The other night I found myself in Santa Barbara with tears streaming down my face—which I wasn’t even quick enough to dab at with my dinner napkin. What caused the drips? The Dream Foundation’s Annual Celebration of Dreams.
The Dream Foundation grants wishes to adults (and their families) who are battling life-threatening illnesses. The Foundation orchestrates everything from having folks meet Lady Gaga (I remember Gaga giving one lady a pair of fantastic heels which she called her “chemo shoes”) to planting a garden for a vet’s family. The fundraiser was held at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara/Goleta and honored Barry Manilow, whose heart has only gotten bigger over the years (even if he may be shrinking in size). CKE Restaurants Holdings (Carl's Jr., etc.) CEO Andy Puzder also received a pat on the back.
It was a celebration of life with some laughs sprinkled amidst the tears by an org that deals with death with dignity and compassion. Puzder (a hardcore Republican) started it out. “I thought about giving a political speech because rarely have I been in front of this many Democrats in one room who can’t leave,” he joked. Jane Lynch and Andrew Firestone took to the stage for a live auction that included voyages to Africa and ski trips to the Alps. Nigel Lythgoe got up to tell tales about his old pal Manilow but also praised the organization. “I told them even if they asked me to do a presentation to Anthony Weiner that I’d come along.” Priscilla Presley is a long-time supporter. I recall one event she held at her home, an off-the-hook Tuscan pile, for the Foundation.
Olivia Newton John got up to sing (I Honestly Love You – c’mon, you know you liked that one) followed by Richie Sambora, whose version of Lean On Me inspired one gal to get up and present him with her underwear. “I even got some panties on that one!” Sambora exclaimed. What he did next…I’ll skip.
Manilow summed up the incredible evening: "This night has to be one of the most magical and moving evenings I have ever been to. Thank you, Priscilla, for having me here.”
Partiers kept things going at the party after the party at Miro Restaurant, where DJ Chris Cox spun and Carl’s Jr. (thanks Puzder) was on the menu.