The day the music didn’t die
THe inaugural will go on, despite Hollywood’s snits and pouts
Media gossips report that Donald Trump is having trouble recruiting Hollywood celebrities to entertain guests at the inauguration. The likes of Elton John, KISS, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks and Justin Timberlake have been more or less reliably reported to be still nursing snits and pouts, unable to come to terms with the election results, and will be missing in Washington on Jan. 20.
The scarcity of twinkle and tinsel, such as it may be, may be because so many Hollywood notabilities have, as promised, shuffled off to Buffalo and beyond, some of them to Canada. Or, more likely, they’re hiding out in Southern California, watching videos of themselves with Barack Obama, Hillary, or Bernie Sanders, reflecting on what might have been were life not unfair.
Alec Baldwin, who impersonates the Donald on “Saturday Night Live,” promised to leave years ago because voters elected a president he didn’t approve of, and his plane, an aging DC-3 with bare-metal bench seats, is said to be still warming up in a hangar somewhere on the edge of Los Angeles International Airport.
Others who promised to leave if Hillary crashed and burned on Nov. 8 are staying for what’s left of the good life, after all. They were just kidding about leaving. (Can’t we take a joke?) “The interview where I said I would move was [given] in London and was said in jest,” Amy Schumer, an actress and comedienne, now says. Chelsea Handler, a talk-show hostess who says she is a comedienne, too, insisted she wasn’t joking when she said she was moving to Spain, tells the Hollywood Reporter that she was reluctantly talked out of leaving. “Everyone in my office is like, ‘You have a responsibility. You have a voice, and you need to use it, and you have to be here.’”
Cher is disappointed that she can’t deport herself, as promised, but she’s booked for 12 concert dates throughout 2017 at a casino and hotel at National Harbor in suburban Prince George’s County a few miles down the Potomac from the nation’s capital, where the action is. What’s a girl to do? Cher has made several farewell tours but comes back after every one, recalling the country-music classic, “How can I miss you when you won’t go away?”
Boris Epshteyn, a senior adviser to the Trump transition team, reminded the Hollywood stars this week that the inauguration of a president is actually not about them. “This is not ‘Woodstock.’ This is not ‘Summer Jam.’ This is not a concert. This is not about celebrities.” The Donald himself tweeted: “It’s about the people.’”
Inaugural guests won’t go un-entertained. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which can carry a tune about as well as anyone, and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, who are famous for their gams and stepping lively with them, will be here. Jackie Evancho, the 16-yearold runner-up to the winner of “America’s Got Talent,” will sing the national anthem. “It’s not about any one entertainer,” Mr. Epshteyn says. “It’s all about the American people.”
Sometimes stars simply slip out of alignment, and, whether Hollywood celebrities like it or not (and many don’t), the inaugural is about the new president. He’s a celebrity, too.