Sen. Hillary Clinton hit Hollywood last night at the estate of grocery store mogul Ron Burkle and took home $2.6 million for her presidential campaign.
It was twice as much as Sen. Barack Obama raised last month at a similar fundraiser thrown by DreamWorks SKG's David Geffen — a point that was made privately during the Clinton event by many of the fundraisers.
And while the Burkle event didn't have the quantity of star power that the Geffen event had, it sure had the quality. Clinton was seated at the head table with Barbra Streisand and her husband, actor James Brolin; Yahoo chief executive Terry Semel, who once was the co-head of Warner Bros. with Robert Daly; and Daly, with wife, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager.
Hollywood was also represented by current Warner's chief Alan Horn, as well as actors and longtime Clinton friends Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson; "Entourage" star Jeremy Piven; "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul; record exec Jeff Ayeroff; HBO chief Chris Albrecht; esteemed producer Norman Lear; and Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. Close Clinton friend Quincy Jones was absent, but sources said there was an unavoidable conflict.
There were also cadres of agents from the various Hollywood talent agencies: Emmy-winner Christine Lahti; producer/billionaire Steve Bing; TV producer Peter Locke; and even iconic TV actress Catherine Bach, aka Daisy Duke from "The Dukes of Hazzard."
They weren't Jennifer Aniston or Denzel Washington, some of the celebrity guests who attended the Geffen/Obama event. But as one observer pointed out: The 500 or so Burkle guests all paid for their tickets.
"There was no padding," the source said.
And there was money: Haim Saban, the billionaire mogul whose fortune comes from children's television, was front and center. So was Los Angeles philanthropist and real-estate magnate Richard S. Ziman and the man who invented Ticketmaster (and made a fortune from it), Fred Rosen. Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang was also spotted.
As has been reported in the last few days, another Clinton Hollywood fundraiser is being planned for next month. Steven Spielberg, Geffen's partner, is the host.
Key to last night's event, though, was the appearance of Streisand. A longtime, steadfast Clinton friend, Streisand attended the cocktail party, stayed until the end, ate the chicken-and-mashed-potato dinner and even led the question-and-answer session that followed the presidential candidate's enthusiastic speech that covered the Iraq war, climate change, Sept. 11 funding in New York and, of course, health care.
Streisand, taking the microphone at her table, at first fumbled.
"I'm scared of microphones," the legendary singer quipped. Then she asked, "Did New York ever get the money for 9/11?"
The answer, Clinton said, was yes, but only because she and New York's other senator, Chuck Schumer, went to President Bush with the request. Clinton said that the big fear now was not enough continued funding for those who suffered from illnesses stemming from the World Trade Center tragedies.
The second question of the night came from John Emerson, a former member of the Bill Clinton administration and now head of the Los Angeles Music Center. He asked Hillary Clinton what the role of "first spouse" would be for former President Clinton if she became president.
"It's a somewhat unusual circumstance," she replied. "What would a first man be called? I have no idea."
She said it would be a great blessing to have former presidents doing PR for America around the world and cited the recent teamwork of former Presidents Bush and Clinton for tsunami relief.
"Bill is probably the most popular person in the world," she said.
And where was the former commander-in-chief? Considering he often stays at Casa Burkle, it seemed a reasonable question.
But apparently, every appearance by Hillary Clinton's husband at one of her fundraisers includes his security detail and must be charged to the campaign — a cost of $200,000, according to one insider. So, Bill Clinton's work on behalf of his wife has to be employed judiciously.
By the time the dinner was over and Sen. Clinton had wowed the audience under a pale gold tent in Burkle's backyard, we also got to hear a pro-Hillary song recorded by "the very right-wing" country star Merle Haggard called "Let's Put a Woman in Charge" — very catchy.
We learned, too, thanks to Steenburgen — who introduced Clinton — that the former first couple recently focused their amazing conflict-resolution skills on the 1981 Oscar-winning actress' lagging career.
It must have worked: She has five projects scheduled for this year alone.
Jailed private eye Anthony Pellicano remarried his ex-wife on Friday in Los Angeles.
The Hollywood detective had divorced his wife, Kat, in 2002 after 18 years of marriage. From that time on, Kat Pellicano has been the source of numerous stories about her ex, no doubt contributing to his incarcerations and many other problems. Therefore, the new marriage is certain to raise eyebrows.
