Grande Finale of Inauguralpalooza: God, Gays and Gaza
The fifth and final night of inaugural partying was like a cork popping off a champagne bottle. The inner party animal in thousands of revelers came out.
But this being Washington, there was just as much energy put into celebrating as there was debating what Barack Obama will do now that he's president - namely about the Middle East and the economy.
At the Google party, the hot ticket of the final night, Ben Affleck, who became usual suspect No. 1 on the inauguration party scene, was engaged in rigorous conversation with a few of Washington's wonkiest wonks (including liberal journalist David Corn and Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation).
Affleck was railing about the Israeli invasion of Gaza. And, thanks to his special access, he said he has already registered his concerns with the highest echelons of the Obama administration. He said he gave White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel an earful about Israel at a private dinner the night before.
It pays to have an agent who is the brother of the new White House chief of staff. Affleck's agent is Ari Emanuel, the model for obnoxious Hollywood super agent Ari Gold in the hit HBO show "Entourage."
Later, Affleck was spotted having an intense chat with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) about the economy.
Just as intense at the Google party was Glenn Close, in the back game room. She was intently playing a game of backgammon against an unidentified woman, eyes laser-focused on the board even as, just a few feet from her, people played bowling at the Wii game stations.
We also saw Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who said he was ticked off at Chief Justice John Roberts for screwing up the oath for Obama during the 44th president's swearing-in. "I'm glad I voted against him," Schumer groused.
Other big names at the Google party: John Cusack, Joaquin Phoenix, Google founder Larry Page, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Arianna Huffington, and Ben's brother, Casey Affleck.
Earlier, the Sleuth went to the Out for Equality ball at the Mayflower hotel hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, headlined by Cyndi Lauper. It was a who's who of major gay movers and shakers, including several openly gay incoming Obama administration officials and celebrities.
Among them: John Berry, director designate of Obama's Office of Personnel Management; Providence (R.I.) mayor David Cicilline, who's running for governor; David Medina, deputy chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama; Fred Hochberg, Obama's nominee for chair of the Import-Export bank; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; and openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson, who was invited - after conservative evangelical Rick Warren stirred outrage - to participate in inaugural prayers.
While there was still much grousing at the party about the Rick Warren controversy, Phil Attey, who served as the Obama campaign's gay outreach coordinator for the D.C. area, told the Sleuth: "I'm glad Obama brought in Rick Warren. It's part of his bigger vision of bringing America together. In the end, it'll be Rick Warren who changes, not Obama."
Christopher Guest (the Sleuth is a huge fan) and his wife, Jamie Lee Curtis, were also at the party, but Guest kept to himself and wanted nothing to do with the riffraff.
Another hot ticket last night was the Recording Industry Association of America ball, where Rihanna, wearing a skin tight glittering mini-dress, rocked the house. Celebs included: Cher; Leonardo DiCaprio; Kanye West and vocalist Josh Groban.
Wondering where the sex therapists were partying on the last night of Inauguralpalooza?
Apparently at the Western States ball. Dr. Ruth was spotted sharing a cab with two other attendees close to 1 a.m.
No word on whether anyone in the Obama camp sought her advice.
Mary Ann Akers
January 21, 2009; 10:38 AM ET
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