Pop Culture

Traffic puts damper on pre-inaugural bashes

If Monday night was a dry run for Inauguration Day traffic, brace yourselves. Traffic en route to the party of the night, The Huffington Post bash, caused a lot of people to actually turn around and abort the mission. This definitely thinned out the celebrity crowd substantially.

Spotted furiously Blackberrying while trying to navigate the line: Isaiah Washington, formerly of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Despite the massive crowds, Sharon Stone was spotted inside, as was Ben Affleck (who apparently isn’t camping out for the swearing in yet) and Robert De Niro. Will.I.Am and Sting both performed.

Celebrity sightings
Ben Affleck and Sarah Silverman walked into a post-inauguration party in Georgetown within minutes of each other. ... Also spotted at the same bash: Actress Jessica Alba and hubby Cash Warren, though baby Honor Marie stayed home. ... "Heroes" cheerleader Hayden Panettiere was there, too. ... Despite rumors of possible delays due to the inaugural parade getting off to a late start, the balls kicked into gear at their scheduled times.

“Revolutionary Road” star Leonardo DiCaprio was spotted taking photos of the crowd during President Obama's inauguration speech. ... Magic Johnson stopped to let fans take his picture before the swearing-in. ... John Cusack also was seen in the crowd.

Ball cancellationsThere were some changes in the lineup for Tuesday night’s festivities: The American Music Inaugural balls — the Urban ball and the ball of legends — were both cancelled and what talent could make it is heading to the Heroes ball.

Still on tap though: the Creative Coalition ball, the Be The Change Youth Ball, BET’s ball, the Purple Ball. Check back for more updates on these tomorrow.

Celebs are just like regular peopleCelebrities acting like “normal” people might rank low on the “Change We Need” scale, but it’s certainly a welcome one that’s playing out all over Washington this week. From taking the Amtrak to D.C., to not being able to get in to parties, there is — for the most part — no A-list, just lists.

Ben Affleck said he would “camp out” to get good seats to see Barack Obama. Affleck also spoke at the Feeding America rally in the Martin Luther King Library, where he asked the crowd to “skip lunch” and to take the money that might have been spent and give it to the Capital Food Bank.

Also, while there are plenty of splashy, sponsored parties to be found, many big names are opting to swing by homes of Washingtonians for the evening. Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen have been opting for this route, and gamely chatting with the “regular” guests as well.

Offers to camp out, appeals to charitable causes — all well and good but that’s not to say there hasn’t been some level of high maintenance in Washington. Beyonce, who started out the week so strong, apparently had “some demands Washington wasn’t really ready to deal with,” according to a source who worked with her at the Lincoln Memorial concert.

The source wouldn’t go into specifics, but Beyonce definitely didn’t mingle with the avian life like Jack Black did. It was a surprise to see Black speaking at the concert, but he was certainly a crowd pleaser as he elicited laughs (unintentionally, it seemed) by doing nothing more than clearing his throat.

Oprah show taping gets rowdy
First, there was the problem of tickets. Originally, Oprah Winfrey’s Monday taping at the Kennedy Center was meant to handle 2,000 people — in the end, the build-out didn’t allow for that many seats, so some of the folks who won the lottery for 1,000 of the tickets got wait-listed instead.

Then, during the taping of the show, one well-placed source says that an audience member became so overcome with the notion of being under the same roof as Ms. Winfrey, she ran backstage, ostensibly just to take pictures.

“Obviously, she had to be removed,” says the source.

Another note: while Michelle Obama was rumored to be a guest during the show, but it wasn’t ever anything resembling a solid plan. “The Bidens were actually locked in to do the show last week, if not earlier,” says a source familiar with the scheduling.

Courtney Hazlett will deliver The Scoop throughout the inauguration.