“Grand Opening, Grand Closing”
Back in 2003, Jay-Z’s Grammy winning single and perennial show-closer “Encore” contained some forward looking statements: “Grand opening, grand closing…your man Hov cracked the can open again,” which follows opening line “Cookin' raw with the Brooklyn Boy.”
Friday night, the “Brooklyn Boy” grandly opened the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, nearly 9 years after his iconic farewell “retirement” concert on the other side of the east river at sold-out Madison Square Garden.
(Pharrell Williams, above left, and the man of the night backstage, preparing for the congratulatory D’usse cognac toast (a new high-end cognac from Bacardi endorsed by, you guessed it, Shawn Carter).
Jay-Z is a part owner of the Nets (albeit only a .06% stake worth $214,000, says ESPN’s Darren Rovell), that will be the anchor tenant after they strike the concert set. The momentary Mr. Kardashian (Kris Humphries) plays for the team.
As she regularly does at her husband’s shows, Beyonce watched from the front of house on a VIP riser.
Fellow Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner (who developed the Barclays Center) strikes a familiar pose at right.
Jay-Z took the after party back over the bridge in to Manhattan at his 40/40 club, the same location where President Obama’s team tweeted this iconic meet-and-greet photo last week, left.
Co-celebrators at the 40-40 included Dave Chappelle, Nets veteran Jerry Stackhouse, and wife Beyonce.
(Images come from consummate insider and hip-hop's preferred lens, Johnny Nunez.)
Meanwhile in L.A., rapper Nas (left) was excruciatingly businesslike, to the detriment of IGN and Capcom who hired him for their “Resident Evil 6” launch party.
He demanded to go on stage an hour early, at only 9:25 P.M., before opening act Miles Mosley.
“He diva’d out,” a backstage source said. “He said, ‘Give me the mic.’” By 10:15 P.M., he was already done, a shock to latecomers.
Nick Cannon (right, not paid to be there), Nick Swardson, and Sophie Simmons (Gene’s daughter, fresh from the "X-Factor" auditions) also filled up both rooms of monster-club Lure. While most other premiere parties choose Thursday, only a video game company — with a franchise hitting its fifth sequel — has the bankroll to buy-out one of L.A.’s biggest and most popular nightlife venues on a Friday night.
The Director’s Eye
Judd Apatow probably does not have a dandelion colored cartoon iPhone.
He must have borrowed his daughter Maude’s (far right) to sneak a family photo on the way in to Thursday’s 10th Annual Teen Vogue Young Hollywood Party with Emporio Armani at a house in Beverly Hills. (Photo by Getty Images.)
Other offspring in the mix: Sasha Spielberg, Connor Cruise and Max Winkler.
Meanwhile, Minnie Driver and Kathleen Robertson found a patio corner at "grown-up" Vogue's competing "Scenemakers" soiree at the Chateau with Express, also on Thursday night.
Bryan Cranston, Honorary Italian
Jimmy Kimmel’s Emmy after-glow continued to radiate on Thursday night, as he was overheard saying his favorite part of hosting was seeing the winners’ post-acceptance reactions as they cleared from view off stage.
Kimmel returned to familiar hosting ground, the annual Italian Feast of San Gennaro’s opening night (Prima Notte) on Thursday. (Kimmel's eternal pal Adam Carolla, left, with the double-host)
“Everyone is Italian at the feast of San Gennaro,” surprise reveler Bryan Cranston contended.
Tommy Lasorda with boxing champ and pop-culture footnote Paulie Malignanni at the Galbani Cheese-sponsored celebration. Malignanni played “Little Mac” in Nintendo’s reboot of the legendary game “Mike Tyson’s Punch-out”
Unlike Cranston, actual flesh-and-blood Italian Vinnie Guadagnino chose the opposite coast, at Lupe Fiasco’s Samsung Mobile USA concert (top) that closely mimicked the rooftop concert-based TV commercials that show hipsters sharing content via purple lightning through a crowd (bottom).
Pharrell hit that smaller show too.
Photos: Jay-Z by Brad Barket/Getty; Johnny Nunez/Getty Images. Nas by Charley Gallay/Wireimage; Nick Cannon by George Kim- SnapStarLive; Minnie Driver by Wireimage; Feast of San Gennaro photos by Luigi Scorcia; Lupe concert photos by Andrew Walker and Don Bowers for Getty Images.