Correction to This Article
A Reliable Source item in the Jan. 4 Style section incorrectly said that Carol Browner's upcoming marriage to Tom Downey will be her second. It will be her third.

Nothing but a Black-Tie Gig for Arenas's 25th Birthday Will Do

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, January 4, 2007

For every young VIP, there's that milestone birthday: Prince William turns 21, the Olsen twins turn 18 . . . For Gilbert Arenas, it's the big two-five.

The Wizards star will celebrate his first quarter-century tomorrow with a lavish, invitation-only party at Love nightclub, with performances by -- well, basically, a pantheon of today's hip-hop giants: The Game, T.I., Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes.

"Diddy's hosting," Arenas told our colleague Dan Steinberg,"so you know it's nice."

Oh, and it's black-tie -- or at least "Super Duper Fly," according to the party's Web site. "Absolutely no jeans, no sneakers, no boots, no throwback jerseys, no Timbs, no hats." Don't know why we've bothered to tell you that much, because you know what else isn't allowed? You regular people. Seriously -- don't even try to crash. All guests must present their invitation, which is a black "Arenas Express" card, with their names printed on the front. Who's footing the bill is unclear but sponsors include Vitamin Water and prominent printmaker/tattoo designer Don Ed Hardy.

Wait -- this is Gilbert Arenas? The enigmatic loner who -- much to the frustration of fans and, well, gossips -- keeps his private life private and rarely hits the nightlife scene? How'd he celebrate previous birthdays?

"Gilbert did nothing for his 23rd and 24th birthdays," said a rep. "Just wasn't his style." So what's up now? "This is as much a coming-out party for Gilbert as anything. He's solidified his place as an NBA superstar this year."

Will Arenas (who actually turns 25 on Saturday) take the stage? "Noooooo," he told Steinberg. "I'm shy when it comes to stuff like that. That's why Puffy's there."

The Party of the Right Kind of People

Just when you thought the new Democratic majority was going to open things up in Washington, we get word that the coolest party for new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is closed to the press. Bummer, man. Now we'll never know Tony Bennett's secret playlist! Tonight's "celebration concert" also features Carole King, Wyclef Jean, Bruce Hornsby and former Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann rocking the National Building Museum; Richard Gere and Amy Brenneman will be onstage looking fabulous.

So why (with the exception of Pelosi's remarks) is the $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser hosted by the House Democratic leadership and House Democratic Caucus off-limits? The event is sold out -- "no room" in this cavernous building. Yeah, right. Bet it's "special" brownies on the buffet. But stand up for open government! Send your cellphone pics to reliablesource@washpost.com.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Ben Bernanke perusing a copy of "Dave Barry's Money Secrets" at the Pentagon City Borders on New Year's Day. How worried should we be that the Fed Chair is getting financial advice from the nation's leading devotee of cow flatulence jokes?

Dick Cheney emerging from an early-bird dental appointment yesterday. For the third time in the past few weeks, the veep's security detail closed down the streets around 19th and N; Cheney emerged by 7:10 a.m., clearing the way for the morning rush. No word from his office on the reasons for the sudden dental diligence.

LOVE, ETC.

Engaged: Lobbyist Tom Downey, 57, to Carol Browner, 51. The former New York congressman quietly proposed to the former EPA head over the Thanksgiving holiday, and the couple will tie the knot on the beach on Fire Island in June. This is the second marriage for both.

Engaged: National Geographic's Lisa Ling and Paul Song.The 41-year-old Chicago oncologist (who got his MD at George Washington University) popped the question at Charlie Trotter's restaurant in the Windy City, People magazine reports. Ling, 33, broke off her engagement to media mogul Philip Levine in October 2005.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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