An Unmissable Evening of Art, Food, Music and Culture…All for a Good Cause

- Kristiana Tarnuzzer



…community throws an event, you know it’s going to be next caliber.  When they come together to support a cause, you know their voices will be heard!

The Sexy Beast LA Art Auction and Gala is no exception, having raised nearly $1MM for Planned Parenthood over the last two years.  Sexy Beast for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA) is the shared vision of a group of influencers in the arts, united by a mission to harness the goodwill and powerful connections of the creative community to support PPLA’s mission of providing life-saving preventive and reproductive care, sexual health education and the testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.  The belief that everyone should have access to safe, caring, and affordable healthcare services is what led Kristen Stegemoeller, Sonny Ruscha Granada and Tera Uhlinger, whose backgrounds span writing, brand strategy, art, music, and events, to start the organization in 2014.  



…what year three was going to bring, I attended their third biennial fundraising extravaganza on Saturday, October 20, at the gorgeous Marciano Art Foundation, a stunning, beautifully converted former Masonic temple on Wilshire, housing works from the extensive contemporary art collection of Maurice and Paul Marciano.

The energy was high from the moment I stepped inside to what must have been at least 500 guests, many eagerly bidding on the silent auction items full of extravagant art by Tofer Chin, Rashid Johnson, Harold Ancart, Jennifer Steinkamp, and many more.  My personal favorites were the Sunflower Seeds and Sprouts conceptual installations by Ai WeiWei, an activist who uses his art to catalyze dialogue between the contemporary world and traditional Chinese modes of thought and production.

Cocktails flowed from the garden area, where a picturesque flower truck from Hand & Rose was parked, providing guests the opportunity to festively adorn themselves in yellow rose boutonnieres.  Guests grabbed one more quick bite (I may have grabbed two or three) from the Jon & Vinny’s, Kismet and Hank & Bean food stations before heading into the variety show.

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…stand-up comedian and improvisational comic, Kate Berlant, the audience was rolling with laughter on more than one occasion before being introduced to musical performances by Moses Sumney, Kelsey Lu and No)One. Art House.  Just before the show wrapped, we received an address from the CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Sue Dunlap, who is one fierce leader -- I mean, last year alone, PPLA provided 242K patient visits to 140K patients.  Need I say more?

“Creatives are the engine that moves change in our culture – they shape our vision of what’s cool or what’s relevant through their talent.  When they visibly and publicly throw their support and creativity behind PPLA, people pay attention,” said Kristen Stegemoeller.  While the work of Planned Parenthood is not easy, and often, twisted and misrepresented, this community does a powerful job of shining a light on all of the good.  

Interested in more ways to support women’s reproductive health? Have a look at more action items straight from Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund here!