In the cult classic movie "Swingers," the crew of guys throws the line "This place is dead anyways" around when at a party and itching to leave. It doesn't matter whether the party is actually dead or not. At the DNC convention, where party-hopping is a sport, everyone seems to always be looking for the next spot and I've never seen a situation where the "This place is dead anyways" line (and various facsimiles of it) is used more.
By one account, there are more than 1,200 convention-related events in Denver this week. This includes panels, lunches, breakfasts, and screenings, but the events which seem to pique the most interest (at least amongst my peers) are the parties that take place each night after the convention program is finished.
Last night, I started at the Chairman's reception, hosted by Howard Dean. It was close to the Pepsi Center, so it was a natural place to start. The median age was about 45 and the featured act was the Goo Goo Dolls. Despite Dean's rousing introduction, the band and the crowd didn't mesh. Place was dead anyway.
Next stop was next door at the Rock the Vote concert. The lineup was strong and intriguing (Wyclef Jean, N.E.R.D., Jakob Dylan and others), but in an atmosphere where people want to drink and mingle, a sit-down concert wasn't high on most people's lists. The crowd was coming and going, and there wasn't much continuity at the event. Place was dead anyway. This wasn't the fault of the organizers (and I heard that the event picked up later), but a result of all of the attendees hunched over their Blackberrys trying to figure out the next best event. No one wants to miss a thing, so it seems like attendees don't even give a shot to the place where they are.
The GQ party was next. Leading up to the evening, it had the most buzz of the night's parties, so we wanted to make sure we checked it out. As we walked up, the fire marshal was entering the building. Place was dead anyway.
We ended up at a smaller event hanging out with some old friends. As the party-hopping hour wound down, we settled in and had some laughs and had an enjoyable time. What a novel idea!
The ironic thing about the evening was that we gave up our tickets to the DCCC event. We later found out that Tony Bennett, James Taylor, and John Legend were due to perform. Whoops. As much as I hate to admit it, we fell victims to the "This place is dead anyways" syndrome, even before going to the event. It's an affliction that plagues large gatherings like this convention, but I took my medicine and I think I am cured now.
By Marc Mitchell