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Reagan Opponents To ‘Celebrate’ Inaugration

January 17, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Don’t despair if you didn’t get an invitation to one of the nine official inaugural balls or couldn’t afford the $125 ticket. You can still celebrate, perhaps at the ″Other Inaugural″ or the ″Counter Inaugural Ball II.″

Washington, a traditional Democratic stronghold, will take on the appearance of a Republican rally at least for the inaugural weekend as tens of thousands of GOP stalwarts flock to the nation’s capital for star-studded receptions, banquets and galas in honor of President Reagan.

But there’s a less publicized side to the inaugural celebrations, that of the out-of-power liberals and even the political agnostics who don’t want to be left with an empty dance card Monday night.

The Democrats might be a bit long-faced after Walter F. Mondale’s electoral lashing last November, but they’re not about to let Inaugural Day pass without a party.

″Being a Democrat means you never have to feel left out,″ said Ann Lewis, national director of Americans for Democratic Action, which is sponsoring the $25-per-head ″Other Inaugural″ at a Washington nightclub.

″I think Democrats have a lot to celebrate too,″ she said, pointing to her party’s two-seat gain in the Senate. ″We don’t see ourselves in competition (with the Republican balls). We assume they’re not interested in coming to ours, nor we to theirs.″

The ″Counter Inaugural Ball II,″ at $8 a ticket, is put on by the Public Interest Follies, a 7-year-old amateur political satire troupe. It will include skits such as ″an inside look at one family’s new-found domestic tranquility, titled ’All the President’s Children,‴ and ″a 2,000-year-old liberal will share recollections of the old days when he was not so alone in political convictions,″ according to Ruth Lampi, ball coordinator.

In other words, you’re not likely to find many Republican Party devotees in attendance.

″I think it’s highly unlikely that someone who attends one of the traditional inaugural balls would be interested in our show. Our show is being presented with a certain political perspective, which is why it’s being called counter-inaugural,″ Ms. Lampi said.

″Republican attire optional,″ the Follies’ flyer says, in a snipe at the formal tuxedoes and expensive designer gowns that will no doubt grace the official balls.

An informal dress code is also in effect for the Progressive Club’s ″Alternative Inaugural Ball″ at another Washington nightclub. ″We’re just not that kind of people. I don’t expect a lot of glitter,″ said Alan Zepp, a spokesman for the Democratic social group, which is charging $5.

There is also a bevy of private parties around Washington, invitation only, such as the ″Inaugural Brawl″ at the avante-garde 9:30 Club.

″It’s an alternative ... to the idea of it being a Republican inauguration,′ ′ said club owner Dody Bowers. Entertainment includes music as well as a ″de-crucifixion″ that she couldn’t describe.

″You’re supposed to dress as though there’s no tomorrow,″ she advised.

Special interest-oriented balls abound, including an American Indian Inaugural Ball, an Agriculture Ball and a Veterans Ball.

Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are expected to squeeze in an appearance at the Veterans Ball after making the rounds of the nine official balls.

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