The Life Rolls On Foundation underscored wheelchair accessibility in every aspect of its annual Night by the Ocean benefit—from a red carpet ramp to an accessible stage set.
Although scheduled host Sal Masakela was a no-show for spinal cord injury support organization Life Rolls On Foundation's fifth annual Night by the Ocean benefit last night, the event indeed rolled on—and changed its format from past years. “Our goal is to make this the non-chicken-dinner charity event. We wanted to stay away from anything typical,” said Jason Wanderer of Precision Event Group, which was tapped to produce the evening by the foundation's executive director and C.E.O., Kris S. Nakamura.
Moving away from past locations like the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Casa del Mar, organizers held the benefit in the ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center in the hopes of drawing a younger crowd—and it worked. The group also set up two separate red carpets: one a traditional red carpet for V.I.P.s, and the second an access ramp for all guests. Photographers lined the second red carpet, where guests posed for pictures along a media wall; those snaps are now available to them for free online.
Guests made their way into a warmly lit cocktail reception, where a 14-foot circular bar and a Ketel One ice luge served martinis. A DJ spun current hits as guests bid on silent auction items, and a second DJ began spinning in the dining room around 7:00 to draw guests to dinner.
Coffee-table picture books surrounded by flowers served as centerpieces. (In exchange for a donation, guests could take the books home.) A custom-built, 24-foot round stage with a fabric scrim backdrop and a curving wheelchair ramp served as the backdrop for the night’s presentation. The event netted about $340,000 for the foundation.
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