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.
Mary Ann Akers
January 17, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
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