Michael Jackson Kids Confab Still Not Sold Out | Mottola’s Bishop Gets Promoted Despite 'Donation' | Cosby, Chris Rock, Woody Come Out for Knicks | Dubya and Dad Have a Beef | Clive’s Invite Arrives — Will Whitney Be There? | Of Sundance and Corporate Parties
Believe it or not, there are still tickets for Michael Jackson’s next live appearance. And they go for the modest price of $65 — tops.
Jackson will appear on Valentine’s Day at Carnegie Hall for a special seminar on child rearing and parenthood. He’ll be joined by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and other special guests from the Time for Kids/Heal the World Foundation.
The event is sponsored by Manhattan’s Seminar Center, which says there are indeed still empty seats to be filled.
The name of the event is "Love, Work & Parenting: Can You Be a Success in the Bedroom, the Boardroom and the Family room?"
Jackson’s tickets are reasonably priced, by the way. A four-hour one-day session with spiritualist Rosemary Altea at the Seminar Center is priced at $88 for non-members. And Mike may even throw in a moon walk.
The elevation of New York’s Archbishop Egan to Cardinal last week was not a complete slam-dunk.
In fact, my sources tell me that the incident involving the wedding of Sony Music’s Tommy Mottola caused more than a little consternation around St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Mottola, according to my sources, may have been responsible for a donation to the Church of something in the neighborhood of $500,000. This may or may not have been compensation for the church not minding that Mottola — born a Catholic, converted to Judaism and twice divorced — did not have an annulment from Mariah Carey when he walked down the aisle with Mexican soap star Thalia.
My source continues: "Tommy was over there at St. Patrick’s two months before the wedding working on Egan. He was definitely in there hanging with Egan listening to him play the piano." Egan considers himself a serious classical pianist.
When I asked church spokesman Joe Zwilling back in December if Mottola had made a donation to the church, he said, "I’m not going to talk about that, I can’t answer that."
But I am told there were those at St. Patrick’s who were "furious" about Egan’s actions. In the end, though, it didn’t matter — he was elevated to Cardinal on January 21 with several other archbishops. Egan, the Associated Press wrote, "... also developed a reputation as an effective fund-raiser. ..."
It was a wild night last night at Madison Square Garden as the Knicks were beaten by the Philadelphia 76ers. But some of the best action was off the court.
Seated courtside was Spike Lee with Bill Cosby — who wore a gray three-piece herring-bone suit and a "Carl McCarl for Governor" button. Also weaved through the sold-out crowd surrounding the game were Woody Allen with wife Soon-Yi Previn; Allen’s friend and former producer Jean Doumanian with pal Dr. Roc Positano; comedian Chris Rock; actors Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Burns and Scott Glenn; Jason Biggs, the kid from American Pie; ER mannequin Michael Michele; Star Jones of The View, and actor Peter Boyle, from Everybody Loves Raymond.
Whew! Isn’t that enough?
Woody wore his trademark baseball cap and sat quietly on the opposite side of the court from most of the celebrities. When I chatted with him he said it was okay that the name of his next movie, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, is now public. It used to be that names of Woody’s pics were a state secret. Jade stars the Woodman, Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, and a large cast. "We’re editing it right now," he told me. The movie comes out this fall from Dreamworks.
After the game, a snarl in the small elevator area: Scott Glenn met Jackson for the first time and they shook hands; Star Jones rode Glenn for not having been somewhere when she got there. Biggs — making small talk — said, "Well, that was fun," to which Jones snapped, "No it wasn’t!" Biggs, half her age, was taken aback. He stammered, "Because ... we lost?" Star said, "That’s right!"
My host for the evening was the gracious Alan Bernstein, the CEO of Morton's of Chicago steakhouses. Alan is something of a wonder in the restaurant business. Several years ago he led the group that bought the eight Morton’s eateries from Arnie Morton and turned them into a chain with 57 branches worldwide.
Born in Brooklyn, Bernstein is not the kind of success story you might find in Fortune. He told me he had not been a good student as a child because, for one thing, he couldn’t see well, even with eyeglasses. "Even from the front row," he said. He was put in what used to be known as "handicapped" classes until sixth grade. Talk about irony.
Bernstein has a show business connection too: He’s on the board of the American Film Institute, which is honoring Barbra Streisand on February 22 in Los Angeles.
Morton’s is now planning about seven more restaurants in 2001. And guess who their favorite clients are? George Dubya and former President Bush. "President Bush came in to our Washington restaurant about a week before the election with Colin Powell," Bernstein noted. "It doesn’t matter what your politics are. He’s the most well-spoken, well-mannered, elegant guy."
Three cheers for Morton’s, I say, and pass the creamed spinach.
You never know exactly which day it’s coming. What is it? The invitation to Clive Davis’s annual pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
You may recall that in the last year, Davis was eased from his historic position as head (and founder of) Arista Records. He started his own new label, J Records, with $150 million on September 1. This week, J Records’ first album, by the boy band O-Town, debuts at Number 5 on the Billboard Top 200. I mean, come on, didya ever?
We all know: Clive discovered Whitney, made Santana a hit again, turned out countless hits with Aretha, Dionne, Carly, etc. Many of them have shown up and performed at his infamous Grammy party. This year the invite — which is classy black-and-silver and was delivered by hand — said: "Of course the entertainment will be off the hook."
Indeed, the whole evening will be a celebration of a survivor who makes Richard Hatch and those people in the outback look like pikers.
There’s a new trend afoot: corporations underwriting parties. At Sundance, Hugo Boss sponsored a whole house on the outskirts of Park City, and the parties went on day and night.
At the first such event, the police had to be called and the place was shut down for overcrowding. On a subsequent night, there were complaints that "everyone" (this is an exaggeration) was doing Ecstasy. Well, there were lots of glassy eyes present. And the funny thing is, none of this had anything to do with the Sundance Festival, which is about seeing movies and meeting filmmakers. Believe me, none of the latter were bopping around Hugo’s house.
Now Mercedes is coming to Bryant Park to sponsor Fashion Week. Will it be more of the same? Lots of extraneous nonsense? You betcha. Let’s see if we can count how many of the "fashion press" will be driving loaned Mercedes around town.
Me, I’ll be in my Maxima, taking tips, and getting stoned. (Nah — not really, just a nod to the late Harry Chapin.)