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Grammy Party Preview: Hosts Include 'Essence,' 'L.A. Confidential,' Belvedere, Cash Money, and the Recording Academy

Roller skaters enlivened the atmosphere the Recording Academy's official Grammy after-party last year, which had a Studio 54 theme. This year's event will borrow its look and feel from Rio's carnival festivities.

Photo: Line 8 Photography

The 54th-annual Grammy awards will air live on CBS from the Staples Center on Sunday, with LL Cool J as the show's first host in seven years. Meanwhile, the party hosts behind the various related bashes around Los Angeles this week—including Essence, Belvedere, and Cash Money—are largely returning for a party landscape that will look pretty similar to that of recent years. Here's a look at what's going on in the days leading up to the main event.

In its official capacity as Grammys host, the Recording Academy will hold a weeklong program of events known aptly as “Grammy Week.” In partnership with CoverGirl, Olay, and Venus, the academy on Tuesday will present “Grammy Glam,” an event at MyHouse meant to celebrate the connection between music and glamour. The Grammy Foundation will host its 14th annual Music Preservation Project event on Thursday, this year known as “One Night Only: A Celebration of the Live Music Experience,” at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. Sharon Osbourne and Steve Vai will cohost, and Bret Michaels will perform as the closing act.

Paul McCartney will be honored in this year's “Person of the Year” tribute, now in its 22nd year. The gala at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Friday will begin with a cocktail reception and silent auction, and continue with a dinner sponsored by AEG Live and a tribute concert sponsored by Acura/ELS. Performances will include the likes of Tony Bennett, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, and McCartney himself.

For the fourth consecutive year, Clive Davis and the Recording Academy will present the annual “Pre-Grammy Gala” Saturday at the Beverly Hilton. Sponsored by Harman, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyundai, and MasterCard Worldwide, the event will include its annual Salute to Industry Icons, honoring Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.

Belvedere Red will host a party at the Avalon Hollywood on Thursday with a live performance by Mary J. Blige, and production and design by Tony Schubert and Event Eleven. Blige’s performance will be streamed live via Belvedere’s Facebook page. Also that evening, Niche Media's Los Angeles Confidential magazine and Porteon Electric Vehicles will celebrate Tony Bennett's Grammy nominations with a party at Crustacean Beverly Hills.

Essence will head downtown on Wednesday for its annual “Black Women in Music” party (part of an event series that also includes “Black Women in Hollywood” for the Oscars later this month), with honorees Kelly Rowland and Sylvia Rhone. Rowland will perform, and MC Lyte will serve as DJ. Sponsorship comes from Lincoln and My Black Is Beautiful. The mag's New York-based event marketing director, Candace Purdie Montgomery, will oversee the production.

Cash Money will be back with its third annual party the night before the Grammys on Saturday at the Studios at Paramount. Colin Cowie will handle the design and production (which the Susan Magrino Agency notes is expected to top last year's gilded, money-bag-filled eye-popper). Angel City Designs will take care of the video design and production, and design and decor execution.

After the main event wraps on Sunday night, the Recording Academy will host the biggest party of them all: the official after-party known as the “Grammy Celebration,” which will draw a massive crowd of 5,000. Along Came Mary is in charge of the production and the menu, and Angel City Designs will handle the design and decor. The theme for this year's gala focuses on Rio's carnival, so the Los Angeles Convention Center's Hall A will be a colorful spectacle the size of three football fields. The central decor piece will be a 60-foot-long, multitiered stationary float covered with glittering fabric. Decor elements will soar to 25 feet in the air from the structure, which will double as a two-sided projection screen and carry 30 costumed performers, dancers, and drummers. Along Came Mary's menu will include a churrascaria station and versions of other traditional Brazilian dishes.


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