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  1. New York’s AG Has His Eye on the Ticket RacketYou can’t beat the bot to those front-row seats. 
  2. cultural capital
    Who Waits in Line 60 Hours for a Madonna Concert?Lots of people, it turns out. And we’ll show them to you!
  3. party lines
    At Billy Joel Hamptons Gig, David Blaine Steals the Show The $3,000-a-ticket Billy Joel show in the Hamptons Saturday was billed as “the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll fantasy,” and it was — if your idea of rock and roll begins and ends with wretched excess. Upon arrival, guests were whisked to a quasi-secret location in a fleet of chartered buses that came so often they practically formed a train; once inside the perimeter, they had to contend with troupes of caterers, candy girls, cigar-toting Davidoff reps, and the like. We weren’t too surprised to find megamagician David Blaine, bulkier than we remembered him, moodily walking around, but our hearts sank a bit once we realized the guy had been hired as pre-show entertainment. Because Blaine is mostly famous for very public acts of endurance, we inquired how long, in his estimation, he’d be able to continuously listen to Billy Joel. “Ha-ha,” said the magician. “Seriously, he’s awesome.” (Actually, later, Billy Joel would prove to be, well, Billy Joel.)
  4. photo op
    Message in a Garden The Police played New York last night for the first time since 1983, putting on a show of classics in the first of three gigs this week at Madison Square Garden and Giants Stadium. We’d love to have Vulture’s take, but the promoters wouldn’t give our pals a ticket. (Keep an eye out for a review — based on attendance at honest-to-goodness, full-price admission — later this week.) There’s nothing in the Times, either, but one presumes that’s because Jon Pareles got out too late to make his deadline, not because the Police disliked him, too. The Daily News posts a notice today, though, finding the show a bit too tight and scripted. Still, wrote critic Jim Farber, “it’s hard to carp about any show that highlighted a catalogue so rich in winning tunes and clever hooks, let alone one that delivered them with so much zest.” Mmm … zesty!
  5. party lines
    Celebs Go to Hamptons, See Concerts, Check OutCelebrities are typically eager to tell you what they think about nearly any news event — except when it’s summer, and they’re on vacation, and they’ve stopped paying attention to the news. We bumped into Sopranos gals Edie Falco and Aida Turturro at the Dave Matthews concert for the Ross School, held in East Hampton Saturday night, and we asked whether Lindsay Lohan would ever work again. “I don’t know what goes on,” Falco said. What about you, Aida? “I don’t know what happened,” Turturro seconded. “I’m out in Montauk; I don’t even know.” Shifting gears, we asked Joan Allen about Eliot Spitzer’s recent troubles. “I’ve been gone a lot,” she said, begging off. “I was in Greece with my daughter, and I just kind of got back. I’m out of the loop with what’s going on.” Billy Joel, who’s playing the next Ross concert was at least able to answer a question. What did he have on tap for next week? “For this kind of gig? I’m going to keep it hit heavy,” he said. “I don’t think you want to go too obscure for these prices.” No, no, you don’t: Tickets to the five-show series cost $15,000. —Lillien Nathan
  6. party lines
    How Green Was Your Live Earth? Al Gore’s multi-continent, multi-hour Live Earth concert on Saturday was an impressive event for an impressive cause. But two days later, we’re still trying to figure out just how impressively green it was, at least at its New York outpost at Giants Stadium. Gore, to his credit, rode Amtrak up from Washington, but, well, let’s just say we’re not sure everyone else made such an effort. At least some box seats at the stadium, we were told, had no glass enclosure — which meant that to keep VIPs cool, A/C was blasted on high throughout the concert, into the open air. The press was relegated to an aptly named media bubble, a giant off-white tent in the parking lot, which also offered A/C. (Not that we’re complaining!) Volunteers stood by the trash cans, helpfully directing the garbage into one of three piles: compost, recycling, and “waste,” 90 percent of which, a sign promised, would be diverted away from the landfills. A man wandered through the tent, dispensing yogurt smoothies from a backpack connected to a squirt gun. There was no vegetarian option on the snack table — just ham and American cheese.
