- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Out and about

Hollywood invaded Cafe Milano Monday night, and The Washington Times caught up with some of the famous faces experiencing their first inauguration in person.

Actor David Arquette, star of the “Scream” movies and husband of Courteney Cox, said he was here “to be a part of history and to lend my support to the new president.” The Winchester, Va. native said he was inspired to be politically active by his mother, Mardi Arquette, who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s.

Also spotted: Fran Drescher, of “The Nanny” fame, who said the new president will give hope to her and other cancer survivors.

“Obama, while he was a senator, was very active in pursuing research into gynecological cancers because he lost his mother to cancer. He will be very sympathetic to women’s issues because he lives in a family full of women, and he was raised by a woman,” Miss Drescher said. Mr. Arquette also lost his mother, who died of breast cancer in 1997.

Alicia Witt, star of the Hugh Grant film “Two Weeks Notice,” talked about her excitement at getting tickets to Tuesday’s inauguration. When asked how she would keep warm, the actress replied: “I’m just gonna throw on everything that I brought with me from New York.”

Button-down town

The stars streamed into the District for the inauguration, but something looks a little … off.

Beyonce Knowles swapped her usual skintight leotards and bodysuits for a simple coat and leggings at Sunday’s “We Are One” inaugural concert, notes the New York Daily News - and Jennifer Lopez dropped her flashy Golden Globes gown for a conservative but classic strapless dress to attend the Latino Inaugural Gala.

What’s with the conservative gear?

“D.C. has rarely been a city to take fashion risks,” explains Erin Hartigan, Washington editor of DailyCandy.com. “With our most famous and prominent women working as elected officials and diplomats, the status quo is skirt suits and pantyhose.”

In a city where brains often take precedence over beauty, attention-grabbing fashion usually is viewed as a big no-no … and most stars have taken note.

“The point is just not to be overly provocative and not overly sexual,” says style expert Christopher Hopkins, author of “Staging Your Comeback.”

“We have a climate that doesn’t lend itself to too much glitz and too much cleavage.”

Dionne’s ball deep-sixed

The inauguration became a gigantic bust for Dionne Warwick and Ludacris. Their inaugural balls, planned for Tuesday night, were canceled because of poor ticket sales, TMZ.com reports.

With myriad balls, official and otherwise, partygoers apparently decided to walk on by the American Music Ball - with Miss Warwick as the headliner - to commemorate President Obama’s official ascent to the White House. The event also featured an Urban Ball, headlined by rap stars Ludacris and T-Pain.

Tickets were $450, and would-be revelers reportedly will be issued refunds in 30 to 45 days, according to TMZ.com.

Short takes

In other celebrity news:

- William Balfour, the man accused of killing three members of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson’s family in Chicago, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and home invasion, Associated Press reports. He is being held without bail and is next due in court Jan. 27. Miss Hudson is expected to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.

- Marcia Cross‘ husband, Tom Mahoney, has been diagnosed with cancer, People.com reports. The “Desperate Housewives” star and the stockbroker were married in June 2006 and have 23-month-old fraternal-twin daughters, Eden and Savannah.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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