Kennedy auction offers celebrity interaction

Proceeds benefit family's human-rights center

NEW YORK -- For those hard-to-please people on your holiday gift list this year, consider some unusual presents: the chance to hang out with Bill O'Reilly, sing with Aretha Franklin or tour the Capitol with Nancy Pelosi.

Those are just some of the items on auction this month to benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights. Proceeds will fund the center's efforts domestically and globally.

Among other items is musical advice from Clive Davis, a private pottery lesson with Marcia Gay Harden and a nonspeaking role in the next Farrelly brothers movie. There's also a personal tour of a floor of the NBC network at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, led by Luke Russert, son of the late "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert.

The center was founded by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late New York senator and U.S. attorney general. She was 8 when her father was assassinated in 1968 while running for president.

On the 40th anniversary of his death, Robert F. Kennedy is still a presence in the state he represented as a senator from 1965-68. The online auction follows the renaming of New York's Triborough Bridge as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.

Kerry Kennedy said the center's recent human-rights victories include helping migrant workers win wage increases from fast-food employers, working with victims of Hurricane Katrina so they can return home and introducing human-rights education to 40,000 students in Italy's public schools.

Kerry Kennedy will be there for two of the auctioned experiences: dinner and a movie with Alec Baldwin and dinner with Martin Sheen.

She also hopes to go along for the afternoon of sailing with her brother Max off Hyannis Port, Mass., which includes a tour of the home Robert and Ethel Kennedy shared. Minimum bid: $9,250.

The Web-based company organizing the auction, Charitybuzz.com, is not charging premiums on the auction prices. The auction runs until next month, with individual lots closing at different dates this month.

Other lots include a signed guitar from Carlos Santana, a chance to meet the Who's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey (and take away a signed guitar), seeing Andrea Bocelli perform in Tuscany and a dinner with James Earl Jones, Ruby Dee and Harry Belafonte.

One of the more unusual offers is from Kerry Kennedy's brother Robert, an environmental lawyer. He's donating an afternoon of falconing near his home in Bedford, N.Y.

Perhaps topping that is the egg of another bird, an ostrich, signed by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The minimum bid is $650.
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