- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 18, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama may not be sworn in until Tuesday, but the star-studded marathon of inaugural events gets into full swing Sunday afternoon with a free concert at the Lincoln Memorial featuring performances by Beyonce, Bono and Bruce Springsteen.

“We Are One,” the official opening celebration of Mr. Obama’s inauguration takes place at 2 p.m. on the Mall. The event will be broadcast on TV live and rebroadcast at 7 p.m. by HBO, which will make its subscription service free to anyone with cable or satellite service for the inaugural telecast.

Actors Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah will join Martin Luther King III to read historical passages at the same place Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech more than 45 years ago. Other headliners include Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige and James Taylor.

“A lot of these folks were people that the campaign had worked with or had reached out to the campaign during the course of the election, so it really was a situation where I think just like the population in general you have musicians and artists who were touched by Barack Obama’s message,” said Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, noting that the president-elect has managed to “bring people together who might not normally be on the same stage.”

The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures in the mid-30s with a 50 percent chance of snow, but that isn’t stopping the slew of A-listers from descending on the Mall.

On Monday, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are hosting a kids concert featuring teen sensations Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and rapper Bow Wow. That night, actors Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance will be patrons of a jazz event at the Kennedy Center with musician Wynton Marsalis, while former Vice President Al Gore will host the Green Inaugural Ball at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery.

Mr. Obama also has scheduled a celebrity to sing at his official swearing in at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday: the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin. That night, he and Mrs. Obama will take their first spin on the dance floor at the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

Judging from the official and unofficial events — including the private soirees - there’s a ball, concert or dinner for just about everyone. Tuesday’s lineup includes the Sikh Inaugural Ball, National Inaugural Jewish Ball (featuring music by Paul Shapiro’s Ribs and Brisket Revue) and the People’s Inaugural LBGT Gayla. There’s also the Baltimore Washington Black McDonald’s Operators Association Inaugural Ball at the City Club.

• Reporters Karen Goldberg Goff and Stephanie Green contributed to this report.

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