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RSVP : A Birthday Bash for a Bluesy Guy

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: Braving the pelting rain, umbrella-toting VIPs turned out en masse at the House of Blues on Tuesday night for “Belushi Blues Birthday,” a celebration commemorating what would have been John Belushi’s 46th birthday. The three-part event consisted of a reception, dinner and concert featuring a reconstructed version of the Blues Brothers with Jim Belushi taking over brother John’s half.

The Raison d’Etre: “Forrest Gump” director Robert Zemeckis and House of Blues co-owner Dan Aykroyd put together the bash not only to remember the late actor/comedian who died a few blocks away in 1982, but also to raise money and consciousness for the Artists Rights Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that strives to educate the public as well as seek legislation to preserve film art and artist’s rights in the face of TV adaptations and colorization. “I’m concerned about making sure the original artist’s intention and what he created for future generations exists somewhere in the world,” Zemeckis explained.

Who Was There: Performing for the crowd were the new Blues Brothers with backup band Sacred Heart, Clint Black, Buddy Miles, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and actor John Goodman, dressed in Blues Brothers suit and shades. Faces in the audience included Kevin Costner (whose disheveled mop of hair seemed to have danced with too many wolves), Sean Penn, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Lorne Michaels, Lily Tomlin, Little Richard, Martin Short and Leonard Nimoy. Standing out among the generally subdued celebs was Goldie Hawn, who wriggled in the aisle with “Gump” producer Steve Starkey to the band’s rousing cover version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey, Joe.”

Dress Mode: Due either to the weather or the theme, most people made less-than-formal sartorial choices. The dominant motif was boots, leather and denim a la Ralph Lauren.

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Chow: Dinner guests had free rein over the house menu, a soulful array of ample and hearty Cajun-inflected dishes.

Sour Note: While the band played with feeling, the House of Blues staff behaved without. Those who were jostled out of what the Blues police deemed their proper place risked being manhandled back into it.

Quoted: “John Belushi was a great, funny man,” said Aykroyd. “He would approve of what’s going on here today. Especially the use of his brother Jimmy in the show as part of the band. John was a businessman and it was like, ‘the show must go on no matter what.’ ”

Money Matters: A thousand people bought tickets at prices ranging from $50 to $500.

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