This post will be continously updated during DNC week.
While the Democrats, the Obama campaign and the attendant corporate sponsors pull out all the stops for this week’s historic Democratic National Convention, there’s a shadow structure of progressive organizing taking the form of panels, protests, film festivals and, of course, parties trying to catch the eyes of the world which will be focused on Denver this week.
So take this post as an informal and unavoidably incomplete guide to what’s going on outside the convention hall this week in Denver with a particular focus on those events that are available for viewing or listening online and that are open to the public. And do check out my friend Don Hazen’s informative look at what’s going on at Alternet, the website he’s built into one of the most well-read progressive destinations on the internet.
There are a raft of events to recommend today Sunday, August 24, the eve of the DNC.
Kicking off the festivities at the Big Tent (a collaboration between the Denver grassroots group Progress Now, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, leading liberal blogging site Daily Kos and corporate sponsor Google) is Live From Main Street Denver which will feature what will undoubtedly be an intense and insightful discussion on The Challenges of Change: Exploring the Conflicts and Opportunities Ahead, hosted by Laura Flanders of Grit TV, along with newly elected Rep. Donna Edwards, Van Jones, David Sirota and former Colorado State Sen. Polly Baca. The entire event will be webcast live today starting at 4:00pm (Rocky Mtn Time).
Taking place, unfortunately, at the same time is The Nation‘s own collaboration with the Denver Public Library and Rocky Mountain PBS: From Fannie Lou Hamer to Barack Obama: How the Civil Rights Movement Changed American Politics. This free event will feature the Honorable John Conyers, House Judiciary Chair and the longest-serving African-American Congressman; composer, conductor and musician David Amram and the David Amram Trio; The Nation‘s John Nichols and the Colorado Children’s Chorale. It will be suitable for all ages and musical and political tastes. The event takes place at the Colorado Convention Center starting at 5:00 today and is free of charge.
While all this is going on, Code Pink is organizing an antiwar march starting at noon leaving from Denver’s Union Station and snaking down to Cuernavaca Park.
Meanwhile, a cohort of radicial activists are keeping the focus on Iraq and Afghanistan in a 7:00 rally in Denver’s historic African-American community of Five Points, which will be visited by very few of those in town for the DNC. An Evening of Conscience features Ron Kovic, Cindy Sheehan, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, Jeremy Scahill and Sunsara Taylor united in speaking out against the wars on terror. Taking place at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater, 119 Park Avenue West, Denver.
And to top off the evening, the Progressive Democrats of America are staging a Progressive Welcome to Denver. Hosted by Mimi Kennedy, PDA Advisory Board Chair, the event features Rep. Barbara Lee, Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and PDA Advisory Board member; The Nation‘s John Nichols, Tom Hayden, author, activist; Jim Zogby, Arab American Institute and DNC member; Jim Hightower, journalist and PDA Advisory Board member. Music by Dan Reed. Suggested donation: $15.00. From 8:00 to 10:00 PM at the Central Presbyterian Church (1660 Sherman St.) in downtown Denver.
In the liberal media world, Air America is producing a three-hour radio extravaganza on Monday starting at 3:00pm with an impressive group of commentators including Arianna Huffington, Paul Krugman, Jane Meyer, Ted Sorensen, Jonathan Alter and Markos Moulitsas. Everything will be webcast live at airamerica.com, with highlights airing on Air America Radio during the course of convention week.
Also starting Monday is The Nation‘s own conversation series.
August 25th to 28th
11:00am to 12:30 daily
Free of charge
Central Presbyterian Church
1660 Sherman Street, Downtown Denver
Co-sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America
Watch TheNation.com for daily podcasts.
Monday, August 25, 11:00 to 12:30
Moderator, John Nichols—Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. John Conyers and Richard Kim on health care, AIDS, and Africa.
Tuesday, August 26, 11:00 to 12:30
Moderator, John Nichols—Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Jim McGovern and Tom Hayden on getting out of Iraq.
Wednesday, August 27, 11:00 to 12:30
Moderator, John Nichols—Rep. Hilda Solis and Bob Moser on immigration reform and economic justice.
Thursday, August 28, 11:00 to 12:30
Moderator, John Nichols—Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Robert Wexler and Victor Navasky on restoring and maintaining our Constitutional rights.
Check PDAmerica.org for info on afternoon panels being staged by our friends at PDA during the week of August 25th featuring many of the most prominent progressive legislators currently working along with an illustrious set of activists including Laura Flanders, Tom Hayden, Jeff Cohen, Chris Raab, Lennox Yearwod, Mimi Kennedy, Jim Hightower, Medea Benjamin, Jim Zogby and Majora Carter, among many others.
The most glamorous offsite venue will be Jamie McGurk and Victoria Hooper‘s Starz Lounge. The two well-connected Los Angeles-based activists have put together a week-long forum featuring celebrities and Big Thinkers like actresses Charlize Theron, Daryl Hannah, Rosario Dawson and Kerry Washington; actors Ben Affleck, Josh Brolin, Kal Penn and Hill Harper, Stuart Townsend and musician/filmmaker Will.i.am as well as Tom Hayden, David Brock, Arianna Huffington, John Podesta, Rebecca Traister, Walter Isaacson and Dennis Prager.
One of the most star-studded events at Starz will be a sneak peek at The People Speak, the forthcoming documentary film from historian Howard Zinn and producer Chris Moore on Wednesday at 4:00pm. An all-star panel featuring Affleck, Taye Diggs, Hill Harper and many others will be performing historical readings drawn from Zinn’s seminal account of the history of the United States through the eyes of those rarely heard in mainstream histories.
Across both the political and cultural spectrum from the Starz crowd is the unfortunately named Recreate 68. (I say unfortunate only because the chaos of Chicago ’68 that the group’s organizers are trying to evoke made more difficult the goal of expeditiously ending the Vietnam War. I applaud the group’s emphasis on the core issues affecting most Americans today.) There are free concerts planned by Public Enemy on Tuesday at 2:00pm at Civic Center Park and Rage Against the Machine at 11:00am on Wednesday at the Colorado Coliseum as well as a host of protest activities of various creative types.