Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Fund Raiser...

The fund raiser at 88th and 5th Avenue was ten times more interesting than I had expected. First of all the setting... the upper east side - you get there and experience pre-deja vu - you know beforehand what the lobby is like, the rich wood paneled elevator, the doorman, the walk into the apartment directly from the elevator, the spacious apartment that feels not quite fully lived in (but maybe all houses feel like that when Company is coming over), the caterer, the blond hostess (black cocktail dress, pearls) and the host (dark suit with orange Hermes tie), their 8 and 10 year old spitting image kids, girl (in black dress) boy (tie and blue blazer), the art work on the walls, the furniture.
(There was a medical latex glove on display as part of the event (medical related project) and the girl, to Pop's chagrin, blew up the glove (like a balloon) during one of the speeches. It was impressive.
What was unexpected was how diverse and interesting the guests were. The Executive Director of the charity who spoke eloquently and with tears in her eyes about the agony of witnessing a mother and child die during delivery - and how preventable such deaths are with a blanket, some common medicine, a syringe... The Scottish former investment banker who retired to travel around the world and follow his favorite rugby team. The real estate agent who just sold an apartment for $12,250,000 (his largest sale ever). The former mountain climber who speaks Spanish and has a masters in public health and is going to Mexico in January to run a maternal health care clinic the organization is starting there (based on their clinic in Tibet); the documentary filmmaker who is also going to Mexico in January to make a documentary film about the project; and the a CNN producer who showed her short film about the project that was broadcast last year. There were different sets of good friends there - it was an intimate vibe mixed with new business development.
The Executive Director spoke for a few minutes introducing herself and the CNN film was shown and then going in a circle around the room everyone introduced themselves and said why they were there. Then the former Chairman gave an inspired speech about having been to Tibet with the project and he saw Tibetan children cry and those children would have died if not for this organization and each of those tears is a soul and once you have cried a soul's tears you are changed forever - - the speech was borderline nuts but awesome - the guy was channeling Baba Ram Dass. It was quite a beautiful speech actually.
The guests were all given a red string (the Buddhist / Cabala /Madonna type) and had the person next to them tie it around their wrists.
It is a worthy cause.

It was chilly walking down Fifth Avenue and then over to my car. Lexington Avenue was not very crowded. Winter is coming.

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