Today should be a busy day for thieves who earn a living robbing the homes of the rich and famous: Hundreds of celebs and corporate titans have been in Washington today for the inauguration and are expected to put in appearances at one of the many official and unofficial balls scheduled for this evening. Barack and Michelle will make their first stop this evening at the Neighborhood Ball, where the lineup includes Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, will.i.am, Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Shakira, and Mary J. Blige. The Equality Ball at the Mayflower Hotel will feature entertainment by Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Etheridge and Rufus Wainwright. Lou Gossett Jr. will serve as host at the Purple Ball, where performances by Il Divo and Peter Cincotti will entertain the likes of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, John Cusack, Ed Harris, Ashley Judd, Patricia Arquette, Brendan Fraser, and Josh Lucas.
But in a reminder that the recession is having an impact on just about everything these days, the People's Ball at the Grand Hyatt slashed prices over the weekend, and both the Veterans Ball at the St. Regis and the American Music Ball at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel were cancelled altogether. No need to worry about the performers scheduled for the latter: George Clinton, Ben Vereen, and Peter Paul & Mary (minus Mary) are expected to put in appearances at the Heroes Ball instead.