The experts — Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, Rice University history professor and talking head Douglas Brinkley and others — sat around the table on the top floor of the downtown Denver library talking about Hurricane Katrina.

Ted Koppel, his hair in full meringue, led the back-and-forth. Ethel Kennedy and Kerry Kennedy occupied chairs against a wall, listening closely, nodding.

And splayed across a chair in the back of the room, with artfully disheveled hair and a Joker goatee, a trim dark suit and holding a pair of black reading glasses: Sean Penn. Given the scholarly setting and the slouch, a reporter wanted to shout: "Spicoli! Dude!" — Douglas Brown

Former New York City mayor and unsuccessful GOP presidential contender Rudy Giuliani today toured the sobering exhibit "Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism" over at the Denver Civic Center Cultural Complex.

Created by the Center for Empowered Living and Learning (, the exhibit explores global terrorism's motivations and ideologies using computer simulations, blasting audio and compelling scenes.

Giuliani's review: "A wonderful exhibit. Very fitting. Very timely as we move further away from Sept. 11," he said as he strolled through the museum's courtyard with a phalanx of dark-suited fellows.

What brings him to Denver?

"Well, my senator is speaking, right?" he said. "I'll have some comments from the Republican perspective."

Giuliani is expected to keynote at next week's GOP rally. Despite falling short in his bid for the Republican presidential nod, Giuliani harbors no regrets. "At least by doing it, I illustrated how valuable the experience of being a mayor is," he said as he scuttled into a dark-windowed Excursion. — Jason Blevins

Actress Charlize Theron appeared today with director Stuart Townsend, Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa Jr. and Steelworkers president Leo Gerard to discuss

CBS News' Dan Rather speaks in Denver. (Joanne Ostrow, The Denver Post )
trade issues that sparked the 1999 Seattle riots against the World Trade Organization.

Theron appears in Townsend's film "Battle in Seattle," a full-length dramatic feature to be released Sept. 19 telling the stories of a dozen fictional characters during the five days in Seattle.

"This event was about people who are being taken advantage of by a system that just doesn't work," Townsend said. "I wanted a cinema audience to get the message out."

Union groups across the country will sponsor showings of the film, which is not being widely released.

"This is the film Hollywood didn't want you to see," Hoffa said. "We started chaos in the city. We need outrage in this country. Outrage over lost jobs and outrage over the environment." — Margaret Jackson

Inside Earl's on the 16th Street Mall Monday morning, the Rev. Willie Barrow spoke after being honored for her activism at the Civil Rights Icons brunch.

Outside, Susan Sarandon was leaving the event, co-sponsored by Perennial Strategy Group and the DNC-ubiquitous Creative Coalition, when she stopped to have a tete-a-tete with a man wearing a sandwich board addressing the war in Iraq. Inside the Rev. Al Sharpton reached for Rep. John Lewis' hand after the esteemed representative from Georgia spoke: "All of us who who live on this little piece of real estate, who live in this spaceship we call Earth, we are participating in an unbelievable moment."

Outside a middle-aged woman with long-white hair asked who was still in there. When she heard Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee, she gave a grateful squeeze of the arm and readied her camera. — Lisa Kennedy

The line for coffee at Common Grounds was nearly out the door at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Barista Ami Cusack was enjoying a rejuvenated celebrity, thanks to out-of-town faces asking, "Are you that girl from 'Survivor'?" — Tucker Shaw

ABC News' Brian Ross has what he thinks is the real story of the conventions. He's following the money as corporate lobbyists wine and dine pols at dozens of private parties that run through — and talk over — the convention hours.

His four nightly reports on "ABC World News with Charles Gibson" this week will be followed

Ashley Judd early Tuesday morning at the Planned Parenthood party at Samba Room. She was squired by Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and daughter of late former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. (John Moore, The Denver Post)
by four from the GOP confab next week.

"The lobbyists just pack up the champagne and caviar and move to Minneapolis over the weekend," Ross said.

Monday's story peered through the window at the Steve Farber-hosted festivities inside the Denver Art Museum, off limits to cameras. Tonight's report will show Ross and crew being thrown out of Hotel Teatro. "They even tried to keep us from the public sidewalk at 14th and Arapahoe. The intersection of money and politics is always interesting," Ross said. — Joanne Ostrow

Dan Rather got a standing ovation in the Big Tent's DIGG stage on Tuesday after castigating the current structure of the media and the resulting weak news coverage.

"Much of the press is rolling over and playing dead," the former CBS newsman said. "The American media is in need of a spine transplant." As he often did on the air at CBS, Rather welled with tears when speaking of American casualties in the war in Iraq. — Joanne Ostrow

Several thousand people are estimated to have visited "Pictures of You, Images of Iran," a portable installation on view Monday and today in Civic Center.

The colorful, 90-foot-long tentlike structure, loosely based on Persian architecture, offered a contemplative refuge from the shouting protesters in around the nearby Greek Theater today.

It showcased Crested Butte photographer Tom Loughlin's portraits of everyday Iranians. They were mounted on translucent fabric panels and presented along with ambient sound and excerpts from interviews with a few Iranian citizens.

"I feel like things couldn't be going better," Loughlin said this afternoon. "We've had so many people coming through and expressing thoughtful responses from a variety of different viewpoints, and that's exactly what we were hoping to get."

Loughlin had hoped to also mount the installation at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., but those plans have fallen through.

"They gave us a space — it was under a bridge and next to a highway with no parking," he said. "So, we decided it wasn't worth spending the energy and money to go up there."

Willie Nelson wowed a crowd of about 700 people at a private party hosted Monday by CH2MHill in a tent outside Invesco Field.

Strumming a beat-up guitar hanging from a red, white and blue strap, Nelson played old favorites such as "Always on My Mind," "On the Road Again" and "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys."

Nelson performed one protest song: "Peaceful Solution."

He wrote it with daughter Amy Nelson on a bus to Coachella, Calif., at 3 a.m. April 29, 2007. — Kyle MacMillan