  7. vulture
    Sunday Night Rocks! Missed a good show last night? Chances are it’s been written up on Vulture, our sister blog. We’re not proposing these posts as a remedy — they’re far more likely to piss you off further about not having been there than to allay the pain — but at least you’ll be able to fake your way around another band-themed conversation. Today in Last Night’s Gigs: Polyphonic Spree, who have traded choir robes for futuristic army uniforms, and LCD Soundsystem (above), whose mastermind James Murphy was spotted channeling Andrew W.K. in a most unsavory fashion. Polyphonic Spree Summon David Bowie LCD Soundsystem Fans Clap Their Hands, Say ‘Yeah’ [Vulture]
  8. cultural capital
    Behind the Music Protests Hey, CBGB fans: This is how you protest a club’s closing. When the venerable music venue Tonic abruptly shut its doors on April 13, owners John Scott and Melissa Caruso-Scott had to vacate the building by the next day. Instead, a motley crew of musicians, including the legendary guitarist Marc Ribot, showed up for an improvised concert that didn’t stop even as hard hats began dismantling the stage. Ribot and fellow downtown eminence Rebecca Moore were cuffed and briefly jailed. Hours later, Ribot was the mouthpiece of a new group called Take It to the Bridge, a pissed-off but realistic and articulate advocate for displaced jazz and avant-garde musicians. They’ve got the ear of City Councilman Alan Gerson, and they’re gaining traction. We talked to Ribot about the coalition, its goals, and the future of music in New York.
  9. party lines
    Snoop, Pussycat Dolls Rock Wall Street The Cipriani/Deutsche Bank concert series opened its third season at Cipriani Wall Street last night, continuing its tradition of bringing artists like Mary J. Blige and Kanye West to perform private concerns for finance types and the pretty young things who may or may not love them. This year’s series benefits UNICEF and the Sarah Ferguson Foundation, and opening night finally answered an age-old question: Who do rich white people like more, Snoop Dogg or the Pussycat Dolls?
  10. the morning line
    Save the Whale, and the Musicians • After Jon Corzine recovers — speedily, we hope — we see a lot of PSAs in his future. Not only was the New Jersey governor not wearing a belt at the time of his crash last Thursday, but the car was doing 91 mph. [NYDN] • Cynthia Greenberg, an activist who claims to have been kicked in the head by an NYPD officer at an antiwar rally, will get $150,000. The city is making the case go away after Greenberg threatened to produce videotape. [NYT] • The German Army has fired the instructor who told his soldiers to imagine scary black dudes in the Bronx before squeezing the trigger. Chalk the victory up to the unlikely alliance of YouTube and Bronx beep Adolfo Carrion. [amNY] • As live-music venue closings reach a critical mass, musicians descended on City Hall yesterday to protest. Turns out guitarist Marc Ribot speaks fluent municipal-ese (“that industry brings hundreds of thousands of tourists,” etc.). [Metro NY] • And a baby minke whale has made its way into the Gowanus Canal. As of this moment, it’s still navigating the filthy waters, and rescue plans are being drawn up; on a related note, is “Fin City” really the best the Post could do? [NYP]
  11. cultural capital
    Arcade Fire Is Coming Back to New York, This Time Way Uptown Arcade Fire played five shows in a Greenwich Village church last month, and now the band is set to announce tomorrow that it’s coming back to New York at the beginning of May — and to an equally head-scratching venue: the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights. The former movie palace at Broadway at 175th Street — currently home of the Reverend Ike’s Christ Community United Church — will start hosting rock shows next week, when Bloc Party becomes the first band to play the way-uptown venue. And Modest Mouse, Björk, and Iggy and the Stooges are booked there in the next few months. (Okay, fine: Arcade Fire is doing a Radio City show in May, too.)
