One of the local headlines said, “Circus Comes to Denver.” Which seems about right, especially if you’re hanging more in the streets than in the official sites. And isn’t it curious that while we are deciding a world-changing election and recognizing a hugely dramatic moment in history, you still need side shows.
You can’t just have a bunch of dedicated, serious minded people come to town to talk about health care and war and the risk to privatizing Social Security and why their guy will do it better, you also expect street theater and entrepreneurial opportunities and celebrity sightings. And Denver delivered.
For Sale: The Hillary laughing doll who emits a pretty good rendition of the Hillary chortle made famous by Saturday Night Live and the power giggle so many pundits criticized, even though many people happen to appreciate a woman with a hearty laugh. Obama action toys. Obama as the Buddha pins. “John Stewart for President” buttons.
Doing Business: A belly dancer named Shauna offers one free lesson for registered Democrats and Obama supporters.
Curious about George: George Clooney is throwing private parties that the press reports on but apparently doesn’t attend. Oprah is rumored to rent a mansion in the Cherry Creek neighborhood. Hill and Bill are checked into the Brown Palace. So is Steven Spielberg. I’ve seen none of them, but spotted Cokie Roberts in the bar. And saw James Carville in tennis shoes and Andrea Mitchell in skinny heels at the Pepsi Center. I’m hoping for a face to face with Richard Schiff, the tortured and wonderful “Toby” in “West Wing.”
Warning: A Denver activist advises wearing scarves to protest marches, in case of tear gas. There are cops everywhere, with dogs, on horses, bikes and motorcycles. Carrying gas masks and brand new blue plastic handcuffs. Can they keep the peace? It’s hot here, 92 degrees today. It feels like the convention has been going on for a week. A guy on the street said, “I don’t know if I can keep this up for four days.” Are the police dangerously cranky? Are the protesters? Will each have to prove themselves before Friday?
Signs of Our Time: Jesus Saves. Cocaine is a civil right. Stop abortion. Stop the fascists. Stop the war. Honor our troops. Honor our troops and stop the war.
Button Envy: An Alaskan delegate sporting a rare “Joe-Bama” button says she scored it from a Cleveland delegate in the ladies room at the Sheraton.
Security: The best sunset view in town, at the top of the Hyatt, is off limits. No public access. That’s where the guy with guns walked in, was arrested, said he was on his way to safari, but had never registered at the hotel. Nancy Pelosi had to pack her bags and leave.
Fashion: Protesters wear bandanas as masks because that’s anarchist style. Delegates who get to take a bus or private car to the convention wear business suits. The rest wear as little as possible and the shoe store has a run on flip-flops. Today, Women’s Equality Day, the savviest wore white, color of the suffragists.
Freebies: Planned Parenthood gave out pink-packaged condoms that warn, “Protect yourself from John McCain.” With 10 things everyone should know about McCain. No. 9: “Said he was ‘stumped’ when asked whether contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV.”
Listen for Susan’s daily reports from out on the streets at the Denver Democratic Convention during NPR coverage at 5:30pm and 6:30pm on KRCB-FM, 91.1 FM