Inside The Star-Studded Red Cross Gala

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Mehcad Brooks, Steve Aoki, Devon Aoki and James van der Beek at the Gala on Saturday night
Mehcad Brooks, Steve Aoki, Devon Aoki and James van der Beek at the Gala on Saturday night

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Although the outside of City Hall was lit up green for St. Patrick’s Day, inside the building, on Saturday night, San Francisco’s social set painted the town red at the Red Crossannual benefit gala. Alongside co-chairs Lillian Phan and Lindsey Haswell, the star-studded event was hosted by actor James Van Der Beek. Honorary chairs Devon Aoki and Steve Aoki, siblings with cascading wavy hair—hers blonde, his black—were also in attendance. She’s a model and actress and he’s a Grammy-nominated DJ and producer. Other luminaries included True Blood’s Mehcad Brooks and Jane the Virgin’s Azie Tesfai.

Atmosphere
Atmosphere

Photo Credit: Jana Asenbrennerova for Drew Altizer Photography

The gala began promptly at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at the bottom of City Hall’s grand staircase. Hundreds of red roses were elegantly arranged on the stairs making it a prime spot for snapping photos. Guests—decked out to the nines in red gowns, red velvet sport coats, or red accessories—mingled while sipping One Hope sparkling wine, Skyy Vodka tonics or Bulldog Gin martinis. A center station served miniature cones filled with ahi tuna and caviar while elegantly dressed waiters passed fried risotto and beef tartare crostini. At 6:45, the stylish crowd moved into the North Corridor for a delicious multi-course meal by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering.

Gala co-chairs Lindsey Haswell and Lillian Phan
Gala co-chairs Lindsey Haswell and Lillian Phan

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Van Der Beek, best known for his role on Dawson’s Creek, led the evening’s program. “The Red Cross consists of people who have done some amazing work to help out in their community on the state level, on the national level, and the local level,” Van Der Beek said. “2017 was quite a year. If you look back and think about what actually happened. There were three historic hurricanes in a row, tragic shooting in Las Vegas, and later the historic fires in California, the deadliest and costliest ever in the history of the state. And you know who was there every time? The Red Cross.” Several crucial first responders to the Napa and Sonoma fires were special guests at the gala and Van Der Beek honored their hard work.

Tyler Florence
Tyler Florence

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The guests enjoyed a marinated heirloom beet salad with whipped ricotta and grilled beef tenderloin and potato puree (which paired with Knights Bridge Winery 2014 Chardonnay and Rodney Strong’s 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon), while videos showing the efforts of the Red Cross and its honorees played.  Wells Fargo, chef Tyler Florence, and two 17-year old volunteers, Jackson Philips and Patrick Foley were recognized for their bravery and dedication to the cause. It was a particularly somber moment to learn Philips and Foley’s story as both lost their homes to the wildfire.

The Red Cross Gala
The Red Cross Gala

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The Warriors hype man, Franco Finn, conducted the live auction, which consisted of seven lots featured thrilling experiences such as tickets to New York Fashion Week, an A-List weekend in LA, and a race car wine country adventure. The most exciting part of the evening was when Finn auctioned the final lot—“Up all night with Steve Aoki.” Along with three of his or her friends, the winning bidder would leave the gala with DJ Aoki and head via private jet to Las Vegas. Aoki has a weekly 3 a.m. set at Jewel Nightclub at the Aria Resort & Casino and the quartet got the chance to party alongside his DJ booth. The once-in-a-lifetime trip sold for $40K to Jeremy More and Chris and Jennie Schaepe.

Devon Aoki, Anne V, Tatum Getty, Helena Suric and Agatha Luczo
Devon Aoki, Anne V, Tatum Getty, Helena Suric and Agatha Luczo

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

After the program, revelers were treated to miniature desserts, Powder Shaved Snow, and an exclusive performance by Steve Aoki, who was clearly on a high that his lot was able to generate a substantial amount for the Red Cross. Locals who joined the fun? Navid Armstrong, Yuan Yuan Tan, Joel Goodrich, Olivia Hsu Decker, Adam Cahan, and Anne V.

Gwyneth Borden and Juan Hernandez
Gwyneth Borden and Juan Hernandez

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

The Aokis
The Aokis

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Austin Wade and Jennifer Wade
Austin Wade and Jennifer Wade

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Yuan Yuan Tan
Yuan Yuan Tan

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Devon Aoki, Steve Aoki and Echo Aoki
Devon Aoki, Steve Aoki and Echo Aoki

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Atmosphere
Atmosphere

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The star-studded crew
The star-studded crew
The Van Der Beeks
The Van Der Beeks

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

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