It's 3am and I'm too tired to write meaningful analysis. For now, here are some photos from the Vanity Fair party after the White House Correspondents Association dinner. The only camera I used all weekend was my iPhone4S, so the pics look like phone pics. Sorry.
The party was at the residence of the French Ambassador on Kalorama Road. For all the heightened security, guests found it fairly easy to get in. Some said they breezed right through the gates and weren't asked to show the barcodes that had been sent to invitees via email. On the other hand, a highly recognizable Barbara Walters did have to go through an I.D. check. Oh, well.
Usual mixed-bag swell crowd (reality star-stylist Rachel Zoe standing a few yards from CIA Director David Petreaus), usual flowing good champagne, Dom Ruinart and Henriot, and tasty little snacks that ranged from savory to sweet. Everyone from rocker Patti Smith to Uggie the dog from "The Artist," though honestly - as an animal lover - I'm not too keen on dogs at crowded parties. Uggie seemed okay with it, and even tried to grab a snack off a passing tray of canapes. Those Hollywood dogs.
As in recent years, Vanity Fair deployed an army of event planners and catering staff to make sure there was plenty of plenty plus interesting decor (the French move out most of their own furniture). Sofas were padded with pillows that had the WHCA, VF and Bloomberg logos plus sayings. See below:
George Clooney arrived and was descended upon by a horde. It took him a half hour to get from the front door to the center of the main entry hall. He didn't mind. He said "this is my kind of party." He talked serious stuff with various guests, but also willingly posed for photos. He did not head back to his hotel until 3:30 in the morning. (But then he was probably on L.A. or Lake Como time). No Stacy Kiebler in sight. Clooney arrived with Ariana Huffington, who seemed quite aware of the impact of walking in the door with him. Clooney and Jimmy Kimmel were among the few who stayed till nearly the end of the party. It was impossible to walk a few feet without bumping into a celebrity, whether it was low or medium level, such as Piers Morgan and Kelly Ripa or high level like Reese Witherspoon, Daniel Radcliffe, and Kevin Spacey. Imagine yourself as the bowling ball and a batch of celebrities as 12-pins. That's what it was like. Over time one became immune to spotting them.
To send to my son, to show him I was at a cool party, I got bold and asked to take pictures of three women. One was Rosario Dawson, who wore a dress with the kind of cleavage we just don't typically see in DC. The other was Kate Upton, this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover model. And then, just before she departed, Patti Smith. Each couldn't have been nicer. Isn't this what every mother does for her son? He was appreciative and couldn't believe I stayed up past midnight.
A peculiar but interesting aspect of the party was that each of the waiters wore make-up, particularly eyeliner, rouge, mascara and lipstick. All the waiters, per Vanity Fair, had to pass through hair and make-up before the party began. Should this become a Washington catering trend?
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED COVER MODEL KATE UPTON, SMILING FOR MY SON
I stayed until about 2 a.m, heading out the door at the same time as the co-hosts, Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair and Mayor Mike Bloomberg of Bloomberg. I was keeping up with my ride -- John Fox Sullivan and Elizabeth Keffer of Atlantic Media -- who were on their way home, too. The rain was fairly steady and it was cold. For the first time in years this party had tents but most people stayed inside rather than go outside. Thanks to the rain, Bloomberg gave out umbrellas. They have excellent umbrellas. Five or six years ago, just as the WHCA dinner ended at the Hilton, there was a powerful and drenching thunderstorm. Bloomberg gave out umbrellas at the entrances to the hotel. I still have that umbrella. Now it has a friend.
In the end it was amusing to see all the movie stars at the Vanity Fair party. Movie stars and TV stars. More women stars than men. Unfortunately I didn't get a snap of Charlize Theron, who looked lovely. And Bo Derek and John Corbett (who told me how much they miss Nathans, where they would hang out late when in DC), and Sophia Vergara and Claire Danes. Even though there was an MSNBC party, Chris Matthews spent the evening at Vanity Fair. There weren't as many bonafide celebs as in earlier years. Most of the guests were denizens of Washington - media, politocal types, party boys and girls, friends of Vanity Fair or Ambassador Delattre and his wife, Sophie.
Let's not pretend this evening has anything to do with Washington journalism. (haha, oxymoron). This is a Hollywood party transported to DC. Period. VF says they may give it a break next year. I don't blame them. They've done that before. The whole weekend needs a reboot. It won't happen, because too many egos are invested in the status quo, but it should happen.