AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) held its annual spring dinner, with award-winning comedian Paula Poundstone headlining the April 18 event.
"A One Woman Show: An Evening with Paula Poundstone" welcomed approximately 500 guests into the Hilton Chicago's Grand Ballroom. The event consisted of a cocktail reception, dinner and a VIP Reception.
Choreographer Randy Duncan was presented with the Civic Leadership Award and Robert Neubert received the Lori Kaufman Volunteer Award. Neubert is director of catering sales at the Hilton and also a board member of AFC.
Dean Richards, WGN entertainment reporter and David Munar, AFC president/CEO took the stage to welcome the crowd, while Curtis Reed, Jr., AFC's board of directors' chair delivered a message on behalf of the board.
Poundstone performed her stand-up comedy routine consisting of a mix of her own jokes and improvised material, which called for some audience participation.
Duncan, a nationally renowned choreographer who has donated his time and choreography to Dance for Life, the annual performance benefiting local AIDS organizations, said he is driven by the fact he can help those who have battled with the disease.
"The great thing about it is having all these supporters and friends come out and say thank you for something I am absolutely passionate about," said Dunca. "It's really no work for me and it's really a privilege to be doing what I do and to know people are out there and actually enjoy the fruits of what the passion is, is just incredible. It really feels good; very special."
In the midst of a difficult and tragic week, including the Boston bombing, Munar said he was thrilled with the event's turnout, the support from attendees, and the Chicago community's efforts in leading the fight. Poundstone, he said, was a natural pick for the event as she is a longtime supporter of the cause. This event marked her sixth appearance at an AFC fundraiser.
"She lends her talent and her time to help us raise money for the fight, so in thinking about how to bring back the energy we thought Paula was a great pick," said Munar. "Today she proved that was a good decision. We love Paula. She's quirky, she's silly, her comedy is interactive and very standup; she gets the crowd thinking. She's fabulous."
Describing the evening as interesting with its mix of a serious conversation and comedy, Reed said the event helps in raising money and attention to the foundation to keep the foundation strong in further helping the cause.
"There's a lot of issues and tragedy and drama going on, I think it's good to sometimes be able to take a step back and just have fun, but also don't forget about whatever the greater issues are," said Reed. "It [the event] raises money and it gives us an opportunity to further try to add more donors. So, as we try to attract people to come to the event, we hope we attract more donors, not only for this event, but for future events and also spread more information about what's happeningcurrent information. There's a lot of stats tonight about things that are involving HIV/AIDS and I think that's important that people understand those stats and hopefully that will drive action in terms a donation or involvement."
You can read honoree Robert Neubert's speech here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/GUEST-VIEW-AIDS-remembered/42457.html .