Beatle Beef | Robin Leach | Ringo's Lucky Number | Rocco's: Good Show, Bad Meal
Ringo Starr brought his lumbering All-Starr Band to Radio City Music Hall last night. But Paul McCartney, his only remaining colleague from the Beatles, was nowhere to be found.
This was awkward since earlier in the day, McCartney and his pregnant wife, Heather Mills, were spotted by singer John Waite ("Missing You"), a member of Starr's band, walking on West 54th Street near Rockefeller Center. This makes sense since the office of McCartney's brother-in-law and attorney, John Eastman, is in the famous Rockefeller apartments.
It's unlikely that McCartney was unaware of Ringo's presence in New York yesterday. The sylph-like drummer has been doing a lot of publicity to promote the concert tour and his latest album.
At a press conference in the late afternoon at Radio City, Starr told a group of journalists that he invites McCartney every year to join him with the All-Starr Band. "He's just too busy," Ringo said, rather sadly.
This was the 8th year.
(Radio City, by the way, had better get its act together. The place seems very disorganized and not particularly user friendly!)
Last November I reported that Ringo and Paul were barely on speaking terms at the Concert for George, a memorial to their buddy George Harrison at Royal Albert Hall. The pair timed their appearances at the afterparty so they wouldn't have to be photographed together.
Of course McCartney isn't making many friends within his own family either lately. I am told by insiders that the rift between the ex-Beatle and his children has only widened since his marriage to Mills and the impending birth of their baby.
Stella McCartney, Paul's designing daughter, hasn't done anything to squelch rumors of her distaste for Mills. But I am also told that Paul has angered Stella by not giving her access to many of the possessions of her late mother, Linda. Stella has also expressed an interest in helping market Linda's line of frozen vegetarian dishes which was sold to Heinz in 2001. But so far Paul has apparently blocked her participation, much to Stella's chagrin.
The Linda McCartney line, by the way, can be found in health food stores.
As for Mills, she really missed her favorite singer last night at Ringo's show. As she told me a couple of years ago, Heather is a huge fan of Men at Work singer Colin Hay. Well, dear Heather, he performed three of his hits last night and one song only real fanatics would know.
I am sure you would have been swaying to the music. Too bad, a missed chance!
So where is our old pal Robin Leach? Las Vegas, of course. We caught up with him over the weekend out there. Robin has moved in and taken over the desert town; he's never looked better either. He has an interest, shall we say, in the gorgeous Venetian Hotel, current home to Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance." In this Venice, Robin is the chief gondolier.
Robin is living in a beautiful home once owned by Gavin Maloof of the Sacramento Kings basketball team, his own "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" existence. Not bad! He files entertainment reports for "Extra" and appears on Fox5 in Vegas about three times a week, too.
But the big news is that this week Robin starts taping four pilots of a new TV series called "Penthouse Vegas." The show will be something like Hugh Hefner's old "After Dark" series, with all the celebs in Sin City dropping by each week to kibitz with Leach. Fox TV's affiliates will be looking at it for a late night Friday series.
Now, frankly, considering "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" was the first reality show on TV, and that everyone in TV wants a reality show right now that has a successful formula...I mean, can a Leach Lifestyles renaissance be far off? I'd like to say I know something, but I don't.
It's just a thought. Robin, after all, started "Entertainment Tonight" 20 years ago and the Food Network after that. I think he has a lot up his silk, hand tailored sleeves. So put your $10 chips on his number and let the wheel spin.
I have a feeling Ringo does not know who Lene (pronounced LAY-nah) Lovich is -- but I do, and boy was I happy to meet her last night. In 1978, Lovich -- with long Bavarian pigtails and a halting bark -- joined the Stiff Records tour that featured Elvis Costello, Mickey Jupp, Rachel Sweet, Jona Lewie, and Wreckless Eric. The rest is history. Stiff -- which used the slogan "If Ain't Stiff It Ain't Worth a F---" -- changed punk-pop music history.
Real aficionados of pop-punk from that era will recall Lovich's seminal hits, "Home" and "Lucky Number." She had some others, too, like "New Toy," "Never Never Land," and "Bird Song." It was a moment in time. A cult moment, yes, but very important.
So it was just a kick-and-a-half last night as I was escaping a pre-Ringo concert cocktail party for the animal rights group Humane USA (hosted, I think, by soap opera star Grant Aleksander of "Guiding Light" fame) that Lene Lovich arrived.
Lene Lovich! She still has the braids. She's still with the bald-pated collaborator Les Chappell. It was really too much, the whole thing. But listen, get her greatest hits off of Amazon.com. It's well worth it.
So what's happening with Lene? She's making a new record with producer Mike Thorne in the UK and then hoping to find a label. Clive, Lyor, Doug, Donnie -- someone sign her right now! Lene Lovich is what the record business is missing. What's she doing in town?
"I performed in a Janis Joplin tribute over the weekend," she said. Huh?
Okay. A Nina Hagen tribute I might have understood, but what's the difference? Welcome, Lene Lovich, to New York. You were the one celebrity we were lacking.
I haven't seen the first two episodes of "The Restaurant," a reality show on NBC that follows the creation of Rocco's on 22nd St. I do know Rocco DiSpirito very slightly from his excellent restaurant, Union Pacific, in the same neighborhood.
A group of us decided to try the place last night on a whim, even though we'd heard there were long lines. Turns out there were no lines and plenty of tables. The general manager, Laurent Saillard, is the affable Frenchman who used to run the dining room at Balthazar; we were all pleased to see him. All the staff, in fact, were very friendly.
But Rocco's is a nightmare once the food is served. How can it be that the spaghetti is cold and limp, the sauces watery and tasteless? Cherry tomatoes bore an alarming bad taste. All in all, we would have been much better off in a diner.
Rocco's mother is said to be in the kitchen, but someone better get her out of there right away. Her dishes are a mess. New York has too many great Italian restaurants for anyone to eat a second meal in this television fantasy. And don't think this is because they had so little time to get it together. As one staffer there said, "We've been open for weeks. It should have been right already."