Mr. Potter Goes to Washington

January 13, 2011

Friday, November 19. 12:02 a.m.

Harry! Harry! Harry!

Yes, for those of you who missed it somehow amid minor distractions like the persistently faltering economy, overpriced coffee, and the possible end of your mortgage deduction, last night at exactly 12:01 a.m., the last but one installment of the Harry Potter blockbuster-novel-turned-blockbuster- movie franchise hit all 14 screens at the Georgetown Loews Cineplex.

Well, to be exact, it hit at 12:19 because there are 18 minutes of previews at the start of the two hour and 40 minute runtime.

“All Things Media” couldn’t let the biggest media happening of the year happen without some kind of… thing.

So filing this under the “we stayed up so you didn’t have to” (with apologies for malaproping the Post’s tv columnist’s favorite line), the entire staff of All Things Media gallantly waded into the crowds lining K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway.

It was to be mayhem. Dancing in the street. Quiddich on K. I unfortunately am young enough to remember the original Rocky Horror Picture Show. And to have at least seen the footage of the Beatles at Shea Stadium.

So there was to be pandemonium at 11:30 between Wisconsin and 31.

Nope. Nothing. No crowds. No dancing. No broomsticks.

“Sorry, we started letting them in around 8:30, said a cinema employee, let’s call him “Mr. we can’t speak officially, you will have call headquarters No. 1.”

“It would have been too much. 3,000 people in 14 screens. And we have another showing at 3.30am.” How is that one doing, I asked. “Just sold out one, got another filling and we will keep opening as they come.”

But what about the dancing in the street? the crowds? My story?

“Sorry. They started lining up around 5:30pm.” said No.1, “But you are welcome to hang out if you want. This is about as much mayhem as we will get.”

Mayhem indeed ensued. It is tough to keep a large popcorn and two sodas balanced when someone eight inches shorter than you is drawing a mascara Potter scar on your forehead. There was indeed one sighting of a broom and a dressing gown, but the lone wearer looked like he was regretting his one-man effort to get into the spirit.

“The biggest issue for us is keeping up with the popcorn,” said “Mr. we can’t speak officially, you will have call headquarters No. 2.”, before trying to defer my questions to higher authority.

Now, if you had some house elves…problem solved.

Instead it was just college kids, a smattering of high schoolers and one or two adults who were bringing the ones they did not trust out alone. All far too orderly. Something of which the minister of magic would have approved (for those unread of All Things Potter, that is not a good thing).

Upon leaving, there was one last glimmer of hope. Or ember, I should say. Two college students were smoking on a bench as time wore down to H-Hour (as in Harry Hour). Were they so determined to get into the spirit that they came without tickets just to be there?

“Nah. We are about to head in. Didn’t feel like fighting the crowds.”

Reading Tea Leaves at TBD

The announcement of Jim Brady’s departure from TBD is not just the old “different direction” story. It is akin to Roger Ailes leaving FOX, Aaron Sorkin leaving the West Wing, or Steve Jobs leaving Apple. TBD, Brady’s visionary idea for the next great media thing, was a truly online local news organization that leveraged all those much-ballyhooed elements of new media — blogs, linking, social media etc. It really was a different concept.

Brady was not just the head of TBD but its guiding light. Previously the online editor for the Washington Post, he made his reputation by nurturing the old media dinosaur into a viable new media incarnation but moved on when new management took a left instead of the right he was trying to steer. Brady is an unrecognized pioneer of modern media.

Then Robert Albritton, backer of Politico and arguably the most imaginative and inventive media executive working in the American media business, had the foresight and brilliance to buy into Brady’s idea for TBD about two years ago, putting his money where everybody else’s mouth is.

So here is what rings hollow about Brady’s departure. Brady was said to be a technology guy, while Albritton wanted to focus on content generation.

But Brady actually is that rarest of beings: the content guy who is equally as comfortable with its technology. Was it simply a personality conflict, a financial equation, or Albritton’s looking for a right when Brady was going left? Was it literally a rejection of Brady’s vision by the paymaster? It’s all possible
and just business.

But I would suggest that this is now a critical moment for the new TBD idea, which was a truly new concept in online-driven, locally focused journalism in a sustainable form. Just as Politico is the personification
of its leaders John Harris and Jim VandeHei, TBD was Jim Brady. Albritton seems more than committed to growing his newest adventure, but TBD runs the risk of so many other new media incarnations today: To start with a promise and an idea but evolve into something not much different from traditional legacy media, just with fewer unions for bosses to worry about.

Washington Wizards Defeat Philadelphia 76ers 116-114 In OT Thriller

December 1, 2010

The Washington Wizards came back from a 15 point fourth-quarter deficit and defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in an overtime thriller at the Verizon Center in Washington DC on November 23, 2010.
See our slideshow of exclusive action photos of the game. (All photos by Jeff Malet / [gallery ids="99563,104709,104714,104719,104724,104729,104734,104739,104744,104749,104754,104759,104764,104769,104774,104779,104704,104699,104694,104800,104796,104639,104792,104788,104644,104649,104654,104659,104664,104669,104674,104679,104684,104689,104784" nav="thumbs"]

Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery – Photo Gallery

November 19, 2010

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces. (All photos by Jeff Malet [gallery ids="99521,99535,99536,99537,99538,99539,99540,99541,99542,99543,99544,99534,99533,99532,99522,99523,99524,99525,99526,99527,99528,99529,99530,99531,99545" nav="thumbs"]

NBA: Wizards vs. Cavs photo slideshow

November 12, 2010

Gilbert Arenas made his first regular season appearance at the Verizon Center as the Wizards battled the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday Nov. 6, 2010. The Wizards led 95-93 with 3 minutes 16 seconds left, but ended on the short end of a 107-102 score before an announced crowd of 14,442. Al Thornton led the Wizards scoring with 23 points. Mo Williams of the Cavs led all scoring with 28 points. (All photos by Jeff Malet [gallery ids="99495,99509,99510,99511,99512,99513,99514,99515,99516,99517,99518,99508,99507,99506,99496,99497,99498,99499,99500,99501,99502,99503,99504,99505,99519" nav="thumbs"]