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An Updated Guide to the A-List Parties Before and After the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
Party-mad media members can expect a four-day social marathon. By Carol Ross Joynt
David and Katherine Bradley's WHCAD party in 2012. Photograph by Jeff Martin.
Comments () | Published April 10, 2013

In a week, expect high gear and high madness with the arrival of the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual fete, the party that began as a one-night-only dinner and became a four-day-weekend extravaganza. It’s been called a prom, a circus—even, by some, a monster. Detractors grumble about “what it has become”; still, the dinner at the Washington Hilton sells out, and wannabes clamor for invitations to the before- and after-parties. And, of course, an assortment of movie, TV, music, fashion, and media celebrities make it a must-stop on the spring celebrity social circuit.

While not quite the party smorgasbord of the relatively recent inauguration, and minus the citywide security lockdown, it is a feast of see-and-be-seen events. Like the inauguration, it demands a certain amount of social fortitude to get to everything, starting on the evening of Thursday, April 25, and running through to brunch on Sunday, April 28. Access to these parties is unlikely without an invitation. But we thought you’d like to know how members of the media celebrate when they throw a party in honor of themselves. For a person with the right connections, who wanted to run a party marathon, this is what the calendar would look like. (We will update as more invites come our way.)

Thursday, April 25

Foreign Affairs and Devex host It’s a Big World, After All at the 17th and F street offices of the Council on Foreign Relations. Whom/what to expect? Foreign policy wonks.

NeuProfile and FinePoint PR host the Spin Room With Rock the Vote at Heist in downtown DC. Whom/what to expect? Deejays Rar Kelly and Adam to the Max, who will spin. Also “exclusive VIP swag.”

Friday, April 26

The Hill and Coca-Cola host a cocktail reception at the 23rd Street residence of the Turkish ambassador. Whom/what to expect? According to the Hill, “members of Congress and other DC insiders.”

Atlantic Media’s David and Katherine Bradley host their annual Welcome dinner at their Embassy Row home. Whom/what to expect? “DC insiders, Hollywood, and media,” according Atlantic Media.

Voto Latino holds its fourth annual Our Voices: Celebrating Diversity in Media party at the Hay-Adams. Whom/what to expect? Rosario Dawson.

The Making News Party, hosted by the National Journal, Our Time, and the Atlantic, starts late at the Powerhouse in Georgetown. Whom/what to expect? Many of the same business and Hollywood names who were at the earlier Bradley dinner, plus assorted other media and celebs.

Time Magazine and People Magazine host a cocktail party at the St. Regis Hotel. Noted for the location and food and swag and the people People can wrangle, like Diane Keaton. Hosts are Time's Michael Duffy and Rick Stengel and People's Sandra Westfall and Larry Hackett.

Creative Coalition hosts a dinner at Neyla in Georgetown. This one costs, however, starting at $5,000 for two seats and up to $50,000 for ten seats. What/whom to expect: a warm bath of liberal Hollywood activism plus members of their hosts and board, which include WHCA regulars Tim Daly and Dana Delaney, along with Sharon Stone, Alfre Woodard, Tracy Morgan, Kevin McHale. Also, the invite promises a “gift bag.”

The Creative Coalition hosts a Thank You Lounge for visiting celebrities and select journalists Friday, April 26, from 1 to 6:30 PM and Saturday, April 27, from 10 AM to 4 PM. This is what’s also known as a gifting suite, where guests can choose as much free stuff (usually jewelry, electronics, beauty products, trips, etc.) as they want for themselves or, on this occasion, to contribute to charity. The secret location is revealed only upon sending an RSVP.

New Republic owner Chris Hughes is hosting a party to kick-off WHCA but also to “celebrate the official opening of our new office space.” It is on 9th Street. Who/What to expect? Facebook wunderkind Hughes and his acolytes, but also some very good cocktails, since the sponsor is the Distilled Spirits Council.

Saturday, April 27

Brunch at the former Georgetown home of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, now owned by Mark Ein, and hosted by Tammy Haddad, Hilary Rosen, and Ein. Whom/what to expect? Virtually every celebrity in Washington for the dinner. Last year included even Lindsay Lohan.

ABC News, Yahoo News, and Univision Noticias host a cocktail reception before the WHCA dinner, at the Washington Hilton on the Columbia Lawn. Whom/what to expect? ABC News correspondents and ABC sitcom stars, if they are in town. Last year it was the cast of Modern Family, and Sophia Vergara is expected again this year.

Newsweek and the Daily Beast host a cocktail reception at the Washington Hilton, Monroe Room, hosted by Tina Brown, Barry Diller, Jane Harman, Baba Shetty, and Harvey Weinstein. Whom/what to expect? Everyone who can get their names on the list, plus Nicole Kidman, Olivia Munn, former White House speechwriter Jon Favreau, and other celebs galore. Groupies. Wide-eyed media.

CBS News, Atlantic Media, the Atlantic, and National Journal host a pre-dinner reception at the Washington Hilton courtyard and gardens. Whom/what to expect? Scott Pelley, Bob Schieffer, Steve Kroft, Lara Logan, Charlie Rose, and Gayle King.

Thomson Reuters hosts pre- and post-parties, both at the Washington Hilton, Georgetown Room East. Whom/what to expect? Kathleen Turner, Jeremy Renner, Fred Armisen, Victor Cruz, Dan Stevens, Steven Zahn, and Jamie Wyeth.

The dinner, in the Washington Hilton ballroom, begins around 7:30 (realistically 8). At the lower entrance, on Florida Avenue, the hotel permits non-guests to stand behind a rope line and watch the ticketed guests arrive. It’s crowded, and there’s a lot of screaming, but usually the Hollywood types will walk over to the “civilian” rope line to say hello.

MSNBC hosts an after-party at the Italian Embassy, hosted by MSNBC president Phil Griffin. Whom/what to expect? Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, even Brian Williams.

Capitol File holds its annual after-party at the Carnegie Library.

The Vanity Fair/Bloomberg after-party at the French ambassador’s Kalorama residence. Whom/what to expect? All of editor Graydon Carter’s best friends, plus A-list celebs and folks at the gates trying to convince the iPad-wielding security guards that they “really are on the list.”

In a festive merge of liberal and conservative media, the Nation magazine and National Review host a “purple” pre-dinner cocktail party at the Washington Hilton. They tout it as “flying in the face of Washington’s partisan acrimony.” Who/what to expect? Pols from both sides of the aisle and, hopefully, some mud wrestling.

Sunday, April 28

Thomson Reuters/Yahoo News brunch at the Hay-Adams rooftop, featuring “politically inspired” dishes prepared by Top Chef alums Mike Isabella, Bryan Voltaggio, Spike Mendelsohn, and Bart Vandaele. Whom/what to expect? Some of the same guests from the night before, plus every right-minded foodie who still has some juice left.

Politico brunch at the Bowie-Sevier House, the Georgetown mansion that belongs to Robert Allbritton. Anybody left in town who qualifies as a celebrity usually shows up here, causing maddening gridlock on Q Street.

And then, time to breathe: It’s over.

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  • The hotel permits non-guests
    to stand behind a rope line and watch the ticketed guests arrive. It’s crowded, and
    there’s a lot of screaming, but usually the Hollywood types will walk over to the
    “civilian” rope line to say hello.

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