While I was away, the White House did it again -- made a stealth arts appointment. Actor Kal Penn (right), who served on candidate Obama's arts-policy committee, is the new "associate director of public liaison" in the White House, focusing on Asian & Pacific communities and arts communities. The Washington Post had a gossip-column item on this earlier this month, crediting Entertainment Weekly, and yesterday I confirmed it with the White House press office. There's been no announcement, and spokesman Shin Inouye said he did not know when Penn would start.
But, Inouye said, Penn will be doing "a little of everything." As examples of the kinds of organizations Penn would liaise with, he cited the New England Federation for the Arts and the Southern Arts Federation. Plus, of course, the public. MORE >>