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From A-List to Zero: Arenas's Celeb-Rich Bash

Fresh, one of the evening's emcees, is making his way through the block-long tent pitched outside, doing the I-wear-my-sunglasses-at-night thing, bragging about how he was brought in the behest of Love owner Marc Barnes as "the extra artillery."

"I specialize in the area of people having a good time," he tells us. "I'm'a do whatever it takes to make sure the party's a smash."

And that would mean . . . ?

"I'll do whatever needs to be done."

?

"I'm'a make sure that we have some go-go music tonight."

This is, after all, D.C., a fact that the party people keep mentioning again and again, as if they can't believe their own good fortune. Gilbert the Great could have chosen to celebrate in, say, Vegas or L.A. But he chose us! "This is great for D.C.," Barnes says, grinning. (And yeah, he acknowledges, great for Love, too.)

Marion Barry stands on the sideline of a craps table -- "I can do dice. But I'm just looking" -- soaking up the fun. "It's a great party," Barry says. "Right here, in D.C."

A few months back, Arenas called Barnes and told him he wanted to throw a birthday bash.

"I said, do you want to throw a birthday party?" Barnes recalls, laughing, "Or do you want to throw a birthday party?"

Judging from the lavishness of the spread, the free food and open bar from 8 to 11, we're pretty sure what Arenas's answer was. (Barnes won't say just how much things cost or who ultimately footed the bill, only that the tally was somewhere between $1 million and $2 million.)

A couple of planeloads of the birthday boy's nearest and dearest were flown in from Los Angeles, according to Barnes. Vast sectors of the Ritz-Carlton Washington and the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown were rented out, so that Arenas's friends and family could have a place to lay their heads. (All the bedding was monogrammed with "Agent 0" in honor of the occasion, according to a hotel spokesperson, including the sofa in Arenas's own suite -- since he's not too fond of beds and prefers to snooze on the couch.)


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