Having earned a reputation over the past four decades as being one of the best parties in Los Angeles, this year's 41st annual Beastly Ball held June 18 at the Los Angeles Zoo once again delivered supporters an incredible evening of entertainment, food and fun.
The Beastly Ball, which each year raises more than $1 million for the zoo, gives safari-attired guests the opportunity to enjoy entertainment and an eclectic range of taste treats from area restaurants while strolling through the zoo and observing animal feedings, as well as walk-abouts, during which where they can interact with zookeepers and small animals.
This year's ball, which highlighted the facility's new Elephants of Asia exhibit, saw the inaugural presentation of the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award, which was bestowed upon former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who serves as a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. (GLAZA).
The award, which recognizes those who have excelled in establishing meaningful and lasting programs that contribute to the welfare of the world's natural and civic environment, was established this past year after the 2010 death of GLAZA Chairman Tom Mankiewicz.
Presented by GLAZA President Connie Morgan and actress Stefanie Powers, Slash said he was honored to accept the recognition that was being given in memory of a man who meant so much to him. "I really adored Tom Mankiewicz," said Slash. "I miss him very much, and that aspect is very special and resonates deeply. Additionally, I profoundly appreciate the implications of the award itself. It's a fantastic honor."
The evening, emceed by radio and television personality Ben Mankiewicz and actress Holly Robinson Peete, saw many local dignitaries and longtime zoo supporters offer their congratulations to the rocker. Among the notables in attendance were actress and GLAZA Chairwoman Betty White, Los Angeles Councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Tom LaBonge, Slash's wife, Perla Ferrar, actor Patrick Wayne and his wife, Misha, NBC LA weatherman Fritz Coleman, who conducted the event's live auction, and Los Angeles Zoo Director John Lewis, who lauded Slash as a great example of the zoo's mission to nurture wildlife and enrich the human experience.
"Slash is a champion for wildlife and conservation and has introduced our mission, his passion, to millions of fans," Lewis added.
Among the Burbank, Glendale and San Fernando Valley zoo supporters in attendance were Walter Moore, Annet Peairs, Joan and John McCarthy, Max Andrews, Ruth Graner, Sharon Springer, Carolyne Lacy, Julian R. Schwab, Mardi and Sarah Rustam, Michael and Nancy Harahan, Gary and Linda Kaplan and Shane and Leslie Brott.
The funds raised at this year's Beastly Ball will assist GLAZA's continued dedication to assist the zoo in plant and animal species conservation, capital projects, education and community outreach programs.