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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 01/14/2009

Friday Wednesday List: Your Advice for Celebrity Inaugural Revelers

By Liz Kelly

Will one-time Obama e-mail pal Scarlett Johansson attend any inaugural events? (Getty Images)

Beyonce, Jay-Z, Anne Hathaway, Sting, Bono, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Patricia Arquette, Ed Harris, Ashley Judd, Josh Lucas, Kate Walsh, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, Brendan Fraser, David Alan Grier, Deidre Hall, Herbie Hancock, Hill Harper, Terrence Howard, Lisa Marie Presley, Oprah Winfrey, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, Faith Hill, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Denzel Washington, Beastie Boys, Sheryl Crow, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins, Kerry Washington, Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Matthew Modine, Ellen Burstyn...

Each day as more plans are solidified, it becomes increasingly obvious that of the critical mass of visitors expected in D.C. over the weekend and into next Tuesday, at least a gajillion (by my informal estimate) will be celebrities.

Sure, the main event -- the swearing in of Barack Obama as the country's 44th president -- is attraction enough, but for students of Celebritology the sideshow -- in the form of a stream of high-wattage celebrities -- may take center stage next Tuesday.

If you were lucky enough to score an invite to one of the several inaugural balls taking place around the city, good for you and I'd recommend studying Roxanne Roberts's ball survival tips. If not, park yourself in front of the computer, enjoy a cocktail and let us bring the party to you with wall-to-wall (or ball-to-ball) inauguration night coverage.

But before you settle in to enjoy the cavalcade of stars, let's welcome them with a useful handbook for surviving their brief stay in the nation's capital. From navigating the Metro system to pointing out some of D.C.'s more obscure gems, what advice would you give the first-time celebrity visitor to D.C.?

Share your suggestions below...

By Liz Kelly  | January 14, 2009; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Friday Lists  
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Visit the WWII, Korean Conflict, Vietnam memorial or Arlington Cemetery and try to comprehend that you're not the center of the universe.

And have fun storming the castle, kids!

Posted by: pras40 | January 14, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

In a perfect world, all of the insanely rich celebrities, who love to espouse the wonders and benefits of overpriced eco-friendly products, will forgo their private transport and hop on the Metro with the hoi polloi to do their part to save the planet. In the spirit of this historic event, I shall pretend that they will. In that case, please remember when riding the escalators: stand to the right, walk to the left! An angry man in a fancy suit once yelled at me for not following ‘the rules’; I was in elementary school at the time and the incident has scarred me for life.

Posted by: misc1997 | January 14, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If someone offers you a stimulus package, just say "thanks but no thanks", it probably won't be cash.

Posted by: hodie | January 14, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

This advice is for Tom Cruise and Tom Cruise alone. Although Paris Hilton could benefit as well:

Take a drive out Chain Bridge Road and follow the signs to the George Bush Center for Intelligence. Drive through the gate yelling, "Strategery! Strategery!"

Really, the guards love this. It makes their day.

Posted by: memphis1 | January 14, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

get your chauffeur to haul you out to mount vernon and/or to monticello. two beautiful homes in gorgeous settings.
if no time for that, drive past blair house and try to figure out why there wasn't enough room for the obamas. and then please let us know the answer.

Posted by: frieda406 | January 14, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Everyone wear purple and black--Ravens colors. You will receive many grateful comments and greetings by the locals!

Posted by: possum_pouch | January 14, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

* D.C. has many, many, many fun and quirky neighborhoods. Don't restrict yourself to the local hot spots; grab your handlers and go to U Street or Dupont Circle or that great place in Chinatown that will serve you whole tilapia (eyeball included).
* Take your kids to the Zoo- specifically, to the prairie dog exhibit near the great cats. Some of my fondest memories as a child are watching the little furballs scamper around.
* If you can fight the traffic, get out to the Udvar-Hazy Center (the Air and Space Museum's Dulles branch) and see the planes. Nothing focuses the mind like looking directly into the exhaust turbine of an SR-71 Blackbird.

