Celebrities in Philly during the DNC & Stories You Haven’t Heard

Good Thursday morning, sorry I’ve been a little lax in my posts this week TIME has caught up with me and I am got sick with a fever and migraine. I didn’t drink enough water last week, and my body decided to punish me. OK here are the celebrities I saw last week. You may have seen these other places, a couple I have never published, but I have a bunch of stories and will tell you how I found these people.


Just as I suspected there would be a lot of celebrities, I was surprised though that there were not A List, and by A List I mean current in People or Us Magazine celebrities, roaming about Philly. They were on stage at the DNC, but most seemed to head back to where they came afterwards despite the many, many, parties happening nearly 24/7.


Although I was working with the DNC2016 on certain events and parties, the above calendar was sent to me by 3 readers, and I really appreciate it as it helped me understand what events were around. Ironically none of the 3 events I photographed that day are on this calendar.  PLUS You can tell how early a draft this was as the Lady Gaga/Lenny Kravitz party is on a Tuesday night, when it eventually was scheduled on Thursday at 1PM. Rumors were Secretary Hillary Clinton would appear, but I knew that was never true having photographed movie premieres for years. A star will not show up at someone elses’ event even within days of a movie premiere, least those photos get published and not the ones of them on the red carpet at their own event.

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Most of the rumored must do parties like Funny or Die, Google, Twitter, and Spotify were DUDS and I skipped most of them after hearing from my insiders, but I did do 3 hrs of sidewalk time for Funny or Die as my insiders insisted Will Ferrell and friends would go. I was angsting cause it was up against the Cory Booker party at Tiki Lounge, but guess what Cory didn’t even show up to his own party. Another party it was up against was “The Stone Pony in Philly” Now wouldn’t you think that was a Bruce Springsteen party, I did. I sent people over there to Old Bookbinders.  When they texted me that they actually got into the party I realized it couldn’t be a Bruce event, those parties can’t be crashed. It wasn’t Bruce, my friends weren’t even sure who it was.  I did miss the Grace Potter and Friends at Electric Factory, and Joe Walsh at World Cafe, both events I hear were amazing. I think that’s where my celeb friends went.

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Definitely the best events I covered with the most celebs were the Creative Coalition events. I remember during the RNC 2000 they had events so I started doing research. But as luck would have it the online news source Billy Penn published a list of calendar of events. I wrote them and they said they’d get back to me.  At the same time I was chatting with my friends Susan Helfrich and Rich Wolf, Breaking Glass Pictures, who BTW have a film out right now starring Susie Celek, Fight Valley, get it on Demand, and those two I discovered were involved with Creative Coalition. They connected me, I was able to cover a cocktail party where Creative Coalition wanted to raise awareness about tweens, and teens and OTC drug abuse. There were only two photographers there, their house photographer and moi. After the event the PR Henry said I like your work style, you’re polite, and not on top of everyone, here’s a list to the rest of our events.

Dean Norris –  best known for portraying DEA agent Hank Schrader on the AMC series Breaking Bad and Under The Dome at Creative Coalition lunch raising awareness of drug abuse of OTC by Tweens and Teens. At Hotel Monaco.


Nearly every day they had an event, but I only went to 3 of them as my schedule permitted. But what a great experience, and noble causes they took on with their band of celebrities. Troian Bellisario, Alison Pill, Josh Gad, Ashley Judd, and Kevin McHale – poor things couldn’t get a hotel room in Center City and had to stay out at the Airport Hilton. Ashley Judd spent some time at the Wells Fargo Center watching the DNC. Word was spotted in the Cadillac Grille with Aretha Franklin watching the historic night when Hillary gave her speech.


Penn alumni Elizabeth Banks at OTC event. She played Vince Papale’s wife Janet in Invincible. She also produced  a celebrity-studded video in support of Hillary Clinton using Rachel Platten’s hit Fight Song, which was shown Tuesday at the convention. She also appeared at a luncheon to raise awareness on teen obesity. I decided I didn’t want to be an example of what an adult looked like and skipped that luncheon.

Josh Gad likes his checkered shirts I see (like me)

Katy Perry stayed at a private condo at the Barclay, but moved over to the Rittenhouse Hotel when Orlando Bloom flew in. They spent sometime at the Library Bar as well as many of the celebrities that appeared on stage at the DNC.


