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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.





 


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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Apr. 23


Problems facing the elderly are in the spotlight at Senior Generation 2014, an international forum at LenExpo beginning today that focuses on drawing attention to and providing information about some of societys most vulnerable members. An exhibition combined with a trade fair will help those interested be better equipped to help this demographic.



Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegations visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmChams Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finlands Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping malls Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldnt miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBAs Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Centers Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.