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    Academy of Friends Gala Outshines the Oscars


    Local parties centered on national events tend to pale in comparison to the bigger occasion. A very rare exception is the Academy of Friends’ Academy Awards Night Charity Gala, which will take place on Sunday, February 28, at the San Francisco Design Center, starting at 5 pm. We think this incredible fundraiser is now even better than the Oscars itself.

    Consider that for years, the Academy Awards has been under increasing intense scrutiny for failing to represent diversity in nominations. As host Neil Patrick Harris said when opening the show last year: “Welcome to the 87th Oscars. Tonight, we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest—sorry brightest.” Women, LGBT individuals and others have also rightfully protested the Academy’s choices. The Academy of Friends, however, continues to rise above such problems, with its gala having raised over $8.7 million for local HIV/AIDS direct care and educational service agencies.

    Criticizing the awards show is even part of the gala tradition, which also sees standing ovations too, such as after last year’s memorable performance by Lady Gaga. Commiserating and celebrating in the company of friends–with live entertainment, gourmet food and beverages–always makes for a great evening for an even greater cause.


    When the Academy of Friends was founded in 1980 by Kile Ozier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was just beginning to recognize horrific threats posed by the then growing epidemic of what would later be identified as HIV/AIDS. In April of that year, San Francisco resident Ken Horne was one of the epidemic’s first U.S. victims. Decades of deaths due to the virus followed.

    The millions of dollars raised by the Academy of Friends, as well as numerous other fundraising efforts, have since helped fund scientific breakthroughs that have largely taken us out of that death spiral. We need to do more, however, to eradicate HIV/AIDS completely in our lifetimes. We therefore hope that you will support the work of the Academy of Friends, knowing that all proceeds from ticket sales go to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Know that you’ll also see the Academy of Friends’ famous and impossibly sexy Golden Boys, as well as other local notables dressed to impress. After the show, the shoes (and sometimes more) come off for DJ dancing until the doors close.

    For more information and to purchase tickets, go to