Lots of grand old parties

Republican PartyLifestyle and LeisureBars and ClubsFinancial and Business ServicesDining and Drinking

They don't call it the Grand Old Party for nothing.

Plans for hundreds of parties are under way in the days leading up to and during the Republican National Convention.

The hottest ticket looks to be the joint California-New York delegations shindig on Ellis Island, date to be determined.

The two groups typically throw a party together during conventions, and it would certainly attract both Gov. George Pataki and the GOP's brightest celebrity light, his California counterpart, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Likely to be the week's next hottest event is the Texas delegation's famed "black-tie-and-boots" fete, though a venue has reportedly not yet been booked.

Expect a hip-skewing crowd at Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's World of Hope charity benefit Sept. 1 in Rockefeller Center. The fund-raiser will support five AIDS charities, with entertainment by country duo Brooks & Dunn.

The traditional "Media Welcome" party will be hosted by Time Warner on Aug. 28. The media conglomerate will put up a photo exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sports Illustrated and offer previews of shows from units like Warner Bros. and HBO. The rumor mill says Katie Couric, Tim Russert and possibly those who have been featured in the SI swimsuit issue will be on hand.

Wall Street, always a lavish supporter of GOP causes, will fete many of the Republicans with oversight in the financial services industry. Rep. Michael Oxley of Ohio, chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, will be honored by the American Council for Excellence and Opportunity at a Rainbow Room dinner party on the first day of the convention. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse First Boston also are all said to be throwing receptions for various members of Congress.

The New York Republican State Committee alone has events lined up for the week at Cipriani, the Copacabana, the Water Club, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, Tavern on the Green, the Central Park Zoo and Elaine's.

Tavern on the Green has already landed $1 million in Republican business and is planning to be closed to the public during most of the convention. The California delegation, the West Virginia Republican Committee, the Republican National Coalition for Life, the Wisconsin Republican Party, the Financial Roundtable and the National Republican Senatorial Committee will all host functions at the Central Park venue.

The 21 Club, the Four Seasons, the Mandarin Oriental New York and Westin New York at Times Square are all reported to be holding blocks of space for convention soirees, as are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tiffany & Co. and Chelsea Piers.

How tight is space? Heck, the dowdy-sounding American Gas Association has booked an event Sept. 1 at ultra-hip Crobar.

Just about the only guy not throwing a party that week seems to be Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Though he will be a presence throughout the convention, "his first priority is going to be ensuring that the festivities are able to occur while the rest of the city operates," said Kevin Sheekey, president of the New York City Host Committee.

On the other hand, it's entirely possible that Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton could show up at some of the GOP events. Though her office did not return phone calls, a GOP spokesman noted that one goal of the host committee is to promote New York City.

"We would encourage the Clintons to attend our events," said host committee spokesman Paul Elliott.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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