Party People: Celebrities, Democrats in Place to Rock Denver

Brad Luna, director of media relations for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which is hosting a series of convention events in Denver beyond the Tuesday concert, says this week offers the chance "to make the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community part of the larger extension of what's going on in Denver."

Rock to Win

In addition to Lauper and Etheridge, the Rock to Win concert features musician Rufus Wainwright, comedian Margaret Cho and musician/actress Thelma Houston, and its organizers hope the national spotlight gives voice to its cause.

"This is going to include our members," Luna said, "but it's going to have a wider audience and wider appeal. We're excited about that and the opportunity to maybe get our message in front of people who aren't members and aren't constantly engaged."

The 'Fun' in Fundraising

HRC, which has endorsed Obama, is not alone in looking for bounce from the political excitement.

The Poker Players' Alliance is hosting fundraisers at both conventions to raise money for the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Though details for next week's Republican convention in St. Paul are still being finalized, tonight's tournament at Denver's Coors Field promises Affleck, Paul Rudd, Silverman and Seth Meyers alongside still-unconfirmed members of Congress.

"We felt this would be a great opportunity to raise money to honor American heroes who have sacrificed and defended our rights as Americans, and what better way than by playing one of America's great pastimes," said Taylor Gross, the alliance's spokesman.

Two hot ticket items are forcing partygoers to make a Wednesday night choice: Kanye West will perform for the ONE, while the Black Eyed Peas perform for the Creative Coalition the same night.

Both ONE and the Creative Coalition will also have events next week in St. Paul.

Buzz Makers or 'Just Another Presence'?

But do the celebrities matter? Polling numbers suggest that celebrity endorsements might not boost a particular candidate, but the buzz they bring can't hurt as members of domestic and foreign press -- numbering in the 15,000 range in Denver -- look to cover all angles of the convention as it unfolds.

With everything going on around the city, delegates from across the country are busy chasing tickets and party invites.

Lillian Tamayo, a first-time attendee with the Florida delegation, says she knows credentials will be scarce at the Pepsi Center and at Invesco field Thursday night where Obama accepts the party's nomination. Tamayo, president of Greater Miami's Planned Parenthood, says the celebrities "are just another presence" in Denver.

Tamayo describes the party scene as providing "a color and texture to the work that you're engaged in long before you arrived here."

"To be here among like-minded individuals who really care about our country and to be able to do it in a festive kind of environment is really kind of exceptional," she said.

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