Democratic Convention, Celebrity Heaven


BOSTON—Looking very much like presidential candidates at an informal
debate, a group of celebrities got together this afternoon at the
Schubert Theater, and to a packed audience filled with its own share of
luminaries—Mark Green and Terry McAuliffe—gave a star’s view of the

Ben Affleck brought the megawatts; as a candidate, he looked
presentable, passionate—and he’s clearly very popular. But he kept
joking about his personal problems, and in a tight race, it might mean
points. Al Franken, clearly sharpened by his radio experience, would be
anybody’s choice for secretary of state, or some other close advisory
position. When Alec Baldwin veered off color/message—talking about the
Americans who live in “flyover country,” for instance—it was Franken who
brought the conversation back to earth, scolding Baldwin in the process.
Rob Reiner ran strong in the VP slot, dutifully spitting out his water
after a Baldwin gag.

Then there was NYPD Blue‘s Esai Morales, who, after retracting a
statement that George W. Bush is a nice guy (under pressure from
Franken), started in on his own conspiracy theory about September 11,
before Reiner cut him off (as any good VP would do).

With a half hour before showtime at the FleetCenter—where John Edwards
was the night’s big draw—Carlos Silva, Karen Lopez, and Kevin Gutierrez
stole a moment from their gigs delivering food to the high rollers in
the luxury suites. Gutierrez, who is too young to vote, said they’re
making between $8 and $12 an hour. “I’ve seen Jerry Springer and Gwen
Stefanos,” he said. Gwen Stefani? “No, the anchor from Channel 25. And
Bentley.” He meant Maria Stephanos.

“I saw Russell Simmons and that guy who did Fahrenheit 9/11,” said
Silva. Silva and Lopez are cousins, from Cape Verde and Nicaragua,
respectively. They can’t vote either. “There are a bunch of rules,”
said Gutierrez. “We can’t carry cameras, and we can’t ask for
autographs.” The three said they work from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m., with
only a 20-minute break.

“A lot of the music they play is old-people music,” he said. “And they
drink a lot. It’s something different, though. More people. More action.
Famous people.”