09/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

DNC After Dark: Party-Hopping In Denver

Much of the early part of the day in Denver is spent searching for, procuring, and sharing various credentials (whether for the convention floor, the blogger's Big Tent, the Huff Post Oasis, or various VIP lounges). As evening approaches, though, delegates, media, and any other convention-goers turn their attention to the parties. All around, you start hearing the chatter of would-be party-goers: "What lists are you on?" "Who's going to be there?" "My sister is the stylist for Tom Brokaw's publicist, I'm going to see if she can get me into the Kanye show!" Some connections are better than others...

Tuesday night, enterprising party-goers might have found themselves listening to the pop stylings of Death Cab for Cutie member Ben Gibbard and Chris Walla at Concert for a Cooler Planet hosted by the League of Conservation Voters. Nothing says "fired up and ready to go!" like twee emo tunes strummed on acoustic guitar. I'm only speculating, but the recently hirsute (and Obama-boosting) Gibbard may have borrowed the sports superstition of not shaving when your team's in the playoffs and "indie-ified" it; allowing his sideburns to slowly overtake the sides of his face until the general election.

Also on Tuesday, Politico hosted two bars worth of parties where you could play the fun game of "guess the Politico columnist based on their charming cartoon avatar." A few blocks away, at what my cabbie described as "a damn sexy club," rising stars of the Democratic party (including Cory Booker, Eric Garcetti, Lisa Madigan, and John Chiang) hosted the appropriately titled Rising Stars party.

Wednesday brought a pair of hot-ticket events in the warehouse district north of downtown. Tickets for the ONE Campaign event featuring Kanye West were rumored to be selling for $10k. Nearby, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom helped host Unconventional '08, featuring a street stage with performances from an indie rock smorgasbord: Silversun Pickups, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Cold War Kids, Nada Surf, and DJ Z-Trip. Later, a crowd packed the VIP reception inside the Manifest Hope gallery (featuring the good, bad, and weird of Obama-inspired art) to hear a group performance by Ben Gibbard, Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley and 1980s video-game classic The Wizard), Jonathan Rice, Mathew Caws, and actress-cum-chanteuse Zooey Deschanel. After the indie-folk hootenanny, Z-Trip presided above the crowd, keeping the lithe liberal bodies moving into the early morning.