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Chaldean Cashes in on Obama Inaugural Frenzy
By Sam Yousif :: Monday, January 19, 2009 :: 19091 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment

Washington DC, USA – Chaldean businessman Andy Shallal looks to capture and convert that energy into capital.  Not the type of energy that turns on your lights or moves your car.  The energy of millions of people pouring into the Washington DC to participate in Obama’s Inauguration is prime for celebration and prime for businesses. 

Although Andy Shallal, a native of Virginia has never been to an inaugural ball he sure plans to make the best of this one.  Shallal owns a number of restaurants around the DC area and is known in private circles as a peace proponent. 

So in celebrating the excitement and capturing the energy of the crowds, Shallal is hosting is own star-studded inaugural ball that just might capture the new president’s attention. 

Shallal’s celebrity-studded, sold-out Peace Ball at the National Postal Museum today is one of at least 80 unofficial gala events that are drawing people from across the country, along with the 10 coveted official balls where Barack and Michelle Obama are scheduled to appear.

"We, the peace movement, need to be at the table and not on the fringes as we have been for so many years," Shallal said, adding that the peace community has high hopes for Obama. "The ball is like being at someone's wedding. We wanted to be at a very important tradition of bringing in a new president."

Shallal's Peace Ball will feature Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, Bernice Johnson Reagon and younger and international peace musicians, as well as activist writers, comedians and commentators. More than 1,000 people have bought tickets, and Shallal said that 600 more are on a waiting list. Peace Ball tickets were $165; some VIP tickets were still available for $1,000.

"It should be a very interesting crowd," Shallal said. Like all hosts of unofficial balls, he's holding out hope the Obamas might just go off-schedule and squeeze in a visit.

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