Drew Barrymore, TomKat And Others At Madonna Bash
Nothing draws celebrities like cocktails, fellow A-listers and a good cause.
"It's a safe bet to say that this is the event of the year so far, everyone I've spoken to is saying they're stunned by how grand this whole thing is," said Debra Messing, who attended Madonna and Gucci's "A Night to Benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF" party Wednesday night with her husband, "Fool's Gold" writer Daniel Zelman.
On the upper level of the cocktail reception area, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who was dressed in a sculpted red Alexander McQueen dress, talked to Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica, about real estate, while host Chris Rock mused about which Democratic presidential candidate would be able to deliver the best joke.
"Barack (Obama) could probably tell a better one," he said. "But Hillary (Rodham Clinton) knows way more about comedy." This thought caused Rock to crack himself up.
Near the entrance, Drew Barrymore, wearing a black-and-yellow Gucci dress, and her new beau, Justin Long, had a question for Jennifer Lopez.
"When are we going to do game night?" Barrymore asked the pregnant singer, who was accompanied by husband Marc Anthony and a team of bodyguards.
"He's the BEST gamer," Barrymore said, pointing to Long.
"We're into Scrabble and charades," Long said.
Guests included Salma Hayek; Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher; Baby Phat designer Kimora Lee and her boyfriend, supporting actor Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou; Dylan McDermott; Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale; and Billy Joel and Katie Lee Joel.
Essence Honors Author Terry McMillan With Achievement Award
2"Waiting to Exhale" author Terry McMillan has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from Essence magazine for her best-selling, irreverent novels about the everyday struggles of modern American black women.
"No single writer today has documented the African-American experience from a contemporary black women's point of view like Terry McMillan," said Patrik Henry Bass, a senior editor at Essence for books and art.
McMillan's best-known books are "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Waiting to Exhale." Both were made into movies.
McMillan has a long history with Essence. As a journalism student at the University of California at Berkeley, McMillan won an Essence essay contest in 1974 for a piece on black male-female relationships.
The award-winning author and nominees in eight other literary categories were nominated by the editors of Essence. Afterward, a panel of experts in the black publishing field selected the winners.
McMillan and the other winners were to attend the Essence Literary Awards ceremony Thursday evening.
Cher To Headline At Caesars Palace
3Cher is confirming a long-running rumor that she'll be one of the headline acts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
She starts her three-year, 200-show engagement May 6.
Her act will include hit songs from her career and be complimented by choreography, costumes and special effects.
Cher says in a release that she started her career in Las Vegas at Caesars, so she's come full-circle.
Cher is an Oscar- and Emmy-winner. She's released more than 25 albums and sold over 100 million records worldwide.
She'll alternate performances at the 4,300-seat Colosseum with other headline acts Elton John and Bette Midler.
Cher's 90-minute show will run four nights a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices are from $95 to $250.
Angelina Jolie In Baghdad On U.N. Mission
4Angelina Jolie is in Baghdad on a mission to help Iraqi refugees.
Jolie is a U.N. goodwill ambassador. She says more needs to be done to help more than two million Iraqis who've had to leave their homes because of the violence.
She says the current decline in violence is a perfect time for Iraqis to return home, but she told CNN, so far, "there seems to be just a lot of talk."
Jolie spoke about the situation with the top U.S. commander in Iraq. She also has plans to meet with Iraq's prime minister and migration officials.
She also took time to hang out with U.S. troops during lunch.
John Fogerty Earns First Grammy Performing Slot At 62
5John Fogerty is finding out it's never too late to be a first-time performer on the Grammy Awards.
The 62-year-old former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman will join rock pioneers Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard in a "Cornerstone of Rock" segment during Sunday's CBS telecast from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
"When I was a young guy, none of the people I liked got Grammys. That's just the way it was," he said at a Grammy week event Wednesday night.
