Oh, Venice. How great are you?! We had one big shindig on Saturday night to raise funds for our upcoming documentary 90291: Venice Unzipped, and it was awesome.
I can't thank everyone involved enough, I truly can't. This is a film about our community, and the community showed up to support. All the businesses that donated to our silent auction - THANK YOU! All the friends that shard about the event ahead of time - THANK YOU! All of the friends and neighbors that showed up to the event - THANK YOU! All of the vendors who donated food and drink to help us make it a delicious and thirst quenching affair - THANK YOU! The musicians and D.J. who kept it all lively - THANK YOU! All of the friends and family that couldn't make it out on Saturday, but who donated and/or are helping us spread awareness about the project - THANK YOU! I'm overwhelmed with gratitude, I really am. And if you didn't do any of those things above - you still can! We'll be working on this project for a good while, and there's plenty of time for you to contribute in any way to helping to get the story about our beloved Venice out there in the world ... so THANK YOU in advance!
The wonderful women of Fiore Designs helped to beautify the already beautiful Lantern House, which truly is one of the very best event spaces around. Scott Mayers opened his home to us to bring awareness of our project - and to celebrate our community to kick it all off.
It really does take a village to make a documentary, and as this one is about Venice, it had to include as much of Venice as possible. Local businesses like Venice Duck Brewery and Jim Robb donated beer, champagne, and liquor, while Erewhon and Chocolate Wonder Love provided delish desserts.
The silent auction represented all the best of Venice, from photographs and paintings to dinners, hotel stays, classes, clothing, and even some edibles from Ruby's Doobies! It's not easy for me to ask people for things, and I was beyond pleasantly surprised at all of the local merchants who said YES, and offered their encouragement in addition to their generous donations. Our hearts are in the right place, and I think they all recognized that ... and wanted to help tell the real stories of our community, and why it has become divided.
D. J. Rick spun the tunes to keep it all festive, and our first musical guest was beloved Venice songstress (and my wonderful friend), Lacey Kay Cowden! She managed to entrance the partygoers even under the challenging circumstances of having the opening slot, when people were still arriving and heartily/noisily greeting each other. She's the best.
After a bunch of mingling and schmoozing, we did a little presentation to explain what are intentions are with this film, and how everyone can be involved. Wonderful Mr. Mayers gave an entertaining introduction of the filmmaking team, in addition to giving some history of his house. Like how he used to have to duck from bullets in his shower. Good stuff like that.
Colin Grey and Megan Raney Aarons are my co-producers on the project, and Colin will be directing the film. They both gave great speeches about our vision for this documentary, and then everyone watched our trailer ... which you can also now view HERE.
I gave a little spiel about how I've been telling the stories of real Venice for over a decade now, through The Beachhead and here at Blogtown, and I think everyone knows how important and deeply loved the community is by me. And how I'll do my very best to ensure that the whole story is told, as best as it can be. We're all affected by the ongoing changes in our town, and we all want the best possible outcome ... which is to preserved the unique radness of Venice for always.
We're still firming up casting for our families from different income brackets that we intend to follow throughout the next year, and if you might have some suggestions regarding ideas for casting, please reach out to myself or Andrea McHugh, our casting guru HERE.
Documentaries take funds to make, and that was the point of this evening, but that doesn't mean it stops there. We'll be raising funds for a while, so if you like what you've seen and heard, maybe you'd like to join the rest of the cool kids and make a little donation HERE. It is tax-deductible, and so appreciated you can't begin to imagine. THANKS!! Or maybe you're a high-roller and would like to invest a bigger stake in the film, because you can ... for larger equity investments, you can reach out HERE. THANKS!!!
Now that the housekeeping of linkage has been taken care of, let's talk about the absolute blast that was this event. An extra special treat/favor bestowed upon us was a rare live acoustic performance from my dear friend, Michael Dorman. He stars in the excellent t.v. show Patriot on Amazon Prime (one of my favorite shows), where he plays a spy that also does open mics to sing about his spy activities. He's incredible, and as my little friend Mia (age 8) said, "He's like Bob Dylan, but better." She's not wrong. Listen for yourself to one of the numbers he played ofr us, "I Ain't No VIP!" ... SO good.
There were so many people to talk to that I didn't get to speak to everyone I wanted to, and definitely didn't get to say goodbye and thank you to, so I'll do that again here - THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU!
In all honesty, and even though it was our own event, I'll still say that it was one of the best parties I've been to in Venice in a long time. Everyone was in a festive mood, and everyone is really interested in helping our community come together. Plus, it was in a super rad house that not everyone had had the chance to visit before, so you kept hearing, "How cool is this place?!" the entire evening long. And they were right. There's great art everywhere you look, and lanterns and dolls and even the random gargoyle. There's probably not a more Venice-perfect venue in town, and Scott Mayers deserves another shout out here - LOVE YOU SCOTT!
We ended up extending the party hours, because no one wanted to leave. Happy auction winners were congratulated and thanked, and I especially loved the friends sporting their new Juice magazine swag!
The night flew by, and looking back at my photos, I realize I needed to take so many more, but was busy talking my face off most of the time. I made new friends, reconnected with old ones, and tried not to choke up when I looked around and saw all the love and support in the room, from every single person there. Venice ... you're the best.
I've had several people contact me since, telling me what a good time they had, and what a good idea they think this project is. Again, I'm sure there will be more fundraisers, so if you didn't get a chance to be with us at this one, there will be more ways to join us in this pretty big endeavor we're undertaking.
It would be an endlessly long list to thank everyone individually here, but you will be thanked eternally by me, because I'll never forget it.
Monies were raised, friends were made, and a good time was had by all. I'd call that a pretty darn successful fundraiser. Now ... let's go make a movie, Venice! Together. THANK YOU, VENICE!