It is the year of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner AL 1, or one year After Leibovich. While he wasn’t the first, Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” skewered the event and its accompanying cocktail parties, brunches and satellite offerings so hard that it’s worth wondering whether life at Nerd Prom will be different.
Will anyone enthusiastically tweet that they can’t believe they just saw Psy? Will the BuzzFeed Bowties and Burgers alterna-dinner at Jack Rose Saloon suffer a sophomore slump? Will Tammy Haddad change the mimosa schedule? Will news organizations now ignore people who had cameos in “House of Cards”? Will any celebrity selfies not be sponsored by Samsung?
We’ll see. While Leibovich’s chronicle certainly cut deep, it’s unlikely it will change much behavior. The spectacle of the WHCD has always been ripe for snark, self-consciousness and self-righteousness. Even the term Nerd Prom is a form of faux self-deprecation, an attempt to show that one understands just how declassé the whole affair is, even while jetting from soiree to soiree, from the French Embassy to David Bradley’s house.
So go forth and enjoy the pre-pre-parties, pre-parties, dinner, alternative parties, post-parties, post-dinner hangover cure brunches and the rest. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, even as some of the events will seem like a 1970s disaster movie: Lots of talented people who used to be in the spotlight working it hard, waiting for the ship to be hit by a tidal wave.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to opt out of some of the week’s festivities, keep in mind a couple of things happening on Capitol Hill. This is the last week for the venerable Pour House, one of Pennsylvania Avenue’s last legit dive bars, which is pouring its last brew on April 30. There’s even a countdown clock on the Pour House website to show you just many hours and seconds you have for one last round of skeeball. The place that used to be Poli-Tiki will transition yet again, this time to a more upscale venue dreamed up by the folks behind nearby wine bar Sonoma.
On the night of the WHCD itself, local band Typefighter will be playing at the Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE for its “The End of Everything” album release party. Helping the crowd warm up will be another local outfit, Shark Week, which features Roll Call’s own Daniel Newhauser, a House leadership reporter by day, rock and roll drummer by night, with a little DC Ducks fanboy worked in on the side.
Doors open at 7 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. It’s 12 bucks in advance and at the door. No rubber chicken dinner will be served.
And the day after features the Race for Hope Washington, D.C., 5K, which raises money for brain tumor research. For more information, go to braintumorcommunity.org.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick