Children Are Suffering -- Now Enjoy the Party!

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, October 6, 2008

Call us superficial, but we think parties should be . . . um, fun.

Friday night's YouthAIDS gala at the Tysons Ritz-Carlton sounded so promising: "Power of Music" theme, "rock star chic" dress code, and VIPs not often seen in D.C.-- John Mellencamp, Bob Geldof, Ashley Judd, Sharon Osbourne, Anna Kournikova. Rock on! But no -- the fundraiser ($1.2 million) was more like a dirge.

Buzz-kill 1: An endless live auction during which we silently played the "who's hotter?" game: Kournikova, in a low-cut black gown, or Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela, sporting a snakelike tattoo -- what she called a symbol of "eternal life" -- on her perfect neck.

Buzz-kill 2: Judd (eloquent, heartfelt) overshared about her return from a relief mission -- she fell apart after counting all the faucets with running water in her movie star house; a therapist diagnosed her with "reverse culture shock" and validated her grief. Oh, the humanity! She introduced Geldof, founder of the Live Aid concerts: "Bob, you make me feel like a useless twit."

Buzz-kill 3: Geldof (charming, unsparing) delivered a long, somber treatise on the "pornography of poverty" in Africa: "Tonight, like last night and tomorrow night, 90 percent of the children will go to bed hungry." Great speech for, say, the U.N. -- but kind of a downer at a dinner gala. Was it wrong to eat that white chocolate dessert?

After four hours of this, everyone was feeling pretty inadequate. The short set by Mellencamp didn't do much to raise spirits, so most people slunk home -- or, if they were really lucky, headed over to Michael Saylor's "Rocktoberfest" at the downtown Ritz-Carlton.

The multimillionaire bachelor, 43, hosted what may have been his best-ever bash for 800 of his closest friends. The theme was "rockstar cool" -- guests (mostly 20- and 30-somethings) were instructed to dress like a rock legend, groupie or roadie; no one was allowed in without a costume and a pre-screened "backstage pass."

Inside: open bars, overflowing champagne, sushi, mini-burgers and Harley-Davidsons as decoration as two local cover bands, Mr. Greengenes and Burnt Sienna, battled it out at opposite ends of the hotel ballroom until 3 a.m.

The reason? "We all just want to be big Rock Stars," according to the invitation. "The buzz for this was incredible," one guest told us. "I would call it an early Halloween."

That, friends, is a party.


· Hitched: Howard Stern, 54, and longtime girlfriend Beth Ostrosky, 36, Friday in New York. The shock jock and the model were married at Le Cirque restaurant by actor Mark Consuelos-- Kelly Ripa's husband -- who became an ordained minister for the event; guests included Donald Trump, Joan Rivers, Barbara Walters, Billy Joel and Chevy Chase. This is Stern's second marriage, her first.

· Born: A daughter, Ruby Lou, to D.C. United fan favorite Ben Olsen, 31, and his wife of almost two years, Megan Schoen, at Sibley Hospital on Tuesday. The ankle-injury-plagued midfielder's first child weighed in at 8 pounds 2 ounces.


· Tyler Perry assembled an all-star cast -- Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Poitier, Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett Jr., Hank Aaron, Andrew Young, Will Smith, Forest Whitaker and Whitney Houston-- at Saturday's opening of his new movie studio in Atlanta, the first owned by an African American. The 39-year-old producer and director will shoot sitcoms and other projects at the former Delta Airlines headquarters.

· Janet Jackson is suffering from an undisclosed illness, according to her publicist. The 42-year-old singer was hospitalized briefly last week and has canceled six performances. No details about her condition, but she's interrupting her first North American tour in seven years until she recuperates.

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