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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Catherine Answers Viewers Questions

Want To Buy A Salahi Photo?

Article from Radar Online.

Real Housewives of D.C. stars Michaele and Tareq Salahi have figured out a way to pay off some of their debt without actually forking over any money.

Photo: Pacific Coast News

Brotman-Winter-Fried Communications -- who provided public relations for the Salahis polo events -- sued the couple for $20,000 owed for services rendered and won, but haven't been paid. has learned exclusively that a deal had to be cultivated for payment because the Salahis are broke.
Sources close to the situation said that "after looking over the couple's assets it was determined they couldn't afford to pay their debt."
As a result, the Salahis signed 200 photographs of themselves pictured at the White House which are going to be "auctioned off on eBay for $100 each in an effort to get the $20,000 owed."

The deal was penned this week at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia and as a gesture of Michaele recently revealing her 17-year struggle with multiple sclerosis the communications firm will be donating 10 percent of the funds raised to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

For those interested in purchasing a photo can visit, which has been set up to help promote the photographs.

RHODC Recap And Fact-Check Episode #7

The imposter Redskinette: D.C. 'Housewives' recap and fact-check (#7, Sept. 23)
By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts

Welcome back to "The Real Housewives of D.C." -- this episode brought to you by The Washington Post. No, really. We basically wrote the script for this one. All the stuff about how Michaele isn't really a Redskins cheerleader? Hello! -- the Housewives were only able to go there because the Post broke that news to the world. In fact, though the show doesn't admit it, it's clear to behind-the-scenes experts like ourselves that much of this episode was taped after the White House gate-crashing incident (again: brought to you by the Post), and that when the other 'Wives are talking about all the craziness with the Salahis, they're actually talking about stories they'd just read in the Post. After the gate-crashing. Which, in Bravo time, supposedly hasn't happened yet. Yes, more time travel. You're excused for feeling dizzy.

Photo: Jamie Christian

It opens at Cat Ommanney's home in Chevy Chase, where she and her photojournalist husband Charles are choosing photos for her memoir, "Inbox Full." (Apparently this is a real project. She told the NYT a few weeks ago the book has been back-burnered, but she said on Bravo last week that it's coming out in December.) A (seemingly editing-enhanced) moment of tension as they disagree on some detail. (The producers, who until recently were still patching this show together, seem to be catching up on the news of the Ommanney split and layering some foreshadows into the story.) Their relationship is "not always a rosy and sparkly as it seems," Cat tells the camera (bangs-less, which is to say, post-split). Charles outlines his upcoming business trip - photo shoots with Peter Jackson, Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Geither. (Well played, Charles.) He won't be back until Sunday. (Minor-chord music hints at marital woes.)

At last, the cheerleading scene! Michaele Salahi shakes her pom-poms at Tareq in the "Thomas Jefferson Suite" at the Willard Hotel. (Should we assume this was comped in exchange for camera time, like the Four Seasons' Oprah suite?) "We still got it! It's alumni, but we're still rolling." She then goes on to tell the camera, "I'm a former Washington Redskins cheerleader for the NFL." (No. This is simply not true. In December, after the White House incident, the Redskins Cheerleader Alumni Association did the research and found that, despite her longstanding claims, she was never on the squad. She just showed up to alumni events -- and heck, even paid alumni dues! This story seemed to take the Salahi saga to a whole new level; it was one of the most-read stories on for several days.) We then see her alighting at rehearsal for an alumni performance -- big hugs for everyone -- and the quirky music and awkward steps are producers' cue to us that maybe she doesn't know what she's doing. (Indeed: The other cheerleaders told our colleague Paul Farhi they were freaked out by the whole thing, since no one remembered her and she didn't know the basic steps. Not all but a lot of faces are fuzzed out -- presumably they didn't sign Bravo's waivers. Oh, and there's some pretty serious time travel here, too: This rehearsal was Sept. 18 of last year, though much of the other action we see on this episode is November or December.)

Stacie Turner hosts an ice-cream party at her 16th Street Heights home -- kids invited. Usual gang, which is to say, everyone but Michaele, to whom the conversation quickly turns. Says Mary Amons: "Why do you think Michaele would claim to be a Redskins cheerleader?" Stacie tells the camera that "people are talking about Michaele, and the rumors are swirling." Phrases are thrown around like "pathological," and "what is the deal with these lawsuits?" (And just as Mary calls [bleep] on Michaele, I am calling [bleep] on Bravo. This scene was clearly taped after the White House incident and the revelation of various Salahi scandals and peculiarities -- notably, ahem, in our pages. It's very choppy and abruptly edited, probably because producers are having to edit around specific talk of the state dinner incident, which they don't plan to bring up until a later episode.)

But, a change of subject: Mary talks about her kids moving back home, including Lolly who has quit her miserable job. Stacie jokes, "You would not quit your job if it were miserable if you had rent to pay." (She says it lightly, but producers dub in a oh-no-she-diuhn't whoosh.) But then when Cat joins the teasing, Stacie's friend Erika suddenly turns on her: "That's the mean girl coming out! You're always negative every time I see you!"

(Did I mention that Erika Martin Hughes was in the room? Don't know much about her other than that she's very photogenic, and she has a "boutique lifestyle management and personal concierge service" ready to help you run your life. She's been on the sidelines of earlier episodes -- scowling at Cat during that Tyra Banks business and other racial-tension moments - but here she STEPS IT UP in such a way that you wonder why she's not a full-fledged Housewife. Seriously, why? Is she too cool to agree to wear pink sequined "Sex and the City" castoff cocktail dresses in the camera interviews? All I can say is: The season-two cast overhaul probably starts here. If there is a season two. Lisa de Moraes tells us Bravo won't decide for several weeks. But Erika is so ready. On Twitter she promised to speak the truth to the world tonight. I admire that she follows fewer people than even I do on Twitter, and that one of them is Idris Elba.)

Suddenly, ladies are yelling at each other, and most come to the defense of Cat. "Are you not placing judgment at this time?" Lynda Erkiletian asks Erika. Erika says she's tired of everything being all about Cat. Cat stalks off in tears and gathers her kids. Everyone follows, trying to console her, even Erika eventually, but she kind of makes it worse, apologizing but then telling Cat, "don't give me bad body language." Cat's all, "don't tell me what to do. Cameras pan to the baleful looks on little Jade and Ruby's faces. (This is child abuse -- the fact that they're getting exposed to all this drama, for starters, but especially the fact that they're getting filmed through the whole thing.)

At Mary's house in McLean, she and Rich and Lolly talk about Lolly's decision to quit her job as an executive assistant. Rich, skeptical, tells the camera, "Birds do have to leave the nest. Sometimes you have to kick them out to help them fly." (Is this why the Amonses are selling their six-bedroom McLean mansion? So their five cusp-of-adulthood kids won't be able to move back home?) Lolly says she wants to stay home for a while to work on her art. "Art's a hobby!" Rich says. "Art's never going to be a stable job!" Lolly says "that's not true!" (No, actually, it is true.)

The usual gang (everybody but Michaele) files into the office of D.C. Councilmember-at-large David Catania (You remember him from Edwina's odd party in episode five) to discuss the District's pending gay-marriage bill. (We're told this scene was filmed about a week before the gay-marriage vote, so mid-December... and therefore after the unmentioned White House incident. Cat's bangs are even beginning to grow out) You know who else is here? Well, Erika... and Paul Wharton. (Yes! We've missed Paul, the guy who single-handedly keeps the plot in motion; he's been all but AWOL the past three episodes, and I'm beginning to suspect this was a deliberate power move by Bravo, trying to limit his exposure as he films a new Paul-centric reality pilot -- you know, so he doesn't become too big. Because Paul Wharton was raised in a secret government camp designed to create and train the perfect Bravo reality stars.) Paul immediately notes in his camera interview that Cat greeted everyone except for Erika (see what I mean?) and complains that she's bringing down the whole love-and-unity vibe (but he's smiling... because he's glad to have deftly imposed thematic coherence on the scene). Anyway: Paul, Lynda, Cat and Erika are all in favor of gay marriage. Mary says she hasn't thought much about it "because it doesn't affect me" -- and Paul executes an exaggerated double-take (drama!) before telling the camera "a lot of Mary's friends are gay!" Everyone gangs up on Stacie and Jason Turner as they cite religious concerns that marriage should be a man-woman thing. Stacie's all for civil unions; Paul tells the camera if she doesn't support in gay marriage, he doesn't want to be friends. (Snap!)
Mary, Erika and Stacie meet at the Occidental Grille, a historic restaurant in the Willard Hotel, on Pennsylvania Avenue a block or so from the White House. (It's not identified, but we recognize it, and I'm thinking that this was their mid-December visit. If so, they've hidden the kids from the camera.) More debate about gay-marriage, then they switch to the Cat-Erika problem. This is intercut with footage of Paul and Lynda on the same topic over drinks (at Palette, the bar-restaurant at the Madison Hotel -- strangely not ID'd here either; they've either abandoned the old policy of lingering over every restaurant's name, or maybe the Madison already hit its shout-out quota in past episodes). Stacie criticizes Cat's rudely "Cat-like behavior," but Erika seems willing to move on. Paul and Lynda go deeper, though, talking about Cat's frustrations with Charles. "We're the only friends she has here," says Paul. Lynda wonders "what's keeping her there [with Charles] if it's really that bad." (And I have to wonder whether this conversation -- more heavily freighted with Ommanney marital woes than we've otherwise seen -- was maybe-who-knows-perhaps taped long after everything else. Who knows.)

