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Western Ball in Texas-Sized Room

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony talk on stage before performing together at the Western Ball. (Reuters/Mitch Dumke)

Our colleague David Nakamura reports:

The Western Ball took place in a room as expansive as the open plains, in the largest ballroom at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The room was so vast that as Party on the Moon warmed up the crowd with renditions of "Billie Jean," "Holiday" and other covers on one end, a crowd had formed all the way on the other side, where another darkened stage sat unused -- and about a football field away.

Why were people waiting by this empty stage at 8:30 p.m., with no food or drink? To reserve the best spot for Marc Anthony, who was to headline the event, and hopefully President Obama and wife Michelle -- no matter that they weren't due for four more hours.

Nearby, dozens of women in gowns and men in tuxedos were homesteading seats on the carpeted floor, too tuckered out after the events of the day to keep going. It wasn't even 9 p.m.

Later, a woman riding down the escalator caught the tail of her black ball gown in the machine. As she tried to free herself, ballgoers descending the steps smashed up against her. Some squeezed past as others rushed to her aid, along with security personnel. As people gaped, the security guards finally freed her -- unharmed but for the tail of her gown, which suffered a large tear -- and shut off the escalator.

Those patiently waiting at the stage were rewarded when Jennifer Lopez joined hubby Marc Anthony on stage for last song at 10:25. Also in attendance: Angela Bassett and Kal Penn.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 20, 2009; 10:12 PM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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