Life Is Music
Make My Daughter A Movie Star
by Rix Roundtree-Harrison
The White House. Itís the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Located in Washington DC at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this stately elegant neoclassical style mansion built in 1800 is arguably the most powerful building in the world.
A celebrity in its own right, the White House has been featured in many a Hollywood blockbuster film . . . sort of. You see, the White House thinks itself such an astonishing architectural masterpiece that it does not allow Hollywood movie crews to trample its hallowed halls with film equipment clutter such as movie cameras, dollies, cables, sound equipment and wires. Oh no, you are not bringing a scruffy movie crew into the immaculate White House. So when you see a film that features the White House's interiors and some exteriors, you are not seeing the White House, you're seeing its beautiful neighbor from across the road at 1776 D Street NW, the stunning glamorous regal historical stand-in, the elegant Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) headquarters building.
So why is the DAR building used in place of the White House in movies and television shows? Well, if you were a historical figure and someone had to play you in a movie, you'd want the most beautiful, talented and popular actor in the world to play you wouldn't you? Well, not only is the DAR building the most beautiful building in Washington DC, its resemblance to the White House makes it an appropriate location for shooting feature films and TV shows. So the DAR building is the only building in the entire nation perfectly suited to portray the White House in film.
The DAR building serves as the national headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Founded in 1890 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., itís a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and education. Its motto is "God, Home, and Country." The DAR building was commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1902 to be used as a headquarters, assembly hall, and meeting place for DAR conferences. Architect Edward Pearce Casey used Vermont marble to build the Georgian revival structure. Georgian architecture is renowned for its symmetry, balance and proportion. It is based on the classical architecture of Greece and Rome. Construction of the DAR building began in 1904 and was completed in 1910. The building was the site of the Washington Arms Limitation Conference in 1921-22. It was loaned to the American Red Cross in 1943 for wartime work. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972. So not only is the DAR building beautiful, it also has a storied history.
Why am I telling you all this? The DAR building has been featured as the White House in films such as The Distinguished Gentleman and National Treasure. It has also played the White House in the television programs The West Wing and VEEP. In these films and TV shows, when the end credits roll, you see the name of the actors and the roles they play, but do you see ďDAR as the White House?Ē No, you do not. The DAR building doesnít even get credit for playing the White House. I imagine thatís because the White House doesnít want the public to know that the extraordinarily beautiful building that you see on the screen isnít itself, but the DAR. Always the bridesmaid never the bride, the poor DAR building has never played itself in a movie. Itís time to change that. It's time for the DAR building to play itself in a blockbuster Hollywood film. How is that going to happen? Well, Iíve got a plan. Itís called ďMission: Make my Daughter a movie star,Ē and it involves you, (yes you), and my new book Nikolas Thime: The End Of My World.
Nikolas Thime: The End Of My World is mystery mayhem and murder that takes place at the DAR. The book is so exciting. Itís the story of the murder of the first Native American presidential candidate Henry ďHankĒ Ironhorse and Linda Wetzel, President of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Ms. Wetzel is accused of the murder of Mr. Ironhorse. Ms. Wetzelís arrest leads her to Nikolas Thime, the best criminal defense attorney in Washington DC. Proving his client, Ms. Wetzel, innocent of the Ironhorse murder becomes a very difficult task for Nick Thime as his client harbors dark secrets. Nick must navigate his clientís sea of secrets to expose the true killer of Mr. Ironhorse, for if he doesnít, not only will Ms. Wetzelís world come to an tragic end, but quite possibly his own, as his past present and future will be obliterated from the timeline. Nick, aided by his mysterious administrative assistant, Powaqa Lightbird and resident danger prone scientist/investigator, Hezekiah Hollins, embark on a twisted (in more ways than one) murder mystery. Itís a clever stylist and fun read. After youíve read it, you'll love it. You'll tell your friends and family about it and they'll all buy it. The book will become a runaway best seller. You know what will happen after that? A Hollywood movie studio will buy the film rights for the book. It will be made into a movie and the DAR building will finally play itself in a movie. Now isnít that a great plan to get the DAR building in a blockbuster Hollywood film as itself?
