EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 21, 2009

Celebrities get front-row seats for a history-making event

WASHINGTON (AP) — With fame and fortune apparently comes another perk: A front-row seat to history.

Jay-Z was at President Barack Obama's swearing with wife Beyonce. Smokey Robinson, Diddy and Denzel Washington made it, too. Bruce Springsteen was there with his wife, not far from Christopher Guest and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Boxing great Muhammad Ali had a seat on the platform, as did actor John Cusack and director Stephen Spielberg. Leonardo DiCaprio whipped out his own camera, while Magic Johnson and actor Val Kilmer patiently posed for photographs with fans.

Stevie Wonder went with his wife, fashion designer Kai Milla, who grew up in Washington.

"There was a connection from one stranger to another stranger at the swearing-in," Milla said. "There's a young energy in the air."

Elsewhere, stars stayed warm at private events like those held by the lobbying firm the BGR Group, which represents the Creative Coalition, an advocacy group for artists.

Among those attending were the actress Susan Sarandon and her director husband, Tim Robbins, actress Anne Hathaway and Sting.

But the real star power was set to shine last night at 10 official inaugural balls and dozens of parties around Washington. The Neighborhood Ball, to be broadcast on ABC, was set to feature performances by Beyonce, Jay-Z, will.i.am, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Shakira, Sting, Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder and Maroon 5.