When we cover an event in Hollywood, sometimes we are tasked with asking celebrities questions about much more than just the event they're attending or their latest project. This week we've been asking folks their take on Roman Polanski, who was arrested Saturday in Switzerland on a warrant relating to 1977 child sex charges. He admitted to having sex with a 13 year old girl but fled the country before his sentencing.
A petition signed by such Hollywood notables as Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme, John Landis and Tilda Swinton which urges Polanski's release has enraged many people who feel he should not be getting a pass. It's one thing to sign a petition and many of the celebrities we posed the Polanski question to demurred, but some were willing to share their opinions on camera.
Allison Sweeney, host of NBC's "The Biggest Loser," Jillian Michaels a trainer on the show, Tom Morello of "Rage Against the Machine," actress Lisa Kudrow, and Patricia Arquette star of "Medium" tackled the question.
It had the charm of a community theater production put on by a group of pals - only in this case, everybody happened to be famous. Tuesday night, actor David Arquette and some of his family members and "Friends" - namely wife Courteney Cox-Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, Sheryl Crow, Christina Applegate, Ben Harper and more - staged a benefit concert to raise money for the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank and Feeding America.
It was a roughly staged event where microphones went dead, teleprompters messed up and everyone in the audience seemed to know each other. At one point, the director came over the P.A. system and asked Cox and Kudrow to stretch - so Kudrow grabbed a guitar and played a couple bars of "Smelly Cat," the tune her character made famous on an episode of "Friends."
AEG Live donated the Club Nokia in downtown L.A., while others donated their time and talent. Garry Shandling did a little stand-up comedy. Crow wrote a sing-along reggae song especially for the event called "All We Need" - which she recorded as a duet for iTunes with Jason Mraz. It'll be available in about a week or so, with all proceeds going to Feeding America.
As Crow performed, Allison Sweeney (soap star and host of "The Biggest Loser") snapped photos on her cell phone from the balcony. Harper raced over on a rare night off from his tour with Pearl Jam. Katharine McPhee, Jonny Lang and Good Charlotte's Joel and Benji Madden also performed live, as did Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine. His mom, Mary, watched from the side of the stage, dressed in sensible shoes and a grandma cardigan. Speaking of which, Morello and his new wife are expecting their first child next month. It's going to be a boy!
This wasn't some Hollywood fundraiser where the celebrities involved had no personal stake in the charity. Cox told us her husband, David, has been spending two days a week packing lunches and helping out at the neighborhood foodbank in Venice. Sometimes their daughter, Coco, joins him. Crow couldn't help giving Arquette a special shout-out during her set. "I love David Arquette so much, man!" she exclaimed. "Who else would put himself out there like this?!"
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