Is this town big enough for both Sean Penn and the Obama Girl?
Entertainers at all levels of political seriousness are finding their niches on the sidelines of the Democratic National Convention.
Penn showed up at the city’s public library Tuesday as an observer at an Oxfam America round-table panel about Gulf Coast recovery efforts. He didn’t speak to the group but chatted later with moderator Ted Koppel and the nonprofit’s president.
Penn, whose politics generally lean left of the Democratic Party, was to address a rally Wednesday linked to Ralph Nader’s independent presidential candidacy.
The Obama Girl, Amber Lee Ettinger, was getting a bigger stage than ever Wednesday with an appearance on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”
At a party sponsored by the nonprofit Do Something, the online video star vamped for cameras and plotted some face time with candidate Barack Obama: “I think one day I’ll be able to meet him and Michelle. I just don’t think it’s going to be this week.”
Other celebrities spotted around the city Tuesday:
- Louis Gossett Jr. was on the convention floor and later at the CNN Grill, a restaurant and lounge area also visited by Ashley Judd.
- Spike Lee, on the convention floor, wore a T-shirt that featured caricatures of Obama dunking on John McCain. Also on the floor, and later at the Do Something party at the Jet Hotel and Lounge: “The Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver.
- Chevy Chase and his wife also stopped by the Jet party, saying they were attending Obama’s Thursday speech. Chase’s reaction to last weekend’s announcement of Sen. Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate: “I wet my pants.”
- Chris Daughtry performed with his band at a club called The Church. Daughtry said he’d spoken with Jon Bon Jovi a few days earlier and the rocker hadn’t mentioned a rumored Thursday pre-Obama speech gig (Bruce Springsteen is supposed to play afterward).
- At the same club, Everclear frontman Art Alexakis debuted a song called “Jesus Was a Democrat.” “This song is a pointed attack at people who call themselves Christians but act anything far from it,” he said.
- Moby played an acoustic set at the Jet, performing “Ring of Fire” and, upon request, “Free Bird.” He told the crowd it was his policy to play the Lynyrd Skynyrd song if anybody shouted it out. Afterward, he exchanged a handshake and posed for photos with rapper Bun B.
- Charles Barkley roamed the CNN Grill, chatting casually with others in the restaurant. “This is going to be historic,” he said.
- Among those spotted heading into the Pepsi Center through the VIP entrance: Angela Bassett and Richard Dreyfuss.