Presidential candidate shuns 'Bush-lite' activity

HOLLYWOOD — Howard Dean turned Monday night’s fundraiser at the House of Blues into a revival tent show, Hollywood-style.

The Bangles, the Folksmen (aka Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer, reprising their characters from “A Mighty Wind”) and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy warmed up the soldout crowd, with Rob Reiner, who’s been Dean’s pointman in Hollywood, taking over emcee duties.

Shearer said he first met Dean at a dinner hosted by James L. Brooks when the then-governor of Vermont was first considering entering the 2000 presidential race. “He’s certainly been coming out here for a long time,” Shearer said.

Bangles member Susanna Hoffs, with helmer husband Jay Roach, said her friend Janet Grillo, wife of helmer David O. Russell, asked if the group would play. “This is so much bigger than what we normally do,” Hoffs said.

“He’s the frontrunner for Hollywood support,” said political consultant and event host Chad Griffin. “Everyone wants to be with the winner and no one wants to be with a loser.”

Dean worked the room like a rock star. “We can’t beat Bush by being Bush-lite!” he exhorted to a crowd that included Drew Barrymore, Paul Reiser and Jason Alexander. “The way to beat George Bush is to stop apologizing for being Democrats and say what you mean!” And the crowd chanted Dean’s name.

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