The Reliable Source Live

Aug 06, 2014

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

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Howdy chatters! I've missed you guys the last few weeks (though I know you've been in good gossipy hands), but now I'm baa--aack! And just in time for all the fun of the big  White House summit for African leaders. We've had all the scoop this week, from the power dining on Monday night to why the entertainment for the White House dinner last night might have been a tad awkward to all the deets on Jill Biden's dress.

What's on your mind, folks? Ask away!

Here are a few posts to catch you up: 

The story behind Jill Biden’s wax print dress at last night’s White House dinner

Remember those ‘African’ lyrics in Lionel Richie’s hit ‘All Night Long’? Yeah, they’re just gibberish.


5 Seconds of Summer and One Direction are performing at Nationals Park on August 11. What hotel do you think 5 Seconds of Summer will stay at?

The Aussie boys of 5 Seconds have their pick of posh places to lay their adorably coiffed heads. A few places known to host visiting celebs include the Four Seasons in Georgetown, the Willard, and the Capella.

They might also prefer the scene-y vibe of the W hotel... 

What was your favorite moment from the dinner at the White House last night?

I was at the White House last night and got a pretty good view of the arrivals, and press was allowed briefly into the inner sanctum to see the president's toast. Of what I saw, I'd say the biggest drama was when a member of the honor guard flanking the White House doors on the North Portico nearly passed out from the heat. 

And of course, the arrival of the first lady of Cameroon (with her uh-maze hair) was a huge highlight. 

But what exactly is a wax print?

You're not ignorant at all. Wax print refers to the dying and printing process of cotton fabrics.

While we're waiting for your questions to pour in (c'mon, don't be shy!), please take a moment to enjoy the glory of this magical gif of Hillary Clinton on the Colbert show last night that our resident gif-er, JulieAnn McKellogg, created. What would you call this move? 

What hotel do you think the Chicago bulls would stay at when they play the wizards?

These hotel questions are funny to me only because I ASSUME you plan to go down to said establishment and say "Hey!" or maybe "Heeeeey..." I have no clue where the Bulls might stay. Some visiting teams love the Mandarin Oriental (soccer folks have stayed there) because it's close to downtown but still off the beaten path. 

What have the wives been doing during the day while the husbands have been summitting?

Today, they're at a session for spouses (that would be wives) with First Lady Michelle Obama and former FLOTUS Laura Bush. 

The women also attended a super-packed brunch yesterday at the National Museum of African Art. And I can only imagine, given the gorgeous looks I saw last night at the White House, that part of yesterday was spent primping. 

So, he pretty much goes with the flow on everything, including sexuality? I'm somehow not surprised.

Wait what are we talking about?  Did James Franco come out as bisexual and I didn't know about it? I know his latest few projects deal with sex and sexuality, pushing the boundaries as he told the New York Times recently, but I'm not positive he's made any declarative statements about his own sexuality. Or did I miss something?

It's ambiguous:

Ahhhh. Okay. Still not sure if that's "ambiguous" though. I lived in a one bedroom with my very very best friend from college for one hot American summer and we mostly just watched a lot of Netflix. 

Was intrigued by this title in the coverage of the Africa summit dinner. What do his duties include?

Welllll since you asked. Our amazing colleague JulieAnn just produced an awesome video with the former chief of protocol, Capricia Marshall. Basically that job entails knowing all there is to know about a visiting head of state  to strengthen relationships while he/she is in U.S. They provide all the pertinent protocol and hosting information for the president, first lady, and secretary of state. 

Michael Strahan and Nicole Murphy just broke up. Who will rebound faster?

My money's on Nicole. She started dating Strahan just about a year after her split from comedian Eddie Murphy. 

What do you recommend as some of the coolest (literally AND figuratively) summer getaways in the DC area? Obviously parks like Rock Creek (including the National Zoo) and Sligo Creek, also the botanical garden along the Anacostia with its water lilies -- but where else?

I've been dying to go to Annapolis myself. Never been. Also I have a good friend who's from Solomons Island and he says I'll love it, so that's on my list too. I grew up on a small island off the coast of Southern California, so gimme a beach and I'm sold. 

Well, if ever an occasion called for the use of a seersucker suit, it was having to greet all those cars in the heat. Although I think that the Marines won't put up with seersucker uniforms.

How fun would that have been. Selfridge in seersucker? The whole scene would have been so veeeery Southern. 

Congratulations to Wilson Ramos and his wife Yeli on the birth of their first child, a daughter, yesterday. The paper did not report her name. I also have a new addition. My grandson Aidan was born Saturday! He is the first boy in the family, as I have 3 daughters and 2 granddaughters. I wanted to name him after Ryan Zimmerman or Jordan Zimmermann or Tyler Clippard or Tyler Moore or my husband Jim, but it didn't happen!

Alas, grandparents usually don't get the final say in the baby-naming game. Too bad, because I think Tyler JimZim is a great name -- and he'd be the only one with it!

Congrats on your new future Nats fan! 

Any reports on Malia and Sasha's summer activities lately? I seem to recall that the older daughter was interning in LA, right?

In general the news media attempts to leave the first daughters alone, unless they are with their famous 'rents. But every now and then it's impossible not to report on what they're doing--only because it's so public. So far this summer Malia 1. turned 16 2. interned on the set of a TV show in LA 3. went to the Beyonce/Jay Z concert in Chicago and 4. went to the Lollapalooza music fest. 

You have to go to Cantler's for crabs. And enjoy finding it.

Will do! And by "enjoy finding it" are you saying this will be something of a treasure hunt? Because I love those. 

How was the food?

Wish I'd actually gotten to sample it, but instead I had to make do with the bags of pretzels that the White House press aides were handing out. Whomp.

The dinner menu looked very carefully crafted -- it was tricky, because some attendees had religious prohibitions that made certain foods no-nos. And the white house chefs incorporated some of the flavors of Africa into the dishes, while using a lot of American products. Our colleague Tom Sietsema offered this excellent analysis of the grub:


Usually when the topic is Africa, Bono is present. Has he been spotted around town?

His organization, the ONE Campaign, hosted a big bash, though Bono himself wasn't there. We were told he had a "conflict" that prevented him from attending. Such is the life of a rockstar/philanthropist/businessman!

And that does it for this week's live chat. The biggest news? EMILY'S BACK! Also, you guys reeeally want to know who's staying where around town. So maybe we should start stalking hotel lobbies more? Until then (and until next week) send all your tips and sightings to and, most importantly, stay classy. 

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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