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AIDS RIDE JOURNAL 2004 - Page 3 | Donate Here

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FUNDRAISING…IS NO FUN God I hate this part of it. The first year there was a novelty aspect to our appeal that played well with some of our donors: "Really? You're riding 600 miles? That's so great! I'd be glad to help." The second year the response was a bit more muted: "Really? You're doing that AGAIN? That's so….impressive." (long silence) Janet

The first year one of our plans was to have a bake sale to coincide with a combination garage sale-auction to be held at David Keeps' home in Echo Park. It gave me a lovely excuse to send Ann off to COSTCO with a shopping list that included kilo-sized packages of chocolate chips, 15 pounds of superfine baking sugar, butter that had to be purchased in bricks you could build a patio with. Unfortunately I got so blasted into a sugar high that I wound up giving away most of my stock.

David KeepsThen for Year Two David again came to our rescue, offering up his store in Chinatown, Shop Chuey, as the site for a combination sale-burlesque performance that brought in almost $500. (Thank you Janet 'Ginger Goldmine' Austin, DJ Steve Martin, and, as always, David.)



This year we've sworn to start early and to somehow expand our pool of donors. We've got a new strategy that I believe has a certain minimalist appeal, a clean elegance that brings the process back to its very essence. Pan handling. I was inspired by story I heard about how the people who work the freeway off ramps can make up to $10 an hour. How hard could it be? In just 500 hours we'd make our nut. With that in mind we targeted the Oscars as a first test of the new campaign. We rode up to the Kodak Theater in Hollywood on the last day of February and scouted out a spot. Finally we positioned ourselves on Highland next to the line of orange cones that siphoned an endless cavalcade of stretch limos and Hummers into the phalanx of bomb squad cops across Sunset. Every few minutes the light would stop the limos and we'd walk the line, Ann holding up a large sign that said "Will Ride for AIDS" while I followed behind, grinning like a scared monkey and shaking an old coffee can. Most of the windows remained anonymously shut, impervious to our relentless imprecations but every so often there would be a limo with a hapless smoker inside who was forced to roll down the window. Who gave: Jude Law ($20), Peter Jackson ($3 but he DID take a donor form), a young woman walking her dog ($10) and a 14-year-old boy (52 cents) who liked the bikes. Sting rolled down the window of his Prius and gave us a thumbs up, as did Johnny Depp, but neither was carrying loose change or cash in their tuxedos. A pair of cops on bikes appeared suddenly and told us to get back on the sidewalk, effectively ending the experiment. It was getting cold anyway. All in all, we agreed it had been a surprising success. (PHOTO12:THE CAN (ann to email) A week later we went down to the Convention Center where the L.A. Marathon Expo was going on. It was the day before the race and thousands of runners and bikers were there, filling out their forms, getting their race numbers and goodie bags. We positioned ourselves at the exit and began shaking the can, demanding "just a quarter." We were playful but insistent, making eye contact whenever possible. In just over an hour we collected $120 from all manner of people--although most of our donations came from women, especially mothers with kids in tow. It was especially touching when they'd come back, having escaped us, and peel out folded dollar bills from deep in their handbags.

Next stop? The off-ramp that feeds into Los Feliz off the 5 north. Coming soon: In front of the Disney Studios in Burbank. And in late March we'll be taking the can on the road to New York for a fun-filled week of begging in front of Conde Nast!

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