Kate Hudson, Sean Penn, Steven Tyler and Bristol Palin are among the out-of-towners expected for the 2011 White House Correspondents' Association dinner. (Evan Agostini/AP; Chris Pizzello/AP; David Becker/Getty Images; Greg Zabilski/ABC)

We speak, of course, of the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, coming up on April 30 — and it’s not just you, there’s been somewhat less buzz thus far for the annual media-political-showbiz happening. Blame the crush of real news, the distraction of the royal wedding, or everyone being gone for the religious holidays. Blame, too, the fierce competition for tickets to the increasingly glitzy event, leaving media organizations hesitant to brag about their VIP guests until they’re sure they’ve got a seat for everyone.

But a red carpet lineup is slowly coalescing, in whispers and leaks. Greta Van Susteren of Fox will bring Hudson; Penn is coming with David Corn of Mother Jones; and REM’s Stipe will be sitting at an NPR table, along with David Byrne. Palin will be a guest of People, which has also wrangled Steven Tyler, Mindy Kaling of “The Office,” and one of those “Glee” kids, Chris Colfer. His co-star, Matthew Morrison, apparently didn’t loathe the dinner last year; he’s back again, we’re told. Bloomberg has tapped Shaun White, that red-headed snowboarder, and Brooke Burke, that lady from “Dancing with the Stars.”

Yes, we’re expecting him too: President Obama at last year’s dinner. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Memo to paparazzi: The elite-yet-mobbed pre-dinner brunch, traditionally held in the Palisades backyard of media operative Tammy Haddad is being moved to the Georgetown mansion of rich guy Mark Ein. (Honorary co-hosts Wendi Murdoch and S usan Axelrod.) Memo to crashers: They say you really can’t get in this year.

From last year’s coverage:

“Nerd Prom” no longer: Celebrities steal spotlight from press, president, politicians, at White House Correspondents’ Dinner and after-parties, May 2, 2010

‘Healthy’ relations on display at White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, May 2, 2010

Washington’s own Super Bowl: The incredible party sprawl of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, April 30, 2010

Julia Allison explains how she crashed the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, April 26, 2010