The ‘tudes come out when politically-conscious superstars show their love during Focus For Change: Benefit Dinner and Concert in Support of Witness, which takes place at Manhattan Center Studios Grand Ballroom. The human rights group started by Peter Gabriel (Big Time, In Your Eyes, Sledgehammer) fifteen years ago aims to provoke change.
Even performer ?uestlove – whose comb is hanging from his hair — from The Roots is chilly. “I don’t like performing any of my songs,” he says. Really. Susan Sarandon gives me a knowing wink as she poses with beau Tim Robbins while Meg Ryan looks gorgeous and refreshed thanks to a new blowout. “Hi,” she waves. She looks fabulous! Ten minutes until Maggie Gyllenhaal, we’re told. Whew.
Here’s Goldie Hawn, smiley and flipping her hair for photogs. She’s very warm. How is she saving the world? “My foundation is creating a better place for children to live through education,” she says. “We are creating a curriculum for children to keep them mindful of self, others around them and mindful of the environment. I’m working from the bottom up. Hopefully I’m not putting a band-aid on the problem, but I hope to look to the future with some responsibility.”
Who is daughter Kate Hudson bringing for her Thanksgiving date? “Bad girl,” Goldie scolds, swatting down a reporter’s question. (Sorry ma’am…)
Finally, Maggie puts in her appearance, looking lovely with her hair pulled up on the sides and making small talk with her event cohost Peter.
“I’m cold, I’m going to get my coat,” she tells me, coming back with a black one.
Maggie is the epitome of class in the beauty department — and very smart as evidenced by her Columbia University education — but she can be icy if topics veer away from the professional. How did she choose her Prada dress? “It came to me in a bag,” she laughs. Just don’t ask her how she celebrated her daughter’s birthday or what she likes about her brother Jake’s girlfriend Reese, though.
Moments before dinner of braised black bean casserole with beef is served, Goldie swans out of the ballroom to take a cell phone call while Jackson Browne (In The Shape Of A Heart, Somebody’s Baby, Tender Is The Night) is performing onstage. Could it be Kate? Crisis averted. She’s back in five.