Diary of a DNC Party Crasher: Rock the Vote Ballot Bash at Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Today started out like any other day: 6 a.m. coffee, a couple of smokes, some news and left overs from the night before. I turned on the TV and flipped to MSNBC, because that was the one big news network that I happened to see setting up Sunday afternoon by the train station. As soon as I turned it on, I noticed the network was not broadcasting from that stage, but instead they were set up in a diner. I quickly recognized the place, Sam's # 3. Suddenly had an insatiable craving for some bacon and eggs.
After pissing my girlfriend off by suggesting we head down there (she only had to work a half day and was planning on sleeping in), I somehow managed to convince her that this is a once in a life time week and we should take in as much as possible. With that we headed down to Sam's, where, to my surprise, there was no wait. We ended up being seated at the front counter, just behind all the anchors. I could see right away that we were in direct view of the cameras that were taping Morning Joe. I have no idea what Joe Scarborough and company were talking about, but I did manage to sneak my head into several shots. I took lots of awkward pictures of the anchors getting their make-up applied, straightening their ties and tucking in shirts.
By then my girlfriend’s mood lightened considerably; she went from tired and irritated to amused. After that, went back home and slept until about noon. When she left for work, I started hashing out my plan for the night, where I was going to go, what I would wear and who was going to go with me. I figured I had to pick someone who wasn't going to cry if I had ditch them, so naturally I phoned up my buddy Kaleb and then set about deciding which party would be the most challenging to get into. There was plenty of parties that would have sufficed on any average night in Denver, but for my first crash, it had to be the biggest, baddest motherfucker on the slate. GQ party? Naw. Robert Randolph at the Ogden? Too easy. Rock the Vote? Most definitely. That’s the one I’d heard would be impossible to penetrate.
Before he committed, Kaleb wanted to know how we’d get in. I told him that we’d just have to go and see what happens. He was skeptical after reading the DNC cheat sheet, noticing that the word Lucky was thrown around a lot, but he reluctantly aggreed thinking maybe that was a sign.
Whatever. I don't believe in signs, but what the hell, if it sparked his interest why not. Before we headed out, I picked out a really cool shirt to wear. You’ve probably seen it around by now, it’s the black “Defend Denver” shirt some local anarchists have been sporting with the AK 47 underneath. I thought that the shirt made me look kind of tough. At the same time, I feared it might draw attention to me, so I threw on a pin stripped blazer over it, just in case I had to cover it up. I wasn’t interested in giving the cops a reason to kick my fucking ass and throw me in a holding cell. I saw some of that on Sunday and it scared the shit out of me.
I picked Kaleb up just before nine and we made our way to the Palm for some dinner – well, Kaleb ate (a shrimp appetizer, a huge side of potatoes and a massive fillet), anyway. I just grabbed a drink. We were seated outside two tables down from Frank Azar. Shortly after we sat down, James Carville came strolling in wearing a pair of Pumas and a blazer. Dude looked ridiculous, but whatever. Seeing him made me feel better about what I wearing.
After Kaleb finished eating, we finally made our way over to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. The place was crawling with high society types and paparazzi. As we walked up, I became a little discouraged. This really was going to be an impossible gig to crash. Looking down the red carpet, I noticed a gigantic cluster fuck of cameras crowded around someone.
I couldn’t make out who, but I knew it must’ve been somebody noteworthy. So I pushed my way through until I could see who all the fuss was about. It was that dude from Fall Out Boy, the one dating that Simpson girl. I don’t know his name because I could give a fuck about his band, but I recognized him, nonetheless. While he was giving an interview to MTV, I managed to get up really close and ended up being wedged between two microphones, one belonging to MTV and the other to AP.
Standing against the velvet rope, I started firing off shot after shot with my crappy digital camera, as if I were some big shot photographer or something – even though I obviously had the smallest camera of the bunch. Must’ve been pretty convincing. The guy with the AP microphone began chatting me up. “What company you with?" he asked. “Oh I'm with … well, actually, I'm just trying to get into the show tonight. I laid out my inauspicious party-crashing plan for him. "So you are trying to crash the party?" he asked. Yep.
In one of those serendipitous moments, he told me he just happened to need someone to hold his camera still while he gabbed with the celebs. As it turns out, I didn’t have to do shit. He slipped me a media pass, gave me his card and wished me luck. Before I knew it, I was taking pics and chopping it up with the Bold and Beautiful – that is, if you consider Daughtry to be in that class. As he and his band mates made their way inside the Ellie, I asked them who their favorite Colorado band was. “DeVotchKa,” say one of the guys, who identified himself as Joey, the drummer.
What do you know? I was asking questions and drummers were answering them. Fucking A. Take that, Joe Scarborough. But whatever confidence I’d built up, Pharrell Williams from the Neptune's (or should I say N.E.R.D) shot it down. Accompanied by a huge body guard that looked like Suge Knight, he though nothing of snubbing me. "Pharrell? Pharrell?” I beckoned. “Who's your favorite Colorado group or artist?" Without even noticing me, he kept walking in. Slightly dejected by the snub, I made my way inside the Ellie.
Once inside, I took my media badge for a test drive, firing off shots of Jakob Dylan, DJ Skee and N.E.R.D. After all, I had to have proof that I made it in, right?
Getting into an event, whatever it is, doesn't take a lot of money or high powered friends. (Hell, sometimes it doesn't even require that you have a ticket.) Basically you just have to go. That's the first step. After that, you have to be able to think on your feet and you can’t have any boundaries. Whatever happens, you just have to roll with it. Don’t get it twisted, though, I’m under no delusions. I know there’s no way in hell that crashing tonight’s party is going to be as easy as last night’s. Either way, can’t wait to find out.
-- Josh McCurdy