Sir Elton John is smart enough to know that, no matter how famous you are, if you want to raise money for your cause, you better show up, be nice and put on a show. So, on Monday, he did.
This story first appeared in the October 21, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
John welcomed hundreds of donors, celebs and socialites to Cipriani Wall Street for his ninth annual Enduring Vision awards, honoring Tamara Mellon, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg and Ukrainian businessman Victor and his wife Elena Pinchuk. He posed with VIP patrons for individual photos during cocktails and then joined guests including Joanne Woodward, Hugh Jackman, Debbie Harry, Vivi Nevo, Tory Burch, Christina Ricci, Tony Bennett and Donna Karan for dinner downstairs.
Later, Jamie Niven gave his typical verging-on-vulgar auction (how many times do you hear “big swinging dick” at one of these things?) which helped the organization raise $2.1 million. (Lunch with Anderson Cooper was the second highest-grossing lot at $70,000.)
And then came John’s show. Rather than the usual two song set, John rocked the hall with eight, and gave the finale to Leon Russell who played played his 70s hit “A Song for You.”
But the real Elton John show is yet to come. Because throughout all this, Cameron Crowe was circling the premises nearly undetected, shooting his upcoming documentary on the musician. “I’d always been using his music in movies and wrote about him as a journalist,” Crowe said, holding up a wall. “And he called up one day and said, ‘How would you like to film the creative process, because no one’s really filmed me writing before.'” The first day of filming coincidentally was John’s first day writing songs with Russell for their new album “The Union,” and so the creation of that has become the overall theme. “The amazing thing is [John] narrates it himself because he’s so connected to the documentation. He’s like, ‘Okay so it’s the middle of September, we’re waiting on Leon, he’s been sick, he’s coming back soon, I’ve written two songs, here they are…'” Crowe continued.”So it’s like it’s so easy to cut. And you know I just love the guy and his music so it’s really a film about how that pours out of him.” Coming soon to a theater near you.