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
Children Uniting Nations' PR.com Company Profile
View more pictures from the Children Uniting Nations 2005 Oscar Party