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Josef Palermo, 29, isn’t particularly well connected politically — he has had several NGO jobs that were low-rung at best. He’s more of an arts guy: He’s been an activist, and last year he put on a small play in a little underground spot on 14th Street. The Florida native is less “This Town” than just another transplant adapting to our town.

But over 24 hours starting Friday night, he found his way into nearly a half-dozen of the hottest White House Correspondents’ weekend parties without really trying.

The New Yorker party, the one with Mindy Kaling? A friend of Palermo’s, Liz Gorman, got an e-mail invitation and took him along.

What did he wear? “Zara,” Palermo says. On Saturday morning, another friend, Jamie Kirchick, offered an in to the Atlantic brunch. The Mount Pleasant resident wore his suddenly trusty suit — the same Zara outfit he wore the night before, which he may or may not have bothered to take off. There, he met Cynthia Nixon (a.k.a. Miranda on “Sex and the City”).

From there, Palermo and Kirchick did what a few who have done these Correspondents’ weekends figure out pretty quickly: You can get into myriad evening receptions at the Hilton if you dress the part and act like you belong. The first party that absorbed them: the CBS party, where they snapped photos with musician Questlove and member-of-Pussy-Riot Maria Alyokhina. (“So fun,” Palermo confirmed of the event, which was packed with celebrities.) Then, after the USA Today reception at the Hilton (for the food, naturally), the pair headed to the BuzzFeed/Facebook bash.

Josef Palermo with Questlove at The Atlantic-CBS pre-party. (Photo by Jamie Kirchick)

“It’s a really lame party,” Palermo said. Or perhaps it just felt that way after you’ve seen how the other half lives. “I’ve always wanted to see what this was like,” Palermo said. “I feel like I can cross this off my bucket list.”

Lavanya Ramanathan is a features reporter for Style.



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