Over the past few days, massive posters have gone up around Moscow advertising a new do by the Federation Fund, that sham charity that managed to get some of Hollywood’s, er, best and brightest to fawn over Vladimir Putin in December as he graced us with an unforgettable version of Blueberry Hill.
Ok, maybe Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel were duped. Goldie Hawn and Kevin Costner too. Sharon Stone and Mickey Rourke, we believe you’re sellouts.
But this time, they’ve gotten WOODY ALLEN AND DUSTIN HOFFMAN – real people! People who inspire respect! Et tu, Francis Ford Coppolla? And what’s your excuse Larry King? It goes on and on: Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carerras, Sophia Loren, Steven Segal. Costner is coming back for a rerun. Andy Garcia, despite playing Putin’s archenemy Mikheil Saakashvili in a recent film, is also due to make an appearance, if the Federation Fund is to be believed.
So I called the phone number on the poster: the number has never been registered.
Then I called the number on the Federation Fund website. A lady answered. It went something like this:
Me: “Hello, what’re all those posters about? Is it a concert or something?”
Lady: “Yes, there will be an event July 9 – 10.”
Me: “I see. And those people – Woody Allen, Larry King – they will be in Moscow, or they will be shown by video?”
Lady: “Of course they will be in Moscow.”
Me: “What is the point of the concert?”
Lady: “To bring awareness to the plight of sick children.”
Me: “Are you raising money?”
Lady: “NO! We are not raising money. It’s for awareness.”
Me: “So Woody Allen, Dustin Hoffman – they’re coming over here for free? Or are they getting paid?”
Lady: “Of course they are coming for free. It’s a charity event.”
At least the fund has learned to change their tune: they took a beating after the December show, when the mother of a sick child revealed that none of the promised money had been delivered. So now they say they’re there to raise “awareness” rather than “money.” But the idea of those people – not all of them spring chickens, mind you – coming all the way to Russia to play for a “charity” synonymous with scandal strikes me as bizarre. But not as bizarre as the idea that they are doing it for free.
(Thanks to Kevin O'Flynn for the photo.)