In tough times, Cannes charity gala gets personal

Fri May 25, 2012 7:43am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

ANTIBES, France (Reuters) - At a time of economic uncertainty, the glitziest charity gala at the Cannes film festival got personal.

Each year at the luxurious Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, just along the coast from Cannes, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, invites the famous and fabulously wealthy for a night of fine food, fine wine, dancing and giving.

This year Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Kirsten Dunst and Adrien Brody were among the stars to grace the black tie event late on Thursday and into the early hours of Friday.

The celebrity auction held during dinner got off to a slow start, prompting those with the microphone to cajole, abuse and name and shame to ramp up the prices.

"We're talking austerity prices, and I'm disappointed quite frankly," said the auctioneer when offers for a Cartier watch were not forthcoming.

Eventually co-host and model Heidi Klum threw in a free massage to the winning bidder. The add-on appeared to do the trick, and the time piece went for 65,000 euros ($82,000).

"Come on you tight bastards!" shouted U.S. comedian Chris Tucker, who was on stage to sell a collection of 1911 Moet & Chandon vintage champagne. The final price was 150,000 euros.

U.S. director Brett Ratner resorted to the name-and-shame game when auctioning a Jean Pigozzi photograph of Annie Leibovitz and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards from 1979.   Continued...