A vote to party hearty
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s supporters sang “Happy Days Are Here Again.” From the looks of things, the hordes descending on D.C. to celebrate President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration plan to sing just about every song ever written since then.
The official inaugural events are impressive enough, but the private parties and concerts now scheduled to coincide with the formal inauguration have given the whole affair more of the feeling of a festival than an occasion of state. In fact, the number and variety of celebratory events has become so dizzying that the president-elect has had to record a video -- now playing on the official inaugural website -- to explain exactly which party is which.
Here’s a selective schedule of the official and unofficial concerts and parties with the most celebrity glitter, or the ones that just seem too interesting not to mention.
BET will hold an award ceremony, the BET Honors, at the Warner Theatre to honor Mary J. Blige, filmmaker Tyler Perry, Magic Johnson and others. Gabrielle Union will be the host, and performers will include Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Anita Baker and Joss Stone. Meanwhile, the Hip-Hop Caucus will host a concert Saturday at Ibiza with Common, Blige and Nelly.
* The official celebration kicks off with a free concert at the Lincoln Memorial, starting at 2:30 p.m. (It will be aired on HBO in the evening.) Performers will include Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Beyonce, Usher, Garth Brooks, Stevie Wonder, John Mellencamp, Shakira, Blige, Herbie Hancock, Josh Groban, John Legend and James Taylor. Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III and Queen Latifah will perform readings.
* Norman Lear’s group Declare Yourself will host a party that evening to celebrate the release of the song it commissioned, “Born Again American.” Maroon 5 will perform, as will Foxx and Legend. Jessica Alba will host the event, which also features DJ Samantha Ronson.
* The “Dreams of My Father” American Scholars Inaugural Ball will take place at the Four Seasons and feature Alicia Keys, Macy Gray and LL Cool J.
* The Voto Latino Inaugural Party will include Marc Anthony, Rosario Dawson, Tony Plana and Wilmer Valderrama.
* The “Kids’ Inaugural: We Are the Future” will be at the Verizon Center and air on the Disney Channel. Performing will be Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and Bow Wow. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will host with their families.
* The “America Feels Kinda Cool Again Inaugural Gala,” featuring the Beastie Boys, Sheryl Crow and Citizen Cope will be at the 9:30 Club.
* Jay-Z will perform at “In Concert on the Eve of Change” at the Warner Theatre.
* Aretha Franklin will play a free concert at the Kennedy Center with Nuttin’ but Stringz and the Let Freedom Ring Choir.
* The Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball will take place at the Harman Center for the Arts and be hosted by Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, T.I. and Young Jeezy.
* The Huffington Post Preinaugural Ball will be held at the Newseum and feature performances by Sting and will.i.am. Attendees will include Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Jon Bon Jovi, Halle Berry and Ashton Kutcher.
* The Neighborhood Ball: ABC will broadcast this ball for Washington residents at the Washington Convention Center. Performing will be Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Keys, Faith Hill and Blige.
* The Youth Ball: This is for people 18 to 35 to celebrate “the role young Americans can play to serve their communities.” Fall Out Boy is among the acts performing.
* The nonprofit arts and entertainment advocacy group Creative Coalition will hold a gala to be headlined by Elvis Costello and Sting at the Harman Center.
* The Purple Ball, at the Fairmont Hotel, will be hosted by Lou Gossett Jr. and Il Divo will perform.
* There will be two American Music Balls: The Legends Ball, hosted by Dionne Warwick and featuring Chaka Khan and George Clinton; and the Urban Ball, hosted by Ludacris and with Cedric the Entertainer and Monica. Both will be at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
* BET will host an inaugural ball at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. The network will broadcast an hour special with the ball, which will include a performance by Wyclef Jean.
* The Equality Ball, hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, will be at the Mayflower Hotel with Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Etheridge and Rufus Wainwright.
* The Inaugural Peace Ball, at the National Postal Museum, will be hosted by Harry Belafonte and include Joan Baez, Graham Nash and Jackson Browne.
* Rihanna will perform at the Recording Industry Assn. of America Inaugural Ball to benefit Feeding America.
* Nas, Groban, Slash and Robert Randolph are among those performing at the Heroes Red, White & Blue Inaugural Ball -- benefiting military families and veterans -- at the Warner Theatre.
You can bet that the gigs nobody’s hoping to score are the jobs of cleaning up or treating all the hangovers.