Lobbyist Tony Podesta is so attached to his art collection that he’s sharing a piece with friends while he attends the Democratic National Convention.
During luncheons he’s hosting at the Mint Museum Uptown’s Halcyon restaurant, guests will be able to view “Woman Ironing (Isis)” a 2008 mixed-media work by Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz from Podesta’s extensive personal gallery of modern art.
Many Democrats are taking their passions -- political, artistic as well as musical -- to the convention in Charlotte.
The Young Democrats of America will huddle with a National Football League party where guests can watch the season-opening game Sept. 5 between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
The North Carolina Democratic Party hosted a welcoming party at the Nascar Hall of Fame with its counterparts in South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee.
And who doesn’t like sex, politics and cocktails? That’s the theme of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s event as part of its “Women are Watching” campaign.
The quadrennial convention is a cross between a trade show and a class reunion, says Democratic consultant John Edgell, who has attended nominating events since 1980.
The parties also offer businesses a chance to promote their brands, in front of local and national policy makers and the media. Expect to see logos from Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and AT&T Inc. all around Charlotte.
Hometown financial giant Bank of America Corp. will sponsor Politico’s breakfast series with political leaders and journalists. Foodies can drop by the “CNN Grill” to sample a menu rich in Southern culture and get access to maps, data and videos displayed on an eight-foot touch screen.
Techies can get a wonk fix at Facebook Inc.’s “Apps & Drinks” party, where developers will showcase their wares. Facebook also will partner with companies such as Microsoft’s TechNet and Oracle Corp. for “Innovation Nation,” where pro-technology legislators will be honored.
The Democrats tapped Hollywood and the music industry for performers. The Recording Industry Association of America lined up rapper Common, the 40-year-old Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., for a Sept. 4 benefit sponsored by Viacom Inc., owner of Comedy Central and MTV cable channels, and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing U.S. carmakers.
The convention attracts actors and musicians because it gets them out of their habitats and into contact with average Americans, said Robin Bronk, chief executive officer of the Creative Coalition. The group is sending “Wings” star and coalition President Tim Daly, Emmy Award winner Alfre Woodard, “Monk’s” Tony Shalhoub and Patricia Arquette of “Medium.”
The B-52s will bring a hint of retro (they’ve been around for 35 years) to the coalition’s gala led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Visitors might see Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California boogying to “Love Shack.” Rapper Flo Rida will perform at the Got Your 6 military-veterans benefit and the Roots will headline StartUp RockOn’s Music Extravaganza.
The founder of DJs for Obama, DJ Cassidy, will work the mixers and turntables at the benefit. Asked to name some songs that might be anthems for the convention, he said Jackie Wilson’s “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” and McFadden and Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”
After a night of rock ‘n’ roll, guests can chill at the Huffington Post’s Oasis, where yoga classes, facials, massages and reflexology will bring some Zen to their chaotic schedule. The yoga will come courtesy of YogaVotes, a nonpartisan campaign to get more flexible voters to the polls.
Folk rocker Jack Johnson will headline Rock the Vote’s bus-tour stop in Charlotte, as he did at the Republican convention last week, to engage young people. Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who posed for Vogue’s September issue, will moderate a Microsoft-sponsored panel on the concerns of youth.
For the Democratic bon vivant, Third Way, the pro-private sector think tank, will host a get-together at the uptown restaurant and lounge Mez, where the cocktails include the New York Sour and Old Thymer.
In the end, conventions are about savoring historic moments and making memories.
“If you can remember the party a couple days later, it was a good party,” said Edgell. “They all tend to blur together.”
Unless he runs into Eva Longoria, one of Obama’s 35 national re-election comittee leaders. Then he’ll be “hovering around the water cooler a week later talking about it,” he said.
(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)