Why do I want the DAR building to become a movie star in its own right? Well, for 13 years I worked at the Daughters of the American Revolution. It was the most wonderful 13 years of my life. To be honest, it was like being in a Hollywood movie. When I worked at the DAR I met movie stars, singers, comedians and even a British Lord. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush held press conferences there and I got to see them as well as Vice President Al Gore. I got to work on the Hollywood blockbuster films Salt, which stars Angelina Jolie, and Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon, as Both were shot at the DAR. In addition, the DAR building with its secret passageways, hidden underground tunnels and ghosts, made it a most thrilling, interesting and exciting place to work. But as wonderful as all that sounds, those werenít the best parts about working for the DAR. The best part is the DAR taught me about . . . me. When I came to work at the DAR I was a lost soul. All I saw in myself were my weaknesses. I possessed no faith in my abilities. But the DAR saw my strengths and talents and nurtured them. They showed me what I was capable of. The DAR showed me my talent for writing and utilized it. I believe that had I not come to the DAR the books I've written would never have come to pass. When I realized I could write I decided to resign from the DAR to begin my writing career. I sat down to compose my goodbye e-mail to the wonderful DAR staff. I thought to myself, "Am I really a good writer? Let me put it to the test. With my goodbye e-mail I'm going to tug at the heartstrings of everyone in this building and bring them all to tears," and I did. All I did with that e-mail was to tell the truth. I told everyone what a wonderful group of people they were and how I'd enjoyed working with every single one of them and what that wonderful organization had done for me. It worked, it worked too well. I did indeed bring the whole buildingís 150 employees to tears. After Iíd sent my e-mail I had weeping coworkers lined up outside my office. They all wanted to hug and kiss me and tell me goodbye. I was overwhelmed by emotional coworkers. It was too much. I decided to flee the crying crowds. I would hide out in one of the DAR buildingís many secret hideaway hiding places until all this crying had abated. It didnít work. My fellow coworkers knew the secret hideaway hiding places too. They found me to envelope me in hugs, kisses and to cry goodbye. Then I thought Iíd just stay on the move walking through the many hardly used DAR back hallways. But my coworkers again found me and chased me to ply me with tears and hugs. There was no escaping my crying coworkers. I ended up leaving the building. I thought Iíd give everyone time to cry themselves out. I thought to myself ďOkay, I can write and elicit emotions in others with my writing. Cool.Ē I was pleased. And the DAR had done this for me. I left the DAR and went on to become a successful author.
So you see I owe the DAR for all they did for me. I want to repay them. I want that marvelous building to play itself in a big budget Hollywood blockbuster film. So itís like this. You guys buy Nikolas Thime: The End Of My World and make it a sales sensation. A movie studio will want to turn the book into a film. Then the DAR building will actually play itself in a movie. Finally this beauteous building will become the iconic structure it deserves to be.
Oh, by the way. That building pictured at the top of this piece. That's not the White House, it's the DAR building. Isn't it gorgeous? That's why you see it and not the White House in movies. The next time you see a movie which features the White House and you marvel at its interior and some exteriors, remember, it's not the White House itís the DAR. If youíre visiting Washington DC and canít get into see the White House, donít be disappointed visit the DAR instead. Take a tour of the DAR building. Itís better than the White House . . . thatís why itís in movies. Sure the White House has its famous Blue, Red and Green rooms. Big deal, the DAR has 31 elegant historically accurate Period rooms one of which youíve probably seen in a movie masquerading as a room in the White House.
So címon people. Help me help make the Daughters of the American Revolutionís headquarters building a movie star. Join me, Powaqa, Hezekiah and Nikolas Thime on the engaging, exciting, suspenseful, humorous, intricate, character driven, stimulating, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, whodunit, courtroom drama, time travel adventure that is, Nikolas Thime: The End Of My World.
One more thing. Letís say weíre successful with our mission to make the DAR building a movie star. The contract for film rights for Nikolas Thime: The End Of My World will have a clause that reads something like this: ďWith the filming of this motion picture, under no circumstances will the vainglorious White House be allowed to be used as a stand-in for the illustrious DAR building.Ē I donít trust the White House. It may want to steal the DAR buildingís spotlight.
Mr. DeMille, the DAR building is ready for its close-up. Lights! Camera! Action!
Nikolas Thime: The End Of My World. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
© 2017 Rix Roundtree-Harrison
Written by: Rix Roundtree-Harrison