Caught on Camera

Before we left Charlotte, Ayanna and I chatted on camera with Mike Deehan from State House News Service about how the convention was going, and how this blog came to be … and Ayanna’s fear that I would blog about her snoring.

I tried to embed the video, but I failed. Forgive me, and watch it on YouTube instead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVEj9i8d0Hc&feature=youtu.be

Hats Off

Of the four Democratic National Conventions I have been to (Chicago, LA, Boston, and now Charlotte), this has been the most subdued in terms of crazy hats and outfits. Kind of a let down.

I still got a few shots of the more creative Dems around. Plus a bonus pic of Angus McQuilken in his bike helmet at a Massachusetts breakfast.

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I can’t help myself.

I can’t help but be a little excited when I see the B-Cycle bike sharing stations all around Uptown in Charlotte. Obviously we have Hubway in the Boston area, including stations that launched in Brookline this summer. I’m a big fan.

It seems that B-Cycle operates similarly to Hubway. A 24 hour pass is $8 and an annual membership is $65. Like Hubway, the first half hour of your ride is included in that cost, and there are incremental charges if you need additional time.

B-Cycle looks like it is being used a bit during the Convention. I wonder what it would have been like if Hubway was around for the DNC on Boston in 2004?

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DNC Night 2.

Am I the only one with Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow stuck in my head after last night? AP isn’t helping with her blog title from this morning. It feels appropriate that everyone was using #ilovethe90s on Twitter last night, because we were all feeling quite nostalgic in the hall listening to President Clinton last night.

A few observations:
– I know it is a cliche, but the only appropriate comparison to use for the environment at the DNC when Bill Clinton took the stage is to a rock concert. I shot a little video on my phone that I’m going to try to attach here so you can get a sense of what it was like in the middle of the hysteria (the video may come later – having some trouble on my phone).

– I’m guessing the cameras had cut out by the time LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took the mic after Presidents Clinton and Obama left the stage. If that was the case, you missed out on the crowd getting rowdy (in a good way) as the Mayor kept us all chanting “Fired up! Ready to go!” He was quite the enthusiastic cheerleader. Someone should have given him some red white and blue pompoms.

– As Ayanna already mentioned, we got stuck outside for a while when it looked like the Fire Marshall might shut down the building. Obviously it all worked out just fine, but we were nervous for a while there given Ayanna’s big role later in the evening entering MA’s votes into the record. When we ended up getting in – after about a 45 minute wait – Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson cleared the way for us. Tito used his skills as a former football player and made sure the three of us got through the crowd and were part of the group that got past the front doors. He literally took our hands and pulled us along with him. Thanks, Tito!

– Our delegation is pretty mellow when it comes to kooky hats an outfits, but longtime Democratic activist Curtis LeMay makes up for how boring the rest of us are with his eye catching vest!

– Adding to what I mentioned about Tuesday night, we really are in a great spot for people watching. Sightings included MC Hammer and Soledad O’Brien, plus Senator Kerry doing a bunch of interviews from the floor.

– The MA crew went Elizabeth Warren crazy! I think it was tough to tell on tv how loudly we were all screaming when she opened her remarks with a shout out to Massachusetts. My ears are still ringing! Lots of our delegates were wearing EW shirts that were part of our swag bags at check in, and she definitely did us proud.

– The bumping-into continued last night. I saw Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards after her speech. She was a regular visitor at PPLM during my tenure there, so it was a treat to see her again. I also ran into Tallahassee City Commissioner and YEO colleague Andrew Gillum as we were leaving the hall.

– Finally, but most importantly, Ayanna and Felix were plain old awesome last night. They read the votes for Massachusetts and we were all beaming with pride. I know only a few faces made it in tv, crowded around them at the mic, but there was a huge contingent from our delegation that stuck around after the Clinton speech to cheer for them during their big moment.

For those desperately waiting for a Party Animals update from last night, our apologies. Ayanna and I showed our true colors last night and didn’t go to any parties. We stopped back in our hotel room with the intention of freshening up and hitting the town, but we lost our momentum and crashed hard. We will try to do better tonight!

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Ommmmm

A few of us in the MA delegation went in search of The Huffington Post’s Oasis, the zen lounge set up at both the DNC and RNC to help attendees relax and stay healthy in the midst of the madness of the convention.

Word is that MA’s own event guru Bryan Rafanelli was the mastermind behind the calming wonderland. Everything was pure white, with peaceful scented candles lit everywhere, and stunning floral arrangements on display. There were yoga studios, makeup artists, and a spa. I wasn’t speedy enough to sign up for one of the limited spa or makeup appointments, but everyone I saw coming out of those rooms looked like election stress was the last thing on their minds. So jealous.

There were healthy treats available throughout the lounge, which was quite large and had probably 5 or 6 spacious rooms. Comfy plush white couches were around every corner, and the folks behind Bliss spa products were giving away samples of lotion with cheeky campaign-related names (see the pics below). I snagged a few of those bottles!

Far and away the highlight of the Oasis visit was watching a yoga instructor guide Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo in some poses. I’m not sure Felix is going to be investing in a yoga mat anytime soon, but he was a good sport.

No question it felt hugely indulgent to spend time at Oasis, but it was a welcome break from the high-speed pace of the convention.

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Party Animals – Tuesday

Calling us party animals last night is a pretty big stretch. We were tired and were dragging, but we did our best to rally and stop by a few places.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund – the political arm of Planned Parenthood – had their signature Sex, Politics & Cocktails party at a local event space, and we spent a little bit of time there. Ayanna ran into a former colleague from her days working for Senator Kerry, and I reconnected with some of my DC counterparts from my time working for Planned Parenthood League of MA. They were passing around neon-green Obama-tinis, but any drink that color just makes me think of Ecto-Cooler from back in the day, so I passed.

After that we checked out The Future Party, which was hosted by a whole bunch of progressive organizations for elected and other leaders under 40. Ayanna and I had been involved with two of the sponsoring groups – Ayanna with the Truman Project, and for me the Young Elected Officials Network – so once again we both ran into folks we knew. I bumped into Cincinnati City Councilor PG Sittenfeld, a YEO colleague of mine, and AP chatted with Alex Cornell du Houx, a State Rep from Maine she had met at a Truman training. The Democratic Party is a small, small world.

As always, some of the best moments are when you’re just wandering around and stumble across people and places. We happened upon the MSNBC outdoor studio on our way back to the hotel, and also got to say hello to Donna Brazile and Reggie Love on the streets of Charlotte in the wee hours.

We snapped a few pics along the way. Nothing too incriminating!