The Reliable Source Live

Mar 19, 2014

Washington Post columnists Helena Andrews and Emily Heil were online to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to

Past Reliable Source chats

Howdy chatters! Let’s dive right in – there’s plenty of dish. To refresh your memories, here’s some of our posts from the week:


White House pastry chef Bill Yosses leaving

Savannah Guthrie, Michael Feldman baby news kept under wraps

Flew in from LAX yesterday and she was on my flight. Any idea what brought her to DC?

The "Red 2" star is an army brat, born on Fort Jackson in South Carolina. But although she's not a Washingtonian by birth, Mary Louise Parker loves the District and has been coming here since she was kid. No word on whether she was here supporting a cause, lobbying the Hill or just checking out the scenery. But we do know that her favorite spots in the city are the FDR memorial and the rooftop at the Hay Adams hotel. 

Who is the guy Svannah Guthrie got married to last week? Mike Feldman? Never heard of him.

He's very much an inside-the-Beltway creature, and a pretty well known quantity on the cable TV-Hill-official Washington set. 

He started out as a Gore guy, then founded the Glover Park Group with fellow Gore-ite Carter Eskew and former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart. You can catch him doing the "Democratic consultant" talking head thing on cable news. He and Guthrie met cute at a DC party, and the rest is...history?  

I'm not sure I'd pay 4.5 million to be the VEEP neighbor. But it doesn't seem like a lot.

We're told the interior of the house "needs updating" which is real estate code for "call your contractor!"

The lack of fancypants updates is probably because it's been owned by the same family for over 50 years.  Also, there's no pool, which in that nabe (and with that much land) is kind of a travesty. 

Gosh do we really need another RHODC? Didn't Bravo learn anything from that first debacle?

Tv producers CANNOT get enough of the District. The fact that the Washington outpost of the Real Housewives franchise was canceled after its debut season, a first for the series, hasn't stopped networks from sniffing around the city for more unscripted story lines. We know of more than a few power brokers this latest show (rumored to be backed by Bravo) has reached out to and the consensus is simple: Washingtonians don't like being in front of the camera--especially if drama is going to be involved. But from the looks of things this untitled project is really trying to reach out to ambitious professionals in the city as opposed to pretenders and wannabes. We'll see if any of the real power players want to play that game though. 

So what's the latest on the child support battle between Orzag and his ex-wife? Does it really cost $22,000/mo to raise kids in DC? Yesh.

The latest is to stay tuned -- the trial resumes May 13 (yeah, the wheels of justice turn sloooowly).

As for whether it "really" costs that much to raise a kid, that depends on the lifestyle. If you're talking about  nannies and tony private schools, lavish mat mitvahs, private soccer coaches and the like, then yeah, probably it takes that much dough.

I'm told that lots of parents manage to struggle by on way less, though.  


Seems like a crazy leap to go from the Hill to Hollywood. How'd THAT happen.

The staffer in question, Mikael Moore, who used to be Maxine Waters chief of staff and still holds the postion of the powerful congresswoman's grandson, has always been on the artsy side. He met Monae, a White House favorite, nearly a decade ago when he was a college student and she was a newbie artist. Moore told us that the opportunity to manage not only Monae but a team of artists and collaborators was too good to pass up and his skill set on the Hill made him particularly in tune to dealing with a "principal." Moore also told us that Atlanta, where Monae and co. are based, is a lot like DC--a confluence of young movers and shakers with ambition. 

I met the pastry chef on a tour of the White House organic garden. The chef talked about how they used honey from the White House hives to keep cakes and cookies moist for longer because the honey is hydroscopic. I have used that tip myself.

Now that's news you can use! Also a new vocab word for me. 

The WH has made good use of that honey, including in a vinagrette served at the state dinner for France last month. 

We're talking about the chef, because White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses,  announced he was leaving. He was very well liked, and he was really devoted to the new garden there. The President loved his pies, and called him the "Crustmaster." 

One of his friends told me they were particularly sad that Yosses was leaving the WH in June, since that's when the garden is at its prettiest. 

Is Peter Orszag's ex wife, Cameron Kennedy, one of the political Kennedy's?

Nope. Although that would add another juicy turn of the screw, wouldn't it? According to their 1997 wedding announcement: "The bride is the daughter of Robin B. Kennedy of Stanford and Dr. William T. Hamill of Portola Valley, Calif., and the stepdaughter of Dr. Donald Kennedy." Happier times. 

Some of the commenters on that Sting benefit concert post were disappointed with the event. Both of you went right? How was it really?

The concert was pretty awesome actually. At 62 Sting is definitely still the man and Paul Simon, 72, is no slouch. I mean come on. It's Sting and Simon! Add to that the kids from the Duke Ellington School, who were beyond talented. I will agree that the crowd wasn't as, shall we say energized, as it could have been. The mix between rock and cocktail dresses seemed to throw things off slightly. There were definitely folks on their feet jamming but most of the crowd was pretty low key. I think a lot of folks were disappointed that Stevie Wonder had to bow out (due to a death in the family) but, in my opinion, Sting and Simon still rocked. 

I always find that with performances by long-established artists like Sting and Simon, SOME fans are always disappointed that they didn't hear their favorite songs (No Graceland!? More Simon and Garfunkle tunes!).  

But ya can't please everyone. 

As noted in your column on the house next to VP Biden's, it used to be owned by Dr. Marshall Parks, a noted eye surgeon, who operated on me for strabismus (one of his areas of expertise) when I first moved to the Washington area. I have been inside of the part of the house that he used for his office. Even that part of it was gorgeous. It's funny, but I never realized that the house was so close to the VP's residence.

