CAP D'ANTIBES, France — Bill Clinton's saxophone and Robert Pattinson's lips have helped a star-studded charity event raise money to fight AIDS.
An alto sax signed and donated by the former U.S. president was one of the star lots at the Cinema Against AIDS benefit on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival, selling for euro130,000 ($180,000). There was also keen bidding on two kisses from "Twilight" star Pattinson, which raised euro20,000 ($28,000) each.
Sharon Stone hosted the 16th annual event late Thursday at the exclusive Hotel du Cap on the French Riviera. Annie Lennox entertained about 800 guests who included Paris Hilton, model Claudia Schiffer, director Terry Gilliam, rapper 50 Cent and scientist James Watson, one of the discoverers of DNA.
Stone urged people to give generously despite the global economic slump. "Looking down at the price of my own shoes, we in this room cannot pretend that we have nothing to give," she said.
Like the Cannes Film Festival itself, the event was more muted than in recent years, with just a smattering of A-list stars and some lots selling for below their estimates. Organizers said the event raised a total of $4.5 million, compared with $10 million last year. Proceeds from the event go to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), a nonprofit organization that supports HIV/AIDS research.
Guests had to pass through police checkpoints to get to the event, where they drank champagne in the hotel grounds overlooking the Mediterranean before dining on smoked salmon and roasted sea bass. "Everybody knows there is a global economic slowdown of epic proportions," said Clinton, who supports AIDS research and treatment through his William J. Clinton Foundation.
He noted that $30 trillion in wealth had disappeared around the world between September and March, "and a lot of it came out of some of your bank accounts."
"I'm here with people who tell stories for a living," Clinton said.
"You don't need to read many novels or make many movies to realize that everybody has a story. ... Every time a child dies of AIDS somewhere in the world, the light goes out of a story."
Items on the auction blocks included a Fiat 500 car customized by Diesel, which sold for euro80,000 ($110,000); tennis lessons from pros Monica Seles and Jelena Jankovic, which raised euro35,000 ($50,000); and a handmade Karl Lagerfeld guitar case filled with Dom Perignon champagne, sold for euro50,000 ($70,000).
The offer of a special screening of Quentin Tarantino's World War II revenge caper "Inglourious Basterds" raised euro60,000 ($84,000).
Amid the auctioneering, Lennox entertained guests with songs including "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves." The singer dedicated "There Must be an Angel" to amfAR supporter Natasha Richardson, who died after a skiing accident in March. Stone said amfAR was setting up a fund in Richardson's memory for research on a cure for AIDS and donated $50,000 to help it along.
"Natasha said that she would go on until a cure was found for AIDS," Stone said. "I believe that she will."
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