Party Report: Chris Martin Serenades Julia Roberts with ‘Pretty Woman’ (Video)

A $110,000 auction win for a group lunch with A-list stars cooked by chef Sean Penn lifts AIDS charity amfAR to a big night

The Julia Roberts of AIDS charities, amfAR, began its Friday night gala in Beverly Hills with an ode to the pretty woman and ended with her dancing with Fergie to the universal celebration anthem of weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, “I Gotta Feeling.”

 

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Coldplay frontman Chris Martin warmed up the tent in magnate Ron Burkle’s backyard. Dressed like a “science teacher” (per host James Corden) and playing an acoustic guitar, Gwyneth’s ex serenaded Roberts with “Pretty Woman” (above).

Roberts was on hand to receive amfAR’s top honor and took in the performance from a few rows back from the stage, seated next to Tom Hanks. After Martin asked for permission to play “one more song” from the crowd, Martin debuted a new song he wrote about about the “Erin Brockovich” Oscar winner.

 

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It’s called  “Julia Roberts’ Smile.” Here are some of the lyrics:


I asked all the mystics and they stood still,
How do we survive in a world of ill?
He said you watch ‘Mystic Pizza’ on ‘Notting Hill’…

Because in those movies you get to see,
A beautiful piece of God’s dentistry.
When you see that, how hopeless can you be?

[Chorus]
That Julia Roberts smile,
It stretches …for half a mile
It never goes out of style.
It just shines like a big star.

A few emptied magnums of champagne and a few million dollars in donations later — guests paid $3,000 a seat to $20,000 for a table — Fergie pulled Roberts, Connie Britton, Bethenny Frankel and a train of women up on stage to dance and sing “I Gotta Feeling” with her to close out.

 

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The tone was a surprise.

As the first elite industry event since Harvey Weinstein was ejected from Hollywood amid numerous claims of sexual assault and rape, I expected the ghost of the pariah to haunt the festivities. Only emcee James Corden touched on it with three lukewarm jokes at the top.

Sample: “It’s been weird this week watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath. It’s weird watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water.”

Corden’s cruder take drew a bigger response: “Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight. But… he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest.”

Melanie Griffith, Goldie Hawn, and Sean Penn (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

Melanie Griffith, Goldie Hawn, and Sean Penn (Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

 

Despite Weinstein’s longstanding patronage of amfAR, he was not the elephant that was not in the room.

Instead, other deep-pocketed donors and their willingness to spend propelled the night’s goal of “making AIDS history” by 2020.

A woman paid $110,000 for what was supposed to be a group lunch with Roberts, Ryan Murphy and Matt Bomer. Tom Hanks bid on it before dropping out and adding himself to the group to make it a party of five. Then, Sean Penn and Corden teamed up and said they would cook for the group themselves. (Uh, waiter? There’s a cigarette butt in my kale.)

In other auctions, a personal “Carpool Karaoke” ride with Corden went for $65,000.

The amfAR Los Angeles fundraiser can be a surreal gathering. Rihanna might shell out $35,000 in the auction while sitting next to Justin Timberlake, Diana Ross could be a surprise performer and Miley Cyrus once shrugged off impulsive $500,000 spends on auctions and donations by saying “I’m a little drunk. That’s why I’m a half million deep.”

On Friday night, it was Ryan Murphy greeting Goldie Hawn and Melanie Griffith (“You guys look beautiful.”), Kate Hudson arriving with a surprising new look (a shaved head), and Hanks warning the celebrity lunch date winner “You better be loaded with funny anecdotes because I’m not talking!”  The Cadillac CT6 PLUG-INS shuttling  VIPs to Burkle’s estate scooped up amfAR regulars like Busy Phillips and whisked guests away before midnight so Burkle’s neighbors wouldn’t be upset about the noise in the tent. No one wanted to prove Fergie wrong, that big girls do cry.

*Credit to Tom Hanks.