Black and White Gala scheduled for Aug. 21

A group of backers of Barack Obama are planning what’s being billed as a “star-studded fund-raising reception” for the candidate on Aug. 21.

The event, called the Black & White Gala for Barack Obama, is being designed to “celebrate America’s landscape of diversity and its many cultures,” with an honorary board that includes Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, Khaled Hosseini, Ashley Judd and Lucy Liu. Invitation-only tickets are $1,000 for the general reception and $2,300 for VIP ducats.

The plans for the fete were initiated and formed independently of the campaign and finance staff in Southern California by a group of Obama supporters who include entertainment industry publicists and event planners, although contributions go to the candidate’s Obama for America committee. An exact location has not been announced, but it will be at a venue in Beverly Hills, organizers say.

It’s uncertain whether the candidate himself will be there as the event comes just a few days before the start of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 25. As the clock ticks on the campaign, it’s naturally been all that more difficult to secure the candidate’s time.

Obama is expected to return to Los Angeles for a fund-raiser some time before the general election, perhaps in the fall at an event organized by the DreamWorks trio of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.

Backers of John McCain, meanwhile, are planning an Aug. 25 event for the candidate that would sport a lower ticket cost than previous fund-raisers.

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