It had to happen eventually: With no work coming his way, Michael Jackson, sources say, has agreed to do a tour with sister Janet and his brothers.
I'm told that Michael reluctantly met with his siblings on Monday in Las Vegas. Sisters Janet and Rebbie, as well as Jermaine, Randy, Marlon, Tito and Jackie, all knocked on Jackson's Las Vegas door around 7:30 p.m. Nanny Grace Rwaramba, who runs the door, made them wait between 30 and 60 minutes before allowing the brood in.
What was discussed was the family's financial situation and the fact that Jackson has so far been unable to get work in Vegas. Sources say concert promoter Leonard Rowe of Atlanta, who worked with the Jacksons in the 1980s, was there and made a proposal: a family tour with all members.
The weird thing is, Michael seemed to understand what was happening.
That's good, too, because Jackson is still "radioactive," according to those familiar with the casino business. For example: The owner of one big casino hotel in the Caribbean recently told his chief executive to make sure Jackson was not invited to a big music event being arranged there this summer.
A successful Jackson family tour could change all that for Michael. It would also be a financial boon to a family that needs cash in a hurry. Jackson recently took a new mortgage on his parents' home, and his own home — the Neverland Valley Ranch — is in hoc to the tune of $25 million. Jackson himself relies on cash from royalties on his own songs. But that only comes to a maximum of $7 million a year. As described in court testimony, Jackson could go through that kind of money in just a couple of weeks.
The tour idea also works for Janet Jackson, whose last two albums have been huge duds. The idea of Michael and Janet performing a couple of duets, or Janet's brothers backing her on her own hits, would be a tantalizing notion to any promoter.
The question remains: If Michael agreed, will he go through with it? Stay tuned ...
It's beginning to feel a lot like ... Oscar weekend. While most everyone asks the same question — "What do you think will win Best Picture, 'Little Miss Sunshine' or 'The Departed'?" — the stars are rapidly taking over Hollywood.
Even Bobby Brown, soon-to-be-ex of Whitney Houston, has gotten with the program.
He turned up last night on the mezzanine at Vanity Fair's swell-ish extravaganza at Boulevard 3, dressed in a three-piece suit and acting so sweet that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. The last time I saw Bobby, I reminded him, was about seven years ago on a Saturday night around 2 a.m. at Mel's Diner on Sunset Boulevard. He was standing on a tabletop declaring his love for the world.
Not so last night. The newly single singer is a reformed man. "I just need a break now," he told me. "I've got a new reality show that a couple of networks are interested in. I want to get into acting. And I'm going to do a new album."
What's more, he defended Whitney lovingly. "There isn't a time when she doesn’t look good," he declared, referring to recent reports of his ex out on the town.
Below us, Macy Gray — introduced by the ubiquitous Will.i.Am from the Black Eyed Peas and outfitted like a "Dreamgirl" in a gold gown and long gloves — did her best to send a mixed message: pop princess or Millie Jackson?
To get the audience of well-dressed young folk to echo grunts in a song, she recommended they do it as if they were, well, you know. But she asked so sweetly! The crowd was happier to sing along to Macy's biggest hit, "I Try," and focus on her new single, "Finally Make Me Happy." The album, called "Big," hits stores next month. I can't wait to hear one of the tracks, called "Treat Me Like Your Money."
Meanwhile, out on the terrace leading to the exits, none other than Leonardo DiCaprio was sharing a cigarette with pals Kevin Connolly of "Entourage" and Djimon Hounsou, Leo's Oscar-nominated co-star in "Blood Diamond."
They were rolling around town looking for stuff to do, and eventually, they found it at a birthday bash for singer James Blunt up at Soho House.
Ironically, that gorgeous Spanish mansion being used for Soho House is the same one where Connolly as Eric Murphy and his fictional buddies from "Entourage" live on the show. This, you know, is called life imitating Hollywood imitating life, and no one knows the difference.
And Soho House was where everyone wound up as the evening progressed. It was as if the whole galaxy of stars, starlets and sirens ran like the Mississippi River up Sunset Boulevard and emptied into the chauffeur-driven Escalades that drove silently back and forth up a gated street to the circular drive in front of Turtle and Drama's unaffordable digs.
"Jennifer Aniston just left. Courteney Cox was here."
It was the first thing I heard as I got out of an Escalade that carried Matthew Rhys of "Brothers and Sisters" and his friend, Andrew Taylor, painter husband of Rhys' co-star Rachel Griffiths. "We're just going to be party whores tonight," Rhys declared wryly in the heavy Cardiff accent he hides so well on the family saga that stars Sally Field.
Inside, Rhys met up with "Fantastic Four" star Ioan Gruffudd, his former London flatmate, who was already surrounded by beautiful young things. The Blunt party was already in full swing, with the pop singer's girlfriend Petra Nemcova playing a hot game of pool with Olivier Martinez, Mia Maestro, Valeria Golino and our pal Penelope Cruz.
Penelope, you know, is the first Spanish actress ever to be nominated for an Oscar. "I have to tell them all the time, I'm not going to win," she said, shaking her head. "It's just a big deal to be nominated. I'm having such a good time." She is very excited about her upcoming Woody Allen movie. "You wrote about it in your column," she said. "But I can't tell you the plot." She did confirm what I'd already heard: that Woody has cast Javier Bardem to co-star with her. It doesn't get better than that.
Meanwhile, the reason Penelope isn't going to win, Helen Mirren, was getting the full-on star treatment dinner downstairs in Soho House's brilliant dining room along with husband Taylor Hackford from Miramax. "The Queen" and her consorts had just come with fellow nominee Peter O'Toole and Miramax's Daniel Battsek from a packed cocktail party at the Sunset Towers, where Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner had almost stolen their thunder. Almost, because you can't steal anything from Peter O'Toole.
"How different was this Oscar experience from his many previous ones?" I asked O'Toole, while fans at the Sunset Towers party stuffed customized Warhol-esque pillows with his and Mirren's faces on them into bags.
"Basically, everyone's dead," he replied dryly of Oscars past. With that, he broke loose. "I have to go out and mingle," he said, and he did, because the living looked so much fun.
Last night's party for Al Gore was a little inconvenient for sponsor Entertainment Weekly, which didn't count on a surprise steady rain to dampen the proceedings.
According to all the publicists involved, rain wasn't the only issue: Hosts Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas banned all press from attending the environmental rendezvous.
Was this because Melanie didn't want anyone to remember how she hired out her house several Oscar seasons ago to a group of tourists who wanted to see a "real Hollywood star's home"? Or was she avoiding questions about her lack of a career? The 1990 Oscar nominee was last seen on a canceled sitcom on the WB.
More likely, it was because Griffith, who donates money every year to political candidates, has never given any to Gore. Indeed, Griffith has sent cash to nearly every other top Democratic candidate in the last few years including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama in 2004, Barbara Boxer and John Kerry.
In 1995, when Griffith's career was at its peak, she even sent $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee. But in 2000, when Gore was running for president: nada. Let's just hope she didn't charge Entertainment Weekly for use of her home!