By Audrey Rock
West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/16/17 – Just before the weekend kicked off, Tom Arnold hit the red carpet in West Hollywood at Peppermint Club in support of Imagine L.A, which aims to combat homelessness in Los Angeles with a unique mentoring model. He was hosting the Imagine Ball, and he had words for youth who might be struggling. Particularly youth with a dream.
“If you’re a young person, and you’re on the streets, there is help for you,” Arnold told THT. “You don’t have to be alone. It’s a dangerous place; and it’s addictive being on the streets…Best case scenario, you let people like us help you, you get out, get on your feet, and you’re going to have great stories to tell when you’re promoting your movies down the line. You can say, ‘hey, back when–man, I was homeless, and I was struggling, and look at me now.’ And those are the best kinds of stories.”
The Imagine Ball honored Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records, for his dedication to empowerment. “I’ve always thought celebrity had value, so I’m happy to share that,” Simmons told reporters. “And some money, and some support for this organization, it’s a special organization.”
Celebrities in attendance included Katharine McPhee, David and Erin Foster, L.A. Laker Jordan Clarkson, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Shelea, Opera powerhouse Fernando Valera, John Terzian, Shelea, JR Bourne, Colton Hayes and fiance Jeff Leatham, model Delilah Belle Hamlin, Pia Toscano, and Justine Skye, who also performed. It was presented by John Terzian and Val Vogt.
An auction was held to raise money for Imagine, with auctioneer Mellisa Nielson of Charity Angels and Arnold auctioning off several items, including Drake concert access with a meet and greet, a Malibu Wine Safari private tour and overnight stay (won by Katharine McPhee), and a 5-carat diamond tennis bracelet from XIV Karats.
The undisputed high point of the evening was David Foster’s captivating performance with his mini-entourage of vocalists. American Idol’s Pia Toscano took on covers of Celine Dion hits, hitting high notes with such perfection that she silenced the room. Shelea performed powerful Whitney Houston songs while guests sang along; and in an absolutely jaw dropping performance, Fernando Valera joined 15-year-old Laura Bretan in a spontaneous appearance to perform classical Opera.
Foster then coaxed Katharine McPhee onstage and convinced her to perform alongside Valera. The two expertly covered the Celine Dion/Andrea Bocelli duet “The Prayer.” Each of Foster’s performances left the audience breathless, shouting opera-hall encores even in the intimate club-style setting.
The remainder of the evening, guests enjoyed cocktails and custom-ordered Taco-Boy Tacos, laughed, snapped photos, and mingled with celebrity guests into the late hours. The fundraiser smashed expectations by raising over $270,000 to combat family homelessness and poverty in the city of Los Angeles. To learn more about Imagine L.A., visit www.imaginela.org