Artists Making an IMPACT at OYA

Artists Making an IMPACT

By Punch Playlist Correspondent Kia Scipio

On Monday, January 21, 2012, just as the Inauguration Parade was coming to an end, the IMPACT Arts & Film Fund, along with Perennial Sports and Entertainment, hosted Artists Making an IMPACT Cocktail Reception and Dinner at Oya. IMPACT Arts & Film Fund is a platform for arts, documentary and narrative filmmaking to engage with the political and policy arena.  While the temperatures outside were beginning to plummet and the wind was biting, it was definitely hot, hot, hot inside of Oya.

Artists Making an IMPACT
Stephanie Fuller, me and MC Hammer

Artists Making an IMPACT

Oya is pretty uber chic, with its minimalist, yet sumptuous marble and damask décor, which made it the perfect setting for what turned out to be quite an Inaugural celebration. It wasn’t long after the 6:00 pm start time that the party got started. Among the first to arrive was one time comedian now Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota). Not too long after his arrival, he was involved in a quite animated conversation with comedienne, actress and talk show host Aisha Tyler, though they were gracious enough to talk with me too. Both mixed and mingled with the guests and willingly took pictures with party attendees. I must note, Aisha Tyler and her husband, Jeff Tietjens, make a striking couple. When they walked in the room, I didn’t initially recognize her, but did a double take because they are just a really gorgeous couple, in that “they were made for each other” kind of way. That might explain why they’ve been married for 12 years (which is virtually unheard of in Hollywood). But, I digress . . .

Artists Making an IMPACT
Aisha Tyler and Senator Al Franken

Kate Walsh from Private Practice, talked about how excited she was about the second Inauguration of President Barack Obama. She attended the first one and felt like this go round was just as special and really personal to her. She said she wanted to bear witness to history being made again. The two of us were walking over to the buffet table, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one that actually got anything to eat that night. Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with her. Talk about class and grace, Walsh was completely unfazed by all of the fawning over her and was effervescent the entire evening. She seemed particularly excited when greeting Sophia Bush of One Tree Hill.

Artists Making an IMPACT
me with Delta Rae

Both women, who were absolutely stunning and just as gorgeous in person (if not more) as on the small screen, were like teenagers at the prom—checking one another out, asking about each other’s dresses and jewelry, etc. It was nice to see that they were just like the rest of us only a little more glamorous!

The most unexpected face in the place, that evening, was Stanley Kirk Burrell, aka MC Hammer and his wife Stephanie Fuller. While he’s known to be larger than life, he was actually very low-key and kind of kept to himself at a corner table. I noticed him because of his wife and the stunning metallic ball-gown that she was wearing. However, as soon as people realized who he was, which took a minute because he wasn’t wearing his trademark sunglasses (or Hammer pants), everyone wanted a photo-op with him. He, of course, graciously obliged.

Delta Rae an American folk rock band, who performed the night before at a Rock the Vote and Planned Parenthood event called “Plan to Rock”, made a pit stop at Oya before going to over to the Convention Center. The band, made up of three siblings Ian, Eric, and Brittany Hölljes, as well as Elizabeth Hopkins, Mike McKee and Grant Emerson are hitting the road and will be all over the country for the next several months. Their latest album, Carry the Fire, includes their rendition of Bless You (For the Good That’s In You), which is featured on the Gangster Squad movie soundtrack.

Other expected artists and actors were, as well as Lena Dunham and Allison Williams from HBO’s Girls. I never saw them and I think that they missed one really lovely party. The fireplace was roaring and the crowd was electric. It was a great warm up to all of the other Inauguration celebrations taking place that night, though anyone who stayed too long, missed the POTUS and FLOTUS at the official balls. The Presidential motorcade went whizzing by Oya at about 9:15 and they WEREN’T going toward the Convention Center. But, at least it was a really nice party at Oya!

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