By R. Lawrence Butler - 08/16/06 12:00 AM EDT
D.C. lobbyist to sell art in Soho’s agora gallery
Dan Berger, senior vice president of Government Affairs National Association of Federal Credit Unions, is moving up in the world these days, specifically the art world of Soho at the Agora Gallery, where he has been invited to show his paintings in the late fall. The gallery owner has valued some of his work at $3,000 per piece.
In an effort to learn more about this lobbyist-by-day, artist-by-night, ITK offers a brief Q and A with the artist.
ITK: When do you find time to paint?
Berger: “On the rare occasion that I’m in town, I paint on the weekends, usually with my [2 -and -a half- year -old] daughter Shelby and with ESPN SportsCenter on, blaring in the background.”
ITK: You never expected all this did you?
Berger: “I am as shocked as anybody by the attention my art has received, it’s humbling. And quite frankly, it has been a lot of fun. It has created some cool opportunities for me and my family that probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”
ITK: This whole thing started because you were just giving gifts to friends and family …
Berger: “I would give them away as gifts for special occasions like weddings or the birth of a child, stuff like that. But I think it really all kind of started when I was asked by close friends to donate pieces to silent auctions of various charities, like the Credit Union Miracle Day.”
ITK: Who are your greatest artistic influences?
Berger: Shelby is my muse, but I really respect the modern abstract masters, artists like Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, and Clyfford Still. Like them, I have a tendency to enjoy painting on large canvasses with lots of layers, colors, and texture. I find it relaxing.”
ITK: What do your friends say about your part-time profession?
Berger: “Ben McKay [lobbyist for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America] literally walked out of my house with one of my paintings. Just walked out. Went into my studio, picked up a painting, tucked it under his arm, and walked out. Unbelievable.”
McKay confirmed the theft: “It was an American flag painting in 3-D and I wanted it. I figured that he owed me for being his life-long friend or helping him move a few times, including tossing his 2-ton couch off his 3rd story balcony. Besides, it is an excellent piece and I knew someone with more money than me would buy it if I didn’t take it when I did.”
When the cats are away, the mice will play
In response to ITK’s question last week concerning how aides are spending (or wasting) time during the recess, one female Republican aide wrote in to say:
“I’ve heard August is a great time to take advantage of your male intern muscle and have them do things like assemble the furniture that has been sitting in your apartment for months.”
The aide said that some office interns were sent to assemble a “high end” black armoire from Target at another aide’s apartment. They were rewarded handsomely for their services with a free lunch at Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon.
Bo Derek: a perfect 10 for new Fox-inspired network
Bo Derek has long been a Washington darling – especially among conservatives around the Washington Beltway. And Fox has taken note by putting her on the face of a new TV network to launch in September called MyNetworkTV. Locally it will be called My20TV (Channel 20). Some of the stars of this new network will include Derek, along with fellow actors Morgan Fairchild and Tatum O’Neal.
Derek and other stars will be on hand at Fox’s launch party set for Aug. 30.
Derek has been romantically linked to Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.). There have been also rumors that Derek dated White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, but Bolten has just said they are friends. Derek accompanied Bolten at this year’s Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner.
Singer Kelly Clarkson to jam in Cannon Caucus Room
Be on the lookout. Two-time Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson will headline a day of music advocacy called Grammy’s on the Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 6 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Events include a recording session with Clarkson and members of Congress and an evening awards gala honoring the singer, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.).
The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., is sponsoring the event. The purpose of Grammy’s on the Hill is to connect top recording artists and songwriters with lawmakers. To that end, Clarkson plans to “jam” with members of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus in a recording studio to be set up in the Cannon Caucus Room.
The evening gala will take place in a ballroom at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel where the lawmakers and Clarkson will be honored.