Brief scene at the Willard Hotel: Michaele shaking her pom-poms at her mysterious "assistant" Jen, talking about the generational differences in cheerleading. "The girls every decade get better. See how I'm little [up top]? You wouldn't call me a brick house. [But] when you see the millennium girls!" (We think she means "millennial.") Jen is all, "boob jobs!" And Michaele tells the camera that she'd like some plastic surgery herself, no, haha, just kidding. Scene over.
Then the Salahis have a meeting with Virginia state Del. Dave Albo (R-Fairfax). The topic seems to be county regulations that restrict events at wineries (a real issue: there had been complaints about parking, noise, etc., when the wineries host weddings and other parties, which led to a wave of strict local ordinances limiting their practices. UPDATED 12:20 Friday: Albo sponsored a successful bill to limit counties' regulatory powers over farm wineries. The legislator told us he met the Salahis through this issue about four years ago and told us in an email that he likes them: "Granted, they are eccentric. But having wacky friends is fun!" While the meeting we see here was a little awkward because of the cameras, he said it was a real discussion of state business.). Tareq and Michaele basically claim that these restrictions caused all their family strife "because Fauquier wasn't letting us run our business" and now they want to fight for other wineries. (Yeah, this seems like a stretch. You can read for yourself about the Salahi family feud. And then read some more.)

Brief mother-daughter scene at the Amons house. Mary tells the camera that Lolly's "more like a girlfriend to me," only 20 years apart. Lolly chides her over the gay-marriage issue: "Gay people aren't just our hairdressers, they're our senators!" (Give us names, Lolly!) Mary agrees that gay marriage is probably a constitutional right, but then can't quite quote the Constitution, and Lolly prompts her: "Certain unalienable rights? Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness?" Quirky music, and Mary's all, oh yeah, that's what I mean. (Poor Mary, always the butt of the joke. And btw, that's actually from the Declaration of Independence.)
Cat meets Jason Backe for drinks on the patio of the Four Seasons (again, not identified, for some reason -- hey, while they were there, they should have asked for the Oprah Suite). Her bangs are quite short here again (which suggests it's maybe November) as she complains about life in "Chevy bloody Chase, and all the filthy desperate housewives who do nothing other than walk their dogs." More chatter about the Salahis crashing the Congressional Black Caucus gala, Jason along for the ride. "D.C.'s a small town," Cat says. "I'm surprised they haven't been exposed so far." (Or HAVE they been exposed already? Doesn't this sound like a backdated hindsight conversation?)

Finally, a completely trippy scene, in which the Salahis visit one Matt Carson, a laconic Piedmont-preppy type whom they tell us is a former Oasis employee who is supposed to help them write their "tell-all book" about all "the family dysfunction." (Turns out Carson was an unsuccessful candidate for a Virginia House of Delegates seat last year, running as Independent who opposed the Patriot Act. He also self-published a 2007 novel about good ol' boys launching a revolution against the government. Small world: Apparently he got a former Post colleague of ours to blurb it!... Awkward question, but -- why did Bravo blur out all the artwork on his walls? Matt says he has no idea: They were just innocuous prints, nothing dirty or racy. Must be a copyright thing.) The cameras catch Carson swallowing hard and smiling awkwardly as the Salahis lay out their literary vision, entitled "Wine, War and Roses" and haggle over who gets the credit or, you know, the money. "It's standard with these things, they give advances," Tareq says confidently. (Yeah, well... that's if you find someone else to publish it. This book project -- which Carson tells us he walked away from and never got written -- is not to be confused with their new book, "Cirque du Salahi," a collaboration with author Diane Dimond. Which, after making a lot of noise about shopping around to New York editors, they ended up self-publishing. It's available only via Amazon.) Tareq says he wants the book to be about Oasis's "huge successes," being "top 10 in the world." (Top 10 what? Though an acknowledged pioneer in the fledgling Northern Virginia industry, Oasis wine never had a reputation outside the region.) Irony alert!: Michaele tells the camera she's had such adventures since marrying Tareq; "sometimes I wake up and think, oh my god, we're going where? We're going to meet President Obama?" More irony alert: "I would love for it to have a happy ending."

