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Emile Hirsch and fellow Kilimanjaro climbers kick off a deluge of celebrity visits to Washington

Summit on the Summit climbers pose at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. (Michael Muller)

They're baaack! After a quiet winter, a stampede of celebrity do-gooders (or as we like to call them, celebvocates) are bringing their dazzling teeth and earnest admonitions to the nation's capital this week. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting one -- good for autograph hounds, bad for all those causes vying for attention.

Designer Jason Wu was in town Tuesday to see the inaugural gown he designed for Michelle Obama join the Smithsonian collection; Kix Brooks, John Rich and Randy Scruggs hung out at the Library of Congress Tuesday to celebrate country music; David Hyde Pierce and Soleil Moon Frye ("Punky Brewster," remember?) headlined the Alzheimer's Association's national gala; and Spanish Ambassador Jorge Dezcallar gave Spanish chef José Andrés an arts awards for...being awesome.

Cindy McCain, who really doesn't like Washington that much, is coming back Wednesday for ONE, Bono's global anti-poverty advocacy campaign. Which should not be confused with Reese Witherspoon at Vital Voices to talk about global violence against women (she's against it) or Marian Wright Edelman and Star Jones at the women's summit hosted by BET's Debra Lee.

Tired yet? That doesn't include Thursday's lineup: Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg honoring World War II vets (shocker: they have an HBO miniseries coming out), Sean Penn at a benefit for Haiti and Debra Messing, testifying on the Hill for HIV prevention.

We must, however, give props to the gang who climbed an actual mountain in January to raise awareness for clean water in the developing world: actor Emile Hirsch, rapper Lupe Fiasco, singer Santigold, hip-hop artist Kenna. And not just any mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro.

"I had this vague idea it was just a hill," Hirsch said. "Then I learned it was 19,340 feet." The "Into the Wild" actor (pinstripe suit, no tie, about as tall as you expect) and fellow climbers met Tuesday with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime champion of clean water for the poor. "Water isn't the sexiest issue," Hirsch told Blumenauer, reports our colleague Marissa Newhall. But star power always adds sizzle: The climb was filmed for an MTV documentary airing Sunday.

Left to right: Alex Mundt, Emile Hirsch, Lupe Fiasco, Santigold, Wold Zemedkun, Elizabeth Gore, Dr. Greg Allgood, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Kenna pose on the Capitol steps on Tuesday. (Courtesy Rep. Blumenauer's office)

By The Reliable Source  |  March 10, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
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love the Aziz Ansari reference.

Posted by: auriebner | March 10, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

So how many of these folks have a college degree? I suspect that most of them have their hearts in the right place, but they're about as well qualified to discuss foreign policy or the environment as a department store mannequin.

Posted by: Guyasuta | March 10, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Worthless celebrity chatter. I really liked Sean Penn's advice on anal cancer and his favorite dictator. Haw!

Posted by: tjhall1 | March 10, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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