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Celebs Show Commitment to APLA

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: AIDS Project Los Angeles’ eighth annual Commitment to Life fund-raiser Thursday night was the kind of event that could really only take place in Hollywood. Longtime Elton John collaborator (and Cicada co-owner) Bernie Taupin produced a three-hour spectacular with nearly two dozen stars, all performing gratis. Their efforts generated $3.5 million in ticket sales at the Universal Amphitheatre. (The net for APLA is still being tallied.) The honorees who got the entertainers out were Tom Hanks, Elton John and CAA president Ron Meyer.

Who Was There: While the star power was onstage, the seats were populated by a convergence of movie and music business novas, including a virtual roll call from CAA, as well as Barry Diller, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sherry Lansing, Doug Cramer, Al Teller, Alain Levy, Warren Beatty (sans Annette), Dolly Parton and Sandy Gallin, “Dumb and Dumber” producer Brad Krevoy, Steve Tisch and APLA board chair Dana Miller.

Most Emotional Moment: Paul Michael Glaser, widower of longtime AIDS activist and fund-raiser Elizabeth Glaser, made a trip to the podium to accept a $10,000 grant for his late wife’s Pediatric AIDS Foundation, endowed by Tisch. “Though Elizabeth is no longer here, we can still feel her,” Glaser said, promising to continue her “awesome journey with her, with each other, together.”

You Should Know: “I’m so glad to be here. I just can’t let a year go by without hosting something--and I had my choice. So I chose this,” said Whoopi Goldberg, without saying the O-word.

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Looking for Love: “Did you like it?” Little Richard asked the audience between songs. “You know, we not getting paid. Let me hear you. I’m 62, let me hear you. Don’t I still look good?”

Quoted: “I slept with half of America and came out HIV-negative. I was a lucky, lucky person,” said John in his acceptance speech as a way of explaining his commitment to people with HIV and AIDS.

Most Timely Ad-Book Sponsor: O.J. Simpson defense attorney Robert Shapiro, whose full-page message read, “I join in your commitment to life,” followed by his scrawl.

Fashion Statements: The velvet brigade, including Kelly Meyer in a floor-length black coat, Terence Trent D’Arby’s black bell-bottom suit, Whoopi Goldberg’s black cloak, Joni Mitchell’s flowy blue pants, Melissa Etheridge’s multicolored jacket and Elton John’s silver, Reynolds Wrap-esque suit.

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