My Night at The Children Uniting Nations Oscar Party 2005
By Allison Kugel, Senior Editor - March 07, 2005
Los Angeles is full of over the top parties on Oscar
Night. Red carpets, press lines, photographers, celebrities running loose
in the streets (God help us!) and spotlights blaze and swirl in the night
sky. I have lived in Los Angeles on and off for several years, but this
year was my first year experiencing all of the Oscar Night fanfare firsthand.
I attended the 6th Annual Children Uniting Nations Oscar
Party at The Factory in Beverly Hills. Guests enjoyed live music performances
by Wyclef Jean (formerly of The Fugees), Chaka Kahn, American Idol Ruben
Studdard and special guest Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis. Paula Abdul emceed
the night's event along with Salt n' Peppa's Spinderella acting as resident
Disc Jockey. Spinderella repeatedly called out the organization's website
to be sure that the crowd became familiar with it. She also went on to
say, "We are happy to have all the celebrities here tonight and all
the regular people." It was painfully obvious which category I was
in. Actually, I think the pecking order goes something like this: celebrity,
regular person, reporter. Oh well. :)
I felt truly privileged to be among the guests who got
to dance to the live music of these legendary artists. Call me a commoner,
but to me, the party kind of felt like a Bar Mitzvah out of the Twilight
Zone. People were dressed in party clothes, nibbling finger foods, raiding
the open bar and making general small talk, as I've seen at many an affair
in my hometown of Long Island, NY. Only, the faces were famous, the bands
were icons, and Paula Abdul was Master of Ceremonies. She was doing all
she could to tame and "shush" the raucous crowd as best as her
diminutive frame would allow. She exclaimed, "You're in for a real
treat, so please be quiet." After several rounds of "shushing"
she finally said, "I am not going to speak anymore until everybody's
quiet." She reminded me of an elementary school principal conducting
an assembly in the school auditorium. In the crowd, I spotted Stephen
Dorff (sans Pamela Anderson), Esai Morales, Cris Judd, Kenneth "Babyface"
Edmonds, Dean Cain, Chris Tucker, Wesley Snipes, celebrity stylist Phillip
Bloch and Paula Abdul's fellow American Idol judge, Randy Jackson . There
were many other celebrities on the guest list, but I could only do so
many laps around the room, people! Although my party pumps were pinching
my feet, I danced the night away with reckless abandon, figuring, "how
many times will I dance to the live tunes of A-list recording artists!"
I laid off the alcohol and stuck to lots of bottled water so I could stay
alert and be the professional journalist that I am ;-)
I always say that when your shoes really, really start to
hurt, it means that you are going to turn into a pumpkin and it's time
to hightail it home! While waiting for the valet to bring my car around,
I got a warm hug from Cris Judd who was waiting for his car right beside
me. He is the ultimate gentleman, and as he said, "this event is
for the kids."
There was a great deal of humanity at this event, as proceeds
go to developing and implementing mentoring programs for foster children
of all ages. Children Uniting Nations has the largest and most far-reaching
mentoring program for Los Angeles foster children. "CUN" has
made tremendous strides in encouraging legislation to improve foster care
and adoption laws, introducing legislation to forgive student loans in
exchange for mentoring, and expanding mentoring training. This year, they
will reach even more children with their annual Day of the Child events
in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and Israel. The results speak
for themselves. CUN's mentoring program has reduced teen drug use and
pregnancy, improved self-esteem and has significantly increased the number
of foster children who complete high school and college.
It was truly touching to speak with Ms. Donis O'Neil, who
was being honored at the event as Mentor of the Year, for Children Uniting
Nations. She was attending the evening's festivities with a 15 year old
girl named Labonna, whom O'Neil is adopting after being Labonna's mentor.
"The madness ends for these young people, when the mentoring begins"
states an emphatic O'Neil.
As a thank you for their financial and moral support
of Children Uniting Nations, celebrities did not walk away empty handed.
VIP gift bags included: gifts by Jivago Perfume, InkJet, Paul Mitchell,
SanDisk, Patron, Curve, Nuvo Kitchen Accessories, Bling it on, Charlie
Lapson Leather, Studio 318 Accessories, Diamatations, Chambord, Perona
Farms and more.
For more information on Children Uniting Nations, please
Nations' PR.com Company Profile