Rock Stars, Celebrities Clash On Ropes Outside MTV Video Awards

Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst and millionaire Donald Trump were one of the unlikely pairings on display Thursday night.

NEW YORK — Tuxedoed real estate mogul Donald Trump was

caught in a celebrity traffic jam.

And as Trump stood in the shadow of the Metropolitan Opera House on

Thursday night, it was clear that he had no idea who the stocky,

goateed guy in the red baseball cap approaching him was.

"I'm from Limp Bizkit," the thrash-rap band's infamously volatile

frontman, Fred Durst, informed Trump. Durst, a newly appointed vice

president at Interscope Records, pumped his fellow businessman's hand

as they stood on the red carpet just before the MTV Video Music Awards

(click here

to go to SonicNet's photo gallery of the evening's festivities).

Durst brought over his friend Jonathan Davis, lead singer of fellow

rap-rockers Korn, and introduced him to Trump as well.

The mustachioed Davis wore an oversized, vaguely clown-like white

suit.

Moments later, all turned to greet Puff Daddy, the rap superstar who,

the day before, had pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court to

harassing a record executive. Puffy strolled by hand-in-hand with

actress-turned-pop-star Jennifer Lopez.

Fur-clad rocker Lenny Kravitz made his way along the ropes, along

with the assembled cast of the hit horror movie "The Blair Witch

Project." Kravitz brushed by the actors.

This was what home viewers of the MTV Video Awards only got a glimpse

of in the footage of the carefully choreographed ceremony — a

surreal, chaotic, celebrity-packed world in full spin. The celebrity

encounters continued backstage during and after the show.

Actress Pamela Anderson Lee, dressed in a pink sequined longline

bustier that flattered her Barbie Doll figure, was talking to the

press about her new TV show when a trench-coated man leaped in front

of her podium and flashed her — no worries, though, he turned out

to be her husband, former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee.

Lee is equally famous for a widely circulated homemade video in which

he engages in enthusiastic sex with Pamela. "Now I can't concentrate,"

she giggled, and ran after Tommy.

A little later, teen idols the Backstreet Boys became unusually

aggressive as they spoke to the press, shouting down Stuttering John

(born John Melendez), a longtime sidekick to infamous shock-jock Howard

Stern. Stuttering John repeatedly asked the Boys detailed questions

about their sex lives.

At least one celebrity confessed to enjoying the madness. "I like the

chaos — it's crazy. No one knows what's going on," Bush frontman

Gavin Rossdale said, sporting bright red hair on his way into the

venue.

A sudden rainstorm had delayed most of the celebrities' ritual strolls

down the carpet, resulting in a logjam as show time approached. A pack

of incongruous stars — good guy rapper/ actor Will Smith and his

wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, bad boy Tommy and his wife, Pamela, and

fashion-conscious synth-rockers Orgy — hurried in all at once.

The paparazzi, jammed into pens behind the rope line, spun around

dizzily trying to capture it all.

Most of the celebrities who did brave the rainstorm, such as

chart-topping teen-pop singer Christina Aguilera, were carefully

protected by umbrellas held by assistants or MTV employees. Aguilera,

whose boots nearly reached her skirt, practically sprinted indoors,

prompting one photographer to yell, "You won't melt, honey."

But where was Kid Rock's umbrella? "[It's] right here," the rap-rocker

said as he strolled by, pointing at his tall, pimp-style hat.

Oblivious to the storm, he posed for photographers, raising both his

middle fingers high.

Pop-rockers Smash Mouth showed even more bravery, playing a fully

plugged-in version of their hit "All Star" (RealAudio excerpt)

outdoors as the rain fell in full force on their equipment.

The hundreds of fans who waited near the rope line to get a glimpse of

their idols got soaked too.

"We're not moving," Jessica Cioffi, a 16-year-old 'N Sync worshipper,

said. Her friend, Lauren Lenza, also 16, said that the girls would

protect the vocal group from the storm.

"We'll cover them with our shirts," Lenza said.

Told of the offer as he walked by a few minutes later, 'N Sync's Lance

Bass politely shook his head.

Rapper Lil' Kim looked as though she could have used the coverage as

she walked on — she wore a purple sequined, body-hugging pantsuit

that bared her left breast, save for a matching pastie. "Everyone keeps

asking me if I got arrested today," she said later.