Over the weekend Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation — an organization that builds green homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward – held a fundraising gala in New Orleans (billed as “A Night To Make It Right”) at the recently re-opened Hyatt Regency hotel. The event, which was “star-studded” as they say, was described by the Times Picayune thusly…
“A Night to Make It Right” is bringing together 1,200 supporters of Hurricane Katrina rebuilding at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans tonight. The hosts of the glittering charity gala are Hollywood leading man, part-time Crescent City resident and Make It Right founder Brad Pitt; homegrown TV talk-show star Ellen DeGeneres; and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
The guests, who paid between $1,000 and $2,500 to attend, are being treated to a four-course dinner whipped up by New Orleans culinary heroes John Besh, Emeril Lagasse, Donald Link and others. Later, they will tap their feet to a private concert featuring pop luminaries Rihanna, Sheryl Crow, Seal and Dr. John…As the sold-out gala ebbs, actor and comedian Aziz Ansari will host “A Night to Make It Right After Party,” with performances by stars Kanye West, Seal, Snoop Dogg and the Soul Rebels. All 1,700 tickets to the relatively intimate concert have been sold, according to the Make It Right website.
I didn’t attend the dinner ($1000-$2500 a plate is a little out of my price range), but I did attend the afterparty, thanks to a lady friend who enjoys my company enough that she invited me to be her guest. Here are some notes and observations from the event.
-Immediately upon arriving and throughout the night I kept getting asked, “Did you see Mark Ruffalo and Sean Penn?” Apparently those two were up to some drunken hijinks that I was not blessed to witness.
-Aziz Ansari was billed as the afterparty’s host, but the only time I saw Aziz was when he came out to introduce Kanye. I was really hoping he’d perform some of his new standup act, but he spent maybe a minute in total on stage. I suppose he was too busy stuffing his face while he was in town.
-One of the funniest things I witnessed the whole night was seeing Rep. Jeff Landry and his wife taking in Snoop Dogg’s performance. If his name doesn’t ring a bell, Landry is one of the biggest jackasses in Congress, which is saying A LOT. He’s the guy who hates Obama so much that he declined an invitation to the White House last year, only to later make an ass of himself by holding up a dumb sign at an Obama address to Congress. (Note to Jeff Landry: If you’d accept invitations to meet with the president you wouldn’t have to hold up stupid signs at his speeches to convey messages to him, dipsh*t!)
I noticed Landry, a freshman member of the House Tea Party caucus, and his wife outside the performance hall right before Snoop — AN AMERICA-DESTROYING RAPPER WHO RAPS ABOUT SMOKING WEED AND PIMPING HOES — took the stage. They stood in the back the whole time with Landry bearing a distinct “oh God I hope no one here recognizes me” look on his face while his wife gyrated to Snoop’s gangsta tunes. Sadly, it was too dark inside the performance hall for me to get a pic of the Landrys but I did snap this sort-of blurry pic of them as they headed in for the show.
-There was an open bar and I drank Hennessy and cokes all night long. Just because.
-I spoke to Steve Rehage, the organizer of the gala, for a few minutes at one point. He said he only had five weeks to put the whole thing together. Pretty impressive when you stop and think about it.
-Jamie Foxx came out and assisted Kanye with his performance of “Golddigger.” It was kind of awesome.
-There was a silent auction type thing that had all sorts of cool goodies up for grabs. I really wanted this Adam West autographed and framed Batman photo but some prick outbid me.
-Re: the auction, I profoundly regret not bidding on these things — a signed pin flag from Caddyshack autographed by Chevy Chase…
…and a photo of Nolan Ryan beating up Robin Ventura signed by Nolan Ryan.
-The performance lineup went like this: Soul Rebels, then Seal, then Snoop, then Kanye, who didn’t take the stage till almost 3am. Whenever Seal was performing all I could think was, “Goddammit Seal just sing ‘Kiss From A Rose’ and get the hell off the stage so Snoop and Kanye can take over.”
-Rihanna came out and performed with Kanye on “Run This Town” and “All of the Lights”…
-The newly re-opened Hyatt Regency, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, looks amazing. It was basically rebuilt from top to bottom. I highly recommend it.
-Sadly, my longtime dream of smoking weed with Snoop remains unfulfilled.
(Snoop/Pitt pic via Snoop’s Twitter. Others taken by me.)