It'll be jazz on the stage and prominent Chinese-Americans in the audience Wednesday as Michelle and Barack Obama pump out some high-octane pomp at a state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. Action film star Jackie Chan is part of the celebrity quotient for the big party.
Mrs. Obama warmed up for the evening with a morning appearance before students at Howard University, where she confessed that it had been "a pretty busy morning at the White House."
Jazz pianist Peter Martin, part of the entertainment lineup, prepped for his appearance by springing for a tux.
"I'm finally a grown-up, graduated from renting to owning," he tweeted, adding that he was "super-excited" about the White House gig.
Jazz artists Dianne Reeves and Herbie Hancock are also part of the evening playlist, Martin tweeted before all of his tweets disappeared.
The White House is always anxious to keep details about the guest list, the menu and the full entertainment lineup hush-hush until later in the day.
But a few details trickled from some of those tickled to be part of the lavish affair.
Among those confirmed on the strictly A-list guest list: the newly inaugurated Chinese-American mayors of San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., Edwin Lee and Jean Quan, respectively. Also, Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif. Members of Obama's Cabinet with seats at the table include Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
Among those sitting this one out: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who also declined past state dinner invites from Obama. Also taking a pass: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., whose aides said they were traveling.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is the only top congressional leader who accepted the invitation. She has been an outspoken critic of China's human rights record throughout her career.
After a fancy morning arrival ceremony for Hu at the White House, Mrs. Obama met with the students to frame the day's events — both social and substantive — as an "important opportunity to strengthen ties and deepen bonds of understanding." And she encouraged young Americans to study abroad — something she never did.
The first lady said she and her brother, Craig, were among the first in their family to go to college.
"We were way more focused on getting in, getting through and getting out," she said.