Journalists were warned repeatedly to look but don’t talk to actor Alec Baldwin at 701 restaurant on Monday night. Baldwin was in town to introduce his good friend, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who earlier that evening gave an impassioned speech on the importance of culture at the Kennedy Center’s 27th annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on arts and public policy.

Actor Alec Baldwin in Washington on Monday night. (Photo by Helena Andrews)
Actor Alec Baldwin in Washington on Monday night. (Photo by Helena Andrews)

When the press releases went out the special instructions were crystal clear: “Please note that Alec Baldwin will not be taking any questions from the media. However, he is available for photos.” Then there was the reminder a week later, “Again, just want to let you know that Alec Baldwin is available for photo opportunities but he will not be taking any questions.”

And just in case some poor unfortunate scribe didn’t get the hint, at the actual reception we were reminded yet again. Okay, got it. Baldwin, who famously gave his “public life” the kiss off in an epic New York magazine “as told to” in February, doesn’t do interviews. Alright already. But what about selfies?

“I’m so happy that you’re back in public life,” said Dowd after Baldwin introduced her to a sold-out crowd in the Kennedy Center’s concert hall, “even if it’s only for tonight.” She then joked that while Baldwin, a huge supporter of the arts, was in town he should try to take on Republicans Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan.

“The only arts they’re into are the dark arts.”

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