Monday night I went to the Wells Fargo Center. It was memorable. I got wet with a lot of great people. I didn’t really get to explore the hall as much as I thought I would, IT WAS PACKED. Plus I was with my friend Sheila Hess and we were enjoying our stay in the IBX Box with this fabulous view. My goal for the week wasn’t to shoot who was on the stage, I really wanted to shoot who was behind the scenes in the hallways, in the lounge areas, behind the scenes, the press room, share it with you here as well as on my social media. If you’re following me on Snapchat, those people get all the dirt.


Tuesday was busy: Ashley Judd was making an appearance on behalf of Creative Coalition on Day to to raise awareness around DC Statehood on the 2nd day of DNC at Loews Hotel. – I spoke with her. She was enjoying the City. Had lunch at the new Ruth Chris. Said everyone was nice, and she was happy to be working with the Creative Coalition on worthy causes.

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At DelFrisco’s 3 – 5PM Congressional Black Caucus. Lots of great people were attending, I love that I saw Judge Greg Mathis, and his bff Fareed Ahmed. This photo appeared in online. Did I mention I was working for Philly Media. They approached me a few weeks before and I was honored to shoot for them. They let me do what I do, they didn’t know which parties I would be hitting, they didn’t know the parties as I mentioned I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone and I didn’t, and when I do that I wanna do my best. I think I did it.  My plan was to contribute to my regular outlets, but I forgot to schedule time for that. I think I got 2 columns into PhillyMag, one each for the Metro and 7 or 8 for PhillyMedia. Plus I was on Fox 29 Good Day 5 times, and interviewed for stories twice and once for Chasing News.


Tuesday: Kimmel Center 4 – 6PM Client EnRoute hired us to shoot this party and this shot was taken by PhillyChitChat contributor Andre Flewellan. To celebrate the 2016 Democratic National Convention, international law firm Dentons LLP held a party last week to honor “Dentons Democrats.” Guests included former DNC Chairs Joe Andrew and former Gov. Howard Dean.

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On my way to the Barnes, I saw the cars lined up for Bill Clinton at The Logan Hotel to take him to Wells Fargo where he was speaking that evening.


Tuesday: Comcast throws VP Biden a Goodbye Party at the Barnes Museum. A random Fairmount neighbor was walking by and the sweet Eva Longoria posed with her.

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Oh Lucy Travers has a Mary Dougherty scarf on, she arrived with longtime Rendell friends Morgan Fairchild and Gary Barbera.


Tuesday night I worked on my columns and prepared to go on Fox 29 the next day so I stayed in and missed Bill Clinton’s party at Reading Terminal. But Chole Grace Moretz was there. The next day I got a sighting at the Sofitel of her and her boyfriend Brooklyn Beckham. I was bummed I didn’t have time to hang at the hotels as I thought I would. Turns out most celebrities stayed at either Sofitel or Palomar across the street, with Snoop Dogg staying at Hotel Monaco,

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Lady Gaga, Idina Menzel,  The Clintons, Obamas and Bidens all staying at the Logan Hotel at some point during the week – Note that Pope fence is up, because President and VP were now both at The Logan. If you look back on when Bill Clinton was leaving the Logan on Tuesday, no fences.

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Guests going through the front door had to go through serious security

DNC VP Nominated Tim Kaine and family stayed at the Sonesta


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Debra Messing was everywhere last week, and had time to have a twitter war with Blake Shelton, advising Gwen Stefani to dump him because she thought he supported Trump. OH BOY. She apologized when he said no such thing. On to happier news: Idina Menzel left the Ritz hotel Tuesday after a Democratic women’s tea. A policeman stopped 4 lanes of cars to help her across. She said wow the Philly Police really know how to make a gal feel special.


I love this photo. This was a Q&A with Fitz from Scandal and Carol from West Wing. It was a lot of fun.

