The gala, which took place on Sunday, February 26, at West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles, was co-sponsored by Chopard, Neuro, and Wells Fargo; American Airlines serves as the Foundation’s official sponsoring airline. Attendees included Academy Award winning Best Actor Jean Dujardin, Steven Tyler, Gwen Stefani with her band No Doubt, Quincy Jones, Heidi Klum, Katy Perry, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Aziz Ansari, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Grohl, Smokey Robinson, Matthew Morrison, Chace Crawford, Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev, Adam Lambert, Marisa Miller, Alessandra Ambrosio, Whoopi Goldberg, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Jessica Lowndes, Mischa Barton, Billie Jean King, Brooklyn Decker, Chris Colfer, Colton Haynes, Darren Criss, Dianna Argon and Sebastian Stan, Dita Von Teese, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Karolina Kurkova, Kyle Maclachlan, Liam Hemsworth, Lorraine Bracco, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, Mehcad Brooks, Mena Suvari, Michelle Rodriguez, Miley Cyrus, Natasha Henstridge, Natasha Bedingfield, Paul Stanley, Paz Vega, Petra Nemcova, Ryan Kwanten, Joel McHale, Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel, Paul Wesley, Torrey DeVitto, Michael B. Jordan, Rebecca De Costa, Sandra Lee, Kat Graham, Sarah Hyland, Sky Ferreira, Anika Noni Rose, Gina Carano, Kelly Osbourne and Zhang Ziyi.
Guests arrived at the Academy Awards Viewing Party for cocktails followed by a gala dinner and viewing of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. This year, Chef Cat Cora, the first and only female Iron Chef on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” prepared an exquisite 5-course meal for guests that included sesame encrusted lamb meatballs with harissa yogurt, sauteed sea bass with lemon couscous and piquillo pepper saffron sauce, and chocolate budino with whipped cream and fresh berries.
The dinner was followed by a lively auction. Auction items included a tennis lesson with 10 time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal that sold for $190,000 twice; an in-home cooking class for up to ten people with Chef Cat Cora which sold for $100,000 to Steve Tisch, owner of the NFL champion New York Giants; the opportunity to join Elton John and David Furnish at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party that sold for $230,000 and a surprise auction lot – a bite from “Vampire Diaries” stars Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerholder, set visit to the show and lunch with Elton John and David Furnish went for $80,000. Following the auction, Foster the People took the stage to perform several songs including their hits “Pumped Up Kicks”, “Helena Beat” and “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)” much to the crowd’s delight.
The HIV/AIDS virus was first observed by physicians in American patients 30 years ago and while tremendous strides have been made in our understanding of this terrible disease, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and many challenges to overcome. Twenty years ago, Sir Elton John pledged to the Hollywood community that he would hold this event every year until a cure for HIV/AIDS had been found. Today, the Hollywood community is still standing with Sir Elton John, showing their support for the Foundation and this worthy cause.
Follow the Elton John AIDS Foundation on Facebook. And on Twitter @ejaforg.