Correspondents' Dinner: People's Friday Soiree

By: Garrett M. Graff

High School Musical star Zac Efron (upper left) tore into a cheese plate.
What: People's Kick-Off Party, White House Correspondents' Association Dinner Weekend

Where: IndeBleu in Gallery Place

When: Friday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Who: A wide range of the media elite, some in town just for the weekend's festivities, and others long-time Washington fixtures.

Food: Assorted snacks, cheese plates, and mini-burgers.

Drink: IndeBleu's signature blackberry mojitos.

Scene: The crowd packed into the lounge for an early post-work kick-off, gossiping and munching on the numerous trays of snacks. Dinner entertainer Rich Little wandered through for some brief pictures. After mingling for a while, "High School Musical" star Zac Efron hunkered down in a corner with a cheese plate; incoming WHCA President Ann Compton of ABC News had her family and two old Texas family friends of President Bush in tow; Rita Cosby passed through, as did a host of White House reporters and media types from Anne Kornblut to Dana Bash to Dana Milbank. Also People's executive editor Liz Sporkin led to an odd assortment as well, bringing her father, former federal judge Stanley Sporkin, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, and BP America President Bob Malone.

Gift Bag: Year after year, one of the heaviest and richest gift bags in Washington. Guests lucky enough to have actually been invited (and thus whose names were actually on the guest list) were handed an overflowing bag of lotions, beauty products, and trinkets on the way out. Included were some John Varvatos cologne, assorted Neutrogena products, mints, and a copy of People, among the two dozen or so items.

Ratings:
Bold Face Names: 3 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 3 (out of 5)
Food/Drink: 3 (out of 5)
Exclusivity:
4 (out of 5)

Total Score: 13 (out of 20)

More photos from the party, including the gift bag, below.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh (left) chatted with former federal judge Stanley Sporkin, the father of People's executive editor.
Rich Little posed for pictures.
The gift bag and contents.