Gentry Gala - Samaritan House
May 22, 2004
Gentry Magazine sponsored a lavish fundraising gala and silent auction to benefit Samaritan House. Associated Entertainment Consultants filled Palo Alto’s Sheraton & Westin hotels with the exciting sights and sounds from “Casinos Around the World” including music, decor, casino gaming tables and walk-around characters. The Bay Area’s best restaurants, chefs and caterers donated the delicious food.
As always, Gentry’s Rick Acquaviva was the visionary and driving force behind the event and, thanks to his unyielding spirit and enthusiasm, this year’s fundraiser was the best yet. Special thanks go out to Samaritan Houses.
As guests embarked upon their voyage, they were greeted by our Ship’s Captain and a beautiful purser who distributed passports to the world’s most glamorous hotspots. The Sheraton lobby was decorated as the cruise ship SS Gentry complete with smoke stacks and signal flags. The smooth jazz of Westwind featuring Clairdee greeted newly arriving passengers.
Feathered showgirls lead the way over a carpeted path, passed slot machines and Autobahn’s Mercedes Showroom, to the Westin Hotel. Black and white marble columns displayed black game banners and Fifi LaTour in an Eiffel Tower headdress welcomed the international jet set to the Monte Carlo Casino for Baccarat and the Nina Causey Trio.
Docked on the foggy waters of the Sheraton pool the Mississippi riverboat “Natchez” was covered in fishing nets and sported a life-sized alligator. CTA Lasers flashed a welcome message and sent neon beans of light across the night sky. Magician and card shark Eric Masters as the gambler Maverick kept everyone guessing with his slight of hand. The Cajun Gumbo Duo filled the air with authentic Louisiana Zydeco.
Always sparkling Lady Luck taunted gamblers under giant Jokers Wild cards in the Atlantic City Room. The poolside grill, enveloped in red velour and gold fringe, set the stage for Texas Hold-em and Dueling Pianos.
The Harmonics played steel pans against a tropical sunset backdrop amidst brightly painted palm trees. Carmen on Stilts did the samba and Black Jack hands were dealt in the Bahamas Room.
To the Far East and downstairs Live Star Tracks spun tunes and Karaoke, Chin Chin the Philosopher shared his wisdom, and an energetic troupe of Lion Dancers swooped and weaved through the Hazard players in the all red Macao/Hong Kong Room.
Sifting through the Nevada rooms was an Old Prospector. Passed three large marble columns, a glittered “Caesar’s Palace” sign and life sized Roman statues was the Craps table in the Lake Tahoe Room. Roulette spun in the Reno Room and the Wheel of Fortune determined your fate against a backdrop of the Las Vegas Strip including a “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.
Blushing brides and grooms posed for a “Quickie Wedding” snapshot in the outdoor gazebo. Fine photography by Ramiro captured that special moment with Elvis as the wedding officiator and Marilyn Monroe as the Goddess of Honor.
On the Main Stage draped in black duvetyn with glittered hearts, spade, clubs, diamonds, the Robert Vickers Trio in tuxedos jazzed it up with finger-snapping songs and the swarthy showmanship reminiscent of the Rat Pack.
Finishing off the night’s festivities, Big City Revue kept the party dancing until midnight. The 10-piece party band lead by Charles Nicholas is one of the hardest working and most requested bands in the Bay Area. Four powerful vocalists including Pam Hawkins, Jayne Hendricks, Jerry Owens and Chris Bass belted out favorite hits covering Motown, disco, classic rock and current pop along with smooth jazz standards and sultry ballads.
Restaurants and Caterers included Soliel, Lavande, The Duck Club and pastries from the Fairmont. Il Fornio, Atherton A&K, Chef Chu’s, The Acorn, Restaurant “O”, Carpaccio, Habana Yacht Club, Oak City Bar & Grille, Astaria, Hola, Flea Street Café King Fish, Trader Vics, Village Pub, Viognier, Grace Street Catering, Bluewater Grille, McIntosh & McGraw, Left Bank, Events Etc., Sundance, Pamela & Keith’s Kitchen Craft, Gotta Have It Desserts.
The collaboration of caring and generous contributors created a unique and entertaining environment in order to raise awareness and financial support for one of the Bay Area’s most deserving social causes Samaritan House. Associated Entertainment Consultants appreciates the support and dedication of their family of special event providers - Theme Party Productions, Trucco Lighting and Sound, Skyana and Sandra Leathly, without whose help, we could not have succeeded.
We are all proud to have been involved with such a worthy charity and pleased that our efforts produced such a successful and memorable event.