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Melissa Fitzgerald, Hrishikesh Hirway (who cohosts a West Wing podcast with show star Josh Malina), and West Wing star Richard Schiff participated in a game of “West Wing Quizzo” at PoliticalFest 2016. Melissa called her friend and costar Allison Janney to help her out with a question. Janney was at work on her show “Mom” and was rushed for time. Richard called costar Bradley Whitford. Both had teams consisting of mega fans of the show. Melissa’s team won.


Then I headed over to hear Congressman John Lewis at the African American Museum


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My piece on Fox 29 when Alex Holley, Mike Jerrick and I break into song as the night’s talent rehearse

The it was on to the Wells Fargo. I got the only cab in Philly with no A/C and the windows busted out. Then when I wasn’t paying attention the guy took me from 10th Street made a right on Chestnut and down to Delaware Ave, I said buddy I’m tourist where you going? Ugh, nightmare. This is the reason people take ubers. Any I left that hot situation and found this hot situation in the Press Tent with Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover. Crazy press. Poor Danny Glover passed out from the intensity of the situation and people. He recovered and held a smaller press conference on why he felt Nina Carter deserved her day at the DNC Podium.


Wednesday night I trolled the halls for shots of interest. Word has it she liked Aston Cigar Bar, as did many of the celebs who headed there late night. Bradley Cooper stayed with his mom and girlfriend in his house in Abington. He told Jimmy Fallon, earlier this week he still lives there part time.

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“During rehearsal [for the July 27 “What the World Needs Now” musical number], after the bulk of the song had been sung, we were asked to walk downstage and form a line while continuing to sing the refrain, ‘What the world needs now.’ We were told to encourage the audience to join in. Maybe clap. In performance, as we walked down to the lip of the stage, the energy of 30,000 people met us halfway. I’ve never felt anything like it. The energy was overwhelming. I hate to be so cliched about this, but it was one group hug through song. We really do need love, sweet love.” (THR)

I was super surprised that only Richard Kind showed up at the Fergie concert later that night, especially because Tyne Daly’s (green dress) brother Tim is the President of the organization.

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Wednesday late night: The BET party at Coda was the same night at the Fergie concert and I was credentialed for her so on Wednesday night that’s where you found me. I hear Common stopped by Coda and that evening. Fergie was amazing, and her reunion with Taboo from Black Eyed Peas was musically a show stopper since it was rumored she and the band were no longer talking, especially since they booked a show against hers at the nearby Fillmore Philly. Fergie’s show also went on a bit late, about 130AM because the DNC went on a little longer than expected. In fact for the rest of the weeks parties everything was an hour later than originally planned. This was another Creative Coalition event. TCC raises funds for arts and music education in schools. Will.I.Am he went to the Spotify Party at the Barnes.

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Thursday was work all day day, trying to get all my columns in, and photos to the wire service. No sleep for me either, I had been up for nearly 28 hrs by the time I went on the air at Fox 29 at 9AM. Mike and Alex are laughing cause I was reporting how Jerry Springer and Lance Bass both ate at Estia the day before, but not together.


I skipped the DNC and opted for an hour nap and dinner with John McDevitt, who was my wing guy that night.  I had to choose between Snoop Dog and Hillary Clinton’s party. I chose Hillary. I had heard rumors that Bill was going to go to the Snoop Dog event. The Secret Service had already done a sweep, and were on stand by, but as I mentioned earlier everything was delayed and at 2AM the SS pulled out. Snoop went on about 3AM. Thanks to party crasher Melissa Leonard for this shot.  Party crasher is a harsh term, she shows up to a party and somehow gets invited in.


Before taking the stage at her afterparty, Hillary met with her most generous supporters like Richard Garriott, who is the 2nd private citizen to fly into space. He paid $30 million to do it. He invented the video game Altima and he and his wife,  Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux, are big Hillary fans. She even started the Entrepeneurs for Hillary group.

celebritiesClinton held an appreciation party for her supporters, including sponsors, volunteers and workers from her campaign at the Kimmel Center. A lot of notable people showed up including Debbie Wassermann Schultz, Anthony Wiener, his wife Huma Abedin, and son Jordan, Debra Messing, Kate Walsh, Dustin Lance Black and Darrin Criss.

Go check out this fun celebrity interview:

Chloe Grace Moretz, Lester Holt, Elizabeth Banks and 13 More Stars Share Personal Convention Moments