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | January 14, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Ahem, Scarlett, I have an inaugural event for my pants. (Yeah I'm not proud of that one either).

Since, I don't live any where near the area I can't give much advice. But if memory serves me, one is supposed to observe the silence at the Jefferson Memorial so I would recommend that Kanye West spend most of his time there.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 14, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

The city isn't usually this crazy. Seriously, come back when it's more sane. Like during the Cherry Blossom Festival or maybe a nice riot.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | January 14, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

1. Go before you go. The port-o-john ratio will be 10,000-1. Then again, there's always the Lisa Nowak option...

2. The Mall will be frozen solid, but spiked heels will still sink in. While this may be good for aerating the grass, it will not be good for your Manolos.

3. Unless you personally know Rahm Emanuel and can get me a job in the new Administration, cut the small talk.

4. Don't put anything in your evening bag that you would be embarrassed to show a Secret Service agent.

5. You can try and charm the Secret Service agent, but their canine assistants will not be reasoned with.

6. Sting, please shave, lest someone think you're a member of the Taliban.

7. Ditch the limo. Al Gore will be spot- checking carbon footprints throughout the evening.

8. This would not be a good weekend to combine festivities with any elective surgery.

9. When navigating the city, the letters NE, SE, NW, and SW really do mean something. Don't leave them off of the addresses you punch into your GPS.

10. Dress in layers. In certain sections of SE and NE, this will mean Kevlar.

Posted by: mdreader01 | January 14, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Every time I think of Scarlett Johannson and the phrase "inaugural balls" I get just a little bit dizzy.

Also, nobody should follow possum's advice: I was planning on meeting someone in the crowd on the Mall, and wearing purple and black was how we were going to identify one another. This will completely mess that up. I suggest wearing gold and black instead, and if you've got clothing that has the word "ROETHLISBERGER" on the back in large letters, I've heard that's also going to be warmly welcomed.

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 14, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and the Scientology headquarters is in Dupont Circle, but you already knew that, didn't you?

Posted by: mdreader01 | January 14, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Try eating somewhere other than Cafe Milano.

Posted by: dstu | January 14, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Ahem, Scarlett, I have an inaugural event for my pants. (Yeah I'm not proud of that one either).

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 14, 2009 11:52 AM


What kind of pre/post inaugural sex will BO and the missus have? And where? Will she be "in the mood"? Will BO enjoy a post-coital cigarette?

Posted by: jezebel3 | January 14, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

hey guys - this ain't LA.. it's hollywood-for-ugly-people's spotlight!

Posted by: cmac3 | January 14, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Stand right, walk left.

And if your name is Ed Harris, Terrence Howard, Brendan Frasier or Denzel Washington, my 1br/1ba condo in Alexandria is available free of charge, my dog and I are included. I'll provide miles of...ahem..entertainment throughout the weekend. Though I do have to work Monday and Tuesday, I'd be willing to provide a map to the sites and my smart trip card those days.

Posted by: eet7e | January 14, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Come over to Arlington and have a drink with the old guy at the end of the bar! Plus we can still smoke in restaurants here.

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 14, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

My advice? Stay home. The weather is much better in California and you can see everything just as well on your gazillion-inch tv. Not to mention, you can walk around in your pajamas and no one will mind.

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | January 14, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Wear sensible shoes - especially if you do take metro and have to hike up or down one of their broken escalators.

Posted by: kvs09 | January 14, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Parking will be at a premium in the District. Don't bring your limo and take up 50 of the few available spots.

Take Metro. It will do you good to meet real people who will not worship the ground you walk on (we know what the ground here contains). Besides walk left, stand right, do NOT stand directly in the center of the Metro doors waiting for them to open. It interferes with the folks trying to get off and just messes the whole process up. It is not that hard to stand one or two steps to the side. Really.

I gotta say that Pras40 (methinks?) has the best comment so far.

Posted by: epjd | January 14, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention, you can walk around in your pajamas and no one will mind.

