What: Caron Butler’s 28th-birthday party
Where: The Park at Fourteenth (920 14th St., NW)
When: Thursday, March 13, 8 PM to 2 AM
Who: Caron Butler celebrated with his entire squad, including superstar Gilbert Arenas, seven-footer Oleksiy Pecherov, and head coach Eddie Jordan. They were joined by Carmen Electra, Kim Kardashian (hey, Butler was traded from LA, remember?), and NFL players Jason Campbell, Ray Lewis, LaVar Arrington, and Vernon Davis.
Pickup line of the night: This conversation between the elevator attendant and a random young lady was overheard in the Park’s elevator:
Young lady: “Phew, it’s a lot nicer in this elevator than it is out there.”
Elevator attendant: “You can stay in here all night if you’d like.”
Photographs by Jim Folliard, Gearshift Productions LLC
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Food and drink: The Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday that Butler was dishing out $250,000 for his big celebration, but I wasn’t the only one who went home with an empty stomach. Where did all that money go? Probably to the extravagant private party on the second level, where Butler spent most of the night with a select few guests (including everyone mentioned above). Partygoers on the club’s other three floors fasted for the evening, and the drinks even came with a price tag. Cup of soda: $3. Bottle of Heineken: $7. Second-floor banquet: priceless?
Better late than never: The birthday boy made his guests wait a little longer than expected, but he had a really great excuse: Someone had scheduled Butler’s party on the same night the Wizards were set to host the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Verizon Center.
Scene: Guests started filing in at about 8, even though the Wizards were there only in spirit at that point, with every TV tuned in to the big game on TNT. (Side note: Thank goodness LeBron James’s potential game winner misfired—nothing ruins a birthday like being on the wrong side of a buzzer beater.) By the time Butler and his teammates finally arrived at Franklin Square, the Park had been transformed into the National Zoo. Despite the party’s billing as “invitation only,” the bouncers seemed to let in every Tom, Dick, and Harry until Harry literally couldn’t fit through the door.
The mysterious “list,” which was occasionally alluded to (especially after 11, when the place was practically shaking), didn’t seem to exist. Understanding this, one Wizards fan, who unsuccessfully pleaded his case for nearly two hours, went so far as to ask Brendan Haywood for help when the Wizards’ center appeared out front:
“Come on, Brendan,” the fan said, “help out a fellow North Carolina alum.”
“Yeah, right,” Haywood replied, “you didn’t go to UNC.”
“You’re right,” the disgruntled fan admitted.
Inside, Butler was immediately escorted to the second floor, where he celebrated in peace with friends and family. Fans and so-called relatives tried to sneak in the entire night, but only the elite made it past these doors.
By the time the private party ended at about 1 AM, the crowd started to thin, but the ones who left early missed the best part of the night. Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and the rest of the team made their way to the fourth floor, where the Washington stars danced with a select group of ladies in a rope-enclosed area. Even though security guards separated the players and fans from direct interaction, Arenas posed for pictures and entertained the crowd with his silly antics.
The team, still high from the win over the Cavs, continued to dance the wee hours of the night away, even shaking to a Diana Ross classic at one point. Unfortunately, Carmen Electra left around 1:30.
Boldface names: 4 out of 5
Swankiness: 2 out of 5
Exclusivity: 1 out of 5 (5 out of 5, if you partied upstairs with Butler)
Food and drink: 1 out of 5
Total score: 8 out of 20