I just read up on Dr. Parks myself. What an interesting guy-- he's often called "the father of pediatric opthamology", but he was quite a dad in a literal sense, too: he and his wife raised 11 (!) kids in that house, so I can only imagine it was a pretty lively place once upon a time. 


I just don't think there's enough plastic surgery in DC to support this series.

Ha! I beg to differ. I'm sure there is more than enough "work" to go around. But from what we're hearing the buzzword for this new potential show is "ambition," meaning the producers are looking for up and coming professional women (read youngsters). So perhaps Botox isn't a pre-req in this go around. I think the show sounds a lot like another Bravo property, 'Blood Sweat and Heels," which highlights 6 young professional women in New York City. This problem with DC though is that so many jobs here aren't ready for primetime. No one on the Hill or working in White House can have their boss on camera. And most career-minded women (and men) in the District prefer to stay out of the limelight and away from the high drama.

That was an interesting tidbit in today's source that Lenny Kravitz' uncle was a Korean War vet.

That was a seemingly random sighting wasn't it? Turns out Lenny Kravitz is named after his paternal uncle, Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz, who died in combat in the Korean War while saving his platoon. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, no?

At the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House on Tuesday the president called out Kravitz, who was in the crowd in the East Room, referring to him as "one of the great rock stars of all time." 

I saw this online. Seems like a cool new feature. But DC and fashion?

Thanks. We're working hard to give you guys as much up to the minute content as we can online. Party Diary will have our social media dispatches from our nights out on the town. Last night I headed to the Fashion Group International of Washington "Rising Stars" event where the beautiful people came out to celebrate their own. And there ARE beautiful people in DC, trust me. The outfits last night were fabulous, including a Zac Posen silk floor length gown that was TDF. The highlight was meeting the first lady's Chief makeup artist, Carl Ray, who said he'd love to see women in DC wearing a bold lip color. He said red was a "show stopper" and you can't go wrong with a nice pink. 

She seems to be in DC all the time. Does she LIVE here? What's she like in person?

The "Kids" actress (memba that one?) is in DC often, mostly for her work with Voto Latino. 

In person, she's really down-to-earth and well-spoken. Her answers to even the questions toss off on those stilted velvet rope line interviews seem thoughtful and definitely not as talking-point-y as many celebs. When I interviewed her last night, she seemed to be losing her voice, though -- I didn't get the chance to ask if she had a cold or if she's just talking herself hoarse promoting her new flick "Cesar Chavez."

But I did learn this interesting tibit that I found (as a terrible student of math!) really impressive: her first job was as a calculus tutor.  

Since they are trying to make a show like Blood, Sweat and Heels - would either of you play the writer/blogger role? And are your social lives interesting enough to have people watch?

The life of a writer/blogger is 90 percent laptop related, which I don't think translates too well on TV. Here's Helena typing. There's Helena typing. Oh look, she's typing again. Not exactly the table flipping fans of reality are used to. But at night we are out and about, of course. That could be interesting to watch. But like a true Washingtonian, I'd be concerned about my job above all else. I'm not sure how having a TV crew follow me around would help me get interviews, especially with camera shy sources. 

Why aren't all the purportedly "real" psychics not out there reporting on where the missing airliner is?

This is a great idea for those cable TV bookers who are probably tapped out on new guests right about now! Hear that, folks?

And they'd be just as informative as some of the other experts currently gabbing about the topic. Also, how about J.J. Abrams (he of "Lost")? 

I read that among L'Wren Scott's clients were Michelle Obama. Has the First Lady issued a statement yet on Scott's death?

The first lady, like many tall and leggy women, was a fan of L'Wren Scott's feminine designs. According to Robin Givhan, former fashion editor at the Post, "Scott had a unique point of view, one that was supremely tailored and a little rock-and-roll. But it had a grown-up sex appeal that appealed to physically confident women who were well past the stage of giggly coed." Other famous fans and friends included actress Nicole Kidman whose rep said, "Nicole is heartbroken and in shock right now and unable to say anything." So far the first lady hasn't released an official statement of any kind. And I doubt she will. If anything she may have reached out the Scott's family and team personally. 



What are your favorite outfits and shoes to wear when "at night we are out and about" covering events?

Two words: comfortable shoes. 

A decade of pounding the marble floors and pavement of this city have taught me that, at least on the job, comfortable has got to trump cute. Right now, I'm living in a pair of Harley Davidson moto boots. 

I'm a huge fan of the LBD when "out and about," which is actually an officially bullet point of our job. Ive yet to try on Rent the Runway for size but it's on my list. For me it's all about the shoes and Jessica Simpson (yep) makes the best patent leather high heels with extra cushioning that I've ever worn. They're the only shoes I'll cover events in. 

It is strange there are no good reality shows based in DC. Heck, even Wahlburgers makes Boston seem interesting. I guess it really depends on the people on the show.

Good point about the characters making the show. It's not DC's fault that most of the reality shows here have been a flop! Hate the players, right, not the playing feild? 

I'm not hooked (yet) on Wahlburgers, but I think a couple things -- other than the city where its set -- have made that show sucessful: you've got family dynamics, REAL famous people, funny characters, and a growing business. That's a pretty good recipe for interesting TV.


And that does it for this week's Reliable Live. We chatted reality shows, real estate and rock stars. As always thanks for playing and we'll see you again next week. In the meantime send all your tips, sightings and etc. to 

In This Chat
Helena Andrews
Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews.
Emily Heil
Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen. Follow her on Twitter @emilyaheil,
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