Oscar Party Blues
Each year The Abbey hosts a glamorous Oscars Party.
(Photo used with permission from Lobeline Communications)
Every year during Oscars weekend, hundreds of people walk a red carpet and smile for cameras before passing through the wrought iron gates that flank the entry of The Abbey, a restaurant and bar in West Hollywood.Â
They show up in gowns and tuxedos to watch the awards show together on large screens set up on patios and dining room walls, and to lend charitable support to a cause they all believe in: the AIDS Project Los Angeles.
In the past, more than 700 guests would attend the charitable viewing party. The tables could be reserved for thousands of dollars per party, raising more than $250,000 for APLA by the end of the night.Â
But this year things were different.
For the first time, The Abbey left a large portion of the restaurant open to the general public.
"We wanted to open it up to the public and let everyone enjoy," said general manager Eva Perez.
Instead of paying thousands to reserve a table, those guests were asked to donate a mere $25 for general seating and an Oscar-themed cocktail, or $100 for VIP seating and a bottle of wine in the fireplace room at the back.Â
"The event has been, and continues to be, a vital source of support to Angelenos affected by HIV/AIDS," said Gabriel McGowan of APLA, "even as government funds continue to shrink."
On Sunday, The Abbey raised $34,000 for APLA, a number more than seven times less than funds raised at the same party in previous years. Â Abbey founder David Cooley said the change to open the party to the public was made in large part because of the economy, but only 80 guests reserved VIP seating this year. Â