Are We Having A Ball Yet?: The Inaugural Party Bubble Bursts
**UPDATED: American Music Ball cancelled, and some of its talent heads to Heroes Ball; read more here. **
Don't you hate it when you pop a bottle of champagne and it's flat?
So, too, with some of these inaugural balls.
If you nabbed a ticket to one of the official balls sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee tonight, you're fine. But some of the other high-profile parties have been canceled or are still scrambling to cut costs and sell last-minute tickets, leaving ballgoers disappointed or out in the cold.
The People's Ball at the Grand Hyatt announced a blue-light special yesterday: Tickets slashed $100 -- to $250! The American Music Ball, hosted by Dionne Warwick, which planned two big-name events at the Marriott Wardman Park, was scrambling to sell enough tickets ($450 for the Legends ball with George Clinton, Chaka Khan and the Temptations; $350 for the Urban ball with Ludacris, Fantasia, and Cedric the Entertainer) for the show to go on -- and it wasn't looking good last night, said sources.
The "Heroes Red, White & Blue" Ball at the Warner Theatre with Jamie Foxx, rapper Nas, guitarist Slash, and gospel star Donnie McClurkin scrapped its entire lineup and subbed in a band called Memphis Gold, reports our colleague Richard Leiby. "There will be a performance, but not as previously listed," said publicist Linda Roth. Ditto for the after-party with disco stars Chic, who were stunned by the sudden cancellation. Singer Sylver Logan Sharp told us in an e-mail: "I can't express how sick I am over this."
And the Veterans Ball at the St. Regis Hotel? Canceled -- and promoter Dante Hayes is nowhere to be found, the Navy Times reported yesterday. Tickets for the party (not to be confused with the official Commander-in-Chief Ball for the military) went for up to $385 on the Congressional Education Foundation for Public Policy's website Web site, which abruptly shut down yesterday.
What happened? Not enough demand for high-price unofficial celebrations with no drop-bys from the Obamas. Only groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the Creative Coalition -- with lists of long-time supporters -- were able to fill ballrooms.
And yes, there's even a glut of A-list celebrities. Too many to list! After the first dozen or so, they all blend together -- kind of like museums on European vacations. "Another Titian? Meh."
Poor Jay-Z. Apparently being Beyoncé's husband isn't enough, so he got a star last night at on the Warner Theatere's "Walk of Fame" next to Frank Sinatra. Now he's extra special.
The Reliable Source
January 20, 2009; 1:38 AM ET
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