Last night, The Observer rushed over to the West Side in order to make the cocktail hour of what we assumed would be another long-winded charity dinner. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) MSNBC’s Luke Russert, we were told, would be headlining the Gala for Good honoring leaders of Malawi alongside Victoria’s Secret angel Behati Prinsloo.
“The story writes itself!” we thought to ourselves giddily. Though on entering the dark and gloomy building whose address corresponded to our hastily written notes, we were in for a rough surprise.
Though the doorman didn’t raise an eyebrow when he lead us into the club, he must have noticed us flailing around blindly while trying to hit on the open bar or a tray of canapés–life preservers in a sea of darkness.
“Is this your first time?” the doorman asked gently.
“Yes! Can you tell me where the event is?” we asked.
“It depends. Are you here to dance?”
Although we were planning to cut the rug that evening, the man’s voice conveyed that he wasn’t talking about the kind of half-drunk Beyonce moves that older philanthropists tended to break out during a charity function. He was saying dance, not dance.
“This is a gentleman’s club,” our new friend told us.
“Oh.” We stood our ground. “Are you sure?” We didn’t know why Goods for Good would have their benefit at a strip…er…gentleman’s club, but we weren’t going to judge. It was being co-chaired by a Victoria’s Secret model, after all.
After being given the boot, we texted our friend for the right location (we were only five blocks and one avenue off!) and ran down the West Side Highway, hobbling in our heels.
When we finally got to the venue, a large, warehouse art space known as Center 548, we had a moment to catch our breath as the cavernous elevator lurched upwards.
We scanned the crowd for a recognizable face, and found Vogue photographer Pablo Frisk, who helpfully greeted us near the coat check.
“Let’s go talk to Luke Russert!” we exclaimed, dragging our photobug friend by the hand.
It didn’t take long to find Mr. Russert, a giant friendly bear of a man. He was nervously prepping for his speech, and declined the half glass of vodka masquerading as a shot that was offered to him.
“Maybe after,” he laughed.
He was joined by Goods for Good founder Melissa Kushner, who gave a short, moving statement before showing an even shorter film about the group’s work in Malawi. The night’s proceeds from the auction (M.C.’d by the always spunky C.K. Swett) all went to “support sustainable programs designed to improve the lives of over 65,000 orphans” in the region.
For that reason, we didn’t feel that bad after buying up way too many raffle tickets for the evening’s door prize: a shiny motor scooter that, after a few shots, seemed like a must-have. Some items available at the silent auction on the other side of the room included tickets to Late Night and a dinner and wine tasting at Eataly, as well as front row tickets for various sports team. In total, the Gala for Good raised $435,000 for its cause.
On our way out, we ran into model Coco and Scene editor Peter Davis, though it wasn’t until we were back out in the brisk spring night that we realized that Ms. Prinsloo had been a no-show that evening. Maybe she had gotten confused about the address as well.
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