I went to the Winter Park Community Center, (721 West New England Ave. Winter Park), on December 2nd to the Moulin Rouge Gala. I felt it was important that an artist be at the Gala. Toulouse Lautrec wouldn't have passed on the opportunity. Every two years Le Salon Zizou works with a local charity and other participates to put together a combination of hair, fashion and entertainment to raise money for charity. This year they worked with the Disability Wellness Centerin Sanford to help raise money for the EKSO suit for paraplegics. There are ONLY 20 world wide and this will be HUGE for Central Florida to have the first EKSO suit used for physical therapy when the other 20 are used for studies.
When I arrived, the dancers from Emotions Dance got on stage to loosen up and get used to the size of the stage. Larissa Humiston stood in front of the stage to let them know what worked and what didn't. After them, a woman performed solo with Hula hoops and large geometric forms that she spun above her head. The ceiling was rather low which resulted in her crashing the huge cube shape into the ceiling beam. A singer discussed her song with the DJ. People in wheel chairs took to the stage. Blinking lights were on the chairs making for quite a display. Then negotiated the stage in a pre-planned choreography.
The twenty or so models arrived with outlandish hair stylings. I noticed model Jenny Coyle, from Sketchy Broads, with her hair bundled up in three huge Princess Lea buns. Le Salon Zizou, in association with the West Orlando Rotary Club, presented their 3rd annual Charity Hair Spectacular. The real highlight of the evening came when Sarah Anderson got on stage with her wheel chair. With an assistant to spot her, she strapped herself into the EKSO Suit. As she did so, she talked about the day in 2003 when she lost her ability to walk. She was skiing that day and for whatever reason, she had an ominous feeling that she shouldn't be on the mountain that day. Regardless, a horrible fall on the slope resulted in her becoming a paraplegic. Doctors told her that she would never walk again. She leaned forward and raised herself from the wheel chair. She walked across the stage as the servos, gyros and computerized pistons responded to her weight shifts allowing each step in succession. Sarah stood onstage during the auction and the bidding got heated. "Never say never!"
On the flag: Charlottesville, Virginia, USA sketcher Jessie Chapman sketching at Charlottesville train station with UVA Medical Center in the distance.
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