The Life Ball, Europe's largest (and possibly the world's most extravagant) annual HIV/AIDS fund-rasing party, celebrated its 20th anniversary by raising a record $2.6 million. Under the slogan, "Fight the Flames of Ignorance," the party on May in front of and inside Vienna's City Hall, drew an estimated 40,000 attendees, including fashion, film, and music icons.
The magenta carpet was flooded with thousands of revelers in fire-themed garb while an estimated 40,000 residents and visitors enjoyed the spectacle.
The fire theme lit up the catwalk during the fashion show.
Broadway and 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson kicked off the evening's revelry (and melted a few hearts) with the premier live performance of his single, "Drive."
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton addressed Life Ball founder Gery Keszler (second from right) and the audience, saying, "This organization was the first organization in Europe, beginning in 1992, that was seriously, systematically, from the beginning committed to combatting the AIDS epidemic and saving people's lives...I'm honored to be associated with them and really grateful that they support us." Much of the funds raised remain in Austria, but $860,000 will go to support the Clinton Health Access Initiative aimed at reducing the number of new HIV infections among babies in Uganda and Zambia.
The Gothic, historic Rathaus, the seat of government for both Vienna and the surrounding state, opened up for guests with concerts, dancing, and performancesthat last until the wee hours of the morning.
Musical performers during the opening included Resident Evil star Milla Jovovich, Scissor Sisters (shown), Baptist Giabiconi, Jon Secada, David Helfgott, Ensemble Wien Klang, and others.
A dancer on the catwalk
amfAR ambassador and model-actress-musician Milla Jovovich tickled the crowd when she said Vienna was one of her favorite cities. She later debuted her new song, "Electric Sky" during the fashion show.
Costumed ticket holders were aptly described by supermodel Paulina Porizkova as "truly spectacular, like a tropical hothouse of the wildest, brightest carnivorous plants."
The ultimate diva, supermodel Naomi Campbell, worked the runway in the first of two gorgeous gowns before speaking to the crowd.
During the two-hour processional extravaganza, glittered and body-painted dancers thrilled crowds in the City Hall Square as well as Austrian audiences at home watching the event on television.