A Republican fund-raiser from Washington by way of Wyoming, Rob Jennings, 35, is throwing twelve parties during the convention. Jennifer Bleyer spoke to him about his plans.
What do you like about organizing parties?
It’s always been my goal to break stereotypes—the stereotype being that Republicans are culturally inept, that we don’t have an eye on what’s hip and now.
What are you doing that’s hip?
We have Lynyrd Skynyrd at Crobar on Sunday, to honor the southern members of Congress. Crobar is kind of hip. We’ll just have to keep everybody out of Scores next door. We also have a party for Schwarzenegger on Tuesday. And some smaller events—a jazz party for the Wyoming delegates, a breakfast for the senior delegates with Pat Boone.
To a group of Republicans over 60, Pat Boone is a rock star.
What do you think of Schwarzenegger?
I think he exemplifies what the Republican Party is all about.
But he’s pro-choice and pro–gay rights.
His position on those issues are up to him; they have nothing to do with me. I’m a Republican from Wyoming; most of my folks are more conservative than him.
But you do like to party, right?
I used to be a real late-night partyer. I’m kind of a reformed partyer now—I don’t drink anymore.
Have you ever inhaled?
Heh-heh. You mean today? John Popper [of the band Blues Traveler] and myself once started this club called the Chronic Republicans. We made T-shirts with dancing elephants like the Grateful Dead shirts.
If you could bring any star—Springsteen, Affleck, Whoopi—over to your side, who would it be?
Jeez Louise. Oh, boy, I’m trying to think. Jon Bon Jovi. Because he’s an American capitalist, and his songs have great appeal to the working class. He’s an active Democrat, but he should be a Republican.
How much celebrity wrangling are you doing for your parties?
We’ll send some invites, but I’m not going to go crazy calling publicists. Maybe I’ll try to get Paris Hilton there.
Is she a Republican?
I think her parents might be, but I’m not sure. She might make out with me. I’m kidding.
Are you inviting many New Yorkers?
To my understanding, a lot of New York will be out of town. One of the e-mails I got was from Vincent Gallo. You know he’s a Republican? He’s a weird cat. He’s one guy I’d definitely like to come. Maybe he can introduce me to Chloë Sevigny.
Have you seen The Brown Bunny?
No. I don’t know that I will. It’s supposed to be pretty bad. They had those billboards in L.A. showing Chloë giving him oral. It’s unfortunate that’s coming out right now.
Well, then maybe you don’t want him at your parties.
I do, but we’ll be keeping it under hat.
Being from Wyoming, do you know Cheney?
“Know him” is a tough term, but if someone mentioned Rob Jennings, he would know who I am. My mom worked on all his campaigns.
And how do late nights in New York compare with Wyoming?
It’s a lot different, obviously, because there aren’t that many people in Wyoming. But it’s probably easier to get into a fistfight on the streets of Cheyenne.