  12. cultural capital
    Hanson Comes to New York: MMMBop Till You Puke! Andrew W.K. played piano at Hanson’s big Supper Club show last night. That was strange enough. And Harlem’s entire Young Love Choir sang. But no one who joined the blond brothers onstage was louder than the roomful of Hanson fans. This spring marks the tenth anniversary of the sibling-pop trio’s single “MMMBop” (yes, they played it), and every guitar solo, song introduction, and minor gesture to the audience elicited a wave of Woo!s louder than the last. Despite the single-digit weather, fans camped out on the sidewalk early to get in, as evidenced by the Starbucks cups dotting the pavement. (See? Way more mature than the Mountain Dew they were drinking on line a decade ago.) But why did Andrew W.K. sign himself up for the popsters’ comeback?
  13. cultural capital
    Patti Smith Rocks Carnegie Hall, Tibet Death loomed large at the Philip Glass–curated benefit concert for Tibet House U.S. Monday night at Carnegie Hall, when a parade of legendary talents — among them Lou Reed, Patti Smith, and Michael Stipe — performed numbers in honor of deceased friends. And as if that weren’t depressing enough, when the thrilling succession of reimagined hits and covers stopped, we suddenly realized that all our idols onstage talking about death will die, too. Oh, God. There were chanting monks, a beautiful, minimalist set from Sigur Rós, and Ben Harper. Debbie Harry happily danced to an acoustic version of “Heart of Glass.” And then came Lou Reed, the first to sing about getting old. Ray Davies harkened back to the Kinks’ glory days, getting the crowd to sing along with “Lola,” “Sunday Afternoon,” and “Dedicated Follower of Fashion.” He admitted to being foggy about why, exactly, he was there: “This is a great event. I’m not sure of all the details, but the spirit moved me.” And then he, too, got wistful about age. “Being in a band at this point in my life is a separation anxiety of the worst sort,” he said. “We never know when we’ll meet again.”
  14. cultural capital
    Fab, Kirsten, and the Arcade Fire Our review of the Arcade Fire’s first sold-out show at Judson Memorial Church last night is brief: The sound was muddy, the crowd’s energy was better than usual, the new songs were more introspective than the old ones and therefore less fun, and the experience of seeing a concert in a church wasn’t all that special, though the stained-glass windows were cool. But that’s all beside the point. The big story we have from the evening came while we were waiting on line for a beer. We noticed a guy — tight black jeans, a scruffy chin, looking slightly familiar — and, yeah, we were checking him out. We eavesdropped as he told the sound guy about how he’d been to McDonald’s recently and was disappointed by soggy burgers. “It’s never as good as you remember.” Our thoughts exactly! We stared longingly. And then we realized who he was: Fabrizio Moretti. And we noticed a cute blonde in a hoodie next to him: Kirsten Dunst. Now, we’re not saying that we saw them engage in any couple-y behavior. They were clearly there together. Maybe they’re just friends. But we couldn’t think of a situation in which their social circles might overlap, unless it involves that Strokes song that was on the Marie Antoinette trailer. All we’re saying is that we saw them together and we thought it was odd, and that we cursed Kirsten Dunst for ruining our game. —Jada Yuan
  15. cultural capital
    Indie Rockers Too Cool for Manhattan, Head to Jersey In other Stephen Colbert–related news, we’ll mention that the Decemberists — the “hyperliterate prog-rock” band he recently battled for green-screen dominance — yesterday released their U.S. touring schedule for spring. As New York has already deemed the group about as brilliant as possible, we were a bit miffed to discover that no New York City venue made the list. But then we saw where the tour kicks off: Jersey City. Of course it does. —Lori Fradkin Exclusive: Decemberists Announce Spring U.S. Tour [Pitchfork] If You Lived Here, You’d Be Cool By Now [NYM]
  16. cultural capital
    The Cold War Comes to Brooklyn With a catchy new single, “Hang Me Up to Dry,” sold-out concerts across the country, and an upcoming European tour with Brooklyn phenoms Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the California foursome Cold War Kids might just be the hottest new band you’ve never heard of — if you don’t read the music blogs, that is. Bassist Matt Maust spoke with us before the band played Park Slope’s Union Hall last night. After the jump, Maust on the differences between New York and California, Fellini, and his phobias.
