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Hollywood Celebs Woo K Street Cash for Elvis Inaugural Gala



Elvis Costello headlines the Creative Coalition's lavish inauguration bash. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

The dismal economy isn't stopping the Creative Coalition from throwing one of the more - if not the most - lavish bashes on inauguration night. The ball features Elvis Costello live in concert, red carpet and dozens of (A-list, for a change) movie stars.

To give you an idea of just how lavish, the top asking price for corporations who want to help underwrite the event is a whopping $150,000. The arts advocacy group emailed the fundraising pitch today to prospective donors, many of them Washington lobbyists who, under President-elect Barack Obama's strict disclosure rules, are banned from contributing to the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

"Elvis is coming to Barack Obama's Inauguration on January 20 for one of the hottest tickets around town. You heard it here first," the fundraising pitch reads. "Yes, it's Elvis -- Elvis Costello -- one of rock and roll's most prolific songwriters and singers will be headlining the Creative Coalition's Gala Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts."

The email, which was sent jointly from Creative Coalition executive director Robin Bronk and co-chairs, Hannah Simone and Shari Dexter, promises you plenty of celebrities and even the chance to appear in director Barry Levinson's next film, "Poliwood," a documentary about Hollywood's involvement in the presidential race. Scenes apparently will be shot at the Creative Coalition ball.

For $150,000, corporate sponsors have the opportunity to "customize and brand" an area of the gala. The package includes 66 VIP tickets to the ball and 24 tickets to the pre-ball private dinner. A $100,000 "platinum package" gets you 50 VIP passes to the ball and 20 admissions to the pre-ball dinner, but no customized branding opportunity. The lowest sponsorship rate is $10,000, which only gets you two non-VIP passes to the inaugural ball. (Don't even think about trying to get into the VIP dinner with that kind of chump change, you won't.)

"So what are you waiting for?" the email asks. "These tickets are hot! Not only will this event be a thrilling night of entertainment, but where else will you get food with your ball tickets?"

Four years ago, at President Bush's second inaugural celebration, the Creative Coalition could barely muster a roster of C-list celebrities. But the organization's 2009 inaugural gala lineup is teeming with some pretty big name Hollywood talent wanting to play a role in the historic Jan. 20 extravaganza. They include Levinson, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins, Kerry Washington, Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Matthew Modine and Ellen Burstyn.

Since lobbyists and corporations can't give any money to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Creative Coalition ball is one of the few galas that offers a good bang for their buck. The challenge, however, for the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization will be in convincing K Street donors that the ball is worth it in this brutal economic environment.

The whole reason lobbyists have given money to presidential inaugural committees in the past is to create some goodwill with the incoming administration. Giving to the Creative Coalition isn't going to get them any credit with Obama.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  December 1, 2008; 3:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

Nonpartisan, heh.

Posted by: Minutemenx | December 1, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It would be better for these corporations to give to organizations that are doing things to improve the quality of life for people, or their employees. A list, or the B/C list talent listed in the article can pay their own way and should.

Posted by: RobertKesten | December 1, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

This is a disappointment. Creative Coalition proving to be as tone-deaf to the current economy as the Big 3 automakers. Call it off, or scale it down. Elvis & company should do it for free or not at all. And the fact that they're going after K Street bucks goes against all I thought they believed in.
Tsk.
(Note to Barack: give them a talking-to.)

Posted by: Rivery | December 2, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Our food banks are struggling; the organizations helping people find or keep housing are underfunded; our schools could use better funding; unemployed and underemployed workers are wondering where their dreams have gone; and untold numbers are without health care.

But, the entertainment of the "haves" must go on and be spectacular. What a sad commentary for a candidate that so many people thought he spoke for them and that he was listening to their concerns.

Posted by: annetta3 | December 2, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

McLean, Virginia -- It sounds like the Left Coast media haven't heard the word. Conspicuous corruption isn't in vogue any more . . .

Paul Matthews

Posted by: matthewsp1 | December 3, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Robert - I AGREE - and never heard of any of these "A" listers anyway
A list, or the B/C list talent listed in the article can pay their own way and should.
Posted by: RobertKesten | December 1, 2008 5:09 PM

Posted by: clarkasc | December 4, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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