DENVER—”There’s my girl!” Chevy Chase bellowed as Madeline Albright walked into the backroom of the Vanity Fair-Google party on Thursday, August 28. The towering comedian, who was clad in a blazer, T-shirt and jeans, bent down to embrace his old friend. They discussed plans to get together—Mr. Chase promising an e-mail from “his people”—mugged for the cameras, and agreed that Barack Obama had nailed his speech. “If we’re seen together, you’re in trouble,” joked the funnyman.
After a hearty laugh, conversation returned to the speech. Ms. Albright said that while the presidential candidate is incredibly charming in person, she was also pleased with the “diplomacy” of the speech.
Later, Mr. Chase, who has spent the last week on the convention floor, said he had “enough of the arena,” and had opted to watch the speech from his hotel. His mind turned to who McCain would pick as his vice president.
Would it be a woman?
“I don’t think he has the nuts to choose a woman,” he said. (Hey, that’s why actors aren’t political prognosticators!
By 11 p.m., a mostly civilian crowd dotted with journalists, politicians and celebrities—including Susan Sarandon and basketball star Derek Fisher (who was seen chatting up Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa)—had packed the Exdo event space, whose over-the-top, multi-themed décor at first seemed to outshine the crowd. A sprawling banquet hall was divided into quarters seemingly designed to represent the elements. To the left was fire-red couches, red carpet, projected flames flickering on the crimson drapes. To the right was the forest, and the back was all white, with blue sky and aqua-themed projections on walls. Other rooms featured a disco-themed dance floor, and karaoke and Guitar Hero stages.
“Who are all these people?” was a common refrain heard about the room
Fran Drescher was holding court in the red room, handing out copies of her Cancer Schmancer CD. It had been a long week. She’d learned to carry flip-flops in her bag. “I think the 21st century is all about putting yourself out there for something greater than yourself,” she said. Ms. Drescher went on to say that the Lifetime Television events that she had been involved with had been the most important of the week.
“I’m fucked,” said Alan Cumming. “Completely knackered.” He estimated he’d attended about 30 events over the course of the last four days in conjunction with the Creative Coalition.
A producer with the Barry Levinson-helmed film Poliwood, which has been documenting the celebrities at the DNC, said that watching the celebrity box at Mr. Obama’s speech at Invesco Field “almost felt like celebrity summer camp. You could see that a special bond had been formed between the actors in the Creative Coalition. Nine out of 12 of the celebrities cried during the speech!”
After midnight the party started to pick up, and the somewhat awkward crowd started to gel. John Kerry mugged for photos with random people. Ashley Judd was leading Jamie Foxx around. “I’m so proud of my party,” gushed Ms. Judd, who had been something of a Hillary Clinton holdout. “I’m so inspired. I’ve got to get back home and roll up my shirtsleeves and get out the vote. I’ve told all my friends it’s like the Cannes Film Festival times three.” A few minutes later, Ms. Judd and Mr. Foxx were spotted dancing away enthusiastically with a crowd of civilians.
“It was a great speech — it was powerful and strong,” said Wesley Clark. “I think it had broad appeal.” The New York Times columnist David Brooks gave the speech an A-minus.
By 2 a.m., almost everyone seemed drunk. Matthew Modine was talking about what a great job Mr. Obama had done. “It’s like you go into a dark room. It’s scary, and there are a lot of monsters,” said Mr. Modine. “All you have to do is turn on the light.”