Britney Spears' Charity in the Red | Alicia Keys In on Grammys | 'Get Smart' Bush/Cheney Bash | Marisa, Martha Are Top Girls; Red Carpet Lox
Britney Spears' Charity in the Red
We may know a little more about Britney Spears’ financial situation.
On Wednesday it was revealed that her dad, Jamie, who has power of attorney, is starting to sell off assets such as her Studio City, Calif., home.
But I can also tell you that Britney’s ailing personal economy is reflected in the just-filed tax statement of her charitable foundation for 2006.
This most recent filing, which just became available, shows that Spears’ foundation finished 2006 in the red with a deficit of $195,000 and listed assets of $159,000.
And where the year before the Britney Spears Foundation gave away nearly $600,000 in grants — including $30,000 to Madonna’s Kabbalah-based Spirituality for Kids — 2006 was much different. It lists “0,” or zero, as the amount paid in grants.
Curiously, the foundation — whose return was signed by Britney’s brother Bryan — noted $178,000 went to unspecified groups, $50,000 went to a final year of Spears’ children’s camp and another $87,000 to two salaries.
But charity begins at home, and Spears’ situation could only have gotten worse in fiscal 2007. Legal bills, rehab stays, massive doses of shopping and partying, not to mention auto repair and miscellaneous posse expenses cost her dearly.
On top of that, Spears’ income no doubt was diminished in 2007 by poor sales of her “Blackout” album, no tour and little airplay of her now-outdated novelty songs such as “Oops I Did it Again” and “Toxic.”
We're surprised she had enough money to fly home on Wednesday to Kentwood, La., to be with her unmarried, pregnant teenage sister, due any day now.
Alicia Keys In on Grammys
Alicia Keys is setting her sights on the 2009 Grammy Awards. She’s just filmed a video for “Superwoman,” the single from her “As I Am” album. The album should be a nominee for Album of the Year — not just Best R&B album, thank you — and “Superwoman” should be up for Best Song and Best Record.
On Wednesday night Alicia played a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden with plenty of special guests backstage to cheer her on, such as John Legend and Petra Nemcova. Legend brought with him his own new artist, Estelle, whom he’s released on his own label.
Later, everyone headed over to The Park restaurant on 10th Avenue, where Alicia greeted R&B singer and writer Ne-Yo and posed graciously with everyone for pictures.
Last year Alicia’s lead single from “As I Am,” — the incredible “No One” — won the Grammy for R&B record and song. But it was No. 1 one for weeks on the pop chart and truly was the best overall record of 2007-2008.
Meanwhile, Legend told me he’s getting ready to release his third album in the fall, right before the Grammy deadline of Sept. 30. It will have a couple of samples on it, just as his last album did when he remade “Stormy,” the Classics IV hit, into his “Save Room.”
Legend turns 30 at the end of December. Like Alicia, Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Ne-Yo and a handful of others, he’s a standard bearer for this generation of pop musicians.
We differ on the need to sample other people's work, but I respect his attitude: “You can’t tell me that the writers of those works don’t like getting the checks. It’s reviving their music.”
One musician who’s waiting for such a check is “Soul Man” Sam Moore. Atlanta producer Devon Harris created a duet track for Legend and Aretha Franklin called “What Y’All Came to Do” on Aretha’s recent duets album.
The track heavily samples the Sam & Dave hit “I Thank You,” going so far as to kick off with Moore’s trademark intro to that hit. But Legend says to tell Moore, per the money: “Hold on, it’s coming.”
'Get Smart' Bush/Cheney Bash
Get ready for a load of Bush-Cheney bashing in the movie version of "Get Smart," which opens Friday.
A major theme of the comedy, based on the TV series, concerns CONTROL chief, played by Alan Arkin, constantly being put off by a smarmy vice president (Geoff Pierson). The Chief complains about this problem incessantly until he’s finally able to make contact with the president of the United States, played by James Caan. Unfortunately, Caan’s character is very much the dimwit.
Our illustrious leaders aren’t the only members of the government who get zonked in the film. So, too, does the CIA, as CONTROL appears to be a small group positioned somewhere between the CIA and the FBI. Kevin Nealon and Larry Miller play two bumbling CIA agents in a brief cameo.
All of this may be discussed Thursday night over at the CORE Club, where I’m told Warner Bros. will try and hold a “secret” premiere of “Get Smart” away from the press with stars Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway and Stephen Colbert — who sends up “The Insider” host Pat O’Brien in the film — but neither creator Buck Henry nor Mel Brooks will be there.
The entire event is being organized under a massive Cone of Silence. Fans of the series know how well that piece of equipment used to work!
Marisa, Martha Are Top Girls; Red Carpet Lox
The rush is on to see Marisa Tomei, Martha Plimpton, Mary Beth Hurt and Elizabeth Marvel in “Top Girls” on Broadway. The show closes on June 29 at the Biltmore Theater.
On Wednesday night Julianne Moore was in the audience, as was director Gary Winick. The Caryl Churchill saga of five women is a unique piece of theater, and these women, as well as Mary Catherine Garrison, Jennifer Ikeda and Ana Reeder, are all superb.
Plimpton had a much-deserved Tony nomination for her work, and Tomei is just a revelation as Joyce, a young woman stuck in an English backwater. But you will marvel at Marvel, who long ago should have become a bona fide star. ...
Barney Greengrass’ 100th anniversary party Wednesday night showed exactly who put the smoked in salmon. Among the notable guests who went from the red carpet to the sturgeon: Nora Ephron and Nick Pileggi, famed record producer Russ Titelman, Allan and Deborah Grubman, actor John Pankow and Conde Nast PR empress Maury Perl. Here’s to another 100!