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | January 14, 2009 12:43 PM
Why many fine citizens of Washington, DC walk the streets their pajamas. We have a team of mental health and public safety professionals who check in on them from time to time...

My favorite was the guy who lived under the tunnel near the New York Ave Metro station. He liked to take his "morning constitutional" during rush hour. It made for interesting scenery on the west side of the train.

Posted by: mdreader01 | January 14, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Personal space on the metro isn't part of the ticket price, squeeze up to the person next to you and make new friends.

You do not get the whole center pole to yourself, don't hug it.

Posted by: mgc7830 | January 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I don't want to name any names, but some of you are NOT mega-A-listers. For those of you who are not, you might want to rethink this whole thing. Do you really want to suffer the embarrassment of having to walk for miles, standing in line for security checkpoints and port-a-johns, and being well out of paparazzi range when other, more high voltage celebrities get to hang out in the limo with Barack?

Also, if it's cold, take Nixon's advice and go with the Republican cloth coat. Democrats don't like fur either, and those pesky PETA people will probably be here, too.

Posted by: 44west | January 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Don't use terms like 'inside the beltway' and 'outside the beltway' like you know WTF you're talking about. People who live here hate that. Don't talk about change coming to Washington unless you actually have a plan to get voting representation in Congress for the citizens of the District.

Oooh, jes got a little angry...

Posted by: jes11 | January 14, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Carm down. The "stars" don't read this blog...

Posted by: jezebel3 | January 14, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

They don't use port-a-potties either. They pee sunshine and poo daisies.

Posted by: possum_pouch | January 14, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

They pee sunshine and poo daisies.

Posted by: possum_pouch | January 14, 2009 2:01 PM


I think Dr. hodie can prescribe something for that.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 14, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant, possum!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 14, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I also agree - nothing in your bags that would be embarrassing at checkpoints.

Secret Service agents take their job VERY seriously, and will probably be more serious than usual the next week or two. While on duty, they can be as humorless as the Buckingham Palace guard (despite knowing some agents in their off hours, and they're great people). Don't mess with 'em.

This is not SoCal. It will be cold. Currently between 25-35 degrees. If you're going to the parade or swearing in, find yourself a fabulous coat (preferably with some deep pockets for carrying things) and scarf and don't worry too much about what's underneath.

Unless you are a personal invitee of the President- or Vice President-Elect? You're walkin'. Get over it now. People who may not have your bank accounts or fame but significantly more power will probably be walking a bit themselves. There is no time for a drama, divalicious hissy fit - this day is NOT about you and this isn't your town.

I'd say visit the Hillwood Museum (four words: TWO Imperial Fabergé Eggs), but they closed down for January. Bummer.

Get ready to be disappointed by the food (at least by SoCal standards). It doesn't suck (because there really are some great restaurants), but it's more about power than looking pretty when you're in DC proper. Try Old Town Alexandria instead. Or better yet, just get takeout at Eamonn's or the Pita House and eat in your hotel. Or hell, just go to Annie's Paramount Steakhouse in Dupont Circle and enjoy the vibe.

Best view of the city is actually from the National Cathedral grounds if you get here early (they're closing to the public around noon on I-Day). Being in NW, it should be a wee bit less crowded than the Mall and it's well worth a visit. Darth Vader grotesque/gargoyle and the Space Window alone give it a gloss of cool otherwise not found in DC.

I would say don't take the Metro. Because that's the train that will break down, per Murphy's Law. And you will be stuck for hours in an underground sardine can...that has cell access. So everyone around will be taking pictures with their cell or Twittering about being stuck with you. Hire a driver and suffer the ground traffic - you can afford it, and you'll clear up room on the trains and buses for those who can't.

And honestly, I'd say please come back in the Spring when DC is freakin' gorgeous. January & February are our worst time of year.

