Liberal Galas Against the Grain

For Non-Republicans, Alternative Inaugural Entertainment

By Michael Kernan
Washington Post Staff Writer

That was a jolly group at the Liberals' Inaugural last night. The Pheromones were blasting, vegetables and strawberries and wine were slipping down gullets, and everyone was talking.

There was a dance floor of sorts at the huge, partly completed hotel at 12th and New York Avenue, but not a soul was dancing. What you do at a liberals' convention is talk.

By 8:30 about 300 people were bouncing off the walls--and officials-said 500 tickets had been sold. The staff was expecting more than 1,000 to show up sometime during the evening.

Rep. Theodore Weiss (DN.Y.), president of the sponsoring Americans for Democratic Action, said he was glad to see so many young faces.

"People don't like to be left out," he noted, as he pressed flesh right and left. He wasn't sanguine about Michael Dukakis' chances in 1992. "lt's hard to conle back from a November defeat."

Charles Perlik, retired head of the Newspaper Guild and an old union hand, sat at a mezzanine table with his wife Marnie, who said she was delighted to discover that "liberals aren't just a bunch of old fogies."

Perlik himself said he didn't expect the Bush administration to prove as rough as the Reagan people, especial- ly where labor is concerned. "I hope to see`one more Democratic President before I pass on. Right now I'm looking to the South--Nunn, Robb, Gore." " The Counter-Inaugural Coalition for a Pebple's Agenda, which had called for "1,000 sparks of dissent, "announced a ball at George Washington University ("costumes optional"), but it was moved to 77 U St. NW in the general confusion of the day.

The coalition embraces a wide range of peace, socialjustice and environmental groups that oppose "the extravagant inauguration of President Bush and . . . another four years of a government that has failed to meet the needs of all of its people and has shown contempt and disrespect toward the people of the world and the planet itself."

Still another collection of concerns sponsored a bipartisan Clean Air Inaugural Ball at the Botanic Garden Conservatory "to raise awareness about the need to clean up air pollutian and help curb the greenhouse effect."

Counterinaugural events began Wednesday, when the coalition ran soup kitchen for hundreds of homeless people outside Union Station--ever as the well-manicured swished past on their way inside to one of those $1,500-a plate dinners.

The women's theater group Flowering Tree and the No-Neck Monsters Theater performed numbers from a play about the homeless.

On Thursday night the Democratic Volunteer Action Committee held its First (And Hopefully Last) Contra-Inaugural" at Herb's restaurant, attended, as the sponsors noted, "by those with sound memories and arriving in their own cars."

Signs of opposition were apparent but not very, at the inaugural parade yesterday. Notices said that placards and banners would be handed out at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church at parade time, but the only people in sight at 1 p.m. were two women with "Keep Abortion Legal" signs lookng for more material to wave about.

At the Peace Park opposite the White House, men and women were giving out petitions against nuclear weapons. They collect an average of 4,000 names per month, they said.

But then, the Anti-Nuclear Vigil has been going on for 8 years, and doubtless will be with us long after the inauguration.

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