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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.

By The Reliable Source  |  January 20, 2009; 1:38 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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Next: Update: American Music Ball Cancelled; Talent Heads to Heroes Ball

Comments

Stupid, greedy promotors get what they deserve.

Posted by: hoos3014 | January 20, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Poor JayZ. Maybe he shouldn't have let wifey diss his mommy-in-law.

Posted by: MissV | January 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Where's the support and enthusiasm? Could it be Obama-mania isn't all the media would like us to believe ?

Posted by: widdawisa | January 20, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The support and enthusiasm for Obama is there---but a combination of secretive ticketing for the free and/or affordable balls and unrealistic pricing for real people for the other balls conspired against most DC residents. My girlfriend and I simply can't afford $300/$500/$700 to go as a couple to one of these events.

Posted by: JoelE1 | January 20, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Funny how Obama raised millions upon millions for his campaign, but his supporters cannot afford to go to the balls. Oh that's right, the campaign cash came from overseas.

Posted by: widdawisa | January 20, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"My girlfriend and I simply can't afford $300/$500/$700 to go as a couple to one of these events"

Why?

Under the "mistake", I mean "messiah", you will no longer need money as all bills will be paid by Barry, right?

Now that the evil Bush is out of office, where are your unicorns?

B. Hussein Obama just spent 1 trillion dollars to win your vote, nearly three times the amount which McCain spent. He has already spent 100 million more to glamorize his entrance into the city. Why in the h*ll should you have to pay?

If you can't and hundreds of your fellow Obama-bots can't afford $1000K for the balls, then tell us again how all you "grassroots" leftist were able to raise 1 trillion dollars for the Barry?

Funny thing is that YOU and YOUR girlfriend better get used to that phrase because in the next four years, you will be saying it a lot.

"We couldn't afford it!"

Posted by: LogicalSC | January 20, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Our friends came to visit us in DC for the swearing-in, and they attended the Black Tie and Boots Ball last night. I am sure that the event's organizers were trying their best, but the shuttle buses that were supposed to transport people from Union Station to the new Gaylord Hotel (10 miles away) just did not show up. There were a lot of very disappointed people.

Posted by: marenmatal | January 20, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I would have liked to have gone to a ball, but am laid off and having to conserve cash. I could not find one for my price point $50 - would have loved to have done that - but could not afford it. I hope the Obama's and Biden's have a wonderful time at the official balls. We have all deserved a time of celebration. For me watching it all on the TV has been enough.

Posted by: KEK2 | January 20, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Dionne Warwick's Legends & Urban ball was cancelled 24 hour in advance! Ticket holders were never notified. Consequently, many arrived at the Marriot Wardman Park hotel last night only to be informed by Marriot staff that the ball was cancelled. Marriot staff were told by Dionne's ball organizers to refer ticket holders to their web site for more information. However,as of Tuesday mornning they took down their web site and checked out of the hotel before ticket holders began to arrive! Make matters worse the ball organizers "Friends of Dionne Warwick" never bothered or attempted to contact ticket holders by email or phone..it is as if they just did not care. However, they managed to notify all the VIPs and celeberties..but could not make an effort to nontify the "common folk." who paid for their tickets. Come on Dionne!

Posted by: Rachel14 | January 21, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The same thing happened to me and my family! We purchased 6 tickets for $450 each, arrived at the Wardman Park Hotel and were informed that the event had been canceled. All of that hard-earned money wasted on attire and accessories...had they notified us at least 48 hours in advance, we could have tried to get tickets to something else.

The American Music Inaugural Balls planning team needs to be held accountable! Notifying your patrons only 24 hours in advance is unacceptable!

Posted by: sharktiff | January 21, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

The “Veterans Ball" mentioned in this article was not organized by an official Veterans Organizations. The name was likely selected as a way to increase sponsorship and attendance. I am disappointed whenever I learn of organizations using Veterans and Veterans Issues to advance their individual agendas.

The American Legion one of the largest Veteran groups and several of the other Congressionally Chartered veteran service organizations hosted the “Salute to Heroes” Banquet and Ball honoring the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Salute to Heroes ball was very nice.

Posted by: chitchcock | January 22, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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