Russell Versus Rocco! Russell Simmons, rap mogul and yoga maniac, serves as honorary chair of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s opening night gala, joining people with a lot more money than you—the Weills, the Allisons and the Chenaults—to discuss strategies for world domination, and oh, to watch the company perform two live dances! Then, Safe Horizon, an organization for victims of domestic violence, hosts a benefit at Chelsea Piers with Veronica Webb, actress (and wife of Bobby Flay) Stephanie March, and a dinner prepared by swain Rocco DiSpirito. Or actually, his mother! “I’m going to be in L.A. shooting Ellen for my new book (Rocco’s Real Life Recipes), so my mom is the executive chef,” said Mr. DiSpirito. “It’s all about mama. We’re preparing steak alla pizzaiola, a traditional Campagnan dish.” Which is exactly what it sounds like: Pizza-themed steak! Mr. DiSpirito credits mom for jump-starting his career as a chef when he was a boy of 11 in Queens. “I wanted to buy an album called Love Gun by KISS, and I asked my mom for it and she told me to go get a job,” he said. “I ended up working for a guy named Sal in a pizzeria and making $30 a week. And I’ve worked in restaurants ever since.” So a week that starts ominously with feasting and familial angst ends—as all others do—with a paltry paycheck and a slice of pizza. We’re relieved.
[Alvin Ailey Dance Theater’s Opening Night Gala, City Center, West 55th Street, 7 p.m., 212-405-9031; Safe Horizon’s Safe: In Our Own Words, Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, 212-577-7741]
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