JUSTIN BIEBER & FASHION ROCKS FLOP IN BROOKLYN
THE GLORIOUS CORNER
Story By: G. H. HARDING
FASHION ROCKS FLOPS --- Onstage and onscreen, CBS’ Fashion Rock (hosted by Ryan Seacrest) had its high notes (and flat moments), but the Tuesday night telecast -intersecting sound and style- had more going on behind the scenes, including reminders to cheer, a slew of giveaways and a performance that started to clear out the Barclays Center audience.
Several sources recount 11 things seen and heard inside the arena and on the red carpet of the CBS event:
1. When the live broadcast began at 9 PM ET, the seated audience — composed of both devout fashion believers in notable heels, trendy hairstyle and labeled pieces, and music fans in jeans and clubwear — was only about 80% filled. Still, they gave 100% of their shouts for show opener Usher.
As the show started, pictures of Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and Pitbull triggered the biggest cheers during the opening credits.
2. The first performer to actually evoke a palpable energy from the live audience was Iglesias, who sang "Bailando" with Sean Paul and Gente de Zona, and were introduced by Tommy Hilfiger and the most popular model of the evening, Naomi Campbell. They hit the stage over half an hour into the event — maybe the beers started kicking in?
3. Hunger Games actress Willow Shields, who arrived in a Kate Spade-floral ensemble, got really enthusiastic when we asked her about the one song that gets her dancing when no one's watching. "I would dance to any song if nobody was watching," she said. "Right now, I have "Riptide" by Vance Joy. I've been listening to it for a while and now it's becoming really popular, which I'm excited about."
4. After taking photos on the carpet, J. Lo was rushed into the venue — but not before giving a royal wave to fans and reporters, who were longing to have a few seconds with before the show started.
5. While designer Steve Madden's look hasn't changed in years (a white tee and baseball cap), he noted that there's one part of his wardrobe that is different: "I think my jeans are baggier now." As for the musicians whose style he digs? "Iggy Azalea is great. I love T.I.'s music and his style. I like Ja Rule's style, too." Thanks Steve!
6. Justin Bieber prefaced the Calvin Klein (with the designer himself in the front row) fashion show by stripping down to his boxers, which were Calvins. Though he was welcomed by an overwhelming slew of boos from the audience, he started flexing, and the high-pitched screams drowned out the haters.
7. Afrojack told us he's a big fan of shoes — so big a fan that he owns more than 300 pairs.
8. Before MAGIC! performed their breakout hit "Rude," the group was introduced by New York Giants' Victor Cruz, who also got a ton of boos — or did he? No way. The fashion and music crowd thought the sports fans were hating, but they were just chanting his last name. which apparently sounds less pleasant in an arena than a stadium.
9. Following her "Booty"-bouncing, black-and-white spectacle, Lopez — in a shimmering Versace silver minidress and high ponytail — received the longest post-performance applause and loudest cheers of the night.
10. As Nicki Minaj also touted her bum during "Anaconda" in denim shorts and an embellished bra, the cameras kept panning to a seated Lopez, who wasn't enthused by the former American Idol judge's performance as Carmen Electra, who was dancing in the audience. A noticeable-enough percentage of the crowd started to clear out of the arena after Minaj's moment.
11. Event sponsors Maybelline, Garnier, Calvin Klein and others hosted pop-up beauty booths and selfie stations around the arena lobby. Attendees were given lengthy program books with bios on each performer, plus beauty and style inspirations for each of the evening's genre. Garnier gave out facial scrub samples as guests scurried out to catch Ubers and subways.
The ratings were a bust … no pun intended. I wonder if they'll be another Fashion Rocks next year?
ALEXA DEBUTS --- We've seen literally hundreds of shows in our years of reportage; from glittering cabaret outings to soul-selling rock and roll, so we're fairly secure that when we see something really unique … we know and feel it. Last night we saw Alexa Green (at NYC’s 54 Below), from two West Coast productions of Wicked, and she totally astonished us. Petite and precocious, with sort of a Mae West-ish-ness about her, her voice was just totally unique and she totally delighted us.
With a crack band (and, I mean really superlative) and an SRO-crowd (with Jersey Boys’ Donnie Kehr in attendance) she wowed the crowd over and over. The show was titled My Shining Hour (the Harold Arlen song with lyrics by Johnny Mercer), and was chock full of terrific song selections, including Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” and Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”
She, and her director Mitchell Walker, have fashioned a tight, beautifully realized show. While performing one song, she'd often break into another … a tact which worked wonders; especially when she sang Harry Nilsson’s “Guess The Lord Music Be In New York City” interspersed with the Joel-song.
She immediately commanded the crowd with a presence and dexterity that was totally impressive.
One of the best performances I've seen this year … no question, a star was born.
LED SCHLEP --- As Led Zeppelin's reps prepare to fight allegations that they stole the introduction to "Stairway to Heaven" from the Spirit song “Taurus,” they've turned to a top entertainment industry lawyer.
Business Week reports that attorney Helene Freeman, a partner at the New York firm Phillips Nizer, is on the case — and although Freeman may not be a household name, her work is very familiar to music business insiders; in fact, she was responsible for helping *NSYNC wrest themselves from their rookie recording contract in the late 90’s.
“Taurus” composer Randy California passed away in 1997 — founding Spirit bassist Mark Andes filed the suit on behalf of his late bandmate’s trust — but in an interview before he died, he publicly admitted to thinking “Stairway” ripped off his composition, calling it “kind of a sore point” and adding, “Maybe someday their conscience will make them do something about it.”
Businessweek’s report notes that Zeppelin’s lawyers have until Sept. 22 to respond to the suit. Neither Freeman nor anyone involved with the band or its corporate label parent, Warner Music, have responded to requests for comment, but as we previously reported, Zep-guitarist Jimmy Page has gone on record as finding the allegations “ridiculous.”
CLOSING NOTES --- Speaking of 54 Below, it was the first time I had been there and loved it. It’s intimate, the sound and sight lines were terrific and loads different than when I was there last … as the basement of the infamous Studio 54. Suffice to say, it did look a bit familiar …
Alt porn pioneer Joanna Angel is headed back to New York City as the star entertainer at Sapphire New York Gentlemen’s Club Friday, September 12th for one night only, with a stimulating live performance at 12 midnight, followed by a photo and autograph meet-and-greet with her fans.
“New York is home to me!” said Angel. “I want all my East Coast fans to come out for this one."
Angel will also have Burning Angel DVDs and her line of clothing and T-shirts available for purchase during the show.
In addition to feature dancing, Angel has been keeping busy, directing, writing and starring in her Burning Angel movies while also acting in mainstream films (this year’s indie drama Scrapper), hosting her weekly radio show on VividRadio.com and singing in her band Joanna Angel & the Gigolos.
"Sapphire is such a fun club; I always look forward to my appearances there,” said Angel. “I am only there for one night and I only have one performance – so don't miss it!”