This 13th annual Art of Elysium gala, held this past Saturday at the Palladium, sure wasn’t your average fancy charity shindig. There were famous people meandering about, dressed in award show-worthy gowns and bidding on things, but the vibe was full-on rock & roll revelry, with a stage done up to look like a wall at CBGB’s, a cool pop-art exhibit surrounding the venue’s floor (by local artist Kii Arens), rock stickers strewn about the banquet table seating, and party food including pizza, cookies and mini-burgers, versus the usual plated dinner.
Oh yeah, the entertainment was pretty good too — it was headlined by none other than Nirvana (Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear), with the likes of St. Vincent, Beck and Grohl’s daughter Violet on vocals. The event was named Heaven and it sure was that for rock fans (in addition to tables for major donors, a limited amount of tickets were sold to the public, who watched from the venue’s upper levels).
“Heaven is rock and roll… no truer words were ever put together,” said Arens of the event. “The chance to turn The Palladium into an art gallery was a dream come true. Sharing the space with Nirvana and Cheap Trick really takes the cake. Linda Perry and The Art of Elysium really gave their all to an event that does so much good work.”
Perry, who co-curated the entertainment part of the night was clearly proud to be involved. “The Art of Elysium is so important to us because of the sense of community and bringing art to heal,” she said from the stage Saturday. “It all came together organically… and we really wanted to create a unique experience so when you walk out of here, you’re going to remember what heaven is, and you’re going to be back next year to support. Helping each other- that’s what we’re here to do in this very traumatic world we’re in right now.”
In addition to the Nirvana performance, the event featured an opening set by L7, followed by Marilyn Manson doing a couple lo-fi versions of his hits, and Cheap Trick closing out the night. Topher Grace and his wife Ashley were honored for their volunteer work with the organization by Art of Elysium’s founder, Jennifer Howell, and a video showing the work the group does (hospital visits by musicians, classes for under-served communities, gatherings for elderly and sick children, and so much more) was screened before the performances.
“Heaven is rock and roll is the thirteenth year celebrating twenty-three years of The Art of Elysium,” Howell told L.A. Weekly after the event. “We are looking towards this new year to begin a capital campaign to build an endowment of $25M for 25 years of service. We are ready to firmly build the foundation to allow us the freedom to expand the programs that we do to others in need.”
“The Art of Elysium firmly believes that through the creation of art that individuals create and transcend their circumstances,” Howell continued. “Through the artist’s experience, the act of giving and being of service through their artistic talents, they transcend and then create from a place of connection.”