Cast members from Netflix’s “House of Cards” attended the Garden Brunch on Saturday where they spoke about the excitement of participating in White House Correspondents Weekend and the merging of worlds that takes place during the event.
Veteran comedian and actor Joel McHale is also a veteran attendee of the White House Correspondents Dinner so it will probably give him a leg up on getting the president and the 2,000 attendees to laugh at his jokes. Few comedians are guests before they take the podium to address the notoriously tough crowd and the president sitting inches away.
Steve Thomma, President of the White House Correspondents Association this year, selected McHale who is probably best known for hosting “Talk Soup”, the weekly snarkfest making fun of TV’s lowest moments. His acting career is in high gear as he co-stars in NBC’s “Community.” Thomma is the well respected politics editor of The McClatchy papers. It is the White House Correspondents Association 100th annual dinner so the pressure is on to create a memorable program.
Thomma has stood tall in the White House Correspondents fight with the Obama White House over photographers lack of access to presidential events.
This year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner is scheduled for Saturday, May 3rd.
First Greta Van Susteren announces she will not attend the 99th Annual White House Correspondents Dinner and now The Hill reports it will not be as star-driven. Here is Judy Kurtz report: “The White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — considered the glitziest and most buzzworthy event of Washington’s party season — appears to be a bit more low-key this year. Between the guest list absences of some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and a more subdued party scene, many folks working behind the scenes agree this year’s dinner will be decidedly more subdued. One shindig noticeably void from the soiree circuit this year is Funny or Die’s annual First Amendment Party. Last year’s high-caliber bash on the eve of the dinner had partygoers bumping and grinding at the event’s huge downtown space well into the wee hours of the morning.
The Hollywood Reporter, which last year held star-studded affair with Google at the W Hotel, is also ducking out of the Correspondents’ dinner limelight this time around. A publicist tells us “we aren’t doing anything this year.”
“I don’t know if it’s toned down or not,” Hollywood on the Potomac editor Janet Donovan said of the mood in town, “but it feels that way.” Donovan pointed to the lack of Anthony Weiner-sized headlines as a possible reason for the drop-off, saying that “perhaps because Hollywood celebrities are now more frequently in town, and we don’t really have a huge ‘five minutes of fame’ scandal-type this year.”
One veteran party planner, who wanted to remain anonymous so as not to upset clients, tells ITK that the nation’s capital could be suffering from presidential inauguration fatigue: “You know, we just had a major event in Washington. And then to have this, three months later almost to the day, and to do all the wrangling and all the huge productions again, it’s just kind of like — I think people will do it again big next year.” Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren, who has brought head-turning guests such as Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian to prior dinners, says she’s “taking a pass” on attending the fete this year. In a recent blog post, Van Susteren said she made another commitment out of town the weekend of the April 27 dinner. “I am sure everyone will have fun,” Susteren wrote, “it is the one day of the year that the media, politicians, entertainers etc. socialize together — but it can also be a bit exhausting as it is a 2½ day affair.” Donovan says Susteren’s tabloid-worthy guests always made for a colorful weekend, calling the time the “On the Record” host brought Ozzy Osbourne to the swanky dinner “one of the biggest celebrity gawking years.” Others tell ITK that political conventions and inaugural coverage broke the bank for many news organizations around town, allowing for fewer resources for the glam event. While big names such as Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba and George Lucas are confirmed to attend as guests of various media companies — and there’s still time for more A-listers to be announced as VIP guests — the party planner tells ITK many celebs feel they’ve “done” the whole D.C. thing already: “If you look at the list of celebrities that have been here or attended since [President Obama has] been president, it’s like looking at an Academy Awards event. When they’ve been here once, they think they’ve checked the box.”
What about Kevin Spacey and the House of Cards cast? That’s glitz! Follow all the White House Correspondents Dinner action at WHCinsider.com
The annual land-grab for talent and venues has officially, or at least publicly, begun for the 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner Weekend. Yeas and Nays found out that on April 25 that Marie Claire will host their first party in the 99 years of the Correspondents Dinner. Indeed there’s a certain type of magic to be found during the WHCD Weekend. Where else can you find, like last year, Kerry Washington and Hilary Rosenside-by-side on a Grin-and-Grip?
The where, when and how are TBD even by party co-hosts Meredith Fineman and Jessica Hoy. Hoy, however, talks up a few more potential parties at her entry on Examiner–no relation to the Yeas and Nays’ own Washington Examiner–when it comes to break-ups and strange sponsor bedfellows:
And that’s it. Invitations are still secretly being rolled out as Washington media elites struggle to keep their guest wants out of prying eyes. We’ll wait and see what other parties or confirmed info happens to come out now that we’re just about 46 days away from the “nerd prom” that’s become popular with the Outer Beltway folks not used to the magic of the Hinckley Hilton.
Political and media elite mingled with Hollywood stars and Washington insiders in Georgetown Saturday at the 18th Annual White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch held at the beautiful Beall-Washington house (former residence of Katharine Graham, currently owned by businessman Mark Ein.)
The brunch, co-chaired by Wendi Murdoch and Susan Axelrod, was in honor of two important causes: The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy. With Mother’s Day a week away, the event kicked off the “Man Up for Moms” Committee of 100 Men” to bring men in to advocate for these causes and push their Mothers Day Campaigns. CLICK to cureepilepsy.org/mothersday and whiteribbonalliance.org/celebratemothers.
