The Vanity Fair/Bloomberg White House Correspondents’ Dinner after-party, held this year at the French ambassador’s residence, was – as always – one of the hottest and most glamorous tickets in town.
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Google, HBO and the Smithsonian American Art Museum partnered on Friday night for a White House Correspondents’ Weekend party to celebrate HBO Films’ “All the Way.” Actor Bryan Cranston and Director Jay Roach were the featured guests.
And if Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren are having this much fun, you know it was a great party. Thank you, HBO and Google!
Media notables, Hollywood stars, and leaders from the business and non-profit sectors came together on Saturday for the annual Garden Brunch in honor of White House Correspondents’ Weekend. The mission of this year’s brunch was to recognize entrepreneurs who are ‘starting out and starting up’, along with initiatives that support members of the military and their families.
The brunch raised awareness for Halcyon Incubator, an organization founded by Dr. Sachiko Kuno that supports early stage social entrepreneurs through an immersive 18-month fellowship program. As guests arrived, they were asked to share their advice for individuals who are seeking to launch a new career and change the world. The notes were shared on an interactive PPI board provided by Microsoft.
Tony Goldwyn, who plays President Fitz Grant on ABC’s Scandal, shared: “Commit 100% to your dream. That will lead you to places you can’t even imagine!”
Sheila C. Johnson, co-founder of BET, philanthropist and the first African American female billionaire, knows a thing or two about success. Her advice? “Be bold and be fearless!”
Arianna Huffington and Travis Kalanick, who arrived at the brunch together, are two of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Huffington’s tip: “Remember failure is a stepping stone to success!” And Kalanick shared insights based on his own experience of creating Uber: “You can bend reality but don’t break it!”
Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles focused on practical advice: “Do not argue with your boss when u are drunk, even if u are right.” Under Armour CEO and Founder Kevin Plank also offered sound business advice with “Find out if your product can sell!!!”
Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren encouraged individuals to broaden their horizons: “Travel! See the world so that you know something!” And CNN’s Wolf Blitzer gave advice that is often heard in Washington: “You may be smart, but other people may be smarter. Listen and take advantage and learn. Two heads are smarter than one.”
The focus on entrepreneurship and Halcyon Incubator was highlighted during the event as Dr. Sachiko Kuno, CEO of S&R Foundation, took the stage to talk about the work of her organization and to introduce the program’s current cohort.
This year’s Garden Brunch also raised awareness for Yellow Ribbons United and their initiative #PlayfieldInThePark, which serves approximately 500 children and teens attending the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Good Grief Camp and Honoring Our Heroes Camp over Memorial Day Weekend. The program was created by Derrick and Emma Dockery, and has recently received the support of Constance Milstein, who was also a co-host of the Garden Brunch.
In addition to sharing their mission with brunch guests, Emma Dockery also had advice for budding entrepreneurs: “Never give up, for every no you may receive there is someone who will say yes!”
Additional guests from the entertainment industry included Bryan Cranston of HBO’s All the Way, Director Jay Roach, Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren, House of Cards’ Neve Campbell, Daredevil’s Rosario Dawson, Lisa Edelstein from Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Constance Zimmer of UnREAL, The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, Blindspot’s Jaimie Alexander, House of Cards’ Michael Kelly, actress Sela Ward, Blue Bloods’ Bridget Moynahan, Concussion’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw, model Anne V, Independence Day’s Jeff Goldblum, Valeri and Candace Cameron Bure, Omarosa, Eric Podwall, Dule Hill, Matthew Morrison, HBO’s Len Amato, Scandal’s Scott Foley, and model Daniela Lopez.
Media in attendance included Charlie Rose, Jim Bankoff, Kevin Merida and Marie Donoghue from ESPN, Gayle King, Wolf Blitzer, Laura Ingraham, Bret and Amy Baier, Brian and Jamie Stelter, Betsy Fischer-Martin, Stephanie Ruhle, Joy Behar, and April Ryan. Tech was also represented by Josh Ginsberg, CEO of Zignal Labs, Erin Egan of Facebook, Snap Chat’s Nick Bell and Instagram’s Charlton Golson, John Tass-Parker and Charles Porch.
