recent news articles

The Boston Herald
April 17, 2001

Gavel Drops on Moakleyfest Tickets'

By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa

The politically juiced may have muscled their way into box seats at the Red Sox-Yankees series and pulled ranked to snag V. I. P. tickets for yesterday's Boston Marathon, but you ain't seen nothing like the maneuvering for a seat at the sold-out Joe Moakleyfest tomorrow night!

We're told that Boston hasn't seen this much schmoozing and sucking up since the Ryder Cup rode into town!

As you are so aware by now, South Boston's favorite son, who announced last month that he suffers from leukemia and wouldn't seek re-election to Congress, will be feted and fawned over at what's being called his ``last official salute'' by nearly 2,000 well-wishers at the Hynes Convention Center.

``It's been totally over-sold,'' said a source. ``But no one wants to deny access to anyone, so frantic calls are being made.''

Word is, the facility can accommodate 1,800 for dinner. But sources say the organizers are trying to cram in more and more tables - at $10,000 a pop - for the John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation benefit.

So be prepared to suck in those stomachs and keep back-slapping to a minimum that night for fear of injury! It's going to be a tight squeeze!

There's also been much jockeying for time at the podium.

At last count, Sen. Ted Kennedy (uncle of one would-be Moakley predecessor, Max Kennedy), Sen. John Kerry, U. S. Rep. Jim McGovern and UMass Prez Billy Bulger will pay tribute to the congressman. Hill Holliday CEO Jack Connors is chairing the event, but he's not listed as a speaker.

``All the bigwigs want to speak, but Joe really doesn't want them all to get up there,'' said another source.

And who could blame him????

Irish tenor John McDermott, a Boston fave, has written a funny little ditty to sing to the crowd. And WCVB-TV's Clark Booth has put together an all-about-Joe video.

The Boston Pops Jazz Ensemble will also jazz up things.

A few hours before the blowout in the Back Bay, the ailing congressman will be on hand when the new federal courthouse is dedicated in his honor.

``He's limited to things his energies allow him to do, things that bring him joy,'' said event planner and Moakley pal Dusty Rhodes, who would only confirm that the benefit was sold out. ``He's thrilled about the courthouse being named for him.''

Details are still dribbling in. So, as always, do stay tuned!