At French Connection on Boston's fashionable Newberry Street this past Tuesday evening, L.A. native Lindsey Berman is juggling. A song by the band Journey blares out of her satchel shaped like a guitar each time her cell phone rings. People are calling -- friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends. Everyone wants a ticket to the Black Eyed Peas concert that evening, the hot after-party sponsored by the organization Rock the Vote at the Democratic National Convention. Inside French Connection, vendors are hawking their black T-shirts that read, "FCUK you! I'm voting," referring to the brand French Connection United Kingdom. Art Alexakis, the lead singer of the pop band Everclear, is singing. Berman is making sure everything goes smoothly, firing up the volunteers on the street, and figuring out how she'll get credentials for young people so they can get on the floor for the convention's speeches that evening.
Berman, spunky with deep ties to Judaism (she went to Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu and participated in the Brandeis Collegiate Institute program in Simi Valley), only graduated from Brown University last year. But she is already a political force nationally -- literally. She is the tour manager of the Rock the Vote bus, which, since its send-off from Los Angeles on June 16, has made 53 stops across the country, registering young people to vote. It is a nonpartisan effort aimed at ending political apathy among MTV watchers (the network is a partner in the effort). The bus, which was parked outside the Fleet Center this week, will travel to New York for the Republican Convention in late August. It was at a Bush rally in York, Penn., recently, and in Detroit John Kerry paid a visit. (Berman says she hopes Bush will come take a tour, too.)
So far, Berman says, they have registered 3,000 at the bus stops, and 400,000 have registered online at www.rockthevote.com. Berman herself is no stranger to politics -- her father is Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys). She says her job is not only to persuade young people to register, but to get people excited about the political process and their ability to effect change.
"This is the most important job I've ever had," Berman said.