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Organizers expect to have raised about $5 million at Barack Obama’s Tuesday night fund-raiser at the Los Angeles Music Center, which drew about 700 people including stars and industry moguls.

Here’s my coverage for Variety here.

The venue was a bit different for a fund-raiser — the second-floor reception area of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which, with its crystal chandeliers and gold plated columns, has a 1960s regency elegance to it.

The audience was in full attention (i.e. they put down their Blackberries) when Obama spoke, but his remarks largely stayed to the script of his stump speech, but they were still enthusiastic.

By the time Obama spoke, stars were scattered throughout the crowd, but Obama called attention to one of them when he made special mention of one of his Southern California finance co-chairs, Nicole Avant. She was standing on an above balcony next to Samuel L. Jackson.

Camped outside was a row of about 10 different news crews, ready to get comment from any notable as if it were the red carpet on Oscar night. The bullhorn chants of anti-abortion protesters, however, may have drowned out any interviews.

Dennis Quaid (right), who delivered short remarks, noted that he had been voting for Republicans before Img_3685
switching sides this year, and that his entire household was going for Obama, even his baby twins.

The most distinctive outfit: Will.i.am, who wore "an ivory colored silk suit, porkpie hat and a pair of Nike air shoes emblazoned with Obama’s visage and the Obama 08 logo."

Some of the biggest cheers went to Seal when he did a rendition of Sam Cooke’s "A Change is Gonna Come."

The lingering question was who from the Clinton camp would show up, and Obama made an extra effort to praise the New York senator (below).

The biggest Clinton backer present: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who attended the VIP dinner but did not introduce Obama. That honor fell to state Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who said that some of her fellow lawmakers told her last year that Obama had no chance of winning.

Guests each were given Obama posters done by artist Shepard Fairey, who also was present.

By the way, apologies for the picture quality.

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