Right now, we all need to laugh and give back.

The last couple days have been rough on me. I woke up Wednesday morning with an election hangover (okay, my old friend vodka helped a little.) I felt disappointed and helpless. I felt a strong need to do something to lift my spirits and make a difference, no matter how small. Thankfully I looked on my calendar and the 7th annual CGFGC charity event was scheduled for Thursday night. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

CGFGC (Canned Goods for a Good Cause) hosts an annual charity ball and swag-bag party. This was my first invite to this event. Billed as a night of music, comedy, dancing and of course swag. This years event benefits the Project Return Peer Support Network.

“The PRPSN started in 1980 when a group of people, who all had lived experience with mental illness, organically came together in support of one another. Since then, PRPSN has grown to offer over 175 support groups throughout Los Angeles, a crisis residential house, a warm line, a Spanish multi-service center, community outreach, psycho-educational workshops and employment training.” 

I don’t know anyone, myself included, who doesn’t have a friend, family member or personal lived experience with mental illness. It is something as a society we don’t talk about enough. There is still such a stigma around mental health issues and it’s important to support groups like PRPSN who are fighting for those who’s voice is rarely heard.

The event was held at The Study Hollywood. This is totally my kind of place. I’m obsessed with used books, rare books and consider myself a total bibliophile. (Check out my blog about my favorite used bookstore, The Illiad.) This place was literally packed to the ceiling with old books and typewriters.

The doors opened at 7pm with an hour of free wine service sponsored by Desperada Wines. Upon arrival you pay your $25 donation and are handed a red ticket to claim your swag bag at the end of the night. This was also an opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for the many prizes to be handed out throughout the evening. I arrived around 7:30pm and enjoyed a Desperada white wine while pursuing the book spines around The Study. There were so many books. It was like the library from my dream house. Which I will have one day. My library will also have a bar, but I’m adding a rolling ladder, because…it’s a rolling ladder and I need one. I couldn’t help but notice I was drawn to certain titles.  Obviously I’m still processing my feelings from Tuesday.

Around 8:30pm our emcee for the night, Travis Clark took the stage. I’ve hosted live events myself and I can tell you they are not easy. But Travis was a seasoned professional. He was funny and topical and got the chatty crowd to pay attention and most importantly to laugh. We all needed to laugh. I think when something depressing happens you feel guilty for laughing or even smiling. But comedy is here to get us through the darkest times. Good comedy takes the dark, depressing and even self-deprecating and turns it into something we can all relate to and laugh at, even if we’re laughing at ourselves.

Our emcee for the night, Travis Clark

A string of talented comedians took the stage one after another. Each with a different flavor and comedic style. In between the comedians there were raffles. Lots of raffles. Artisan soaps, and beard grooming kits, kickboxing lessons from Foxy & Fierce, gift certificates to Actors Key and Everson Royce, plus so much more. I really wanted to win the kickboxing lessons or the Everson Royce certificate, but I didn’t. I’m a big fan of them. If you’re unfamiliar with this awesome wine store, check out my blog post describing my visit.  The final comedian of the night was Andie Bolt. I can’t even begin to describe her set. But by the end, I along with the entire crowd, was tearing up from hysterical laughter. Do yourself a favor and go check her out.

After the comedians came the musical acts. The line-up consisted of singer-songwriter Ari Herstand, American Idol’s Adam Lasher and Soul Sensation Mad Revival. Sadly I was unable to stay for all the musical acts. It was a school night after all. But everyone I did see was wonderful. Upon exiting you turned in your ticket and received your swag bag. I read through the list of vendors providing goodies so I knew it would be good. But I was blown away by just how good. Items from Disney, PlayStation, Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers and so many more. I have a vast blu-ray collection and this bag definitely added some cool titles to my stash. The swag bag also contained t-shirts, hoodies, posters, skin care products from Herbalife, and a ton of movie promo novelties. I may not have won any raffle prizes, but walking out with this much good stuff for only a small $25 donation seems like a big win to me.

A small portion of my swag bag goodies!

Overall it was such a great evening.
I love seeing and being a part of a diverse group of people coming together to support those in need. I feel in the coming months and years, charity is going to play a larger part of all our lives. We must stand with those who need a voice and offer up a helping hand. We must give our friends a shoulder to cry on and someone with whom they can share a laugh.


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