Checking Out the Parties’ Parties

Jennifer Lopez is on the bill for the Democratic National Convention.

When it comes to big name entertainment and partying, it looks like the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month might have an edge over the Republican gathering in St. Paul in early September.

Headlining the bashes to be held during the Democratic convention will be the Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, Willie Nelson, Melissa Etheridge and Jerry Jeff Walker. A “crib sheet” showing a whole range of parties, brunches, luncheons, receptions, breakfasts and briefings in Denver that was put together by the lobbying firm of Quinn Gillespie and Associates runs some sixteen pages.

If Denver is going to be party central, the Republican convention is looking more like a gathering at the Country Music Awards. The Quinn Gillespie listing of St. Paul receptions runs only five pages, and the entertainment is mainly country and western, with a decided Southern tilt.

Events at the St. Paul gathering include a “Texas Honky Tonk” night featuring Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy and John Rich. The Charlie Daniels Band will also play as will Sammy Hagar at the Southern Delegation Party. The only leading non-country group is a Beach Boys kick-off on the first night of the convention.

One big player at both conventions will be the Creative Coalition, which will be sending actors and movie stars to both gatherings. Robin L. Bronk, executive director of the Coalition said the group wants to “lend our voices” to an array of issues including public funding for the arts and education, health care reform and pro-environmental policies.

Actors Tim Daly and Kerry Washington will be at the Republican convention, as part of the Coalition effort. Those attending the Democratic convention will include Quentin Tarantino, Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Neil Patrick Harris, Cheryl Hines and Alan Cumming. Many of these actors will appear at a variety of events that the Coalition will be co-sponsoring with a number of corporations.

But, for those who want to steer clear of frivolity and go more of a policy-wonk route, there is plenty to choose from too. Here’s one from the Denver convention: “The Next Administration’s National Security and Defense Priorities: A conversation with William J. Perry.”

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