Patrick Dempsey (and a few of his friends) join forces at the Stuart House Benefit


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Arriving at the John Varvatos 8th Annual Stuart House Benefit on Sunday, Zoe Saldana said she had to find a “Build-A-Bear” for her niece immediately. Inside the children’s tent, Jillian and Patrick Dempsey’s daughter Talula decorated sneakers for her younger brothers while Shepard Fairey’s children, Vivienne and Madeline, created artworks and frosted cookies.

In addition to abundant children’s activities, the event offered a concert by k.d. lang and Siss Boom Bang with Franky Perez opening, and more than 1,500 partygoers passed through the tents beside the John Varvatos West Hollywood boutique.


Varvatos said he launched the annual event in 2002 because, ‘I didn’t want to just open a store. I wanted to get involved in the community for the long term.’ He said he chose Stuart House as a beneficiary after researching the program of the Rape Treatment Center at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, which specifically treats young victims of sexual abuse.

“It upsets you physically to hear these children’s stories,” said Patrick Dempsey, the event’s host along with his wife, Jillian. “It’s so important to raise awareness, to make sure children know there is a place they can turn. And with all the cutbacks we’re seeing across the board, fundraisers like this are needed more than ever.”

Other guests included David Schwimmer, Billy Idol, LL Cool J, Omar Epps, Melina Kanakaredes, Jayma Mays of ‘Glee,’ J.K. Simmons of ‘The Closer,’ KaDee Strickland of ‘Private Practice,’ and Jesse Williams, Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd and Daniel Sunjata of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

With tickets selling for $200 each, organizers said proceeds topped $500,000.

-- Ellen Olivier