Wendi Murdoch, media executive and filmmaker, explained why the issue of maternal mortality is a personal issue. Her grandmother died while giving birth to her mother. Obama senior advisor, David Axelrod, shared their heart-wrenching story of their own family’s struggle with their daughter Lauren’s seizures which began at 7 months. Susan Axelrod, explained how CURE Epilepsy’s sole focus is on finding cause of epilepsy, not just managing medicine to stop seizures.
Sarah Palin made her Washington debut surprising the DC crowd and immediately became the focal point for fans lining up for photos and reporters hoping for a conversation. Palin and her husband, Todd. arrived with Greta Van Sustern and her husband, John Coale. She met David and Susan Axelrod at the traditional brunch “Step ‘n Repeat.” David Axelrod greeted her saying, “Finally, it’s good to meet you.” Palin thanked him for his work on epilepsy research. Palin shook hands, greeted fans and posed for photos. Politicsal reporters watched her work the room and many approached her including the New York Times Mark Lebovich, who is wriitng a book about the Washington culture, Jeff Zeleny, the New York Times political reporter, and CBS News’ Jan Greenberg.
She told Politico’s Patrick Gavin when he asked why she wanted to spend the day with White House Correspondents, that she was honored to be there. “The nice thing about this is that we are doing it for a cause, for special needs, which of course is near and dear to my heart.”
As she was leaving the party, she was overheard telling T. Boone Pickens and his wife Madeleine, she was all for the Pickens Plan. Palin’s sister, Molly McCann came with daughter Bristol who posed for photos for the very excited press pool.
Many of Hollywood’s finest made their way slowly through the crowd including Academy Award winner, Dustin Lance Black, GLEE star, Matthew Morrison, Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl, The Social Network’s Joe Mazzello (soon to star in a Georgetown TV show, Jeremy Piven of Entourage, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson with his boyfriend, Justin Mikita, and the Creative Coalition’s Tim Daly and Robin Bronk. Celebrity manager, Eric Podwall, worked the room like a DC vet.
The rest of the entertainment industry was well represented beginning with comedian and red carpet commentator, Joan Rivers; Academy award winning actress Mira Sorvino and Maria Bello, who most recently appeared in Beautiful Boy; Dancing with the Stars host and author, Brooke Burke; legandary TV actress, Morgan Fairchild; actress and activist, Rosario Dawson.
Olympic snowboarder, Shaun White, was hard-to-miss with his curly red hair and big smile and Washington Kastles Coach Murphy Jensen posed for fans as he watched the young volunteers hand out CURE Epilepsy iphone covers, White Ribbon Alliance pins and Kastles souvenirs.
Media moguls were well represented by Rupert Murdoch, Sean Parker, Arianna Huffington, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Internet investor Yuri Milner, and the Today Show’s Jim Bell. On camera stars included WHCA 2010 awardee Jake Tapper, Savannah Guthrie, Jan Greenberg, Ed Henry, Ann Compton, Jessica Yellin to name a few.
Several of Washington’s media elite joined the fun. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, NCTA Chief Michael Powell, Politico’s Robert Allbritton and Fred Ryan plus David Bradley. Greta Van Susteren, Chris Wallace, David Bradley, Ed Henry, Jonathan Karl, Ann Compton, Jamie Rubin, Brett Baier, Paul Berry and Gordon Peterson.
Obama officials and Washington insiders seen at the brunch were new White House chief of Staff Bill Daley and his wife Bernie Keller, FLOTUS COS Tina Tchen, Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard, Kristina Schake, FLOTUS communications Director and FCC Chief Julius Genachowski and his wife Rachel Goslins, Christine Varney, DoJ’s Anti Trust Chief, RNC Chairman Rience Priebus, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Howard Wolfson, Michael Powell, Amb. Elizabeth Bagley, Larry Summers, Carol Browner, Jeremy Bernard, Amb. Capricia Marshall, Rep. Andrew Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald, Jane Harmon, Robert Hormats, Anita Dunn, Anita McBride, Tina Tchen, Michael Chertoff,and Representative Aaron Schock.
DC Philanthropists Catherine and Wayne Reynolds, Ambassador Capricia Marshall and Sally Quinn brought sparkle to the historic Georgetown residence. Making the rounds – and donating hundreds of delicious cupcakes for the brunch – were Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne of Georgetown Cupcakes.
Other notable brunch attendees include Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta, Mark Shriver, American record executive Kevin Liles, economist Larry Summers, hotelier Andre Balazs and magician Gerard Senehi. Speaking of buzz, Twitter’s @TheRealBuzz – astronaut Buzz Aldrin (attending with his wife Lois) posed for photos with countless fans who took the opportunity to meet a real life hero.
The Host Committee includes Tammy Haddad and Ted Greenberg, Kevin Sheekey, Hilary Rosen, Mark Ein, Alex Castellanos, Anita Dunn, Bill Knapp, Jim Courtovich, David Adler, Steve McMahon and Cafe Milano’s Franco Nuschese. Bill Homan from Design Cuisine recreated the grand, elegant house into a wonderland of modern comfort, delicious cuisine, and spectacular arrangements of everything including photos and art telling the story of the work of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and CURE Epilespy!