Concern Foundation hosted their 43rd Annual Block Party. This year the theme was “Kingdom of Concern: An Evening of Feasting, Revelry and Dance. The food and entertainment event had 4,000 guests with a goal to exceed last year’s $2 million raised to fund research in attendance and focused on immunology based methods to treat cancer.
It was a hot and balmy afternoon into evening in Los Angeles, but just perfect once the sun went down. A night under the stars, there was plenty of things to keep you occupied. Food, libation, entertainment and plenty of Renaissance costumed revelry, just enough fantasticness to make for a very memorable evening.
About the Charity:
CONCERN is an appropriate acronym (CONquer canCER Now) for one of Los Angeles’s best-known and most beloved charities. Since its inception in 1968, CONCERN Foundation, which is dedicated to raising and granting funds to support cancer research worldwide, has broken local ground in many ways: pioneering support of cancer research (specifically in funding young scientists); using the force of celebrity to raise funds; encouraging restaurants and then caterers to share center stage with celebrities to raise money; and pioneering the “block party” fundraiser concept, using the cachet of glamorous Rodeo Drive as a setting. This non-profit organization’s fundraising milestones also chronicle a rich era in the entertainment-oriented social history of Los Angeles.
In the organization’s first two years, the original 15 couples raised $18,000 among just their friends. By 1973, CONCERN Foundation had involved A-list celebrities in its fundraising events. Jack Benny hosted An Evening at the Music Center with Andy Williams, Sonny & Cher and Liza Minnelli. The next year Frank Sinatra joined Williams, Arte Johnson and Jack Lemmon to entertain 900 guests at the first unofficial block party held in the gardens of the Al Hart estate in Bel Air, with lunch served by Chasen’s, the landmark restaurant and L.A. institution that became the event’s food purveyor.
In 1975 the event was moved to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend to accommodate the clamor for tickets. That first year the entertainers were Liza Minnelli, Shecky Green, Lily Tomlin, and Roger Miller and a “real” block party had begun. In 1977, the Concern Foundation added a premiere screening (New York New York, at the Wilshire Theater) to the entertainment faire. Thanks to Pierre Cossette, a longtime friend and sponsor of CONCERN, the roster of Block Party performers and auctioneers through the years reads like a Who’s Who of entertainment: Anthony Newley, Steve Allen, Harry James (he played in front of The Daisy, the legendary discotheque), the Lennon Sisters, Connie Stevens, Rich Little, Dick Shawn, Norm Cosby, Minnie Riperton, Glen Campbell, the Manhattan Transfer, radio talk-show host Michael Jackson (as celebrity auctioneer), John Raitt, Les Brown and his Band of Renown, Henry Mancini, Eric Estrada, Leiber & Stoller, Hal Linden, Natalie Cole, Monty Hall and more.
In 1979, other restaurants and caterers began to garner fame from the event. Milton Williams, then L.A. caterer to-the-stars, persuaded Moveable Feast, Josephine, Mr. Chow, Rócoco and The Saloon to join the festivities. Caterers and restaurants that subsequently joined included Randy Fuhrman’s Creative Catering, Parties Plus, Miss Grace Lemon Cake Co, Kate Mantilini, Scott McKay of Chasen’s Chili, Chin Chin, Michael’s, 72 Market Street, West Beach Café, Scandia, Max au Triangle (Joachim Splichal’s first local restaurant) and Trumps. Many of the original Rodeo Dr. participants remain as signature restaurants at the block party including The Grill on the Alley, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs and Factor’s Famous Delicatessen.
In 1996, the Block Party moved to Paramount Studios when even the full length of Rodeo Drive could not accommodate the crowd (plus, event expenses could be lowered, something of critical importance to CONCERN). The event was also changed to an evening event and was now being held on the second Saturday of July. After 9/11, when private events were barred from movie studios, the event moved to the Petersen Automotive Museum for three years until the studio opened again for outside events.
On Saturday July 8, 2017, Concern Foundation for cancer research produce and present the 43rd Annual Block Party, Kingdom of Concern an evening of feasting, revelry and dance on the back lot of Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. The event will be led by event chair Lexy Carroll and a team of volunteers and designed once again by John Ferdenzi of Town and Country Event Rentals. The event is expected to the attended by 4,000 guests with a goal to exceed last year’s $2 million dollars raised for cancer research.
The back lot streets were filled with over 75 food and beverage vendors under the direction of Nancy Eisenstadt, Megan Mulcahy and Whitney Carroll including notable classics such as Vibrato Grill Jazz, Ocean Prime, The Grill on the Alley, Fogo de Chao, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Urban Oven, The Palm and Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs just to name a few. Entertainment will include performances on multiple stages by the Tom Nolan Band, D’ City Sound featuring DJ Dwayne. The evening Master of Ceremonies will be KNX1070 News radio’s Frank Mottek. A/V Masters donated all of the audio and visual components that truly enhance the event and the entire presentation throughout the evening.
The highlight of the evening was the silent and live auction under the direction of this year’s auction chairs Lynne Fox, Wendi Nogradi, Courtney Teller & Madeline Rose. Live and silent auction items and packages include one-of-a-kind opportunities, concert and event tickets, restaurants, staycations, golf packages and so many other wonderful items donated by our friends throughout the community. Last year the silent and live auctions raised over $97,000!
