ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrities are piled up a mile high at Democrats' convention in Denver

If Cecil B. DeMille had directed the Democrats' Denver festivities, the trailers would have touted "a cast of thousands." Even if the possibility of a strike hadn't shut down film production across Los Angeles, Hollywood would be empty this week because nearly everyone with a screen credit or a connection to somebody with a screen credit is here in the Mile High City.

Reservations at restaurants from Beverly Hills to Malibu must be going begging, and the celebrity wattage at this year's Labor Day parties in the Hamptons wouldn't power one of those energy-conserving compact fluorescent bulbs we're all supposed to use.

The harmonic convergence of so many stars, writers and entertainment executives and professionals here in Denver this week has lent this national convention an unprecedented vibe, particularly when it comes to socializing with a purpose -- which is something Hollywood does better than any other town.

Among those mingling with the pols were Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Lopez, Rosario Dawson, Charlize Theron, Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd, Kirsten Dunst, Chevy Chase, Josh Brolin, Hill Harper, Fran Drescher, Annette Bening and Spike Lee. (To name a few.)

Meanwhile, an impressive group of A-list singers made the convention seem like a weeklong music festival.

At Invesco Field on Thursday night, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Wonder, John Legend and others warmed up the crowd for Barack Obama. Jennifer Hudson, the Oscar-winning star of "Dreamgirls," sang the national anthem.

"We are here to support the democratic process," said actor-director Tim Daly, president of the nonprofit Creative Coalition, a group that brought together many of the stars this week to discuss issues ranging from the economy to health reform.

Celebrity involvement in politics and political causes has been criticized and even mocked by some, but Daly was having none of it. "Performers are citizens and in the U.S., we are allowed to talk about our beliefs. It's also the privilege of people not to listen," he said. "The interesting thing about celebrity involvement is that they're the only group of so-called lobbyists who stand to gain nothing from what they do, except to support the causes they believe in."

(Next week, Daly said, the Creative Coalition will be taking a number of celebs to the Republican National Convention. So get ready, St. Paul.)

Wednesday night, it was hard to choose between concerts featuring Kanye West (performing for the One Campaign) and the Black Eyed Peas (performing for the Creative Coalition). West's concert at the EXDO Event Center was one of the week's biggest hits. The singer was joined onstage by actor and radio host Jamie Foxx, who also happened to be broadcasting live from the convention hall.

The two performed a duet in tribute to Obama, prompting members of the crowd to jump up and down as if on pogo sticks.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, the Black Eyed Peas rocked the overflowing Fillmore Auditorium before an audience that included Jessica Alba, Hayden Panettiere and Tatyana Ali.

The Fillmore saw a lot of action this week. The funky theater on the edge of downtown was the venue for many of the most popular gatherings. At the Human Rights Campaign's concert Tuesday night, Cyndi Lauper performed her evocative song "True Colors," along with other new and old hits.

Rufus Wainwright captured the crowd with his haunting cover of Leonard Cohen's classic "Hallelujah." He dedicated it to Obama and "his beautiful wife, Michelle."

By Thursday, even the most energetic delegates and attendees were becoming a little vague on where they heard which performer and when. Nelly sang at one party, John Legend at another. There was Fall Out Boy, Rage Against the Machine and the tireless Melissa Etheridge, who even got her own slot on CNN on Wednesday when she performed for the general convention.

Alex Avant, co-founder of the website iamhiphop.com, said he grew up attending every musical event imaginable as a youth in Beverly Hills. (His dad was head of Motown, which gets you into a lot of places.) Even he was awed.

"Nothing can compare to this," he said of the convention and its parties, concerts and speeches. "Nothing."

tina.daunt@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Democratic Convention teaser for story level

    .widgetbox { width: 498px; height: 185px; border: 0px solid #ddd; padding: 0; margin: 0; overflow: hidden; background-image: url('http://www.latimes.com/images/entnews/bg-diag-stripes-fade.gif'); background-repeat: x;} .widget { font: 11px normal arial,helvetica,sans-serif; width: 100%; margin:...

  • Sony scraps 'The Interview' release; North Korea blamed for hack
    Sony scraps 'The Interview' release; North Korea blamed for hack

    Sony Pictures Entertainment's extraordinary decision to scrap the Christmas release of "The Interview" came amid mounting pressure from powerful theater owners and other studios concerned that the film's release could keep moviegoers away from multiplexes during the holidays, one of the most...

  • Aron Kallay experiments, triumphs in Piano Spheres' 'Nothing Is Real'
    Aron Kallay experiments, triumphs in Piano Spheres' 'Nothing Is Real'

    Aron Kallay titled his premiere Piano Spheres recital at REDCAT on Tuesday night "Nothing Is Real." May a reviewer beg to differ?

  • The 'Interview' controversy highlights Sony's Amy Pascal anomaly
    The 'Interview' controversy highlights Sony's Amy Pascal anomaly

    As Sony made the decision Wednesday to scrap the Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” casual observers found themselves asking some very logical how-could-this-happen questions. A broad, benign Seth Rogen comedy causes an international incident that threatens to bring down one of the...

  • Sony Pictures has 'no further release plans' for 'The Interview,' studio says
    Sony Pictures has 'no further release plans' for 'The Interview,' studio says

    Sony Pictures Entertainment has canceled the Christmas Day release of "The Interview" after the nation's major theater chains said they would not screen the film.

  • 25 titles added to National Film Registry
    25 titles added to National Film Registry

    Steven Spielberg's 1998 World War II epic, "Saving Private Ryan," Joel and Ethan Coen's cult comedy "The Big Lebowski" and the 1976 drama "Please Don't Bury Me Alive!" — considered by historians to be the first Chicano feature film — are among the 25 titles added to the National...

Comments
Loading