Oh yeah - make sure you rub the corner of the East Wing of the National Gallery (at 4th and Madison - it's the west fin on the Mall side). You'll see the rub marks. It's an unofficial good luck thing. You'll see the wear marks.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 14, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget to try some of the fun and quirky new places on H Street NE. Have your limo bring you there!

I also have to chime in with - stand right, walk left. And don't stop to figure out where you are at the very top of the stairs - it will cause a pile-up!

Posted by: mwalkerg | January 14, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Excellent suggestions. If you only follow one, DEFINATELY adhere to the stand on the left, walk on the right. Failure to do so will cause problems. Also, don't take your time getting on the train. Trust me, you want to hurry.

I wonder if Metro will have more of the fabric seats in circulation for the celebs. I saw them once and they've been gone ever since.

Posted by: petalceleb | January 14, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

They pee sunshine and poo daisies.

Posted by: possum_pouch | January 14, 2009 2:01 PM


I think Dr. hodie can prescribe something for that.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 14, 2009 2:08 PM

if you suffer from peeing sunshine and passing poo daisies, take these little chocolate squares...but careful, they're not candy! Here Posh, you take two.

Posted by: hodie | January 14, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Boy, I hate to break this to everyone, but Metro plans to shut off the escalators. So it will be walk left, walk right. If you stand still, you won't be going anywhere.

Buy your SmarTrip in advance (like tomorrow or Friday at the very latest). Better yet, by the souvenier card at CVS.

Posted by: mdreader01 | January 14, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

If you're hankering for a taste of the tropics go to Trinidad, just north of the Capitol.

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 14, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

My advice?


Unless you're Scarlett Johanssen then you can do no wrong & can stay wherever you like.

Same goes for Bruce Springsteen , Sting & Bono...ohwhatalovelylittleorgythat'dmake,..**HomerSimpsondroolynoise**

Posted by: wadejg | January 14, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

So Bruce Springsteen, Sting & Bono walk into an orgy...

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 14, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't live in the DC area either, but I did honeymoon there (seriously -- it was before the days of cheap Caribbean package deals). I remember some ethnic restaurant that had great food and bellydancers who spun giant swords on their head. Indeed some of the most talented women I've ever seen. I think it was in or near Georgetown, at least it was 28 years ago. Find it. Enjoy it. Go heavy on the native liquor (some clear stuff that produced hallucinations).

By the way, I hate to admit this to Lizard Nation, but I didn't get the "O face" caption winner the other day. Can somebody 'splain?

Posted by: rashibama | January 14, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Rashi, you really need to see "Office Space" to get the O-face reference.

The scene might be on YouTube somewhere...

DREW: I'm thinking I might take that new chick from Logistics. If things go well I might be showing her my O-face. "Oh... Oh... Oh!" You know what I'm talkin' about. "Oh!"

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 14, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks byoolin, now I don't feel quite as dumb. I'll YouTube it and get in the loop.

Posted by: rashibama | January 14, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks byoolin, now I don't feel quite as dumb. I'll YouTube it and get in the loop.

Posted by: rashibama | January 14, 2009 3:56 PM

I'm too lazy & dumb to ever get it....

Posted by: jezebel3 | January 14, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Really, it's just going to blow with all those people there. I second the advice to come back another time.

And when you do, don't miss the Museum of Natural History's really cool geology section, with plate tectonics and gems & minerals GALORE. (Yeah, I'm a dork.) Also the insect zoo at that museum rocks. Then check out the East Wing of the National Gallery - wander around trying to find walls that meet at right angles. That I. M. Pei is soooo tricky. The National Archives is worth waiting in line for. I grew up in the DC surburbs and never got there until I was in my 20s, which is criminal. It's fantastic - very moving. The Vietnam Memorial is absolutely perfect. A must see.

Posted by: jaybbub | January 14, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

So are we going to see a bunch of celebrities humping the East side of the National Gallery for good luck?
Beyonce, Bono, Sting and Springsteen walk up to the National Gallery and have a very strenuous (but artful) dry-humping wining sex sandwich. Sounds like Possum Island at Carneval.

