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NEW YORK It was all either painfully ironic, or perfectly appropriate: Candie's, the company that sells slutty shoes to teenagers, launched the Candie's Foundation, a foundation designed to fight teen pregnancy by telling girls not to be slutty. But no matter how you saw the tie-in, the new foundation's launch party was pretty rocking, and the event's slate of performing artists made more than one nonprofit exec--and quite a few screaming teenagers--kvell. Getting together hitmakers 98 Degrees, Macy Gray, Destiny's Child and 'NSync is a pretty impressive feat.
Ted Inc. (whose founder, Ted Kruckel, is the subject of a BiZBash Impresario profile) produced the excitement-generating event, which decked out Roseland Ballroom with a full concert stage (by SFX) for the performances. With the event's huge hanging decor pieces (by Atomic Design) and SFX's dramatic lights, the huge, legendary venue managed to look a lot less shabby than it often does.
Many of the venue's walls were covered with posters showing the performers or other celebrities involved with the foundation. To further reinforce the event's purpose, the caterwaiters and other event staffers wore T-shirts with the event's logo or the foundation's numerous taglines: “Be sexy,” “Be strong,” “Be smart.”
The event started with a reception with buffets of food from GO Catering, who brought some fun touches to food that was appropriate for both the adults and the many kids and teenagers who attended the benefit. One server walked around the room with a basket of different breads and dips, and another served hot dogs from a cart. Guests could eat sesame noodles from single-serve Chinese takeout boxes, and the buffet tables also had chicken on skewers, lots of fresh vegetables, cheeses and breads. The main lobby area was also filled with tables of silent auction items (well-arranged by the Ted Inc. staff).
During the reception, Roseland's balcony served as the press area, where the celebrities attending the event could speak with television crews, and later journalists and some of the foundation's guests watched the show from there.
The evening's hostess was Candie's pitchwoman and former MTV personality (and Playboy model) Jenny McCarthy, who wore a white T-shirt that said “You Don't Have to Have Sex To Be SEXY” and brought her usual irreverent tone to the proceedings. Between the headlining musical acts, McCarthy and celebrities including MTV's Ananda Lewis and actress Thora Birch introduced Candie's new public service announcements, and newcomers Joy Enriquez and Willa Ford performed a few songs. The performances were energetic, as were most of the artists' words regarding the evening's theme--even if they were sometimes a bit odd. “You don't mess with teen pregnancy,” Ford advised the crowd.
The musical highlight was the performance from Macy Gray, who played a funky, freewheeling, hour-long set that included the jazz- and soul-tinged songs from her first album, plus riffs from other people's music (Outkast's “So Fresh, So Clean” and the Sanford and Son theme).
But the disappointment of the evening came at the end. Guests who had waited through some of the smaller acts to see 'NSync (billed as “special guests") show their faces on stage after midnight got to see just one number. The boys then explained that they had just come from playing a full show at Giants Stadium and that they were tired. So were the guests, who quickly scuttled out of Roseland, pausing briefly just to grab the logoed flip-flops being given out as gifts.