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We braved ABC News, Thomson Reuters, Newsweek/Daily Beast, and BuzzFeed so you didn’t have to. By Sophie Gilbert
Kerry Washington at the ABC News cocktail party. Photograph by Sophie Gilbert.

As the old adage goes, if you’re going to get wet, you may as well go swimming. And if you’re going to eat miniature crabcakes and drink Chardonnay at one White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner pre-party (now there’s an event that predates Twitter and resolutely refuses to fit into 140 characters), you may as well eat miniature crabcakes and drink Chardonnay at four of them. Here, without fear or favor, is a blow-by-blow account of what happened at the Hilton on Saturday night.

5:30 PM: ABC News cocktail party on the lawn

The sun was shining, unlike last year, so the ABC News party offered something that’s typically at more of a #WHCD premium than selfies with Diane Sawyer: space. Even at this early hour, The Daily Show’s John Oliver and Aasif Mandvi were hanging out on the periphery with Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, and Arianna Huffington was wandering around schmoozing in elegant black lace. The second ABC star to wander in was Tony Goldwyn, a.k.a. Fitzgerald Grant, a.k.a. El Prez, and he was promptly mobbed by fans, as was Kerry Washington, a.k.a. Olivia Pope, when she followed on his heels. Even Shonda Rhimes wasn’t safe. Apparently Washington really loves Scandal

6:15 PM: Thomson Reuters cocktail party downstairs

Downstairs at the Hilton is the Playboy Mansion grotto of the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner parties—it’s dark, cramped, and more than a little claustrophobic, but oddly enough you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a famous person. In the Thomson Reuters party, which was elegantly decked out in shiny red fabric, Kathleen Turner walked in looking slightly bemused by it all, while Steve Zahn stood by the bar smiling and chatting animatedly. No sign of Jeremy Renner, at least while we were there, but on the other side of the room the real prize— Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens—was taking pictures and sporting a handlebar mustache. Maybe he thought it would make him look less like someone who broke a million fan’s hearts when he [spoiler alert if you’re not caught up] left the show and widowed Lady Mary? If so, no dice.

6:30 PM: Newsweek/Daily Beast cocktail party downstairs

What’s that we hear? The sound of a thousand iPhones snapping pictures and the hum of Washington fandom reaching peak frenzy? Sure enough, Nicole Kidman was walking down the hall with Harvey Weinstein close behind her, and Bradley Cooper hanging around nearby with what looked like either Brylcreem or eight weeks of unwashed hair on top of his head. They sauntered into the darkness of the Newsweek/DailyBeast/Newsbeast/Death Knell for Print Journalism party, which was about the busiest and least cheerful of all the parties, and Nicole somehow managed not to look completely freaked out by the fact that she was now crammed into a room with 800 people who all wanted to take a picture with her. She’s a pro.

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Posted at 12:15 PM/ET, 04/29/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
They’ll struggle to identify Washington bigwigs, says network vice president Bruce Perlmutter. By Sophie Gilbert
Mark Malkin and Alicia Quarles host the WHCA dinner coverage for E! this year. Photograph of Malkin via Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.; photograph of Quarles via lev radin/Shutterstock.

Former Bethesda resident and University of Maryland grad Giuliana Rancic won’t be making a triumphant homecoming on the red carpet for E! at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner this weekend. According to Politico, those duties will fall upon second-stringers Alicia Quarles and Marc Malkin. And unlike the Oscars, say, they’ll have the challenging job of identifying hundreds of less-recognizable faces alongside the stars. Hillary Clinton? Easy. SEC head Mary Jo White? Not so much.

The red carpet won’t be streamed live on E!, which is a disappointment to those of us hoping to gatecrash the mani-cam—according to the Washington Post, highlights from the red carpet will be broadcast the next night, which will give the network time to filter out any gatecrashers and focus on the real stars, such as Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Jeremy Renner, Gerard Butler, and, of course, Barbra Streisand. (The network will instead broadcast “Ready For Love: Meet Ben and Ernesto” from 5 to 7 on Saturday.) But we still say any highlight reel that doesn’t have Canadian Central Bank governor Mark Carney in it just isn’t worth watching.

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 04/26/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Extraordinary images of the Kennedy family and rarely seen items are now on display to mark the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. By Sophie Gilbert
This contact sheet features images of John, Jacqueline, and Caroline Kennedy at their home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of the Estate of Jacques Lowe.

So much of John F. Kennedy’s brief presidency has been immortalized in print, on film, and in interviews that it’s hard to imagine anything relating to his life and death having the ability to surprise anymore. Still, “JFK,” a show with three parts now open at the Newseum, offers glimpses into the 35th president’s life and death that feel both fresh and profoundly moving.

