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Celebs gather to promote arts education _ and eat

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 20, 2013 at 10:44 pm •  Published: January 20, 2013

Most of the 200 people packed into the Mari Vanna eatery seemed to be planning to attend the president's swearing-in Monday, no matter the weather. "I was here four years ago and it was an exhilarating experience," said Esposito, of the new series "Revolution." ''I have mixed-race children, so we had the feeling that the world was changing not just for us, but for them."

This year, he said, it's natural that there's a different feeling. "There's only one first," he said, referring to the historic nature of the 2009 inauguration, with the swearing-in of the first black president. "But we can't fall into complacency. We can't lose hope." He joked that he still supported Obama even though "I'm in his tax-bracket target, and I have four kids!"

The dinner was just the beginning of the festivities. The coalition is hosting a ball on Monday night, featuring even more celebrities and a performance by the Goo Goo Dolls.

"Hollywood is the greatest messenger," said the coalition's CEO, Robin Bronk. "We're harnessing the power of celebrity here."

But before the ball, Leguizamo had to worry about Monday's weather. He said he hadn't heard of, or prepared for, the expected lowering of temperatures in the capital.

"Yikes, I only have, like, this suit," he said. "I'm gonna have to wear a lot of extra T-shirts."