In its 26th iteration, the May 10 Race to Erase MS at the Beverly Hilton began with a massive silent auction. Amid the boxing gloves autographed by Mike Tyson; five star hotel rooms on exotic Third World beaches and enough yoga classes to employ half the holy men in India were the usual opportunities to bid on a celebrity encounter. But there’s a new twist on the process. A website called Celebrity Buzz has someone attend; they peruse the offerings, and clue their readers in on what’s available. This does wonders for bumping up the prices. While the in-person guests weren’t especially keen on lunch with Lisa Rinna, somewhere on the Internet a fan bid $8,117. For a 25 minute interview with Larry King? $10,700. And golf at the Bel-Air Country Club with Rick Hilton (and this stretches the definition of celebrity) went for $3,225. All these bids added to the evening’s final take of $1.8 million.
The Race is the creation of Nancy Davis, who said what’s currently gratifying to her is the research progress on the central nervous system disease. “What’s so cool is last year there were 15 drugs that help stop the progression of MS,” said Davis. “Now there’re 17. It can take 10 years to get these drugs approved. That’s how much research is going on.”
When guests left the silent auction area for the Hilton’s ballroom, the evening began immediately with an alice + olivia fashion show that had Tommy Hilfiger up cheering (He later bid $25,000 to record music with Nile Rodgers at London’s Abbey Road Studios.) “The good thing about these clothes is they’re like $500,” said Nancy’s mother Barbara Davis. “They beat out Chanel. They’re better, I swear.”
With The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki acting as emcee, there were speeches by Nancy Davis; the honoring of the Hausman Family Foundation for their philanthropic work; and Selma Blair for her “bravery and strength” in dealing with MS. The actress gave the evening its most emotional moment when she lifted her 8 year-old son and said, “You’re the reason I have to stay healthy.”
The evening’s entertainment included a dance troupe of Westside teenage girls in sequin jackets performing under the name Peace and Love. They wowed the crowd by continuing to dance even though, half-way through their highly energized act, the music cutoff. David Foster and Jack Osbourne introduced Aloe Blacc who’s strong, three song set ended with Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” The evening wrapped with Flo Rida, backed by what sounded like a heavy metal band, rattling the chandeliers with his 45 minute performance.
Among those on hand were LaToya Jackson, Vanna White, Byron Allen, Tia Carrere, Tommy Chong, Frances Fisher, Jimmy Jam, Kris Jenner, Avril Lavigne, Diane Warren and Dave Winfield.