By Jan Paschal
Even Meryl Streep gets stage fright, or so she joked to the
star-studded crowd at amfAR’s New York Gala. Streep,
a two-time Oscar winner and an Oscar nominee for best actress
in “Julie & Julia,” wowed the black-tie audience at the American foundation for AIDS research by singing
a capella solo — after Lady Gaga’s dramatic performance.
“It really takes guts to get up and sing after Lady Gaga ,”
Streep said, warming up the room full of A-listers, who braved
a New York blizzard to get to the gala on the eve of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week . “We’ve got the sacred and the profane right here.”
That was a nod to Lady Gaga’s star turn in a white bikini
at the white baby grand piano, which she played while
belting out a bluesy romantic ballad, with a few expletives. Streep sang an Irish song called “The Parting Glass” in
tribute to her friend, the late Natasha Richardson , the Tony
Award-winning actress and amfAR trustee, who died
last March after a skiing accident.
Streep’s clear contralto voice rang out over the hushed room
and prompted many to brush away tears, including Natasha’s
mother, the actressVanessa Redgrave , who is perhaps the
best-known member of Britain’s theater royalty.
Redgrave told Reuters that she had asked Streep to sing as
part of the gala’s tribute to her daughter, who had
raised millions for AIDS research over the past decade by
dreaming up events such as a charity auction of Oscar dresses.
“It was lovely, wasn’t it?” Redgrave said, adding that Streep
chose the song.
The event raised between $1.1 million and $1.2 million for
AIDS research, a record for a single amfAR gala, an amfAR
Among the guests: The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson , who
told Reuters she’ll be keeping an eye out for “a bit of madness”
on New York’s fashion runways; actress Zoe Saldana of Oscar-nominated film “Avatar ” in a
Louis Vuitton dress with a short full skirt and open back;
actress Sigourney Weaver of “Avatar” in a black turtleneck
evening look; actor Alan Cumming sans tux jacket, madly
working his BlackBerry after the house lights came up; actor James Gandolfini (late of “God of Carnage” on Broadway and HBO’s “The Sopranos”) and IMG Fashion’s senior vice president Fern Mallis , the woman
who runs the tents in Bryant Park, gamely snapping a
couple’s picture on their camera, as the evening wrapped up.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – What’s Christmas without a little indulgence and a lot of guilt, with a global survey showing two in three people occasionally treat themselves to a luxury purchase, but a third then feel bad about it.
The survey of 8,100 people by market research firm Synovate also showed that luxury really was what you made of it, with over a third defining it as everything above what is necessary. Nearly a fifth said it was having time to do whatever you wanted.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Barack Obama has done it again. The president’s starpower has made the United States the place most people want to visit and do business with, according to an annual survey that ranks nations like retail brands.
The Country Brand Index, compiled by brand consultancy FutureBrand, found the United States had unseated Australia, which held the top spot for the past three years. Australia came in third this year with Canada rising to second place.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – It seems the financial crisis isn’t all doom and gloom: one in four people are glad the world’s economy slumped like it did, because it helped them realize their priorities in life, according to a global survey.
Market research firm Synovate polled around 11,400 people across the world and found more than half had permanently changed their attitudes toward money over the last 12 months.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A Singapore theater company is staging “Victor/Victoria” for the first time in Asia, more than a decade after it left Broadway and with jazz singer Laura Fygi in the role that actress Julie Andrews made famous.
The musical comedy, written by Blake Edwards and set to the music of Henry Mancini, opens in Singapore on November 9 and is the latest in a handful of Broadway productions to be staged in the Southeast Asian country better known for its strict laws than its arts scene.
Want to know the real Lindsay Lohan? Check out her latest clothing range.Hollywood’s wild child recently signed up with fashion house Emanuel Ungaro as an artistic adviser to add pizzazz to the ageing fashion brand. Her first collection will be unveiled on October 4 and it’s one she says is very close to her heart.”I think working with Ungaro it’s more personal for me,” she told Reuters in Singapore, where she’ll be hosting a three-day music concert that coincides with the country’s Formula One race.”It’s kind of more about who I am and what I want to put out there in terms of what people wear and different styles. And what I wear in films means a lot to the character and what people take from the character.”Over the past two years, Lohan’s creative endeavors have been eclipsed by scandals, nightclub antics and drug problems. The 23-year-old was briefly jailed in 2007 after being convicted of drink driving and cocaine possession, and made to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.But she said she’s been dealing with headlines for such a long time, that she doesn’t let them get in the way of her work.”I’m pretty numb to everything that gets said and goes on. I’m not going to say the paparazzi don’t get annoying, when I, you know, just want that alone time. But it’s not that bad. I don’t really pay attention to it, in all honesty,” she said.Lohan loves to shop and her previous fashion ventures have included a line of leggings that drew mixed reviews from fashionistas.And, like a true fashionista, Lohan arrived almost two hours — or shall we say fashionably? — late for media interviews.