Malibu Seen / By Kim Devore

Sophie Gaynot and Derek Alpert celebrate a record-breaking year at Concern. Photo by Brian Woods


The Concern Foundation has always had one of the city’s most successful summer events. Over the years it has raised millions in the fight against cancer. But this year’s take was more impressive than ever. Concerned citizens who hit the back lot at Paramount Studios opened their hearts and their wallets like never before. The final total shows they shelled out a whopping $1.5 million. The outpouring of generosity impressed all, especially the organization’s hardworking president Derek Alpert.

“The $1.4 million we raised before the doors even opened exceeded our expectations,” Alpert said. Another $100,000 poured in after the live and silent auctions. “That takes us even further past our goal and we couldn’t be happier.”

The festivities drew a casually clad crowd of nearly 4,000. They brought their appetites and were ready to kick back, dance, wine and dine. The event featured delectable morsels from 60 top L.A. eateries including Larsen’s Steakhouse, Lawry’s, The Grill on the Alley, Il Cielo and La Cachette Bistro. You could savor flavors from around the world with everything from South American grill from Fogo de Chao to pastrami sammies from Factor’s Famous Deli. Delicious desserts included chocolate souffle from The Bistro Garden, gooey delights from Gotta Have S’more and old-fashioned ice cream sundaes from Dandy Don’s.

This year’s theme was “Dancing in the Streets” and dance they did. Guests were greeted by hundreds of movers and groovers who hit the stages performing everything from hula to Balinese to techno.

The live auction featured great getaways to exotic resorts in Costa Rica, a professionally prepared French feast for ten and, for sports fans, some sweet tix to the 2012 NCAA Final Four.

At the main stage, there were accolades for ten cancer survivors who have been with the organization throughout the years. Alpert said, “They represent over 13 million cancer survivors that have conquered this insidious disease thanks to discoveries that have been made by cancer research scientists.”

Over the years, the Concern Foundation has raised more than $45 million for cancer research and awarded funds to more than 600 top docs and scientists throughout the United States and around the world.


Another eating extravaganza that has helped raise millions is the annual American Wine and Food Festival. For three decades celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has been in charge of the event, which benefits Meals on Wheels. But foodies found themselves flabbergasted when the culinary guru decided to step away from the event. The news was confirmed by Puck insiders who say Wolf won’t be on board, but will continue to support Meals on Wheels. He’ll be involved with other big LA food events, but for lovers of the old AWFF, it’s the end of an era.