This month the Gabby Guy gets artsy and stuffs himself silly at two events on the Wilmington Riverfront.
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Aid for AIDS
Finding AIDS Delaware’s annual fundraiser (formerly A Day Without Art) on the Riverfront was a bit more difficult than in the past, when the party was held at more familiar locations like the Delaware Art Museum or Brandywine Building. Fortunately the friendly looking couple we frantically approached for directions were William and Tamsey Schuler, who had just dropped off their donation for the auction, a sculptural iron orchid by William, an ornamental blacksmith who pointed us in the right direction.
Once inside the Barclays Bank building on Wilmington’s South West Street, we set our internal GPS (good person searcher) for AIDS Delaware director John Klein, who described the venue choice with one key word: free. Despite the general economic hardship, “We were amazed by the great support of artists, individuals, galleries and stores from across the state,” John told us. “We have about 75 more pieces this year than we received in ’07,” added Charles “Ebbie” Alfree.
In the center of the activity, audible over the bidding buzz, was Tony Williams and the BGD All Stars, whose saucy, smooth jazz served as an irresistible siren, luring guests from food and wine to shop and bid.
And bid they did.
Board chair Bob Martz told us about AIDS Delaware’s plans to open several new HIV testing sites in the state, including one at the UD health center in Newark. Also seen and noted were DuPont Theatre general manager John Gardner and DCCA director Maxine Gaiber, who was decompressing with a rub by Gary Cramer of Soothing Touch Massage. We also spotted actor P.J. Foster having his cards read by tarot master Crystal Shadows. Is there a call from Hollywood in P.J.’s future? We’ll see.
We had the distinct good fortune to meet jovial virologist and gene therapist Phil Cross, a former AIDS Delaware president and current chairman emeritus. “That’s Latin for old,” he chuckled. The youthful Mr. Cross then introduced us to a couple of his good friends: Robbie Freisem of Philadelphia, who had her eye on original works by Dennis Minch and Mary Anderson, and George Meldrum Jr., a policy analyst for Nemours Foundation and longtime AIDS Delaware board member and best friend to the original Gabby herself, the late Sally Rinard.
George became owner of most of her personal possessions, including letters and interviews with such designers and celebrities as Bill Blass, Diana Vreeland and Jacqueline Onassis. George was instrumental in transferring Sally’s collection of designer fashions to UD.
We were thrilled to have met our predecessor’s BFF. It seems the perseverance in finding the party was well worth it.
Page 2: A Master Blast (Meals from the Masters)