  17. cultural capital
    Sean Lennon Has Sensitive Eyes “He’s got sensitive eyes,” said a man in fingerless leather gloves into his walkie-talkie. The black-clad, tattooed security guard at Bowery Ballroom last night wasn’t having a sentimental moment. He was answering a colleague’s question: How strictly should the no-flash-photography rule be enforced? Very strictly, it turned out. But despite the guards’ best and sometimes brusque efforts, Sean Lennon’s concert was all flash photography. For reasons that have nothing to do with — and are perhaps unfair to — him, Sean’s shows have an invariable tinge of a get-photographed-with-Santa session (or, as it were, Son of Santa). His curse is that he looks less like a child of John and Yoko than like an “If They Mated” Photoshop job — even, or especially, with the current wild-man beard.
  18. in other news
    Has Bob Herbert Heard About This? Z-100’s Jingle Ball, the sort of McCotillion that sweeps into Madison Square Garden tomorrow night, filling it with teenagers, the poor fools who birthed them, and the Hummers that brought them, is not only a garish display of wealth and questionable taste in music. It is also a cautionary tale — one that shows just how love for her children can drive a respectable mother to hitting street corners for a score. Writes the Times: Indeed, the acquisition of tickets is often treated as a mission, one that requires parents or relatives to pay prices befitting World Series seats. Last year, Ms. Levin’s sister, Elizabeth Fischer, paid about $1,800 for four Jingle Ball tickets, a Hanukkah present for Ms. Levin’s children, Hannah, then 14, and Jeremy, then 11. First, Ms. Fischer asked American Express if the concierge service available to its platinum-card holders could find tickets for her. No dice. Then she attempted to acquire them through a corporate contact (yet another Jingle Ball ritual, practiced in many well-connected Midtown and Wall Street offices). Strike two. Finally, she said, she broke down and bought them on craigslist. “I felt like it was this covert operation” Ms. Fischer said. “I had $2,000 in my pocket and was meeting this guy on a street corner.” Thank God the guy showed up. We have the feeling this woman was one step away from tricking Hannah out to close the deal. They Are So Going to Jingle Ball This Year [NYT]
  19. cultural capital
    Christmas With the Wainwrights Rufus and Martha Wainwright opened their childhood living room to Carnegie Hall last night for an evening of family Christmas music. It was a typical scene — if you’re used to having Lou Reed pop in to sing “White Christmas” and “Silent Night” and Laurie Anderson stop by for “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “We Three Kings,” rendered as haunting dirges. The crowd — for the most part, either gay or NPR types — was bemused by Jimmy Fallon, who came off like the stranger your aunt awkwardly brought to the first Christmas after her divorce. He got better later, somewhat, cracking up through his “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” duet with Martha Wainwright. Rufus mentioned a few people had complained about the lack of Hanukkah songs in last year’s show but said that, after a thorough search, he’d found “there are no good Hanukkah songs.” Instead, he sang one in Hebrew. “But I’m not going to sing it with an Austrian hat on,” he joked, doffing his red Alpine mountain cap. David Byrne was a promised appearance who failed to show, but a surprise visit from Antony more than satisfied. He sang “Blue Christmas” like an underground Elvis and then contributed, alone, “Snowy Angel,” a stirring, wistful ballad written, Antony said, by the East Village performer Baby Dee. Martha Wainwright complained to her brother for placing her after Antony; Rufus joked that following her was just as bad. But it wasn’t, as his performance of “O Holy Night” in its original French rendered everything else nearly forgettable. —Aileen Gallagher
  20. cultural capital
