The Scene: The latest sound in the fight against AIDS was the clacking of billiard balls as celebrities and AIDS activists huddled over the green felt at Hollywood Billiards on Tuesday night. E! Rack-N-Roll, a celebrity pool tournament, was hosted by E! Entertainment Television to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. The event matched up TV stars with anyone who purchased a VIP ticket in a 32-team elimination tournament with a $1,200 first prize.
Who Was There: Event hosts Lou Diamond Phillips and Patrick Muldoon held court (although Muldoon was sidelined with a sprained thumb on his shooting hand) along with APLA board chairman Jeff Jenest. Also spotted wielding cues (or just hanging out) were “90210’s” Brian Austin Green, erstwhile heartthrob Donny Osmond and numerous faces familiar to fans of “Baywatch,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dawson’s Creek” and other young adult TV fare.
Chow and Entertainment: The upstairs VIP section offered an open bar and free buffets with fajitas and sushi hosted by Planet Hollywood. Downstairs, among the proles, it was pay as you go (hey, this was a benefit). There was also live music by the Tories.
Why We’re All Here: “APLA depends on fund-raising for about 75% of our budget. That’s $9 million,” Jenest said. “So we’re very dependent on the good works of people like E! that put on events and activities so we can benefit. I’m a guy who’s had HIV for 18 years, and I’m in pretty good shape, all because of drug therapy. So we have to make sure that people have maximum access.”
Quoted: “Always happy to support APLA,” said Phillips, who looked every bit the shark, carrying his own breakdown cue and case. “Of course, pool is one of my favorite pastimes of all times. For as much as I’ve been playing, I should be better, but I played one game and I got knocked out.”
Money Matters: Tickets were $250 for VIP tickets and $40 for regular entry. About $80,000 was raised for APLA.