In case you were wondering, Jennifer Aniston is doing just fine, thanks.
We ran into her last Friday night at a private charity cocktail party given at the home of her pal Courteney Cox’s talent agent Eric Kranzler in West Hollywood. The charity is called Feeding America, and it’s attracted the likes of David Arquette, Courteney’s actor husband, and singer Sheryl Crow.
The cocktail party was like a who’s who from the pages of People or US Weekly, except without the innuendo and speculation that usually accompanies pictures of celebs in those magazines. There was Leonardo DiCaprio chatting with Kevin Connolly, and model girlfriend Bar Rafaeli discussing the situation in Israel, her home. Sheryl Crow was talking politics with Hill Harper, while Gwen Stefani was explaining to yours truly how she and No Doubt will go on tour soon before they record a new album. Stefani’s husband, Gavin Rossdale, and I talked about the old days of his 90s rock group Bush, and so on.
There were plenty of interesting people to talk to, including my old friend Theresa Lowrey, whose story Courtney turned into an excellent short film, plus Michael Chiklis was accepting kudos from everyone concerning his series, "The Shield," plus his old one, "The Commish," as well as Tobey Maguire and Jennifer Meyer, Universal chief Ron Meyer (Jennifer’s dad), as well as Julia Louis Dreyfus and Brad Hall, Josh Groban, Lukas Haas, and musician Ben Harper.
Here’s one little headline we got out of the event: Courteney is getting ready to shoot the pilot for a new Bill Lawrence sitcom for ABC. Lawrence is the creator of “Scrubs,” which Cox just guest starred on. Anyway, believe it or not, she’s going to have a 17-year-old son.
“It’s not so crazy,” Courteney reassured me. “I have younger friends with teenagers that age. I’ll just be a very hot cougar.” Yowza!
And then there was Aniston. She turns 40 next month and looks about 30. Plastic surgery? For all the tabloid speculation, Jen looks pretty normal. She also acts pretty normal. What a disappointment! She’s just a lovely young woman with a good sense of humor and lots of close friends.
We talked about the success of “Marley and Me,” which she said was a hard movie to make. We talked about her dad, John, who’s still on ”Days of Our Lives” -- and is now 75.
“He’s amazing, he just keeps going,” she said. She told me about a movie she made called “Traveling” with Aaron Eckhart, and said that she’s looking for scripts.
"How is she doing?" I asked. (I mean, considering the onslaught of publicity, the ex-husband, his baby-producing lady friend, the singer-boyfriend, etc.)
“I’m doing fine, great, really,” Jen said. And she meant it. She certainly looked it, too, as she and Courteney made plans to take some friends out for a Chinese dinner in West Hollywood.
You’re thinking: you come to Hollywood looking for dirt, and this is what you find? A group of friends raising money for a charity from a nice suburban-looking house. Jennifer Aniston, warm and funny, a nice person to talk to on a Friday night. And not a telephoto lens in sight!
Here’s a flash from the music world: while the rest of us were enjoying the holidays, Hidden Beach Records honcho Steve McKeever and movie music supervisor Bonnie Greenberg have been hard at work putting together a special CD tied to Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The very cool “Obama Soundtrack” will hit stores next Tuesday, the 20th, even though it was finished this past weekend. Talk about hot off the presses!
The CD features a dozen stars including Stevie Wonder, who contributed a totally new track called “All About the Love Again.” The single, destined to be Wonder’s biggest hit in more than a decade, is a sizzling fresh slice of R&B, very updated and ready to embraced in remixes, etc.
The other artists on the album include Maroon 5 with their own new track, “Pure Imagination (2009),” plus will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, India.Arie, Melissa Etheridge, Usher, James Taylor, Jennifer Hudson, Death Cab for Cutie, Ozomatli, Robin Thicke, The Tony Rich Project, Wilco, Bebe Winans, rapper Common, Lionel Richie, and Melissa Etheridge.
McKeever and Greenberg, with an even bigger committee, worked tirelessly to put together a combination of artists and songs based on the songs’ themes and lyrics, too.
Unlike most compilation CDs, the Obama Soundtrack is full of new, catchy very hot material — no retreads or musty pieces from the vaults. All the artists, I am told by sources, were paid on the same level no matter how big or small they considered themselves. And that, I’ve heard in the music industry, caused a little problem as the always charming Warner M. Group refused to make deals for any of their artists including anything from the Atlantic vaults. I’m sure, in fact, that Aretha Franklin has no idea that requests for a couple of her classic tracks like “A Change is Gonna Come”—were declined. The M in WMG now stands for Miserly.
But the Obama Soundtrack should also be collector’s item purchase since it includes a DVD of several speech clips from the new US president. The CD, by the way, intersperses pieces of Obama speeches throughout the new songs. For example, I don’t know much about the Tony Rich project, but I love their contribution called “The Dream is Real.”
Here’s a memo sent to this column yesterday regarding logistics and security for the Obama Inauguration. Are you sure you still want to go to Washington for this? Even members of Congress are getting a tough time.
RE: Logistics and Security for the Presidential Inauguration
All gates for the entrance to the Swearing-In Ceremony will open at 8 a.m. All Swearing-In Tickets will be color-coded. Ticket-holders much enter through the coordinating color entrance for access to their standing/sitting area. EVERYONE will need to go through a line.
Your House ID will NOT grant you access to the U.S. Capitol. It will be closed to everyone but Members wearing their pins and spouses wearing their pins. Members and their Spouses will be requested to enter the Capitol through the Rayburn or Cannon Tunnels or by the South doors of the Capitol. Again, it was emphasized that they wear their pins for entry.
The music will start at 9:45 a.m.
10:00 a.m. Members will assemble in the House Chamber.
10:20 a.m. Members will depart the House Chamber for the Platform.
10:30 a.m. Members will arrive at the Platform.
10:00 a.m. Spouses will assemble at H-324 of the Capitol.
10:15 a.m. Spouses will be escorted to the seated section FOUR on the lawn.
An Inaugural Lunch will be served for members and spouses only.
A Charter Bus will transport members and spouses to the parade after the Swearing-In. NO ONE ELSE CAN RIDE THE SHUTTLE.
All major roadways may close early on January 19. They are still formalizing these plans.
The following entrances for driving into the Capitol Compound will be open for Members and Congressional Staff with ID to park their autos (if they normally drive and park): Second and C Streets, SE; First and D Streets, SE, New Jersey and D Streets, SE.
People with disabilities will be allowed special access at South Capitol Street and E and North Capitol Street and E. Their requests must be made ahead of time by calling 202-224-4048.
The US Capitol will be closed to tours from 5:00pm on Saturday, 17 January until 9:00am on Wednesday, January 21, 2009. As you can imagine, Wednesday, January 21 will be very crowded in the US Capitol, so please plan accordingly.
All the regional balls will have staggered start times and the times below are when the doors open:
5 p.m. Home States Ball (HI/IL & DE/PA) at Washington Convention Center
5 p.m. Mid-Atlantic Ball at Washington Convention Center
5 p.m. Mid-West Ball at Washington Convention Center
5 p.m. Western Ball at Washington Convention Center
6 p.m. Military Ball for all service/military both reserved and active duty at the National Building Museum
7 p.m. Youth Ball at the Washington Hilton for those who are 18 to 35 years old
8 p.m. Eastern Ball at Union Station
8 p.m. Southern Ball at the Armory
There will be a National Prayer Service at the National Cathedral at 11:30 a.m.