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A Benefit with Heart

February 26, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

A charismatic M.C., ABC-7's Roz Abrams showed auction items to guests during Bailey House's live auction.

Bailey House's Open Your Heart auction and party Metropolitan Pavilion Thursday, 02.22.01, 6:30 onward
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“Love is blind,” the waiters' T-shirts said. But the folks who planned Bailey House's Open Your Heart benefit clearly aren't. Despite a sudden snowstorm outside, the event managed to generate a warm, festive feel in the vast Metropolitan Pavilion.

The event's success shouldn't come as a surprise, considering the people involved in planning it. Event star Mark Musters of Musters & Company is on the benefit's organizing committee, along with other style-conscious people like Stephen Cirona, the creative director of Tommy Hilfiger, and Tim Allis, a senior editor at In Style magazine. Musters and Joan Steinberg of Match Catering also spent many hours helping Bailey House's event team, which includes the organization's executive director, Regina Quattrochi, and Renee Colombo, Mike Lynch and Kara Forcey. (Both companies also donated their services, as did many of the other vendors involved.)

The benefit included silent and live auctions designed to raise money for Bailey House's work to provide housing and services for homeless people with AIDS. ABC-7's Roz Abrams and Sam Champion were scheduled to serve as the auction's M.C.s, but Champion got held at the station due to the snow. Fortunately Abrams proved to have more than enough personality for the job, as she walked through the crowd, showing off the auction items and pleading with people to bid. “You're saving lives, cutie, you're saving lives,” she called out to one male bidder. Unfortunately, the auctioneer, George McNeely from Christie's, didn't quite match her charm. Comments like “You don't want to look cheap in front of a thousand people” were both tiring and inappropriate for some of the guests who were donating thousands of dollars to the auction. Auction items included a film screening hosted by Isaac Mizrahi with catering by Sonnier & Castle, and a Thierry Mugler dress worn by Jennifer Lopez--which the excited buyer promptly put on.

For the area in front of the stage set up for the auction, Musters covered tables from Party Rental with red tableclothes, and used white chairs and small centerpieces of red roses for a simple, elegant look that matched the Valentine-related theme. In other areas of the venue, subtle lighting (by Musters and PLS Staging) managed to bring an intimate feel to the immense space, while still allowing guests to look over the hundreds of auction items on display. One of the most popular areas of the floor: A section with products from Loveletters Loungewear, the Los Angeles clothing company that made the “Love is blind” shirts worn by the waiters. Loveletters also sold the shirts to guests at the event and donated the proceeds to Bailey House.

--Chad Kaydo

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