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Kennedy Center Honors: The After-Party

Ne-Yo (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

So, say you're the most white-hot object in the universe at this moment, and you're trying to make a speedy exit from the Kennedy Center Honors, but there's one last person you're willing to slow down to talk to -- who is it?

Well, if you're Beyonce, you stopped for Nancy Pelosi -- but ha-ha, trick question! The most white-hot object in the universe last night was NBC's David Gregory, and it's a shame he didn't think to bring a Beyonce-style security detail, so mobbed was he all night by well-wishers wanting to congratulate him on winning the "Meet the Press" job.

And the lanky new superstar was in no hurry to leave, having the seat of honor at the post-show dinner next to Caroline Kennedy, engrossed in conversation, presumably getting the real story about her possible Senate aspirations.

Clint Eastwood and wife Dina Ruiz (Mike Theiler/Reuters)

The dinner. For all the fuss about the show (see our colleague Jennifer Frey's story; photo gallery and video!), it's the after-party held in the KenCen's Grand Foyer that's the real hot ticket, the chance to see the stars mingle with Washington establishment types (Beth Dozoretz exchanging chummy talk-to-you-laters with Clint Eastwood's wife at Morgan Freeman's table) -- and maybe even schmooze them yourself.

Also: Seeing the stars schmooze the other stars. "It's always scary to meet your idols," said Jack Black, who we watched posing for a photo (a fan's camera, or his own?) with Pete Townshend.

And it's always enlightening for the stars to learn who's a real fan. George Jones, who sat next to President Bush during the tribute to the singer, told us the president sang along to the whole thing. "He knows the words to every one of my songs. I'm on his iPod. He exercises to 'White Lightening.' "

The gravitational center of the room: Barbra Streisand's table graced by silver-fox husband James Brolin, BFF Donna Karan, Broadway star Idina Menzel and TV-cutie husband Taye Diggs. La Streisand defied all expectations by hugging, kissing and charming all weekend. "She was the warmest of all the honorees," said former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein. "She was Brooklyn."

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and his wife Jordyn Blum arrive at the Kennedy Center Honors' State Department dinner Saturday. (Jonathan Ernst for the Washington Post)

We, however, gravitated to Dave Grohl, waiting patiently for him to stop smooching his beatifically pretty wife Jordyn, who is pregnant with their second child. The Nirvana drummer turned Foo Fighters frontman confirmed our investigative report of a few years ago that found he attended three, yes, three NoVa high schools -- Thomas Jefferson, Bishop Ireton and Annandale -- in just four years.

Who else? Ne-Yo wears that hat all the time -- even to the White House, even to dinner. But you know, it's a good look for him. Randy Travis's tuxedo jacket, seen up close, is one of those excellent black-on-black embroidered deals, very Nashville.

Oh, and Beyonce? Taller than you expect, especially next to the diminutive House speaker; dazzling diamondy earrings the size of salad plates; a glossy, side-parted Barbra-'64 bouffant that was just as apt a tribute to Ms. Streisand as her rendition of "The Way We Were."

By The Reliable Source  |  December 8, 2008; 2:43 PM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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