With just two weeks before voters head to the polls, two Democratic mayoral candidates are increasingly relying on celebrity surrogates to make their cases.
This morning, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio released a slickly-produced web video featuring a whole host of bold-faced names, including actor Steve Buscemi, Sex in the City star Cynthia Nixon and plenty others. Music business magnate Russell Simmons, also in the video, is further set to appear with Mr. de Blasio on the campaign trail this afternoon.
“I’ve been begging for years to be here, and Russell finally invited me to perform,” rejoiced neo-soul recording artist Maxwell at Danny and Russell Simmons’s 14th annual Art for Life benefit last Saturday. “I knew early on that music was for me, and if we can bring that to children, it can change the world,” the Brooklyn native continued, wearing a three-piece suit for the festivities at Fairview Farms in Bridgehampton.
Plenty of other stars turned out to support the cause as well, proving once again that the Hamptons is undoubtedly king when it comes to splashy summertime philanthropic events.
“Arts education gives kids an escape from the streets—that’s why I’m here,” explained actor Anthony Anderson, who hosted a Rush Kids auction during the evening. “As a kid, anything that got me in front of an audience was my outlet.”
Red Carpet Real Estate
Last Monday, 250 people joined the Transom in Russell Simmons’s penthouse apartment in the Financial District, shaking snow and sleet off their fur coats and craning their necks to see over a wall of cameras. Mr. Simmons, the chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, was hosting a ceremony to celebrate FFEU’s young leaders, and Read More
The Financial District may have a lot going for it these days—Frank Gehry’s tower, the new World Trade Center—but it will soon be missing one of its prized assets: hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons.
Mr. Simmons has listed his duplex penthouse condo at 114 Liberty Street for $11 million, a listing first spotted by The Real Deal.
Mental Health Week
“My first young experience with the arts was putting on my mother’s Afro wig and singing Michael Jackson songs in the bathroom mirror,” the actor Michael K. Williams reported to The Observer on a drizzly Saturday evening in East Hampton.
We were at Russell Simmons’s house for the 13th annual Art for Life Foundation benefit, Read More
Three days after we picked up The Secret, we won the lottery. It was a Friday night in Williamsburg, and we were drunkenly blinking into the fluorescent lights of a local bodega, waiting for our dinner—also, technically, a late lunch and tomorrow’s early breakfast—of a beef patty with cheese, when we decided to feed two dollars into a machine to purchase an Instant Take 5 ticket, which enticed us with a promise that we could “Win Up To $5,555!”
The Banking Crisis
Last March, we did a socialite-laden post about the dangers of accidentally CC’ing everyone on an invite list instead of using BCC. In most circumstances, you chalk the mistake up to a faux-pas and feel a momentary twinge of embarrassment. Of course, if you are a photographer to the stars, this might lead to more sticky situations.
UPDATE: This story was revised October 18 with new information including an updated number for the total amount of funds raised by the protest. It was originally posted on October 14 and ran in The New York Observer print edition Wednesday, October 19.
“George Soros money is behind this!” Rush Limbaugh told his listeners two weeks ago, feeding speculation that the “99 percent” agenda espoused by the Occupy Wall Street protesters has filthy-rich backers—a claim picked up by Reuters and heatedly debated in the media. Soros money? If only. Around the time Reuters was walking back its headline, “Who’s Behind the Wall Street Protests,” later revised to “Soros: Not a Funder,” protesters were voting on whether to spend $3,000 on brooms and trash cans to clean up the occupied plaza in order to avoid eviction by the city.
Back in July, when local activists hammered out the logistics of the Occupy Wall Street protest, they were planning for little more than an urban camping trip. Committees were established to handle security, medication and sanitation. Nourishment was a major concern. Fundraising was an afterthought.
Still, onlookers are rightfully eager to follow the money. Politics have been so dominated by financing for so long that a major movement without major backers seems unthinkable. Last week, Republicans announced a new Super PAC determined, according to The New York Times, to “raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to defend the party’s majority next year”; meanwhile, President Barack Obama raised more than $42 million for his re-election campaign over the last three months.
Donations are flowing into Occupy Wall Street as well, though on a much smaller scale; as of Tuesday the protest’s general fund has raised approximately $294,000, according to members of the finance committee on Tuesday (although the committee is still refining its balance sheet in advance of giving it to a CPA). That’s enough to keep the demonstrators well-fed and livestreaming, but it’s not Soros-level treasure.
Last Saturday, the Cinema Society headed to the Hamptons to host the premiere of “Homeland,” a new Showtime series starring Claire Danes. The event attracted celebrities and socialites including Rachel Zoe, Russell Simmons, Debbie Bancroft, Minnie Mortimer, and Kiefer Sutherland. In addition to Ms. Danes, “Homeland” co-stars Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin were also in Read More
Early Wednesday evening found The Observer at in a dusty backroom of Urban Zen, Donna Karan‘s newest venue, in the West Village, awaiting the arrival of celebrities, especially the ever-elusive and chronically overexposed (somehow, she’s both at once!) Gwyneth Paltrow at Bent on Learning’s gala.
The event celebrated Russell Simmons and Ms. Paltrow for their support Read More