Magic Johnson was the honored guest yesterday at a charity basketball game in Athens to raise money for a global AIDS campaign and victims of recent deadly wildfires in Greece that killed at least 65 people. “Thank you for allowing me to come to your beautiful country,” Johnson, who did not play Tuesday, said before the start of the game. “This is to help all the people with HIV/AIDS and for the people affected by that terrible fire.”
The game, held under the auspices of UNICEF’s office in Greece, featured the Greece team that won the European championship 20 years ago by beating the Soviet Union in a close final. They faced the national under-19 team.
As London Fashion Week continued last night, nearly 500 guests attended the invitation-only Golden Age of Couture VIP Gala at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Guests paid $2,000 each to attend the event. Those in attendance included Elizabeth Hurley, Prince, Claudia Schiffer, Quentin Tarantino, Eva Herzigova, Jade Jagger, Lily Cole and Vivienne Westwood.
Mel Brooks hammed it up for our cameras outside Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills last night.
Brooks was recently a guest on a new radio series, “Only In America,” that chronicles the history of Jews in the America. Other guests on the series will include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Jon Stewart.
Farm Aid ’07 was held at Randal’s Island in New York City yesterday. Artists including John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, Montgomery Gentry and Counting Crows turned out to help raise money to save family farms in the US.
Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Farm Aid has raised more than $30 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land.
Artist and director Julian Schnabel won the 2007 Gucci Group Award at the 64th Annual Venice Film Festival for his work “Le Scaphandre et le Papillion” (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) an adaptation of a memoir written by Jean-Dominique Bauby, who in 1995, at age 43, succumbed to a stroke that left him completely paralyzed save for his left eye. (He “blinked” out the manuscript, one letter at a time; the book was published just days before Bauby’s death in 1997).
The great tenor Luciano Pavarotti has died at the age of 71. Pavarotti had been fighting a long battle with pancreatic cancer. The world famous opera singer died at his home in Modena, Italy. His manager Terri Robson released a statement that read, “The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness.” He is survived by his second wife Nicoletta Mantovani and daughter Alice, four. He also has three adult children with his first wife, Adua
Director Tim Burton was honored at the Venice Film Festival with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement yesterday. Johnny Depp, who has starred a number of Burton’s films including Edward Scissorhands and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, presented the award. “This is very special to me. It’s the best honor I’ve ever received and it just inspires me to keep going,” Burton said. He also joked that the award was better than an Oscar statuette: “It’s actually a lot more beautiful-looking than a bald, naked man.”
Burton attended with fiancee Helena Bonham Carter who recently appeared in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and is pregnant with the couple’s second child. He is currently filming his new film, Sweeney Todd, in which Depp plays the demon barber of Fleet Street.