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Thursday night's White House state dinner for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak  began with a torrential DC rainstorm (and plenty of expensive tuxes got soaked) but it seems to have gone off okay. We've gleaned from the reports that this is what happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. last night:

The celebrities

Though not what you'd call a star-studded event, the White House did host a handful of well-known figures in entertainment, business and media. On the left, soul pop diva Janelle Monae who Politico pool reporters Amie Parnes and Julie Mason described as "Terribly chic in her tux and heels with a dramatic, pompadour-esque updo." On the right, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

First Lady Michelle Obama dazzled the fashion blogging world in her purple dress. As FLOTUS fashion blog Mrs. O noted, "Mrs. O looks beautiful this evening in a jersey one shoulder gown in a deep amethyst hue. Pieced and gathered jersey creates a woven effect through the bodice, while draping adds interest and movement through the skirt. Mrs. O puts an evening spin on her signature belt, adding a turquoise beaded piece at the waist. Statement gold earrings, a cuff bracelet and ring complete the look. At the toe, we see just a peek of a deep plum-colored sandal." They did not give President Obama's tux the same deep-read.

OK. Not exactly what you'd call star power (D.C. will never be L.A.), but U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and his wife Carole Sonnenfeld made for an elegant pair. 


CBS News anchor Scott Pelley and CNN anchor Candy Crowley were in attendance, though none of our photo services memorialized the occasion. Pool reporters Amie Parnes and Julie Mason help us imagine.

Scott Pelley was last to arrive. It was Pelley's second state dinner. His first was in 1998, "so it's been awhile, as I recall," he said... CNN anchor Candy Crowley, with longtime CNN producer Michael Rosselli, waved to the press on her way into the mansion.


The smells

Below is the place setting for President Obama, who, according to The Washington Post's detail-oriented Ned Martel, indulged in a meal well-suited for the autumn. "East Wing planners presented a showcase of fall flavors — for the eyes and taste buds. With the wagyu beef, some roasted squash; with the soup course, a pumpkin-seed praline. And amid the red, orange and green displays on the walls, windows and tabletops, apples came into play."

Elsewhere on the menu, CNN notes that the meal included "fresh kale from a DC-area source and squash from the White House Kitchen Garden. The dessert features a classic recipe of chocolate cake layered with a harmonious blend of Korean and American pears."

The sounds


The Ahn Trio, a trio of three Seoul-born sisters comprised the main musical entertainment last night and got a rather warm reception, as the New York Post's Geoff Earle details in a lively pool report dispatch:

The band has chops. They ripped through Skylife, a piece by David Balakrishnan, that’s sort of a fusion piece with lots of jazz riffs and classical elements, and they got a big round of applause when they finished.

President was sitting center stage, and seemed to be enjoying himself, smiling and even nodding his head a little, as the performers took traded off the melody/lead part and backed each other up. President Lee sat still seated next to the president.

Later in the evening, soul pop diva Janelle Monae performed, though photography of the performance seems to have been limited and according to Earle, reporters were ushered out before she went on set.


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