Friday, September 26, 2008
By Chris Tribbey | Posted: September 23, 2008
For such a sobering cause, the people running the Entertainment AIDS Alliance sure know how to make fundraising a festive affair.
The annual Wine & Wisdom and Visionary Honors events are two of my favorite of the year, where the industry shows it has heart (EAA has raised roughly $4 million for various AIDS foundations) and offers one-of-a-kind networking opportunities.
The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills was host to this year’s Visionary event, where Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Target were honored for their support of the organization. WDSHE North American GM Lori MacPherson and Target’s Darrell Tucker, VP of merchandise, entertainment group, accepted the honors.
Last year, at my first Visionary dinner, I knew few in this industry, and when introduced, I didn’t really have a first name. It was usually “Oh, you’re Ralph Tribbey’s kid.” There are two replies to this: if you’re on good terms with him, “Yes, I am.” If not, “No, we disowned each other years ago.”
This year, it’s like the closing minutes of that old children’s series “Romper Room,” though instead of a magic mirror, I’ve got my camera: I can see Leslie McClure and Matt Lasorsa. There’s Steve Nickerson and Sandy Friedman. Gaby Vizcaino and Maria LaMagra. Tom Chen and a newlywed Fritz Friedman. Rich Marty and I debate the holiday SRPs for Blu-ray Disc players. Brenda Ciccone and I talk about marketing for Kung Fu Panda. Paula Tait reminds me we need to do dinner. In addition to mingling with familiar people, I also get to meet those I only know by name or email.
Networking over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres is the highlight of my event, but the auctions are a close second. Last year Steve Feldstein outbid me on the one thing I bid on. I’m determined to not let this happen again. I get into a minor bidding war with EAA Secretary Vicki Greenleaf over two tickets to Santana, a really neat trick on her part, considering she’s at home with the flu.
My name’s called for winning two auctions; everyone starts to suspect a fix might be in when it comes time for the evening’s raffle. My father (or that old guy with the same last name, depending on who’s reading) wins a DreamWorks gift basket. The very next draw comes up with my lucky number, for a Panasonic Blu-ray player. My magazine coworkers and the EAA crew look at me with disbelief. I have a tough time winning coin flips, much less two auctions and a raffle in one night.
Memo to the EAA: You really didn’t have to bribe Ralph and I … we would have written nice things about you anyway.
Editor in chief Stephanie Prange and senior reporter Chris Tribbey at EAA's Wine & Wisdom.