Politics is the art of the possible, so it should come as no surprise that, with some adjustments, it was “on with the show” for Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party in Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday. The former president, who turned 60 on Wednesday, faced considerable backlash when it was learned he was planning a large gathering with as many as 500 guests amid the spike in Delta variant coronavirus cases. As such, he downsized to “just family and close friends.” Naturally, everyone wants to know who made the cut.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Beyoncé and Jay-Z were still on the list, but that longtime Obama strategist David Axelrod was out. Also disinvited were three men who at least know how to laugh about such things: Larry David, Conan O’Brien, and David Letterman.
On Friday the New York Post spotted couples John Legend and Chrissy Teigen as well as Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union on the small island off the coast of Massachusetts where Obama has a 29-acre home. Don Cheadle, Kim Fields and (according to the Daily Mail) Stephen Colbert and Oprah Winfrey were also seen in the area. The Times, however, reports that both Winfrey and Ava DuVernay have sent their regrets to the Obamas and will not attend, “because of concerns over the Delta variant.”
Rumored A-listers who remained on the approved list include Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, and Bruce Springsteen, who has even more reason to feel special now that his daughter Jessica just won an Olympic silver medal. (There also happens to be a short gap in the Springsteen on Broadway schedule right now.)
There was chatter at one point that Pearl Jam would perform at the party, but this was officially denied. Frontman Eddie Vedder, however, is still expected to be there according to the Times. (Gee, Eddie Vedder vs Larry David? Tough call. Like pushing a bill through Congress, this sort of thing is not for the weak!) It was also reported that the meat-free menu was coordinated by musician and filmmaker Questlove.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which updated their Delta variant fact sheet on Friday, notes that “COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. But they are not 100% effective and some fully vaccinated people will become infected (called a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. For such people, the vaccine still provides them strong protection against serious illness and death.”
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