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In New York, socials came out in droves for the rare event these days where they’re not eclipsed by celebrities.


The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering annual spring gala drew chairwomen Tory Burch, Jamie Tisch, Dee Dee Ricks and Shelley Carr as well as Marina Rust, Marjorie Gubelmann, Tamara Mellon, Anne and Mario Grauso, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Blair Husain, the Kochs and the Kopelmans. (Debbie Bancroft must have figured that with Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga at the Met gala earlier this month no one was paying attention to her, so she wore the same dress Tuesday night.)


After cocktails—during which a few well-heeled women were slinging back scotch and vodka—guests filed into the ballroom of The Pierre which was swarming with 10,000 butterflies sparkling in blue and pink light (the work of Bronson Van Wyck). During dinner, Dr. Charles L. Sawyers was honored and afterwards, Jamie Niven took over the mic for a live auction in which all bids went towards MSKCC’s programs. Niven, somewhat obnoxiously, did everything but twist his peers’ arms to separate them from their money, but he effectively brought in more than $300,000. And by mid-event, at least $1.5 million was raised in total.


Mary J. Blige then took the stage for a four-song set. Most of the the room was amped by her spirited and soulful performance of songs like “No More Drama” and “One.” But a few of the guests were less familiar with the diva’s oeuvre. As one longtime MSKCC supporter said, “I remember when they had Sinatra and Pavarotti. There was no one in the room who didn’t like that.”

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