Washington ready for star-spangled Obama inauguration

Washington ready for star-spangled Obama inauguration

20th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

An unprecedented galaxy of stars is poised to light up festivities surrounding the inauguration, giving a high-voltage jolt of glamour to the serious business of swearing-in the leader of the free world.

Los Angeles -- Never mind the Oscars, Grammys or Golden Globes: the red carpet extravaganza that every discerning celebrity wants to be seen at this year is Barack Obama's inauguration as US president.

An unprecedented galaxy of stars is poised to light up festivities surrounding the inauguration, giving a high-voltage jolt of glamour to the serious business of swearing-in the leader of the free world.

Exactly which members of the glitterati will be heading to Washington DC is unclear. Only a handful of stars have been officially confirmed.

Some, such as "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin, will be performing in an official capacity, belting out songs at the January 20 inauguration ceremony.

Max Whittaker/Getty Images/AFP Others, such as two-time Oscar-winner Tom Hanks, are planning to watch proceedings from among the crowd, according to reports.

But there seems little doubt that dozens of entertainment industry figures will descend on the nation's capital for what People magazine described as possibly the "most star-spangled" inauguration in history.

Die-hard Obama supporter Oprah Winfrey is certain to be on hand, while Bruce Springsteen, Blackeyed Peas frontman will.i.am, and divas Beyonce and Mary J. Blige all reported to be in attendance.

Several reports have suggested Springsteen may perform on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on January 18.

The Presidential Inauguration Committee has confirmed an "opening celebration" at the site on the same date but has not revealed if Springsteen will play there.

The Creative Coalition, a non-profit set up members of the creative community in 1989 to raise awareness about issues of public importance has confirmed a stellar cast for its ball on inauguration day.

Elvis Costello and Sting are both performing at the event, which will be attended by celebrities including Spike Lee, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard and Ron Howard.

Obama is not expected to make an appearance at the benefit bash, where sponsorships are reported to be selling for 150,000 dollars.

The Creative Coalition event is one of several unofficial balls being held around the US capital on inauguration week.

Max Whittaker/Getty Images/AFP

 The Susquehanna Travellers dance in period costume at the 'Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball' January 18, 2009 in Washington, DC. The 'Lincoln 2.0 Inaugural Ball' is one of several pre-Inauguration events being held around the DC area.


The American Music Inaugural Ball is to be hosted by Dionne Warwick and will feature two events -- a "Legends Ball" and an "Urban Ball".

Performers at the 650-dollar-a-ticket party include Chaka Khan, The Temptations, George Clinton, The Cheetah Girls, Lil Jon and T-Pain.

Other stars reported to be in town for the inauguration include Chris Rock, George Clooney, Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette and Ed Harris.

Experts believe the stampede of celebrities heading to Washington reflects a shift in the way the entertainment industry is adjusting to the next US leader, anxious to be associated with a politician who projects charisma and cool.

AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK "I think that celebrities are basking in the street cred of being associated with Barack Obama," said Robert Thompson, professor of communications at the University of Syracuse. "He's so articulate, he's so attractive, his family is so beautiful, he dresses so well. He trumps every other celebrity out there."

"Any celebrity is happy to co-star in the Barack Obama show," Thompson said. "Even celebrities who are used to having their names above the movie title are happy to be co-starring with Saint Barack."


AFP/Expatica

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