Posted by Adam Browning
What was inauguration weekend like? Kind of like Mardi Gras, but with more clothes.
There were millions of people in town, and every one of them in a great mood. The commonality of purpose brought out the kind of camaraderie usually only seen during national calamities–strangers talked to strangers on the Metro, in restaurants, on the streets. For the enviro and cleantech community, a celebratory highlight came the night before the inauguration, at the Green Ball. Vote Solar was on the host committee. To walk the walk, I tried to dress appropriately. My tuxedo, for example, was definitely recycled. It clearly had been to several proms before.
The party was a lot like one of Vote Solar’s parties, except it was held in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian instead of a nightclub, and there were a lot more famous people. Al Gore, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Van Jones preached to the largely converted. If you are unfamiliar with Van Jones, you should crawl out from under that rock you call home, and read this profile in the recent New Yorker. I was actually at the meeting Elizabeth Kolbert recounts–while I was reduced to squinting stinkeyes at the fatuous few who hijacked the agenda, Van was somehow able to turn the tables and walk out of there with Speaker Pelosi, fist in the air, chanting “Clean Energy Jobs Now” in front of TV cameras. It was really rather amazing.
I digress. The lineup of musicians was fantastic. Artists included John Legend, Maroon 5, Michael Franti and Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame. As part of her set, Melissa Etheridge drew rousing cheers with the declaration that “you can always tell when a Democrat’s about to take the White House; the parties are better.” While cleantech is of course a bi-partisan issue, I wonder how she knows? Somehow I don’t think she was playing four years ago.
I almost tripped over General Wesley Clark, and saw John Cusack. I asked him for my two dollars, but in true Browning joke tradition, I found myself funnier than he did.