Even celebrity guests like
The pop star, in sparkly strapless pink with a flowing chiffon scarf, the same number she hit the Oscars red carpet wearing, plunked down first between Donatella
The party started with a cocktail hour that saw "Arrow" actor
Director John Waters poked his head into a few conversations while
D.L. Hughley played it close to the entry for a while, taking pictures with friends left and right. Notorious "Hell's Kitchen" chef
After sipping Champagne and nibbling bites in one of two rooms set up for cocktails — one indoors and glowing with magenta lights, the other in a clear tent open to the natural light in newly cleared skies — guests entered the main tent to dine and view. They were greeted with tables set formally for 950, surrounded by a myriad of television screens, some of them the size of garage doors. Near the head table, Elton and Furnish's son Zachary squirmed around in a tiny tux decorated with flashy sequin "Zs" on the back at the cuffs before being spirited away for the late action.
Before dinner started, Elton introduced a new addition to the evening, though he handed off the description of the how-to details, protesting that he was "hopeless at this": Guests for the first time were encouraged to pledge donations to EJAF via text, and their messages and pledge amounts appeared on the giant screens during commercial breaks.
Names like Klum, Kardashian and Haynes were among those whose names flashed on the screens followed by four-and five-figure pledge amounts, with the supermodel and "Will and Grace" star
And all the while the Academy Awards played on almost in the background, until
EJAF Executive Director Scott Campbell noted that the event, which started on a small scale 22 years ago before growing to its current massive status — on Sunday the party tents took over West Hollywood Park — was still attended by a loyal "core group" that had supported the cause over the years.
That celebrities had been drawn into the mix has been a bonus. "I think that says something about the event," Campbell noted.
While some stars like the three Kardashians and
Sharon Osbourne, red hair newly brightened, made the scene with husband Ozzy and daughter Kelly, even tossing in a bid on one of the big-ticket auction items. The six-item auction, which included things like tickets to Sunday's Vanity Fair party (winners were immediately whisked away) and a five-night stay at Tyler's Maui beach house, raised about a half-million bucks in only a few minutes.
A piano played by Elton at the event, signed by him and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, brought in $220,000 all on its own. And Harris helped auction off tickets to his upcoming Broadway performance of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," his promises of attendant naughty behavior increasing incrementally as the price of the package climbed.
In total, the event brought in about $5.1 million.
After the auction Elton introduced singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, who brought the audience to its feet with a rocking 45-minute set that included his hit
"I didn't think anyone would be interested tonight," a pleased Sheeran said mid-set as he thanked the audience. He described his rehearsal jamming with Elton on "Candle" as something that "came out pretty cool."
It was after his set that even more folks came streaming in for the after-party, which moved back into the cocktail areas and featured yet another round of hors d'oeuvres, free-flowing drinks and a booming dance beat.
And about that Oscar ballot from the beginning of the evening? One of two winners, the lady taking home a gender-appropriate Chopard watch as her prize, was none other than one Patty Hearst.