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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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