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November 13, 2018

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Latin Grammy presenters, performers awash in gifts for tonight’s show


John Katsilometes

What’s in the gift bag, displayed outside the gift bag, at the Latin Grammys gift lounge.

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Lash Fary, assembling some products.

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Hey! It's a 10!

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As seen on TV! This product can really change your hair ... and your life.

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The bags of Gina Alexander Inc.

Lash Fary. The name conjures images of a Disney character, one who might pluck a single eyelash and spin it into a mound of woven gold.

Lash Fary does that, actually, in a manner of speaking. At the very least, he’s the man behind the magic at Distinctive Assets, which arranges for the burgeoning gift baskets (or, more like gift luggage cases) for presenters and performers at major awards broadcasts. Tonight, it’s the 11th Annual Latin Grammy Awards from Mandalay Bay Evens Center, to be broadcast on Univision tonight from 8 to 11.

“This is a thank you gift because the artists who appear do not get paid,” Fary says during a walk-through of the Latin Grammy gift lounge. The bags are left for the “talent” in suites, and this year’s Latin Grammy is presented in split-level Load Runner wheeled duffel bags. Included are gifts from (leaning heavily on the official news release listing the companies) Chocolatines by Sweet Endeavours, Dr. Christine Rodgers Enpointe Skin Solutions, Live In Fitness Enterprise, Eclipse Candle Co., The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, Pureology SuperSmooth, LaVigne Organic Skincare, O.P.I. Nail Lacquer, Triunfo, CureCeuticals, Hasbro games, Elbow Friend, Lisa Ashley Beauty, Baja Traveler and M Spa Beverly Hills.

Summoning my gameshow host voice: “This is a prize package worth … $11,000!”

“We wanted the value to closely match that number, 11, because this is the 11th year for the Latin Grammys show,” says Lash, who is distinctively bedecked in a cherry red sweater, checked pants and leather-like sandals. “It’s a way for them to receive something in return and also a way for vendors to make contact with artists.”

That’s vital to many, if not all, of the companies contributing to the Latin Grammy gifting process. One face-to-face meeting can make a company. Four years ago in the gift lounge, Gina Alexander, founder of Gina Alexander Inc., met up with a woman who found her customized handbags and billfolds quite appealing.

The woman was Janie Hendrix, sister of the late Jimi Hendrix, who today arranges for licensing deals for the Hendrix estate.

Now, Alexander manufactures a line of Jimi Hendrix-endorsed handbags. She’s also in business with Faith Hill, Kelly Ripa, The Black Eyed Peas, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lopez, Ashanti, Alicia Keys, Usher, Slash, Joss Stone, Elizabeth Taylor and Queen Latifah, among others.

“Here, the artists come to you, and it can make a big difference in the success of your company,” Alexander says.

The gift lounge itself is free for the picking for artists, who can simply walk in and pluck a sample of whatever they fancy. This year, the selection includes products from Stride gum, Hallmark Sinceramente gift cars (equipped with audio!), Riveras Tostonera culinary packages, Starbucks VIA ready Brew Flavored Coffee, It’s a 10 Haircare, Maleku Jewelry, Cha-Cha ChiC designer T-shirts, Golfjunkie apparel (worn by such stars as Joey Fatone and Boys II Men), The Burn Machine, Posh Life Bling crystal-embellished cell phone covers, EFX Performance energy-enhancing wristbands/necklaces, Gina Alexander customized photo handbags, the InStyler rotating hairstyler, LapFlap protective laptop mats, Dearfoams slippers and the Daisy Fuentes Collection.

Obviously, there is no theme to the gifts. Though this gift process is in conjunction with a Latin-inspired awards show, the gifts could be for any audience.

“Here, people are not attached to any demographic,” Fary says. “They have international tastes.”

The spoil of riches is really Christmas early and seems the ideal opportunity for such stars as Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez to perform some re-gifting artistry.

That’s fine with Fary.

“We’re actually big fans of re-gifting,” he says. “Some of these artists, probably most of them, can’t just go shopping without being distracted by fans. So, we say, go for it.”

‘Le Reve’ to appear

Announced today is an appearance during the Latin Grammys telecast by performers from “Le Reve.” A total of 32 performers will join Anthony, Camila and Juan Luis Guerra for what is described as a “surreal, elaborate montage of scenes” from the production. Opening the show will be the less surreal and not-so-elaborate but far louder and boisterous guys from Recycled Percussion.

Kelly is second to nun

Longtime friend of the column, and friend of the guy writing the column, Kelly Clinton has recovered from a broken toe to finally join the cast of “Nunsense” at Las Vegas Hilton. She joined the cast Sunday. I feel she should go off the script and leap into her great Elvis impression. Or, her Bill Fayne impression. Maybe her Wayne Newton impression … but anyway, Kelly is worth seeing in any costume, including that of a nun.

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