The two exhibition parts of “JFK” focus on the light and the dark sides of the Camelot phenomenon. “Creating Camelot,” a show of photographs by the family’s personal photographer Jacques Lowe, is almost all sunshine, featuring glorious large-scale portraits of John, Jackie, and a two-year-old Caroline Kennedy toddling around the Oval Office. The young president’s mystique is clear, but it’s Jackie who’s the star, luminous in image after image, whether she’s posing for Lowe in a yellow-and-white gingham dress or charming Nikita Khrushchev at an otherwise unsuccessful Cold War summit. But even these photographs have a tragic history—the negatives, stored in a World Trade Center vault, were all destroyed during the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, so the Newseum has restored them from prints and contact sheets kept in a separate storage space.

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Posted at 01:20 PM/ET, 04/12/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
George Lucas, Nicole Kidman, and Il Papa (Kerry Washington) herself shall go to the ball. By Sophie Gilbert
Photograph of Spacey by DFree / Photograph of Washington courtesy of Shutterstock.

Not that we’re excited or anything, but the countdown to the annual celebrity deathmatch that is the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has begun. The main event happens April 27, which means in less than two weeks you won’t be able to walk through Georgetown or casually sip a coffee at Starbucks without tripping over the likes of Dakota Fanning (she’s teeny and easy to miss), Charlize Theron (she’s not), or Eliot Spitzer (the only person I wasn’t too scared to ask for a photo in 2012).

We’ll have lots more coverage over the next couple of weeks, but for now, here’s a list of the confirmed guests attending the dinner, and whom they’re going with. We’ll update as we learn more.


George Lucas and his fiancée, Mellody Hobson
Actress Sophia Bush and Invisible Children’s Jedidiah Jenkins
Comedian Tracy Morgan and his fiancée, Megan Wollover
Author Khaled Hosseini and his wife
Musicians Ben Ruttner and James Patterson of the Knocks
Actress Jessica Alba and her husband, Cash Warren


Actress Connie Britton
Actress Hayden Panettiere
Actress Kerry Washington
Actress Sofia Vergara
Actor Eric Stonestreet

Daily Beast/Newsweek

General Lawrence D. Nicholson
Actress Nicole Kidman
Actress Olivia Munn
Producer Harvey Weinstein
Former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau
Former congresswoman Jane Harman
Senator Claire McCaskill

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Posted at 12:50 PM/ET, 04/10/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
At a launch party for the site last night, George Pelecanos, Ann McLaughlin, and other writers discussed Washington’s history in fiction. By Emily Thompson
Adam McKible, Thomas Mallon, Ann McLaughlin, George Pelecanos, and Mark Athitakis in a panel discussion at the launch party for DC by the Book. Photograph by Emily Thompson.

Washington is often cited as one of the most literate cities in the world, but it’s a lesser-known fact that the city also serves as the setting for countless novels. DC Public Library’s Tony Ross and Kim Zablud have set out to expose the vast world of local fiction by creating a new interactive literary website called DC by the Book.

The site provides a database of fiction books that are set in the District, and is based around an interactive map that shows the exact locations described in books that take place within city limits. Readers can enter addresses or ZIP codes to see which books have passages set nearby, and can also submit parts from books to be included on the map. The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Ross and Zablud a Technology Act Grant for the project last April, and the two began working on it in October.

The launch party for DC by the Book was at the Chinatown location of Busboys and Poets Wednesday, March 27. Librarians, historians, and avid readers walked through the bustling restaurant into a small room in the back corner of the building at Fifth and K streets, Northwest. The room was only supposed to hold 90 people, but a few more squeezed into the intimate space for a chance to hear about the new website and to see the local authors who had come to support the project.

Ross, who grew up in the area and was wearing a Cool “Disco” Dan shirt, began the program by talking about his initial idea for the map.

“I started to discover there’s this bigger world of DC authors,” he said. “This is a tool that’ll help people learn about their neighborhoods in a different way.”

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Posted at 02:50 PM/ET, 03/28/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The 28-year-old British royal is scheduled to visit Capitol Hill, Walter Reed, and Arlington National Cemetery in May. By Sophie Gilbert
Prince Harry will play in the Sentebale Polo Cup in May. Image via Debby Wong / Shutterstock.

A year after his last trip to Washington, when he hobnobbed with Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, and Ban Ki-Moon at a fabulously glitzy dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, Prince Harry is heading back to town. The 28-year-old helicopter pilot will make another trip to the US May 9 through 15, visiting Hurricane Sandy victims in New Jersey and playing in the Sentebale Polo Cup in Greenwich, Connecticut, as well as attending the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado.

