July 29, 2010 | by Joey DiGuglielmo
D.C. ‘Housewives’ ready for close-up

Tareq and Michaele Salahi with Blade editor Kevin Naff (center) at the Blade's 40th anniversary party in October. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Washingtonians eager for the latest installment of “Real Housewives” can buy tickets for a Bravo-endorsed premiere party slated for Thursday from 7 to 11 p.m. at EFN Lounge (1318 9th St., N.W.).

Tickets for the “Real Housewives of D.C.” debut event, which must be purchased in advance, range from $25 for general admission to $500 for VIP ($80 and $150 tickets are also available). Visit rhodc-premier-efbevent.eventbrite.com for tickets. Howard Cromwell Jr., the gay publisher and editor of D.C.’s “Most Fabulous Magazine” and an organizer of monthly charity nightlife events, is organizing the party as a benefit for Dab, the AIDS Bear Project, an HIV charity that will receive a portion of the proceeds.

The new show is the latest installment of the “Real Housewives” franchise, a series of Bravo reality shows overseen by Bravo impresario Andy Cohen, who’s gay. Previous installments were set in Orange County (Calif.), New York, Atlanta and New Jersey. A Beverly Hills edition is slated for late fall after D.C.

Thursday’s party will be hosted by Michaele Salahi, she of White House State Dinner-crashing fame. She’s one of this season’s housewives along with Mary Schmidt Amons, Catherine Ommanney, Lynda Erkiletian and Stacie Scott Turner.

Cromwell has partnered with Michaele and Tareq Salahi for their America’s Polo Cup events and helped them field media requests after their notorious Nov. 24, 2009 White House appearance. He says he’s known the couple for seven years and says they’ve been unfairly maligned in the media.

“There was a lot of misinformation about the Salahis,” he says. “People would see something in the Post and go, ‘Oh, well, it was in the Post,’ so they go ahead and run with the story. … It was completely blown out of proportion.”

Cromwell says “Housewives” will give America a chance to get to know the real Salahis and that gays have embraced Michaele while others have shunned her in the wake of their party-crashing scandal.

“They were at the W rooftop for an event and she felt faint,” Cromwell says. “Everybody else looked at her like she had three heads but three gay guys went and got her some water and made sure she was OK. That’s how we are. We fought all our lives to be who we are and have been misunderstood. That’s probably why gay men like her so much.”

A month before their brush with notoriety, the Salahis appeared at the Washington Blade’s 40th anniversary party last October. Editor Kevin Naff remembers them as gracious and generous — they donated wine for the event — but also eager for the limelight.

“They were friendly and outgoing and it was clear they liked to be the center of attention, though no one flipped a table,” Naff says. “I wish them well — they told me they were Blade readers, so I have a soft spot for them.”

The other D.C. “Housewives” have said the State Dinner fiasco is only a small part of the show though it occurred while filming was underway.

The show premieres Thursday, Aug. 5 at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

1 Comment
  • Get your facts straight before reporting. The real Real Housewives of DC premiere party is happening at Buddah Bar with all the other Housewives and Paul Wharton attending. So I guess crashing the White House State Dinner and causing the Secret Service to be maligned worldwide and Deseree Rogers to lose her job is okay with gays?! These people are scam artists and you fell for it! Don’t go to this party which will only line their pockets with more “charity” money to fund their lavish lifestyle.

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