Even though it seemed like Grammy weekend was all about either Clive Davis — and his colleague Charles Goldstuck — ascending the ranks at BMG Music, or even all about OutKast, it also seemed like everywhere we turned, there was Sting and Trudie Styler. They were like the homecoming king and queen, only richer and more glamorous.
Trudie, a successful movie producer, is about to start a new one called "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," based on the very cool memoir by Dito Montiel of growing up in New York during the Warhol era. Robert Downey, Jr. has already been cast as the lead, and Styler expects filming to begin in Queens around the first of May.
She also tells me that the bi-annual Rainforest Foundation concert is in place for April 21 at Carnegie Hall, with Sting, Elton John and James Taylor already signed on to repeat the amazing show from 2002. The theme this year is "Hooray for Hollywood," and on Friday night — while they were seated at Sting and Trudie's table at the big MusiCares dinner — Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas agreed to perform. Think Lucy and Ricky, with Botox.
The MusiCares dinner for Sting brought out literally thousands to Sony's Culver City studios complex. The buzz at first from the most jaded, unflappable types was about this being the single largest dinner anyone had ever been to. Of course, it was held on a soundstage the size of a jet airplane hangar, so what did we expect?
The main table, as I told you over the weekend, was full of Sting's pals: Dustin and Lisa Hoffman, Griffith and Banderas, plus Irish rocker and Live Aid creator Bob Geldof and Boston philanthropist Bob Sager (who recently bought the Celtics' old center court logo at online auction for $331,000). Sager, who is now getting involved in Sting and Trudie's charitable causes, wore a bright yellow silk Nehru jacket by the way.
"It's made by the Dalai Lama's tailor," he said. I didn't even know he had a tailor, I replied.
Loads of other well-wishers and performers populated the night too including Elvis Costello, who serenaded Sting with his lush Police hit "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," as well as Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Kylie Minogue, Mary J. Blige and the Black Eyed Peas with singer Fergie. Tony Bennett was the only performer not to sing a Sting composition but instead warbled "I Got Rhythm" and "If I Ruled the World," two songs that — considering Sting's claims of Tantric sex and interest in politics — may have been more appropriate than Bennett could have known.
As much as everyone loves Bennett, and he sang beautifully, there was a general feeling that perhaps someone forgot to tell him what the purpose was of this event. "That's why they call him Tony Benne-fit," quipped one rocker.
The MusiCares dinner was the second hardest ticket to get all weekend, after Clive Davis' Saturday night dinner. There were ghastly stories of execs who couldn't get in or were dis-invited. But two who were glaringly absent were the new Warner Music team of Edgar Bronfman, Jr. and Lyor Cohen.
Geldof proved to be an erudite and fanciful speaker ("Sting vexes the world," he said, aptly) although brevity is not his strong suit. Hoffman also entertained the crowd, and read from Sting's memoir, "Broken Music." Elton John, sporting an excellent new hairstyle, gave an almost humorous reading of a less well known Sting number "Mad About You," and took over as defacto emcee toward the end of the evening.
Oddly, there was no sign of Madonna, who boasted on the Grammy telecast that Sting and Styler introduced her to husband Guy Ritchie.
I was pleasantly surprised to see long-time Grammy producer Pierre Cossette and his lovely wife, Mary. Pierre is recovering from a bout of shingles after having open heart surgery, but he was buoyant as ever and unstoppably charming. My only question is, Why hasn't NARAS given him an honorary Grammy already?
Meanwhile, teenage girls flocked — and I do mean in the old Bobby Sherman sense — to "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, who — avoiding the R. Kelly model — was polite, humble and sincere. Seacrest, who has a good sense of humor, is also much shorter than I thought. (He and "Survivor" host Jeff Probst must, after all, fit in into the TV.) Randy Jackson, looking svelte, hugged the also trimmed-down Benny Medina, and Hugh Hefner — really, a hologram of a person — hosted a table of Playboy beauties whom he inflated at home and brought along for amusement.
Did I mention that Wynonna Judd, (a Cinabon of a singer), dressed in a head-to-toe crushed velvet, whomped out a nasty version of Sting's "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You"?
Later, when all the singing, eating, drinking, and schmoozing was over I was lucky enough to hit Ivan Kane's hot 40 Deuce Club on Melrose with Sting, Trudie, Melanie, Antonio, and friends as well as Geldof.
40 Deuce is so tiny it only fits about 125 people, and they have to be either very thin or sucking in their stomachs. The best way to describe what goes on there is to say it's a PG-rated strip club, where extremely limber dancers perform on a long, narrow stage while a three or four-piece jazz combo — dressed like hep cats from the '50s — knock out wild, upbeat numbers. The girls don't actually strip, but they shimmy themselves into a frenzy and do vertical splits against the wall.
When one of them seemed to be completely flexible, sending her leg up a wall at 90-degrees, Sting blurted out, "I can do that."
I'll bet he can. In fact, Sting wound up jumping on stage and joining the girls, with Trudie just a foot or two below on the dance floor swinging all the boys around in good fun. The deejay pumped the music — a lot of Michael Jackson and a little Madonna — and the crowd sang along. You may wonder what Melanie and Antonio were doing this whole time. Well, not much. They stood on their red leather banquette and braced themselves against the wall so they could watch the proceedings, but looked a little petrified by the crazy scene in the room.