“Those were some pretty big high heels to fill,” Sharon Stone said onstage at Milk Studios Thursday night, referring to when she was asked to fill in for Dame Elizabeth Taylor at a major amFAR fundraising benefit. Since Taylor’s death, Stone seems to have become the number one celebrity face of raising money to combat AIDS all over the world — and now she did it for her hometown of West Hollywood.
Photo15 auction has been raising money to help create a major AIDS Monument in the new park on San Vicente in West Hollywood, opposite the Pacific Design Center, which will be constructed in 2017. With the help of Stone — and the works of major photographers like Herb Ritts, Julius Shulman, Ellen Von Unwerth, William Wegman, Greg Gorman, Catherine Opie and more — the evening raised $300,000. Other celebs in attendance were Eric McCormack, Billy Zane, Sony’s Andrew Caraco and photographer Amanda Demme, who shot the recent iconic New York magazine cover of Bill Cosby‘s alleged sexual assault victims.
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The biggest selling photo that was auctioned off was, in fact, of Dame Elizabeth Taylor herself, shot by her friend, photographer Firooz Zahedi, in Iran (who was also present). The image went for $27,000 alone. “It’s a great cause,” said Demme, taking in the photos of Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and other icons. “I have to comb the floor to see what I want to buy.” There were plenty of checkbooks out, as the attending crowd was one that clearly admires and collects photography. The host committee included HBO president Michael Lombardo, costume designer Arianne Phillips, stylist Petra Flannery and producer Hilary Shor.
Event and nightlife promoter Bryan Rabin — who has worked on many fashion events in L.A. and hosts the weekly club Giorgio — helped organize the event, acquiring about 40 of the 80 works for sale while in the midst of finalizing a movie deal for the film adaption of Freak Show, the book by James St. James.