Allison Weiss Brady’s The Life of a Social Scribe
What a RUSH!
To say that I felt a rush when I co-chaired the first-ever Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Miami Beach gala would be an understatement. The spectacular Miami event, held at The Bath Club, was a papparazzi’s dream with a host of Grammy and VMA winners, actors and film directors, fashion models, sports stars and power players. The event raised $575,000 to benefit arts programs for kids, including many in Miami-Dade.
The festivities actually began the night before at the VIP pre-party held on the rooftop solarium of the Delano Hotel, courtesy of the Morgans Hotel Group. The night sky was gorgeous and an unobtrusive breeze kept the conditions just right for the 75 or so people in attendance. Russell Simmons, ever the charming host, greeted his guests as they arrived.
It was a very quiet, mellow, and intimate evening with people lounging about and eating chocolate covered strawberries. John Legend and his girlfriend, model Christine Teigen, were utterly fabulous as they relaxed on an oversized lounge. Fred Kleisner, CEO of the Morgans Hotel Group, came by and was chatting with SocialMiami’s Aaron Glickman about the renovations in progress at the Mondrian in Los Angeles.
Then came the main event!
The Bath Club was decorated as a glamorous, exotic Thai marketplace with DJ Irie spinning some funky beats. Golden Buddhas were adorned with yellow and green flower leis; pink shantung silk cascaded over the Hennessy bar; sushi boats were everywhere; and elegant bronze elephants, their trunks raised in the traditional “good luck” pose, saluted guests.
Danny and Russell Simmons hosted the event and honored John Legend, Wyclef Jean, Suze Orman, and R. Donahue Peebles. Also in attendance were Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Creed lead singer and solo artist Scott Stapp with wife Jaclyn, Paulina Rubio, Pauly Shore, Katrina Peebles, Rush Philanthropic board member David Rosenberg, guest auctioneer Primetime’s John Quinones, SocialMiami’s founder Melanie Cohen, Rudy & Lydia Prio-Touzet, Tom and Sherri Ireland, Jeff and Yolanda Berkowitz, Erin Newberg, Beth Tasca, J.R. Ridinger, and co-chairs Tracy Wilson Mourning, Loren Ridinger, and yours truly with my husband Chip, whose company Energy & Fuel Consultants was one of the evening’s sponsors.
Silver sponsors included Hennessy, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., and Russell Simmons’ Argyle Culture, a fabulous new clothing line which recently debuted at Miami’s Funkshion fashion week. R. Donahue & Katrina Peebles were platinum sponsors. The flowers were donated by Passion Growers, and the online media sponsor was SocialMiami.com, bringing you the inside scoop on lots of fun, juicy details!
I have been involved with Rush Philanthropic for several years, and am honored to serve as a Board Member. My husband and I jumped at the chance to co-chair the Miami gala when Russell expressed the need to raise funds in Miami to support youth arts programs since they are the first things cut when budgets are slashed. The presentation during the dinner echoed the importance of art being vital for the complete education of kids. It was particularly moving to hear an account of Wyclef Jean, during a protest in New York, laying down in the middle of the street, stopping traffic and ultimately getting arrested to make his point about cutting out arts programs. He said he came from dirt and turned it into diamonds – a true inspiration to all.
Of course the cause was combined with real star power, and the press was out in full force to catch a glimpse of the red carpet celebrity parade. John Legend arrived looking super sharp with girlfriend Christine on his arm. He was wearing Valentino with Ferragamo shoes, all purchased a few days earlier at Bal Harbour Shops along with a few trinkets for Christine. By the way, John’s super smart – a UPENN grad – super stylish, bright, sings like an angel, has earned a few Grammys – the complete package, to say the least.
Russell Simmons walked the red carpet a few times to take photos with event chairs and sponsors. Scott Stapp arrived wearing a hip Dolce and Gabanna ensemble and his wife Jaclyn looked stunning in a purple duchess satin Zac Posen dress. Tangie Murray, executive director of Rush Philanthropic, was super chic in a tangerine dress by Angel Sanchez.
Pauly Shore arrived with The Forge’s Shareef Malnik and movie director Brett Ratner. Dwyane Wade looked great as always – casual and cool. Russell’s girlfriend Porshla Coleman was wearing Bebe. She’s beautiful, tall and very elegant.
In the courtyard I caught up with Suze Orman, who was decked out in a gold Michael Kors boat-neck top (already checked it out, ladies – available at Saks). She was rubbing the belly of one of the Buddhas for good luck. I guess everyone needs luck, even famous financial experts.
My dress was vintage Chanel, the same dress I wore to the 2004 Grammy Awards. Turns out Latin superstar Paulina Rubio and I were both decked out in baubles by Vhernier for Samuel Getz jewelers. I was wearing a white gold necklace with black and white diamonds. We both had on the same ring, but hers was much bigger. Guess that’s what happens when you’re nominated for a Grammy – bigger rocks.
A treasure trove of fabulous live and silent auction items awaited the highest bidders. The live auction featured two seats at the 2008 Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which sold for $25K. One of the biggest sellers was a Rush Kids auction item: $1,000 granted a child the opportunity to participate in an intensive Saturday morning visual arts program.
As guests left, gift bags were handed out. How fabulous! The bag itself is perfect for the beach – a big, roomy tote made from a woven mesh material. Goodies inside included Baby Phat Goddess body lotion and make-up bag, Isotonix’s antioxidant drink, and Trish McEvoy’s blackberry and vanilla musk hand lotion. Smells so delicious you almost want to taste it!
All together, my experience as co-chair for this year’s Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Miami Beach gala was wonderful. I had the opportunity to meet and work with some fascinating people who understand how to use their celebrity and influence to help those who are less fortunate. I’m proud to have been a part of it.
Photos by Seth Browarnik/Red Eye Productions and David Heischrek
Allison Weiss Brady handles marketing for celebrities and non-profits. She is active in many organizations in South Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania including Big Brothers Big Sister, The Community Coalition, Voices Against Brain Cancer, Gene Spotlight, The Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation, and one of her family’s foundations Say Yes to Education, which recently partnered with Quincy Jones. Weiss Brady and her husband Chip Brady are members of Art Basel’s Junior Host Committee and Weiss Brady is a member of the Vizcaya Preservation Luncheon Founding Committee. She on the Board of Advisors at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and she’s the only female on the university’s Football Board. Weiss Brady was also the sole recipient of the University of Pennsylvania’s 2008 Young Alumni of the Year Award, and serves on the Overseers board for the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.