The event: The Art of Elysium's 8th annual Heaven Gala on Saturday wasn't an "event," organization founder Jennifer Howell told Hollywood A-listers, up-and-comers and other VIPs who attended.
"This is an experience," Howell said, as the group lounged on pairs of beds wearing dappled gray robes supplied by Costume National, while taking in artist Marina Abramovic's idea of paradise on earth -- a state of consciousness where light and dark meet -- inside Hangar 8 at the Santa Monica Airport.
The experience: Samsung passed out noise-canceling headphones at the entry, so that guests could enjoy a "Silent Party" -- at least for the first half-hour, after which they lapsed into their usual cocktail chatter, despite a few friendly admonishments. (Given the night's glamour, the celebrated turnout and an unexpected rainstorm conversations proved hard to resist.)
Inside the hangar, guests viewed four installations, starting with a film, as two people sat unmoving at a table, before performing as a couple in love and a couple separating. Next came a 3D art video depicting human evolution and conflict, looking like the apocalypse.
In one of the night’s special highlights, Costume National’s creative director Ennio Capasa presented a fashion show with models parading out in a special sneak preview of the designer’s pre-fall 2015 collection. As if all that wasn’t enough extravagance for one night,
provided the musical entertainment.
The tribute: Before festivities ended, Howell honored actress
“There’s nothing like the impact of watching the difference that we make in the hospital, watching the difference in a kid’s face,” Heard said. “To be able to see what’s really important in life, to be able to have that moment when you free yourself of all that other stuff in our lives and see what really matters… it’s the most important gift that anyone’s ever given to me.”
The crowd: Among others on hand were James Franco, Elijah Wood, Usher,
Tickets for the gala, attended by 400 guests, sold for $5,000 each, $7,500 for two or $25,000 for 10. Although final results have yet to be tabulated, organizers estimated proceeds from ticket sales and the night’s additional pledges at well over $1 million.