Bill Clinton's Lavish Fund-Raising Weekend in L.A.: Preview of Events Featuring Lady Gaga, Bono, Kenny Chesney
Think of it as the political equivalent of one of those Eagles revival tours -- nostalgia, a reminder of their greatest hits and very tight music.
Friday through Sunday, all three of the Clintons -- Bill, the former president; Hillary, the current Secretary of State; and daughter Chelsea -- will be in Los Angeles to celebrate Bill’s 65th birthday and do some ambitious fund-raising for the William J. Clinton Foundation, which is now 10 years old.
The entertainment industry always has loved the Clintons, and why not? It’s a business that values personal relationships, and the Clintons are ferocious networkers -- Friends of Bill, Friends of Hillary and, now, Friends of Chelsea -- interwoven in a fabric of loyalty. It’s also not a family that takes opposition lightly: “Never get in a knife fight with a Clinton” is virtually a Democratic maxim. Most of all, Hollywood admires their dazzling and instinctive political skills -- something many suspect in lacking in the party’s current leader, President Barack Obama.
“I give him credit,” said Los Angeles political consultant Bill Carrick. “Clinton keeps working at it. People are still mesmerized by him.”
It certainly says something about the Clinton-Hollywood relationship that the former chief executive would feel comfortable tapping the industry’s Dems for tens of thousands of dollars in charitable donations with a general election looming. And the scale of this weekend’s festivities -- which Chelsea is chairing -- is lavish.
The weekend will kick off with a public memorial service for philanthropist Edie Wasserman at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The former first couple are expected to attend the services honoring Hollywood’s “first lady.” Wasserman was the wife of longtime Universal chairman Lew, a powerful force in the entertainment industry and in politics. Also attending the services is Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
After the service, the Clintons will head to the Hollywood Palladium for a birthday gala for Bill, with Stevie Nicks performing.
On Saturday, there’s a 7 p.m. benefit concert for the Clinton Foundation at the Hollywood Bowl featuring Lady Gaga, Bono and the Edge, Usher, Kenny Chesney, K’naan and other artists.
Those who raise between $500,000 and $1 million for the Clinton Foundation will get an invitation to the weekend’s more intimate events, including Saturday brunch at Haim and Cheryl Saban’s Beverly Hills compound, personally hosted by Chelsea and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, and a round of golf on Sunday with Clinton. (No word on where the former president and family are staying. When Clinton was chief executive, he would often stay at Saban’s lavish estate.)
“They are wonderful people,” Saban told THR. “They have dedicated their whole life to public service and continue to do so with stellar results. They are family to the Sabans.”
Not everyone has to be a millionaire to attend the weekend’s events: While $100,000 gets you good seats at the gala and concert and access to VIP receptions, a more modest $6,500 gets a pretty good seat at the Palladium gala. A mere $50 secures a concert seat somewhere in the Hollywood Bowl’s upper reaches.
All in all, quite a party -- and, potentially, quite a haul for the Clinton Foundation’s good works, which include improving global health, strengthening economies worldwide, promoting healthier childhoods and protecting the environment.