Even stranger was the guest at a magistrate’s court. Pellicano is said to have invited a few favored journalists, including the Associated Press’ veteran courtroom reporter Linda Deutsch, People magazine’s dean of celebrity writing Frank Swertlow and the New York Times tag team of Allison Hope Weiner and David M. Halbfinger. The guests were contacted by a private investigator who works for Pellicano.
Of the reporters who were present, only Deutsch immediately filed a story after the ceremony. The other outlets have yet to make a peep.
So why did the Pellicanos re-tie the knot after five years of blissful separation? There’s strong speculation that some kind of deal has been cut and that in exchange for unspecified fees, Kat Pellicano will now not testify against her ex when his trial begins in August.
The reunion was certainly not for romantic reasons. I’m told that federal prison does not offer conjugal visits.
The other guests, by the way, were the couple’s four daughters, Pellicano’s on-again, off-again attorney Steven Gruel and an assortment of family members. There’s no word on the catering, what presents were offered or where the couple might have registered.
Here’s just a quick Live Earth update about the seven concerts scheduled for July 7 on seven continents.
Believe it or not, one of the shows will emanate from Antarctica. And even though organizers wanted the U.S. show in Washington, D.C., on the Mall or at Shea Stadium in New York City, I’m told it will take place in Philadelphia.
The Police will headline that show, sources say, along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Stay tuned for more to come. …
Yes, that was Hugh Hefner and his six blond lady-friends at Friday night’s performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles show, “Love,” in Las Vegas.
Hefner and crew were being filmed before the show started for his reality program, “The Girls Next Door.” He was also celebrating his 81st birthday.
Meanwhile, “Love,” which Cirque du Soleil opened to rave reviews last June, continues to be a work of genius.
Presented twice a night from Thursdays to Sundays at the Mirage Hotel, the show — combining ballet, mime and acrobatics — skillfully reconfigures the music of the Beatles.
The Fab Four’s original producer George Martin and his son Giles have taken all existing bits of the Beatles’ music — as well as unreleased pieces of conversations from recording sessions — and rewoven them into an exciting pastiche that’s just as inventive and creative as it is emotional.
“Love” is performed in a newly built multimillion theater that features seats outfitted with speakers to show off the better-than-5.1 Dolby digital sound.
The theater is set in a square with multiple stages and video screens all operating simultaneously. The whole thing is quite extraordinary, especially given that some dance numbers are performed while the stages are moving and up and down, over and over.
And while the athletic performers, the choreography and costumes are astounding, you can’t forget that it’s all because of the music. Much of it is included in the CD soundtrack for “Love,” but even that is lacking the subtle transitions and many smaller collages the Martins had to invent for the show.
Some highlights include “I Am the Walrus,” “Lady Madonna” and a reimagined version of George Harrison performing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Indeed, while the music of John Lennon and Paul McCartney is featured, some of the more stirring moments of “Love” come from George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
Harrison’s “Within You, Without You” and “Here Comes the Sun” make for stunning staging, while Ringo’s “Octopus’s Garden” blended with his “Good Night” actually steals the entire 90-minute celebration.
People cry at the end of “Love,” even those who didn’t grow up during the Beatles era. It’s that good a show.
Standing ovations before the final number, “All You Need Is Love,” are common, and the audience sings along with that song. It’s an experience not to be missed.
If only “Love” weren’t in Las Vegas, but that’s another story! And here’s a little of that story.
“Love” takes place in the Mirage Hotel, which has prospered from the arrival of the show. The hotel is rejuvenated, but it’s still a bit like Grand Central station.
The nearby Wynn Las Vegas is much more preferable and less stressful. I liked the fact that the slot machines in the Wynn lobby are silent. And the Wynn boasts a four-star restaurant, Corsa, that is not part of a chain or franchise from another city.
But Las Vegas is not easily accessed. McCarran Airport is a disorganized disaster, boasting perhaps the worst cab line of any airport anywhere, and a security queue that will make you think about flying to Los Angeles and then driving the four hours to Vegas.
You actually need to include an hour in your travel time for just being in McCarran. Anything less would be a bad bet.
Something else: Las Vegas has evidently dropped the idea that it’s for families. “Now it’s what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” opined a cab driver.
Sad but true: This is not a town for children. Las Vegas is for adults. Disney World is for kids. There’s no way around it. Even the dancing dolphins at the Mirage are fairly sophisticated.