WashPost Covers 'Eastern Bloc' Fundraiser for Obama -- Gay Porn Star Style?

Monday's Washington Post has a front-page Style section piece on an Obama fundraiser at a New York city gay bar called Eastern Bloc that you frequent if you like "commie decor" and think "early-80s porn playing non-stop over the bar added to the ambiance." (UPDATE: The gay mag The Advocate reports CNN anchor Anderson Cooper's "boyfriend Ben Maisani co-owns Eastern Bloc.")

Post reporter Katherine Boyle found the Obama-donating crowd was "a mix of friends and fashion types, partying alongside male dancers wearing Obama ’08 boxer briefs (or, as one did, an American flag-themed thong) stuffed with the requisite $1 bills. (Only door proceeds went to the reelection fund; dancers kept their tips.)" Boyle's report underlined this fundraiser for Obama came together just like parties for gay porn stars:

Mickey Boardman, editorial director for New York’s independent Paper Magazine, helped to organize the Eastern Bloc fundraiser, which had a modest goal of raising $20,000. By midnight, when the dancers took to the poles, they’d collected more than $10,000. The host committee included Karen Elson, the model and ex-wife of White Stripes frontman Jack White; Derek Blasberg, Harper’s Bazaar editor-at-large, and Sean Avery, the retired professional ice hockey player. Blasberg’s own Harper’s Bazaar wrote that the fundraiser would show “D.C. how it’s done.”

We do these parties for gay porn stars at Eastern Bloc whenever [they’re] in town from L.A.,” said Boardman. “It’s always a room of Village gays, socialites, porn stars, fashion people....We thought, ‘Why don’t we do a go-go thing at Eastern Bloc for [Obama]?’ ”

Still, organizer Will Wikle said the group recognized that the event could make campaign organizers uncomfortable, so they toned down promotional materials. “We didn’t put a go-go boy on the invitation for that reason,” he said. “We didn’t want any Republicans to jump on it and view it as some sex party.”

And Wikle said the host committee was diligent in its two months of planning, working with Democratic officials to navigate campaign finance law, something that the organizers knew little about. Wikle said officials told the host committee it couldn’t have liquor sponsors or an open bar.

The Post never really let on about the Soviet-chic thing, where the club has slogans like "Proletarians, hairdressers, prostitutes, bearded ladies of the world unite." Boyle let Team Obama distance themselves from this event -- they apparently knew nothing about it and won't do anything about it unless people complain. (If people complain, then the media are likely to accuse them of bigotry.) 

So, was the campaign concerned about an event at a New York City gay bar featuring scantily clad dancers?

An Obama campaign spokeswoman said that keeping track of the many small events is next to impossible, so the campaign has adopted a model common in social media: It will look into any event that triggers complaints. No word yet on whether anyone’s complained about the go-go party.
 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis