One of the convention's hottest party tickets was supposed to be GQ's reception for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and it was, sort of. We headed over Tuesday night after the big events -- Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Teresa Heinz Kerry and the unexpected appearance of vice presidential nominee John Edwards for a prespeech sound check -- to find a gaggle of lovely people standing in the rain, plus a line of police ready for a riot. War Room was on the guest list, of course, but so were the other people getting wet, and we were told to go to the back of the line and wait for some people to leave because the size of the crowd was beyond the bar's capacity. Then California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi arrived, with his square-jawed charm, and it was obvious such an illustrious political figure would be allowed in, and that we would then bluster our way in, too -- except he wasn't, and so we couldn't.
That's when War Room retired to an Irish bar across the street, and ran into the New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg and John Cassidy, who'd likewise been exiled from the GQ event. Shortly thereafter Newsom senior advisor Mike Farrah stopped by for a drink, exhausted by his inability to get the mayor's local political friends past the GQ rope Nazis. (GQ will of course blame the fire marshal, and indeed the cops on hand looked ready to shut the party down, but folks who got in earlier said the rope-line workers favored the uninvited fabulous over the mayor's invites.)Farrah almost immediately started making a list of the California elected officials he'd have to call in the morning to make amends for their shabby treatment.
When a would-be populist San Francisco mayor meets a would-be elite New York magazine -- and yes, Ben Affleck got in, though Janeane Garofalo apparently didn't, since she stood outside the bar where War Room drowned its (not exactly) sorrows for more than an hour -- a culture clash can be expected. But Newsom owes those of us in the bar across the street no apologies: We found the party we were looking for, even if the people waiting in the rain didn't.