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Posted at 04:01 PM ET, 09/03/2012

The party scene in Charlotte: All about making it into the next party

At least two guests stop the networking long enough to listen to Robert Earl Keen and his band at the DGA kickoff party Sunday night in Charlotte. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)
CHARLOTTE — Party-crashing: the unofficial sport of the Democratic National Convention.

You text a friend who texts another friend who slips outside to meet you by the entrance and walks you around the corner — out of view of the clipboard sentries — to hand you someone else’s VIP pass (“get it back to me once you’re inside, okay?”), and then you finally make it across the gilded threshhold to find. . . a room full of people plotting how to make it into the next party.

Only at a political convention? The courtesy phone-charging bar at the DGA kickoff party. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)
In fairness, the Democratic Governors Association Sunday night kick-off party — on an open-air rooftop ringed by the glowing corporate office towers of downtown Charlotte — also featured deviled eggs and BBQ sliders, open bars and, naturally, a free phone-recharging station, because, well, of course. Also, a concert by Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen. But under the music, the ever-present hum of extracurricular logistics planning.

“There are so many events!” said Steve Ross, head of the D.C.-based Artists & Athletes Alliance, who had just run a similar party gauntlet in Tampa. “I’m trying to stay flexible, stay loose.” But yes, “I do have a spreadsheet.”

He added: “It’s overwhelming the options you have. Do you want to see Flo Rida [the rapper, headlining a private party benefitting the help-our-vets “Got Your 6” campaign], “or do you want to see Common [another rapper, performing at an RIAA gala]?” It’s all good, man. Our spreadsheet says they’re different nights.

Pacing oneself is key this week. On Saturday night, as the very first convention-goers arrived, one overserved California delegate brawled with staff at a hotel while another passed out in the lobby, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Inside the DGA party’s gauzy white VIP tent (not as hard to penetrate, actually, if you walk with confidence), Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (a gubernatorial hopeful) braved the Carolina humidity in a blazer. His first convention? San Francisco in 1984. His Yale roommate’s dad ran Gary Hart’s campaign and hooked them up. “I organized a concert with Kenny Loggins and Carole King. That was my job,” he said.

Back then, of course, he thought the best part of the conventions were the after-hours parties. Now, he told us, “the very best part is the delegation breakfasts — you see everyone from home!” Sigh, another thing to crash? Will adjust our spreadsheets accordingly.

Earlier in The Reliable Source:

Yes, of course Michaele Salahi came to the convention with Neal Schon and Journey

Clint Eastwood goes unscripted with punchy speech at Republican convention (video)

John McCain’s quiet birthday on the sidelines in Tampa

Who’s the fourth kid with the Paul Ryan family? Chloe Romney (video)

GOP women in red on convention stage: Was there a memo going around? (photos)

By  |  04:01 PM ET, 09/03/2012

Categories:  Politics, Parties | Tags:  dnclive, ep

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