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The red carpet at the Hinckley Hilton (as it’s dubbed inside the Beltway) is all laid out and this year not only C-SPAN will be covering the celebrity arrivals but CNN as well. Washington is gearing up for the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, also known as nerdprom – I believe the name is fairly self explanatory. This year some actual cool people will be joining the festivities. I hope it’s a sign of our industry bouncing back from what has been a tough decade that the 2010 parties started on Thursday and will continue through Sunday with a record three swanky “after parties.” I’m not cool enough to be invited to the A-lister party, the Bloomberg Vanity Fair shindig and I’m not Hollywood enough for the Capitol File after party, but MSNBC has taken pity on me and let me in to their après fete – I’m told this scene will include Rachel Maddow tending bar.

Starting at 6:15 with TIME’s preparty, for those who aren’t watching, you know, important news like the oil spill in the Gulf or the British elections, not to mention Haiti’s recovery and wars on two fronts, follow me on twitter for observations and sightings from this year’s nerdprom. I’ll try and bring you as much of President Obama’s speech and comedian Jay Leno as I can but the ball room at the Hilton is essentially an underground bunker with spotty cell service.