Party People: Celebrities, Democrats in Place to Rock Denver

If the politicians and delegates own the Democratic National Convention's daybook, Hollywood's elite own Denver's nights.

For this one week, A-listers have abandoned the hot-spots of New York and Los Angeles and descended on the Mile High City's downtown stretch, making post-primetime events hosted by political advocacy groups some of the hottest tickets in town.

The stars will mostly be at the post-convention events, but some of stars will be mingling wtih the delegates -- Democratic officials and activists -- on the convention floor too.

Oprah Winfrey, who endorsed Obama's campaign in December, plans to be among the 75,000 in attendance Thursday when Obama speaks from Denver's Invesco Field.

Picture of Sheryl Crow.

Monday night, Rock the Vote hosted "The Ballot Bash" in the city's downtown Opera House. Billing for the event included Jakob Dylan, N*E*R*D and Fallout Boy. Nick Cannon, aka the new Mr. Mariah Carey, was confirmed to DJ the afterparty.

As a 501c nonpartisan, Rock the Vote doesn't promote a party or candidate, and has plans for events at both convention. The musical line-up, on the other hand, got around it intonating "hope" and "change" to the crowd of cheering Democrats.

"We're here tonight, just like you, because we're ready for change," Pharrell Williams, lead singer of N*E*R*D, charged the crowd.

Rock the Vote hosts an event tonight alongside Every Woman Counts and Lifetime, with Ashanti.

Picture of John Legend singing at the DNC.

Celeb Causes, Famous Faces

The nearly endless celebrity roster represents an intersection of causes and the famous faces who support them: Ben Affleck and Sarah Silverman will be on hand to represent the Paralyzed Veterans of America; John Legend for the Future of Arts in America; Melissa Etheridge and Cyndi Lauper for the Human Rights Campaign; Fallout Boy and N*E*R*D for Rock the Vote; Ashanti and Fran Drescher for Every Woman Counts; Kanye West for the ONE campaign; the Black Eyed Peas for the Creative Coalition; and Ashley Judd and Aisha Tyler for Planned Parenthood.

'This Is the Party for Us'

For the celebrities, the convention offers a chance to be seen on a scene that's not the nightclub circuit. For advocacy groups, it's an opportunity to reach an influential audience and some free media attention.

Etheridge, the Oscar- and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, is the headliner at the Human Rights Campaign's Rock to Win concert tonight with Cyndi Lauper. She attended the Democratic convention in 2000 and says her motivations are personal. She says she "feels comfortable" against the political backdrop.

"For personal reasons, the gay cause is certainly important to me," Etheridge said. "I've been a Democrat tried and true for a long, long, long time and involved in Democratic Party politics, and I just feel very comfortable coming there."

"The sort of underlying theme that drives me is that I hope to show… that the Democratic Party is truly the party of inclusion and truly the party of diversity and when they openly invite me -- and I'm out -- I think they say, 'We are the party of change, we are the party of the future.""

She added, "And all the people who might be considered outsiders, this is the party for us."

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