Concern presented the Spirit of Concern Humanitarians Awards to Kelly Stone Singer & Bruce Singer and Eden Alpert. The night featured dancing, interactive entertainment and activities including casino-style games, Brian Kramer Digital photography studio, Island Ink airbrush tattoos and salon and spa services. For the 13th year Concern will help celebrate The Best of LA 2017® on Los Angeles magazine’s street which will feature lounges, photo booths, food stations, DJ dancing, Peerless Coffee and California wineries.
Starting from a simple idea back in the early 70’s and watching it become a reality with thousands of moving parts is the one thing that sets Concern’s signature Block Party apart from most other organizations in this city. It takes a tremendous team comprised of three generations of volunteers all working together each year and this year’s Block Party is on course to be one of our most successful fundraising events yet.
The Block Party is the organization’s largest fundraiser and this year’s theme is “Kingdom of Concern; An Evening of Feasting, Revelry and Dance.” The food and entertainment focused event is expected to attract 4,000 guests with a goal to exceed last year’s $2 million raised to fund research focused on immunology based methods to treat cancer.
Each year, the Block Party honors individuals who are making significant impacts in our community. This year’s Spirit of Concern Humanitarians Award recipients are KELLY STONE, BRUCE SINGER and EDEN ALPERT.
Kelly Stone was born in Pennsylvania but moved to LA in the early 80’s to continue her work as a nurse. Six years later she ends up having 5 trauma surgeries and was in and out of wheel chairs for 4 years. After her downfall, she realized the most important thing to have in life is hope. She started getting involved in the homeless community and later in 1993 with the help of her sister and Sharon Stone; they founded a nonprofit organization called Plant Hope. Planet Hope provides job fairs, housing, summer camps for homeless, disabled and abused families.
Bruce Singer was born in Bronx New York and attended Long Island University and Harvard University for International Law and Foreign Service. After getting his law degree from Whitter College of Law he served as a law clerk for Criminal/Superior Courts in LA. He had many successful businesses but he really got not helping the less fortunate when he met Kelly. Together they have accomplished bigger projects to benefit the sick and homeless.
Eden Alpert has been a part of the Concern foundation since the beginning. Her and her daughter have actively participated in many fundraising events for the cause. She believes that being involved in this cause will make a big difference in the community.
“Concern Foundation is proud to honor these exceptional people for their passion, commitment to philanthropy and involvement in the community,” says Derek Alpert, president of Concern Foundation. “They truly exemplify what Concern Foundation represents to the cancer community, locally and around the world. We recognize the most inspiring people in our community at our Block Party and we provide funding to only the best cancer research scientists that are making a difference in conquering cancer.”
Here are all of the vendors:
Feasting, Libations and Grogs:
1212 Santa Monica, Akasha, AR Cucina, Bar Hayama, Button Mash, Café del Rey, California Sushi Academy, Casablanca Restaurant & Catering Service, Clausen Oysters, LLC of Coos Bay, OR Cornucopia Caterers presents Chef Dennis, Timashpolsky, El Floridita Cuban Supper Club, Factor’s Famous Deli, Farm Fresh To You, Fogo de Chao, Giacomino Drago Group of Restaurants, Hoola Nutrition, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Miracle Noodle, Morton’s Beverly Hills, Ocean Prime Beverly Hills, Prufrock Pizzeria, Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, Savore Cuisine, Someone’s in the Kitchen, Souk Shawarma, STK Los Angeles, Stonefire Grill, Tavern, The Flats, The Grill on the Alley, The Hideout, The Independence, The Urban Oven, Trejo’s Tacos, Upper Crust Pizzeria, and Vibrato Grill & Jazz.
Libations and Grogs:
Adam Carolla’s Mangria, Asahi Beer U.S.A., buzzbox premium cocktails, Coca Cola Products, Copa d’Oro, Diablo Pops, Don Q, Duvel, Fireman’s Brew, J. Malcolm Riddle, ‘Your Personal Wine Consultant’, Mama’s Boy Infusions, Pasquini Espresso Co., Peerles Coffee & Tea, Reed’s Ginger Brews, Suja, The Love Song Bar, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Viticoltori Ca’ Di Frara Oltrepo Pavese, and Weaver’s Coffee & Tea.
Sweets and Treats:
Audrey’s Cookies, Bertha Mae’s Brownie Co., BUZZBAR Alcohol Infused Frozen Treats for Adults, Choctál Single-Origin Ice Cream, Dandy Don’s Home Made Ice Cream, DeLuscious Cookies & Milk, Gluten Free Goddess, Just Jan’s, La Provence Patisserie & Cafe, Mychal’s Howl at the Moon Café, Rita’s Italian Ice of Santa Clarita Valley, SuperCool Creamery, and The Fry Girl.
Spa Services Coordinated by Karyn Laitis.
I just love this great party; Concern and company pulls out all of the stops. There is so much delicious food and drinks, and it’s truly a night of merriment. I just can’t wait until next year!!
2017 Annual Concern Block Party
Paramount Studios Back Lot
5555 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
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