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Despite a Few No-Shows, Robust Slate of Grammy Events to Blanket L.A.

Will.i.am kicked off the "Worlds on Fire" exhibition downtown. Photo: Kevin Parry

Will.i.am kicked off the "Worlds on Fire" exhibition downtown.

Photo: Kevin Parry

Despite some notable high-profile absences, there are still plenty of contenders for guests' time on the Grammy week calendar this year—including some newcomers to the scene.

On Monday, Will.i.am and Gen Art kicked off the week with the opening night of the “Worlds on Fire” artist exhibition downtown. Portraits honored 2009 nominees such as Al Green, Beck, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, Madonna, M.I.A, Nas, Nine Inch Nails, Paul McCartney, and Radiohead. Jacob’s Creek supplied beverages, and guests browsed a silent auction. Proceeds benefited the Black Eyed Peas’ Peapod Foundation and other local charities for L.A. youth. The exhibit runs through Sunday at the Pacific Electric Lofts.

On Friday night, the informal “Friends and Family” party, which gives back annually to different charities, will take to Paramount Studios. Industry hosts include Lil Jon, Warner Brothers president Tom Whalley, Paramount Pictures president of music Randy Spendlove, Evolutionary Media Group C.E.O. Jennifer Gross, Sony Films president of music Lia Vollack, and EMI global A&R chief Nick Gatfield. Pete Rock, Talib Kweli, DJ AM, the Alchemist, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Marshall Barnes will perform.

The House of Hype will host a Grammy brunch and hospitality lounge sponsored by Asics on Saturday, as well as L.A. Reid's annual dinner and after-party hosted by Island Def Jam on Sunday. At the brunch, Asics will debut on the West Coast what it bills as the world’s-largest Lite Brite, standing more than 11 feet tall and 15 feet wide with more than 300,000 original-sized pegs. In Touch will host a photo studio for celebs. Both events will take over Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. Entertainment Marketing Company is handling PR.

Rhino Entertainment and Los Angeles magazine will host a party on Saturday at Avalon Hollywood to benefit L.A. Works. The night will feature a live performance by the New York Dolls and a DJ set by Bad Meaning Bad. More than 1,000 guests are expected. MTV Games is a major sponsor, and guests will be able to play Rock Band 2 at stations at the event.

Also on Saturday, Nu-Soul magazine and Redlight Special Events will host an event in honor of the Grammys' urban alternative category at the Blue Velvet lounge.

As for the Recording Academy's official slate, the events began on Monday with the Grammy Salute to Classical Music at Disney Hall and the Grammy Jazz Ensembles at Spaghettini Grill & Jazz Club in Seal Beach. On Tuesday, the Grammy Salute to Jazz took over Club Nokia at L.A. Live. On Wednesday, Grammy Career Day took to the U.S.C. campus; the “Music Preservation Project: Music in Focus" headed to the Wilshire Ebell Theatre; Grammy Jazz Ensembles hit the Vic in Santa Monica; and the Grammy Style Studio kicked off at Smashbox/Quixote Studios, where it will run through Saturday.

On Friday night, Neil Diamond will be honored as person of the year at the giant Musicares benefit at the L.A. Convention Center with a tribute and performances. On Saturday, the Special Merit Awards ceremony and nominees reception kicks off the day at the Wilshire Ebell, followed by the pre-Grammy gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton.

All that leads up to Sunday, when the pre-telecast kicks off at the convention center at 12:30 p.m., followed by the main event—the Grammy awards at the Staples Center—at 5 p.m., and finally, the Recording Academy's official after-party at the convention center.

Unofficial after-parties include Universal Motown Republic Group's “Party After Dark” at the W Hotel's Whiskey Blue. The group's artists will be on site, and the award show will play on LG plasma screens. DJ Skee will spin. And Bernheim Music Group will present an unofficial after-party at Social Hollywood, hosted by Grammy winner and 2009 nominee Ne-Yo. Hosts expect appearances by some of this year’s nominees, presenters, and performers. 


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