It took a day longer than expected, but the great white monster that has swallowed Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park finally awoke Tuesday night with a private party for the California GOP delegation.
Rock supergroup Camp Freddy headlined the bash, and even though they were missing two prominent members — Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney — they made up for it with a series of surprise guest singers, including actor Juliette Lewis, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray and Cheap Trick's Robin Zander, who lives in Safety Harbor.
The team producing the 30,000-square-foot pop-up pavilion — designed as a luxury facsimile of the 1 Oak nightclubs in New York and Las Vegas — had to scramble to get the tent ready after their Monday events were postponed because of Tropical Storm Isaac.
A few hours after the tent opened with a charity dinner featuring chef Todd English, California delegates kicked off their bash. Among the politicians who made an appearance: House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Ed Royce and former Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, now the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Camp Freddy's shtick is cover songs, and each artist did a handful: McGrath did Kiss' Rock and Roll All Nite and Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever; Lewis did Van Halen's Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love; and Zander did the Who's My Generation and Free's All Right Now. They also threw the fans a bone with McGrath performing Fly and Zander singing Cheap Trick's Surrender.
Inside the tent, organizer Freddy Wyatt described chandeliers, lounges, a scotch and cigar bar, and a stage with a clear backdrop showcasing the University of Tampa's minarets. "We work off the five senses," said Wyatt, the CEO of production company Jamestown Entertainment. "We want the food to taste better. We want the drinks to taste better. We make the fabrics really cool. The sound, the smell, the lights — we make everything a little more fast-forward."
On Wednesday, 1 Oak hosted a luncheon for Virginia and Illinois delegates, then a nighttime "Women to Watch" party for The Hill newspaper, Beam Inc. and Skinnygirl Cocktails, founded by Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel. She is not expected to attend.