Allegedly, Kelly Killoren Bensimon can make you hot – and make you spend money. “Everyone should feel guilty if you don’t leave here without spending money,” she and her dapper co-host Boris Kodjoe said to a chic and tropically-clad audience gathered at last night’s fifth annual Edeyo Gives Hope Ball, at Lower East Side’s DL lounge. Read More
“I’d be devastated if my son grows up to be a hetero. As a parent, you just envision a certain life for your child. Just imagine the fabulous things he’s going to miss out on! When I think my son might not ever know the joys of having a quarter share on Fire Island, and walking through Judy Garland Memorial Park on the way to the Meat Rack!” Debra Messing said holding back melodramatic tears to a roaring audience last night at Trevor Live, an evening of music and comedy to benefit the Trevor Project.
“Every parent hopes for their child to not be a heterosexual! Think of all the things they’ll miss out on…skinless chicken breasts and brown rice,” Eric McCormick added sarcastically. This was the first time the duo had taken the stage together since their hit TV show Will & Grace went off the air in 2006.
The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 and has since become the leading national organization providing intervention and suicide prevention service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Every year the foundation honors someone who has helped make progress for the LGBTQ community, and this year’s honoree was Susan Sarandon, an open advocate for increasing visibility and understanding of the LGBTQ community. Read More
“I don’t know how we became friends, but we did,” began Whoopi Goldberg of her dear comrade and Law & Order star S. Epatha Merkerson.
Last night, Ms. Goldberg presented Ms. Merkerson with a Help and Hope Award at CancerCare’s annual spring gala for her considerable efforts as an advocate of the fight against cancer.
“I don’t have anyone like her in my life,” said Ms. Goldberg to the audience filling Mandarin Oriental’s ballroom. “She has never made me feel bad for the things I do.”
“Smoking!” chided Ms. Merkerson to the dismay of the undoubtedly anti-smoking, anti-cancer philanthropists.
“Yes—the legal stuff,” Ms. Goldberg confessed.
“Cigarettes!” Ms. Merkerson hissed for all to hear. Everyone chuckled. Read More
If you throw chocolate milk martinis, real housewives and world-renowned athletes into the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom, what do you get? Besides having quite a story to tell friends, you would find yourself amidst the sixth annual, “Heroes, Heart and Hope” Gala, sponsored by the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Wednesday night’s festivities brought together amputee athletes of all ages to raise money for prosthetic running legs and other special equipment.
Sarah Reinertsen, the first female leg amputee to complete an Ironman, said her prosthetic running leg cost $36,000 and was not covered by insurance. One of the most popular guests of the evening, Ms. Reinertsen unveiled her new “Got Chocolate Milk?” ad at the fundraiser. “I’ve actually been drinking chocolate milk for years,” she said. “A triathlete boyfriend of mine—well, ex-boyfriend—used chocolate milk in his recovery.” Read More
In the grand reception room of a storied and opulent New York City nautical club, the Florence, Italy-based watchmaker Officine Panerai kicked off its North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge season with an event to honor the non-profit Sailing Heals and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The summer-long racing series, which began on May 23, is the largest international circuit of regate for classic yachts.
Sailing Heals, a philanthropic organization, backed by Panerai, creates special sailing experiences for patients by taking them on sails with professional yachtsmen and women. “At the very crux of it, we offer a day of sailing for cancer patients and their caretakers,” said Mylissa Tsai, a Sailing Heals board member and cancer survivor who is regrettably once again a cancer patient. Read More
“I hate to see anyone suffering,” Michelle Harper told The Observer yesterday evening at the Wall Street Journal’s inaugural Donor of the Day gala. Collectively, the assembled crowd shared Ms. Harper’s sentiment, though each chose to express their benevolence in idiosyncratic and often personalized ways.
Ms. Harper, the sides of her petite head freshly buzzed for the occasion, explained that she promotes arts education, partly as function of her own upbringing. “I was always blessed to grow up around art,” she said, her bright lips pursed in thought (or pose, perhaps).
Jeff Koons, the evening’s host, explained his personal history with the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. “In 1994 my son was abducted, a parental abduction, and through that experience I ended up always just kind of trusting that everything would work out. That the judiciary would return my son home. It never happened,” he shared. Mr. Koons was, of course, referring to the knock-down, drag-out court battle between his former wife, adult film star La Cicciolina, who fled to Italy with their son.
“I just realized that I couldn’t help my son but I wanted to try to help other children, and so I got involved,” said Mr. Koons, speaking softly as his heavily pregnant wife, Justine, looked on. Mr. Koons admitted that personal tragedies often color our charitable inclinations. “Some of that comes from what happens to you in your life and your own personal events,” he said. “But across the board people care about their families and they care about children… I think almost everybody in some manner probably tries to help the rights of children.” Read More
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. Read More
Donating to Solving Kids’ Cancer Makes You Feel Like You Have “the Biggest Dick in the Room,” According to Seth Herzog
Without trying to sound terribly ungenteel, we’re calling this week Cancer Week. Tasteless as it may sound, The Observer has attended at least half a dozen cancer-related benefits or events in a span of five days. It just goes to show that the fight against cancer still very much endures for millions.
On Wednesday evening, Solving Kids’ Cancer hosted its third annual spring gala at Gotham Hall. A few things about the charity make it unique. Foremost is that it was created by two fathers who met in a pediatric cancer center and formed a unique and supportive bond for each other. Tragically, both families lost a child, but their experience and friendship influenced John London and Scott Kennedy to establish Solving Kids’ Cancer. Another interesting aspect of the gala is that the live auction offers no luxury escape to Cabo. Instead, heavyweights plunk down big loads of cash for no swag at all—how truly genuine. (Well, we lied; donors do get fairytale butterfly wands reminiscent of a LaGuardia student’s art project.) Last year’s fundraiser on Park Avenue brought in over $400,000 alone. Read More
There are some nights when the most chipper party reporter can feel themselves lagging. It may be because they’re burnt-out–too many long nights that have turned into longer mornings– or they may just feel like going home and vegging out on the couch to a TiVo’d Mad Men episode instead of going on the red carpet to try to snag Jon Hamm into giving them some quotes.
Last night was not one of those times. Sitting at a table with journalists from Rolling Stone, the Associated Press, Fox News, and The New York Times last night at the High Line Stages on West 15th Street, someone whispered in awe of the power of journalism, “Did you know the tables for this benefit cost $75,000?” We did not, though after spending some time on the charity circuit, we could believe it. Read More
Brawny firefighters in quite tight T-shirts gathered on the Upper West Side at the Firehouse Tavern and neighboring restaurant Nonna last Saturday to celebrate the topless pictures of themselves in the 2013 Firefighters of New York Calendar, which benefits the Jacobi Medical Center Burn Unit.
Photographer Battman (real name Alan Batt), who has been doing the calendar for years, said some of the firefighters aren’t always comfortable traipsing around New York City and posing so scantily clad, but some even seem to enjoy it quite a bit: “We had a six-foot ladder in Times Square and one of the guys on top and a million women were screaming.” Read More