John McCaslin

Apart from hosting his Eracism Foundation's Inaugural Purple Ball on Jan. 20, the stage and screen actor will offer the official toast at the National Inaugural Jewish Ball on Jan. 18, sponsored by Ohev Sholom, the national synagogue where Mr. Gossett last year became the first black to preach a sermon in the synagogue's 122 year history.

If that's not enough on his inaugural plate, Mr. Gossett on Jan. 19 will host "Raising the Roof," a nationally televised tapestry of words and music honoring Martin Luther King and featuring the Boston Children's Chorus and the Young People's Chorus of New York City.

Peeking at the guest list for the PurpleBall, we find among others: Ashley Judd, Lisa Marie Presley, John Cusack, Herbie Hancock, Angela Bassett, Patricia Arquette, and Hill Harper.

Mr. Harper?

None other than Mr. Obama's college roommate when he attended Harvard.

OVERHEARD

That was Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, and his wife, Susan Blumenthal, during the intermission of "West Side Story" at the National Theatre on Wednesday night, likening the battling "Sharks" and "Jets" to fighting Hamas and Israeli soldiers.

Or so the world would hope. In the musical, which runs through Jan. 17 prior to opening on Broadway, the warring New York City street gangs ultimately end the bloodshed and learn to co-exist.

West Side Story made its world premiere at the National Theatre in 1957.

LIBERAL OVERDOSE

There's a new chairman of the 100-plus-member House Republican Study Committee: Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a medical doctor by practice.

"With complete liberal control of government, we are now presented both with an opportunity and an obligation to provide the American people with a clear, positive, conservative alternative to an irresponsible tax-hiking, 'big government' agenda," says Mr. Price.

The congressman replaces outgoing chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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