HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Don’t Strike Up the Band

Posted October 7, 2010 at 11:05am

Updated: 1:55 p.m.

There seems to be a bit of a dustup between the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the White House — but booze has nothing to do with it.

According to DISCUS President and CEO Peter Cressy, the Obama administration banned all military bands from playing at the lobby shop’s annual charity fundraiser at Mount Vernon. In past years, bands from the Marines and the Army have played patriotic songs such as “Taps” during a fireworks show over the Potomac River.

But the bands were absent from Wednesday night’s gala. “I learned this year that there appears to be an interpretation of a rule now that says you cannot have military personnel participate in a charitable fundraiser,” Cressy tells HOH.

Army regulations state that bands may play at “civilian-sponsored social, civic, and cultural events,” so long as they play patriotic music. Army spokesman George Wright says there is a longstanding rule, which has nothing to do with the Obama administration, that forbids Army bands from playing for fundraisers.

“It’s not related to this administration. It’s designed to prevent bands from selectively benefitting certain charities,” he says.

“I think it’s very unfortunate” that the band was unable to play, Cressy says. “We’re certainly going to appeal it.”

While a military band may not have been present at Mount Vernon, a few Members of Congress and a handful of celebrities did attend the dinner, which raised money for the site’s orientation and education center.

HOH spied Democratic Reps. John Yarmuth (Ky.) — who was inducted into the George Washington Spirits Society — and Dennis Kucinich (Ohio). Actresses Teri Polo, Rachel Leigh Cook and Alfre Woodard and actor Steven Webber were also on hand and stayed late into the night.

Woodard even went home with a bottle of booze signed by rocker Kid Rock that she won in the gala’s silent auction.

Casting Call

Looking to attend President Barack Obama’s MTV town hall event next week? You might want to get an agent.

Making the rounds on the Internets on Thursday morning is a casting call for audience members to appear in the Obama town hall, sponsored by cable networks MTV, BET and CMT. Potential audience members must e-mail MTV and share a little bit about themselves.

“To ensure that the audience represents diverse interests and political views, include your name, phone number, hometown, school attending, your job and what issues, if any, you are interested in,” the casting notice reads.

If you don’t make the cut for the town hall, no fear — there are also calls out for “The Magic of Ireland” dance tour and a new show looking for “a female in the dentistry industry who can play a tooth-fairy, as a live-call-in expert on a national medical show to help teach kids about dental health.”

Overheard on the Hill

“Blessings galore. On the way to the hospital for birth of my newest grandchild.”

— Sen. Claire McCaskill in a Thursday morning tweet. The upcoming arrival will be the fifth grandchild for the Missouri Democrat.

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