Barry Colson, who plays the Hotel Europe piano bar during Davos, had the same jokes and songs last night at the Gansevoort Park Avenue.
“Except in Davos, Randi Zuckerberg takes the mike and starts singing,” said Nancy Lublin, chief executive officer of DoSomething.org, right before breaking into “American Pie.”
Colson was brought to New York for the night by the Rock Art Love Foundation, one of whose founders is Davos regular Rich Stromback, a venture capitalist. The other is marketing executive Nichole Rhodes. Julian Jaeger, who worked for the World Economic Forum before joining Clinton Global Initiative, is also helping out.
The idea of the foundation is to be a “philanthropic platform” that produces events for different causes, driven by music, art and compassion, Rhodes said. The first event last night, the Rock Art Love Ball, benefited the Homeless World Cup, a soccer tournament in which competitors are homeless.
Stromback met the founder of the Homeless World Cup, Mel Young, at a dinner during Davos and was so inspired that he followed him to Mexico City last summer for the tournament, where the idea for the ball was hatched.
Cocktails, dinner and an auction took place at the Angel Orensanz Center. There the highest-wattage Davos regular was Arianna Huffington, accompanied by her sister, Agapi Stassinopoulos, who has a book out about Greek wisdom and unconditional love, and Jimmy Maymann, chief executive officer of the Huffington Post Media Group.
Many tables were filled by sponsors of the event, including ic! Berlin, which hand-makes eyeglass frames without screws in Berlin, and the restaurant group Maison Dellos, which is opening two restaurants in New York in the next two months.
Singers Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan and Valerie Simpson, actor Cuba Gooding Jr., and director Lee Daniels all took turns on stage. The stick-thin Israeli-born violinist Miri Ben-Ari performed a piece inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., as guests sampled chicken and waffles by Chef Roble & Co., of the Bravo reality show that chronicles his adventures as a caterer.
Lublin, who was honored, said she is founding a new organization called the Crisis Text Line, “a 911 for teens.”
Re-creating some of the magic of Davos around the piano was the highlight of the night.
“I skipped Davos this year so I’m in heaven right now,” Lublin said.
Joined by DoSomething.org colleagues, she sang Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Irene Cara’s “What a Feeling.” Colson’s song list is seven pages long, ranging from Fats Domino to Styx to the Eurythmics.
“The more you drink, the better I sing,” Colson said, around 1 a.m.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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