Some of us weren’t VIP enough to get into Invesco last night, and some of us were just too lazy to stand in line. For all of the above, there was a populist screening of the Barack Obama speech in LoDo, where the real voters roam.
Thanks to Cricket Wireless (Yay, corporate America!) a giant screen was set up on the side of the Jet Hotel on Wazee Street. By 8 p.m. masses of hipsters, assorted media types, and a few homeless people had gathered beneath it, gazing up at the screen in a weird sort of homage.
Those who had arrived early enough were standing inside a fenced-off area enjoying music and beer, but the rest of us latecomers simply stood on the sidewalk where the 16th Street Mall shuttle bus had dropped us. By the time Obama took the stage, the crowd was hushed.
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It was bizarre to see so many pierced and tattooed people under thirty listening in rapt attention to a politician. They cheered when he talked about allowing gays and lesbians to visit their loved ones in the hospital, and booed at the appropriate John McCain-bashing moments. At one point, as Obama hit a particularly poignant note, a twenty-something woman beside me turned to her friend and pleaded, “Please vote for him.”
After the speech, we didn’t have to wait in any tortuous lines to get home. We simply hopped back on the shuttle, riding past button vendors desperately hawking the last of their wares, and the crowds gathered at Earl’s, hoping to catch a glimpse of Susan Sarandon. But mostly, the streets were strangely quiet.
It seemed that the amiable bums and regular bus riders -- the folks who actually can’t afford cars -- had returned. No one would have guessed that hordes of world leaders were gathered just a few blocks a way. -- Lisa Rab