The Unconventional Conventionaire: Getting The Party Started In Denver

Party animals — in this case, asses — should watch themselves this week, as we've got some spies watching them. Our main Mata Hari is the "Unconventional Conventionaire", a convention goer who cares less about The Party and more about the parties: she's got her eyes and ears at the ready, her ass on the dance floor and her laptop back at the hotel just waiting to sell out what all is being sold behind the scenes at the DNC. In this edition, she hits up the weekend's pre-convention parties with a couple of balls, a couple of drinks and one very big eye-roll at what little it takes to inspire fangirl giggling in Denver.

Greetings from Denver! It's the weekend before the Democratic Convention and I'm out here already because everyone knows that it's never too early to start the party. (Except when it's definitely too early to start the party. But I'll get to that part later.)

The first thing you should know about me is that I don't do politics as much as I do drinking. It's a sad but true fact and I'd feel worse about that if Megan didn't already have those bases so very clearly and capably covered and if it weren't so patently impossible that I would and/or could do something as much as I do drinking. (Though, to be fair, I do read a lot.) The second thing you should know is that while I'm out here in Denver for a variety of reasons, the most important is that I have made it my goal to hit as many parties in one week as humanly possible. (What can I say? I make up in RSVP's what I lack in credentials.) And, lastly, you should know that I am ready to spill.

And so: my Saturday night began at the Media Welcome Party held at Six Flags Elitch Gardens, ended at Salon's house party, and involved the home-state Senator Ken Salazar, a surprising amount of alcohol, some thinly veiled sexism, and a half-eaten testicle.

I arrived at the kick-off party late and at exactly the same time as Senator Salazar and his spectacular cowboy hat, which would prove fortuitous in that he (and his hat) ended up being the only bold-faced name Elitch Gardens had to offer. I made my way immediately to the Molson Coors beer tent where I helped myself to a wristband, a Coors Light, and a Rocky Mountain Oyster. Now, there's only one other thing you need to know about me which is that I'm originally from a coast, which means that when you say oyster, I say a dozen, and which also means that after exclaiming, "Yes, please!" to the server and daintily dipping my deep-fried aphrodisiac into the proffered sauce, I popped the whole goddamn thing in my mouth. Which, luckily, is precisely the moment a good Rocky Mountain Samaritan tapped me on the shoulder and stage whispered, "That's a testicle," which, in turn, was no more than 3 seconds before I swore loudly, spat the offending organ into my hand, chugged the rest of my beer and decided to get the hell out of there.

I caught a ride with some Washington Post people who's names I didn't catch and who were undeniably un-fun, but who, at the very least, were headed in the same direction, which is to say the Salon-hosted house party, which is where I filled a plate with blue cheese, artichokes, and slightly stale bread, poured myself a hefty glass of wine, and wandered outside. A quick survey saw Time's Joe Klein in conversation with CNN cutie Jeff Toobin, and, separately, Pennsylvania's Governor "Ed" Rendell, surrounded somewhat unsurprisingly by a bevy of beautiful bloggers, one Fox news producer, and Joan Walsh, Salon's Editor-in-Chief, all of whom were offhandedly described as "groupies" by the unrecognizable guy next to me to his equally unrecognizable friend next to him. I half-heartedly took offense and glared because, seriously, when was the last time a group of well-known media men surrounding a female politician were ever labeled "groupies"? But then I saw the way one blogger positively kvelled when the Gov'ner touched her inner elbow to emphasize a point, and I decided I was far too sober to be making any sort of judgments on anyone.

Which was exactly the problem. The altitude ("mile-high" sounds a lot more fun on an airplane) and the fear struck in all of our hearts by an adversely affected tolerance meant that everyone (including myself) was incredibly and disappointingly sober. So, after listening to Walter Shapiro - Salon's Washington Bureau chief and a veritable convention legend (he's been attending since the 60's) - recount a near miss on Wynkoop with a Hefner-emblazoned limo – Hef's daughter Chrystie, no doubt, I hear she's in town – I managed to catch a cab home and put myself to bed, because this time, this weekend, it definitely felt too early to start the party.

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