Oscar Gala SAN's by Blair Tellers giving back at photo by Marc Morris Hundreds attend Spokane AIDS Network's 11th annual Oscar Night Gala fundraiser at Northern Quest Casino on Sunday, February 28th. T he economy is less than peachy. Hardworking people have gotten laid off from their jobs. Alcohol taxes have increased. It's cold outside. Paul Newman died this year. Yes, it is safe to say most everyone has felt the wafting zephyr of disillusionment pervading today's general outlook on things like cash flow, war and unemployment. The thing about slumps, however is that they often have an uncanny way of pulling us together in ways we don't expect. Granted, times are tough--and while scrimping and saving are our first impulse--it isn't necessarily the entire antidote. Maybe re-focusing on what we do have and how we can share it--is. Even better? Sharing in good company. 2 My roommate and I arrived at the Spokane AIDS Network's 11th annual Oscar Night Gala not sure of what to expect, and found ourselves delightfully surprised by everything: the food, the classy atmosphere, the auction, and, most of all, the eclectic mix of people we got to meet. The largest event put on by SAN, the Oscar Gala is an annual black tie fundraising event held at the Northern Quest Casino. Guests enjoy a formal dinner while the Oscars are broadcast on several large screens hanging from the walls of the banquet room. Our table was filled with a pleasant and interesting bunch, including Tom Brokaw's cousin, an elderly gentleman who shared my affinity for classic actors, and our table host, Donna Flanagan. A hard working board member for SAN, Flanagan explained to us the gala began as an event in someone's home, eventually progressing to the Davenport and finally moving to the casino. "AIDS hits people of all economic, educated and ethnic backgrounds. People who are at risk and people who care about those who are at risk are here," she told us. "The fact it hits all of us in one way or another is what brings us all together." In addition to the cost of the gala tickets, the silent auction is a major constituent of the fundraiser. After making friends at our table, my roommate and I meandered through the auction, the elements of which were smartly arrayed in a snazzy display in the middle of the room. SAN's board director Oscar continued on page 20 | March 2009 | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | www.qviewnorthwest.com