Laurie Robin Rosenthal
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s annual A Time for Heroes Celebrity Carnival raised nearly $1 million for the organization.
The Carnival was held this past Sunday in Brentwood, on the lawn on the VA (another group in dire need of funds, however, that’s another subject), on what turned out to be a glorious, sunny, but not-too-hot day. Being way out of the teen loop, I didn’t recognize many young celebrities. Lots of kids were at the event, and seemed to appreciate seeing Jesse McCartney and other young whippersnappers. PBS Kids was represented by many characters, including Arthur and Clifford. My 4 1/2-year-old son, Dylan, ran up to Curious George and gave him a big hug.
Everyone – famous or not – was walking around having a good time. We passed by Harry Hamlin and Jeff Garlin and Tom Arnold, the latter looking a little wet from his time in the Nemo Dunk Tank. Lisa Rinna was reading to kids in the Storytime area. The Disney princesses delighted all the young girls, some Power Rangers were on hand for the boys and Kobe Bryant had a trail of kids following him everywhere.
The games were fun, and included a Cars race track, throwing footballs through moving targets, tossing oversized basketballs into oversized hoops (I expected Kobe to be manning this booth, but alas, he too spent time in Storytime) and even a Nintendo lounge. At the dunk tank a young kid hit the bull’s-eye, sending Melissa Rivers into the water. The rides included a big slide like the one the Banana Splits rode down in the opening of their long-ago show (oh, how I am dating myself!) and a two-story carousel. Girls were turned into princesses at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, while all kids could decorate their own cupcakes or Stride-Rite sneakers, with different tools and ingredients, of course.
The food was delicious, and included selections from Drago, Campanile, Pink’s, Daily Grill, Melissa’s organics, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Chin Chin, Big Chill yogurt and more of Los Angeles’s favorite restaurants. All diets were surely ignored, and for good reason.
Even with all the delicious food, prizes, musical performances, famous faces and exuberance in the air, the highlight of this journalist’s day was Storytime with Marcia Cross. Dylan was the only child there for most of the story (John Lithgow’s Marsupial Sue), and the lovely Desperate Housewives star decided against the big reader’s chair way upstage and sat down at the edge of the stage, microphone in one hand, large picture book in the other. It was kind of funny that there were not more kids there, however, she read that book to everyone willing to listen, especially, or so it seemed, to the one young listener who happened to be my child. All too soon Storytime was over, and everyone gathered around Ms. Cross to get her autograph or have a picture taken with her. Dylan, however, was much more interested in decorating his own sneakers. I told him one day he’d be sorry he didn’t have a picture with her. If anyone reading this knows Ms. Cross, please tell her thank you from the mom of the “adorable little boy in the peace shirt” (her words).
And so, a few more crawls in the big caterpillar later, it was time to head back to the car and call it a day. And what a day it was for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation – nature cooperated, the parking gods cooperated and for a brief moment in time, all was well in the world of Pediatric AIDS. As joyful as the Carnival was, it will be a great day for Pediatric AIDS when the Carnival, along with the disease, is but a distant memory.