VIDEO MEL BROOKS PRESENTATION
VIDEO BOBBY DENIRO PRESENTATION
VIDEO SPRINGSTEEN PRESENTATION
VIDEO DAVE BRUBECK PRESENTATION
VIDEO GRACE BUMBRY PRESENTATION
WASHINGTON -- With a little help from Carol Burnett, a new star from the hit TV show "Glee" and other top entertainers, political Washington is saluting five of the nation's top artists with the Kennedy Center Honors this weekend.
Also receiving the honors -- which recognize individuals who have defined American culture through the arts as a living memorial to John F. Kennedy -- are jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck and opera singer Grace Bumbry.
About 300 guests, including Jack Black, Edward Norton, Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, Martin Scorsese, Sting, Philip Seymour Hoffman were at a reception in the East Room of the White House.
"These performers are indeed the best," Obama said at the gathering. "They are also living reminders of a single truth -- and I'm going to steal a line from Michelle here -- the arts are not somehow apart from our national life, the arts are the heart of our national life."
Springsteen, 60, described the award he received on Saturday night at a State Department dinner as different than other accolades.
"We worked really hard for our music to be part of American life and our fans' lives," he said. "So it's an acknowledgment that you've kind of threaded your way into the culture in a certain way. It's satisfying."
Obama said, "Only a handful of people have tapped the full power of music to tell the American story. ... One of those people is Bruce Springsteen. ... I'm the president, but he's the boss."
The show will air nationwide Dec. 29 on CBS.
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