Elton Hosts Massive, Tented Feast

The Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar night party filled a tent at the Pacific Design Center with a capacity crowd and a vast menu.

March 7, 2006, 12:00 AM EST

The Pacific Design Center got a massive tent and lots of security for the Elton John AIDS Foundation annual Academy Awards viewing- and after-party.

Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar party Pacific Design Center Sunday, 03.05.06, 4 PM onward
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A massive tent, a half dozen checkpoints, and whirring choppers overhead marked the spot of the 14th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing- and after-party at the Pacific Design Center, hosted by John and David Furnish along with sponsors Audi, Chopard, and VH1. (This was the second year that Chopard has sponsored and the first for Audi and VH1.)

Working with foundation director Scott Campbell and event producer Virginia Fout of V Productions, event designer J. Ben Bourgeois decorated the design center using a palette of periwinkle and chocolate brown, and Classic Tent Renals set up a circular tent over its outdoor plaza. The five-course viewing dinner began at 4 PM, with flat-screen TVs set up throughout the space, and creamy white roses and yellow tulips decking brown and white striped tabletops. As guests arrived, they filled out ballots (designed by Kira Evans Design) with their best guesses as to who would win awards in each category, and the two best guessers each took home an Elton John series Chopard watch. The foundation auctioned two new Audi Q7's after dinner, raising $300,000.

The menu, by chef Renato Piccolotto of Cipriani with chef Wayne Elias of Crumble Catering and Marks Restaurant, included mozzarella and tomato salad, risotto, sautéed filet of beef with red wine and béarnaise sauces, creamy potato cake and braised carrots, salmon filet with a spring vegetables timbale, and Clos du Bois wines.

For the after-party, the dinner crowd swelled from 520 to include an additional 800-plus guests, some of whom arrived from the awards, for a high-energy after-party. (Shortly after 10 PM, the fire marshal stepped in to stagger guests' entry and control the crowd.) A vast spread of buffet-style and passed offerings included salmon and avocado tartare, pan-seared jumbo shrimp, bruschetta, polenta spoons, and seared lamb. Perrier Jouët champagne flowed at clear Lucite bars, lit from within to cast a blue glow. As about 100 guests bottlenecked outside the venue (we saw Access Hollywood anchor Billy Bush give up waiting and leave), John and R&B star John Legend performed a short set together inside. (The sound was loud enough to carry to the line outside, and clear down the block to guests waiting in line at the Us Weekly and Rolling Stone party.)

With its steady stream of big-name guests—including Prince, Lindsay Lohan, George Lucas, Mary J. Blige, Donatella Versace, Ludacris, a couple of Hilton sisters, and scores more—the party held onto its ongoing status as one of Oscar night's biggest. This year's event raised nearly $3 million, double the amount of last year's blowout.

Alesandra Dubin

Posted 03.07.06

Photos: Nadine Froger Photography

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