Moviehole at the “G’Day LA Gala” in Los Angeles!
It isn’t every day you can watch John Travolta singing “You’re the One that I Want” to Olivia Newton-John, but at the Penfolds Icon Gala Dinner that’s just what happened.
G’Day LA, a week-long celebration of Australian comings and goings to promote trade and commerce between Los Angeles and Oz, celebrated some of the most prestigious Aussies with the Penfolds dinner last Saturday at the famous Hollywood Palladium. Organized by Sequoia Productions (a company that also handles parties for the Oscars), this was no little event.
Who was there to honor Olivia Newton-John, the band INXS and Hugh Jackman? Only The Hon. John Olsen (Consul-General), Eric Bana, Travolta and Rupert Murdoch; not counting the many other celebrities in the audience (Steve Irwin, Matt Dillon, Kelly Preston, Jenna Elfman, and Lorenzo Lamas, to name a few).
The night kicked off with the Tjapukai dancers, who performed cultural aboriginal dances to the sounds of a didgeridoo, and just got better and better. The Qantas Girls Choir performed patriotic American and Australian songs, and then it was time to introduce the honorees of the event, starting with an award for INXS! The band played three, then a fourth song for the 1,400 cheering audience members, including “Mystify”, “Never Tear Us Apart” and “Need You Tonight” (getting some of the women fans away from the stage afterwards was no easy trick).
Eric Bana then took the stage, having flown in to Los Angeles especially to present an award to Hugh Jackman, who he had met over 10 years ago.
“I was dating a hot chick who knew another hot chick, Deborra-Lee Furness, when she was waiting for a guy on their first date,” said Bana. It turned out to be Jackman.
Jackman came onstage and told stories about Travolta – “if you ever have a chance to see his trailer, do it, because it’s a cross between the Ivy and the Four Seasons” and Newton-John – “I saw the two of them sitting in John’s trailer drinking cappuccinos; Danny and Sandy!!”
Jackman admitted he had had a poster of Newton-John on his bedroom wall that he kissed goodnight, every night “up until five years ago,” he quipped.
Then it was time for John Travolta; he said that every time he saw Olivia Newton-John walk into a room, he “got chills! They’re multiplying!” and sang part of a song from “Grease.” The audience clapped along to the beat.
“Olivia is the first person to put on the map for Australia, entertainers in America,” said Travolta.
Then he presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Newton-John with a big hug.
Newton-John called daughter Chloe “my greatest lifetime achievement!” and added that “my career has been beyond my wildest dreams…but I didn’t do this alone,” and named several friends and family members who had been there for her.
The event ended with the Quantas Girls Choir singing again, but this time it was a little different with a special treat; Jackman got on stage with the choir to sing along, and at the end, he even brought a few girls up for a bow.
G’Day LA and — G’Bye until next year!
For more information: see www.australia-week.com.
Sponsored by Quantas, Tourism Australia and the Australian Government
– LISA D.CARROLL