Pats love is hard to find in Phoenix




It turns out familiarity does breed contempt, at least when it comes to football.

Maybe it’s deflategate or just fatigue from seeing the Patriots play in yet another Super Bowl — this is their eighth — but it’s tough to find folks in Phoenix rooting for Tom Brady’s bunch.

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“I think New England fans haven’t arrived yet because of the storm,” New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg told us over the weekend, taking a break from snuggling new bride Jenny McCarthy.

Wahlberg, for one, blames the NFL for allowing the issue — or non-issue — of deflated footballs to spiral out of control, and he expects the Pats will be angry when they take the field Sunday. “It’s (expletive),” said Wahlberg. “It’s a witch hunt,” said McCarthy, who sang the Pats’ praises on her SiriusXM show, broadcast from the Phoenix Convention Center.

Whatever the reason, Seattle is the fan favorite here. Stroll down Tostitos Party Boulevard and what’s striking, aside from the crass commercialism of this whole affair, is the sea of Seahawks jerseys. Everyone, it seems, is lining up against the Patriots, including the properly inflated Katy Perry, who’ll perform at halftime, and national anthem singer Idina Menzel.










“As a New Yorker, I cannot in good faith root for the Patriots,” said Menzel.

Toothy televangelist Joel Osteen, who was wandering radio row with wife Victoria, said he has faith in Brady, but he’s hoping Seattle wins. Likewise, buxom model Charlotte McKinney, who bares almost everything in a racy Super Bowl ad for Carl’s Jr., said she’s all about the Seahawks. But McKinney also admitted she’s mostly interested in hyping her commercial — “this is my moment!” — and doesn’t care at all about Sunday’s game.

“Is Boston playing?” she said.

Lenny Kravitz, who’ll perform with Perry during halftime, sashayed through the convention center Friday, and briefly talked about the game with Jamie Foxx, the Oscar-winning star of “Ray” who’s been a fixture at this weekend’s parties.

“I want to see Seattle win it two times in a row,” Kravitz told Foxx. “I want to see that happen.” (Yo, Lenny, that’s not so unusual: The Patriots did it it in ’03 and ’04.)

Omar Vega/Invision/Associated Press

Denver Bronco and former Patriot WesWelker arrived at the Madden Bowl XXII party.

The last time the Pats played in the Super Bowl in Arizona, it was uncharacteristically cold. This time it’s been uncharacteristically wet, and that’s put a damper on some Super Bowl parties. (No one wants to walk through puddles in their Jimmy Choos.) But professional athletes will brave a lot to play video games, so Madden Bowl XXII was a big draw for NFL stars not lucky enough to be suiting up Sunday. We’re talking to you, Wes Welker. The party at the Scottsdale nightclub Livewire included a DJ set by Lil Jon, a performance by the ubiquitous Nelly — the rapper seems to be at every party — and a crowd that included Welker, comedian Kevin Hart, and NFL players too numerous to mention.

We had more success finding Patriots fans at Playboy’s rooftop party at the W Scottsdale. There’s no bigger Pats partisan than “Captain America” actor Chris Evans, but the Sudbury-bred movie star bypassed the red carpet and the 24 Playmates serving as a cotton-tailed welcoming committee. Josh Altman, the Newton native who appears on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing,” did stop to chat. He said all the talk about deflated footballs is nonsense.

“We would have beat [Indianapolis] by even more if they were inflated,” said Altman.

Asked what a nice Jewish boy was doing at party hosted by women wearing satin bunny ears, Altman said he got a subscription to Playboy as a bar mitzvah present and he’s been a fan ever since.

“The best present a 13-year-old could ever get,” he said. “It made me want to run home a little faster from Brown Middle School.”

The Pats got an unlikely shout-out from Evan Longoria, who plays for the Red Sox rival Tampa Bay Rays. Longoria, who’s flame-haired fiance Jaime Edmondson is a former Playmate, said he likes Tom Brady’s backstory.

“He’s kind of an underdog who’s now, like, the ultimate overdog,” said Longoria.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Evan Longoria and his fiancee, Jaime Edmondson, Playboy’s Miss January 2010, at the Playboy Party Friday.

The party, which featured a performance at midnight by — you guessed it — Nelly, drew an eclectic mix of NFL stars, tinseltown types (producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay), reality TV retreads (“Real Housewives” Gretchen Rossi), actors (Kellan Lutz), and NASCAR drivers (Denny Hamlin and Michael Waltrip). When guests weren’t standing in long lines for cocktails, some huddled around fire pits swaddled in faux fur blankets.

From there it was off to the Leather and Lace party hosted by Victoria’s Secrets models Behati Prinsloo and Lily Aldridge. (Prinsloo was bound in a tight leather bralet while Aldridge wore a lacy red minidress.) Held at the Bentley Projects Gallery, an appealing warehouse space in a forsaken section of Phoenix, the party featured a performance by Cobra Starship, whose name suggests ’80s hair metal but who in fact play a noisy brand of dance pop.

The celebrity quotient was low, but the guests, swilling free bourbon and ogling women wearing what amounted to floss and heels, seemed happy enough. So much so that several items being auctioned for charity were ignored, including a guitar signed by the members of Def Leppard that received no bids.

We didn’t make it to Bud Light’s “House of Whatever” party, so we didn’t see Nicki Minaj’s performance in a sheer jumpsuit. Nor did we get to the ESPN bash, a lavish affair that featured a performance by Charli XCX and attracted a to-be-expected assortment of athletes and media personalities in addition to “Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul and Mekhi Phifer from “ER.” (There’s a rumor that Rob Gronkowski planned to attend but the Pats party boy couldn’t get a hall pass.)

And those weren’t even the biggest parties of the weekend. Rolling Stone and Maxim were still rolling out their red carpets Saturday night for competing blowouts that promised to be, if not the most entertaining, at least the most expensive parties, with tickets fetching over $1,000 a piece. But as Patriots owner Robert Kraft said this week about the team’s plan to throw a spectacular post-game party, you may never be here again, so why not?

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Gabe Saporta (left) and Victoria Asher with Cobra Starship performed at the Leather and Lace Super party Friday.

Article source: http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2015/01/31/namesparties/o1srRLlQlc2IlsUfSuMaaJ/story.html