Not on the agenda: a Vegas trip. (You may remember that the Prince’s post-Olympic visit to that city in August of last year resulted in nude pictures of him being splashed all over the tabloids after a not-so-successful game of strip poker.) The naughty-but-nice British royal and future uncle to 2013’s most anticipated baby will, however, be stopping in Washington, visiting wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, swinging by Arlington National Cemetery, and heading to Capitol Hill to see an exhibition on efforts to clear landmines in his new role as patron of the HALO Trust—a charity his mother was famously involved with.

For more pictures of Prince Harry (because why not), check out our slideshow from his trip in 2012.

Posted at 11:35 AM/ET, 03/25/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Instead of watching the tournament at home, grab your team’s jersey and head out to one of these spots. By Emily Thompson
Pull up a chair at Rocket Bar to watch the NCAA Tournament. Photograph via Flickr user kevharb.

From free taco Friday to a drawing for an HDTV, these bars have plenty of specials to keep you coming back throughout the NCAA men's-basketball tournament.


Buffalo Billiards

Drink specials: $3.50 Coors Light and Miller Light bottles and drafts; $4 Redd’s Apple Ale; $4.50 Sam Adams, Sam Seasonal, and Sam Light; $5 Loaded Redd’s Apple Ale (topped with Fireball whiskey); $15 buckets of Miller Lite and Coors Light.

Details: With more than 60 HDTVs, you won’t miss a minute of March Madness action.

Fast Eddie’s

Food specials: A different special each day of the week; most are $5.

Details: Fast Eddie’s also has Fairfax, Springfield, and Centreville locations for even more tournament fun.

Nellie’s Sports Bar

Drink specials: Bottles of Miller Lite or house vodka drinks are $2 between 5 and 6 PM, $3 between 6 and 7, and $4 between 7 and 8; Monday through Friday.

Details: This U Street bar has free WiFi and DirecTV with ESPN FullCourt to keep you fully plugged in during the games.

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Posted at 03:40 PM/ET, 03/22/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The “Scandal” actress and GW alumna will also receive an honorary degree. By Tanya Pai

Photograph via s_bukley/Shutterstock.

Scandal fans, mark your calendars: Il Papa herself, Kerry Washington, will be in Washington to deliver the commencement address for George Washington University on the Mall on Sunday, May 19. Washington graduated magna cum laude from GW in 1998 and will receive an honorary degree from the institution in addition to addressing the crowd of gladiators in gowns. In a press release, GW president Steven Knapp said the Django Unchained actress “has captured the imagination of our students, and they will benefit greatly, as they head out into the world, from hearing her perspective both as an alumna and as a highly successful actor on stage, in film, and on television.” The press release failed to mention whether Tony Goldwyn will be making an appearance to stare at her creepily from afar.

Posted at 01:55 PM/ET, 03/18/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Join an organized snowball fight in Dupont Circle, visit a museum or two, or kick back with an all-day happy hour. By Sophie Gilbert
Happy snow day! Here are some fun things to do. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

A snow day is as good an excuse as any to kick back on the couch and indulge in an all-day TV marathon (and if you’re tempted to binge-watch House of Cards on Netflix, check out our review). But by no means is fun canceled in Washington today—especially given the lack of accumulation in large parts of DC. We’ve rounded up some of the best things to bundle up and do today, from snowball fights to museum exhibits to all-day drink deals.

A good number of museums are open today, offering a great chance to catch up on exhibits and new additions. All the Smithsonian museums, with the exception of the National Zoo, are keeping regular hours until further notice. Goggle at the Hope Diamond in hopefully less-packed crowds than usual at the Natural History Museum, fly in a simulator at Air and Space, or check out power players captured in a video portrait in “The Network” at the National Portrait Gallery.

Also open today: The National Geographic Museum downtown, whose current exhibit, “Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution” reveals images of brightly colored birds in Australasia (a nice respite from the chill).

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Posted at 11:15 AM/ET, 03/06/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Everyone’s favorite redheaded late-night host will descend upon DC in April. By Sophie Gilbert
Photograph of Conan O’Brien courtesy of Flickr user vtdainfo.

Is it that time already? You might still be hungover from inauguration (we are) but it’s time to start thinking about Nerd Prom 2013, also known as the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. It was announced today that this year’s host for the Washington Hilton event April 27 is Conan O’Brien.

It’s a second go at the event for Coco, the former host of Late Night With Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien (he currently appears Mondays through Thursdays on TBS’s Conan. In 1995 the flame-haired comic poked fun at then-President Bill Clinton, Secret Service background checks (“It turns out technically I’m still a virgin,” he quipped), and C-SPAN, which airs the event.

Posted at 11:10 AM/ET, 02/20/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()