Washington’s ‘nerd prom’ kicks off this week

Megan Cloherty, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The White House Correspondents’ Dinner started as a scholarship dinner and has quickly turned into a whole weekend of events where politicos, journalists and celebrities go to see and be seen.

The Correspondents’ Dinner is trending on Twitter with the hashtag, Nerd Prom. There has been an entire week full of festivities leading up to Saturday’s dinner at the Washington Hilton. There is even a brunch that follows it on Sunday.

Veteran attendee Patrick Gavin of Politico says party-goers have to prepare for the weekend by sleeping in and staying healthy so they’re ready to bring their ‘A game.’ He calls it a glamorous, yet exhausting party.

If you don’t have a ticket, Gavin suggests grabbing a seat at the hotel bar. “The best seats are not in the dining room. If you can hang out at the bar upstairs in the Washington Hilton, you’re set. You don’t need to worry about your bosses being there. And you get out of there quick enough to get to the after-parties first.”

Celebrities expected at the Correspondents’ Dinner include George Clooney and Steven Spielberg, Lindsay Lohan, Reese Witherspoon and Charlize Theron, plus hot up-and-comers Josh Hutcherson, Zooey Deschanel and Viola Davis. Jimmy Kimmel will serve as the evening’s headliner, and members of the “Modern Family” cast will also attend. Politico compiled a full list of the dozens of celebrities expected in Washington this weekend.

Another suggestion for newbie attendees, don’t tell celebrities, ‘I’m a big fan.’ “If you want them to talk to you, just talk to them about what it’s like to be in D.C. Who are they excited to meet? What do they think about this event? If you want to get the juicy quote about what they think about politics, that’s how you make the segue,” Gavin says.

For attendees looking to meet up before the event, Gavin suggests Russia House, located across from the Hilton on Connecticut Avenue. He says it’s a good place to get drinks instead of attending the pre-parties. Gavin also suggests grabbing a bite beforehand too. “The reality is, the actual food doesn’t get served ’til 8:30, 9ish. It’s late,” Gavin says. He makes more suggestions for Dinner etiquette in Politico’s coverage of the event.

Both celebrities, Washingtonians and journalists get pretty excited about the high profile weekend. Some, even tweeting about what they’ll wear to the so-called ‘Nerd Prom.’

Comedy is a big part of the Correspondents’ Dinner. President Obama made waves at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2010 when he and Jay Leno traded jokes.

Politico has the event covered with videos, photos and live coverage of the dinner starting at 7 p.m. on Politico.com.

WTOP’s Nathan Hager has created a list on Twitter of the celebrities attending the event. Follow the list here.

Follow Nathan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)