Pulse: Live 8: Cheesesteaks, Anyone?

Getting the stars to smile at Live 8 was simpler than getting them to eat

While 600,000 people sweltered on the Parkway, our own Victor Fiorillo spent Live 8 backstage with local cheesesteak proprietor Tony Luke, stalking VIPs for photos and offering them cheesesteaks. The former turned out to be easier than the latter. Herewith is Victor’s account:

Dave Matthews

Tony and I started the day out right by dining at mini-Buddakan, with Chef Morimoto and Stephen Starr in observance. As we consumed tea-smoked spare ribs and sushi, we noticed Dave Matthews doing likewise. We followed him outside, where he slapped his larger than expected belly and said, “I’m stuffed, but maybe later” in response to our cheesesteak query. He never turned up, but we did get our photo.
Photos 1, Cheesesteaks 0

Al Sharpton
I should have known better than to approach the Reverend, who had already blown past us several times. His lackeys didn’t seem to appreciate the oily package in my outstretched hand, and when I requested a photo with “the cheesesteak king of Philadelphia,” Sharpton muttered something under his breath and disappeared.
Photos 1, Cheesesteaks 0

Paula Abdul
Looking less impressive than when she’s sitting between Randy Jackson
and Simon Cowell, Paula was lounging at the BBC Radio booth. One of the Brits asked, “What the hell is a cheesesteak?” So we handed over the goods, and Paula struck a pose.
Photos 2, Cheesesteaks 1

Def Leppard
We caught up with the band’s one-armed drummer and two-armed guitarist after they tore through “Pour Some Sugar on Me” onstage. A photo? Yes. But they invoked vegetarianism.
Photos 3, Cheesesteaks 1

Will Smith
I leave Tony for one minute, and he winds up on Will Smith’s private bus. Go figure. Tony got his photo, but forgot to offer the Fresh Prince a cheesesteak.
Photos 4, Cheesesteaks 1

Chris Tucker and Destiny’s Child
This swank posse was flanked by an armada of Secret Service-style security that would have taken my arm off had I produced a cheesesteak within five feet of Beyoncé. I paparazzied Tucker, but Tony was taking cover elsewhere.
Photos 5, Cheesesteaks 1

Anna Nicole Smith
In the Borgata Gypsy Bar, we drank with Anna Nicole Smith and her two mutts, Frankenstein and Marilyn. After several vodka shots, the Trimspa spokeswoman announced she was very hungry, so I offered her a cheesesteak. “Damn, yes, I want a cheesesteak,” she slurred. Then her assistant reminded her she doesn’t eat meat. As she got up to leave, she bent over provocatively and asked Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal, “Will you please blow on my ass? It’s wet.” It was around this time that my camera malfunctioned.
Photos 5, Cheesesteaks 1