    The Strange Thing We Learned About Ryan Adams This Week He’s apparently a big Friends fan. A fan inexplicably yelled “Monica!” between songs at the first of the prolific troubadour’s three Town Hall shows Monday night, and that was all the cue Adams needed. “Don’t get me started on the Geller family,” he said, and then got started. On a monologue: “Why can’t they keep it together for America? And, I mean, he wants to go play a sergeant on Broadway?” Adams was referring now to David Schwimmer’s recent and not particularly acclaimed stint in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. “No one’s gonna believe you’re a sergeant, man. They’re just waiting for Chandler to walk in!” No one, thankfully, asked him about Joey. —Rebecca Milzoff
  21. cultural capital
    Aerosmith Plays Beacon; Steven Tyler Confesses to Using His Daughter’s Career For Personal Gain Aerosmith played a private concert at the relatively tiny Beacon Theater Sunday night, exclusively for members of the new Citi/AAdvantage card. (This on the heels of similar, AmEx-only events featuring Kanye West and Lauryn Hill earlier this year.) It was a rare opportunity to see the stadium rockers up close, and we learned several things: Tom Hamilton, who’d missed part of the recent tour due to throat-cancer treatment is back in fine form. Joe Perry still has his abs. And Steven Tyler advises his daughter, Liv, on her movie choices. “She called me up and said, ‘Dad, Jerry Bruckheimer’s doing this movie,’” he said about Armageddon. “I said, ‘What’s it about?’ And she said, ‘It starts off with Bruce Willis hitting golf balls into the Gulf from an oil rig and then a meteor comes down, and everything goes to hell.’ I said, ‘Take that shit!’ They wanted four songs from Aerosmith. KA-CHING!” Ah, the joys of fatherhood. —Jada Yuan Earlier: Lauryn Hill: Not Crazy After All These Years?
  22. cultural capital
    A Series of Small Observations About Last Night’s Bob Dylan Tribute at Lincoln CenterSandra Bernhard (“Like a Rolling Stone”) is actually funny, even if it pains one to admit it. Medeski, Martin & Wood (“Buckets of Rain”) are just plain cool. Allen Toussaint (“Mama You’ve Been on My Mind”) has some sweet, sweet pipes. And plays a mean piano. Fine threads to boot. Natalie Merchant (“Hattie Carroll”) still has her voice. She also still looks like a bit of a bag lady. Warren Haynes (“I Shall Be Released”) has a roadie who looks disturbingly like Haynes himself. Phil Lesh ("Thunder on the Mountain”) carries a man purse, as spotted on Broadway post-show. Wonder what’s in it. The Roots ("Masters of War”) injected new meaning into an old warhorse by singing the first verse to the tune of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Cat Power ("House of the Rising Sun”) has a voice so enchanting, all she has to do is open her mouth and you’re hooked. Surprise guest Cyndi Lauper ("Ring Them Bells,” with Jill Sobule) is still a screwball. With a squeezebox. Jamie Saft ("Ballad of a Thin Man”) defies congruity with a two-foot beard and a prep-school haircut. Bottom line: Pretty much an excellent show. — Duff McDonald The Music of Bob Dylan [Music for Youth]
  23. cultural capital
    K-Fed Rocks Near-Empty Webster Hall Aspiring rapper and Britney Spears barnacle Kevin Federline played his first New York show this weekend — it kicked off the tour promoting his self-released debut, Playing With Fire — and Webster Hall Saturday night was a curious sight indeed. An informal survey of the crowd yielded a foursome who confessed that they were friends of K-Fed’s manager and had gotten free tickets; two judgment-reserving girls who also had free tickets, which they’d won from TRL; a priceless foreign couple who admitted they’d first heard of Kevin Federline “this day”; and one couple with mixed intentions. (She: “I’m not a fan, just really into the tabloids!” He, glumly: “My girlfriend made me come.”) And though the venue may have been sorely undersold — estimates put the sparse crowd around 250, a sixth of the Webster Hall’s capacity — the impenetrable bunch of hopped-up fans pressed against the stage were an undeniably ecstatic bunch packed five rows deep.