Posted by: possum_pouch | January 14, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Sting is involved, so will it be tantric? Heaven forbid, then it will cause gridlock!

Posted by: hodie | January 14, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Dear Celebrities,

No doubt you've been told told that DC is Crime Central, and that you can be assaulted anywhere, at any time, for any reason. Therefore, to protect yourselves, you should make sure that you carry concealed weapons to all inaugural festivities. When the well-dressed SS agents ask you if you are packing anything after you trip the metal detector, just give them a wink and a nod while saying, "I'm not carrying a thing."

Also, be sure to carry at least a three-pack of condoms on your person. You will need them after the well-dressed SS agents cuff you and send you to jail.

Oh, ScarJo, after Dorkus and Byoolin warm you up, and you're ready for the main event, give me a call.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | January 14, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

As a former resident who sometimes visits: pick a location to stay at the end of the metro line, and use the metro to go everywhere. I usually pick a line closest to the direction I am driving from (ex: Shady Grove, as I am now in the Midwest). Do not try and drive around in DC, it is nuts! Also, the further out you are, the cheaper the hotels. Although at this point that is probably a moot point (all booked). The metro ride in is longer, but it is much better than driving/parking.

Posted by: cjbriggs | January 14, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Ricardo Montalban died‽


Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 14, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Ricardo Motalban's casket will be lined with Rich Corinthian Leather.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | January 14, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Now Mr. Roark & Tattoo can stand to the right of St. Peter's desk to welcome everyone.

Posted by: jes11 | January 14, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh jes, that is the perfect tribute.

I am so upset that Ricardo Montalban died. I loved his accent.

Posted by: epjd | January 14, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree jes! In their white suits they are already dressed for the part.

Posted by: hodie | January 14, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

possum_pouch said:

So are we going to see a bunch of celebrities humping the East side of the National Gallery for good luck?

Oh lord, thanks for that mental image.

Though after I posted it I realized that it's at the far end of the ticketed zone - I'm sure security will be hefty there.

Seriously - no one else ever given the fin a quick rub (not a dry hump - that would just hurt :p)?

And so sad about Ricardo Montablan...

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 14, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I'd like inform you that Scarlett Johansson "actress"actually is a clone from original person,who has nothing with acting career.Clone was created illegally using stolen biomaterial.Original Scarlett Galabekian last name is nice, CHRISTIAN young lady.I'll tell more,those clones(it's not only 1)made in GERMANY-world leader manufacturer of humans clones,it's in Ludwigshafen am Rhein,Rhineland-Palatinate,Mr.Helmut Kohl home town.You can't even imaging the scale of the cloning activity.But warning,H.Kohl staff strictly controlling their clones spreading around the world,they're NAZI type disciplined and mind controlled,be careful get close with clones you will be controlled too.Original family didn't authorize any activity with stolen biomaterials,no matter what form it was created in,it's all need to be back to original family control in Cedars-Sinai MedicalCenter in LA.Controlling clones is US military operation.Original Scarlett never was engaged,by the way

Posted by: galabs2000 | January 15, 2009 4:37 AM | Report abuse

Dorkus, you still want one of those clones?

Posted by: hodie | January 15, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

If I understand galabs2000's post correctly (you need to hold your breath just to the point of passing out to do so), it's possible that there could very easily be more than enough Scarlett Johannsons to go around. Needless to say, this is good news.

("'Nazi, schmazi,' says Werner von Braun.")

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 15, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

("'Nazi, schmazi,' says Werner von Braun.")

Posted by: byoolin1 | January 15, 2009 9:06 AM


byoolin, some of my professors were good friends with Herr von Braun.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | January 15, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Then, Dorkus, they would recognize the Tom Lehrer song about him...

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | January 16, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Wow- with all the big name celebs coming, the only one Im interested in is Deidre Hall. She will be the guest speaker at the Purple Ball at the Fairmnont Hotel. To see Marlena in person would be awesome LOL

Posted by: joeiscool | January 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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