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In the Spotlight: Stars Selling Out

Published: July 27, 2011 (Issue # 1667)




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Last week, pop star and actress Jennifer Lopez announced she was divorcing singer Marc Anthony, but the show went on, as she sang at the wedding of an Uzbek businessmans son for a reported $1.8 million.

Lifenews.ru had grainy footage of the concert, where Lopez sang in a silver minidress and thigh-high boots with male dancers with holsters over their shirts. A nice touch that even though they werent loaded suggested that Lopez knew she wasnt performing for a Sunday school picnic.

Audience members can be seen filming Lopez on mobile phones and shouting as she performs on a stage bare except for a giant silver heart. The abashed-looking groom and bride are pushed to the front to watch, while later a burly man can be seen dancing on an almost deserted dance floor to the sound of comedian Maxim Galkin singing about love.

Compere and television host Lera Kudryavtseva also spilled the beans by posting cell phone videos of Lopez on Twitter and gushing that the concert was fantastic.

Lifenews.ru reported that Lopez was paid $1.8 million for the party, while the Sun put her fee at a more modest ?620,000 ($1 million).

Its not Lopezs first such gig. Back in 2006 she performed at the birthday party of Telman Ismailov, the convivial owner of the now-defunct Cherkizovsky market. Ismailov likes to hobnob with celebrities and had Sharon Stone at the opening of his luxury hotel in Turkey in 2009. He then got his diamond-ringed knuckles rapped by the Russian authorities with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin angrily asking, where are the jailings? over a smuggling probe. But things seem to have simmered down now, after Ismailov decided to invest in Chechnya.

Its a small world. Ismailov was at the wedding party, Lifenews.ru reported. And guess where Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov reportedly went for his holidays.

This time, Lopez performed at a sanatorium outside Yalta for the son of businessman Azam Aslanov. The son, Amon, 33, lives in Indonesia, the Segodnya.ua web site reported. Scanty information about the family online suggested that they were involved in aluminum mining in Australia.

Lopez reportedly shared the program with Russian rock star Zemfira, whose fans include Roman Abramovich, as well as the flamboyant king of pop Filipp Kirkorov and opera singer-turned-bland pop star Nikolai Baskov. Theres no accounting for taste, and perhaps the Uzbek businessmen had to keep up with the Karimovs, who persuaded Sting to perform at a festival in 2009. Uzbek President Islam Karimov is frowned upon internationally over torture and unfair trials of his opponents, but Sting explained that he did not see the point of a musical boycott.

Sting had an attack of conscience last month, however, and turned down the chance to perform for Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at a festival after he was warned off by Amnesty International over a crackdown on striking oil workers. Poor Nazarbayev had to make do with musical star Sarah Brightman and French singer Lara Fabian.

The mail-order celebs who turn up for events in Russia often seem to have fewer qualms. One of the guests at the recent star-studded charity concerts organized by the Federation fund may have been familiar to avid Forbes magazine readers as No. 8 on its list of the most wanted fugitives. Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov, whose nickname is Taivanchik, is listed by Interpol as wanted in the United States over bribery, but Russia is not extraditing him and he is often snapped at arts events. Lifenews.ru reported that he took Steven Seagal out on the town after the concerts.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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