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Originally published June 24, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Page modified June 26, 2013 at 6:44 AM

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Chihuly’s musical mashup a hit; 826 Seattle dances for dollars

A Chihuly-hosted fundraiser for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra embraces music “from Mozart to Macklemore”; 826 Seattle has a dance-marathon fundraiser; Duff McKagan is honored among “distinguished alumni.”

Seattle Times staff columnist

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There’s a lot to admire about the Chihuly Boathouse. The view, the glass-bottomed lap pool (natch) and the tables that look like tall trees split, polished and laid to one side.

But the bathroom reading is unparalleled: everything from Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” to Joseph Heller’s “Something Happened” to “The Ghost at the Waterfall” from the Vicki Barr Flight Stewardess series. I could have stayed in there all night.

Ah, but I was there for Club Ludo, the annual fundraiser at which the Seattle Symphony Orchestra welcomes the city’s music community to raise a glass and plug in, and invites them to visit Benaroya Hall. The night raised $140,000 (a 40 percent increase over last year) to support the symphony’s education and community programs.

“Tonight is a dream come true, and an invitation to become part of our family,” Symphony Board Chair Leslie Chihulytold me. “We’re not a separate institution. We’re part of the musical mother lode here in Seattle. From Mozart to Macklemore.”

Her husband, Dale Chihuly, welcomed people and urged them to spread out.

“You would think they would want to go outside,” he said. “Why isn’t anyone going outside?” (I don’t know. The bar inside, maybe?)

Outside, JJ McKay stood sipping a vodka and wearing a smile — as well as a giant handprint on the crotch of his beige trousers. Ahem.

“They were designed by Yoko Ono,” he told Cliff Burrows, who oversees Starbucks operations in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia and the Middle East, and still has time to breathe in and out.

Star Annagave me a hug and news of her new album, “Go to Hell,” planned for a fall release from Spark & Shine Records, which also signed Ken Stringfellow and The Maldives .

“It’s the name of a Nina Simone record we cover,” Star explained. “But it’s also the overall message of the record.” (Check those liner notes, people).

By the cheese platter, I spotted former Gov. Dan Evans, and addressed him as such. He smirked, “That was so long ago, everyone forgot.”

He’s completing “the last dregs” of his autobiography. (“If I don’t finish it this year, I never will”) and, like the rest of us, wondering what the holdup is in Olympia. (Anotherspecial session?)

Could it be our relatively new Gov. Jay Inslee ?

“Being in Congress doesn’t prepare you to be governor,” Evans said of Inslee’s path to the statehouse. “You need to take charge. He needs to set the agenda and fight for it.” There’s an understatement.

Club Ludo’s tagline was “Where the music never stops,” and that was true. A young symphony ensemble entertained the crowd at the start of the night, and then Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Lukas Nelson(a singing ringer for his father, Willie) and Chris Frieltook over one end of the room to perform some J.J. Cale.

Sage Redmankicked off things downstairs, performing with Joe Gillickas the romantic-electronica-Radiohead-inspired duo, Lychee.

The perfectly punk-and-poppy Young Evilsstarted the late shift (look for their new album, “Crime Scene A-Go-Go,” in October), and then a hush fell over the crowd (and a smartphone forest rose) when symphony music director Ludovic Morlotpicked up his violin to take the stage with McCready and Nelson on a cover of Eddie Vedder’s “Just Breathe.” Morlot couldn’t stop smiling.

“You know, the great thing about being a conductor is you never worry about embarrassing yourself,” he said.

Just then, someone in the crowd offered him a rock ’n’ roll christening by hollering a lusty, “LUDO!”

If Leslie Chihuly wanted to merge Seattle’s music genres, well, that moment may have hit the perfect note.

Dancing for 826

“Has anyone seen ‘Strictly Ballroom’?” KIRO-FM radio host Luke Burbankasked the packed room at Nectar in Fremont the other night. “This is going to be a lot like that. But less Australian.”

That was one way to describe the fourth annual “Dance Your Cash Off” dance marathon fundraiser for 826 Seattle. The Greenwood nonprofit provides tutoring and writing programs for kids all over the city, and is an outpost of the organization started in San Francisco by author Dave Eggers.

“This night is my most fun night,” said 826 Seattle Executive Director Teri Hein. “This, and Christmas.”

One girl raised $1,000 by amassing five- and 10-dollar donations from, among other places, her mother’s squirrel club, Hein said.

“Art Zone” host Nancy Guppyand her husband, Joe Guppy, (both in bob wigs, cardigans and chinos) warmed up the crowd by doing the “Evolution of Mom Dancing,” perfected by “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon and first lady Michelle Obama. Then they headed out to Spinasse to celebrate their 26th anniversary. Not sure if they changed first.

The crowd danced until 11 p.m. and raised $33,000 — $1,000 over the goal. Way to crack some nuts.

McKagan honored

As if we couldn’t love Duff McKaganany more, the tall blond behind Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver and the Walking Papers was just given Seattle Central Community College’s 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award.

In a video he made during a tour stop in South Africa (it played at SCCC’s commencement), McKagan called the school “a game changer” in his life.

McKagan returned to his education at 30, learned to study and developed the discipline to move on to the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University — and to a second career as a writer and money manager.

“I’m really quite honored,” McKagan said. “Maybe I’ll come to school and drop in on a class.”

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

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About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold

On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week's social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve. 206-464-2334

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