The Curtis. Is it just a hotel?

By Evan Anderson – The Curtis. Is it just a hotel? Glitterati Patsy Stone would note, “it’s a concept, a destination a way of life” in other words, a really happenin’ scene.

En route to The Curtis, Iowa delegates encountered the first sightings of McCain marchers. Although the Wall St. Journal is reporting today that the McCain strategy in Denver is to flood the DNC sites with McCain-blue shirts and signs, today marked the first time that there has been more than just a sole McCain campaign sign spotting. Unfortunately, the McCain supporters numbered somewhere around ten to eleven, give or a take a body, and were marching just in front of the “Recreate 68” protestors on the 16th Ped-Mall.

Fortunately though, the DNC delegates did not jeer the McCain supporters. Police walking alongside these Republicans were all smiles and waves, no doubt thinking themselves lucky that so far there have been no more violent demonstrations. (However, if you believe what MSNBC would have you believe, that we are mere hours away from learning McCain’s running mate, the current trembling peace between these two houses will soon make civil hands unclean, again.)

No one can say having been at the Denver Convention until they’ve been to The Curtis hotel. The Ohio delegation is camped out there, everywhere there, with an internet wet-bar in the cramped lobby and the MySpace café many floors up above. NPR has a perch on the second floor; however, it is so quiet there one almost wonders if the police standing guard outside the elevators are really librarians in disguise.

The lobby is right out of the playbook from MTV’s idea of a great convention, with paisley designs beamed around the floors and walls and campaign memorabilia, including some risqué action figures and table books, set up along the walls. The glossy shelves in the Ohio delegation’s lobby café have a large Marge Simpson Pez dispenser and quite a lot of vaguely sixties-themed items and art designs. One almost looks around expecting to see Paul Newman or Abby Hoffmann jump out of the polished woodwork and start rallying against Hubert Humphrey.

Several Iowa delegation members attended a luncheon in the Marco Polo Room, up on the third floor of the Curtis. The event, held just doors down from an Ohio delegation reception in the Duck, Duck Goose Room, was hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations. A special address to the assembled delegates was delivered by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Iowans attending the event were pleasantly surprised to discover that when the elevator doors open a recorded voice makes whimsical welcoming remarks, “Floor two. Peek-a-boo, I see you!”

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Advertisements

Evening musings

By Evan Anderson – Monday afternoon, there was a pre-convention reception honoring the Iowa Delegation at the Hard Rock Café. The nibbly-bits served, amongst other items, included fresh fruit on a stick (everything in Iowa can be served on a stick, including Lutheran green jell-o salad). Finger food at parties for convention goers is standard fare, because at gatherings including both lawmakers and non-lawmakers the members of Congress can eat as much as they want without having to declare finger food as a gift.

The local if not national news was all abuzz, as there were some (“surprise, surprise, surprise!”) arrests of protestors at the Civic Center Park. The protestors demonstrating there wore black, tattoos, piercings and bandannas… as well as quite a lot of crass epitaphs and sloppy sarcastic slogans. The bandannas were more than a fashion statement, they were wore as protection over their noses for fear of tear gas while marching arms locked in arms, but the worst that was used was some pepper spray. The mantra of the protestors located there was “food not bombs”. As with any maxim including the word “bombs,” the police had plenty of unsheathed automatic assault rifles with rubber pellets ready to go when the protestors made their move.

Returning from Pepsi was itself a battle for Algiers, with re-routes for all the convention shuttles and further continued traffic congestion.

Back in the hotel, we drifted into a much needed sleep while accompanied with the light jazz program coming from a sonorous grand piano in the ballroom. The music was coming from the Nevada delegation’s continued strident takeover of the hotel. At least they were far better behaved than a smattering of delegates who murmured their disapproval of former Iowa Congressman Jim leach during his initial remarks. It should be noted that Leach appears in the peak of health and surprisingly energized in this, his road to perdition.

The evening convention was just the tip of the non-frosted iceberg that the DNC provides for its own, with rallies for Planned Parenthood spilling out onto the sidewalks around Larimer Square and parties for many of the states being hosted along the gambit of 16th St Mall-to-Union Square (and back again).

One cotillion the Iowa delegation is unlikely to see soon will be the Secret Service’s unpublicized self-congratulatory gala, provided they find time to have one. Certainly there were enough plains clothed officers at Pepsi to take over a small Latin American nation. If the tone and actions of the protestors do not change soon, perhaps it is safe to say they would feel more at home in a disorganized failed state, Columbia, Honduras or John McCain’s campaign.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]