Last week, in the Beverly Hills home of Kevin Huvane (Managing Partner, Creative Artists Agency), I attended a reception to raise awareness for STORIES: The AIDS Monument.  There, guests including Sharon Stone, restaurateur Bruce Bozzi (EVP, Palm Restaurant Group), producer Adam Shankman (Hairspray, Step Up), provocateur Kathy Griffin, producer Bryan Rabin (Freak Show), power-publicists Simon Halls and Stephen Huvane (co-Founders, Slate PR), and Brian Graden (aka the guy who developed South Park), joined a number of the folks from the Foundation for the AIDS Monument (FAM), including Mark Itkin (Director), Bobby Heller (Director), Bruce Brown (Director), and Mark Lehman (Chair), and listened to Executive Director, Michael Ferrera speak about the Monument’s trio of aims: to memorialize, to honor, and to inform.

After Ferrera had spoken, followed by a few words from Lehman, our host took the mic.  “How many hundreds of millions have you been responsible for raising, Sharon?” asked Huvane, by way of introducing the radiant Golden Globe and Emmy-winner; who, having assumed the mantle of the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor, has become a tireless champion in the fight against AIDS.  Upon hearing the glamazon modestly reply “not that I’m counting, but I’ve heard that it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of three quarters of a billion dollars,” Huvane quipped “Leave it to Sharon Stone to change that M to a B!”

Stone then spoke passionately about the disease; about raising her three sons in the world, today; about the continuing need for education; and about the necessity of eradicating the stigma associated with HIV-/AIDS.  Of course, all of this, she deftly presented with regards to the Monument.

As STORIES: The AIDS Monument transitions from its planning stages, to its realization – executing the vision of Urban Arts ProjectsDan Towbin, on land generously donated by the City of West Hollywood, in the heart of the $86 million renovation of West Hollywood Park (south of the intersection of Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards, across from the Pacific Design Center) – things are getting down to what Gladys Knight refers to as “the real nitty-gritty.”

Here’s the skinny…  To date, $3.1 million of $4.5 million has been raised ($180,000 of which came from the event at Chez Huvane, highlighted by a pair of $25,000 pledges – the first from Bruce Bozzi and Bryan Lourde, and the second from Stephen Huvane and Erik Hyman, on behalf of the Herb Ritts Foundation).  Once that figure reaches $4 million, the City of West Hollywood will donate the remaining $500,000, and will assume “guardianship” of the Monument site; with the Foundation continuing as an entity for legacy, education, and ongoing digital memorials.

For those who want to get involved, be on the lookout for details about PHOTO 17, the photo-auction benefiting STORIES: The AIDS Monument; that will be taking place at MILK Studios, this October.

STORIES: The AIDS Monument
West Hollywood Park
Click HERE for info

Get into it!