Party Politics: Navigating The Inaugural Scene
Inaugurations are often a painful cocktail of mother-of-the-bride gowns and cash bars. But Obama-mania has Washington, D.C., poised for what may be the biggest party there since, well, ever. BET kicks things off on Saturday night honoring Mary J. Blige and Magic Johnson, among others at a gala at the Warner Theatre. The balls get started in earnest on Sunday with a fête honoring The Washington Post‘s African-American-focused Web site The Root, which is expected to draw Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, and possibly Oprah—though her inaugural plans have been more closely guarded than Obama himself. Mayor Adrian Fenty will be keeping things more low-key at the Embassy of Kuwait, mixing a who’s who of famous Washington wonks (Bob Woodward, Arianna Huffington), deep-pocketed potential donors (Mort Zuckerman, Ronald Lauder), and Hollywood heavyweights (George Lucas) with maybe a Tory Burch and an Elisabeth Shue thrown in for good measure. Meanwhile Shepard Fairey ups the cool quotient with a preview of his new exhibit Manifest Hope, where Santogold, Moby and De La Soul will perform.
Monday’s parties vacillate between conspicuous consumption—Hip-Hop Summit Action’s over-the-top ball with LL Cool J, Russell Simmons, and Mos Def—and earnest conservation, with Al Gore’s event at the National Portrait Gallery. The Hollywood elite, like Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, will likely hop from there to The Huffington Post’s pre-ball at The Newseum. The lineup of performers for Tuesday’s ten official balls reads like a Grammy nominee list: Kanye West, Beyoncé; Stevie Wonder. But the real party will be a few blocks away at the Harman Center for the Arts, where the Creative Coalition will host a ball with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Susan Sarandon, Adrian Grenier, Alan Cumming, Anne Hathaway, and more. (We could go on.) Meanwhile, the after-party rumors abound, but we suggest following our Prez-Elect’s lead and heading to Ben’s Chili Bowl for a late-night hot dog.
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