To call the dance floor at the Fairmont hotel on Friday night an “only in Washington” kind of scene would make Washington seem weirder than it really is.
The guy playing guitar onstage has a Pulitzer somewhere back at home. That older man in the audience shimmying and spinning his wife to a Grateful Dead number? He’s the second-in-command at the Federal Reserve. Oh, and stick around for the next set — that’s when you’ll see a senator jamming to “Rock the Casbah.”
(The actors in this bizarre-o tableau: CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman, Federal Reserve vice chairman Stanley Fischer, and Michigan Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow, respectively.)
The “White House Correspondents’ Jam,” a mini-concert thrown by Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell and his enviro-news outfit, Mother Nature Network, turned out to be a welcome addition to the crammed lineup of pre-White House correspondents’ dinner parties. Featuring four bands with journalist members, the musical interlude gave just about every middle-aged dude in D.C. a chance to dust off his leather jacket and hop around to Beatles’ tunes.
Younger attendees seemed a little more starstruck by Lena Dunham, the politically minded creator of HBO’s “Girls,” who dropped by to introduce The Sequoias, a band whose lineup included the New Yorker’s David Remnick. “Like the trees they’re named for, they’re old, wooden and dead inside,” Dunham joked.
How do you explain the unlikely presence of Stabenow, who’s not exactly the first elected official we’d name “Most Likely to Attend a Rock Concert” in the congressional yearbook? She and Leavell are old friends, the keyboardist tells us, and they met in a scenario that quite literally could never happen anywhere else on the planet: He came to testify before her committee, and the two bonded.
Read more Reliable Source coverage of the White House correspondents’ dinner: