There’s no shortage of high-profile fundraising gatherings for worthy causes at this time of year. But the Los Angeles chapter of Autism Speaks is determined to make a permanent addition to the winter charity event calendar starting with the inaugural Blue Tie-Blue Jean Ball, set for Dec. 1 at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.
Event will feature musical perfs by Sarah McLachlan and others. It will also honor rock photog Rob Shanahan and his newly released book, “Volume 1.”
The ball is the brainchild of Gina Kilberg, senior veep of international media at Sony Pictures, whose 7-year-old son, Lucas, suffers from autism spectrum disorder. “Advocacy for him and too many kids like him has become a very important part of our fight to get him through this,” she said.
Kilberg and other industry insiders quickly set their sights on producing an event with a more of a fun-factor and relaxed atmosphere than the typical hotel ballroom dinner. The blue theme is keeping with the color associated with Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy org.
Incorporating music into the evening was important as so many kids on the autism spectrum who struggle with verbal skills have such a powerful emotional response to music. Shanahan’s connections helped the organizers enlist McLachlan and other surprise guests.
“We wanted to do something that would move people and get their attention but do it in a really fun, accessible way,” Kilberg says. “We really want to be one of those tentpole events where people go not because they feel obligated but because they’re really looking forward to it, and because it’s clearly doing a lot of good for a lot of kids who need it.”
Other bizzers involved with the event are CAA’s Dave Bugliari and Andrea Lee Greenburg, a major fund-raiser for Autism Speaks along with her husband, WME’s Ari Greenburg.