  24. What a Drag It Is Getting Old: Mick Jagger Sued Over Alleged Sore ThroatPlaintiffs:Rosalee Margolis Druyan, individually and as a class representative of ticket purchasers Defendants: Mick Jagger; the Rolling Stones; Ticketmaster; Live Nation; “John Doe” Promoter Accusation: Pissed off Rolling Stones fans are fighting mad and fighting back against Mick Jagger, the Stones, and Ticketmaster after a much-ballyhooed October 27 concert in Atlantic City was canceled. They don’t buy Mick’s sore-throat-and-doc-won’t-let-me-perform excuse — and they want more than $50 million for their troubles.
  25. intel
    Mick Jagger Cancels A.C. Gig, Causes Press Corps’ Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown Tonight was supposed to be the coming-out party for a revitalized Atlantic City: a Rolling Stones concert at Boardwalk Hall followed by a “rocker chic” Halloween party at the Borgata’s new nightclub mur.mur D.J.-ed by — who else? — MisShapes. The New York press corps was being trucked in, as were Gisele, Eva Mendes, Naveen Andrews from Lost, and those second-tier Sopranos cast members who’ll show up to anything. But there’s a problem. Just a few minutes ago, Mick Jagger called in sick. The only explanation: sore throat, doctor’s orders. Now people with tickets to the sold-out concert — not to mention the in-progress New York caravan, a member of which called us from the road to bitch — can’t get no satisfaction. Now there’ll be an after-party that isn’t after anything — plus a night at the Borgata, gambling and shopping tomorrow, opening-night dinner at Buddakan Atlantic City tomorrow night, and three simultaneous Halloween parties after dinner. (It’s so hard to be an entertainment reporter, eh?) The concert has been tentatively rescheduled for November 17. No word if Gisele will show. One certainly hopes Mick will. — Jada Yuan
  26. cultural capital
    Lauryn Hill: Not Crazy After All These Years? Lauryn Hill’s fall from grace after recording a world-dominating solo album in 1998 has been well chronicled. She released one further album in eight years. She fell under the influence of a mysterious spiritual advisor. Her last major solo concert was a 2003 acoustic show at the Vatican, in which she bashed the “corruption, exploitation, and abuses … by the clergy.” And so when she sang last night at the W Hotel on Lexington Avenue – her first performance with a live band in five years, and, as befits such a momentous occasion, it was in a corporate events room and only open to Starwood preferred guest cardholders from American Express – the question on everyone’s mind was which Hill would show up. Genius Lauryn or Crazy Lauryn? Our money was on Crazy Lauryn.
  27. cultural capital
    Beck Unhyped and Unplugged on LES The funny thing about Beck is that as his career grows, he becomes less and less of a star. He started out as the slacker’s poster child with Loser, balanced populism with avant-garde sonics on Odelay, and now he turns out an interesting but semi-popular album every year. He was just one musician among six at his intimate acoustic set last night at the tiny Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts, the former synagogue on the Lower East Side, his long hair hanging over his face and a fedora shielding his eyes. The low-key and unhyped concert was billed as “Beck & Friends,” and the friends on the bill weren’t big-name pals but rather the guys he tours with: guitarist Matt Mahaffey, bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, drummer Matt Sherrod, keyboardist Brian Lebarton, and dancer Ryan Falkner. There weren’t even any celebs in the crowd.
  28. cultural capital
    The Strokes: Hotter Than Ever! Kanye West and John Legend have been running a close race for the title of most ubiquitous special musical guest on the invitation-only party scene. In fact, we’ve seen West out and about so many times this year that had his name been the only one on the bill for last night’s Hennessy party at Capitale we might have (horrors!) forgone the free drinks. Perhaps that’s why some shrewd event planner also managed to book the Strokes. However much money you had to throw at them to show up, you genius Hennessy liquor barons, it was totally worth it. The Strokes backlash is well chronicled: Drew Barrymore, Julian’s weight gain, sophomore slump, underappreciated third album, etc. But after last night, count us firmly in the Backlash-to-the-Backlash zone of the Undulating Curve of Shifting Expectations.