From the world of government and politics, guests included Valerie Jarrett, Tina Tchen, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Heather Podesta, Tony Podesta, Jeremy Bernard, Megan Smith, Robert and Capricia Marshall, Heather Rothenberg and Ellie Schafer, Representative Joaquin Castro, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Dr. and Mrs. Anthony Fauci of NIH, World Bank President Jim Kim, Mike and Kristi Rogers, Ben Ginsberg, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
The crowd was kept up-to-the moment on the presidential election with Zignal Labs‘ realtime analytics.
Dessert treats were provided by Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis of Georgetown Cupcakes.
The 2016 Garden Brunch was held at the historic Beall-Washington House in Georgetown. The event host committee consisted of Tammy Haddad, Kevin Sheekey, Hilary Rosen, Sachiko Kuno, Fred Humphries, Mark and Sally Ein, Connie Milstein, Anita Dunn, Bill Knapp, David Adler, and Franco Nuschese.
Nearly every publication in town — and many even outside of Washington — had their two cents to share about the glitz and glamor of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend. One of the highlights of the weekend was the annual Garden Brunch on Saturday afternoon.
Variety kicked off coverage of the Garden Brunch by mentioning it as one of the premier events of the weekend. The brunch was held at the Beall-Washington House which is owned by businessman Mark Ein, one of the event hosts alongside Tammy Haddad, Hilary Rosen, Kevin Sheekey and David Adler.
POLITICO’s Playbook reported that CNN would be using Facebook Live to cover the brunch in real time. This ended up being quite the success with almost 30,000 people watching footage of the brunch.
People reported that, while at the brunch, Scandal star Katie Lowes was gushing about a jazz concert the cast of Scandal got to attend on Friday night at the White House.
Adweek spotted and mentioned a number of stars who attended the brunch from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to actor Jeff Goldblum to Valerie Jarrett, advisor to the President. They also mentioned that this year “the party has gotten bigger (more crowded), and the food has gotten better (more desserts).”
USA Today reported that actress Jaimie Alexander debuted her short new haircut, a sleek bob cut, at the Garden Brunch on Saturday morning.
The Washington Post reported that the brunch was the top destination for those visiting town to pre-game for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but that trying to converse and interact with all the Washington power players felt a little like a ‘workout’. It went on to name almost two dozen of the famous faces who attended and hosted the event.
Last, but not least, Page Six reported that revered English actress Helen Mirren, who has played Queen Elizabeth II on screen, and Tony Goldwyn, who plays the commander-in-chief on Scandal, were both given especially warm welcomes to the brunch by co-host Tammy Haddad.
The morning following the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, CNN’s Reliable Sources featured Betsy Fischer-Martin, Ron Fournier and Tammy Haddad in a roundtable discussion with host Brian Stelter to talk about the relevance of the annual event. The conversation also included an analysis of this year’s presidential campaign coverage.
Fischer-Martin commented on how the tone of the dinner has evolved over the past 15-20 years, stating that media used to “invite our own sources” and “had one-on-one access,” which has changed as the Hollywood presence has increased over the years.
Defending the dinner, Haddad stated, “how bad can it be bringing all these people together? It’s getting more people involved in the process.”
Discussing how presidential campaign coverage has also changed over the years, Haddad said, “what we should also talk about is how reporters covering the Trump campaign have no access. The other thing about Trump is that he calls into shows…he’s so smart because he has figured it out, he can control the show. You have to listen to him until he finishes.”
Fournier commented that reporters need to “stop writing about what he says and how it affects poll numbers, and dig into what he’s really saying,” further suggesting that the media, “needs to hold him (Trump) accountable.”
“Scrutiny is what’s lacking. Candidates no longer do hour long interviews,” explained Fischer-Martin. “Investigative journalism costs money, it’s expensive to produce. A lot of news organizations don’t have those resources anymore.”
Responding to a question about the level of coverage the Trump campaign receives, Haddad said, “this man is running for president. Millions of people are following him. We’re not supposed to carry coverage? Isn’t that our responsibility?”