Thursday, December 26, 2013

Milestone: White House Plans Big Dance Party For First Lady Michelle Obama's 50th Birthday

The First Lady hits the half-century mark on Jan. 17, 2014
Snacks & Sips & Dancing & Dessert: If the President's private 50th birthday party is any indication, Mrs. Obama's gala will be a star-studded blowout...
UPDATE 2:  CLICK HERE for the post about the party
UPDATE 1: Mrs. Obama begins her celebration early, extending Hawaii vacation 
Washington, DC - First Lady Michelle Obama will be dancing up a storm to mark her milestone birthday when she turns what she recently dubbed "fifty and fabulous" on January 17th, 2014.

 President Barack Obama will fete his wife with a big dance party the next night, a Saturday.  The White House is planning a gala titled "Snacks & Sips & Dancing & Dessert," reports Chicago Tribune, citing sources. 

Mrs. Obama has made showing off her moves a signature of her Let's Move! campaign, and she wants her pals to prep for a showdown on the dance floor.  The White House has sent save-the-date emails advising guests to "wear comfortable shoes, eat before you come and practice your dance moves," the Tribune reported.  

"I’m going to be fifty...fifty and fabulous," Mrs. Obama said recently during a holiday visit with hospitalized children, when asked how she will mark her big day.  

"It might involve some dancing," she said.  "A little Dougie."

Citing unnamed sources, the Daily Mail last year reported that Mrs. Obama's close friend/superstar Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and British singing sensation Adele have both been invited to perform at Mrs. Obama's birthday party.    

Beyoncé is the more likely candidate:  She's crooned for the First Couple before--serenading them at a ball on the night of the President's first inauguration.  She also created a song and dance routine for Let's Move! that includes the "Dougie," a Hip Hop craze.  East Wing aides are remaining mum about Beyoncé performing at Mrs. Obama's party, however. 

Beyoncé didn't attend President Obama's private 50th birthday party at the White House on August 4, 2011, but her husband, rap mogul Jay-Z, was among the more than 200 guests.  There was more than a little Dougie, and Mrs. Obama's party is expected to follow a similar model.

Celebrities, lawmakers, top donors, and senior Administration officials were invited to the President's party, which began as a late-afternoon barbeque in the Rose Garden.  It then moved indoors for hours of dancing in the East Room, with guests kicking off their shoes and grooving barefoot past midnight as a DJ spun tunes.   The President himself led a conga line, guests who came reeling out of the White House told Obama Foodorama on the night of the party. 

Stevie Wonder crooned 'Happy Birthday' as Mrs. Obama presented her husband with a cake, and Herbie Hancock and his combo performed.  Months later, comic Chris Rock, a guest, reported on the Dougie-fest in an epithet-laced comedy set as he described the President's blow-out.
 
Calling Mr. Obama's bash "the most unbelievable experience of my life," Rock said that "as the party went on, the shit got blacker and blacker."  Guests also did the Electric Slide, Rock tweeted on the night of the party.

Mrs. Obama doesn't need to practice her own dance moves for her birthday party.  The Princeton-educated and Harvard-trained lawyer who is a native of Chicago's South Side has danced everywhere from school cafeterias to national television for her child obesity initiative, most famously this year with drag-clad comic Jimmy Fallon in a spoof titled "The Evolution of Mom Dancing."  The Dougie was just one of the dances the duo performed on Fallon's late-night show.

Mrs. Obama also did the Dougie during an event with DC school children when Beyoncé first created "Move Your Body" for Let's Move!.  It's now the anthem of the campaign, played at events around the nation. 

Mrs. Obama dances at the private party for her husband's second inaugural
Donna Brazile dishes on the First Lady's birthday party plans: "That woman can still shake a tail feather"...
Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Donna Brazile told the Tribune she has been invited to the First Lady's 50th bash.  

Brazile dished about how she imagines the party will go down, saying she thinks it will be much like another White House barn burner:  The private 'reception' for hundreds of guests, including celebrities, held last January 21st on the night the President was publicly inaugurated for his second term.  

On the guest list were Beyoncé, Katy Perry, John Mayer, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz, Ashley Judd, Kal Penn, singer Eric Benet, John Legend and his fiancee, model Chrissy Teigen, as well as donors, lawmakers, and top Administration officials.

Photos from the party--including one showing singer Janelle Monáe dancing atop a table in the East Room--were posted by the guests on Twitter and Instagram.  Some of these were later deleted when party guests perhaps had second thoughts (or sobered up?). 

As Brazile tells it, Mrs. Obama, still in the red silk evening gown by designer Jason Wu she'd worn to the inauguration balls, was drinking "a sparkling beverage" and waiting for the President to return to the White House.

Mrs. Obama, Brazile said, "just lit up like a spark was inside her. We cleared the tables and we all just started dancing. We danced the night away. That's Michelle."

"That girl can dance," Brazile added. "That woman can still shake a tail feather."


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also marked her 50th birthday at the White House as First Lady in 1997.  She had a party on the South Lawn for about 500 guests.

The President sings "Happy Birthday" on Mrs. Obama's 49th
Mrs. Obama's previous White House birthdays...
The big Five-O is Mrs. Obama's fifth birthday as First Lady; the President-elect's first inauguration was three days away when she celebrated in 2009.   

Since then, the President has escorted his wife to fancy dinners at DC-area restaurants for her birthday celebrations.  Last year for her 49th they dined at Cafe Milano in Georgetown.  

In 2010, the President gave a "surprise party" dinner for the First Lady at the organic-certified Restaurant Nora; the party in 2011 was at Asian-fusion The Source, and 2012's dinner party was at BLT SteakAhead of his first inauguration, in 2009 the President escorted his wife to Equinox restaurant, located a couple blocks from the White House.   Links to all the birthday posts, including menus and chefs, are here.

Mrs. Obama made global headlines on her 49th by debuting a new hairdo with bangs, which she later dubbed "my mid-life crisis," and let grow out.  

Aides also launched a Twitter account for Mrs. Obama on her 49th, @FLOTUS, making her the first First Lady in history to engage in microblogging.   The account as of this writing has 595,061 followers.  Months later Mrs. Obama also got her own Instagram and Pinterest accounts, too.  One recent Instagram  showed Mrs. Obama reclining on the South Lawn with First Dog Bo.

Like most people hitting the half-century mark, Mrs. Obama has been thinking about her milestone for months.  Asked about turning 50 in an interview that was an August cover story for Parade magazine, Mrs. Obama was upbeat.

"I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman," Mrs. Obama said.  

"But I am constantly thinking about my own health and making sure that I’m eating right and getting exercise and watching the aches and pains. I want to be this really fly 80-, 90-year old." 

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*Top two photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Fooodorama; party photo tweeted by India Benet, @IndiaBenet; the photo of the President and Mrs. Obama is by Pete Souza/White House, and is an update; Souza posted the photo to Flickr for the first time on Dec. 31, 2013.