  29. cultural capital
    Moby Goes Raw! The invitation to last night’s Hennessy shindig at Capitale listed the ubiquitous Moby as one of the “confirmed celebrities.” This was odd, because although Moby might be ubiquitous at Manhattan events, he is not actually omnipresent — and he was in fact ten blocks away, rocking out in the dingy confines of Tonic. Moby, you ask? Rocking out? Indeed. Perhaps it was the critical yawning that greeted Hotel, his ultraslick double album that sounded like it was commissioned for hotel lobbies. Maybe it was something else. But the fact remains that Mr. Melville, the world’s leading purveyor of feathery melodic techno, has been stealthily refashioning himself into a guitar-wielding post-punk front man. And that persona was on full display last night.
  30. cultural capital
    Patti Smith, Immaculate Young Punks, Respectful Cops Say Good-bye to CBGB Last night hundreds of would-be farewellers packed the Bowery in the hopes of attending the Patti Smith gig that, after all that, would be the Last Show Ever at CBGB. News vans dotted the block. The line stretched around the corner. Suspiciously immaculate — and, naturally, ticket-free — young punks protested their situation loudly at the door.
  31. cultural capital
    Lily Allen, Hero at Hiro Lily Allen, the buzzy British singer newly signed to Capitol, had her American premiere in the lantern-bedecked Hiro Ballroom last night, and a hopped-up crowd of well-heeled indie types, industry honchos, and more than a few suburban dads packed the Maritime Hotel space for the experience. The British songstress-of-the-moment was scheduled to take the stage at 10, and by 9:30, it was nearly impossible to find an available line of sight to the stage anywhere in the packed, overly small venue. Impressively enthusiastic D.J. and hype-man Mark Ronson busily whipped the crowd into a vodka-fueled frenzy with countdowns to the moment when the diminutive singer would take the stage and promises of the impending “awesome”-ness of the event. Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos momentarily stole the spotlight by arriving with girlfriend Eleanor Friedberger, of the Fiery Furnaces, but quickly disappeared into the overheated mob. With all eyes glues firmly to the stage, the impossibly tiny Allen finally meandered out, preceded by a jubilant three-man brass section and a bassist. Clad in a hipster-appropriate black-and-white dress and draped with oversize gold jewelry, she proceeded to put on one of the most enchanting performances — debut or otherwise — in recent memory.
  32. party town
    Clinton! Books! Movies! Concerts!We’re not saying they’re open to the public, and we’re not saying you’ll necessarily be able to get in if you show up. But here are the big-name parties on tap for tonight. Expect to hear about them in the next few days’ gossip columns. • T.J. Martell Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway at 45th St., 5:45 p.m. Bill Clinton receives the award from fading top-40 chanteuse Sheryl Crow. It’s like the setup for a 1997 Jay Leno punch line! Also promised to attend: Russell Simmons, Clive Davis, Ed Bradley … and Vince Neil. A silent auction will include the chance to win “one-of-a-kind experiences” with “Hilary Duff, the New York Yankees,” and Buzz Aldrin. And yes, we made that sound more interesting than it is through selective press-release-editing.
  33. intel
    Who Told You You’re Allowed to Rain on Her Skit? People may need people, but if they were the type who need George W. Bush — and, in fairness, who knew we had those in Manhattan? — they were very unlucky at Barbra Streisand’s latest farewell concert at Madison Square Garden last night. It was her first show at the arena since a previous farewell concert in 2000, and Streisand larded it with shtick including a skit starring a Bush impersonator. The bit got mostly applause but also some jeers. After one fan yelled something — we couldn’t make it out, but witnesses suggest it was “Communist!” — Barbra had had enough. “Shut the fuck up, would you?” she yelled back. “Shut the fuck up if you can’t take a joke.” Ah, the art of making art.