Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera act fast to help
Talk about a perfect storm — of people coming together to rain down dollars for a good cause! I’m hearing that even before the full impact of Hurricane Sandy had been realized, rockers Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi — plus savvy honchos at NBC — realized a major telethon would be needed for the victims of the storm of the century that has walloped the East Coast.
Because their beloved New Jersey has been the hardest hit, it’s appropriate that the Boss and Bon Jovi — joined by Christina Aguilera, Billy Joel, Sting and I’m sure more to come — will stage the “Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” concert beginning at 7 p.m. Friday.
Aguilera, of course, was born on New York’s Staten Island — which also has been horribly zapped by Sandy. Joel’s home turf is another target of the unrelenting storm: the Big Apple borough of the Bronx.
Using the full impact of its NBC Universal platforms, the peacock network will simulcast the show — hosted by “Today” anchor Matt Lauer (a close Bon Jovi buddy) and also featuring late-night host Jimmy Fallon — not only on NBC stations, but also USA Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, E!, Style, G4 and NBC.com.
On top of all that, HBO is carrying the show as well, and Springsteen will air it on his E Street channel on SiriusXM.
“This was a total no-brainer,” said a NBC source privy to the show’s planning. “Everyone was so anxious to jump on board to help as much as they could.”
Funds raised Friday will be donated to the American Red Cross.
† Not to be outdone, ABC has organized its own relief effort, naming this coming Monday as a “Day of Giving” and planning to utilize its most popular shows — including “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” — as platforms to make requests for donations from viewers.
† As he made his way back to New Jersey from London, Bon Jovi issued a statement comparing this act of natural destruction with the man-made horror of 9/11.
“Once again the eyes of the world are upon us as we wake to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” said the rock star. “ … We may not have electricity, but we have power.”
BUDDING ROMANCE: After being incorrectly linked (not by me!) to everyone from Kim Kardashian to Katy Perry to Taylor Swift, NFL quarterback and devoted Christian Tim Tebow has zeroed in one gorgeous actress — Camilla Belle. According to a Tebow pal, “Tim obviously is attracted to both Camilla’s great looks and her inner beauty.” Not surprisingly, folks who know Belle well claim she indeed has a deeply spiritual approach to life and faith.
ONE LONELY GUY: Seems Joe Simpson, the estranged father of Jessica Simpson — once a key player in the entertainer’s career — is quietly hunkered down at an apartment in Santa Monica, Calif. Simpson apparently rented the place a number of months ago after separating with wife Tina — quite some time before the couple’s pending divorce became fodder for the gossip world around the globe.
According to a source close to the Simpson clan, Joe was convinced allegations of a gay dalliance with male model Bryce Chandler Hill would become public knowledge earlier this summer. The source acknowledged Simpson’s presence on the West Hollywood gay scene was widely known by “enough people so you’d think it would have leaked out.”
† The source added that Simpson has not had much face-to-face contact with his daughters Jessica or Ashlee Simpson. (“They have had a number of long, pretty emotional phone conversations.”) Apparently one of the few family members who have come to visit in person is a nephew.
BACK IN TIME: As fans flock to Ben Affleck’s “Argo” film about the seven Americans who escaped from the U.S. embassy in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis, veteran publicist Milt Silbar wants us to remember Sunday is the 33rd anniversary of the abduction of 52 others by Iranian militants. Silbar has good reason for recalling the importance of that sad time — he led a fund-raising drive that ultimately raised $25,000 in U.S. Savings Bonds, given to the hostages upon their release on Jan. 20, 1981, after 444 days in captivity.
An interesting footnote: Silbar received thank-you letters from a number of those released Americans, including one who re-donated her bond to the fund established for the families of the soldiers who perished in a failed rescue attempt.
TIMELY EVENT: Only a few days before the election, Steppenwolf Theatre is hosting noted author Sudhir Venkatesh to participate in “Making Money: From the Black Market to the Board Room” — a discussion with the theater’s artistic director Martha Lavey tied to the relationship of class, privilege and success raised in Steppenwolf’s current production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People.” For ticket information, go to Steppenwolf.org.
FASHON FLASH: New York socialite, Tony-winning producer and philanthropist Francine LeFrak had to get herself to Philadelphia and then charter a private plane to escape the hurricane-ravaged East Coast, but she got here for a very good cause Thursday. LeFrak, a member of the prominent New York real estate family, was at Saks Fifth Avenue on Michigan Avenue to join local event hosts Catherine Hamilton, Pat Harris, Janelle Schroeder. Sugar Rautbord and Susan Bogart to promote Same Sky Jewelry. Le Frak founded the organization as a “trade-not-aid” initiative, employing African women living with HIV/AIDS as artisans and teaching them to make beautiful hand-crocheted necklaces, bracelets and cufflinks for a global marketplace.
Among celebrities who have embraced the Same Sky cause and worn the jewelry are Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Queen Latifah, Ben Affleck, Goldie Hawn and Jessica Alba.