Cirque du Soirée

Two Nights of Revelry for TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art

Billy Fong has the First Look, and Max Trowbridge scripts the main event. Photography Bruno, Kevin Tachman, George Fiala.  |  Photos by Bruno, Kevin Tachman, George Fiala
December 05, 2013
Event Date:
October 26, 2013

Okay, I’ve never seen any of the Cirque du Soleil incarnations. I guess I just don’t spend enough time in Las Vegas (and probably never will, since Tom Ford has opened up a store in our ‘hood). So, when I received the invite for this year’s TWO x TWO First Look (the festive evening that precedes the actual gala), I was pleasantly surprised with the circus theme. Who better than the brilliantly creative Todd Fiscus to be ringmaster? Since my dearest gal pal, Christen Wilson, was chairing the iconic event, I thought I would pull up to Rachofsky House to see her in a Dior tux with a top hat (perhaps a whip as well to tame the lions and tigers likely in attendance). Wilson does rock a hat exceptionally well.

I called my dearest girlfriend, Dana Garner, and asked her to get a hall pass and drive down from Oklahoma City to be my well-appointed escort. We rarely get to see each other over the holidays, so we decided to make First Look our version of New Year’s Eve. I’ve embraced the notion that we can create our own calendars that fit our busy schedules.

To quote the brilliant Erica Jong: “Every country gets the circus it deserves. Spain gets bullfights. Italy the Church. America Hollywood.” With that in mind, my favorite star sighting that night at both the party and the Mansion Bar was the über-chic art-world insider China Chow. Apparently she went straight from DFW into party mode — gotta love a girl on the go.

Guests lined up for the carnival games and Steve Wrubel’s photo trampoline booth (BTW, I begged off due to motion-sickness issues, even though I love a good pic). Minding the Midway: Jennifer and John Eagle, Matthew Simon, J.B. Hayes, Alden Pinnell, Karen and John Reoch, Doss Alexander, Suzanne and David Droese, Kenny Goss, Deedie Rose, Rob Stein, Kevin Tucker, Jeremy Strick, Lucilo Pena, and Carrie and Steven Becker. 

The Main Event

A brunch announcement of cultural achievements is surely the best way to spend a post-gala Sunday morning. Hence, the merrymakers of TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art celebrated the success of another landmark year amidst the artistic library setting of The Warehouse, a private art space owned by Howard Rachofsky and Vernon Faulconer.

With a torrential downpour of biblical proportions the night prior, the dinner and star-studded contemporary art auction with luxury packages and fashion finds raised $5 million. To date, this 15-year anniversary has raised more than $45 million, benefitting amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and the Dallas Museum of Art.

The magnificent monochromatic affair, designed by Todd Fiscus, was set beneath a 7,000 square-foot domed tent, the likes of which we’ve never seen and brought in for the occasion from Freedomes. Chairman Christen Wilson and hosts Howard and Cindy Rachofsky welcomed 500 art enthusiasts to Rachofsky House, including Kevin Frost, amfAR CEO, who presented the 2013 amfAR Leadership Award to Kiehl’s Since 1851 president Chris Salgardo; Dallas Museum of Art director Maxwell Anderson; and this year’s honored artist, Luc Tuymans, who received amfAR’s 2013 Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS.

Auctioneer Jamie Niven, chairman of Sotheby’s, North and South America, rallied the crowd, ultimately raising $700,000 for the oil on canvas Mr. Sagawa, donated courtesy of Tuymans and gallerist David Zwirner. A total of 142 artworks went on the block, sealing the evening’s success. Superstar songstress Gladys Knight performed for the international crowd of creative souls and philanthropists including artists Alex Israel, Conrad Leach, Quinn Tivey (grandson of Elizabeth Taylor), and Tony Horton; Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld; fashion designers Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Mary Katrantzou, Edgardo Osorio of Aquazarra Firenze, and Kira Plastinina; jewelry designers Sabine Ghanem, Eugenie Niarchos, and Noors Fares; China Chow; and Bettina Santo Domingo, as well as Dallas star Jesse Metcalfe with fiancé Cara Santana, Christopher Bass, Marguerite Hoffman, Jeffrey Grove, Jan Showers, Kelli and Allen Questrom, Ed and Gable Shaikh, Brian Bolke, Faisal Halum, Jennifer and John Eagle, Nasiba Adilova, Derek Wilson, and Emily and Stephen Summers.