Attended a memorial service for Aaron Russo, the film producer and libertarian activist, this afternoon at Hollywood's House of Blues. It was one of the "celebrating a life, not mourning a death" variety.
Rep. Ron Paul was there and said some words about Russo the freedom fighter, and Russo's pet causes of abolishing the IRS (got a big round of applause from this Hollywood crowd) and the Federal Reserve. (See Russo's conspiratorial documentary on the topic, America: From Freedom to Fascism, if you are curious.)
Interestingly, it seemed a given to Paul and his introducer that everyone knew who he was. He was introduced merely as "Ron Paul," not "Congressman Paul" or "presidential candidate Paul" and he referred within his speech to talking to Russo about his "decision to run" without saying what for. It may be that any friend of Aaron Russo's is presumed to be knowledgeable about this sort of politics; or it may be that the general run of Americans know more about Ron than I might have guessed at this point. (Or maybe half the 300 or so person crowd had no idea what was going on, but they sure seemed to.)
Paul's talk was part memorial tribute to Russo's passions and friendship, part stump speech of sorts (stressing the importance of this moment in time to strike a blow for the cause of liberty the way Russo would have wanted it--voting for Ron himself was an implied, if not explicitly spoken, way to do so). As soon as Paul's talk was over an 11-voice gospel choir with funky organ, bass, drum and guitar accompanyment took the stage for a triumphant "We Shall Overcome" with crowd singalong.
I'm guessing this was the first time this happened after one of Ron Paul's campaign talks--the choir was entertaining throughout the memorial--but I tell you, it shouldn't be the last.