If you're lucky enough to be in Vienna, Austria this coming Saturday May 16th, then you are in for a treat. The entire city of Vienna will be celebrating it's 17th annual Life Ball. A charity event for the AIDS foundation that has gained the reputation as Europe's largest most successful annual charity event. An international event that has brought celebrities and dignitaries from all over the world to contribute and support the fight against AIDS.
Proceeds from the Life Ball are divided evenly between AIDS Life, which sponsors the event and supports Austrian AIDS projects, and AMFAR, which distributes funds internationally to some of worst affected countries in the world. To date, Life Ball has raised more than $14 million to fight the epidemic, including over $2 million in 2008.
This year’s Life Ball features Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria Parker, appearing on behalf of AMFAR, who will present the “Crystal of Hope” award to a pioneer in the field of HIV/AIDS. In addition, Oscar-nominated fashion designer Patricia Field will appear along with New York music sensation The Blonds and pop queen Katy Perry of “I Kissed a Girl” fame.
Each year, the Life Ball is staged as a baroque Viennese event featuring fashion shows, performers, and elaborately costumed guests.
Since 1993, world-famous celebrities and artists have lent their voices and support to Life Ball.
With their appearances and involvement, Sharon Stone, Sir Elton John, Kylie Minogue, Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minnelli, Kim Cattrall, Linda Evangelista, Heidi Klum, Dennis Rodman, Naomi Campbell, and Randy Crawford have inspired courage by promoting the joyful aspects of life, and in doing so have stood up against HIV-based discrimination and prejudice.
Life Ball is organized by AIDS Life, an independent non-profit organization that raises much-needed support for people who are HIV positive or living with AIDS.
Last year's Life Ball 2008 featured prominent guests including Sharon Stone (in her capacity as chairwoman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research), Amanda Lepore (who performed the 2008 Life Ball song), Kim Cattrall, Marcus Schenkenberg and Linda Evangelista.
Each year the fashion show highlights the work of a well-known designer, with professional models as well as celebrities on the catwalk. In the past, the latter group has included Til Schweiger, Kylie Minogue, Amanda Lear, Cyndi Lauper, and Dolly Buster.
This is one event not to be missed if you ever visit Vienna in mid-May. This is definitely on my list of 1000 places/events to visit before I die.