The Costume Institute gala wasn’t the only game in town last week. There were plenty of other parties around, including another perennial highlight of New York’s spring social season: the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Spring Ball. And there, last Wednesday night, Lyor Cohen was very excited.

“Take a look at that,” the Warner Music Group chairman and chief executive officer said brandishing his BlackBerry as he stood outside the ballroom of New York’s Pierre Hotel. He held up his phone to show off a picture taken at the Met gala two nights earlier. It was a group shot of the record executive posing with Jay-Z, Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

This story first appeared in the May 9, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“Tell me what you think,” Cohen continued eagerly. “You don’t know who that is. You saw that photo, right? I just got that photo just now.”

Cohen, who was wearing the same baby-blue-accented tuxedo shirt he had on in the picture, accompanied his girlfriend Tory Burch, a longtime cancer activist, to the Sloan-Kettering benefit on Wednesday. He was equally energized about that night’s cause.

“These people do God’s work,” Cohen said of the cancer center’s doctors. “It’s unreal, and the fact that there’s a hospital and an institution that is so focused on helping people in such need, and not just that but also trying to develop new ways of dealing with this. It’s just phenomenal.”

Earlier in the evening, as guests — who included Sigourney Weaver, Leonard and Evelyn Lauder, David and Sybil Yurman, Frédéric Fekkai and David and Julia Koch — filed in for cocktails, Burch, a co-chair of the fund-raiser (along with Jamie Tisch, Shelley Carr and Caryn Zucker), explained her involvement with the hospital.

“Cancer unfortunately has touched me too closely,” the designer said. “I think it’s a great hospital. We’re lucky to have it.”

Burch also took a moment to explain her involvement in the design of West’s tuxedo on Monday night, which she had custom made for the rapper.

“He’s so easy because he likes fashion,” she said to the slight bemusement of WWD, which hasn’t found West particularly easy to speak to. “I think he’s easy. I love him.” After cocktails, guests made their way to the hotel’s ballroom for dinner and an acoustic performance from Sheryl Crow.

“Thank you. I am celebrating five years cancer-free, breasts intact,” the singer said by way of banter between songs. “It’s very important that you have your breasts in my line of business. I got to have dinner with Lyor C`ohen tonight. I got to actually announce that I am now without a record label and I am now auditioning for him as we speak.”

Sure enough, Cohen had professed his love of Crow earlier in the night.

“Sheryl?” he said. “She’s unreal. Unbelievable. I love her. We’ve got a new record with Kid Rock right now.”

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