Friday, March 31, 2006

The Fundraiser Recap, or "Bring Warm Clothes" the Diplomatic Official Advises.



Did I say thank you to everyone? Cause what I'm feeling today is one big fat THANK YOU. I'd like to give a more sober recap than the brief accounting I gave last night when I got home. To start, the above photo is, from left, Paul Hanson, then Mr. Neemun Gal, Second Secretary to the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations, and in the bright red crayon, is me. And let me tell you, your fundraiser is just not a fundraiser until you have a Mongolian diplomat there. More on Mr. Gal in a moment. There is a lot that made last night great. To give the rundown for those who weren't there, we were at Winnie's Bar in Chinatown, which I realized after the fact was a tad cozy for the number of people we were expecting. Which just rocks. There was some pizza. There was an auction catalogue of car parts that contained two lots #2 and no lot #6.

There was family - my brothers David and Abraham, my dad and stepmom and cousins Lila, and Robbie and Ryan and Aunt Ellyn, whom we hadn't seen in too, too long. There was Paul's family, who were clearly the best karaoke-ers, and in terms of sheer population, it appeared that the Matthews Family once again, represented. Kiowa, Andrew, Jane, Ed, Pam, Michael, Nora and some stray named Jim they picked up along the way. It seems that at some point, someone gave Jim the microphone. See Exhibit 2. (It would appear that this man is responsible for the Saddam Hussein content in your favorite tv show).

Things started to get cooking, and then, I believe it was Yvonne, walked up and introduced Mr. Gal. We weren't quite sure whether he would be able to make it to our event, but he did, and he graciously spoke to the crowd about Mongolian culture and life, and that Mongolia offers its full moral support to Team Newyorkistan. Now here's our plug. Learn more about Mongolia. As Mr. Gal informed us last night, Mongolia, even now in the 21st century, is supporting a nomadic culture that is unsustained elsewhere in the world. It's exotic, it's beautiful, it's wild - and apparently, even people in the big city live in gers. Isn't that amazing?!

Then our fabulous emcee and hostess, Megan, took the stage and started us on the live auction. It was ridiculous. I wasn't quite sure whether people would be interested in sponsoring car parts, considering that their ownership in the actual parts would be theoretical. Maybe it was Megan's engaging stage presence, or maybe it was the liquor. All I know is that those car parts went, and fast. and for more than we could have possibly hoped. For instance, this is what it looked like when we auctioned the driver's seat:
The full results of the auction will be released when Paul and I can find the paperwork. But for now I can tell you that one Michael Matthews bought the whole damn thing. He must now pick the design for a big fat sticker to go across the hood.
All I can say about the auction itself, is that it was a complete outrage, how much money you people all donated to charity. You really are going to make a difference in the lives of many many people. I hope that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

But it doesn't end there. No night at a karaoke bar would be complete without people making complete asses of themselves. That would be me singing "Africa" by Toto. Somehow, Michele managed not to make an ass of herself, singing the same song with me. This may have something to do with how naturally funny she is. And then there's a whole other level of irony to the karaoke. I really didn't know what I was missing in my life until Dan (and Mike? Lila? Who'd you do that with) sang EASY LOVER. (picture the brooklyn hipsters singing phil collins). This picture however, of Mr. and Mrs. Hanson, is a picture of people doing karaoke and not making fools of themselves.

Audrey's Mongol Rally Oscar Acceptance Speech (sans time limit).
There was so much that so many people did to make last night absolutely perfect. Kiowa and Andrew *slaved* over baking beautiful and delicious cookies that they decorated in the colors of the Mongolian flag. What says love more than doing that for a friend. Yvonne deftly managed the money, the door, the papers, the crowd and was always a sweetheart. Megan, who literally had no idea she was to conduct the auction until an hour before it happened - looked absolutely effortless up there (I think the proof is in the donations). Alex, who came out of nowhere with guests, money, and rally cheerleading. My wonderful coworkers (new and old) - John, Liz, Matt, Justin, Rachael, Jon and Shareen. God knows how much effort it is to get out with a work schedule in our profession, but there they all were. Our new President of the Team Newyorkistan Backseat Drivers Club - who will surely soon make an announcement to the legions of members out there. Nick Cernese, who probably spent 15 minutes in the US in all of March, made it to Winnie's. Brian on a school night. All the great people who donated but couldn't make it last night - first and foremost the amazing Lee Marcus, who was missed. And probably does a great Sinatra. And all the folks we met for the first time last night - please please please send us an email at mongolrally06@gmail.com, so we can keep you up to speed on the team and its exploits. You're our peeps.

And here I leave you with a picture of my dad and his poker-auction face. (Note also, Andrew has same face. They may have been bidding against one another.)

Life is good.

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