"They honored a lot of great people, but they just weren't in my musical universe. Then something changed 15, 20 years ago, where they started kind of getting a little hipper, honoring rock and pop and even rap. It seems to be not just reserved for old, gray white men anymore, kind of like our politics."
Despite CCR's string of hits in the 1960s and '70s, Fogerty never played the Grammys. This time, his own band will back him, Lewis and Little Richard.
He could take the stage twice his new album "Revival" is nominated for rock album, a category he won in 1997.
"It would be great to win one, but it's also just great to be mentioned and thought of," he said. "You just have to be glad you're in the parade."
Fogerty's "Revival" tour hits Australia for seven dates beginning March 16 in Perth.
Jimmy Jam To Reunite With The Time At Grammy Awards
It's going to be an '80s flashback at Sunday's Grammy Awards when Jimmy Jam revisits his musical roots in a one-night only reunion with The Time.
"We can't remember the last time we all played together," he said Wednesday night at a Grammy week event.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, former high school classmates in Minneapolis, formed a band called Flyte Time that evolved into The Time. In 1981, they were joined by Morris Day and toured with Prince as Morris Day and the Time.
Their hits included "Cool," "Get It Up" and "The Walk." By decade's end, Jam and Lewis had moved on to produce a string of hit albums for Janet Jackson, becoming a powerhouse songwriting and production team.
Jam, chairman of The Recording Academy, is working on new albums with Usher and Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson.
He spent Wednesday rehearsing for Sunday's Grammys from Staples Center in Los Angeles. The group will join Rihanna in performing a song he wouldn't reveal.
"I'm shocked at how quickly it all came back," Jam said. "We're having a great time... we're getting along so good. We're just soaking up the whole atmosphere."
The group has mended fences with Prince, too.
"We've had our differences over the years, but he remains a big fan of ours," Jam said.
Ex-beauty Queen Katie Rees Released From Las Vegas Slammer
A former beauty queen who was stripped of her tiara after racy photos of her appeared on the Internet has been freed from jail following her arrest on traffic offenses.
Katherine N. "Katie" Rees, 23, a former Miss Nevada USA, was held for about 12 hours at the Clark County jail after police said she was stopped while driving about 3 a.m. Wednesday and became physically aggressive toward a Las Vegas police officer.
Mario Torres, Rees' lawyer in Tampa, Fla., denied Rees was aggressive, and said she chipped or lost a tooth when she was forcefully pushed against her vehicle.
"Based on the information I've received, the officer was very aggressive with her," Torres said. "They used aggression against her."
Rees was charged with speeding, driving with a suspended license, operating a motor vehicle with suspended license plates, failure to produce proof of insurance and resisting a police officer, police said.
She was released without bail and is due to appear in Las Vegas Justice Court on March 8.
Torres said Rees was alone when she was stopped while driving her car. He and police said there was no indication she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Las Vegas police Officer Bill Cassell said no injuries were reported.
The Miss Universe Organization and co-owner Donald Trump dethroned Rees in December 2006 after photos appeared showing her kissing other young women, exposing one of her breasts and pulling down her pants to show her thong underwear at a party in Tampa, Fla.
Elton John Will Keep The Party Going After The Oscars
Vanity Fair's post-Oscar party is off, but Elton John's is on.
The singer and AIDS activist is moving forward with plans for his 16th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party, the foundation announced Wednesday.
"This event is our most important fundraiser of the year," it said in a statement. "Last year, we raised over $4.3 million and we expect to exceed that record this year."
John will also play a special concert set at the party, backed by his full band.
Vanity Fair canceled its party in support of striking Hollywood writers and others affected by the labor action.
John's viewing party, held at the Pacific Design Center, is always lavish and star-studded, boasting past guests such as Denzel Washington, Sting, Sharon Stone, Ben Kingsley, Kevin Spacey and Halle Berry. Among the expected guests at the Feb. 24 soiree are Victoria and David Beckham, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Donatella Versace and Elizabeth Taylor.