Don't get me wrong: the line-up for the '08 Democratic Convention, set for August 25th to 28th, is first-rate fare for all liberals, including:
- Obama's acceptance of the nomination on August 28th, the 45th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King's famed "I Have a Dream" speech.
- Al Gore's thundering, prophetic oratory also at INVESCO field.
- Hillary Clinton's speech on August 26th, the 88th anniversary of ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
- Tributes on August 25th to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to Sen. Ted Kennedy, who has videotaped a message.
And that's a tiny portion of the Convention's planned agenda. See the complete line-up at my Insiders Guide to the '08 Democratic Convention in Denver.
Democrats Ready to Celebrate the End of Bush-Cheney
But, as is always the case for political conventions, the parties, fundraisers, pricey dinners and concerts are a major reason why political staffers, policy wonks, party activists and the politically addicted look forward to annual state conventions and once-every-four-years national conventions.
And Democrats, exuberantly anxious to celebrate the end of eight nightmarish years under George Bush and Dick Cheney, are in a partying mood! Gatherings and events include:
- The "Tent State Music Festival to End the War" will feature "four days of actions and music" sponsored by the Alliance for Real Democracy. Among the musical artists will be Rage Against the Machine, Michelle Shocked, State Radio, Fulcrum and dozens more.
- Comedian Bill Maher, actress Ashley Judd and actor Alan Cumming will headline the "Sex, Politics and Cocktails Late Night Dance Party" sponsored by Planned Parenthood on August 25th at The Samba Room, a Latin-American restaurant.
- Actor and Democratic activist Ben Affleck is a headliner at a fundraiser poker tournament to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The event is set for August 26th on the club level of Coors baseball field.
- An August 26th concert sponsored by etown, the popular environmentally-friendly live radio show, will feature James Taylor, David Crosby, Graham Nash and Ani DiFranco at Denver's Temple Buell Theater.
- Also on August 26th is the "Rock to Win" concert hosted by the Human Rights Campaign and featuring Melissa Etheridge, Cyndi Lauper, and Rufus Wainwright, to be held at the Fillmore auditorium.
- The One Campaign and Bono have lured Kanye West to perform on August 27th at the Google/Vanity Fair bash at EXDO Event Center. Considered the hottest Convention-week ticket, Obama-pal George Clooney is rumored to be attending.
- Also on August 27th, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is hosting an "unconventional" party at Manifest Hope Gallery saluting young Democrats. Comedienne Sarah Silverman will make a special appearance. Musical acts include Nada Surf, Silverspun Pickups and Cold War Kids.
- Invite-only parties will be hosted by Oprah Winfrey, Kanye West, Bono, the Rolling Stones, Jennifer Lopez and every mainstream media outlet, including a bash reported by the New York Post planned by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and hosted by MSNBC pundits Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.
- Rock the Vote and the One Campaign will hold a concert from 11 AM to 11 PM on August 29th, just after the convention ends. Musical artists will include Jakob Dylan, Fallout Boy, NERD and a "huge line-up to be announced."
- See a complete listing of Democratic Convention parties at the Starlight Foundation's Party Watch.
And I hear from solid sources that the Obama campaign staff has reserved The Palm, the exclusive restaurant at the Westin Hotel, for the entirety of the convention. So don't look to buy a steak there until after the festivities are over.
Listen to Speakers or Attend Parties for Causes?
Delegates to the '08 Democratic Convention are significantly younger than at past conventions. An event planner recently told AP that the median age of attendees to the Democratic Convention in 2008 is "about 20 years younger" than that of Republican Convention attendees.
The '08 Democratic Convention has clearly been planned in the same mold and style used for the past forty years. And yet, the entertainment is geared more for a much younger, trendier crowd.
It will be fascinating to see if delegates and the like are more interested in sitting in convention hall seats, listening to hundreds of speeches by politicos over 50 years old, or partaking of the myriad opportunities to party/play with a cause.