An Evening of Fireworks

By Richard Mineards   |   May 7, 2024
Katy Perry was presented with the Colleagues Champion of Children Award in Beverly Hills last week (photo by Liam Mendes via Wikimedia Commons)

Santa Barbara singer Katy Perry was honored in Beverly Hills last week.

The former Dos Pueblos High student was presented with the Colleagues Champion of Children Award for her philanthropy at the 35th annual spring lunch at the Beverly Wilshire.

She co-founded the Fireworks Foundation in 2019 with her sister Angela Lerche with the mission of empowering children in underserved communities by igniting their inner light through the arts.

Programming includes a summer camp that Katy herself attends, supervising workshops, music productions, and choreography.

Actress, comedian and author Ali Wentworth hosted the glittering event, which also included a fashion show from Oscar de la Renta’s 2024 collection.

Return to Neverland

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, with its accompanying theme park, has been brought back to life at a cost of millions of dollars as work continues on an upcoming movie about the reclusive singer’s troubled life and career.

Jackson was preparing for a lucrative run of shows at London’s 02 Arena when he died at a rented L.A. mansion in 2009 of cardiac arrest following an overdose of the surgical anesthetic drug Propofol.

In the years since he died aged 50, the music icon has remained a pop culture figure – celebrated for the body of work he left behind, amid a legacy complicated by controversies, among them allegations of child abuse.

His life is now set to be dramatized in a new biopic Michael, with Jackson’s own nephew Jaafar, an accomplished singer and dancer in his own right, set to play his late uncle.

Neverland, the 2,700-acre property Jackson originally purchased in 1988, has now been reconstructed as filming continues ahead of the movie’s April 18, 2025, release.

The fairground rides, tents, and children’s train it became known for have all been completely rebuilt, along with a Ferris wheel and replica of Jackson’s carousel, as well as an enormous red and white circus tent and red train that carried visitors around the estate.

Billionaire Ron Burkle purchased Neverland for $22 million in December 2020. He was the former adviser to the self-styled King of Pop after meeting at an event for underprivileged children in the mid-2000s.

He snapped up the property from Santa Barbara Polo Club patron Tom Barrack for nearly $80 million less than the asking price.

The original ranch boasted 21 structures, including multiple guest houses and a 50-seat movie theater. There was also a swimming pool, and basketball and tennis courts.

‘Tis But a Stem Cell

Former Montecito funnyman John Cleese has revealed he’s forking out $22,000 a year to pay for stem cell therapy to combat the side-effects
of aging.

The Monty Python star, 84, admits the fee is hefty, but claims “it is worth buying yourself a few extra years.”

John, who has been having the treatment from La Prairie in Montreux, Switzerland for more than 20 years, is ensuring that he doesn’t look “too bad” for his age by getting the “highest quality” cells from the facility.

He tells the U.K.’s Saga Magazine: “These cells travel around the body and when they discover a place that needs repair, they’ll change into cells you want for repairs, so they might become cartilage cells or liver cells.

“So I think that’s why I don’t look bad for 84!”

Doctor’s Visit

Billy Baldwin’s wife Chynna Phillips has to undergo surgery in order to remove a 14-inch tumor from her left leg, while opening up about her terror at the thought of undergoing anesthesia, describing it as “the closest thing to death.”

The former musician, 56, revealed she is having the mass taken from her leg in a video shared on her faith-based YouTube channel California Preachin’.

Chynna says she is “absolutely petrified” at being put under for the the procedure because she says being knocked out with drugs is what she imagines dying would feel like.

“I have a tumor in my left leg. I’ve had it since a girl. They don’t know if I was born with it or not.

“It’s totally benign, but it’s large. I’m talking very large. It’s like 14 inches long and four inches wide. Surgery is coming up. It’s just eight weeks away.”

I wish her well…

On the Mends

Montecito comedienne Ellen DeGeneres admits being branded the “most hated person in America” was a huge blow to her ego as she launched her new stand-up comedy tour in West Hollywood last week, her first since 2018.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show went off the air in 2022 after 19 seasons on NBC in Burbank following the toxic workplace scandal that tarnished her reputation as TV’s favorite host.

In 2020, DeGeneres, 66, was accused by former show employees of fostering an environment that tolerated alleged bullying, racism, and sexual harassment by executives and one in which she reigned supreme.

This prompted WarnerMedia to launch an investigation, with the Montecito resident insisting in a letter to show staff that she was unaware of any toxicity behind the scenes.

She later branded it “a coordinated misogynistic” attack on her and has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since the talk show’s final airing on May 26, 2022.

Where’s Al Jaffee’s Snappy Answers?

Michael Douglas was mistaken for his children’s grandfather while visiting one of his youngsters at college.

The UCSB Oscar winner, 79, revealed the awkward moment in an interview with London’s Daily Telegraph, admitting the ordeal was “rough.”

“‘This is not grandparents’ day, this is parents’ day’, and I say ‘I am a parent!’ That was a rough one.”

The Fatal Attraction star didn’t specify where the mishap took place while he was visiting his son, Dylan, 23, or his daughter, Carys, 21.

He shares them with his Welsh actress wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, who he has been married to since 2000.

Carys is currently attending Brown University in Rhode Island, while Dylan graduated from the same college in 2022.

Royal Company

The Princess of Wales has received a unique honor from her father-in-law King Charles in recognition of her years of public service and has been appointed to The Order of the Companions of Honor.

Kate, 42, has been made a companion of the organization, founded by King George V in 1917 to recognize outstanding achievements in the arts, sciences, medicine, and public service.

It is reportedly the first time a member of the Royal Family has been appointed to the order in its century-long history.

The order – whose spiritual home in the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace – is restricted to 65 members from across the Commonwealth.

She is in good company with other members including Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Sir David Attenborough, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Ian McKellen and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling


Robert Redford noshing at Brophy Brothers… Gary Oldman at the Riviera Theater… Oscar winner Kevin Costner with daughter Grace and sons Cayden and Hayes lunching at Tre Lune.

Pip! Pip!  


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