AFAN fights AIDS with Cosmo party

EDITOR’S NOTE: Maggie Lillis is sitting in the week for Dorothy Huffey, who is on vacation.

In a world often clouded by gray, the fight against HIV/AIDS was a definable black and white at the 25th annual Black & White Party Aug. 27 at Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The event, an avant-garde gathering of about 3,000 partygoers, supported the efforts of Aid for Aids of Nevada, or AFAN. From tuxedos to coverage barely greater than swimsuits, guests and performers alike donned their best interpretation of the black and white required dress code.

Impersonators Las Vegas Kiss were a party of four already suited for the occasion.

The faux rockers amused alongside live macaws, stilt walkers, dancers, fortunetellers, body painters and an artist completing a live work commemorating the event.

Small plates were served from eateries Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, China Poblano, Comme Ca, D.O.C.G., Holsteins, Jaleo and STK, all Cosmopolitan establishments. Their eats were accompanied by offerings from BOA Steakhouse, Sushi Roku, Brio Tuscan Grille, Rubio’s, P.F. Chang’s, Outback, Chicago Popcorn, The Cupcakery, The Cookie Zoo and Winder Farms.

Elaborate ice bars quenched thirsts — temperatures at the outdoor event hovered around 95 degrees — thanks to liquor sponsors Jose Cuervo, Montecristo Rum, Moet Champagne, Trader Joe’s, Absolut Vodka and Ketel One. Snow cones with the night’s signature rum were a draw all night for partygoers.

KLAS-TV, Channel 8, anchor Chris Saldana emceed the event, inviting to the stage performers including Strip acts such as Wynn Las Vegas’ "Le Reve," "Absinthe" and stars from the V Theater.

DJ Axis added musical entertainment. Fans emblazoned with "I (heart) DJ Axis" were handed out to help guests keep cool.

Guests included former U.S. Rep. Dina Titus; Antioco Carrillo, deputy director of Community Counseling Center; Patricia Saavedra, AFAN board president; Nycole Cummings, AFAN board treasurer; Frank Pellegrino, co-owner of Rao’s; Stephen Hopcraft, STK chef and "Top Chef" contestant; state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-Las Vegas; Colleen Yoshida of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority; Ronn Nicolli, director of strategic marketing for Tryst and XS nightclubs; and Jay Alpert, public relations manager of Station Casinos.

Other guests included Miss Nevada 2011 Sarah Chapman; Seth Yudof, owner of Masquerade Productions; Shaun Mollica, grant writer at Community Counseling Center; Assemblyman Elliot Anderson, D-Las Vegas; Ruth Furman, owner of Image Words Publicity & Writing; Dawn Britt, director of public relations for The Venetian and Palazzo; author PJ Perez; Calvert Collins of KLAS-TV, Channel 8; and Lisa Remillard of KTNV-TV, Channel 13.

Also, Sara Gorgon, public relations manager at MGM Resorts International; Jennifer Hanson, communications specialist at NV Energy; Lindsey Rathjen, account executive at Kirvin Doak Communications; Rehan Choudhry, director of entertainment and special events for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; "Absinthe" stars Angel Porrino, Melody Sweets and Penny Pibbets; "Holly’s World" co-star and Playboy playmate Laura Croft; and Rio performers Penn & Teller.

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