Hedda snagged a couple of tickets to the Fenty Inaugural Ball this evening, and took me along as her date. It was a “black tie optional” evening, and we opted not to. Instead, she wore a cute black dress with a fantastic boa, and I wore a black pinstriped suit. We looked fine.
The ball itself, though, was kind of a drag. The entire main floor of the convention hall was rented, with a stage against one mall in the middle, and cordoned sections for presentations from each ward. They were pretty cool, and ranged from highlighting local artists to representatives from the zoo. Amusingly, the Ward 8 section had a table dedicated to Former Mayor-For-Life Marion Barry, which looked almost like a funeral shrine, complete with a smiling photograph surrounded by flowers. We were pissed at the Ward 2 area, though. It was all about Georgetown and Foggy Bottom, with absolutely no mention of any of the other vibrant neighborhoods, including Logan Circle and Dupont. What the fuck?
Food was scattered throughout the hall in “grazing stations,” and you could meander through the hall from one to the next trying new things. Several restaurants also had little tables and were serving free fare from their menu. By far the most popular was Clyde’s. They were serving fresh crab cake, and the line stretched halfway across the hall.
The bands playing were pretty cool, although there were strangely long gaps between groups playing. The last group we heard had stopped playing roughly a half hour before we left, and the hall was almost silent during that time.
We left after a couple hours, with the new mayor having yet to appear. The floor was concrete, and there was virtually nowhere to sit, and our legs were screaming for mercy. As we left, we noticed that they had stopped even trying to send people through the metal detectors we had been required to pass through on our way in - now they were just letting waves of party goers by en masse, with no screening whatsoever. Also, strangely, they had no escalators going up, and we saw more than one elderly couple pausing every few stairs as they made their way back up from the basement.
There just seemed to be a zillion little details that were overlooked. The whole affair seemed very unprofessional and poorly planned. For an evening costing some half a million dollars, we were really rather unimpressed.
Regardless, it was fun to go. The pictures are here.