This past weekend was the biennial fundraising auction for Swanky Elementary School in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. While Swanky Elementary is a public school, it is attended by the children of some of Atlanta’s most upper-crust families and celebrities such as former NFL player Jerome Bettis, country music legend Kenny Rogers and the blogger beloved by hundreds, MommyEnnui. (“One of these things is not like the others…one of these things just doesn’t belong…”)
Aahhhh, and what a night it was. Excitement for the event began building months ago when this year’s theme was announced…“Denim & Diamonds.” So creative and not-at-all pretentious! The dress code for the evening was “dressy casual,” much to the confusion of many of Swanky’s parent fashionistas. It was widely agreed that the denim ensembles worn by former sweethearts, Brittney Spears and Justin Timberlake in 2001 would be most appropriate to the theme. Sadly, the fear of showing up dressed in the same outfit as another couple kept anyone from actually donning the attire for the evening. MommyEnnui briefly considered wearing bedazzled assless chaps, but the fact that she’d done a total of approximately ten squats in the past year made the decision to keep said ass under wraps an easy one.
The event was held at the hip, loft-like Mason Murer Fine Art gallery in Midtown because nothing cool like that exists in Buckhead and because few things thrill a well-to-do Atlantan more than pretending to be a New Yorker for an evening. In keeping with Southern tradition, the menu included meat, meat, meat, more meat, a soggy salad and a giant wheel of cheese. MommyEnnui (a vegetarian) was, however, more than happy with her dinner of bourbon, bourbon, bourbon, a chunk of cheese and four shot glasses of chocolate mousse.
The auction itself was extremely successful. This year, bidding was done via cellphone and began two days before the event. This gave attendees ample time to bid on Botox, vacations in Tuscany, diamond cross necklaces (oh-so-appropriate for a public school fundraiser) and golf rounds with celebrities from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. Mere middle-class mortals with hopes of snagging a cheap gift certificate to some fancy restaurant had absolutely no chance of succeeding given that most items were bid up beyond market value. Whoever originally came up with the idea of the silent auction fundraiser was a genius. Put rich people in a room with free-flowing booze, fun buttons to push, and other people they want to impress and you’ve got yourself a goldmine!
One item that failed to receive any bids however was a $3,000 painted portrait of Barack Obama. The opening bid was listed at the bargain basement price of $1,000. This author was shocked that the piece failed to sell. Shocked! The only possible explanation must be that people decided their money would be put to better use if donated to Hillary Clinton’s inevitable bid for the presidency in 2016.
A kooky Mardi Gras marching band, Seed & Feed Marching Abominable, provided some spice to the evening when the members came streaming into the gallery space, horns-a-blowin’ and surprised everyone (except for the event organizers, one would have to assume). The marching band’s appearance interrupted many banal conversations consisting of neighborhood gossip and networking opportunities, and turned the gathering into a real par-tay! The fact that the author has absolutely nothing snarky to say about the delightful band, is a rare occurrence and speaks volumes.
The crowd was also entertained by Atlanta’s favorite cover band, My Favorite Baldwin, in which MommyEnnui’s friend G is the funky bass player. (This was merely a happy coincidence seeing that MommyEnnui raised not a finger to help plan or throw the event…hence the reason one would be completely justified in saying she has no right to criticize a damn thing. Of course, that would be no fun at all.) The band was led by an impossibly tall singer with salt-and-pepper hair, wearing a dark shirt, cream colored blazer and mirrored sunglasses. His ensemble and demeanor screamed, “I may be a 50 year-old tax attorney, but someday I’m going to throw it all away to become a full-time rock-n-roll star!” To be fair though, while the singer was not exactly MommyEnnui’s “type,” he did have a large group of 30 to 40 year-old former sorority sisters on the verge of throwing panties onstage by the night’s end.
The pinnacle of the event was when the lily-white crowd (not the best representation of the diversity of Swanky’s student body, by the way) was brought to its feet to bust-a-move to such frat party classics as Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back,’ The Beastie Boys’ ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)’ and ‘Brick House’ by the Commodores. Let it never be said that My Favorite Baldwin doesn’t know how to play to the audience.
After a long night of reveling and raising money for the poor children of Buckhead, many a middle-aged, Swanky Elementary PTA mom served her kids breakfast in last night’s smeared mascara, weighed down by regrets and a raging hangover. Luckily, MommyEnnui learned two important lessons long ago while a public school student, herself: 1) She who falls asleep in her makeup wakes up with zits, and 2) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and take two Tylenol before bed lest ye lament those many cocktails even more than having your pathetic dance moves caught on camera.
While other school auctions may not feature the same big-ticket items or be attended by men in bespoke tuxes and former debutants clad in $300 jeans and mink coats, every school fundraiser can be judged on the same scale…whether there were piles of credit card receipts, stumbling drunks and embarrassing selfies left behind. According to this standard, the 2014 Swanky Elementary School auction was, undoubtedly, a wild success!