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Gridiron Loosens Rules After 126 Years

In a move that is unprecedented by The Girdiron Club, they are advertising for a Sunday afternoon post-dinner reception and performance through the Harvard Club of Washington, D.C. In past years the exclusive white-tie Gridiron dinner event has been strictly invitation only. “Looks like they’re hurting for money,” said a longtime Washington journo who received the Harvard Club invite.

The reception is set for March 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  — one day after the dinner. Forget the white-tie. Dress for this is business attire.

Completely unrelated side note: Other Harvard Club events include (no joke): “Winter Skin Essentials for All at Kiehls,” a “Valentine Card Workshop” and “Intro to Handwriting Analysis.”

An excerpt from the Gridiron afternoon event: For 126 years, the Gridiron Club has regaled an annual white-tie dinner with satire and songs that skewer Presidents and congressional leaders, lobbyists and sacred cows. Saturday night’s Spring Dinner sponsored by the Gridiron, Washington’s oldest organization of journalists, is attended by 600 people invited by the Club’s membership, which is limited to 65 of the capital’s most respected reporters and columnists.

Now we are opening our Sunday afternoon performance, given for friends and family, to a wider audience that includes members of Washington-based college alumni groups and State Societies. As the incoming president of the Gridiron Club and Foundation, I’m writing to invite your group to participate. The Gridiron’s Sunday Reprise will be on March 13, 2011, in the ballroom of the Washington Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street NW.

The invitation notes, “We think your members would have a ball at our show, one of Washington’s signature events.”

What journos should they expect to see at the $75 Washington Renaissance Hotel afternoon event? Find out…

“What they’ll see is our members — including such well-known faces as David Broder of the Washington Post, John Dickerson of Slate, Al Hunt of Bloomberg, John King of CNN, Mara Liaisson of NPR, Andrea Mitchell of NBC, Bob Schieffer of CBS, Chuck Todd of NBC and Judy Woodruff of PBS — performing songs and skits in costume. Columnist Mark Shields outlines the speeches delivered the night before, which typically include remarks by the President and a leading Democrat and leading Republican. Running the musical performance is the director of the Maine [sic] Band, Col. Michael Colburn, the Club’s musical director.”

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