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Guests come out for Gest

GEST WITH HIS GUESTS: (l-r) Martha Wash, David Gest, Dynamo, Jasmine and Peabo Bryson

DAVID GEST'S birthday parties are now legendary. Perhaps best known for his turbulent marriage to Liza Minnelli, his friendship with The Jackson 5 and his appearance on reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, the popular concert promoter and media personality didn’t disappoint with his 2012 soiree.

It may have been his 59th birthday, but David still parties and lives life like a 20-year-old! It’s fascinating to watch him as he hosts an event, totally in the thick of it, yet remaining calm and friendly to all his guests in attendance. He really is one of the greats, alongside other showbiz legends like Oprah and famed music manager Benny Medina.

This year, David threw a joint birthday party alongside his friend, EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer (who turned 40), at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s West End. It was dubbed their joint Music & Magic birthday celebration, to help raise thousands of pounds for the charity organisation Me & Dee, which organises once-in-a-lifetime trips and treats for seriously ill people.

A host of David and Patsy’s celebrity friends attended on the night, and the evening featured performances from 12 soul music legends and UK magician Dynamo.

A couple of tables at the front of the venue sat practically every EastEnders actor, including Tameka Empson, Chucky Venn, Diane Parish and Adam Woodyatt.


ALL SMILES: Tameka Empson and Jas

Vanessa Feltz was also in attendance with her beau Ben. They were dancing up a storm and later in the evening, Vanessa won the raffle!

Magician Dynamo impressed all the guests with his usual spooky magic tricks, meanwhile I couldn’t stop staring at singer Candi Staton, who at the grand old age of 72, still looks stunning! Her performance later in the evening was also very impressive.

The evening began with a cocktail reception (which my late ass missed), followed by a sumptuous three-course meal, which was so delicious, guests at my table were sneaking in extra desserts!
Next came the celebrity auction and one of the items up for grabs was Lady Gaga’s hot pants! I couldn’t help but look around to try and clock all the potential pervs in the house who were bidding for them!

Next up was a signed letter and The Bodyguard disc by Whitney Houston, and there was a lot of excitement as Michael Jackson’s contract for a live event went for £1,000. If I was loaded, I would’ve paid a lot more for it!


SOUL SURVIVOR: Jas and Candi Staton

My favourite performer of the night was Peabo Bryson. Now there’s a man that can really saaang! His vocals were so strong. I really don’t know how older artists like him still possess such powerful vocal strength, while many current day stars complain about having weak voices.
Billy Paul sang one of my favourite classics, Me and Mrs Jones, and then there was much fanfare for Martha Reeves & The Vandellas who had the whole crowd sweating and jumping.

Martha Wash of The Weather Girls turned the ballroom into an Ibiza-style rave as she belted out her classics, with the crowds’ fists pumping the air. And later, we were also treated to more legends, AKA David’s mates, who gladly perform at his events because they love and appreciate his presence in their careers.

Kim Weston, The Flirtations, Dorothy Moore, Brenda Holloway, Eddie Holman, Sheila Ferguson and G.C. Cameron, former lead singer of The Spinners, all gave great performances.

Of the fantastic night, David said: “At this stage in life, it’s not so much about celebrating a birthday as getting together with great friends and helping a good cause.

“Patsy and I have been friends for years and we thought if we could help put a smile on the faces of some people who are less fortunate than us, that makes this whole evening worthwhile.”
And that, my friends, is my mantra: the more you give, the more you shall receive!

Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her at jasmine@hiphop.com Follow her on Twitter: @jasminedotiwala

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