Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More from the Neighborhood Ball

Here are some photos from, which covered the event live: Including one where you can see the back of my head as I take a video of the Obamas dancing while turning to look at Beyonce.

Also, here is a very short video of the walk into the hall:

And one of Barack addressing the crowd. Note that I am NOT one of the people you hear next to me yelling "I love you" to the new President. While I do have the highest regard, I had only had one glass of champagne at this point... and clearly others around me had made better progress on the alcohol line...

Neighborhood Ball

After a rocky start to the day, the Neighborhood ball set it right, exceeding all expectations. Teresa and I staked out a place right near the main stage and were actually standing in a very narrow space between Beyonce and the President, when Beyonce sang for their first dance. By the time we got to Shakira, Alicia Keys, and then Sting with Stevie Wonder, we were actually in the front row, about 15 feet from the performers. I will post more photos and videos later, but for now, here are a few...

Below: Anton Konev, Andrea, Corey Ellis and me.

Teresa and I near the stage

Beyonce getting ready to go on:

Beyonce sings while the President and First Lady dance their first dance of the evening:

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill make an appearance:

Sting warming up, before playing "Brand New Day."

Purple Ticket Fiasco

Not having the heart to re-count this, I am pasting below my Twitter updates from the swearing in: (to be read from the bottom up.)

GREAT MEAL AT CAFE BELGA ~WILL 2 LIVE RESTORED about 10 hours ago from txt

BELGIAN CAFE 4 LUNCH~NEED A BEER about 12 hours ago from txt

Will laugh about this some day...just not any day soon. about 12 hours ago from web

Back home at Teresa's in time to hear the benediction. about 12 hours ago from web

#INAUG09 DENIED GATES LOCKED about 13 hours ago from txt

GETTING IN NOW about 13 hours ago from txt

TRYING THE OTHER SIDE about 13 hours ago from txt

#INAUG09 PURPLE LINE-PEOPLE GIVING UP about 14 hours ago from txt

#INAUG09 STARTING TO THINK WERE NOT GETTING IN about 14 hours ago from txt

#INAUG09 PURPLE LINE PEOPLE CHANTING LET US IN about 14 hours ago from txt

#INAUg09 80 YARDS FROM PURPLE GATE - NO MOVEMENT about 15 hours ago from txt

#INAUG09 WORST LINE MANAGEMENT I HAVE EUER SEEN about 15 hours ago from txt

#INAUG09 MORE MVT IN PURPLE LINE 15 FEET about 15 hours ago from txt

#INAUG09 SOME MVMT IN PURPLE LINE about 16 hours ago from txt

#INAUG09 PURPLE LINE AT IND+1ST NOT MOUING about 16 hours ago from txt

STILL IN "LINE." about 16 hours ago from txt

STUCK ON CORNER OF 1ST AND INDIANA - NO MOUEMENT about 17 hours ago from txt

TRYING TO GET TO BACK OF PURPLE LINE - CHAOS! about 17 hours ago from txt

This may apply to text messages too. about 18 hours ago from web

Have heard that cell phone service may be disabled for a two mile radius around to the capitol for the duration. about 18 hours ago from web

About to walk to the inauguration - gates open at 9, but don't want to be at the back of the line. about 18 hours ago from web

Volunteer and Staff Party

At the volunteer and staff party Monday night, several of the Obama grassroots organizations from across the country were honored, including Syracuse for Obama. Jim Palk and I were there to give a shout for Syracuse when they did, and they had made up a very nice recognition certificate for the group.

I wore my "Yes We Did" dress to this one because it was less formal than the Tuesday night balls. It was quite a hit and several people stopped me and asked to take my picture.

On the way out I got this photo with the ubiquitous cardboard cutout of Barack Obama:

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day Service event at RFK Stadium

This morning I got a text message from the Obama team asking people to go to RFK stadium for a service event to assemble care packages for US military personal serving overseas.

So Teresa, Angela and I drove over to RFK and found a massive operation that was more like a participatory piece of public performance art than a true service event, but it was very well organized and fun.

As thousands of people streamed in they were herded into lines where you would be handed a clipboard with a stack of sign in slips. You would fill in your name address, phone number and email address and then hand the slip and the rest of the clipboard to a volunteer who would collect the info and pass the clipboard back to a runner to go to someone else at the back of the line.

