Viva the King

Who knew Elvis was an art lover? The KIng made a surprise appearance at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s Wet Paint gala, passing out gold scarves and strutting onstage to sing “Viva Las Vegas” to a boisterous crowd of guests gathered to support the Museum.

The King introduced the Fund-A-Need section of the evening, making donation requests with Museum Director Kate Eilertsen in between songs. The duo raised approximately $30,000 towards the Museum’s exhibition reserve fund, with Elvis himself chipping in to match selected donations and Kate Eilertsen fielding phone calls from Museum supporters unable to attend the evening’s festivities.

The Sept. 10 Wet Paint event took on a cosmopolitan Las Vegas theme this year with a sleek aesthetic, contemporary furnishings, and a Martini Bar rechristened the Artini Bar. Gaming tables filled the main gallery and several leaders of the Valley’s business and social community could be seen enjoying the games.

“We wanted to provide a fresh take on the event, and it really kept up a great level of energy and entertainment all night,” said Barbara Pascoe, event chair. “The Funny Money used for gaming was flowing all evening as guests kept the tables full playing roulette, blackjack, craps, and mini baccarat. Having Elvis stop in was icing on the cake!”

Sheila Whitney, Stan Pappas and John Simon provided the pre-dinner entertainment, with the lights dimming and the tempo shifting to a dance beat from DJ Jason Aquino after Elvis left the building. At one point a couple of enthusiastic dancers spilled over into the gaming area, bringing a blackjack table to a stop as the crowd applauded.

“What an electric evening!” exclaimed one Wet Paint guest. “Yes,” chimed in her companion, “We were here all night and had a fantastic time dancing and gambling with the funny money.”


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