NOT SO CREATIVE: The Creative Coalition’s gala in Minneapolis was generally a bust. Though a listing in the National Journal’s Convention Daily promised a host of big celebrities at the bash thrown by the advocacy group for the arts and entertainment worlds — among them Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Maggie Gyllenhaal — the best the event got in the end were Kerry Washington, Wendy Malick and Tony Goldwyn, according to a press release handed to journalists when they arrived.

The headline act was Southern rockers The Charlie Daniels Band, which had a number of hits in the Sixties and Seventies and whose lead man now looks like a dead ringer for Santa Claus.

“This place is like an airplane hanger,” said one journalist, scanning the room.

And indeed it was. If Washington, Malick and Goldwyn had been at the event, they’d long since left by then, shortly before midnight. (This may sound late elsewhere, but it was prime time to get to a party in Denver, since the convention itself doesn’t end until 10, and no one can get to their car for at least another 45 minutes, given the heightened security around the arena.)

DAWSON’S CAUSE: A rare celebrity spotting on Wednesday night at the convention was Rosario Dawson, who came to view Sarah Palin’s speech. “I thought it was amazing,” Dawson said as she attempted to exit the Xcel Energy Center and reporters began to swarm. “She was real and fun. We were expecting something big and we got it.”

But don’t take that to mean Dawson is planning on voting for her and John McCain. The actress is actually in Minneapolis to promote a bipartisan organization she’s started called Voto Latino, whose mission is to improve young Hispanic turnout at the polls. “We’re trying to register people,” Dawson said diplomatically. “It’s not fair for us to judge who they’re voting for.”

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