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Originally published Monday, October 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM

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A lot more than glitter at ‘Golden Grrls’ gala

Reel Grrls throws a gilded fundraiser at the Century Ballroom; onward and upward for 826.


Seattle Times staff columnist

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“You’re gonna walk in and the glitter is going to get all over you,” Robin Heldwarned me as I stepped into the Century Ballroom the other night.

It was a welcome baptism to the fun and wonder of “Golden Grrls,” the seventh-annual fundraiser for Reel Grrls, the Seattle-based nonprofit that educates, mentors and equips young women to reach their potential in video production and digital storytelling.

Held, the executive director, welcomed every attendee, wearing a slinky black-and-gold evening gown, in keeping with the “golden” theme, natch.

“I bought it on eBay,” she told me, “but it was improved by (artist) Mark Mitchell.”

And there he was, fresh off the cover of CityArts Magazine and his show at the Frye Art Museum, called “Burial,” which was both a smash, and cathartic, from what he saw.

“People were bursting into tears,” Mitchell said of the response to his work, a collection of ensembles to clothe the dead. “One of my best friends, Riz Rollins, saw three pieces and had to leave. I think I struck a blow and told a deep story.”

Mitchell was there as the subject of a video produced by Reel Grrl Tima El-zein, part of which would be shown during dinner. So was a brief video by “Lucky Them” director Megan Griffiths, who engaged Reel Grrls in making the film’s electronic press kit.

I asked interactive producer Korby Searswhy he was there, and he told me about his connection to Held, and then something I can’t print here. But apparently the two are quite close.

Also dusted with Reel Grrls glitter: board President Ilona Rossman Ho; nightlife czarina Linda Derschang; art curator and real-estate agent Marlow Harris; Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs Director Randy Engstrom; and Jezebel writer Lindy West, fresh from her win at the Women’s Media’s Center’s Awards — presented to her by her new best friend, Jane Fonda. (West also served as the Golden Grrls’ emcee).

Scott Lawrimore, the deputy director of collections and exhibitions at the Frye, proved again to be one of the snappiest dressers in town. (“We have an amazing clothing allowance,” he joked.)

Lawrimore is busy preparing for the Franz Van Stuck show, which opens this weekend. The Frye is getting loans from all over the world, “So I am receiving fancy people with fancy crates,” he said.

And the show? Is it fancy, too?

“It’s dark and sexual,” he said. “And it’s good.”

In the back of the room, members of the a cappella group The Beaconettes sipped Champagne and kept their towering beehives tight in between performances.

On the side was a staircase adorned with tags that each featured a piece of equipment the Reel Grrls need to do the voodoo that they do so well. Donors could pluck one from the stairs, and pony up, say, $750 for a projector or $2,800 for a production laptop.

“We’re calling them ‘Techy Tags’ on the ‘Stairway to Giving,’ ” said volunteer Linda Hanlon. “They’re giving these girls a complete set of career skills. They can be involved in any part of production for any type of client, and they can be observers in the field.”

The stars in their courses

When you’re thanking your biggest donors, you want to give them the moon and stars.

That’s just what 826 Seattle did the other night. The nonprofit after-school writing and tutoring center asked Curtis Wong, the inventor of Worldwide Telescope, to bring his show to the outfit’s Greenwood storefront. That meant inflating a giant, traveling planetarium in which images from telescopes around the world could be projected.

Donors ducked into the doorway, glasses in hand, to basically travel through space — just as some of the 826 kids have done, before writing stories based on what they saw.

“It’s about empowering and inspiring kids to explore the universe,” said Wong, whose favorite constellation is Orion. (Mine, too. Must be the belt.)

The sky sure seems to be the limit for 826, in the eyes of Executive Director Teri Hein.

“We just keep getting better and better,” she said. 826 is at maximum capacity, and has added high-school tutors in the evenings.

“We feel pretty full of ourselves,” Hein said. “But we can only do this because people say, ‘Right on!’ ”

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



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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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