But speaking of T.J., a former classmate just called from the Hotel InterContinental with the breaking news that Prince didn't show after all. No explanation given. No word about refunds. No nothing.
"We went in there, got to the escalator, and people said, 'Prince canceled,'" says my old pal, who turned tail and headed to the Playboy party at the downtown Aloft.
Pete's at the InterContinental, awaiting a one-on-one with the event organizer. He should have more on DC9 at some point. (Update at 9:17 p.m.: Pete never found an organizer with whom to speak. Instead, he got some kind of an explanation from the night's emcee -- none other than Chris Arnold. His on-the-floor account is, however, forthcoming.)
[Update at 11:21 p.m.: Here's Pete's update, in which he speaks to Chris Arnold and Paul Levatino, who works with Badu, about the failed evening. And, Pete was told: Prince had indeed been at the hotel earlier today.]
Rachel Deering, herself a musician and wife of Milo, is furious. Her daughter Scarlett, who goes to Berklee College of Music, flew home "at our expense" to open, Rachel says, and it wasn't easy. "The kids went down there, and no one in charge of anything came over and said anything," she tells Unfair Park. "The kids just heard it had been canceled."
Scarlett, a Booker T. grad seen here performing with her dad, was a winner of a Goss-Michael Foundation scholarship; three girls, all recipients of said scholarship, were asked to open the show, before Erykah Badu was scheduled to appear. All three were invited to perform a solo piece -- and all flew in on their own dime.
"We got there, and it was completely unorganized," says Scarlett, a violinist. "We tried to find the people we'd been communicating with over the e-mail," including someone from the Goss-Michael Foundation, for whom theEvent had been a fund-raiser.
"We were trying to find them when we were supposed to be doing our sound check," she tells Unfair Park. "We were then just stuck in a room. They told us to wait till one of the girls showed up to talk to us. We just waited there for probably an hour, then one of the other girls' dads went to ask what was going on, and he was told the show was canceled. It seems all the people who were in charge just left without telling anyone what was going on, so none of the volunteers knew what was going on."
The girls were then told Prince is still in Los Angeles (though, according to our music editor, his band's at the hotel -- or, at least, in town). (Update at 9:20 p.m.: Per the comments, and Pete, Prince is, in fact, in town.) At which point, the girls left. "I'm more angry than upset," says Scarlett, who at least finds the whole botched affair ... funny, in an infuriating sort of way.
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I tried all day to reach Joyce Goss, exec director of the foundation. She never returned my calls. I told her assistant why I wanted to talk. Ellen Fryer at The Buzzell Company, which was handling PR for the event, likewise never responded to any of my e-mails today -- and I sent many after her two e-blasts this afternoon.
See, this is why I don't leave the house anymore. Too disappointing out there.
Update at 1 p.m. Saturday: The Goss-Michael Foundtation just sent a statement regarding last night's disaster. It reads, in full:
Statement from Joyce Goss, Executive Director, The Goss-Michael Foundation:Chris Arnold
"Last night, we faced a disappointment that is immeasurable for us, our scholarship recipients and our supporters. Both Kenny Goss and I are extremely disappointed that theEvent featuring Prince was cancelled. It continues to be our understanding that River Alexander Group, the event organizer, was unable to fund and produce the evening. Up to the very last minute they assured us the 'show would go on.'
We are deeply saddened that our Foundation scholarship winners would have had the opportunity of a lifetime to be on the same stage as Prince and Erykah Badu. I have personally reached out to each one of them and assured them that their expenses related to this situation will be fully reimbursed."
(Editor's note: There will be no interviews. This is the only statement that will be made about the situation.)