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An English accent; Sharpton embraces Boston

THE HOT PARTY Typical Boston, the one party that everyone thought might be OK to miss turned out to be one of the hottest gatherings of convention week. The bash chef Todd English hosted late Wednesday night at his restaurant Bonfire in Park Square drew a cool mix of Hollywood types and national figures talking issues and eating seafood tacos after many of them had filed out of the Creative Coalition's posh affair at Louis Boston. Spotted were the ever-popular Chris Heinz holding court in the lobby and Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr. just a short distance away. Arianna Huffington, Richard Schiff, Richard Kind, Wendie Malick, Giancarlo Esposito, and Alfre Woodard were all gathered at the same booth. Creative Coalition copresident Tony Goldwyn (who is best known as the bad guy from "Ghost") was stopped by a woman from Boston who told him it was great to see him in the city. "We don't get a lot of celebrities like you here in our town," she said, to which he replied, "Glad to help out." There was blink-182's frontman, Tom Delonge, chatting with "Real World" guys CT and David Burns. The Black Eyed Peas almost couldn't get into the party because it was so crowded, but when the group did, former "View" cohost Lisa Ling was the first to give them a rousing welcome. Christopher Lawford, who was still wearing his press pass from the Coalition's party, worked his cellphone like he was on deadline. "Charmed" star Alyssa Milano sat on a bench at the entrance seemingly catching a few quiet moments. Tony Award winner Alan Cumming worked the crowd as though he were running for office. Jason Bateman sported a "I didn't vote for his daddy either" button and talked about his TV show "Arrested Development." Steve Buscemi stopped by after headlining the New York delegation party. And all of them were there before the Kerry and Edwards daughters -- Vanessa, Alexandra, and Cate --stopped by.

TIME TO GO With bars closing at 2 a.m., Boston sure lived up to its puritanical reputation this week. Early Thursday, the New York delegation's after-party at Avalon was shut down just as it was getting good, prompting the gang from New York to chant, "Music! Party!" Andrew Cuomo, Alec Baldwin, and the Rev. Al Sharpton all were in the house. Asked about Jesse Jackson's remark about Boston needing to "work even more diligently" to erase its racist past, Sharpton wouldn't bite. "I like Boston, always have," he said. "I'm not getting into that." Actor Steve Buscemi did a little stand-up, and like his character on "The Sopranos," he died. "Look, I support Bush," Buscemi deadpanned. "I even went to see that movie he starred in -- `Fahrenheit 9/11.' "

CHILIS FEEL LOVE "Californication" and "Give It Away" were expected, but what's with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' covering the '70s pop hit "Brandy" at the hot ticket Creative Coalition bash Wednesday night? According to Cliff Burnstein, a partner in Q Prime, which manages the band, the Chilis had been playing the song as a lark during a recent European swing and decided to give it a whirl for the Democrats. (He had no explanation for guitarist John Frusciante doing his best Jimmy Somerville-falsetto take on Donna Summer's disco classic "I Feel Love," however.) The shaggy-haired Burnstein, who went unnoticed in the middle of the Peppers audience, may assume a more public face today when the documentary "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" opens. He has a few choice scenes in the chronicle of turmoil in the band, which Q Prime manages, too. Burnstein said he liked the movie, as does Metallica, but worries about it opening on such a busy movie day. "It's like Christmas," he said.

DUETS After introductions by Elizabeth Edwards and Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Vanessa Carlton and Carole King displayed cross-generational Rock the Vote skills at an early-morning Park Plaza Hotel & Towers concert yesterday . King joined Carlton for a duet of "A Thousand Miles," and later, after King soloed on "Beautiful" and "I Feel the Earth Move," Carlton joined King for "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." The concert was sponsored by Lifetime Television.

SPOTTED AND DULY NOTED Yesterday afternoon, Union Oyster House owner Joe Milano gave Paramount Studios CEO Sherry Lansing a tour of the historic eatery. . . . NBC morning gal Katie Couric and Red Sox chairman Tom Werner had lunch at Via Matta and were spied yesterday holding hands as they walked to the Public Garden. . . . Former Attorney General Janet Reno had lunch yesterday at the Legal Sea Foods at Copley Place. . . . A member of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs's staff dropped into Redbones in Davis Square to pick up an order yesterday. . . . Grill 23 & Bar in the Back Bay was a mix of Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday night. Dining at the steakhouse -- at separate tables -- were former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld; Chicago mayor Richard Daley, with 30 guests to celebrate his wife's birthday; and at a third table, John Cusack, with a party of 12. . . . Alec Baldwin stopped the other night at Osushi at the Westin hotel. . . . Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran was spotted taking a nap in the window of the Millennium Bostonian Hotel before John Edwards addressed Democratic delegates at the FleetCenter. . . . Former Georgia Senator Max Cleland ate lunch yesterday at Anthony's Pier 4, the third day in a row he's been there. . . . Wearing comfortable flip-flops, "Just Shoot Me" star Wendie Malick was spotted yesterday afternoon doing her best to help out the local economy on Newbury Street. . . . Seen at McCormick & Schmick's on several occasions in the last few days were NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Campbell Brown, "Sex and the City" gal Cynthia Nixon, and Philadelphia mayor John F. Street. . . . Governor Mitt Romney and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani attracted a lot of attention and loads of cheers (of "Ru-dee! Ru-dee!") when they had a long dinner at Bricco on Wednesday. . . . Alan Cumming was making sure everyone was happy at a gathering that included Richard Schiff at Clio in the wee hours of yesterday morning. . . . And, finally, there were FleetCenter crews making arrangements for P. Diddy and three golf carts' worth of an entourage for his arrival in the hall last night.

HONORING SCHUMER New York Senator Chuck Schumer was honored at a New York-style party Wednesday night at Spire in the Nine Zero hotel. Among those on hand at the Time Warner-sponsored cocktail reception were Sarah Jessica Parker (donning a fluffy pink Carrie Bradshaw-like skirt and closed-toe tan suede heels) and her husband, Matthew Broderick; the ubiquitous Ben Affleck; fellow New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton; Steve Buscemi; and Leonardo DiCaprio. Afterward, chef Gabriel Frasca prepared a special dinner for Affleck: rosemary chicken with seasonal roasted vegetables prepared without oil, because Affleck is trying to be healthy, he told the staff. DiCaprio and Affleck stopped by Restaurant L after the Red Hot Chili Peppers played.

LIBRARY CARDS Former "Pee Wee Herman" star Paul Reubens was among those to stop by the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum this week, along with celebs Richard Schiff, Ellen Burstyn, Carole King, Bianca Jagger, Wendie Malick, Richard Kind, Rob Reiner, Laurie and Larry David, and Rolling Stone magazine's Jann Wenner. Like two ships passing in the harbor, Jack Valenti, the outgoing president of the Motion Picture Association of America was there on Wednesday for a lunch event, and Dan Glickman, the incoming president, had just left after a breakfast event. In addition to Caroline Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy and his wife, Vicki, local politicos and Democratic supporters have been stopping by, including Tom and Angela Menino, Ted and Gillian Sorensen, Paul and Gail Kirk, Alan and Susan Solomont, Tom and Nicole Hynes, and Chris and Hilary Gabrieli.

Scott Heller and David Beard of the Globe staff contributed to this column. Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253. 

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