Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and wife Amy Rule greet other dignitaries before… (Alex Garcia / Chicago Tribune )
WASHINGTON — With Buddy Guy rocking the stage, Absolut vodka flowing and waiters passing out crab cakes and mini-sliders, Rahm Emanuel’s late-night party closed out the Inauguration Day festivities.
The blues guitarist cranked out “Sweet Home Chicago” just past 1 a.m. Tuesday in front of a crowded dance floor in a nightclub packed with political operatives, Democratic appointees, lobbyists, journalists and party crashers.
The private party, which began at 11 p.m. Monday at a nightclub near the White House, was billed as “Midnight Underground, a Chicago-style After-Hours.”
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Seen: Host Emanuel, of course, plus Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Donovan Pepper, a Deerfield, Ill.-based lobbyist for Walgreen Co.
Eaten: half-portion hot dogs with the works, chicken skewers with salsa verde, spinach and basil mini-calzones.
Imbibed: The featured cocktail was the Chicago Breeze, or Absolut splashed with cranberry, pineapple and orange juices.
Worn: Sequined mini-dresses, tie-less tuxedos, ball gowns and blue jeans.
It was just after midnight when Emanuel welcomed guests to a gathering that was hipper, hotter and more intimate than the party-in-an-airplane-hangar feel for the official inaugural ball.
Blues guitarist Keb’ Mo’ also rocked Rahmfest, in a sort of life-imitates-art moment. Keb’ Mo’ had a 2006 cameo in the final episode of “The West Wing,” playing on the podium at the inauguration of Jimmy Smits’ President Matt Santos.
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