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Hitting the Club with Kwame, Ben, Al, and John

BY KRISTIN GRIFFIN

THURSDAY, July 29, 2004 -- Snipers lining the rooftops. Protesters shoving photos of aborted fetuses in my face. The faint murmur of protesters stuck within the infamous protest pen. Getting into the convention last night was most definitely an affair to remember. After snagging a couple of credentials at the last minute (and a pair of tickets to the Premium Club on Level 5), I cruised through the crowds and made myself comfortable (well almost -- I stood for more than four hours for fear of losing my prime location) at an open section of counter space in the Club.

I knew on the way into the exclusive section of the arena that things were a little different here as opposed to the "special guest" credentials that guaranteed me seating in the nosebleeds. As I dodged extended camera lenses, making my way towards the glass double-doors that would lead me to the Premium Club, I noticed someone who looked familiar to my right. He was well dressed; crisp suit, bright pink tie, and a signature smile. It does not make me proud to admit that I watched The Apprentice. Nor does it make me proud to admit that I rarely missed an episode. But I was proud tonight to behold Kwame Jackson in a huddle of other well-dressed business-types discussing grad schools. For the few seconds that I watched him as I passed by he appeared just as he did on the show: poised, polite, and professional.

Later, after bypassing the open bar (which was mobbed), I noticed a crowd of people convening outside of those double-glass doors behind which I had seen Kwame. All of a sudden, a rush of air blew by me and there stood the Boston-boy himself, Ben Affleck, looking stressed but maintaining his cool. Dumbstruck and awkward, I managed to mumble "hello" just as he let out an exasperated sigh, puffing out his cheeks and bulging his eyes. He was looking directly at me. "Hi," he replied sweetly after his cathartic exhale. Just when I thought I might be able to spit out something more, a pair of security guards brushed up next to him and cleared the way in the crowded club for the Democratic A-lister to blow through.

Being a Bostonian it is always exciting to have a close celebrity sighting seeing as they donít come around that often, but -- oddly enough -- I found the stuff going on in the hall even more exciting. Al Sharpton completely blew me away and call me easy to impress, but I was charmed by John Edward's charisma as well.


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