John Demsey, Tamron Hall==Housing Works' Groundbreaker Awards Dinner 2017==Metropolitan Pavilion, NYC==April 26, 2017==©Patrick McMullan==photo - Patrick McMullan/PMC==== John Demsey; Tamron Hall


“Is this some sort of booby trap?” asked a frantic guest Wednesday night at the Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards Dinner in New York, which also included a preview of designer-curated rooms filled with discounted high-end home décor being sold to benefit the charity.

A group of well-heeled attendees — including “Shark Tank” judge Barbara Corcoran — suddenly found themselves caught in an invisible fishing line emerging from a spool tossed in a nearby trash can. In a scene fit for “Candid Camera,” ankles, hips and knees jerked in an erratic cha-cha as a dozen Housing Works supporters comically struggled to free themselves of the inexplicable cord.

But later that evening, the philanthropic group was tied together in a more dignified way to support the 27-year-old organization’s year-round efforts in ending HIV/AIDS and homelessness in NYC.

Hosted by Alan Cumming, the dinner awarded the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. president John Demsey and journalist Tamron Hall, who shared a tearful personal account of a high school math teacher who lost his life to AIDS during the disease’s Eighties epidemic.

The crowd included designers Nathan Orsman, Thom Filicia, Steven Gambrel and Jamie Drake, alongside Mia Moretti, Bevy Smith and Sandra Lee. The Facinator’s Douglas Friedman raised $10,000 for the organization in an auction of an exclusive trip to Marfa, Tex., with a VIP tour of the Judd Foundation — among other locales — and topped off by a private barbecue at the hirsute photographer’s home in the desert oasis.

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