Pro-Choice New Yorkers Hold a Sexy Summer Benefit to Raise Funds

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By Rebecca Harris

More than 400 supporters flocked to the West Side's luxurious Hudson Terrace lounge Tuesday night for limitless drinks, sexy entertainment and decadent fun at Planned Parenthood of New York City's 8th annual Summer, Sex and Spirits benefit.

Guests mingled and danced in the spacious yet intimate venue, adorned with sparkling chandelier fixtures, bathed in warm pink lighting and sprinkled with red leather couches. They spilled out onto the outdoor patio, taking advantage of the all-night open bar while waiters circled with trays of hors d'oeuvres and rich desserts. Signature mixed drinks-the Sex in Paloma and the Margaret Sanger "Collins"-were served, and a station of volunteers dished out dixie cup servings of creative ice cream flavors.

DJs Tanner and Louis XIX kept the mood alive with girl-power classics like Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes, and This Ambitious Orchestra performed crowd pleasers including Beyonce's Run the World (Girls), while scantily-clad women adorned in sequined, circus-themed ensembles and feathered headdresses danced on stilts, twirling parasols.

The famous, red-headed Mistress B, known for her erotic balloon artistry, laughed and posed for pictures with guests in a black leather get-up and fishnets, twisting balloons into masterpieces such as Rolling Stones-style lips and tongues, male genetalia and pole-dancing women.

Guests admired beautiful designer fashion items displayed around the perimeter of the room, using personal identification numbers to participate in open bidding on prizes ranging from handbags to gift certificates to sex toys; a sparkly Jimmy Choo Wallet and cherry red shades from Chanel were among the prizes, to name a few. The hyped 24-carat-gold INEZ vibrator, made by Good Vibrations and valued at more than $13,000, rested in a plush, felt-lined display box on its own table.

Mel Gagarin, one of the event's organizers, estimated that the benefit drew in more than $25,000, including proceeds from the open auction, a raffle and ticket sales. Tickets for the 21-and-over celebration, priced at $40 for general admission and $80 for a pass to the VIP reception, sold out to fill the venue to capacity.

One hundred percent of the funds raised Tuesday night will go to fund Planned Parenthood of New York City services.

"Summer, Sex and Spirits is organized by PPNYC's all-volunteer Activist Council. All money raised at the event supports PPNYC's healthcare services, education programs and advocacy work," Gagarin said. "The event brings together pro-choice New Yorkers in a fun, summertime cocktail party environment and encourages folks to get more involved in our advocacy work."

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