Serena was here in New Orleans last weekend I was at the Oh Drama show.. She was here doing a benefit for the Holly and Rodney Peete foundation.. She was also here with her boyfriend Lavarr Arrington who plays for the Washington Redskins. I asked him where Serena was and he just grinned. She is going to play Charleston and Venus is going to play Amelia Island.. Whoever wins Charleston normally wins the French
By Catherine Lucey
Associated Press Writer
Friday, February 8, 2002; 3:48 PM
PHILADELPHIA –– Forget Hollywood or New York City – rappers, rockers, movie stars and athletes are hanging in Philly this weekend.
P. Diddy, Britney Spears, Muhammad Ali, Will Smith and Oprah Winfrey are all on guest lists for events surrounding the NBA All-Star game.
And the city's hotels, clubs and restaurants are rolling out the red carpet for what they hope will be a high profile and profitable few days.
"We could sell this city twice over this weekend," said David Benton, vice president and general manager of the upscale Rittenhouse Hotel, which – like every hotel in the city – is full. "We have 90 people on the waiting list."
Guests at the Rittenhouse include Marv Albert, Magic Johnson and maybe Oprah Winfrey, according to Benton, who said the weekend will be great for future business.
"I think it puts a lot of national focus on the city," he said.
Of course the stars aren't just here for the game. There are galas, benefits, dinners and huge, sparkling parties every night.
"This isn't just sports. It's showbiz," said Meryl Levitz, president of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.
Musicians make up the bulk of the celebrity guests. Fat Joe, Ludacris, Missy Elliot, Eve, Faith Evans, Run DMC and Naughty by Nature are just a few of the rap and R&B artists expected to attend various events.
Jazz club Zanzibar Blue has big parties planned each night – sometimes two a night – and were expecting more than thousand guests per day, said event coordinator Wendy Wolf.
The big-ticket weekend will be exciting compared to the quiet post-Sept. 11 months, Wolf said.
"We are typically a place that has big parties around the holidays," she said. "This year it was a lot of little parties."
"I think the opening of the Kimmel Center, the All-Star event, these things are making Philadelphia a place to come," she said.
By far the most extravagant celebration of the weekend is being thrown by a hometown hero – Allen Iverson, who is holding parties three days in a row.
For Friday and Saturday nights, Iverson has rented out a downtown mall, The Gallery, where 2,000 people are expected each night. Celebrity guests, such as tennis player Serena Williams and musician Eve, are expected to lounge in the VIP section on the street level, while regular guests – who must pay $60 for tickets – get to hang out in the food court.
"This is Allen Iverson's party, the centerpiece," said Cerry Banez, party publicist. "All the celebrities in Philadelphia are expected to come."
While the All-Star weekend will be action-packed, some business owners say the long term benefits are dubious.
"It's great for the city, we need more things like this," said restaurateur Stephen Starr, who owns trendy eateries around the city. "As for making people come to Philadelphia who have never come here, I don't think this will change their minds."
That's a lot of getting around town for a girl with a bum wheel. Hope she has a traveling physical therapist. To quote Eddie Murphy, that girl likes to "pahty all the time, pahty all the time, pahty all the time."
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