John Painting, Foo Fighter Drums Auctioned

CENTURY CITY, Calif. — Where did the Grammy folks turn to help raise money to build Encore Hall, a 150-room seniors home for musicians? Not to the superstar musicians but to their fans, by way of QVC and eBay.

For the first time, MusiCares, the Grammy charity wing founded in 1989, auctioned collectibles to people not in attendance at its annual black-tie charity gala, held Monday at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Through auction Web site EBay, a Foo Fighters drum set was up for grabs, as well as an original Elton John watercolor painting, an autographed Britney Spears CD, and autographed Ray Charles sunglasses, among other items. Bids are being accepted until 5 p.m. PST today.

Michael McKean, of Spinal Tap fame, interviewed stars on QVC yesterday, where other items were for sale. He told Peter Frampton that his own Spinal wig, also on the block, was modeled after Frampton's famous '70s 'do.

Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas figured this was "the only way I'd get on QVC. It was cool," he said.

Those at the gala had an opportunity to check out a pale green leather outfit that Sisqo wore in concert (no thongs, however) and some black pants that Peter Gabriel performed in.

The offerings included harmonicas autographed by John Popper, Bruce Willis, Kim Wilson, and James Harmon. The bidding for the signed Dave Matthews guitar was competitive — though guitars signed by Devo, B.B King, Neil Diamond, Melissa Etheridge, and Eddie Van Halen made less of a sensation.

Two different posters for The Graduate signed by Paul Simon were up for grabs, as well as handwritten lyrics by Diane Warren ("How Do I Live"), Annie Lennox (Sweet Dreams), and Pete Townshend (Tommy).

Why were high-heels worn by former country star K.T. Oslin valued at $500 while Dwight Yoakam's autographed cowboy boots, with the leather peeling on the toes, were listed at $400? Value, apparently, is in the eye of the collector.

Among the priciest items for auction were a baby grand piano ($17,500), a Ford Escape XLS ($20,150), a gold and diamond bracelet ($12,500), and a five-night trip to Rio ($14,438).

MusiCares officials hoped to raise $500,000 from the auction. They plan to break ground in Hollywood in three months for Encore Hall, for all those oldies but goodies who need a place to live with dignity.

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