Coming up next week: The state dinner incident! Michaele in Erwin Gomez's salon that fateful day, seemingly wondering how to handle the lack-of-a-paper-invitation thing. (Or we can only guess this is next week; Bravo says there are two more episodes left this season.)

Who wins this round? Erika. If everyone loves to hate you, then you know you're a star.

Stacie Would Like To See More Nuances Of D.C. In Season Two

Interview from BV Buzz.

By Jawn Murray
She's the sole African-American cast member on a series set in a place often called Chocolate City. Regardless, Stacie Turner is no table-tossing, neck-rolling, Ebonics-speaking, stereotypical character one would come to expect from a 'Real Housewives' cast member; but instead she offers sophisticated sass while showcasing her business acumen on the debut season of the 'Real Housewives of DC.'

A real estate executive with a heart for philanthropy, Turner received an undergraduate degree in Finance from Howard University and her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.

The happily married mother of two not only talked about life as a one of the nation's capital's 'Real Housewives;' but she shared with BV Buzz during our lunch at the Eurasian restaurant Oya her thoughts on the infamous White House crashers! 

Heck yeah! All women are different so to think that I can represent every lifestyle of every African-American woman in DC is like insane. To the extent that I can show what my reality is and reflect some of what I think African-American women can relate to is all that I can try to do. I definitely feel pressure!

Do you hold back on the show? Is there ever a time you feel your inner "sister girl" coming out, but tuck her away because of the cameras?
I'm always thinking that I have a little daughter and she can not see her mama show her behind on camera. In past episodes, they show how this whole topic of things related to race that comes up innocently and it's this expectation that you'll let it roll off and not go there with it. Meanwhile, it's like why does this even come up? We are sitting here having dinner so just because me and Ted Gibson are the only Black people there why does there need to be a connection about race? All it does is create a situation. And when it is brought up, why does the neck roll and the dialect change? It's just interesting.

Would you like to see them add more diversity to the 'Real Housewives of DC' franchise next season? Can we get another Black woman or even a Hispanic added to the mix?
I would. I know lots of women who would be great, but the question is do they have the nerve to put themselves out there. All of my friends thought I was crazy and people probably still think I'm crazy to do that, but so far they have been pretty accurate in their portrayal of our family and hopefully this series will be a little different in that they do try to stay true to form to women who are not necessarily doing the antics of some of the other shows.

You do high-end real estate for Sotheby's. Has being on this show been a boost for business?
When I was taping the show I worked at Sotheby's, but I've since left and now I work for Long & Foster. People had this perception that we only did high-end homes but I do the gamut. I moved to Long & Foster because they have the biggest share across all price categories and I formed a team so now I have a couple of people that work with me.

Has the real estate market taken a major hit during the bad economy?
Thank goodness DC has been ticking steady. Prices aren't down like they are in the rest of the country. DC is hot so there's limited supply, a lot of demand and my business is pretty much steady as it's been the past few years – knock on wood.

Who has been your favorite celebrity that you've met since being on the show?

Photo: Bravo

Maxwell! It was so brief. I wish I could say I was chillin' with Maxwell. He was here doing a concert and they had a get together social so I got to talk to him for about three minutes. He's just so cute and sexy.

You learn on the show that you're biracial and you're on this quest to find your birth parents. We've seen already that your birth mother, who is white, isn't helping you much with information. Have you finally found your father?
That will be open-ended. You'll see that the whole journey takes me to the Nigerian Embassy. I've met, talked to, had a letter correspondence with my birth mother who is Caucasian and has a whole other life that she has not shared with her family. Therefore, we really can't go there and she will not divulge information about my birth father. I think the Nigerian side would be much more open and receptive, because that culture is much more open and accepting of non-traditional families. You'll see that down the road it takes me to the Nigerian Embassy where I enroll their help to help me find my birth father. We don't find him this season.

