He doesn’t just dance the flamenco. He plays it too.
Mark Ballas has the pompadour of Robin Thicke (a vestigial style from Ballas’ time playing Ritchie Valens in “Buddy” in the U.K.), but the dancer deserves more hyphens than the current it-boy after his performance on Saturday night.
The “Dancing with the Stars” veteran let Hollywood know he’s a legitimate flamenco-guitar-wielding singer, dancing-bandleader, and unusual for Hollywood on a Saturday night… DJ silencer. Ballas rocked a thirty-five minute set of originals fronting a nine piece band at SBE’s least-SBE venue, The Sayers Club.
Tight and rehearsed, Ballas took over at 11:45 p.m.where a DJ left off, holding a club crowd with complete songs and surprisingly Slash-ish work on acoustic and electric guitar necks.
Refreshingly, it’s not a vanity project.
“I’ve written all the songs,” Ballas told TheWrap after the set.
Ballas says he’s written 40 songs total in which 20 are about “right”, and 7 that are “tight.”
Musicians from Prince, Stevie Wonder, the Dave Matthews Band backed him on stage, while castmates Jack Osbourne, Cheryl Burke, and Derek Hough (waving neon tambourines standing on a couch in the audience) backed him from the crowd on Saturday.
Although it’s not a novelty like “Band from TV” – a group of TV actors garage-banding on the charity circuit – there’s an innovative reminder of “that guy from TV.” At one point, Ballas drops the guitar mid-song and corrals five buddies for a choreographed dance in the middle of the crowd. They were more in-sync than N’Sync’s walk-through at the VMAs. If the Timberlake analogy fits, Ballas’ “Sexy Back” is show closer “Spank.”
Emerging from a cross-industry blind spot, Sayers Club chief Jason Scoppa booked Ballas after catching his sold out show at the smaller Troubadour, not knowing that Ballas is a name. From working nightlife, he can be excused for missing Ballas mopping the ballroom floor with Kim Kardashian and Bristol Palin (twice) over 13 seasons on “Dancing with the Stars.”
The residency continues every other Saturday night.
Also Working for the Weekend
Fox chief Jim Gianopulos, Ann Gianopulos, Marilyn Katzenberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg arrive for the MPTF fundraiser ‘Hugh Jackman… One Night Only’ at the Dolby Theatre on Saturday night.
Lawrence Bender, Bello, gallery owner Ray Azoulay and former L.A. nightlife czar Amanda Demme at Bello’s house on Friday night.
While everyone was watching the Dodgers dive in the N.L.C.S., Kareem Abdul Jabbar signed copies of his new book “Sasquatch in the Paint” at the Barnes & Nobles in the Grove on Saturday afternoon.
Shakira shakes, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere leads the cheering section.
Until Shakira headlined T-Mobile’s concert Wednesday night in New York’s Bryant Park, I had no idea she had so many hits. Ironically, the one song she bantered as the one that “changed her life,” was the one least well known by the 7000-person strong crowd of lucky subscribers, industry VIPs, and media.
Perez Hilton and Micah Jesse were among the crowd at the early eve set, celebrating T-Mobile’s launch of free international data and texting, a blessing for anyone who’s suffered crushing bills after the Cannes, Toronto, or Venice film festivals.
Swizz Beatz was the opening surprise , reminding Manhattan that he wrote many of those Jay-Z anthems they sing along to.
Where’s the Merch-Table?
The Jason Reitman live-read has gone the way of “American Idol” and “Glee.” It’s now on tour.
After a sold-out reading of “Boogie Nights” was the hot ticket last month at TIFF’s opening Friday, Reitman reincarnated the 1997 Mark Wahlberg career-catapult for Film Independent’s Live Read at LACMA. Wednesday night’s cast from left: Kevin Pollak, Jurnee Smollett, Jim Rash, Nick Kroll, Taylor Lautner, Judy Greer, Don Johnson, Nat Faxon, Mae Whitman, Reitman and Jarod Einsohn. Elvis Mitchell took the hero spot.
Lautner, who was born three years after “Miami Vice” went off the air, and Johnson read together.
Follow the Money
If it wasn’t photographed, it didn’t happen.
In the mid-2000’s “Speidi” era, celebrity personal appearance fees at nightclubs skyrocketed. Now, DJ’s cash checks double the size.
Paris Hilton makes her bid to be the first to bridge the evolution as she spun her first ever state-side DJ set at Create this week, the Hollywood co-venture between SBE and Insomniac geared towards EDM. After dating top-tier DJ Afrojack, Hilton spun a set in Brazil last year, spent the summer in Ibiza, and signed to Lil Wayne’s label, Cash Money.
Taking the stage at 12:30 a.m., after mother Kathy Hilton awkwardly played “hype man” by coming out before Paris to wave and blow kisses, the crowd wasn’t purely gawkers, though the curiosity factor remained high.
She spun an hour of house, sliced with the requisite “Blurred Lines”, buttressed by confetti and smoke cannons (foreground) but no one shadowing or assisting her technically, at least in person. Hilton closed with her new vocal single “Good Time.” The song played as a video as she danced and mouthed the words. No, she didn’t sing live.
Lil Wayne is featured on the single that released the same day, but was not present for the single release party. Snoop Dogg, a TMZ reporter, and lots of cell phone-camera-wielding hands made the guest list instead.
Men’s Health’s Quarterlife
Men’s Health editor-in-chief Bill Phillips (left) and publisher Ronan Gardiner (right) didn’t make “good body” a requirement for admission to the magazine’s 25th anniversary party on Wednesday night. That’s just the way it worked out.
Dr. Oz, “Graceland” actor Daniel Sunjata, and Taye Diggs toasted 25 years of Men’s Health at the Isola Mondrian Soho. Diggs’ rent-mate Rosario Dawson popped in, as did Audrina Patridge who came over from the Bryant Park event. Patridge is currently without DJ-reinvention plans.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Liv Tyler and Billy Crudup huddled up at The Lunchbox Fund’s Fall Fête at Buddakan this week. Some of the same crowd that would show up to Saturday night’s “Her” screening (Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Stipe) dotted the Meatpacking restaurant a few days early for Moet & Chandon hosted-party.
By Thursday, Dawson was back in LA. She hung with Andy Garcia poolside at the Paramour Mansion in Silverlake for a party toasting Garcia’s short film he directed for cognac Martell Caractère. At right, Philippe Guettat with Diego Luna.
Looking Ahead: The 5 Top Invites For the Week of October 14
2. Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, Jamie Tisch, and Wallis Annenberg host the inaugural gala for the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Jodie Foster, Alessandra Ambrosio, Courteney Cox, Jason Bateman, and Maria Shriver are expected. (Thursday, October 17.)
3. Paley Center Honors FX Networks: FX past and FX present gather for the “Innovation and Excellence Award” on the Fox lot. Suddenly, the “departed” Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, formerly of “Fifty Shades of Grey”) is the biggest get amongst a crowd of Ryan Murphy, Michael Chiklis, and many more. (Wednesday, October 16.)
4. Day by Day Fashion Show: The guys that launched designer sweats with 2BFree are back with a headlining show at L.A. Fashion Week. This is their crowd: Anthony Kiedis once sat front row as Paris Hilton walked the runway (with a ferret on her shoulder), and Samantha Ronson spun in the rain on the Paramount lot. (Tuesday night, October 15.) Full Disclosure: My wife does the p.r.
5. Buzzfeed L.A.’s Office Grand Opening Party: Genuine industry curiosity and fandom make the opening party of their Beverly Boulevard offices cross-industry pull. Note: Buzzfeed is not the reason for this numbered list.