The Glam Slam: Life Ball 2008
Story Photos + Video by Matt Phillip
author of celebrity behavior analysis blog www.reluctantwhore.com
It strikes me as odd that Vienna’s Life Ball isn’t more universally known in the US. I’d never heard of it before I attended as media last year and neither had a lot of people I asked who are generally quite in the know. It’s especially odd seeing as it’s not only the largest AIDS charity event in the world, but also the only one held in a venue designated for public politics.
Every year, Life Ball completely takes over the Vienna Town Hall for one weekend in May. That weekend was last weekend and as far as events go, you simply couldn’t get any classier, sexier and more fabulous.
For starters, if you’re a U.S. celebrity, the organizers of Life Ball will fly you to Vienna in a specially tailored Austrian Airlines aircraft complete with sassy airline staff and an A-list worthy menu of canapés, cocktails, extraordinary food and music as well as a bag of in-flight toiletries that includes the best lip balm I have EVER used.
I sat next to French Vogue cover model Andre J who talked me through what he was eating for breakfast.
A soon as the Life Ball plane touched down, the Austrian media were waiting to interview attending celebrities, which you can watch in action here, too.
If you’re not a member of the U.S. celebrity club, don’t worry; Life Ball can still easily be a stunning experience by simply buying a ticket and attending.
After all, what massive, outdoor public event anywhere else in the world would open up with a two hour red carpet display of the world’s most glamorous people in front of a completely overhauled palace -- now the Town Hall -- only to be followed by an opening ceremony kicked off with The Vienna Boys Choir and followed by a legion of ballet dancers waltzing with green headed aliens, numbers by Debbie Harry and Jody Watley, a runway show by Agent Provocateur, a bejeweled Amanda Lepore floating down from the sky and a free-styled speech by Sharon Stone in which she spray painted the event’s executive producer and said “I’m done with the word “Faggot”?
Nothing in this world comes close.
Plus, all of that was followed by an elegant but extravagant costume dance party from which I became fairly certain Viennese boys know how to wear silver latex shorts better than anyone.
Then you wake up the next day knowing that by attending you’ve helped raise 1.5 million Euros for AIDS research in Europe and around the world. Not a bad way to spend the weekend I must say.