Fabulous philanthropic events: SHARE Boomtown show, Chrysalis Butterfly Ball & JDRF Imagine Gala

The 63rd Boomtown Gala has the SHARE ladies catch disco fever & “Disco Duck”

Rick Dees performs "Disco Duck" with the SHARE ladies at the 63rd Boomtown show

Rick Dees performs “Disco Duck” with the SHARE ladies at the 63rd Boomtown show

The SHARE ladies’ Boomtown shows are legendary, and this year was no exception. The sensational 63rd Boomtown show had a flashback disco theme with entertainment from Grammy-winning singer Hazel Payne of “A Taste of Honey,” who launched the night with “Boogie Oogie Oogie.” The hilarious Yakov Smirnoff praised America throughout his retro cold war comedy routine, and the supper-cool disco/soul band The Trammps featuring Earl Young got the ballroom blazing with their “Disco Inferno” tunes. Renowned radio personality Rick Dees was the emcee and performed his ’70s hit “Disco Duck,” with SHARE cuties quacking up to the crazy tune.

The SHARE ladies had the mirror ball spinning all night in the Beverly Hilton ballroom, especially when they did all their energetic production numbers. The show was produced by Gary Smith and choreographed by award winning Anita Mann, who is said to have “the patience of ten angels.” And it paid off when the gals did “Shake Your Groove Thing,” and personified the lyrics “Let’s show the world we can dance.”

Founded 63 years ago by seven women who wanted to help children and improve the world, SHARE (Share Happily and Reap Endlessly) is a fabulous charitable organization that can boast of a stellar roster of entertainers who have headlined the Boomtown gala fundraiser over the years (most at the behest of their wives). Johnny Carson hosted for ten years, and Dean Martin hosted 17 times. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., John Wayne and Bob Hope are also among the luminaries who have appeared in the SHARE shows. Always a highlight is seeing the SHARE ladies turn into a chorus line of showgirls, dancing feverishly for their cause.

The disco fever theme was dubbed “An Evening at Studios 53,” because SHARE was founded in 1953. But the Boomtown guests still embraced the tradition of wearing “dressy western attire” to create a fun and comfortable atmosphere. A lot of glitzy buckaroos attended including producers Julie and Roger Corman, Candace and Steve Garvey, Shelby and Tommy Chong, Peter Repovich and Catherine Bach, Dyan Cannon, Kathleen Quinlan, Finola Hughes, George Chakiris, Sandra Taylor, Jen Lilley, Gia Carides, Adrienne Maloff, Lena Jolton, Ericka Joy, Jim Bowden, Dr. Lois Lee, Joanna Carson, and the indomitable charity maven Ruta Lee.

SHARE president Ellen Feder thanked the volunteers and supporters, and reported, “Since 1953 the amazing women of SHARE have raised over $53 million to improve the lives of underserved children.” Feder also presented “The Member of the Year Award” to Diane Forrester. Kudos also go to auctioneer Jim Nye for his great job.

Catherine Bach, Margie Barron at SHARE's Boomtown show

Catherine Bach, Margie Barron at SHARE’s Boomtown show

SHARE has 80 active members who strive to raise funds to better the lives of children. Most of the ladies are not dancers but they kick up their heels for their big fundraiser. The ladies of SHARE performers included Ellen Feder (president), September Sarno (Board Chairman), Barbara Aaron, Terry Baldwin, Lois Bloom, Geron “Caszper” Canidate, Sondra Currie-Levi, Samantha Faulkner, Carole Gaba, Nancy Gregory, Wendy Hammers, Cooley Jaxon, Joy Jolise, Adele Langdon, Bonnie Lythgoe, Dolores Nemiro, Esther Rosenfield, Linda Schlesinger, Sandra Siegel, Laura Stone, Christine Wallace, Jamy Woodbury, Dana Grilikhes Nassi (1st vice-president), and Anita Mann Kohl (choreographer). Veteran dancer and singer, who has her own cabaret show Neile Adams (the former Mrs. Steve McQueen) did a fancy routine and some daring leaps. Watching her  was a joy.

Another delight was talking with enthusiastic Catherine Bach (of The Dukes of Hazzard fame), who said, “I’m giving it my all. I’ve enjoyed the Boomtown event before, but this is my first time dancing in the show. It always looked like fun, so I was thrilled to join the girls. I may not be the best dancer but I’m so proud to be part of this.” #

The Chrysalis Butterfly Ball

Fred Savage emcee for 15th annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball (photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages)

Fred Savage emcees for 15th annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball (photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages)

Selma Blair, Rebecca Gayheart (photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages)

Selma Blair, Rebecca Gayheart (photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/GettyImages)

The 15th annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball had a gathering of philanthropic folks who want to change lives and help individuals out of poverty and homelessness by providing the tools necessary to gain employment. It was a great fundraising event which honored remarkable men and women within the film, television and music industries who strive to achieve creative excellence and help make the world a better place.

