A few weeks ago, I had tickets (and eager anticipation) to go to The Echo to see the U.S. debut of Swedish threesome NONONO who were also in town to play their infectious whistle-laden single "Pumpin Blood" on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
And then two days before the show, I decided to forgo NONONO as I said YESYESYES to an invite from Nikki Pesusich, of Coterie Media, to attend the Third Annual Blue Jean Ball for Autism Speaks. I had previously met Nikki at the inaugural Blue Jean Ball while working with famed photographer Rob Shanahan (Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Van Halen, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera). Sarah McLachlan headlined that night with Sinbad as host. It was a grand time.
For this year's event, Dave Grohl, of the Foo Fighters, would headline, with special acoustic performances by Rick Springfield; Oscar and Grammy-winning artist Ryan Bingham; American Idol finalist James Durbin; and The White Buffalo.
Additional celebs on hand would include Diane Kruger (The Bridge), Nikki Reed (Twilight Saga), Paul McDonald (American Idol), Joshua Jackson (Fringe), Holly Robinson Peete (Mike & Molly), Fiona Gubelmann (Parenthood, Wilfred), J.K. Simmons (The Closer), Joelle Carter (Justified), Laura Bell Bundy (Legally Blonde), Ginny Gardner (The Goldbergs, Glee), Edy Ganem (Devious Maids), Joanna Krupa (Real Housewives of Miami), Nicole Lapin (CNN) and Evan Handler (Californication). Runkle!
Presented by The GUESS? Foundation, the event would honor Chuck Saftler, FX Networks' President of Program Strategy and COO, for his dedication to autism awareness and feature hostsMaria Menounos (Extra) and actor Michael Chiklis (The Shield, Vegas, The Commish).
Add to the mix the swanky ambiance of Hollywood hotspot Boulevard3, open bar, roving silver platters of fancy hors d'oeuvres and the ability to wear "blue jeans" (hence "Blue Jean Ball") as formal wear makes this one of the best events of the year. And it's for a tremendous cause.
Highlights from the night include hanging out on the "blue" carpet, blue mood lighting in every crevice, sipping "grapefruit" flavored Magnifico champagne, watching people who had been aggressively sipping champagne swinging wildly over an encased rectangle pond (on a swing secured by vines), contemplating whether to raise the $5000 bid to have lunch with Charlie Sheen, ditto for the bid for the guitar autographed by Red Hot Chili Peppers, a loud rousing sing-along of "Jessie's Girl," and Chuck Saftler's moving speech/video presentation before introducing his teenage son Jackson, who has autism.
And, of course, hearing Dave Grohl perform Foo Fighters solo acoustic was a rare treat (even better than the delicious shot glasses of chessecake that were being served). Since Grohl has been busy with Sound City (documentary, soundtrack, tour), it was the first time he had played Foo Fighters songs in over a year and he admitted to missing doing so.
After spirited storyteller versions of "Times Like These," "My Hero," and "Learn To Fly," he capped off an incredbile evening with "Everlong".
After his set, I said Hello to Dave and told him I saw Nirvana on the In Utero tour and then saw the first Foos tour in '95, with Mike Watt and Eddie Vedder also on the bill. On that tour, Vedder played drums in Hovercraft (the opening band that featured his first wife Beth Liebling on bass) and then played guitar in Watt's band with Grohl on drums. A seminal moment in rock history.
Without missing a beat, Grohl looked me square in the eye and said, "You're old TOO!". True.
As I waited for valet on Sunset Blvd outside of Boulevard, Neil Diamond's words waltzed thru my head...
Money talks But it don't sing and dance And it don't walk And long as I can have you here with me I'd much rather be Forever in Blue Jeans
Reminiscing about the night's events, I immediately surmised that I'd much rather be Forever in Blue Jean Ball.
The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Since its inception, the non-profit organization has committed nearly $200 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. It has established partnerships in more than 40 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more, please visit AutismSpeaks.org.
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences.
1 in 88 children (and 1 in 54 boys) are affected with autism.
ASD is characterized in varying degrees by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors.
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the US.
Autism costs a family an average of $60,000 annually.
There is no medical detection or cure for autism.
Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases