Here is part of the line to get in, which people tried to get around, on the theory that they had their tickets, so why couldn't they just go in? But pretty much everyone had their tickets already. It was sold out, 2,500 tickets. I thought it was appropriate that we passed the Women's Plaza of Honor on the way to the Centennial Hall entrance.
I never managed to capture the size of the crowd with my iPhone camera, but this gives you some idea.
An activist for the Green Party did her best to interest people in her petition as they passed by. Her dog wore a placard promoting the petition, but seemed personally uninterested in participating.
I just thought it would be fun to use a few FX on this shot.
One reason it took so long to seat 2,500 people was that most of the tickets included a copy of Drift in paperback. So they had to read each ticket to make sure the person was eligible for the book, give them the book and punch the ticket to prevent double dipping. Then they had to direct the person to the right entrance, where a fourth person handed out programs and a fifth directed the ticket holder to the correct seat. Quite a production!
Rachel Maddow got a long standing ovation at the beginning, and another at the end. Reference was made to a "blue dot" in a "red state," but this was more like a large, bright blue bubble. Rachel was her usual smart, funny, humble, endearing self. Foreign policy isn't an area in which I have a strong interest and expertise, but I do think the point she makes in her book is a valid one.
After she talked for a bit, she sat with a U of A professor who moderated and read out questions submitted beforehand. Most of them were from U of A faculty, but that's okay. It was over all too soon, but considering the speaker had laryngitis it seems churlish to complain. It was still an enjoyable and thought-provoking evening.