Adventures of Hoogrrl!

A person who appears to be ambling aimlessly, but is secretly in search of adventure.

Browsing Posts published in August, 2006

Those crazy punkety rockers are at it again. Their next production will be at the Kennedy Center over Labor Day weekend. Please go see it if you get the chance. (It’s free!) They also got a nice write-up in the Washington Post, AGAIN! You’ll want to get to know them now so someday you can say, “I knew them when they were just starting out.”

“The Phoenix and Turtle”

by William Shakespeare

Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage

September 3rd, 6 pmā€”Free

Company members Marcus Kyd and Erin Mitchell rock one of Shakespeare’s lesser known poems with live music and dance. Join us for the punk resurrection of a requiem. Guest artists include musicians Katy Otto, Erin McCarley, & choreographer Jeffrey Bailey.

From today’s Washington Post by Jane Horwitz:

[Kennedy Center staffer Gregg] Henry says it’s not difficult to discern which companies to invite: “It has to do with what the buzz is in town and what the theater community is talking about.” It was Taffety Punk Theatre’s well-reviewed May production of “Let X” by Gwydion Suilebhan that blipped on his radar this year. Actor Marcus Kyd, a founder of Taffety Punk, is a self-described “aging punk rocker,” as well as a cast member of “Shear Madness” and a graduate of the Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy for Classical Acting. He and the Taffety Punkers want to lend the passion of punk to Shakespeare. They’ll perform “The Phoenix and Turtle,” an allegorical ode to love and constancy, with dance and live music, the text mostly sung. (The name Taffety Punk derives from a phrase in “All’s Well That Ends Well.” It means, according to Kyd, a kind of well-dressed prostitute.)

“There was a wonderful energy that I’ve found in the rock-and-roll scene that I don’t see in the theater,” notes Kyd. “There was such a camaraderie among artists and the people that went to see the artists in the punk scene that I miss.”

I don’t advise anyone to read this who isn’t prepared to bawl his or her eyes out.

Strongest Dad in the World
From Sports Illustrated
By Rick Reilly

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars — all in the same day(doing the Ironman Triathlon). Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing,taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S.on a bike.

Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right? And what has Rick done for his father? Not much — except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. “He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life,”Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old, “Put him in an institution.” But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room.

When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.” “Tell him a joke,”Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!”

And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.” Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”

That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!” And that sentence changed Dick’s life.

He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

“No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?” How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzz kill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 — only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time. “No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.” So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day. That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. “The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”

Here’s the video….


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Steely Dan

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Whenever I tell anyone that Steely Dan is my favorite band, either the person is indifferent or they tell me how much they hate Steely Dan. Some complain of the indecipherable lyrics. Well, gee, sorry you have to think about it a little. Some complain that it sounds like elevator music or smooth jazz. They just don’t understand the complexity of the Dan’s music. I think Steely Dan is fantabulous and the concert we saw at Nissan Pavilion last Sunday with fellow Dan Head Shawn Westfall was amazing. Michael McDonald opened for them–always did like the Doobie Brothers, too. I guess my musical tastes aren’t too hip.

One of the key reasons for buying a scooter was to allow me to wear my cute shoes more often. You see, in the past, whenever I went out anywhere, I typically walked. I like to walk, and I am too cheap to take a cab. However, cute shoes make walking any distance difficult so I always ended up wearing flip flops or comfy shoes, which are not usually attractive. (For example, Chip Lunde calls my beloved Dansko clogs “lesbian shoes,” which equates to “not cute.”) Now, I can wear my scooting shoes (sensible, close-toed shoes for safety) while riding Gidget, and when I arrive at my destination, I change into my cute shoes, which I have conveniently stored in the storage compartment under the seat. In the picture above, I have just changed into my cute shoes and am about to stow my sensible shoes in the seat.

This picture was taken at 21P where our friend Bob Bagnall was celebrating his 50th birthday a couple weeks ago. A friend of his was taking party pictures that night. He told us that he saw us pull up, and even though he didn’t know who we were or that we were there for Bob’s party, he took a picture of us anyway because he thought the scooter was so cool and it was a cool scene.

Allie Savarino (on the right) is some kind of web marketing genius. She got a really cool write-up in the Washington Times (see below) for a website she created called SisterWoman ( This thing could be a huge web presence! Allie has also partnered with some pretty big deal political types on a new web start-up called HotSoup ( It won’t officially launch until October 2006 but you can sign up for updates now. Their mission is very impressive:

HOTSOUP will create a new community of influence among those in government, politics, business and entertainment who make the decisions and those who want to impact them. It will bring the inside world out and the outside world in, and create a richer dialogue and stronger connections among all of these Opinion Drivers.

The other two in the picture are pretty impressive women, too! Wendy Lunde recently left her job at Dreamworks and has been consulting on film projects. She has also been overseeing a complete renovation on her and her husband’s rowhouse and knows more about home construction than anyone should. Mendi Sossaman left her law job at Hogan & Hartson to start her own law firm. She and partner Chris Manning have ambitious plans to expand their business and I have every confidence they’ll succeed.

Article about Allie’s website: provides for female e-bonding
By Kara Rowland

May 22, 2006

“Sex and the City” meets MySpace. That’s how local entrepreneur Allie Savarino describes her latest venture,, a social- networking Web site at which women of all ages are invited to share thoughts, photos and conversations on topics such as parenting, business, television shows and skin care products.

“It’s unthinkable to me that nobody went down this path initially. There’s just something innate to women that they want to share, they want to contribute, they want to stay in touch,” said Ms. Savarino, 34, who was named one of Fast Company magazine’s Fast 50 business leaders last year.

“This audience is so ripe for the Internet,” she said of her targeted demographic of twentysomethings through middle-aged women.

Users of, who may register free of charge but must be at least 21, have the option of limiting their interaction to private groups of friends or forming open “Sister Circles,” where others with similar interests can participate.

The company was a product of friendship: Ms. Savarino met Sally Rodgers, Sisterwoman’s co-founder, while going through a divorce from her husband of three years. Ms. Rodgers was having tough times of her own. With each other’s help, the two women made it through. “My life was being turned upside down, and we shared that experience,” Ms. Savarino said.

The friends identified the need for a site that would allow women to keep in touch with friends at their own pace.

“Almost every woman will tell you, as the demands grow in their life, one of the first things really to go is the time they spend with their girlfriends,” Ms. Savarino said. Sisterwoman “allows for a relationship to exist even when our life gets in the way.”

The site debuted April 19 after nine months of consumer testing. It has attracted 200,000 members, and Ms. Savarino and the rest of the company’s 18-member staff — including former employees from the MTV and E! cable channels — hope to expand that to 1.2 million by the end of the summer. In addition, the company plans to take its offerings to other media, including wireless, television and publishing. Ms. Rodgers said Ms. Savarino’s advertising background has been an asset to the company.
“She not only brings a wealth of experience, but also the steadfast dedication necessary to bring something like this to life,” Ms. Rodgers said.

Ms. Savarino, a former senior vice president at Unicast Communications Corp. in New York, stressed the site’s unique appeal to advertisers, who receive feedback as their products are discussed by users.

“Women are seen today to be the drivers of almost all purchase decisions and outside of the home, so there’s a huge number of advertisers who want to reach those women,” she said.

Ms. Savarino said her company is perfectly suited to her interests.

“The Internet from its infancy was the perfect ‘white board’ for consumer behavior — one that is not dictated by a medium or an advertiser, but one where the consumer is really leaving the bread crumbs to follow,” she said.

“The challenge I’m drawn to is that kind of dance, paying very close attention to what those bread crumbs mean and then creating solutions that leverage technology to best meet them.”

Ms. Savarino lives in Northwest.

I just read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Wowzers! This guy can write. He is a master at building suspense and at creating empathy for all his characters, including the killers. Capote helps readers understand what makes a man commit such horrific violence. And he makes a convincing case for requiring some people to submit an application before they are allowed to bear children.

My talented friend Gwydion Suilebhan wrote a play called Abstract Nude that was performed for the Capitol Fringe Festival last weekend. Besides being very funny, the play was clever and thought-provoking. I was most impressed with Gwydion’s gift for writing dialogue. As an aspiring writer, I find natural-sounding dialogue nearly impossible to write. See below for a flattering review of the play, which is excerpted from a general review of festival events written by a notoriously unenthusiastic theater critic.

