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Celebrity Fight Night In Italy Raises Over $4 Million

Oct 04, 2016 01:30 pm
Celebrity Fight Night in Italy returned for its third annual event, this year taking philanthropic donors and specials guests on a 5-day excursion through Florence, Lajatico and Venice where they were treated to the very best arts, entertainment and culture in the region.

Brian McKnight and Colbie Caillat
Brian McKnight and Colbie Caillat

Celebrity Fight Night, a star-studded annual charity event, has raised $127 million for many charities throughout its 22-year history, most significantly for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ. This year’s event raised an incredible $4 million dollars benefitting the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.

Andrea Bocelli honours Queen Rania of Jordan
Andrea Bocelli honours Queen Rania of Jordan

More than 100 philanthropists traveled to Italy to participate in the “benefit trip” where Italian designer Stefano Ricci kicked off the festivities in Florence on September 8. Stefano Ricci took guests through the Basilica di Santa Croce, also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories, where Italian greats such as Michelangelo and Galileo were laid to rest. After exploring the Cappella dei Pazzi, the evening concluded in the Cloister of the Basilica with dinner and music, led by Andrea Bocelli.

The following afternoon, guests departed Florence on a scenic drive through Tuscany to Lajatico, the birthplace of Andrea Bocelli, where Andrea and Veronica Bocelli welcomed everyone for an unforgettable night with guest of honor Nicolas Cage, who received the “Andrea Bocelli Humanitarian Award.” The evening included aperitifs at the magnificent Teatro del Silenzio, and a gourmet dinner at the country home of the Bocellis, with memorable entertainment by musical artists David Foster, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Peter Cetera, Colbie Caillat, Jordan Smith, and Bocelli himself. Additional guests included Evander Holyfield, Melissa Peterman, and more. The next day, everyone boarded a privately chartered train to Venice for an exciting day of exploration in one of the world’s most romantic cities that included lunch at the stunning Palazzo Pisani Moretta and a gondola ride to St. Mark’s Square, before returning to Florence.


The pinnacle of this five-day experience was the featured gala on September 11, where guests walked the red carpet in the historical Salone dei Cinquecento at the Palazzo Vecchio. This massive Romanesque fortress-palace is one of the most impressive town halls in all of Tuscany; and it again opened exceptionally to host the gala. Andrea Bocelli, along with the extraordinary Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under the direction of the great Maestro Zubin Mehta, headlined the evening. Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan received the “Andrea Bocelli Humanitarian Award” onstage, and Lonnie Ali was honored for her incredible philanthropic achievements, having been a part of Celebrity Fight Night along with her late husband, Muhammad Ali, for nearly two decades.

The event concluded with a special evening in the heart of Florence that started at the Palazzo Spini Feroni, home to the Global Flagship Headquarters of Salvatore Ferragamo and the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo. The Ferragamo family themselves welcomed guests with a cocktail and a visit to the museum and the shop, before guests were led to the nearby Palazzo Corsini for a night of dining and dancing.

As a result of the funds raised by this third edition of Celebrity Fight Night in Italy, The Andrea Bocelli Foundation will assure continual access to education to the 2,550 students of 5 schools in Haiti to assure a salary for the teaching staff and to the grant all of the children the necessary healthcare treatments.

The five-day experience was sponsored by Stefano Ricci, GVM La Civiltà del Marmo, Peak6 Best Marble, Ermanno Scervino, Falconeri, Fratelli Piccini Firenze, Mikimoto, Jeep, Fregoli Luxury Bags, Salotti del Gusto, Excellence Magazine, and Euro-Toques.



Celebs Hit The Runway For Autism Speaks

Oct 04, 2016 12:30 pm
More than 400 celebrities, designers, industry influencers and autism advocates attended Autism Speaks’ inaugural La Vie En BLUE Fashion Gala, which took place Thursday, September 29, 2016 at Warner Bros.

Molly Sims attends Autism Speaks La Vie En Blue Fashion Gala
Molly Sims attends Autism Speaks La Vie En Blue Fashion Gala
Credit/Copyright: Lily Lawrence/Getty Images for Autism Speaks

Studios’ back lot on the Brownstone Street. This Partisan-themed night of fashion and philanthropy was produced by Metropolitan Fashion Week with proceeds going to the Autism Speaks Southern California Chapter.

Joanna Krupa attends Autism Speaks La Vie En Blue Fashion Gala
Joanna Krupa attends Autism Speaks La Vie En Blue Fashion Gala
Credit/Copyright: Lily Lawrence/Getty Images for Autism Speaks

Hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier and model Molly Sims, this star-studded fundraiser featured celebrities including Adrienne Bailon (The Real), Eve, Hilary Rhoda, Keltie Knight (The Insider) and Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day: Resurgence) strutting the runway in gorgeous blue evening gowns, which are now up for auction on Children on the autism spectrum, varying from ages six to 13, modeled the latest fashions from GUESS Kids donated by the GUESS Foundation.


Highlighting the evening was an awards presentation to two champions of Autism Speaks’ mission – Untitled Entertainment talent manager Steven Grossman (who received the award from his client, The Real’s Jeannie Mai) and City National Bank’sSVP Harry Topping Jr. Both honorees have children on the autism spectrum and were honored for their exemplary leadership, longstanding support and generous commitment to Autism Speaks.

“Tonight we honored and highlighted the advocacy efforts of two amazing fathers, Harry Topping, Jr. and Steven Grossman, who both have sons with autism,” said Suzette Martinez, Executive Director of Autism Speaks Southern California. “Their journeys with autism, their search for answers and their passion to raise awareness about are equally inspirational.”

The fashion gala also included an exclusive performance from ZUMANITY by Cirque du Soleil, live music from DJ Pauly D and DJ Splyce and a live auction hosted by TV personality Matt Rogers (Home & Family). Also performing was teen Amanda Anderson, an aspiring opera singer with autism.

Shenae Grimes attends Autism Speaks La Vie En Blue Fashion Gala
Shenae Grimes attends Autism Speaks La Vie En Blue Fashion Gala
Credit/Copyright: Lily Lawrence/Getty Images for Autism Speaks

Among the stars who attended include Jeannie Mai (The Real), Aubrey O’Day (Celebrity Big Brother), Shenae Grimes (90210), Kristian Alfonso (Days of Our Lives),Joanna Krupa (Real Housewives of Miami), Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry), model/musician Josh Beech, Perez Hilton, Ashlan Gorse Costeau, and Antonio Jaramillo (Shades of Blue).

David Tupaz Couture, Dalia Macphee, Ron Tomson, Carl Andrada, Erick Bendana, Julie Danforth, Jhiovani Fasons, Usama Ishtay and Sivalia Couture were among the unique fashion and costume designers featured in the fashion show.

Co-chairing La Vie En BLUE were attorney Georgianna Junco-Kelman (Law Offices of Georgianna Junco-Kelman) and Nikki Pesusich (president of Coterie Media). Stars that have lent their support to La Vie En BLUE’s honorary host committee include Christie Brinkley, Naomi Campbell, Molly Sims, Paris Hilton, Kelly Osbourne, Melissa Rivers,NeNe Leakes, Kelly Rowland, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai.

La Vie En BLUE was generously sponsored by the Guess Foundation, City National Bank, CBRE, Paul Attanasio, Common Wealth Partners, Steelcase, Tangram, FX Networks, MK Rice, Gensler, Howard Building Co, Samsung Group, Coca-Cola Company, Two Faced Cosmetics, Urban Decay Cosmetics, Kendra Scott Jewelry, Big Sugar Bakeshop, Porto’s Bakery, Hidden Gardens Florist and The Los Angeles Kings. Entertainment Tonight, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety were media sponsors.

For more info about La Vie En BLUE, go to


Tom Hanks And Elizabeth Dole Launch Hidden Heroes Campaign

Oct 04, 2016 11:15 am

Tom Hanks: Profile

Tom Hanks, Tom Brokaw, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald joined Senator Elizabeth Dole in Washington, DC last week to launch Hidden Heroes, a groundbreaking campaign created by theElizabeth Dole Foundation to call vital attention to America’s 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers.

As campaign chair, Hanks presided over the launch that included a series of major announcements and commitments that will bring critical resources to those caring for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.

“If we want to be a nation that truly cares for those who have borne the battle, we must also be a nation that cares for our caregivers,” said Hanks as he called on public leaders, corporations, nonprofits and individual Americans to each do their part.

The launch event unveiled key national initiatives of the campaign, including:

• Video public service announcements featuring Hanks. A print public service announcement has already begun running in October editions of national magazines., a new website launched as the premier online community for military caregivers. The website features a private community where military caregivers can share questions and advice, a directory for caregiver resources, and a national military caregiver registry to help connect caregivers with support. The website also features a call to action page for every American who wishes to be part of the campaign.
• The Hidden Heroes Cities initiative that will challenge communities across America to organize and provide local military caregivers with the resources they need. Fifty four cities were announced as the first Hidden Heroes Cities. Other communities can sign-on through

Addressing what she hopes to accomplish through the campaign, Senator Dole said, “The Elizabeth Dole Foundation envisions an America where military caregivers are empowered, appreciated and recognized for their service to the nation. Together, are working towards a future where supporting military caregivers is no longer a cause, but it is part of the culture of our nation.” The Senator went on to announce additional national initiatives already underway as part of the campaign and introduce the leaders of the first organizations to make commitments:
• Colonel Jennifer Pritzker, Army National Guard (Retired), and Founder and Chair of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, contributed $1 million in support of the campaign. Colonel Pritzker will also serve as the campaign’s Vice Chair.
• The United Arab Emirates, represented by His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the UAE to the USA, contributed $1 million to the campaign.
USAA, represented by Harriet Dominique, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Community Affairs, stepped forward as both a campaign sponsor and the first corporation in America to dedicate a pillar of its corporate responsibility program to military and veteran caregivers.
• The City of San Diego, represented by Mayor Kevin Faulconer, committed to become the first city in America to join the campaign as a Hidden Heroes City.
• Comcast NBCUniversal, represented by Brigadier General Carol Eggert, Army (Retired), Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs, will serve as the official media partner of Hidden Heroes, helping reach caregivers and supportive Americans across all its communications channels. In a special video message, NBC News’ TODAYanchor Matt Lauer spoke to the commitment of NBC News to follow the campaign’s progress and pledged his personal support as a Hidden Heroes Ambassador.

The emcee of the event, Richard Lui, MSNBC anchor, announced that Tom Brokaw,NBC News Special Correspondent, would also join the campaign as a Hidden Heroes Ambassador. Brokaw, one of the most respected names in news, spoke about America’s legacy of coming together to support its military and veteran communities. His remarks reflected Senator Dole’s original call for a national response to the caregiver crisis following the release of a 2014 RAND caregiver study commissioned by her Foundation.

Two of the Foundation’s earliest supporters, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, spoke to the need of a national campaign for military caregivers. The U.S. Congress and Department of Veterans Affairs have both taken steps to ease the challenges of those caring for service members and veterans. Yet, they echoed Senator Dole’s call for every American to recognize and support these hidden heroes.

In addition to the commitments announced by campaign leaders, the launch event recognized the Starr Foundation for its enduring commitment to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and The Independence Fund for its contributions to Hidden Heroes. Additional support was provided by Hilton Hotels, American Airlines, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Booz Allen Hamilton and Hope for the Warriors.


Ludacris Joins Feeding America To Raise Awareness Of Hunger In The United States

Oct 04, 2016 10:00 am

Ludacris: Profile

National support for hunger relief continues in the final days ofFeeding America’s annual Hunger Action Month campaign, as Grammy award-winning recording artist and actor Ludacrisvolunteered to serve healthy meals to children in Atlanta last week.

He joins other Feeding America Entertainment Council members and celebrity friends, including Jamie Chung, Kimberly Williams-Paisley,Bridget Moynahan and Rocco DiSpirito, who have taken action by volunteering at Feeding America food banks, pantries and meal programs this September.

“What an amazing day, working in the community to teach kids the importance of healthy eating and bringing awareness to Hunger Action Month. One in six children face hunger in our country, now that’s Ludicrous. We do this because we are all family in one form or another,” said Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.

Ludacris served an after-school meal to more than 80 children and lead a healthy-eating activity at Carrie Steele-Pitts Home in Atlanta, a partner agency of the Atlanta Community Food Bank and an organization The Ludacris Foundation also supports.

One-hundred percent of Feeding America network food banks (200 members); dozens of governors, mayors, federal and local officials; more than 25 celebrity activists; and thousands of individuals have come together to fight hunger this month. This year’s campaign asks everyone to consider what it is like to live on an empty stomach, and share what they couldn’t do without the proper nutrition from a meal.

When asked what they can’t do on an empty stomach, anti-hunger activists responded:
• “Think clearly or be active,” from Ashley Greene;
• “Best serve my constituents,” from Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX);
• “Learn,” from Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA);
• “Play football,” from Kelvin Beachum;
• “Bake,” from Cake Boss Buddy Valastro; and
• “Get anything done,” from Darby Stanchfield.

Other celebrities have supported the campaign online including Laila Ali, Jen Arnold, Betsy Brandt, Theresa Caputo, Jennie Garth, Sara Gore, Samantha Harris, Bill Klein,Tony Robbins, Amy Roloff, Curtis Stone, Alison Sweeney, Whitney Thore, Kelly Clarkson, and Scott Wolf.

“I am inspired by the commitment that so many people and organizations are demonstrating to encourage others to take action against hunger,” said Diana Aviv,CEO of Feeding America. “Hunger is an unacceptable reality for millions of Americans and we hope the momentum achieved during Hunger Action Month will continue to shine a spotlight on the issue year round.”

Supporters can continue to raise awareness of hunger and support the Hunger Action Month campaign through three calls-to-action:
• Share what you couldn’t do without adequate nutrition by writing on an empty plate, “On an empty stomach I can’t _____,” and filling in the blank with something you couldn’t achieve without proper nutrition. Take a picture of your plate and post it to social media with #HungerActionMonth and @FeedingAmerica to join the conversation.
• Share the Empty Plates video from Feeding America’s Facebook Page to illuminate what dinner might look like for families who don’t have enough food to make a balanced meal. Share to your Facebook account with #HungerActionMonth.
• Volunteer at your local food bank during the month of September and post a photo of your experience to social media with the hashtag #HungerActionMonth. Find your local food bank by entering your zip code here.

Beyond the month of September, Feeding America encourages supporters to visit their website at to learn more about hunger in your community and join the fight to end it.

Imagine Dragons Perform At Tyler Robinson Foundation 3rd Annual Gala

Oct 04, 2016 08:45 am
The GRAMMY Award-winning band Imagine Dragons performed an intimate acoustic set at the third annual gala benefiting the Tyler Robinson Foundation (TRF) at Caesars Palace.

Imagine Dragons perform at third annual gala benefiting the Tyler Robinson Foundation
Imagine Dragons perform at third annual gala benefiting the Tyler Robinson Foundation
Credit/Copyright: Cashman Photography

This extraordinary gala raises funds to support families affected by pediatric cancer.

Chris Harrison, from ABC’s “The Bachelor,” served as the evening’s host. Four honorees were celebrated for their tireless efforts and work toward fighting pediatric cancer, including:
• Criss Angel: His passion for pediatric cancer research has intensified following the diagnosis of his 2-year-old son with leukemia.
• Dr. Raphael Rousseau: Leader of development or the Pediatric Oncology Drug Development Team at Genentech, Dr. Rousseau has dedicated his career to focusing on hard-to-treat pediatric cancers.
• Gavin, Owen, Quinn and Ethan Morrison: Since learning of TRF in 2014, this family has demonstrated dedication to raising funds and awareness through school and church groups.
• Hyundai Hope on Wheels: This organization funds innovative research and creates awareness, funding more than $115 million in pediatric cancer research in the U.S.

Founded in 2013 by GRAMMY Award-winning band Imagine Dragons and the Robinson family, TRF’s mission is to strengthen families financially and emotionally as they cope with the tragedy of a pediatric cancer diagnosis by providing hope, information, and relief through financial services, caring volunteers, and monetary grants. The TRF is a 501c3 non-profit organization.


Tom Petty To Be Honored As 2017 MusiCares Person Of The Year

Oct 04, 2016 07:30 am

Tom Petty: Profile

Tom Petty will be honored as the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, it was announced by Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and The Recording Academy, and Alexandra Patsavas, Chair of the MusiCares Foundation Board.

Proceeds from the 27th annual benefit gala dinner and concert — to be held in Los Angeles during GRAMMY Week two nights prior to the 59th AnnualGRAMMY Awards — will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical, and personal need.

A three-time GRAMMY winner, Petty is being honored as the 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year in recognition of his significant creative accomplishments, his career-long interest in defending artists’ rights, and the charitable work he has undertaken throughout his career, which has notably focused on the homeless population in Los Angeles. Widely recognized by a younger generation of musicians as an example of what an engaged artist can accomplish in his field and beyond, Petty has come to represent the lasting possibilities of rock and roll.

“Tom burst into our musical consciousness and never let go,” said Portnow. “His brand of rock and roll benefits from a celebratory rebelliousness, infectious rhythms, and unforgettable lyrics that are incised in our imaginations. His artistic talents coupled with his quiet philanthropy make him a great MusiCares Person of the Year honoree, and we are very fortunate to have the support of our Board, past honorees, and the musical community around this special event.”

“I am so very pleased to be honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year. I have so much respect for this organization, which really does care about the people in our industry,” said Petty. “I myself know many people who MusiCares has aided in desperate situations. Again, let me say this is a true honor.”

Petty formed his first bands in Gainesville, Fla. As a college town in the ’60s, Gainesville brought with it fraternity parties, rock and roll clubs, AM radios playing the Beatles and James Brown, and a music store where you could buy equipment on credit. Forty years after releasing his first album, Petty is widely recognized as a man for whom those things Gainesville offered still matter the most. In each of his five decades as a recording artist, Petty has charted albums in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 chart. His most recent recording with the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye, entered at No. 1.

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Petty is an artist whose approach to record making and the business itself has earned the respect of his peers, his predecessors, and the young musicians who regularly hold him as an exemplar. His collaborators have included Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jimmy Iovine, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Rick Rubin, and Del Shannon, among others. And while his solo recordings, including 1989’s Full Moon Fever and 1994’s Wildflowers, are frequently ranked among the most important of their respective eras, Petty has always returned to the job he’s favored: fronting one of rock and roll’s most celebrated bands and bringing them enough songs for the next album.

Repeatedly confronting the inequities of the artist’s side of the industry, Petty has assumed a special place as a musician looking out for other musicians, and an artist who approaches every recording project as if it might be his best.

“Tom Petty is an icon whose incomparable artistry has provided inspiration to fans and musicians all over the world,” said Patsavas. “To honor him with this tribute is so fitting, and we certainly look forward to an exciting and extraordinary evening.”

The 2017 MusiCares Person of the Year gala will begin with a reception and silent auction offering an exclusive and unparalleled selection of luxury items, VIPexperiences, and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. The reception and silent auction will be followed by a dinner, the award presentation and a tribute concert featuring renowned musicians. This year, for the first time, a limited number ofVIP experience tables will be available for $75,000 that include: 10 seats, artist soundcheck, red carpet access, backstage access with a meet–and-greet, access to the pre-show auction, and a special VIP lounge. The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The celebration culminates with the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLESCenter on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBSTelevision Network at 8 p.m. ET/PT.


Video Spotlight: What Do You Care About? #VoteYourFuture

Oct 04, 2016 03:00 pm
Featuring stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Olivia Wilde, Anne Hathaway, Kendall Jenner, Robert De Niro, Eva Longoria, Julia Roberts, Emma Stone, Rami Malek, Kathy Griffin, Samuel L. Jackson and Wilmer Valderrama.

What Do You Care About? #VoteYourFuture

Click here to view the video in your browser.

Spotlight: Mary J. Blige’s Charity Work

Oct 04, 2016 07:00 am

Mary J. Blige

Blige founded FFAWN with Steve Stoute.

She featured in two advertisements for the M·A·C AIDS Fund, one with Lil’ Kim in 2000 and the other with Elton John and Shirley Manson in 2002.

Read more about Mary J. Blige’s charity work and events.


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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.