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If You Have the Bucks, You Can Still Have a Ball

Rapper T.I. is expected to attend Monday's Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball, for which tickets are still available. (Oscar Merrida)

Secretly wish you could go to an inaugural ball? Well, if you've got the $$, you probably can. For all the hype about D.C. gearing up to party like never before, a review of the big-deal galas finds a lot of tickets still available, just days before the dancing starts.

Monday's Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball, with LL Cool J., Young Jeezy and T.I.; the Texas State Society's Black Tie & Boots gala the same night; the New Birth of Citizenship Inauguration Kick-Off, with Jessica Alba, John Legend and Maroon 5 on Sunday; the American Music Inaugural Balls hosted by Dionne Warwick and Ludacris on Tuesday -- all are still advertising tickets, from $250 to $1,000. Many smaller affairs are also still putting out the call for guests.

Blame the economy. Or blame the Obama team for waiting until last week to send invitations to its coveted official balls (i.e., the ones POTUS will attend), slowing demand for the glitzier unofficial affairs.

Or maybe there are just too many galas -- several dozen clustered on the same long weekend -- and not enough guests to go around.

"The question is, who's buying these tickets?" asked a D.C. event planner who didn't want to be identified because, hey, she wants to work again. "This giant gravy train everyone was expecting isn't coming."

Organizers claim not to be concerned about the Darwinian party dynamic. A rep for the American Music balls predicts people will buy multiple tickets, planning to party-hop. Jenifer Sarver, a Black Tie & Boots spokeswoman, said huge demand in '05 prompted a move to a bigger space. They've sold 11,000 tickets, she said, and expect to hit 12,000. "Which, when you consider there isn't a Texan in the White House, is pretty incredible."

By The Reliable Source  |  January 14, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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