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Opening Night of Obama's Inauguralpalooza

The Sleuth eased into a five-night spree of inaugural party hopping that began with guitar god Warren Haynes and ended with -- of all people-- Bo Derek.

Haynes rocked out on stage to a loudly chatting audience that decidedly was not his fan base. It was much more of a "see and be seen" vibe on the first night of celebrity-packed revelry than it was a Haynes-worshiping live-music crowd.

Haynes -- who will also be playing lead guitar with the Dead at the Mid-Atlantic Ball Tuesday night -- jammed out in spite of it all at a classy party hosted by Washington Life magazine in honor of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Obama transition chief John Podesta.

While most everyone was more interested in swapping party invitations and chowing down on the gourmet lamb chops, roast beef, turkey and risotto - and imbibing top-shelf cocktails - a few in the crowd really were die-hard Haynes and Dead fans.

Among them: Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) and his wife, Peggo Horstmann Hodes, a folk music duo straight out of "A Mighty Wind." (Wowed by Haynes talent, Hodes told us, "Warren is a monster.") Two other big Deadheads at the party: Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and Greenberg Traurig lobbyist Diane Blagman.

Also at the party: our favorite congressman, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and his girlfriend Regina Whitley; Arianna Huffington; incoming National Economic Council chief Larry Summers; Dan Turton, who'll be Obama's deputy director of legislative affairs; and, of course, Washington Life editor in chief Nancy Bagley and her husband and business partner Soroush Shehabi, who used to have the coolest name in town until Barack Obama came along.

(Asked if he was a Deadhead, Summers told the Sleuth, "No, I'm just here.)

Next, we hit the Café Milano party, hosted by the owner of the landmark hot spot, Franco Nuschese. A self-avowed place for "the beautiful people," Café Milano drew the usual suspects - lots of Georgetown doyennes, a few members of Congress and media celebrities. And even one famous Republican: Bo Derek.

Derek, still known as "10" from her 1979 movie, told us she voted for Obama, is "thrilled to see history in the making," but will miss the actual swearing-in as she is scheduled to fly back to California on Monday.

Others at the party: Mayor Adrien Fenty; Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) with her new hubby-to-be; Chris Mathews and his wife; and movie producer and all-around nice guy Steven Haft, who will be producing the Creative Coalition ball Tuesday night featuring a live performance by Sting and Elvis Costello.

While we didn't see them, incoming Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Daschle and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) were both slated to be there.

Earlier in the night, we saw British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald at a book party to celebrate publication of Newsweek editor Jon Meacham's book "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House."

Sheinwald is hosting a whiskey tasting party in honor of the Illinois delegation and members of the Illinois legislature at his residence Saturday afternoon. He made a point of telling us that disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich will not be there.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  January 17, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
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Next: Obama Inauguralpalooza, Night Two; Oprah on Deck Tonight


It's an awesome day for the world. I woke up this morning listening to President Elect Obama ending a speech in Philadephia PA. It's the beginning of inaugaration weekend. This is historical and awe inspiring. Best wishes to our new President and his Administration....HOPE is on the horizon

Posted by: need4trth | January 17, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Our to be beautiful 45TH President of the United States as of January 20, 2013 Sarah Palin is the best future leader for this nation, not Barack Obama. Our to be beautiful 45TH President as of January 20, 2013 Sarah Palin would be better at leading this nation from January 13, 2013 forward than Barack Obama would . The greatest reason Sarah Palin would be better at leading this nation from January 13, 2013 on would be ideology. Our soon to be Vice President Sarah Palin is conservative in that she is pro life, marriage, guns, low taxes, low government spending, small government, unintrosive government, traditional and Judeo Christian values, Bible reading and prayer in our public schools, and military spending. She is also pro free and private enterprise. Barack Obama is a liberal who is anti everything that I have described that Sarah Palin is pro about or for. Please vote for Sarah Palin over Barack Obama on November 6 2012 and give Sarah Palin the opportunity that she deserves and that being our 45th President from January 13, 2013 to January 20, 2021. From January 20 2013 to January 20 2021 or 45th President Sarah Palin will be the greatest President that we have ever had since President Ronald Reagan, and co-equally with President Ronald Reagan , our 45th President Sarah Palin will be the greatest we have ever had.

Thank You

John Warren

Posted by: johntheman07 | January 18, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

might want to make sure you've spelled mayor fenty's first name correctly next time.

Posted by: IMGoph | January 19, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

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