You have a charity called Extra-Ordinary Life that's geared towards youth and aims to expose them to places and opportunities beyond their current access. Did being adopted inspire that?
It is and part of the reason that I started it is because I was lucky to be adopted. These children are still waiting for families. When I look back I could have been one of them and what made the difference in my life is that I had the parents who gave the foundational love, education, they took me on trips and paved the path that I followed which allowed me to be successful and boost my self esteem to make me feel like I could do these things. That's where our organization tries to step in and plug the hole to the extent that we can to really elevate these young girls.
Tell me more about the charity.
That's what I love to talk about. I started Extraordinary Life a year ago and it caters to teenage girls that are in DC's foster care system. There are about 2,500 girls that don't have a family or a permanent home. These are the girls that my organization tries to expose to people, places and opportunities that they normally wouldn't have access to, because they don't have that parent in their life giving them guidance on which way to go. We try to provide experiences that are above and beyond workshops and all of the life skill training they get. We inspire them to dream and believe that they can overcome their circumstance and be whatever they want to be. In July, I took eight girls to South Africa during the World Cup. I believe that travel is one of those perfect opportunities to expose all your senses to a variety of things. This was particularly significant because it was the first time the World Cup was on the continent of Africa and just happened to be in South Africa. Given the whole history of the people and apartheid, the resilience and the depth of the culture we thought that would be a unique place for the girls to go. Most of these girls have not set foot outside the beltway, let alone gone around the world.

What would you like to see different in season two of this show?
I haven't thought that far. I hope that they will show more of the nuances of DC that I don't think were fully captured in this season. There are really some interesting and exclusive events that happen here, but a lot of the population was so worried about how it would be played that it was difficult to get clearances to do cameras and so forth. I think that now they have seen that it's not quite as crazy as they expected, we will be able to get access to that. Hopefully, there will be more of a political slant to it next year. I'd like to see more provocative conversations which end up being dramatic because that's such a fabric of what's here in DC. We also need to see some more diversity. We need some more Black and Hispanic people. Again, this is an International city so we need to see more of that.

I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you about the Salahi's. Do you think the Michaele Salahi and her husband Tareq are going to be back next season? Will Bravo keep them around?
I think they were good from a marketing and PR standpoint, because everybody knows who they are and everybody is curious about the White House event. I think throughout the series they are definitely not dominant and you actually start to see a different side of them as it progresses. The White House thing happens at the end so it's kind of like the cliffhanger. I don't think that they're that important to it. Even when I read the blogs, the fans are sick of it. They're not worth talking about. I think it will be interesting to see if the Salahi's are back next year because the White House crash was kind of like it and then it was on to the next.

Simon Will Not Be Charged By The Orange County District Attorney

Article from the OC Register.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office will not file charges against "househusband" Simon Robert Barney because of a lack of sufficient evidence, a spokeswoman for the O.C. District Attorney said Friday.

Photo: Pacific Coast News

Simon, the estranged husband of Tamra Barney, one of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," was arrested early Tuesday on suspicion of throwing a dog leash at his wife Monday night. He was released Tuesday from Men's Central Jail in Santa Ana after posting his $10,000 bail.
Simon's case was submitted to the O.C. District Attorney's Office Friday morning, spokeswoman Farrah Emami said. The District Attorney's Office reviewed it and declined to file charges.

"It just shows that justice is blind, but it’s not stupid," Simon Barney said. "It’s not gullible, and it’s not persuaded by fame."

In a statement issued Wednesday, Simon, 46, said the leash-throwing incident and his subsequent arrest were a setup so Tamra could claim 100 percent custody of their three children. The two are going through a divorce, after 11 years of marriage and three years on the Bravo reality TV series.

Simon said he did not throw the retractable, plastic leash at his wife as she alleged. In an interview Friday, he said the reason for the hostility is a recent incident, in which "Tammy ran into my new girlfriend." He's been dating her for two months, he said.

Meanwhile, Tamra Barney, who has her own boyfriend in Eddie Judge of Ladera Ranch, has obtained a temporary restraining order against her husband, which took effect Thursday. As part of the restraining order, Simon was forced to hand in his firearm to law enforcement authorities in Aliso Viejo, he said.

She also tried to file a restraining order against Simon so he could not have contact with the children. That request was denied, Simon said.

In a text message, Tamra objected to Simon's statement that she's trying to claim 100 percent custody so she can allow their kids to be on the show. The "network has never put pressure on Simon to have the kids on the show ... Ever! And Bravo is not happy he is saying that! They simply asked if the kids could be on the main title shoot last week and he said 'NO' and they said 'thank you'."

She continued, "I did not want the kids on the show this year unless it was a situation where me, Simon and the kids were doing something together as a family. Just cuz your [sic] divorcing doesn't mean you we do not attend our childrens activities together ...

"It breaks my heart that he has acted that way in front of the children and I hope he gets the help he needs to control his anger. I never wanted him arrested. The cops made that decision for me. His statement was a lie and can be backed up by the network and my divorce docs."

Simon Barney said his soon-to-be ex-wife is lying herself, and "the only thing I care about is my children."

"I don’t want to be part of the show, part of the media; I want to go on with my life," he said. "I don’t want any part of fame. It’s destructive. It’s a drug. I’m still the same person I was five years ago."