washingtonpost.com
March of the Celebrities: Too Many Stars to Take In

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Friday, March 7, 2008

Stars! Do they move in packs or something? They all show up here at the exact same time, triggering limo gridlock, a rush on Cafe Milano, and no end of hassle for professional stargazers. Example: Wednesday's star blitz, which forced us to bypass a German Embassy dinner with Henry Kissinger and an Al Franken fundraiser (sorry, man, you're a politician now; we got plenty of those).

Taking precedence: HBO's preview screening of its " John Adams" miniseries at the Cannon building, where Tom Hanks mingled with Nancy Pelosi and other reps. The leading man: Paul Giamatti of "Sideways." We sidled up to him in the press scrum. So -- as a kid, did you always dream of portraying the second president? "It's a great country when an Italian American boy from New Haven gets to play one of the Founding Fathers," he said. "I never expected to play any president, except maybe Grover Cleveland."

Mr. Hanks, why didn't you play John Adams? "I'm too tall," he said, going on to say how he was happy just to executive-produce the show. Well, if he were going to play a president, which would it be? "Hmm . . . Oh! I know! [Andrew] Jackson. Some guy we don't really know enough about. He kicked a lot of [behind], killed a lot of Indians, let drunks come into the White House and swing from the chandeliers."

Meanwhile, uptown at the Marriott Wardman Park, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters gala was poised to suffer a star power shortage, with honorees Nancy Wilson and Eartha Kitt backing out at the last minute (Wilson's husband is in the hospital; Kitt is said to be "not well"). No prob, though, just more spotlight for their fellow honorees to bask in: R&B star Ne-Yo, Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr., and British actor Idris Elba -- best known for playing sexy, sensitive drug lord Stringer Bell on "The Wire" -- who lit up the pre-dinner press gaggle simply by walking in.

"He's so beautiful," sighed one reporter; another got too flustered to ask her only question: "Married?" (Apparently not, though he does have a daughter.) Elba told us he misses the show ("I didn't want to die, and I miss the paycheck") but seems to be doing fine: He's producing a reality series, and will soon star as Beyonce's husband in the film "Obsessed." Yeah, it's about a crazy female who stalks him.

For Barry, 72 Candles and One Special Serenade

Marion Barry celebrated his 72nd birthday yesterday with a serenade by Vivica A. Fox (so . . . "Happy Birthday, Mr. Council member"?) at Anacostia High School. His colleagues at the Wilson Building dropped by his office for cake, and there's another party scheduled for the weekend.

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

Russell Crowe showing up to meet a party of eight at fancy downtown Teatro Goldoni Wednesday night in sweat pants, T-shirt, blue-and-red jacket (though he did remove his ball cap before dining, thank you, and left his bodyguard outside). But the once-blustery Aussie star (here for a month to film "State of Play") charmed the heck out of everyone. When he asked the restaurant to play Dolly Parton's "Jolene" -- in honor of a Jolene at his table -- the maitre d' ran upstairs to download the tune from the Internet and played it for him three or four times. Earlier, Crowe chatted up some young lawyers at Nick's Riverside Grille in Georgetown. Can he possibly stay this nice through a full month in D.C.?

Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Rania making the rounds in Georgetown Wednesday. The king (jacket, no tie) had dinner with a dozen Jordanian students in Morton's main dining room, causing major black SUV gridlock on the street; the queen spent about two hours shopping in Diesel.

Update

Patrick Swayze does have pancreatic cancer, but his doctor is denying that the actor has only weeks to live. "Patrick has a very limited amount of disease and he appears to be responding well to treatment thus far," Swayze's physician said in a statement released late Wednesday, adding that dire forecasts were "absolutely untrue. We are considerably more optimistic."

View all comments that have been posted about this article.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company