Notes from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner celebrity gifting suite

Notes from the celebrity gifting suite, in which we ponder the meaning of charity and freebies:

1. The notion that the Creative Coalition/GBK’s “thank you suite” was only for celebrities is just plain wrong, CEO Gavin Keilly told us. Actual White House correspondents were also invited to fill up a bag of goodies to be donated to the charity of their choice. Keilly said all the profits from vendors’ fees (about $25,000) were going to the Creative Coalition.

2. How many actual journalists had dropped by the Loews Madison? As of Saturday afternoon, “not too many.” No actual celebrities sighted during our visit.

3. The small room was filled with a modest assortment of offering — jewelry, watches, sweets — almost all benefiting noble causes. Watchmaker Steven Richardson makes custom watches that start at $1,800. No giveaways here: For the gifting suite, celebrities were invited to design a watch that would be donated for charity. Richardson will send the finished product to Charitybuzz, ensuring that the watches actually go to the charity. Smart guy.

4. Taylor Eye Walker showed us her organic botanical perfumes. “It’s just about self-love, isn’t it?” Isn’t it?

5. Full disclosure: We declined an offer to fill a bag for charity, but accepted nibbles of chocolate, coconut macaroon and quick-fix almond toffee brittle, aka lunch.

Earlier: White House Correspondents’ Association objects to ‘gifting suite’

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Roxanne Roberts · April 27, 2013