Once inside we were directed to a section of the stadium, where a groups of about 100 were seated together and a voluteer with a megaphone gave us instructions and then led us all in a very silly Obama dance that we were supposed to do in unison, followed by a few rounds of the "Fired Up, Ready to Go" chant with the group next to us.

After this preparation, we were sent into one of the entrances to a very long, heated tent facility, where we would snake through a line, pick up a plastic bag and walk our way past volunteers who would add their particular item into the bag, trick-or-treat style. Finally at the end of the long circuit we would hand the filled bag to another volunteer, who would seal it and put it with the others in groups. Then we would walk aound the circle, and go through the whole circuit again.

Finally, after several loops we were directed out to an area where everyone was asked to write personalized notes, which were to be put in with the care packages. This was set up whereby volunteers made sure that clipboards with stacks of thank you cards and a pen were placed at each stadium seat, so that wherever you went, you could pick one up and write one, or many notes, and then put the clipboard back on the seat for the next person.

In that manner, 75,000 care packages were assembled, and many thousands of volunteers were given a chance to participate. On the way out everyone was given a red target bag with a commemorative bottle of water, a note of thanks, and a brownie for the road.

DL21C Party

At night Andrea and I went to the DL21C party at the K-Street Lounge. There we saw some familiar faces: John DeSantis from Syracuse for Obama, Alice Anderson and Shannon Anderson from the New York Obama team, David Pollack - the New York State Director for the Obama campaign, Anton Konev, who continues to be an organizer in Albany, and Paul Newell, who was a delegate from New York City, and whom I got to know at the Convention in Denver.

I also met a man named Drexel, who was intent on overturning the security rule that no pens were allowed in the club for "security reasons." In addition to being an obviously absurd rule, he pointed out to any of the staff who would listen, that this rule prevented anyone from exchanging phone numbers, which was clearly not the intended effect. Apparently they got sick of arguing with him, because he was later busily exchanging information with all those with whom he spoke. In the land of the penless networkers, the man with the single writing implement is king.

The only elected official I saw at the party was an obviously uncomfortable Congressman Nadler, who spoke to a few people and then hurried out a side door. This was an act of apparent civil disobediance in clubland, as I gathered from the staff reaction that opening one of the glass doors is just not done.

Concert on the National Mall

Andrea and I arrived in DC just as the big concert on the national mall was starting. We thought me might try driving right to it, but decided that would be a bad idea when we heard on the radio that there were so many people that even nearby hills were packed to capacity with people trying to catch a glimpse. So, we went to her hotel in Arlington and took the Metro, which got us there as Stevie Wonder was playing. We could hear him as we walked around the perimeter of the national mall, looking for an access point. U2 played next, as we finally got in near the Washington monument (the stage was in front of the Lincoln Memorial.) Even this far away thousands of people were milling about trying to even see one of the massive screens set up all over the National Mall.

Shortly after the above video was taken, President Elect Obama came out and spoke. Videotaping this would have been pointless, as we could hear him very well, but only see part of the stage on the screen to the right of the Washington Monument. Still, we were glad that we got there in time to at least hear the speech before everyone scattered (or tried to scatter as best they could amid 500,000 people.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Invitations to the Inauguration

I, and several others from the Syracuse area are busilly getting ready to go to Washington for the Inauguration this coming Tuesday. I will use this blog to post ocassional items from the inauguration weekend.

Before I go, I thought I would share the actual invitations to the swearing-in ceremony and the inaugural ball I will be attending. In addition to getting a coveted ticked to the swearing in ceremony, I was also fortunate enough to get a ticket to the "Neighborhood Ball," which will be the featured ball of the night (televised live on ABC), and the one at which the new President and First Lady dance their first dance of the evening.

Click on any of the images below to see the full sized image.

The formal invitation, but not the actual ticket to get in:

The actual ticket that I will use to get in to the "purple standing area," which is a very good and hard-to-get ticket:

A "Silver Ticket," which will go to one of our many faithful volunteers. This is also very hard to get, but will be further away, on the other side of the reflecting pool. Over a million people are expected to watch from even beyond this point in the non-ticket length of the National Mall, where Jumbo screens will be set up: