Help Haiti Home
Between parties the day before the Golden Globes telecast, I managed to sandwich in the “Sean Penn & Friends ‘HELP HAITI HOME’ Gala,” which raised an astonishing $6 million to benefit the J/P Haitian Relief Organization.
Presented by Giorgio Armani, and sponsored by NRG Energy, this Jan. 11 affair achieved a higher total take than that of any charity gala I’ve attended in all my years of event coverage in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA.
For one big reason, there were bidding wars in the night’s live auction. At $1.4 million, Coldplay’s Chris Martin delivered the high bid for Banksy’s painting “Balloon for Haiti.” Also coming in at $1.4 million for another artwork, Anderson Cooper beat out Piers Morgan for an original Jeff Koons sculpture made from 67 of Sean Penn’s guns.
Stars filled the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills for the shindig, which included the auction, dinner, reception and musical performances by Asaf Avidan and as a surprise, Bono and all members of U2, together for the first time in four years.
So who looked especially glamorous? Among others: Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Kruger, Chelsea Handler, Pamela Anderson and Chris Hemsworth’s very pregnant wife, Elsa Pataky, wearing a red Giorgio Armani frock large-enough-to-accommodate-her-baby-bump.
Guests could barely turn around without colliding with an A-lister. Almost immediately, I had the pleasure of bestowing one more “brava” on Better Midler, not only for her recent phenomenal performance as super-agent Sue Mengers in the Geffen Playhouse production of “I’ll Eat You Last,” but also for her park beautification programs, courtesy of the New York Restoration Project, which she founded.
Since that encounter, I’ve been looking forward to one day dining at NYRP’s New Leaf Restaurant & Bar in New York’s Fort Tryon Park.
For her part, Midler praised Penn for his dedication, as did Michael Douglas and others in the crowd. Catching up to Sean Penn, just before dinner began, I passed on their words of admiration for his commitment to Haiti.
“We’re giving it a go,” Penn said with modesty.
More in the crowd were CAA’s Bryan Lord, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White, Penn’s daughter Dylan Penn, the artist Banksy, directors Steve McQueen and Oliver Stone, Samantha Ronson, Julia Roberts, Danny Moder, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Emma Thompson, Idris Elba, Goldie Hawn, Paris Hilton, Steve Coogan, Wynona Ryder, Eric Dane, Rebecca Gayheart, Piers Morgan, Soleil Moon Frye, Balthazar Getty and philanthropist Eugene Sadovoy.
Click here to read my story in the Los Angeles Times and to see more pictures, scroll down to the photo gallery below.
Top photo: Charlize Theron and Sean Penn at the Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization)
Third photo: Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky, chic in a red Giorgio Armani party frock big enough to accommodate a baby bump at the Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for J/P Haitian Relief Organization)
Fourth photo: Ellen Olivier, this website’s author, with Chelsea Handler at the Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala (photo, SocietyNewsLA.com)
ALSO IN SOCIETY NEWS LOS ANGELES:
Help Haiti Home
Published Feb. 5, 2014 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA