Sunday, February 16, 2020

Brandi Fields’ Oscar Party

As you all know, last week was Oscars Night.  What a depressing set of movies.  Not bad movies, some of them were superbly done but still very upsetting.  I wrote to a friend regarding, “1917”, we know War Is Hell but why did they have to put me through it.  But what a journey!  “The Joker” is, literally, insanity and “Parasite” has a climax beyond imagination.

With the world in the situation it is today, this is not surprising.  The movie makers do not feel it is a time for fun and frivolity even though that may be exactly what we need to calm our nerves.  I have learned that psychologists and psychiatrists have been getting more business as a result of our own administration and world affairs.

A good antidote for the malaise caused by the films and times is to go to a party and we went to Brandi’s Oscar Party, a charity fundraiser.  When we arrived, we were greeted by this half naked gentleman with whom our photo was taken on their red carpet.  

The evening started with a silent auction and a raffle.  For the latter we were vying for a group of about six restaurants offering up to $300 worth of food each. The auction alone raised over $3,000. When they asked each table to fill out a “report card”, an excuse for looking for additional contributions, one table gave over $1,000 so the charity did not do badly. 

Many dressed up for the theme which was Studio 54 Prom Night!  Here are some of the outfits.

None were as glamorous as the six dresses that Brandi, the organizer and hostess wore during the evening.  Here are a couple of images of Brandi in action.

The event happens at a posh hotel in town with an excellent chef, so we ate well, and wine was generously passed, plus there was a cash bar for the harder stuff.  Even though it was not easy to hear one’s neighbor with a couple of hundred people in the room and the large screen showing the Oscars from the television, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

A few years ago we went to one of Brandi’s Oscar parties that benefitted Youthworks of Santa Fe and last weekend’s was  for Communities in Schools.  From the web: “The Communities In Schools is a national organization working within public and charter schools in 25 states and within the District of Columbia. It aims to build relationships that empower at-risk students to stay and perform well in school and become good achievers not just academically but also in life.”  My wife, Penelope, has been working in the Santa Fe public schools under their auspices for some time as a teaching assistant and tutor.  We learned that 75% of the children in our public-school system live below the poverty level.  Also, we know that that many have to struggle with English as a second language.  Communities in Schools has its work cut out for itself.

Amusingly Brandi and one of the guests we invited actually recognized each other from quite different circumstances: when working at Anne Taylor, Calvin “Brandi” Fields assisted our friend and her daughter in purchases, taking such good care of them that they went back regularly, and, as our friend said to me, her husband had to pay for it all! 

At the event I asked Brandi whether she was an actress. she replied, “No, just a fundraiser for charities”.  What a wonderful vocation and occupation.  Later I wrote asking for some biographical information since I could find hardly anything online, which is most unusual, Calvin “Brandi” Fields wrote back: 

I moved to Santa Fe in August of 1997 from Virginia.  I worked in restaurants and Ann Taylor.  I got into fundraising around 2006 working with such organizations as Aid n Comfort, Habitat for Humanity - Santa Fe, Human Rights Alliance/Santa Fe PRIDE” and others. I began my Annual Oscar Benefit the year after my mom passed away.  The first 6 years it was held for Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families.  Then I started to do a new nonprofit each year.”  Now Santa Fe’s charities compete to be the next beneficiary of Brandi’s Oscar Party. 

Calvin “Brandi” Fields sees it as “an amazing opportunity for me to bring awareness to these organizations and help raise money for the great work that they do … We live in a small community and there are over 200 nonprofits, many of which are asking from the (same) small pool of donors that support most if not all. I have been very fortunate to have built a very respectable event that started with 35 guest and now has over 220 guest that love to dress up and walk the RED CARPET on Oscar Night.” 

For the last three years Calvin Fields has worked on a regular basis at St. Elizabeth Shelters & Supportive Housing where his title is Events Fundraiser & Community Outreach.  His statement that the work is “rewarding as well as very trying because I am always asking for something from someone, it seems” resonated with me as I am on the boards of a couple of the many not-for-profit institutions in town.

I am going to close with a non sequitur.  On the way back to our car we passed this one owned by someone who must have won an awful lot of awards, if not Oscars. The perfect ending for a fun evening!

No comments:

Post a Comment