Emcee for the evening at a private estate in Brentwood, California, was the still-adorable Wonder Years star Fred Savage (this year seen on Fox TV’s The Grinder). Receiving the Spirit of Chrysalis awards were the magnificent Queen Latifah, Brian Robbins (AwesomenessTV founder) and producer Hank Steinberg (The Last Ship, Without a Trace). Kellie Williams received the John Dillon Award, and the LA indie-pop group Phases performed.

Grey’s Anatomy hunk Eric Dane was there, mainly because his wife Rebecca Gayheart helped co-chair the event. Rebecca’s BFF Selma Blair (The People V. OJ Simpson) stole the spotlight during the red carpet arrivals in her form-fitting black dress that featured a super-train.

Another trendsetter was Paula Patton who did not flash the Orc fangs she had in her new fantasy film Warcraft. Other notables included Def Jam’s Russell Simmons, Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy), Sasha Alexander (Rizzoli and Isles), fashion maven Rachel Zoe and hubby Rodger Berman, Elizabeth Berkley (The First Wives Club), Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum producer/director), Balthazar Getty (Brothers & Sisters), Sasha Alexander (Rizzoli & Isles), Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster), and the ultra-sweet Vanna White (Wheel of Fortune). More than 650 guests enjoyed an unforgettable evening. #

Imagine Gala helping JDRF cure juvenile diabetes

Brec Bassinger at JDRF Imagine Gala (photo: MargieBarron)

“T1D looks like me,” says Brec Bassinger at JDRF Imagine Gala (photo: MargieBarron)

“You can be healthy and active and pursue your dreams even if you have T1D,” Brec Bassinger said while strolling on the red carpet at the JDRF Imagine Gala for type 1 diabetes (T1D), also called juvenile diabetes. The sensational 17-year-old actress is living proof that you can live your dreams with T1D. Bassinger stars as Bella in Nickelodeon’s Bella and the Bulldogs, a comedy series about a girl who quits cheerleading and becomes the starting quarterback on her school’s Bulldogs football team.

It’s a very active role for the former competitive cheerleader, who also entered beauty pageants, played volleyball and ran track, when she was in school in Texas. When she moved to LA to pursue her acting dreams she landed a role in the Nick series Haunted Hathaways and movie Liar, Liar, Vampire.

Brec said she wants to be an inspiration to her fans. “I was diagnosed with T1D at eight, and ever since I’ve learned how to be in control of my life by staying healthy. Now I am raising awareness to help other kids who are dealing with the disease,” reported Brec, who helped raise funds for JDRF at the event and sent out a message to her fans on Instagram— “T1D looks like me.”

Also raising awareness were the Imagine Gala’s honorees Amelia and Adam Stewart. Amelia is the VP of Media Relations and Corporate Communications for E! Entertainment and Esquire Network, and Adam is Google’s VP of Consumer Goods, Government & Entertainment. The charming “power couple” said they were proud to embrace the JDRF LA Chapter’s motto of “Improving lives, and curing type 1 diabetes.” Amelia said, “The advancements made through JDRF improve the lives of people with type 1 diabetes, like my husband.” Adam offered hope that things will continue to improve. “You can live a rich full life without a doubt. And we’ve never been closer to a cure,” he said with optimism.

"Fear the Walking Dead" cutie Kevin Sizemore and wife Gina Lombardi at Imagine Gala (photo: MargieBarron)

“Fear the Walking Dead” cutie Kevin Sizemore and wife Gina Lombardi at Imagine Gala (photo: MargieBarron)

“Imagine a world without Type 1 Diabetes,” that’s what Dr. Jessica Mega, chief medical officer at Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), addressed in her keynote speech. Morgan Rector, JDRF LA board president, thanked the gala co-chairs Kevin and Jody Weinberg and their committee, plus all the sponsors and philanthropists.

It was an evening of inspiration featuring a performance by silky soulful singer Aloe Blacc, and entertainment by comic/magician Justin Willman. Mellisa Nielsen conducted a lively auction helping to reach the goal of $1.5 million for research.

Also in attendance at the Beverly Hilton were debonair Austin Basis (CW’s Beauty & the Beast), Kristen Ford (Vacation, Mad Men), and stunning Jillian Sipkins, who talked about coping with T1D. Dashing Kevin Sizemore (Fear the Walking Dead) was with his beautiful wife Gina Lombardi (author of Deadline Fitness) and said they were there to “help JDRF turn Type 1 into Type None!” #


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.

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