One schlub tries to hang with the RNC in crowd (and nearly gets arrested for it).
So this is what the RNC party scene is all about: velvet rope and red carpet at Nye's.
Nye's, for those who don't know, is a dusty old smoking-jacket of a bar in Minneapolis. It's a local institution with many regular patrons worthy of institutionalization. It's about as far removed from VIP nightclubs as Sen. Larry Craig is from the Twin Cities this week (my last Larry Craig quip of the week, I promise).
On Sunday, though, Nye's was the site of a la-di-da RNC welcoming party by the Republican Governors Association. Give them credit for picking a place the locals love. But they so-o-o-o missed the point.
For me, getting kicked out of a bar for the first time (first time sober, anyway) wasn't so bad. The really humiliating part was having three plainclothes Hennepin County deputies follow me a mile to the newsroom after I left the party.
It seems that even taking pictures outside of Nye's raises suspicions this week. At least the deputies recognized that a media credential still counts for something. But geez, what if I only had a bus pass for an ID?
Such is my mission over the next four days: One schlub trying to get on the other side of the velvet rope, and to see what the party is all about (the other kind of party). I'm actually optimistic about the rest of the week. I've wormed my way onto quite a few guest lists.
The only really hard shell to crack has been tonight's "Keep Florida Red!" bash with LeAnn Rimes at Trocaderos. Yeah, go figure. A music lover like me groveling to get on a LeAnn Rimes guest list is about as lowly as Al Franken begging to get into the Playboy mansion.
On Saturday night, I hung out amid the sea of Ralph Lauren blazers and surprisingly few women in the Hilton's lobby bar in downtown Minneapolis. The women who were there -- especially a pair of pretty blondes in dresses that looked sized for Barack Obama's daughters -- were being hovered over like Ohio will be in October.
Most of the small talk around the bar was political, though, not sexual. (Or are they one and the same this week?) My favorite was, "I wake up every morning and pray to God. I pray that we win this [expletive] election!"
There was just as much overcharged, under-thought passion across the street from the Hilton at Orchestra Hall's Spark24 festival. An apolitical 24-hour arts showcase, Spark24 was inundated with dreadlocked and tattooed activists for the 2:45 a.m. set by eco-friendly rock band Cloud Cult.
These greatly concerned citizens showed just how thoughtful they are by disrupting the band's quieter numbers with anti-RNC chants. Afterward, a bunch of them went outside to discuss bringing down corporate corruption and saving the planet over a cigarette break.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658