Hyped as the “highlight of the Washington cultural year,” the Kennedy Center Honors is the city’s fanciest night out, the capital’s red carpet version of the Oscars.
On Sunday evening at the 35th annual honors, President and Michelle Obama will be in the presidential box. Caroline Kennedy will take the stage to make introductions. The honorees—David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova, and Led Zeppelin—all festooned in multicolored ribbons with chunky bronze medallions, will be taking their bows from boxes adjacent to the presidential couple. Tickets, for mega-donors lucky enough to attend, run from $400 to $5,500. (Others can watch a truncated version of the show on CBS later in the month.)
Inside, the festivities may seem exceedingly glamorous and serene. But outside the ceremony, which has expanded to a weekend of exclusive parties, including a State Department dinner, a White House reception, and a flurry of other tony gatherings, a collection of Hispanic organizations remain miffed by their lack of inclusion.