This post has been updated.
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is shaping up to be all nerd and no prom, with President Trump and his White House aides snubbing the annual tradition and many Hollywood celebs none too eager to party in Trump’s Washington.
Another change is a curtailed party circuit surrounding the April 29 dinner at the Washington Hilton: Some media organizations and corporations that had thrown lavish bashes in years past have opted out this year. The result is a far more sober feel to the festivities, with remaining hosts all too anxious to remind us all that the party was always supposed to be about honoring the First Amendment and raising money for the association’s scholarships, not the glitz and glamour.
But while the Hollywood imports and White House sources are away, the nerds will still play. Here’s a rundown of the weekend’s bigger events — what’s on, and what’s off.
Most are invite-only; so to score tickets, try working those connections like a Washington pro. Know of another WHCD-adjacent party? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bloomberg/Vanity Fair — The most exclusive of the after-parties (good luck getting in unless your job depended on Senate approval or box-office sales) died a sad death this year after Vanity Fair first pulled out and Bloomberg later announced it wasn’t going it alone.
New Yorker — The magazine’s usual warm-up soiree at the W Hotel, which drew the celebrities-you-most-want-to-hang-with crowd (hey Jon Hamm!), was nixed this year. Thanks, Trump.
People/Time — The end of this longstanding Friday-evening mingle is being mourned by those who appreciated its high-end crowd — and fans of the goodie-stuffed swag bag sent home with each guest.
Google — The tech behemoth’s Friday-night pre-party, which for years drew a Silicon Valley-meets-Beltway mashup crowd, isn’t happening. Google typically partnered with various other organizations — from The Hollywood Reporter to HBO — to co-host, but a spokeswoman says the company is sitting this one out.
Funny or Die — The viral video site’s usual Friday-night rager has morphed into what we’re hearing will be more like an outdoor field day, only with celebrities instead of school kids. Organizers haven’t released the details of the Saturday event, but we understand potato sacks and tug of war might be involved, which are really not quite substitutes for an open bar, thankyouverymuch.
The Hill — In previous years, the Capitol Hill newspaper brought out the wonks, while the party’s usual co-host, celeb-gossip TV show “Extra,” drew the visiting Hollywood types. First, Extra dropped out, though The Hill planned to persist, but later, a publicist contacted us to say the party had been scrapped entirely.
Rock the Vote — The nonprofit devoted to getting young peeps to the polls in recent years has sponsored a Thursday-night “kickoff” bash at various venues for a (predictably) youthful set. But this year, the group is making like a responsible teen left home along for the weekend: “not hosting a party,” a rep confirms.
Still a go:
Thursday, April 27
Gloria Dittus and Cathy Merrill Williams’s kickoff — Prominent PR guru Dittus and Washingtonian magazine CEO Williams host Washington’s top (mostly female) journalists for an event honoring women in Washington. Over white wine sipped poolside at Dittus’s lovely Kalorama home, WHCD attendees swap pre-game strategies for their surviving the party-packed weekend.
Independent Journal Review — The right-tilting news site hosts a salute to “The Golden Age of Journalism” at the Carnegie Library, where the party favor will be the second annual edition of a super-insidery mock high school yearbook featuring vintage photos of White House correspondents.
Bytes and Bylines — As the title suggests, this soiree — thrown by entrepreneurs Allen Gannett, Eric Kuhn, John McCarthy and Susanna Quinn— brings the denizens of Washington’s not-quite-Silicon Valley tech scene together with media types. This year, it’s at DTR Modern Gallery in Georgetown.
Friday, April 28
Voto Latino’s “Our Voices” cocktail reception — The organization aimed at civic engagement of young Latinos will party on at the Hay-Adams rooftop. Look for the typical mix of lawmakers, journos and celeb-tivists. (Actress Rosario Dawson is a co-founder.)
David Bradley’s welcome dinner — The Atlantic Media owner and his wife, Katherine, throw the doors of their just-off-Embassy Row mansion open (well, at least to the VIP invitees) for an intimate seated dinner.
Capitol File and the British Embassy — Now that the Friday-night party options are more limited, this bash (where in previous years, you were just as likely to bump into a top diplomat as you were a member of the cast of “Scandal”) at the British ambassador’s residence could be an even hotter ticket.
Creative Coalition — The arts-advocacy organization is hosting a 150-ticket “Right to Bear Arts” fundraiser at Georgetown restaurant Flavio. Expect Trump’s proposed NEA cuts to be a big topic among attendees, including members of Congress from both parties, plus actors including Tim Daly, Rob Lowe and Wendy Anne McLendon-Covey.
White House Correspondents’ Jam — Actor/musician Billy Bob Thornton’s band, The Boxmasters, headline a concert at the Hamilton that features bands made up of moonlighting journalists. Thrown by Mother Nature Network, the enviro-news outlet founded by Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, the rock-themed event is a little looser than your typical Washington reception.
Saturday, April 29
Tammy Haddad and friends’ “Garden Brunch” — The ultimate pre-game for the big event, where Washington heavyweights, corporate titans and Hollywood glitterati fortify themselves with mimosas under huge tents, is still on. Once a massive cheek-to-jowl mingle at the historic Beall-Washington House, the former home of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham that’s now owned by businessman Mark Ein and his wife, Sally, the event is being scaled down this year. Those on the pared-back guest list will gather at the Georgetown home of Dem donor and Jefferson Hotel owner Connie Milstein.
BuzzFeed’s “Red, White and Banned” — Cool-kid media outlet Buzzfeed is taking as a badge of honor its status as one of the news orgs left out of an early White House press briefing with this dinner-alternative event at the Brixton bar in Shaw.
Assorted hotel pre-parties — The Washington Hilton’s event and conference rooms go black-tie formal for an array of small cocktail parties hosted by media outlets (including The Washington Post).
MSNBC — The after-party put on by sister networks MSNBC and NBC News usually features a rowdy dance floor and a crowd that maybe just couldn’t make it onto the Bloomberg/Vanity Fair guest list. This year, the party’s at the Organization of American States, though we’re told MSNBC host Rachael Maddow will not, alas, be bartending, as she has in previous years.
Samantha Bee’s after-party — The TBS host is taping a special edition of her show “Full Frontal” at DAR Constitution Hall the afternoon of the correspondents’ dinner. The event, where Trump will likely be roasted by Bee, a prominent critic, and some other VIP comedians, is a new entrant in the WHCD gauntlet, and so far looks to be the buzziest. (Could it be because it’s a sort-of protest event?) For pure partying, we also hear there will be an after-party for participants and friends, with specifics TBA.
Sunday, April 30
CNN’s “Hangover Brunch” — Flip cup and hair of the dog are on the menu at this ultra-casual get-together, where you’ll typically find the town’s younger journos. This year, it’s back at the Longview Gallery, and organizers promise guests will be greeted with Salty Dogs (that’s a spiked grapefruit juice with a salted rim).
Allbritton Brunch — The fancier crowd heads to the swanky Georgetown home of Politico owner Robert Allbritton and his wife, Elena, for post-morteming the weekend from the good seats.
Thomson Reuters brunch — The Hay Adams rooftop is the scene for this traditional brunch. A twist for this year? Contestants from “Top Chef” will be whipping up “politically inspired dishes.”