- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2001

The District of Columbia is bracing for an invasion of celebrity and hip-hop culture this weekend when rapper Snoop Dogg, the Playboy bunnies and singer Lil' Kim take over the local club scene.

The NBA All-Star Game is ostensibly the official event of the weekend, but the promotions for dozens of parties that promise professional athletes, big-name celebrities, music acts and free booze are making the athletic contest an afterthought.

The influx of celebrities and about 100,000 fans not only will test the District's agencies just three weeks after the presidential inauguration, but presents unusual security concerns, city officials told The Washington Times.

Call them "crews," entourages or "posses," the groups that inevitably accompany professional athletes and celebrities often mean trouble and make the tabloids, often in incidents involving police.

The Metropolitan Police Department will have extra patrols downtown throughout the weekend under the command of the Special Operations Division, said Sgt. Joe Gentile.

Officers on redeployment will supplement special operations patrols downtown, he said.

"There's going to be a lot of 'crews' walking around, and I don't even want to think about the whole East Coast-West Coast thing," a city official said, referring to the sometimes violent rivalry between rappers' entourages.

Police, fire and other city officials have met with club owners and NBA representatives to prepare for the weekend, especially security for the parties, said D.C. Emergency Management Agency Director Peter LaPorte, who is coordinating city agencies.

"We're bringing everyone together so we're all on the same page," Mr. LaPorte said. "If things come up, we know how they'll be handled. No one wants to see an incident."

Several clubs and bars have applied for temporary alcohol licenses that grant extended hours of operation or add space, usually outside tents, city officials said.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is expected to decide on those applications by tomorrow, officials said.

Most of the parties at clubs or bars will feature several NBA players who are expected to bring "their teammates, entourage, groupies and friends," said one person who works at a night club.

Rapper Snoop Dogg and "a phalanx of Playboy bunnies" are expected to party at the Capitol City Brewing Co. bar across from Union Station on Friday, according to city officials.

"I think he might be taping a booty video," one official said.

Clubs D.C. Live and Platinum are boasting "the biggest indoor block party ever" Friday through Sunday nights with players such as Alan Iverson, Chris Webber and Kobe Bryant, according to one e-mail promotion.

"NBA sports figures, music celebrities and [nearly] every star in town is gonna roll thru. 'Cause you know, they don't do nothing small over there!!,' " the e-mail promotion states, referring to the block party.

Police will close F Street between Ninth and 10th streets for the party, which is about a block from the MCI Center and the Washington Convention Center, where most official events are taking place, said Jai Mallory of Platinum.

Rapper Lil' Kim, known for her sexually explicit lyrics and attire, will join Latrell Sprewell, of coach-choking fame, at the "Chocolate City All Star Players Ball" for music at The Rock, a club on Sixth Street NW tomorrow night.

"1st 100 ladies admitted free [between] 4 [p.m.] and 11:30 p.m.," reads a promotional e-mail sent for the party, which will charge up to $75 admission.

After a roast of Shaquille O'Neal at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Friday, players and friends will migrate to the warehouse district for an "after party" at Nation until 4 a.m.

On Saturday, rappers Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z will perform at the "invitation only" NBA Players Association Gala at the D.C. Armory.

Workers with the Department of Public Works are preparing for a proliferation of posters that illegally advertise parties and other events.

"All manner of product and promotional posters tend to go up on lampposts and streets signs" during events like this, said Mary Myers, a spokesperson for DPW. "It's illegal and unsightly."

D.C. law prohibits placing posters, placards and stickers on any sign, lamppost or other public structure. Property owners are responsible for their buildings.

"All the marketing, the sponsors' activities everyone has a product, and these posters go up everywhere and need to be taken down," Miss Myers said. "Certainly for an event like this … posters are a major problem."

DPW also will deploy extra cleanup teams from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. in "major entertainment areas" such as the U Street corridor, Georgetown, Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, Miss Myers said.

The normal night cleanup crews will change their shifts to work from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m., she said.

City officials are expected to release a finalized list of lane closures and parking restrictions today or tomorrow. Few street closings are expected, officials said.

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