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2017 ANNUAL #CONCERN 43rd Annual BLOCK PARTY #FUNDRAISER FOR #CANCER RESEARCH AT #PARAMOUNT STUDIOS JULY 8TH

Written By: Marcelle - Jul• 02•17

 

 

 #CONCERN ANNUAL BLOCK PARTY

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4,000 people. One night. Raising over $2 Million to conquer cancer.

HONOREES:Kelly Stone & Bruce Singer and Eden Alpert
2017 Block Party

 

CONCERN is anappropriate 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 backlot streets will be 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. Again this year, A/V Masters will donate all of the audio and visual components that truly enhance the event and the entire presentation throughout the evening.

One of the highlights of the evening will be 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!

This year Concern will be presenting the Spirit of Concern Humanitarians Awards to Kelly Stone Singer & Bruce Singer and Eden Alpert. The night will once again feature 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.

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LA VARIETY MAGAZINE

marcelle@lavariety.com

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