. Great way to spend a couple of Easter-recess evenings.”
Some of the talk turned political, and the lobbyists learned that the Asheton brothers are Republican. “I was joking with them they ought to play the Republican Convention like Kid Rock did,” said Gustafson.
Added Berger, “And get this, they are very intelligent, knowledgeable about world issues and Republicans.”
Iggy’s political status, however, is unknown. “Iggy’s a legend,” reported Gustafson. “The guy who discovered stage-diving doesn’t need a political party.”
The Grooming Lounge makes over presidential candidates
The presidential hopefuls were non-committal in reaction to reports this week that the Grooming Lounge, a downtown D.C. men’s spa, wants to give them all makeovers.
Lounge owners Mike Gilman and Pirooz Sarshar have fantasized about how they’d like the candidates to look. Here are their tips:
John McCain: “At 72, [he’d] be our oldest president ever and needs to play up his youthful spirit and good health to be seriously considered by voters,” says Gilman. Tips: Sarshar recommends a goatee, skipping the tie and wearing his top shirt button undone with the sleeves rolled up with khaki pants.
Barack Obama: Gilman says the youngest candidate needs to “exude wisdom” well beyond his 42 years. Tips: “Wear glasses full-time and if he dyes his hair, stop and let some grays show through.”
Rudy Giuliani: The Lounge is concerned with the former mayor’s morals ever since Giuliani’s son came forward with his problems with his dad. Tips: Grow a beard and don sweaters for an enhanced father-figure image.
Hillary Clinton: The Lounge’s owners worry that Bill Clinton may soon overshadow Hillary on the trail. Tips: Rather than change Hillary’s appearance, the Lounge gurus suggest that Bill tone down his appearance with a new close-cut hairdo and more neutral-colored clothing.
Giuliani’s campaign declined to comment. The other campaigns did not respond to requests for comment by ITK press time.
Sighting: Stephanopoulos and Ickes in Dupont
Was it a chance encounter or an important meeting of ex-Clintonistas al fresco? Last week George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week,” and Harold Ickes were seen chatting on the street at 18th and Connecticut. Stephanopoulos, who formerly served as President Clinton’s spokesman, was in a dark suit while Ickes, President Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff and currently a strategist for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign, was in a serious-looking tan trench coat.
‘Peacemaker’ video game a big hit for Rep. John Lewis
Those aides looking for geeky fun over the recess can pass the time with “Peacemaker,” a video game that allows the player to navigate the peace process by becoming either the Israeli prime minister or the Palestinian president.
The player’s ultimate goal is to create virtual peace and win the Nobel Peace Prize.
The company that created the game is ImpactGames, formed by Asi Burak and Eric Brown while they were graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University. “The idea was to develop games that would affect social and political causes,” said Burak. Notes Brown, “The goal was to make a video game about current events that had a positive message.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) caught on to the game via his spokeswoman, Brenda Jones, who attended an event put on by ImpactGames and showed her boss a copy. “She was very excited,” said Burak, who added, “We didn’t design the game for politicians but we feel it’s a fresh design in dealing with current events. It’s actually a tool, a game that gives normal people a chance to feel what it is like to make the tough decisions that a politician makes.”
Word is still out on whether Lewis won the virtual Nobel Peace Prize. Jones did not return ITK e-mail requests on the matter.
The game, which has been used at the Navy War College, actually sounds kind of cool. Each leader has a different set of available tools. The player responds directly to events such as loss of life or a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Options can be calling in the Air Force, giving a speech or listening.
“What you learn is some groups will approve and some won’t, even violently so,” said Burak.
And if you lose?
The outcome can be dire — as in, say, civil war.
To purchase the game, visit peacemakergame.com. The cost: $20.
Fourth annual testicle festival
No, you aren’t seeing things. It’s a testicle festival, and it happens annually in the Washington area. The food of the hour is Rocky Mountain Oysters (the culinary nomenclature for bull or boar testicles), a Montana delicacy.
And they call this a party.
The cover charge for the April 28 event is $15 and includes beer, bourbon soda and the “oysters.” The Will Gravatt Band will provide country music. The locale is the Arlington American Legion, 3445 Washington Blvd.
The event, sponsored by the Montana State Society, is appropriately organized by Montana transplants living in the nation’s capital.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (get it?).