Diesel's Got a Brand New Bag



James Brown generates bragging rights for Diesel.Photograph by Patrick McMullan


There must be a moment in every event planner's life when it seems time to simply give up. You try and you try and you try to develop a great gimmick to bring the cool kids to your party — and this week, most often, that gimmick was a surprise, secret, special musical performance. Your gimmick works, and you go to bed thinking, as we're sure the Prada folks did last Friday night — after the amazing Raconteurs show at their Soho store — that your crown for best fête is secure. And then you wake up and discover the Diesel after-party booked James Brown. JAMES BROWN. The Godfather of Soul.

It cannot, in fact, feel good.

Just as impressive was the crowd milling on Gotham Hall's balcony to see the hardest-working man in showbiz: Rosario Dawson, Seann William Scott, Joseph Cross (our favorite dork, from Strangers With Candy and, soon, Running With Scissors), Heather Graham, Ryan Cabrera (looking like his hair had been styled by the Imitation of Christ folks), Christina Milian, Tyson Beckford (in a terrible mohawk), and Kayne from Project Runway. (So much for thinking he'd survived the episode we were TiVoing at home.)

Go-go dancers gyrated on pedestals in the crowd and ripped men in tighty whities did nerve-racking acrobatics on stage. Brown appeared around midnight, wearing a bright-purple suit and a face pulled tight as a French-made bed. He smiled a lot and sang and yelped as well as ever, but, although he still puts on quite a show, we're not sure we ever saw him move his legs, even when, toward the end, he had three hipsterish white girls brought up to dance with him onstage — though only after getting a nod of approval from his wife (No. 4, for those keeping score), who was also in the show.

Meanwhile, a very drunk, completely chiseled Diesel store employee mounted the go-go stand in the crowd, shed his shirt, and danced like a Chippendales pro — as guys and girls started shoving money and their numbers into his pants. (Kids, he works at the Lexington shop if you need another glimpse.) His stamina was unbelievable — he was still going long after Brown had left the stage (escorted off by two young things, as one might expect).

Travis Barker, sans Paris Hilton this time, sadly, was the last celeb to arrive, at 1:22 a.m. He looked around, rather confused, and so we took pity and let him know he'd missed James. "What? I did? Are you kidding? That's the only reason I came!" And with that, he turned around and walked back down the stairs. "You missed out, sucker!" a Diesel staffer shouted after him. Indeed, he did.

Jada Yuan and Rachel Wolff