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The Spotlight on Tuesday, Feb. 26: Coolidge bio author; dramatized Watergate

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Entertainment

PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY

We at Spotlight were intrigued by Michael Barone's article in Sunday's paper about Amity Shlaes' new book, "Coolidge": "It shows the 30th president in a far different light than the antique reactionary depicted by the New Deal historians," he said. Barone related the tome to today's politics in a way that really proves history always repeats itself, referring to the fiscal spending and budgetary problems of the 1930s.

So we are excited to meet Shlaes in person and hear more about her research and writing process as she discusses her biography of Calvin Coolidge at Politics and Prose Bookstore (5015 Connecticut Ave. NW) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

"Shlaes doesn't argue that Coolidge's policies could or should be replicated today. But she does establish that the 30th president is worthy of more respect than previous historians have accorded him," Barone wrote.

PRESIDENTIAL FICTION

From the more scandalous presidency of Richard Nixon, we find another best-seller. This time it is famed author Thomas Mallon's dramatized account in "Watergate: A Novel." The book, which landed a coveted spot as one of the Washington Post's "50 Best Works of Fiction for 2012" and the "100 Notable Books of 2012" by the New York Times, will be on center stage as Mallon speaks about his process and people's reaction, as well as sign copies of the book at 7 p.m. at the Arts Club of Washington's Monroe House (2017 I St. NW).

Mallon, considered one of the most-esteemed historical novelists, has previously brought us favorites including "Henry and Clara," "Bandbox" and "Fellow Travelers," as well as numerous works of nonfiction and essays in magazines.

In "Watergate," Mallon conveys both the drama and comedy of the Nixon presidency through the perspectives of seven interwoven characters.

WHAT'S REAL

Soulful singer Elliott Yamin, the "American Idol" contestant from Richmond, Va., who Simon Cowell once referred to as "potentially the best male vocalist," is coming to town.

Yamin -- whose self-titled 2007 debut album made No. 3 on the Billboard album chart -- is touring on his latest album, "Let's Get to What's Real," on which Yamin went back to the truest form of music and storytelling he knew. "I wanted to get back to making real music with real musicians and real instruments," Yamin says of the new disc. "There were some hints of that on my first album, but my second album was pretty much machine-driven."

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show at the Hamilton (600 14th St. NW) are $20 and available at thehamiltondc.com.

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