The season of giving got an early start Saturday night with a Sotheby’s auction that brought in $ 26 million for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa.
Bono and his U2 bandmate the Edge were joined by presidential daughters Chelsea Clinton and Jenna and Barbara Bush, as well as Princess Eugenie of York, at a lavish bash that was long on song, dance and donations. Helena Christensen, Meg Ryan and Anne V also stopped by Jony Ive and Marc Newson’s (RED) Auction, as it was called, along with Courtney Love and John McEnroe.
One of the evening’s many high points saw Bono and Chris Martin perform duets of U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” with Martin playing a Red Pops for (RED) parlor grand piano. That piano was then put on the block, where freewheeling philanthropist Stewart Rahr bought it for $ 1.9 million after a spirited war with another bidder who thought he’d won it at $ 900,000. The piano had been expected to bring in somewhere less than $ 200,000.
This isn’t the first time Rahr has gone big for a box of keys. At a Sotheby’s auction in December 2012, he teamed up with Leonardo DiCaprio to buy the piano played in the 1942 classic “Casablanca,” which they donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Though that auction was private, the instrument is thought to have sold to the tune of $ 1.2 million or so. DiCaprio was in attendance Saturday too, but he wasn’t in the market for another piano.
Rahr told Confidenti@l he plans to keep this one for himself and put it in Burnt Point, his $ 45 million house in the Hamptons, which happens to be the most expensive property ever purchased in the state of New York. Sounds like a fit.
Top model Christy Turlington also lent star power to the auction by modeling long, pink, ruffled Azzedine Alaïa dress. Hopefully the buyer who dished out $ 149,000 for the item understood Turlington wasn’t part of the deal.
Once the bidding was complete, VIPs headed upstairs to Sotheby’s after-party, where Nile Rodgers and Chic performed.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation may not have expected to pony up this much dough — the foundation promised to match the winning bids. But we think they have it covered.
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Blythe Danner (l.) and Sarah Jessica Parker (r.), who star in “The Commons of Pensacola,” with actress Amanda Peet, who wrote the play.
SJP, FROM PET TO “PENSACOLA”
“The Commons of Pensacola” marks the second time Sarah Jessica Parker has starred alongside Blythe Danner, though in this play, she’s not acting like a bitch.
The former “Sex and the City” star tells us her experience in Amanda Peet’s play at the Manhattan Theatre Club is sort of like acting with Danner in “Sylvia,” but not exactly.
“In ‘Sylvia’ I played a dog, in this I play a real human being,” says Parker. “A rudderless, troubled human being.”
New York City-bred actress Peet, who wrote “The Commons of Pensacola,” says she’s thrilled to have SJP walking around on two legs in her show.
“I wrote her several letters and begged her to do a reading and eventually she said yes — probably because I was so irritating at that point she just wanted to put a stop to my onslaught,” Peet admits.
Danner was certainly happy to be a part of the show.
“I haven’t had the good fortune to have a part like this in the last 10, 20 years,” the 70-year-old actress told us. “I think you begin to so appreciate when a good role comes along.”
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DJ David Guetta and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
WORLD MUSIC FROM GUETTA
DJ David Guetta kicked off the weekend at the UN, debuting the video for his song “One Voice” on an outside wall of the organization’s HQ. The al fresco event was part of “The World Needs More … ” fund-raising campaign for humanitarian crises worldwide. Guests included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, actor Josh Lucas, actress Kelly Rutherford and model Theresa Moore.
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Jordin Sparks (l.) and Lance Bass backstage at the American Music Awards
SINGERS WITH GIFTS
As if being invited to the American Music Awards isn’t reward enough, Lance Bass and Jordin Sparks perused the Nokia Theatre’s AMA Gift Lounge before the show got started. Former ’N Sync standout Bass announced before the weekend that he’d just wrapped up his first solo recording, “Walking on Air.”
THE CELEBS GET COOKIN’
Sunday was chow time for those in need, thanks to VIPs who spent the day prepping and packing meals at the Food Bank for New York City’s Community Kitchen in Harlem. Mario Batali was among the first to arrive, at about 8 a.m. Fellow chef David Burke showed up a couple of hours later, as did model Selita Ebanks and Roots drummer Ahmir (Questlove) Thompson. They were soon joined by Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon.
AN INSPIRED COMEDIAN
Comedy lovers got a lot of laughs from Bill Cosby’s “Far From Finished” show Saturday night on Comedy Central, but its director, Robert Townsend, got something more out of the living legend’s first TV special in 30 years. “I think I might go on the road next year and do a little standup, because he really inspired me,” Townsend told Confidenti@l. Townsend couldn’t recall when he last did standup, but according to legend, Eddie Murphy beat him out for a gig on “Saturday Night Live” more than three decades ago.
ONE MORE TIME WITH DOC AND MARTY
They keep going back to the future. Christopher Lloyd starred alongside Michael J. Fox in 1985’s “Back to the Future” and its sequels, and teamed up with him again in a 1999 episode of “Spin City.” Over the weekend, Lloyd and Fox reunited to tape an episode of NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show.” Well done, gentlemen. Let’s do it again in another 14 years or so.
GREENBERG, AN ACTOR OF NOTE
“How to Make it in America” star Bryan Greenberg is also making it as a rocker. Just before the weekend got underway, Greenberg played a set including songs from his new album, “Everything Changes,” for friends and family at the Jazz Room at the General on the Lower East Side. This is Greenberg’s third LP. In 2007 he released “Waiting for Now,” which he followed up in 2011 with “We Don’t Have Forever.”
LIFE AT THE TOP WITH LEO & TONI
Before hitting the Saturday’s Sotheby’s auction, Leonardo DiCaprio and his lady filled up at Hotel Americano dining spot Artico. Our spies spotted Leo and Victoria’s Secret model Toni Garrn getting a sneak preview of the rooftop restaurant along with a pair of gentleman we couldn’t ID. The lucky quartet are among the handful of people who’ve seen the eatery, which opens to the public this weekend.
NOVELIST STASI GOES THE DISTANCE
The Daily News’ fabulous Linda Stasi is never one to back down from a controversy — or an adventure. And she’s bound to find both after inking a deal with Tor/Forge (Macmillan) for “The Book of Judas,” the sequel to her first novel, “The Sixth Station.” Stasi is already hard at work. “All I’ve had to do so far is go to Israel, climb some digs in progress, and then enter into a 3,000-year-old burial chamber located in the basement of a distant relative’s house,” Stasi told us.