On Saturday, March 7, what happened at the California Science Center stayed at the Science Center at least for that evening. Since then however, the event has generated quite a buzz.
The California Science Center's 11th Annual Discovery Ball gala featured special exhibitions, "CSI: The Experience" and "Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause," for an evening of intrigue amidst a glamorous Las Vegas backdrop. Guests and celebrities, from the hit TV series "CSI Las Vegas," participated in the crime scene investigation of a beautiful showgirl found "dead" on the Vegas Strip and had a chance to use forensic science to crack the case.
Co-chaired by Alan J. Fohrer, CEO, Southern California Edison and Tony Buzzelli, Vice Chairman and Regional Managing Partner, Deloitte, the gala achieved its gross revenue goal of $1.1 million, despite a mild drop in attendance from 810 the previous year to 750 guests this year.
The gala's auction conducted by NBC4's weathercaster Fritz Coleman raised nearly $50,000. As a cost-saving measure, the de'cor and design was handled completely in-house.
Among the distinguished business, community and entertainment industry leaders were: Cindy Chvatal, Executive Producer of CSI; William Petersen (aka CSI's Gil Grissom); Paul Guilfoyle (aka CSI's Captain Jim Brass); Conan Nolan, NBC4 reporter and co-host of "News Conference"; Paula Madison, Executive Vice President of Diversity for NBC Universal; Michael Cooper, Head Coach of the LA Sparks; Hazel Gordy, Berry Gordy Family Foundation; Edna Anderson-Owens, Senior Vice President, TGC Management; Joel Strom, Chair, California Science Center Board of Directors; Richard and Melanie Lundquist, Continental Development Corporation; Margo Leonetti O'Connell, Chair, California Science Center Foundation Board of Trustees; Carol Schatz, President and CEO, Central City Association of Los Angeles; and Suzanne Wright and Trustee, Ibrahim El-Hefni Technical Training Foundation.
Political leaders in attendance included: George Deukmejian, former Governor of California; Rod Wright, California State Senator; Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Supervisor; Mike Davis, California State Assembly Member; John Chiang, Controller, State of California; Wendy Greuel, Controller Elect, City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles City Council members Jan Perry and Herb Wesson; and LAUSD Board of Education President Monica Garcia and members Marguerite Poindexter Lamotte, and Julie Korenstein.
As the Discovery Ball guests set about finding answers to "who did it?" to the "dead" Vegas show girl, they partook in forensic science experiments during the "Hot Slots" cocktail reception to test their evidence. Later, they dined on a three-course dinner in a vintage Vegas showroom setting where the auction and live entertainment took place.
Some of the hot auction items included: an experience with the LA Sparks featuring a two-ball competition with the players; access to the locker room and being named Honorary Coach; opportunities to visit the sets of "CSI: New York," "CSI: Las Vegas" and "CSI: Miami" with a walk-on role for the latter; and a 12-night cruise to a destination of one's choice with Princess Cruises.
The after-party was held in the Science Center's Loker Conference Center which was transformed into a nightclub, modeled after the hottest club on the strip, featuring casino table action and dancing to a live band.
There was also a private screening of the new IMAX film "Under the Sea 3D."
Located just south of downtown Los Angeles in Exposition Park, the California Science Center is one of Southern California's premier family destinations and it's free admission makes it a great activity in these challenging economic times.
The Science Center's mission is to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences and has welcomed over 15 million visitors since its grand opening in February of 1998.