Luminaries headline DNC events

Rosario Dawson, Eva Longoria speak to delegates

DENVER -- They brought out the tambourines and the jazz brunch Tuesday morning in Denver as a number of Hollywood and media types lent their aura to key events on the second day of the Democratic National Convention.

Both the Women's Caucus, co-sponsored by Lifetime, and the Civil Rights Icons reception, co-sponsored by the Creative Coalition, unspooled on historic anniversaries: the date in 1920 when women got the vote and the day 45 years ago Martin Luther King gave his "I have a dream" speech.

Not to mention the added boost in historic resonance of having just come off an unprecedented primary race between a woman and a black candidate.

"This is the culmination of an incredible journey: Less than a century ago, we didn't have the vote. Now we can vote for one another," Lifetime CEO Andrea Wong said to about 1,500 delegates gathered for the caucus at the Colorado Convention Center.

Rosario Dawson and Eva Longoria, both involved in Latino politics in Hollywood, also briefly rallied the troops, with the latter pointing out that Latinos in 30-odd years might be the dominant ethic group in the country. Already, it seems, ethnic minorities in America are outpacing whites.

Longoria also quipped to the assembled, "I'm just representing all the desperate housewives in the room."

The most rousing call to arms to take back the White House and shore up women's inroads in Congress came from CNN commentator and Hillary Clinton supporter Donna Brasile.

Generally mild-mannered on camera, Brasile sent the tambourines a rattling at every mention of "Hillary," whose name she was scheduled to put into nomination Tuesday evening at the DNC's primetime show.

Brasile recalled an offhand slur by one of her male CNN colleagues about Hillary's emotionalism in New Hampshire earlier in the campaign -- "Do you think she was having PMS?" -- using the comment to riff on the achievements and challenges ahead for women and their issues.

There was a similarly upbeat atmosphere at the jazz brunch to honor old-guard civil rights activists Coretta Scott King, Fannie Lou Hamer and Shirley Chisholm.

Spike Lee, Susan Sarandon, Alan Cumming, Richard Schiff, Dana Delany and Anne Hathaway were among those mixing it up with the politicos and activists at a downtown restaurant.

"I'm getting smarter by the minute," Hathaway said, referring to her immersion in the chock-a-block proceedings in and around the four-day confab. (She is there under the auspices of the Creative Coalition.)

It was longtime Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga., who spoke that day 45 years ago alongside King, who set the tone of the event.

"To those who say nothing has changed, come and walk in my shoes," he said. "Call it fate, but something is happening here."

By early afternoon, most of the wearied paparazzi had converged on the patio in front of the so-called Starz Green Room, which the Denver-based cabler has commandeered for panels and screenings.

Forget Obama: He doesn't wing in for a day or two. Greatest star wattage was provided by Charlize Theron who arrived with her boyfriend Stuart Townsend for a screening of his documentary "Battle in Seattle."
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