This year’s White House correspondents’ dinner weekend (yes, weekend) marks a return to simpler times when most attendees had at least some sort of tangential relationship to journalism.
Long gone, thanks to the possibility of an appearance at the dinner by President Trump, are the Hollywood celebrities and the buzz. Even the cottage industry of anti-parties are a no-go this time around: Comedian Samantha Bee isn’t returning to Washington for her “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” and BuzzFeed, which hosted a much-hyped also-ran party, has been mum on whether it’ll be tapping kegs in 2018.
Add to that the holdover cancellations of the swanky Bloomberg/Vanity Fair, People/Time and Google events (RIP), and the parties surrounding the 2018 correspondents’ dinner just got a lot wonkier. Here’s what we know so far about the leaner social calendar surrounding the big dinner (mind you, these are invite-only, so start working your DMs if you want to score a ticket). Know of another WHCD-adjacent party? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, April 27
David Bradley’s dinner — Atlantic Media owner Bradley and his wife, Katherine, will host their annual A-list mash-up of administration types, members of Congress, journos and business execs in the couple’s tented yard just off Embassy Row.
United Talent Agency — This party, hosted by UTA Co-President Jay Sures and Mediaite founder Dan Abrams at the waterfront restaurant-to-the-stars Fiola Mare, typically draws a Hill-meets-Hollywood crowd. Even with the depressed celeb turnout, this year will be no exception: “Daily Show” comic Michelle Wolf, a UTA client and the WHCD headliner, is expected to show.
Correspondents’ Jam — Mother Nature Network, the enviro-news outlet owned by Rolling Stones touring keyboardist Chuck Leavell, hosts this evening at the Hamilton of performances by bands with journalists in their lineups. Leavell sits in with the moonlighting media outfits, and this year’s celebrity headliner is the Bacon Brothers, featuring six-degrees-of actor Kevin Bacon.
Voto Latino’s “Our Voices” cocktail reception — The voter-registration group is once again hosting its annual cocktail reception on the eve of the big dinner. No word yet on whether the organization plans to wonk things up again this year like it did in 2017 with a panel discussion that shut down the open bar.
Capitol File — Under new leadership, the glossy D.C. magazine is doing things differently this year. Instead of hosting its tradition glitzy soiree at the British ambassador’s residence, the magazine is hosting a larger affair at the Kreeger Museum in Foxhall. The goal, we’re told, is to attract an artsy set of cultural influencers, you know, in addition to the other boring journo types.
Creative Coalition — The arts-advocacy organization is hosting its Right to Bear Arts benefit gala at the Mayflower that will feature “Madam Secretary’s” Tim Daly, “Veep’s” Reid Scott, actress Alyssa Milano and members of Congress.
Saturday, April 28
Garden Brunch — After switching up venues last year, this long-running warm-up mingle is back in the tented backyard of the Georgetown manse belonging to businessman Mark Ein and his wife, Sally (the home was previously owned by Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham). The host committee includes media-woman-about-town Tammy Haddad and consultant Hilary Rosen, and in addition to offering high-level gossip and free-flowing mimosas, this year’s brunch will also put a spotlight on veterans’ charities, organizers say.
Assorted pre-dinner cocktail parties — The Washington Hilton’s corridors and conference rooms morph into a maze of open-bar parties hosted by various media outlets (including The Washington Post).
NBC/MSNBC after-party — Now that post-dinner party options are more limited, a spot on the guest list to the networks’ annual soiree are hotter than the dance floor that’s usually packed with people you’ve probably seen on afternoon political panels. This year’s venue is the Art Museum of the Americas.
Sunday, April 29
Albritton Brunch — Look for the establishment crowd to gather at the Georgetown home of Politico owner Robert Allbritton and his wife, Elena, (i.e., not the folks tearing up the dance floor until just hours before at the MSNBC party). Per the invite to this year’s gathering, which features a pastiche of Washington and London landmarks, expect a British theme.
CNN’s Hangover Brunch — The laid-back annual gathering at the Longview Gallery reportedly will return, because even with a lower-wattage party circuit to recover from, hair of the dog never goes out of style.