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Bloomberg/Vanity Fair Team Up For Tough Ticket

How do you throw the most coveted after-party in town following the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in this, the era of the Great Recession? Just ask Bloomberg News columnist and partyer-in-chief Margaret Carlson, who's planning Bloomberg's most exclusive soiree ever.

Carlson jokes that this year's guest list is so tight, "We don't even get to the undersecretary level."

Bloomberg, which this year is co-hosting its after-party with Vanity Fair, is inviting only 200 people to the ultra-exclusive bash, which will be held at the residence of French Ambassador Pierre Vimont. Getting to 200 involved making some brutal cuts to the usual guest list of journalists, lobbyists and other semi-professional schmoozers who like to count themselves among the crème de la crème of big wheels in Washington.

There'll be no loud music, no expensive massive tent and, unlike last year, when the somewhat disastrous Bloomberg after-party was held at the Costa Rican Embassy, no long lines of people standing in pouring rain hoping to get passed a secret "B-Unit" encryption device (no joke) to bypass all the other suffering fools and gain entry to the party.

Drastically scaling back the event was necessary, even if just for appearance's sake, given the dismal state of the economy and the meltdown on Wall Street, where Bloomberg is headquartered.

"You don't want to be seen having a huge, lavish party when times are difficult for so many people," Carlson says.

So how do you decide who gets invited, and who doesn't?

"You use up 50 of the invitations with new Obama people alone," she says. (It is their shining moment, after all, what with this being Barack Obama's first White House correspondents' dinner as president.)

Notably shut out of the party this year are many of Bloomberg News' own employees in its Washington bureau and New York offices. Most of the rest of the invitations will be held by the scores of super celebrities who are flying to town for the dinner, many of whom came in January for Obama's inauguration.

Among the stars who have said they'll attend the dinner are: Tom Cruise and wife Katie Holmes; Natalie Portman; Sting; Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner; Eva Longoria Parker; Amy Poehler (without Tina Fey); John Cusack; and Robert DeNiro, according to the master RSVP list.

Confirmed Washington celebrity dinner guests include: White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel; White House press secretary Robert Gibbs; senior White House adviser David Axelrod; CIA Director Leon Panetta; Attorney General Eric Holder; and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

So where will the rejected party animals whoop it up after they discover there's no chance in hell they'll get into the Bloomberg shindig? The most promising Option B is shaping up to be Niche Media's Capitol File magazine party at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, where the dinner's official entertainer, comedian Wanda Sykes, is expected to be partying, along with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and White House social secretary Desiree Rogers.

For posterity, check out the Sleuth's take on last year's dinner scene.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  May 5, 2009; 5:38 PM ET
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the mayor of New York is buying his way into the upper tiers...

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | May 6, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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