It’s that time of year again for a weekend of news and events surrounding the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. We’ve got the latest on who plans to party again and who decided to opt out (for now).
Remember, it’s more than dinner on Saturday: there are events starting as early as Thursday, April 25th. That includes Voto Latino’s 11th Annual “Our Voices: Celebrating Diversity in Media” reception, as well as the 6th Annual “Bytes & Bylines” party – a gathering of leaders in technology, media, and politics. The party is co-hosted by Allen Gannett, Eric Kuhn, John McCarthy, and Jennifer DeCasper and will once again be held at the residence of the Ambassador of Ireland to the United States.
On Friday, April 26th, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee will hold its second Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC. Though she vowed never to host another NWHCD again, Samantha Bee said in a press release, “…the White House Correspondents’ Association has left me no choice — it is now up to comedy journalists to take care of real journalists. Even if those journalists insist on wearing corduroy.”
While NWHCD 2 tapes on Friday, it will air at the same time as the official White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Saturday, April 27, 10 PM ET/PT on TBS. Programming note: get your remote controls ready, as not only will the actual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and NWHCD 2 air simultaneously, but President Donald Trump will be holding a campaign rally at the same time in Green Bay, Wisconsin. For those keeping track, this is the third time the President has opted out of the WHCA dinner.
NWHCD 2 hasn’t named their celebrity guests yet but all proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Sorry, no tickets available for the annual Friday night dinner hosted for Official Washington by David Bradley, publisher of The Atlantic. It’s invite-only for the Embassy Row backyard gathering.
Also happening on Friday night, United Talent Agency (UTA) will hold its fourth annual “Celebration of America’s Journalists” pre-party at Fiola Mare restaurant. The event is co-hosted by UTA co-president, Jay Sures, and Mediaite CEO, Dan Abrams.
Sures said in a statement: “UTA is thrilled to continue our tradition of bringing together journalists and voices from across the political aisle to celebrate the diversity of opinions that make our democracy stronger.”
From The Roots to The Hill, Grammy Award-winning musician Questlove is expected to DJ at the media outlet’s “Toast to Freedom of the Press” at the National Portrait Gallery. The Hill’s Friday night shindig promises to be a “celebration of politics without prejudice.” This is a departure from last year where The Hill hosted a pre-party with the entertainment TV show Extra and the Canadian Embassy.
Not happening this year due to scheduling conflicts: the Correspondents’ Jam hosted by Chuck Leavell, owner of the enviro-news outlet, Mother Nature Network. The event usually featured bands fronted by journalists with the occasional celebrity cameo appearance. Leavell is the touring keyboardist for the Rolling Stones who were supposed to be on tour right now, but those plans are on pause while frontman Mick Jagger recovers from heart surgery.
The Creative Coalition is opting out for the first time in years because of the congressional recess. “We would love to have been at the correspondents’ dinner, except we tie it to a day where we advocate for the arts to Congress, and Congress is out of session,” Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk told The Hill. Instead, the Coalition – with stars from “Madam Secretary,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Shameless” and more – will be coming to DC on May 9th for their annual #RightstoBearArts Capitol Hill Advocacy Day and Gala.
Not to worry, there will be plenty happening at the 26th annual White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch to keep people buzzing. This traditional Saturday afternoon gathering started by Tammy Haddad will honor military veterans and their families. Invited guests will attend the outdoor affair at the Beall-Washington House in Georgetown, currently owned by Mark and Sally Ein. The estate was once the home of the late Washington Post publisher, Katharine Graham. Stay tuned because we hear there will be a special guest to present a BIG gift to a well-deserving Purple Heart veteran. There will also be a presentation to an active duty officer by author and philanthropist Jean Case.
The big WHCA dinner, of course, takes place at the Washington Hilton. Chief Washington Correspondent for SiriusXM and president of the WHCA, Olivier Knox, says there will be changes this year, telling The Hill he “felt the dinner needed a reset, to be more serious, to put the focus back on journalism, on the job of chronicling a presidency and holding it to account.”
The reset includes swapping out a late-night TV host/comedian as the entertainment for Ron Chernow, best-selling and award-winning author. He wrote the biography of Alexander Hamilton that Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up, which led to the creation of the hit Broadway musical, “Hamilton.” You know, no biggie.
A number of after parties have already been announced for this year, but one not coming back is Playboy’s “No Tie After-Party.” The 2018 inaugural party was hosted by the adult magazine’s chief creative officer, Cooper Hefner, but they’ve decided to pass this time around.
Instead, folks can try to score an invite to Capitol File’s after-party at the Dupont Circle Hotel hosted by Michael Kelly of “House of Cards” or NBC/MSNBC’s “The After Party” at the Italian Embassy.
The Los Angeles Times is also getting in on the action. They’ve planned a fundraising after-party at the National Press Club to raise money for Austin Tice, a former U.S. Marine and an American freelance journalist who went missing in Syria over six years ago. #FreeAustinTice
On Sunday, Politico founder and publisher, Robert Allbritton, and his wife, Elena, will once again host their own garden brunch at their elegant Georgetown home. Party-goers can also opt to nurse their headaches at CNN’s Political Hangover Brunch – and as the invite says – “Laissez les bon temps rouler!” Let the Good Times Roll, indeed.