The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s (GLAZA) 42nd Annual Beastly Ball took place on Saturday, June 16, under the stars at the Los Angeles Zoo. The Honorable Richard J. Riordan, former Los Angeles Mayor, and actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, the Tom Mankiewicz Leadership Award recipient, were honored at the event, known as “one of L.A.’s biggest and most popular fund-raisers” (FOXNews) and “one of the best parties in Los Angeles” (KCAL TV News). GLAZA President Connie Morgan and Zoo Director John Lewis presented the awards during the evening, which attracted nearly 800 people and raised $1,120,000.
Beastly Ball guests, dressed in casual and safari attire, strolled through the Zoo to view its inhabitants, with particular excitement about the new LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates and Reptiles) habitat, which opened in March. Along the way were animal feedings and “animal walk-abouts” (chats with keepers and the chance to observe small animals up close), entertainment by groups playing jazz, traditional African music and California rumba, the opportunity for henna tattoos, and a silent auction with hundreds of remarkable items and one-of-a-kind opportunities.
Bountiful fare was provided by some of L.A.’s most popular restaurants, all donating their services, including Bar Celona, Canelé, Celestino Ristorante and Bar, Clancy’s Crab Broiler, El Cholo – Los Angeles, Fabiolus Café, The Federal Bar, Glorious Gourmet Catering & Garnish Café, Green Street Restaurant, Il Fornaio, Ix?Tapa Restaurant & Cantina, Jersey Mike’s Subs (Pasadena and La Canada), Maison Akira, Momed, Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs, Taix French Restaurant, Villa Sorriso and Yummy Cupcakes (Brentwood, Burbank and Santa Monica).
After strolling guests arrived at the Zoo’s entry plaza, the formal portion of the program, MC’d by comedian Jimmy Pardo, began with a performance by Makoto Taiko drummers. Pardo also handled spirited bidding on the live auction, which raised $112,500, including breakfast with Riordan ($15,000) and a “behind the scenes” tour and dinner at the Zoo with Betty White which went to two bidders for $10,000 each; and many more. Dancing to music from popular D.J. Morningstar concluded the evening.