A Boffo Buffet With a Little Bit of Everything for Someone
By Peter Marks
August 1, 2006
Page C01

In some cases, of course, you got more than your money’s worth: dextrous theatricality and unexpected pleasure. I happened, for instance, to take in, at noon on Saturday, a staged reading of ‘Abstract Nude,’ a new play by Gwydion Suilebhan, and was bowled over by the suppleness of the writing as well as acting. (Someone needs to pay close attention to this Baltimore-bred, Northwestern-trained playwright, who lives on Capitol Hill.)

The find of the festival, for me, was “Abstract Nude.” Performed only once, at Flashpoint-Mead Theatre Lab, the 70-minute play unfolded as a witty, finely observed glimpse at the ways in which a work of art can be viewed. Moving back in time, Suilebhan’s drama tracks the passing through several hands of a sexually graphic painting. In the process, the lives of a diverse group, from a frustrated wife (Naomi Jacobson) to a dissolute slacker (Josh Thelin), are comically and poignantly revealed.

A staged reading, in which actors typically read from scripts on music stands, is not the best way to see a play. But it’s a great way to hear one, and with a cast this good — in addition to Jacobson and Thelin, top-notch contributions came from Teresa Castracane, Mauricio Alexander, Jen Plants, John Lescault and Jeffrey Bailey — you heard a really strong play.

No doubt the inaugural Capital Fringe Festival brought new people to the theater. At the start of “Star Wars,” for example, when Michael Kyrioglou, Woolly Mammoth’s communications director, asked the audience how many had never been to Woolly before, most of the hands went up.
Still, pumping oxygen into a piece such as “Abstract Nude” may be the most vital service a fringe festival can do. Brienza, the festival director, said that the hope for next summer is to expand the number of performance spaces and offerings even further.

I say, bring it on.

My friend Allison Cohen got some great PR from the Daily Candy for her company Sightline, which provides art consulting services. Basically, she helps people collect art. And she is very good at it. Allison is very knowledgeable about art, but more importantly, she has a remarkable ability to help people identify their own taste and then to identify art that will fit them. Allison also demystifies the process of art collecting and makes fine art feel accessible to the beginning collector. At the same time, she is sophisticated enough about art to service even the most advanced collector.

I first met her a couple summers ago at Sightline’s launch party at Palette. I happened to be at a competing happy hour at the same bar and noticed there was free food in the next room. I snuck over to mooch some chicken satay and crab cakes, but when I learned what Allison was doing, I immediately made an appointment with her to talk about buying and promoting art. We have since collaborated on art-related ventures and she has found some amazing contemporary art for our growing collection.

Daily Candy:

After weeks of excruciating waiting, my little pink Buddy finally arrived. I’ve named her Gidget, an homage to its vivid hue and to surfing, of course. It’s been so much fun and convenient to drive around town and SO easy to park, which is the main reason why I got her. I just pull up on the sidewalk in front of wherever I am going and lock the wheel. Haven’t used the chain much because it is unwieldy. I figure I have theft insurance so might as well not worry. Plus I figure it’s usually men who are going to steal scooters and men are less likely to steal a pink scooter. And a pink scooter would stick out more if the thief ever wanted to use the scooter.

I’ve also taken my first passenger for a ride. I managed it alright but what a difference it was to haul an extra 170 pounds on the back. Accelerating from a complete stop was more difficult and turns were a little trickier, but I got the hang of it after a couple rides.

The one thing that I did not expect is how much attention I would get while riding around on the scooter. I knew it would turn heads. Why else would I buy a scooter in such a color? Dave calls it the Barbie Scooter. It has also been likened to bubble gum, cotton candy, and pepto bismol. But I had no idea that it would get such an overwhelming response!

At stoplights, people roll down their windows to ask me questions about the scooter. As I am driving down the street, people wave and point and smile and shout things like, “Cute scooter” or “How much does it cost?!” or “I like your scooter!” Today, a middle-aged, balding white guy sweating in his long-sleeved button-down shirt and tie exclaimed, “Cute scooter!” A younger guy on a creme colored Piaggio (boring) pulled up next to me at a stoplight and asked me all kinds of questions before the light turned green. A few nights ago, I parked her outside Al Crostino, where I was meeting Alissa and Sara for dinner. While we were waiting for our table, we had to sit in the window seat and were able to watch people stop and admire Gidget as they walked by. Several people I know have texted or emailed me to let me know they saw a vision in pink whiz by and they figured it was me. So far, I haven’t seen another one like it so it’s likely to be me. She’s a head turner alright.