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
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
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
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.