The Democrats' 24-Hour Party People

We party at the Democratic National Convention so you don't have to:

* Observed in soft focus Tuesday night at GQ magazine's impossibly crowded party for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom: aspiring film director Alexandra Kerry in deep conversation with actor John Cusack. A mag insider floated the story that Cusack may play John Kerry in a movie, but the only Kerry film we know about is George Butler's documentary featuring the candidate himself. We didn't dare eavesdrop or spoil the pair's cinematic moment, so we'll file it under Hollywood mythology, at least until the Democratic National Committee press release comes out.

Fire marshals repeatedly threatened to shut down the party, thrown in a restaurant that held only 240, while rained-upon mortals -- assured they were on the guest list -- waited grousing outside as the likes of Arianna Huffington were swept inside. Seems hoi polloi had to be patient until the boldfacers within (including political offspring Kristin and Karenna Gore, Cate Edwards and Andrew Cuomo) exited and made space. "I'm terribly, horribly sorry," a PR rep kept apologizing, "but a lot of people in there want to talk to Ben Affleck."

That brought this protest from lawyer Julie Agarwal of Arlington, a Democratic National Committee volunteer: "I don't care about Ben Affleck! Ever since he went out with J. Lo, he went out the window." We wish we'd said that.

* Rastaman vibrations: Yes, that was 60-year-old Sen. John Breaux in a Hawaiian shirt, leading a dance line as Ziggy Marley covered his father Bob's reggae classics at Tuesday night's "Caribbean Carnival," hosted by Breaux at the New England Aquarium. "He was dancing and jamming and throwing his thumbs up," reports our eyewitness, a Hill staffer. "Hysterical."

* How hot a ticket was last night's Creative Coalition bash headlined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers? "I heard people were swapping 20 convention floor passes for a single ticket," a PR rep told us. And we heard that even hip-hop magnate Sean "P. Diddy" Combs had to scramble to score a last-minute ticket after he cut short his St.-Tropez vacation to make the convention scene. The sold-out benefit for the nonprofit arts advocacy group gave Dem lawmakers a chance to mingle with your basic celebrity types, including Billy Crystal, Minnie Driver, Ellen Burstyn, Rachael Leigh Cook, Willie Nelson, Alfre Woodard, Jason Bateman, Alan Cumming and -- yawn -- Ben Affleck.

Moore Sends His Regrets to Texas

* Because no day shall pass without "Fahrenheit 9/11" hype, we must report that Michael Moore decided to be a no-show at last night's Crawford, Tex., premiere of his movie. Says a Moore aide: "It became abundantly clear that his physical presence may have made it very difficult for the movie to be shown without any disruptions."

But Moore has maintained a considerable presence at the Dem convention in Boston, where he has been shuttled around town with a security contingent befitting an elected official. One very wise man of the movies and politics, Jack Valenti, offered a "Fahrenheit" hubbub reality check. "It is really just entertainment," he told The Post's Hamil Harris. "It's a movie."

Kennedy Passing the Baton? Hardly!

* Blood brothers: Backed by the Boston Pops Orchestra, Bono sang a passionate tribute to Sen. Edward Kennedy on Tuesday night at Symphony Hall, part of the convention's salute to the senior senator from Massachusetts. On "In the Name of Love," Bono revised the lyrics to mention 1963 and 1968, the years two of Kennedy's brothers were assassinated, and praised Teddy's "American heart/Irish blood."

Accompanied by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the U2 frontman also crooned "The Hands That Built America," from the soundtrack for "Gangs of New York." Bono joked that, at the Golden Globes ceremony in 2003, "I met Dick Cheney and I ended up using an expletive. There's been an awful lot of fuss about this particular expletive." (Maybe because Cheney later used it?)

Then they not only let Kennedy sing -- backed by an a cappella quartet, he tortured his part of "Sweet Adeline" -- but he also got to take the podium for the closing number. Gleefully flinging the baton to and fro, Kennedy led the orchestra through "The Stars and Stripes Forever." They survived, but he's much better at keeping Dems on key.

Shakes & Aches: Watch Out, Grip-and-Grinners!

* Annals of lobbying: At a Boston luncheon saluting Democratic women in Congress, Christina A. Metzler, a lobbyist for the Bethesda-based American Occupational Therapy Association, distributed pamphlets that warn of the perils of shaking too many hands on the campaign trail.

"At the close of a long day you may find yourself with pain and stiffness in your hands, arms, neck and back and dreading that crushing grip from an overenthusiastic well-wisher," it noted, and offered these tips for relief: "Change hands. . . . Put your arm around a person's shoulder before they grab your hand. Hold something that cannot easily be put down." And if all else fails, don a drugstore-issue splint or brace "to warn off aggressive glad-handers."

As she shook hands, Metzler herself was feeling no pain. "I schmooze for a living," she told The Post's Jeffrey H. Birnbaum. "I'm in shape."

With Anne Schroeder