Kennedy Among VIPs Honoring Jones

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, September 6, 2007

Maybe this is what we've needed to start the healing in these bitterly partisan times: Ted Kennedy singing "We Are the World." To wrap up last night's "Grammys on the Hill" music industry shindig at the Willard Hotel, country singer John Rich called the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts up to the stage -- along with Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Ray Benson (the tall dude from "Asleep at the Wheel") and other VIPs -- to sing along on the tribute to Quincy Jones. The super-producer paid his own joking tribute to Kennedy while accepting an award earlier in the evening. Marveling at some of the officials who've been in D.C. "for 50 years," he added, "I've had hangovers longer than that. So has Ted."

Reel Thrills in the Neighborhood

Ka-BOOM! The autumn Hollywood-in-D.C. season kicked off with some righteous pyrotechnics yesterday as director Ridley Scott set off a bomb at Eastern Market -- the first day of three weeks of local shooting for the spy thriller "Body of Lies," starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Despite stern warnings to keep quiet, the crowd of some 100 gawkers burst into applause as a sedan erupted in a magnificent fireball and flipped on its side. But hey, if some ordinary law-abiding Washingtonians can't enjoy a little fake car-bombing on a beautiful day, then maybe the terrorists really have won.

The spy thriller is based on the novel by our colleague David Ignatius, and far from being another of those annoying movies in which Toronto plays Washington, this is a movie in which Washington stands in for Amsterdam, the historic Capitol Hill marketplace dolled up with lots of bikes, cars with Netherlands license plates, Dutch signs on all the facades.

"You come to a location, you try to shoot what you can shoot," a set publicist told us. "Ridley Scott is very much a visualist, and the market's got a European look about it." He added: "It also saves us a lot of money." So it is that, while some parts of D.C. will play D.C., other parts of D.C. will play Berlin (seriously!), while Baltimore will stand in for Munich.

Highlights from the day: Director Scott in white pants (after Labor Day!) . . . The poor extras wearing winter clothes in 90-degree heat, the better to convey that Amsterdam chill . . . The endless rehearsals for the car-bomb shot, a crew member shouting "bang!" and everyone pretending to be startled.

Needless to say, the explosions and the bright lights got everyone really revved, leading to all kinds of crazy talk in the neighborhood.

False rumor #1: That the reason the Orange Line wouldn't stop at Eastern Market on Tuesday night had something to do with the movie shoot. No, say Metro officials -- it was a real-life suspicious-package alert that was cleared up in a couple of minutes, absolutely no connection to the movie shoot.

False rumor #2: All those folks who told you their best friend's co-worker saw Leo -- no, sorry, folks, he wasn't in town yet. But he will be. Oh, yes, he will. And Russell as well. You know where to send your sightings:

No, Really, She Has an Injured Arm

Sometimes a pinched nerve really is just a pinched nerve. Laura Bush's decision to stay home from this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Australia on doctor's orders caused speculation that it was a cover story to explain why she wasn't with President Bush on Monday's secret trip to Iraq. But the first lady said she's not faking it.

"You can see me holding my arm," she told reporters yesterday who asked if the injury was an excuse to keep her safely out of the war zone. "No, it wasn't a trick," she insisted. Her doctors advised her not to travel overseas to avoid complications; this is the first time she's skipped a major trip since injuring the nerve while hiking in April.

Without the first lady at his side, the president is escorting his office wife -- Condi Rice-- to official events. At last night's dinner hosted by Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney, the president posed with Rice and told photographers, "She can be my date."


Princess Diana wore this baby blue dress to Cannes in 1987 and to the theater in 1989.
Princess Diana wore this baby blue dress to Cannes in 1987 and to the theater in 1989.(Karolina Wojtasik)
Turns out even the biggest Princess Di fans have limits. The 10th anniversary of Di's death generated plenty of tributes, but not one bid for her pale blue designer gown auctioned on eBay. Though the site got thousands of gawkers, no one was willing to pay the $125,000 minimum for the Catherine Walker dress - so WE tv (the cable network that bought the gown in 1997) donated that amount to America's Promise Alliance, Colin Powell's Arlington-based charity slated to receive all proceeds from the auction. 

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