All photos by Chris Leaman.
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That’s what more than 200 Washingtonians did last night, braving the frigid weather to attend a 50th-anniversary Grammy bash hosted by the DC chapter of the Recording Academy. The night started out slow, with a less-than-stellar head count for the 7 PM reception, but as the awards telecast got under way, the place filled up steadily.
A silent auction—which included electric guitars signed by Angie Stone and the members of Def Leopard—drew some interested bidders, but the highlight of the evening seemed to be the free food and drinks and, of course, the dozens of TVs and a large projection screen playing the awards show live. Partygoers sipped Haywood Merlot and golden-pear martinis—Absolut pear vodka, apple juice, and ginger ale—while servers passed around barbecue-chicken skewers, miniature pulled-pork sandwiches, bruschetta, and tiny quiches. One buffet station featured carving stations, steamed broccoli and garlic mashed potatoes; the other—which seemed more popular, judging by the lines—served make-your-own pasta dishes, with a variety of sauces, meats, and veggies to choose from.
During the broadcast, most of the crowd stood in rapt attention while winners were announced. When performers took the stage—particularly Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Tina Turner—many sang and danced along (more heartily on both counts as the drinks took effect). At commercial breaks, a DJ played tunes, which encouraged some to dance, and emcees quizzed the crowd with Grammy trivia and handed out door prizes.
“This is my second year coming,” said Kenny Wesley, a local jazz musician. “I love the vibe. It’s a way for Washington to unwind and enjoy music, away from politics.”
Well, almost: Barack Obama squeezed out the Clinton camp with a win at the awards show to round out his weekend of victories—he beat Bill Clinton in the spoken-word category for his recording of The Audacity of Hope, the senator’s 2006 political manifesto.