Longtime Michael Jackson publicist Ramone Bain, looking and feeling rather chipper for someone who says she got majorly stiffed by “The Gloved One,” wasn’t talking either. Perhaps both could use the services of superlawyer Bob Bennett, seen engaging in animated conversation with former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff.
Spotted mingling across the tented lawn: actor Val Kilmer sporting longer-than-ever hair, Bill Press managing a photo-op with the First Dude, Bob Franken, Bloomberg’s Judith Czelusniak, Mary Matalin, Mike Allen, David Bohrman, Kathy O’Hearn, and Dana Delaney.
The manifest was shared by perennial co-hosts David Adler, Hilary Rosen, Ted Greenberg, Alex Castellanos and Michael Feldman, with a supporting cast that included honorary co-chairs Susan Axelrod and “The Today Show’s” Ann Curry who promoted: Mother’s Day Every Day.
Yikes! Twitterville was rampant at the main event later that day as pundits logged into #nerdprom or #whcad with the same fervor Al Gore must have felt when he invented the Internet. “blitzer sitting at same table as @aplusk, can you say surreal?” (Ashton Kutcher) “Roland Martin has the most amazing velvet suit on with an ascot, he looks so dapper!” tweeted @McCainblogette (Megan McCain.) You get the point.
When Wanda Sykes took the mic, the usual breath-holding moment ensued. How far would she go? Whom would she offend? Would the President laugh? Answers here: She went pretty far. Limbaugh and Cheney got pilloried. “I tell my kids, if two cars pull up and one has a stranger and the other Dick Cheney, go with the stranger,” Sykes told the crowd.
The President held his own: “Sasha and Melia are not here tonight because they’re grounded. You can’t just take Air Force One on a joy ride to Manhattan. … Dick Cheney was supposed to be here, too, but he is very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively called ‘How to Shoot Your Friends and Interrogate People.’”
Guests quickly bolted from the claustrophobic (and now-under-renovation) Washington Hilton to scramble for a bit of fresh air.
Oh-la-la. The illuminated French Embassy Residence proved a welcome retreat for stilettos. The elegant party hosted by Bloomberg and Vanity Fair (with the cooperation of French Ambassador Pierre Vimont) was magical from the multi-hued garden tree lights to the food catered by Design Cuisine and the pared-down VIP guest list (down from 800 to less than half that). It was a rare occasion when celebrities, politicians, and socialites mixed with the media without the frenetic gawking and stalking.
The scene: Demi and Ashton looking very together; self-proclaimed troublemaker Owen Wilson rather subdued while parked on a bench at the entrance; “Match Point” and “The Tudors” star Jonathan Rhys Meyers charming guests with his divine Irish accent before a somewhat disoriented exit; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg very engaging while handing out tiny lapel pins symbolizing equality in the Big Apple; inseparable White House power girls Desirée Rogers and Valerie Jarrett finally getting to relax after attending other (not-so-competitive) after-parties. Glenn Close, Katie Couric, Donatella Versace, Eva Longoria Parker, and Natalie Portman heightening the glam quotient amid dimmed lights, free-flowing Champagne and discreetly flashing cameras (and more than a few cell phones) until the party started winding down around 3 a.m.
The Morning After: “A brunch without eggs?” one guest asked. Hard to pull off, but Teatro Goldoni Chef Enzo Fargione did just that at John and Cristina McLaughlin’s Mother’s Day gathering by serving so many variations of pasta, risotto, and eggplant that eggs were forgotten. In between Bloody Marys, Pat and Shelley Buchanan, Bill Cohen, Eleanor Clift, Mort Zuckerman, Buzz Aldrin, and Tina and Spike Karalekas relished rehashing the previous night, with many still wondering if Sykes went over the line suggesting Rush Limbaugh was the 20th 9/11 high-jacker, but was “too strung out on Oxycontin to make the flight.”
“No,” satirist Mark Russell said. “If I told you that over dinner you would laugh your head off.”
Until next year, “Bye Bye!”