The Recession is Over — at Least, Unabashed Conspicuous Consumption Among Celebs is Roaring Again



Jennifer Lopez’ dust-up with the Indian Premier League doesn’t surprise those who’ve followed the singer’s career as a diva; she knows how to demand. Last month she was dropped from performing before tens of millions of viewers during the massive IPL opening ceremonies event due to her excessive must-haves list — or she had to bow out because of a scheduling conflict, depending upon whom you believe.

Reports have it that organizers balked over her manager’s insistence that they provide Jenny from the Block with a private plane and pay for hotel rooms for her extensive entourage, including stylists and a personal chef.

Let’s just say it fits the profile.

Lopez’ bratty superstar escapades go way back. We recall a little over a decade ago, when she decided to move from one London hotel to another some 100 yards away. Instead of walking the distance, she and her entourage of about 30 piled into six limousines for the journey! Another time, she insisted that a retail area in Sundance be cleared so that she would not be eyeballed by outsiders while shopping. She’s pulled the same thing at other stores, such as Barneys New York.

Her infamous rider for performance commitments, circa 2002, requires a white room, white flowers, white tables, white drapes and white couches; a trailer that had to be a minimum of 40 feet and contain a “hair sink;” a separate make-up area; plus an additional dressing room, painted white, with white curtains, white furniture, white flowers, white candles and a pile of white linen sheets.

It was reported by Perez Hilton that for the 2010 American Music Awards, she demanded a custom-fitted ferry — complete with faux leather seats, a champagne fridge, and a pair of diamond-encrusted headphones — to usher her from Cannes to Monaco.

But she doesn’t like it when people complain that she’s a diva.

Same with Demi Moore. The actress whose greedy ways earned her the nickname “Gimme Moore” at the height of her fame — she had a particular fondness for demanding private jets for herself and her large entourage — has also recently been in the news for demanding spousal support from her ex, Ashton Kutcher.

There are, to be sure, a range of reasons for unhappy former mates to seek alimony and payment of attorney’s fees. Apparently need is not one of them in this instance.

Perhaps it’s a new gauge for economists to employ: A sure sign the Great Recession is behind us is that stars are back to unapologetic conspicuous consumption, as in Charlie Sheen dropping $25,000 for a Barbie doll foosball table, or Justin Bieber treating himself to such goodies as (according to Yahoo) $1,839 box seats at an Atlanta  Falcons game, a $300,000 chartered yacht ride for two and big boy hot wheels including his approximately $200,000 Ferrari F430.

No one seems to enjoy spending big money more than Beyonce and Jay-Z. His collection of cars includes the $2 million Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport with which Beyonce gifted him on his 41st birthday, plus a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Ferrari F430 Spider, a Maybach 62S, and a Pagani Zonda. Jay-Z has been known to drop $350,000 at one visit to Hermes for gifts for his wife, and to pony up $250,000 on a few bottles of Armand de Brignac champagne. Of course, the luxurious life of their baby, Blue Ivy, is already the stuff of legend — from her $1 million-a-year basement nursery space filled with toys (to amuse her while daddy and mommy watch the Brooklyn Nets games.) at Barclay’s Center, to her $15,000 Swarovski crystal-studded high chair.

The difference is, they’re paying for their own baubles. In fact, the “Watch the Throne” rapper’s list of backstage necessities, as reported by AP, looks fairly reasonable by comparison, including: one love seat, one large couch, two matching end tables, two 48 cases of Fiji Water (24 cold/24 room temperature), six cans of Coca-Cola, six cans of Red Bull, six bottles of Vitamin Water, one jar of  good quality peanut butter, one jar of good quality grape jelly and one hot tea service for four: hot water kettle, ceramic and disposable cups.

That’s good quality peanut butter, mind you. But it need not be larded with gold.