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01.14.09

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inaug-oh-bama!

By Gretchen Giles


"This," happily predicts Democrats of Napa Valley organizer Joanne Gifford, "is going to be something close to a harmonic convergence!" Gifford is not talking about the Mayan calendar, but rather about the Jan. 20 inauguration of Barack H. Obama as the 44th president of the United States. "There are going to be so many people so jacked about this in the same room celebrating the same thing," she enthuses. In fact, Napa's official celebration at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa is so effusive that it's almost sold-out. A $35 donation buys a night of giddy camaraderie with a live rock band, ongoing hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, caricature artists and the ever-popular "Obama and Me" photo op.

"If you do it right," Gifford confides, alluding to having one's picture taken standing next to a cardboard cutout of Mr. Obama, "it's really hard to tell" that the prez is less than three-dimensional. But at least we can guarantee that he'll be properly dressed. The Napa Dems are planning a formal celebration with revelers dressed up appropriately, but Gifford is sanguine. "You've got to realize that we're dealing with a bunch of Democrats and progressives," she sighs. "We're hoping for semiformal." The fun runs 8pm to midnight at the Marriott, 3425 Solano Ave., Napa. 707.257.1208.

Meanwhile, the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa finds a way to benefit the College Tour 2009 for the Boys and Girl Club by hosting a black-tie blowout that night. Proceeds help college-bound teens tour black universities on the East Coast. Gaia, 3600 Broadway, American Canyon. From 6pm. $75. 707.689.5366.

In Marin County, the day begins early with swearing-in ceremony celebrations at the Sausalito Cruising Club (300 Napa St., Sausalito; 8am; $10; 415.388.8470) and the Lark Theater (549 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur; 9am; $10; 415.924.5111) and swells to a 7pm gala inauguration party at the McInnis Golf Club. With a 90.3 percent voter turnout rate, Marin had the second-highest number of voters of any California county and they plan to toast their success with music by the Jonny Darlin' Band, good food and plenty of TV screens showing the Washington parties that already occupy every waking minute of East Coast hostesses' appointment schedulers. 350 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael. $20–$25. 415.455.5400.

In Sonoma County, the Petaluma Progressives take over the Phoenix Theater for a potluck party that includes a shoe-throwing booth, a decorated shoe contest and a chance to add to the public wish list for the incoming president while dancing to the Sofa Kings and the Phoenix Jazz Band. The dress code ranges from jeans to ball gowns and shoes—size 10 in particular—figure largely. 201 Washington Blvd., Petaluma. Donations requested to benefit the Phoenix and the Petaluma Big Tent. From 6pm. 707.792.7726.

For complete inauguration party details, see Events, p46.


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