By Ellen Olivier
Special to the Los Angeles Times
May 29, 2011
With 225 designer handbags — all stuffed with Dior beauty products — for sale in a silent auction at Tuesday's annual P.S. Arts "Bag Lunch," guests didn't just arrive on time. They came early to Heather Thomas Brittenham's Santa Monica home to plan their bidding strategy.
"This is such madness," said Emmy Rossum of "Shameless." "You would think they were giving the bags away for free."
Sharon Stone said she was considering a classic orange purse, which she called "chic" and "old school," while Kristin Davis of "Sex and the City" said she was waiting for the frenzy to die down before making her choices. An event host, Davis explained that funds would go toward restoring arts education in public schools. "I was a good student in school, but the arts were what I felt most connected to. It's so sad that that's what's getting cut."
Also among those surveying the merchandise were Sophia Bush, Calista Flockhart, Shiva Rose, Kaley Cuoco, Lisa Rinna, Perrey Reeves, Abigail Spencer and Melissa Rivers, plus event organizers George Kotsiopoulos of "Fashion Police," Elizabeth Stewart, Diane Vavra, Maria Bell, Julia Sorkin, Jen Rade, Kelly Fisher Katz, Allison Olesky, Marilyn Heston, Carla Sands and Jill Chayet. With more than 200 guests shopping, sipping champagne and dining on paper-bag lunches, the day's tally topped $150,000.
Celebrity poker benefit
In the event that the apocalypse were to have transpired during the May 21 "Playing for Good" celebrity poker tournament at Hank Azaria's Bel-Air home, the actor well-known for his voices on "The Simpsons" had a solution.
"The world is going to end at 3 o'clock today, 6:00 p.m. New York time, so I think whoever is chip leader at that point wins," he announced to the 200 players, who also included Ben Affleck, Brad Garrett, Jon Hamm, Don Cheadle, Richard Kind, Kevin Pollak, Jason Alexander and Nigel Lythgoe. "We'll sort out the prizes in heaven or hell."
"There was a little tremor last night, and I was just a little worried," confessed Alexander, who had earlier tweeted, "Surely God wouldn't strike down charity poker players."
And when the tournament ended without incident past 9 p.m., two organizations split $220,000. Funds went to the Geffen Playhouse for its education and outreach programs and to Determined to Succeed, which mentors and tutors youngsters "who want to learn, but without help would fall through the cracks," Azaria said.
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