What: The premiere of the first two episodes of the final installment of The Sopranos, as well as a discussion with David Chase, the show's creator.
Where: The plush offices and modern screening room of the National Cable and Telecommunications Associations.
Who: A fairly good cross-section of Washington's intellectual elite hosted by the head of the NCTA, Kyle McSlarrow, and assorted HBO executives. The crowd included TNR's Frank Foer and Leon Wieseltier, The Week's Margaret Carlson, The Nation's David Corn, George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, the MPAA's Dan Glickman, the heads of the Sunday shows, Ron Brownstein, NBC's Chuck Todd, the Washington Post's TV editor Michael Cavna, and CNN's David Bohrman. Oh and did we mention the creator of The Sopranos, David Chase?
Scene: NCTA's beautiful offices on the Hill, packed to the brim with fancy electronics, a fancy kitchen, and the state-of-the-art screening room with its plush white leather seats, had more than one guest walking around with eyes bulging. "Just being in the bathroom, I felt like I was overpaying for cable," one commented. Given the "be there done that" attitude of the professional cocktail circuit crowd, last night was a particularly giddy crowd for a Washington event. The realized that they really were seeing something rare and special, and the excitement just as the screens dimmed and the familiar theme song began blasting was palpable. There was applause at the end of each episode and all around just a real rare sense of awe and wonder at being present and hearing from The Creator himself.
Food: Dry fish, very good risotto, an above average molten chocolate cake.
Drink: Standard red and white wine.
The Sad Part for You: The after-dinner discussion with Wieseltier, the longtime literary editor of The New Republic, where David Chase opened up about what the series has done well and where he has regrets, was very pointedly "Off the freakin' record."
The Gift Bags: A Sopranos pen and Season Six, Part I, on DVD.
Bold Face Names: 4 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 4 (out of 5)
Food: 4 (out of 5)
Exclusivity: 5 (out of 5)
Total Score: 17 (out of 20)