VOLUME 28 NO. 4 | JANUARY 17 - JANUARY 23, 2009

All the glitz and glam
APIs celebrate Obama’s inauguration in style

Last updated 1-15-09 at 1:48 p.m.

Shoe photos are of members of the Seattle Chinese Women's Club taken during its holiday party by George Liu.
Graphic design by Han Bui.

By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly

This is the first time in recent history where a president taking office is creating enormous and dazzling celebrations around the nation. In fact, Jan. 20 will not just be a day of celebration for Americans, but also for many people around the world.

So how are Asian Americans celebrating Obama’s inauguration?

Some are planning low-key festivities. Catherine Yu does not have any defined plans yet.

She’s going to play it by ear. “Bush’s last day is on the 20th,” she said. “I want to watch it [at home], but there will be a lot of parties going on that day,” she said.

However, other Seattleites are celebrating in bigger ways. Many are putting up the cash for a hefty plane ticket to D.C., as well as a fancy hotel room.

Many hotels were booked full as early as Nov. 11 for Obama’s inauguration, including the Washington Hotel, where the Obamas have been taking up residence until they move into the White House.

Hotels aren’t the only things booked in D.C. Good luck getting a last minute ticket to Pearl Gala, a gala produced by Youngberg & Associates, which has been sold out since mid-November. There was a lottery the week of Jan. 6 for those on the waiting list, but that was the very last chance at getting a ticket.

The Pearl Gala

The gala is a black-tie affair for the benefit of the Asian Pacific American community. The Pearl Gala will be held at the Mandarin Oriental, a five-star hotel, on Jan. 19.

To all the jewelry collectors out there, organizers of the event are offering the Presidential Commemorative Collection by Diamond Cutters International. Proceeds from the sales benefit the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program.
Francey Lim Youngberg and Gloria T. Caoile are co-chairs of the Pearl Presidential Inaugural Gala Team. The morning has a more a serious tone; it will include a morning conference that will include discussions about voting results, the political appointment process, and legislative issues.

Then at night, they expect attendees to let their hair down. The evening gala will begin at 7 p.m. and end at midnight.
The gala will present various Asian cuisines as well as an open bar during dinner. After the auctions, attendees will top off the evening by dancing the night away to a live band and DJ.

The Aloha Inauguration Ball

Not too far away from the Pearl Gala in Washington, D.C., is the Aloha Ball. The ball encourages guests to either come dressed in black-tie attire, in “aloha” attire, or a creative combination of both.

The Aloha Ball will feature the music, food, and culture of Hawaii. Organizers hope the ball will embrace the spirit of unity that shaped Obama’s core values.

The Aloha Ball will recreate the musical experience of Obama’s youth in Hawaii during the 1970s. There will be traditional Hawaiian music performed by Manu Ikaika, along with music and dancers from the Halau O ‘Aulani and Halau Ho’omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai’i.

Brother Ah and the Aloha World Music Ensemble will perform a fusion of native Hawaiian music and jazz. The evening will end with a performance by the legendary George Clinton and his P-Funk All Stars.

The Aloha Ball will be serving a complete Hawaiian menu of main courses, side dishes, and snacks that Obama enjoyed while growing up. Fully stocked open bars will be serving drinks, including tropical drinks. Each person who purchased a ticket will receive a Hawaiian orchid lei, a wreath of flowers presented as a symbol of affection, freshly shipped from Hawaii. (end)

Stacy Nguyen can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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