Because the Media and the VIPs Haven't Cozied Up Enough Yet

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, April 19, 2007

The lineup for Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner is falling into place, with the requisite surreal mix of politicians, media and celebs who like to hang out in Washington. Oh yeah . . . the president comes, too.

ABC is bringing Condi Rice, Morgan Fairchild, Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno and NFL star Reggie Bush; People magazine has Valerie Bertinelli (launching a Jenny Craig diet on the cover last week) and Robert Kennedy Jr.; Newsweek nabbed Mitt Romney, Henry Kissinger and David Geffen; Time boasts Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Dennis Hopper, and not Oprah but her best friend, Gayle King.

Bloomberg hosts Sheryl Crow, Paul Wolfowitz, Tom DeLay and Bill Paxton; USA Today is bringing Mary Tyler Moore, Teri Hatcher and Alberto Gonzales; Vanity Fair has Jane Fonda; "The McLaughlin Group" has John Cusack; CNN got "Curb Your Enthusiam" creator Larry David and his "green" producer wife, Laurie. Our local papers went non-glitz: Antonin Scalia with the Washington Times; Mayor Adrian Fenty with The Washington Post.

The dinner will open with a video montage, produced by the Motion Picture Association of America, about Hollywood depictions of Washington. "It has the feel of an Oscar video," said Steve Scully, president of the correspondents' group.

So do the afterparties: The battle for late-night VIPs has grown to three bashes offering premium booze, music and close encounters. Capitol File magazine has taken over Colombia's ambassadorial residence for a crowd of 300, and Vanity Fair is reviving the boozy, exclusive gathering for 200 at the home of Christopher Hitchens. Bloomberg, hosting a party for the seventh year, is fighting back with a lavish affair at Costa Rica's embassy -- but slashing the guest list in half to a cozy 500. Says spokesman Judith Czelusniak: "It's much more homey."

Hey, Wonkies, Shouldn't You Leave the Oohs and Aahs to Us?

Washington Monthly
The essay on neoliberalism's legacy shoulda been the tip-off . . . but still, can you blame us for thinking we'd picked up a copy of Us Weekly, not Washington Monthly? The wonky journal went all tabloid with its tongue-in-cheek cover (view a larger version) about its otherwise serious story on the conflicts of interest surrounding D.C. power couples. Inside: a lurid layout of how these folks are "just like US! . . . they go shopping! . . . they attend White House picnics! . . . they get indicted!"

She's All Smiles for the Hometown Crowd

Alexandra Wentworth had a busy career in '90s comedy, playing WASPy dates, high-strung preppies, brassy second bananas. But the D.C. native (mom Muffie Brandon was Nancy Reagan's social secretary) dropped out of acting after marrying George Stephanopoulos in 2001.

The problem? "How can I do this in a town where the entertainment industry doesn't exist?" She found her way via "Head Case," a new series for the Starz cable channel; she co-created and stars as a clueless Hollywood shrink. "I'm an Avon lady," her character says, "but the makeup is for your head."

"In cable, I can go out to L.A., film some shows, come back home for a while, go back out again," she told us at a "Head Case" screening on Tuesday at the Motion Picture Association. It helps that each episode is only about 10 minutes long; might be trickier in their second season, when they've committed to 30 minutes. "We love the idea of growing something," she said brightly.

Wentworth mock-toasted the political/media crowd (David Gregory, Sally Quinn, Dan Glickman): "You people in Washington, you're very [ironic air quotes] serious, you like to [air quotes] talk about the war. I'm here to bring you some yuks." She promised "dirty lines, dirty plotlines. There's a reason my mother's not here tonight."

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

  • Kathie Lee Gifford and Cheryl Ladd dining at Extra Virgin in Shirlington on Tuesday night. Regis's former co-host (debuting her new musical at Signature Theatre) and the former Charlie's Angel (here for last night's St. John fashion-show fundraiser for Childhelp) made the one-block trip back to the theater in a white stretch limo.

  • © 2007 The Washington Post Company