Celebs get artsy at Elysium gala curated by Marina Abramovic

AP News
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Posted: Jan 11, 2015 10:17 AM
Celebs get artsy at Elysium gala curated by Marina Abramovic

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — If the Golden Globes are obvious — celebs, cameras, tuxedoes — the night-before Art of Elysium fundraiser is the ultimate in esoteric.

Where the typical black-tie gala promises drinks, dinner and entertainment, the art charity's eighth annual Heaven gala aimed to provide an artistic experience curated by performance artist Marina Abramovic.

"It's Marina's vision that you are part of the art," guests were told upon entering the party Saturday, held in an airplane hangar in Santa Monica, California.

It began with a "silent cocktail hour." Celebrants such as Zach Braff, Usher, Joaquin Phoenix and Johnny Depp, who lounged on a couch behind velvet ropes, were instructed not to speak during the cocktail reception and encouraged to wear silencing headphones provided by attendants. Drinks were to be ordered by pointing at a menu.

Depp and fiancee Amber Heard, the night's guest of honor, did not wear the headsets.

When chatter erupted after about 30 minutes, Abramovic playfully admonished partygoers for not following the rules.

Instead of a ballroom of numbered tables, guests entered a gymnasium full of beds topped with tray tables. Everyone was given a gray robe to wear over their fancy clothes. (Depp and Heard did not wear the robes.)

A small stage rotated in the center room and four giant video screens glowed overhead. Entertainment included a performance piece on love and loss, a 3-D film and a musical set by Moby.

The event was projected to raise $1 million for the nonprofit group that brings art to sick children and others in need.