Live From Denver #8
But what you don't know, dear readers is how things were handled for transportation for delegates, media, etc after all the fabulousness inside. Oh but wait - first of all, a few impressions about the evenings event and the speech itself. I really did have one of the best positions in the stadium. Located in a skybox directly in front, not to the left or right of the stage, was were we found ourselves. The windows opened here and so it was a party from the word "go."
We actually thought there would an opportunity for cocktails but given the fact that there was also general public involved, we guess the secret service wasn't having it because the bars were "dry" for that night! No matter. As we looked out into the huge crowd and up at the sky which turned from a brilliant blue with intense sunlight to a beautiful sunset and then a starry night, you could feel the electricity in the air. Everyone's spirits were up and seeing all that live, complete with waving flags, monitors and more was truly an assault (though of the best type) on the senses. I don't think anyone can say that, even though rumors would have it otherwise, the campaign did a fair job of booking talent of diverse genres and appealing to different ages. From Wil.i.am to Michael McDonald it was on. And then, finally .... Obama himself.
I know all of you feel he presented his confidently and perhaps with a bit less of the sometimes perceived arrogance we have seen in times past. No, this was a strong leader-in-the-making who not only came out and accepted but took the opportunity to address everything from McCain's swipes at his celebrity image to circling back to the Iraq issue. Yes, without a doubt - and looking at the transcript of the speech, dude has a plan. Just how these objectives will be funded and who will be heading up these areas is the next question, should he arrive in office.
When I was asked, during my interviews afterwards with KPOO how Obama could continue to engage African-Americans voters, I immediately saw his educational plan being that should be high on the list given the current, sad statistics. Thing is, how much effort will the campaign actually put into continuing to engage "us." Is it, as usual, just assumed that Democrats have the Black vote, and if that is the case, just how can we become more vital to not only this presidential race but to races local and federal going forward. It is a question that certainly anyone Black in politics must seriously begin to ask him/herself.
For me, the hot soundbite was the portion where the Senator discussed the difference between mutual responsibility (of government to society and vice-versa) as well as individual responsibility. I think this was the most realistic vision that Obama has given any of us since he first jumped on the campaign trail. One also wonders though, if he isn't also using the words to begin stuffing a cushion for himself should some of the iconic fervor begin to quickly wane when people don't see "change" quite as quickly as they want? Only time will tell here. Naturally all this is both "branding" at its best while trying to present information. The icing on the cake being the confetti entwined family with that of the supportive vice-presidential couple at the end, complete with fireworks.
Yes, we are celebrating the next progression on the "dream," with obviously much work still to do. As we moved from the benediction to begin and complete interviews though, we had no idea just how much "work" would lay ahead in simply getting from point A to point B, as it were.
So as you know, the "campaign" took over here at INVESCO, and the decision to move to INVESCO was made so that Obama could speak to a greater audience that would obviously also translate well on television. Thing is, the chaos that ensued from this idea was a price that had to be paid by those attending.
All was pretty smooth at the Pepsi Center regarding transportion and everything else but at INVESCO? Forget it. Believe me when I tell you that no one knew which shuttles were what, nothing clearly marked, nothing ready to go was only the half of it. I am sure we all kept being directed to walk around almost 3/4 of that huge stadium in search of the DNCC buses. And upon arrival, the name of the game became waiting. Naturally this puts a damper on one's hang out mood - and we were slated for parties galore. But this is purely superficial in light of the fact that the disabled and elderly were forced to wait just as others with no extra comfort or explanation. Really shameful. Someone from the stadium did finally drive a golf cart over for about three women to sit on.
Not to whine, but from the time we left the skybox to the time we arrived at the first party was about two hours (keeping in mind, these sites are about 10 -15 minutes from each other). Whoever was coordinating or not coordinating the buses, for shame! But I felt a bit better as one DNCC exec who even got caught up in the madness told me, "they will definitely hear about this at tomorrow's meeting!"
Give 'em hell, sista.
But strangely, a second wind came up as we neared the huge tent that would host the final "Party with a Purpose" closing event. Although late, we arrived just in time to get a whiskey at the open bar and watch and intimate performance by The Black Eyed Peas where even Herbie Hancock joined them as a stage surprise. New buzzworthy artist Janelle also came on for a quick set. And then John Legend, who was in perfect voice. All this while Spike Lee moved about, the cutey from "Lost" Daniel Dae Kim (right), actress Tracey Ross, and more. Food flowed from the buffet all night and the wonderfully diverse crowd looked hot at one of the millions of night's events.
Although I would loved to have stayed longer, I left at about 1:30pm. Question: How do you get out of town on the same day about 60,000 other people are? Answer: Very carefully.
You see, what I had not thought of was that everyone would be leaving Friday morning, early afternoon for the most part. The airport gave me the heads up saying that they were predicting it would be like Thanksgiving/Christmas with at least 120,000 people during the day. Yikes!
Super Shuttle already told me on Monday they were booked for that time on Friday and had absolutely no vans available. That left taxis which, at the least the company I called, did not take reservations. So yours truly found herself sleeping two hours, my convention record, getting up calling a taxi in advance only to be put on the wait list and picked up 3 1/2 hours before my flight (and was well suggested I take it because they would not assure service anytime after).
It's strange but beautiful thing to see night turn into dawn as you've just witnessed one of the most exciting and historical weeks of your life. I'm sure once I fully catch up on sleep over this holiday weekend, I will be able to appreciate it even more.
While I believe the convention made a noble attempt to work new media platforms into the experience, it was an elementary one. Simply texting on issues will not provide the proper type of engagement with constituents that can really be created with greater creativity and planning. Further, there is the question of data costs to simply have one's voice "heard." There were missed opportunities here and there is still no strategy which is demographic-specific so there are certainly voids to be filled in the future - hopefully with Punch Media Group.
Thanks for reading!
And shout out to all the nice people in Denver who helped out, the DNCC staff, new friends, biz associates, KPOO and my blog editors.
I am out!!!!
Our photos from the DNCC.
. (Above) Lauren Coleman (right) schmoozing with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ; strikes a pose with Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D - CA); taking a quick break with the news director of KPOO, for whom she provided new media analyst comments. Below, more moments from the DNCC.