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Group hug: Obama at the 2010 State of the Union.(Richard A. Bloom)


Don’t know what to do before the big speech Tuesday night? Afraid the Tune Inn will be packed? Head on over to the pre-State of the Union cocktail reception for new members, thrown by National Journal and our sister publication The Atlantic.

Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Mike Johanns, R-Neb., will head up the festivities to make sure the bright-eyed, bushy tailed newbies and the grizzled veterans get to know each other before heading over for President Obama’s prime-time speech extravaganza. Event runs from 5-7 p.m. at the Library of Congress Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., SE. For more information, contact Jordan Hostetter at


Political Gatherings

Congress won’t be the only folks watching the president’s address, as political junkies left and right gather around town for Oscar-watch-type parties.

Network for Progress—a grassroots group of Democrats, progressives, independents, and Republicans founded to counter the tea party—will host one such viewing party at Local 16’s upstairs lounge, 1602 U St., NW.

The “Second Annual State of the Union Progress Party: A ‘Together We Thrive’ Unity Celebration,” expects several hundred Obama supporters to gather to network, watch the speech, and, later in the evening, enjoy some dancing.


The festivities begin at 6:30 with a networking party, followed by a viewing party at 8:45, and DJ Chris Vaeth will kick off music and dancing at 10. There will also be State of the Union keyword bingo, a raffle, and a giant get-well card for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., on hand for attendees to sign. The event is free, but a $5 donation toward Organizing for America and the Gabriel Zimmerman Scholarship fund is suggested. Registration is required at For more information, call Jim McBride at 703-867-5070.

If you’re in the Arlington area, there’s a watch party for you, too. The Arlington Democrats, Arlington Young Democrats, and Organizing for America will be hosting a watch party at Bailey’s Sports Grill, 4238 Wilson Blvd. The event runs from 8-11 in the back room of the bar. For more information, call 703-528-8588.

Those of you in Alexandria shouldn’t feel left out either. The Alexandria Democratic Committee is hosting a watch party near Landmark Mall at The Alley Cat, 2 South Whiting St. There will be free soft drinks and appetizers courtesy of the ADC starting at 7:30. For more information, call 703-549-3367.

Non-Political, Watching Nonetheless

If drinking games are more your speed, stop by Ventnor Sports Café, 2411 18th St., NW. There’s no cover all night and the TVs will be tuned into Obama’s speech. Even better is that the Adams Morgan bar is running a $1 shot special to those who participate in their infamous State of the Union Viewing Party and Drinking Game. All you have to do is choose a word when you get to the bar—think “Iraq” or “unemployment”—and every time the president says that word, you’ll get a $1 shot. For more information, call 202-234-3070.


The Morning After

If you’re not too exhausted after a night of State of the Union events, join The Atlantic and National Journal on Wednesday for a morning-after debriefing.

National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein and Major Garrett will be joined by The Atlantic’s Josh Green and The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty to assess the speech in the cold light of morning. Expect top Democratic and Republican leaders to be on hand to join the discussion as well.

The event starts bright and early—8 a.m.!—at the Gallup Building, 901 F St., NW. RSVP is required at For more information, call 202-266-7628.

Journalists Relief

It’s been a year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and although reconstruction is in full swing, the relief effort is far from over.

On Wednesday, Grammy-award-winning musician Wyclef Jean will be joined by other Haitian musicians for the “Night of Solidarity for Haitian Journalists” at the National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW.  Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive is a featured speaker at the event, which hopes to raise awareness for the need for a strong free press in Haiti. Proceeds from the event will provide social and professional assistance to Haitian journalists and financial assistance to the families of the more than 30 journalists killed in the earthquake.

In addition to the music, the event will feature a silent auction of paintings by Haitian artists. The fundraiser starts at 7 p.m. and the $75 tickets are available at or at the door. For more information, contact Melinda Cooke at

This article appears in the January 24, 2011 edition of NJ Daily.

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