Tag Archives: Kal Penn

Celebs Sign On For Inaugural Events

As President Barack Obama’s inaugural weekend quickly approaches, more entertainers are signing up to join the celebrations and events around Washington D.C.

Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor are set to perform during the Inauguration ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol on January 21.

The AP reports that Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Usher, Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley and Fun are set to sing at Obama’s inaugural galas Jan. 21 and a children’s concert on Jan. 19. Performers including Marc Anthony, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and the cast of “Glee” have also signed on to perform at various galas that weekend.

City officials estimate a drop in attendance and predict an the crowd at the inaugural ceremony to be somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 – down from 1.8 million in 2009.

During Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, celebrities flocked to the celebrations. Speakers and performers included Jack Black, Steve Carell, Rosario Dawson, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, Ashley Judd, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah, Laura Linney, George Lopez, Kal Penn, Marisa Tomei, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Tiger Woods, Master Sgt. Caleb Green, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi with Bettye Lavette, James Taylor, John Legend, Jennifer Nettle, John Mellencamp, Josh Groban and Heather Headley, Will.i.am with Herbie Hancock and Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Garth Brooks, Shakira, Adam Levine, Stevie Wonder with Usher and Shakira, U2, Pete Seeger, Beyonce and Aretha Franklin.

Beyonce and Jay-Z at the 2009 Inauguration Photo: Reuters

Other celebrities simply attended the ceremony and/or performed at the dozens of galas held around Washington D.C., including Faith Hill, Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Dustin Hoffman, Magic Johnson, Mohammad Ali, Samuel L. Jackson, Arnold Schwarznegger,Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Sharon Stone, Sting, Elvis Costello, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Spike Lee, Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, John Cusack, Leonardo DiCaprio, Demi Moore, Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper, Melissa Etheridge, Mariah Carey and Robert DeNiro.

Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw at the 2009 Inauguration. Photo: Getty Images

Beyonce famously belted out Etta James’s ‘At Last’ at the Neighborhood Ball. Watch the performances below.

Stars Stumping For Obama

Natalie Portman at an Obama campaign event in Las Vegas in late August. – The Guardian Express Newspaper

A few months ago, President Obama was worried his Hollywood supporters were bailing on him. However, he has recently seemed to boost Hollywood’s enthusiasm for his campaign and has tapped some of Hollywood’s most powerful young stars to hit the campaign trail for him.

Most recently, Parks and Recreation actors Adam Scott and Rashida Jones hit the campaign trail for the president at the University of Iowa, according to The Daily Iowan.

The actors touted President Obama’s push for lower interest rates on student loans and healthcare reform.

Other celebrities who have been around the country in recent months include: Olivia Wilde, Kal Penn, Justin Long, America Ferrera, Josh Hartnett, Don Cheadle, Zach Braff, Blythe Danner, Octavia Spencer and Zachary Quinto.

Another celebrity recently campaigning for the president: Oscar-winner Natalie Portman. The actress was in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago campaigning on Obama’s record for women’s rights.

Many of these celebrities have been attending rallies at universities to enthuse the youth vote, a demographic that was extremely important in getting Obama elected in 2008.

Actor Josh Hartnett speaking with Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak at the University of Minnesota. Photo Credit: The Minnesota Daily

Josh Hartnett attended a rally with Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak at the University of Minnesota last spring. Penn was at the University of Michigan earlier this year campaigning on Obama’s record.

With the election less than 60 days away, one can expect even more celebrities to hit the campaign trail for Obama, as well at Mitt Romney – who to date has had very few Hollywood campaigners.

President Obama’s Hollywood Love Affair

President Barack Obama visited Los Angeles Wednesday night and Thursday morning for fundraisers with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

On Wednesday night, Obama attended a fundraiser at Glee creator, Ryan Murphy and his fiancé David Miller’s Beverly Hills home.

The event was attended by 70 people, who allegedly paid $40,000 per ticket to see the president speak for 12 minutes, according to DEADLINE Hollywood. After his speech, which had an emphasis on LGBT rights, Obama took questions from the audience, which included: HBO’s president of programming Michael Lombardo, Julia Roberts, CAA’s Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd, Glee star Jane Lynch and Reese Witherspoon. Also in the crowd were CBS executive Les Moonves and wife Julie Chen, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, Disney Worldwide Marketing president Ricky Strauss, Participant Media’s Jonathon Bass, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, singer Cher and transgender son Chaz Bono, Will & Grace creator Max Mutchnick, Hulu’s Jamie Kershaw, NCIS Pauley Perrette and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Ellen DeGeneres and Glee’s Darren Criss performed before Obama’s  speech. Criss filled in for singer P!nk, who had to back out last minute due to health issues. Many of the supporters at the event were large LGBT rights supporters. Murphy announced he was hosting a fundraiser shortly after Obama came out in support for same-sex marriage. After the performances, Obama was introduced by a military doctor who came out after the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” in which Obama signed in 2010.

Early Thursday morning, the Obama campaign held an exclusive breakfast at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with some of Hollywood’s hottest young stars including: The Avengers Jeremy Renner, Glee actress Dianna Agron, Star Trek‘s  Zachary Quinto, Southland’s Ben McKenzieJessica AlbaBryan Greenberg, Adam Rodriguez, Zach Braff, Brandon Routh, Ian Somerhalder, Jared Leto, Kal Penn and Sophia Bush.

Sources said the event was intended to help build the youth support for team Obama and enlist some of Hollywood’s youngest, hottest stars to help out with that effort.

Above: Jeremy Renner with Obama

Above: Zach Braff with Obama

Above: Sophia Bush with Obama

In the last month, the Obama campaign has been teaming up with celebrities for fundraisers and public raffles. George Clooney‘s fundraiser in early may brought in over $15 million for the president. Obama attended a fundraiser with many broadway stars earlier this week that was hosted by former president Bill Clinton. Rocker Jon Bon Jovi played at one event and attended another.

An upcoming fundraiser hosted by actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour on June 14 is also expected to bring in a huge haul for the president.

The Romney campaign has yet to receive much Hollywood support and is set to have only one event with “celebrity” Donald Trump in the works.