Obama Campaign Takes Message To Hollywood's VIP Booths


Hoping to reach the next generation of politically minded entertainment industry influencers who one day might achieve enough success to throw him lavish, billionaire-courting fund-raisers at their Carbon Beach compounds and kneecap his rivals in the pages of the NY Times, the Obamamania Campaign Hummer pulled up to the valet stand at Boulevard3 on Saturday night, an attempt to reach Hollywood up-and-comers in the environment in which they're most comfortable: a club the LAT describes as a "one-stop shop for conspicuous nightlife consumption. Variety reports on the scene at Barack Obama's weekend trip to Sunset Boulevard:

They waited patiently behind the red velvet rope. Inside they sipped on any of three brands of vodka, lounging comfortably to a loud beat. And when Barack Obama arrived at this fund-raiser at Hollywood nightclub Boulevard3, they swarmed him like the paparazzi would pursue a tabloid darling.
It was not the Paris Hilton crowd, but this was a decidedly younger, looser group of entertainment industry professionals — actors, producers and managers in their late 20s and 30s — who came to hear Obama's inspirational message. [...]

But the key to Obama's Boulevard3 event was its $500-per-person cost — a bargain when it comes to entertainment political fund-raisers. Although such politically active figures as Lawrence Bender, Oliver Stone, Nicole Avant and Jane Fonda were in the mix, many in the crowd were political neophytes, drawn to Obama's call for a new kind of politics. [...]

The event, which raised more than $300,000, was organized by O08 the Movement, a group of industry professionals seeking to reach a younger pool of donors and activists. Among its members is actor Hill Harper, one of Obama's law-school classmates. (He admitted that some of the fellow actors to whom he spoke had to be informed that there would be no red carpet). The group helped draw such celebrity names as Jessica Biel, Gabrielle Union, Taye Diggs, Anthony LaPaglia, Dave Annable, Kate Walsh, Nia Vardalos, Joy Bryant, Henry Simmons, Amy Smart and Regina King. Cedric the Entertainer introduced Obama on a makeshift stage.

Realizing that even the relatively modest $500-per-head of this event would still price out many thousands of low-level industry donors, the savvy Clinton campaign—never willing to concede their show business turf to the senator from Illinois—already has a plan to counter Obama's Young Hollywood strategy: they'll soon announce a $25 buy-in Assistant Beer Pong Tournament, in which Hillary herself will field a team, explaining her stances on national security, Iraq, and health care to her politically curious Beirut opponents in between chugs from red Solo cups full of cheap beer.

[Photo: Getty Images composite]