The Beverly Hills of my memories

(CNN) — Beverly Hills. It has long been known as the Beverly Hills of the entertainment industry. It is a haven for the rich and famous, and is perennially packed with celebrities and photographers ready to capture the latest milestone — for themselves or for the paparazzi.

These days, more than any time in recent memory, New York City and Los Angeles are vying for the top spot among the world’s most famous places — and it’s the old village that offers the most up-close-and-personal experience.


Kiki for a Cause is the Beverly Hills of my memories

Every year, I find myself a walking time machine as I watch a celebrity come through Kiki for a Cause’s lobby.

I got my first taste in 2003, when Oscar winning actress Kim Basinger waltzed into the VIP lobby just before her evening event at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The lobby’s vintage vibe belied the star power of the event. Guests included fellow award winners Eli Wallach and Sidney Poitier. I called to those two soon after to introduce myself and struck up a conversation. After the event ended, I ran into Kim for a few photos and photos.

A decade later, I was seated in the same room, this time on the receiving end of celebrities. Several award winners, including Viola Davis, earned their trophies on the same evening as they arrived, blurring the lines between partaking in the event and attending it.

In a year in which a great deal of coverage has focused on the Southern California wildfires, all eyes were on this landmark gathering of theater and film stars. Organizers encouraged attendees to dine outside the event in a major city park, as it was deemed too dangerous to dine inside the lavish rotunda. The clean-up in the event’s own area was also vigorous, before the event reopened the next day.


Since the third year of the charity, the LA county fire has been a favorite since it’s been tasked with pulling out the ashes from some of the biggest fires on record, including the ongoing Santiago fire. The former plans to open an exhibit near where firefighters braved the flames. The latter is a continuing dialogue among collaboration and reform to the fire department.


The nonprofit is an official beneficiary of the show.

I often joked with other members of the production crew about which award winners I would have accepted. While Scandal’s Kerry Washington received a standing ovation (the event was originally slated to include an appearance from actress Kerry Washington), in the end, I said I would have given the award to myself.

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