Clinton, Longoria, Perry attend Austrian AIDS gala
VIENNA: "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria Parker, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and singer Katy Perry attended a flamboyant Austrian charity gala Saturday dedicated to raising money for people with HIV and AIDS.
Other celebrities spotted at the Life Ball were actress Fran Drescher, former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson and model Amber Valletta.
The annual bash, held in and around Vienna's neo-gothic city hall, each year draws thousands of revelers in quirky and kinky costumes — and sometimes nothing more than G-strings and glitter.
Saturday's partygoers did their best not to disappoint.
As crowds craned their necks to catch a glimpse, a couple covered in blue body paint kissed for photographers. Another duo, also scantily clad, resembled silver sea urchins.
The party kicked off with an extravagant outdoor opening ceremony that combined music and dance segments with pleas to stay focused on fighting the devastating disease.
Longoria Parker, wearing a strapless gown, told the crowd that in many parts of Asia only a fraction of HIV positive children who need treatment actually receive it.
"There's a terrible shortage of doctors and other health care workers who are trained to provide the proper treatment and care for those children," said Longoria Parker, a representative of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of HIV/AIDS research.
Clinton, in a brief speech, urged people not to forget the less fortunate.
"We know we live in an interdependent world where we cannot separate our fates from those a long way away," he said. "Tonight, you are not just enjoying an extraordinary extravaganza, you are helping children and women and men to live in far away places who would have no money, no medicine, no hope."
In 2002, Clinton established the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative to facilitate access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and improve national health care systems in developing countries.
Once the opening ceremony ended, some 4,000 ticketed guests danced the night away inside city hall — a vast building with a courtyard and multiple floors.
"It's my first Life Ball and I'm really enjoying it," said Nicolas Lucas, a teacher dressed up as Neptune, God of the sea.
In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week, Life Ball founder and organizer Gery Keszler said he came up with the idea of the Life Ball almost two decades ago when one of his best friends got sick.
"It was a very risky idea because, at the time, AIDS was an absolutely taboo topic," Keszler said.