Sept. 13 2006 1:09 PM

A New Yorker "Talk of the Town" Piece
This event requires our Hackathletes to write from the facts. Sort of. Because it's an imagined event, Slate has taken the liberty of fabricating Donna Karan's quotations. She never said any of the comments attributed to her below. However, all comments about prostate cancer attributed to celebrities are the real thing, culled from a LEXIS-NEXIS search. The Hackathletes may proceed as if the celebrities spoke them at the party.

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The Hackathletes are free to imagine trivial dialogue among the attendees as they compose their stories—not because we want to encourage fiction writing but because one of the great talents of a hack is to get people to say what he/she wants them to say.

Also, Hackathletes are free to imagine decor, dress, and events.
 
The Event
Karan's group, the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, held its three-tier event at the estate of U.S. News & World Report owner Mortimer Zuckerman on Nov. 15. A first-tier donation of $5,000 got donors into Zuckerman's living room to sip wine with Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Deepak Chopra, Demi Moore, and Bruce Willis. The second-tier ticket was a little less glamorous—a $1,000 dinner in Zuckerman's remodeled barn. The cheap set sprang for the $200 ticket for a dance after dinner. The event raised $224,000. A total of 700 people attended. Entertainment was provided by phallocentric actor Mark Wahlberg, who fronted a rock and swing band. Wahlberg was introduced by Karan rival Calvin Klein. He performed a medley of rap tunes from his "Marky Mark" career and compositions from the Boogie Nights soundtrack.      

The wine session was closed to the press, but the dinner and dance were open to their prying eyes. The press attempted to bushwhack Barbra Streisand and James Brolin as they left, but came up empty-handed. (Streisand wore a pewter off-the-shoulder fitted-bodice Donna Karan velvet gown.)
 
The Guests
Jann Wenner arrived via limo with boyfriend Matt Nye. Barry Diller parked his yacht at Sag Harbor and he and Diane von Furstenberg motored to the estate. Michael Milken, prostate-cancer survivor, flew in from Los Angeles with fellow Deepak worshiper Michael Jackson. Other attendees included: Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn; prostate-cancer survivor Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf; Carolyne Roehm; prostate-cancer survivor Sen. Ted Stevens; David Geffen; Patrick Ewing; Susan Lazar; Bianca Jagger; Jerry Della Femina; Pete Hamill; Carolina Herrera; Ruth Messinger; Anna Wintour; Maya Angelou; Simon & Schuster Editor Michael Korda, author of Man to Man: Surviving Prostate Cancer; Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw; Susan Molinari; PR maven Peggy Siegal; Edgar and Clarissa Bronfman; Mortimer Zuckerman (hell, it's his place); prostate-cancer survivor Sidney Poitier; Ron Perlman; prostate-cancer survivor David Koch; Lally Weymouth; prostate-cancer survivor Bob Dole; Ralph Lauren; Princess Yasmin Aga Khan; Janet Jones Gretzky; Linda Ellerby; Dan Rather; prostate-cancer survivor Harry Belafonte; Mark Morris; James Toback; and others. Not attending were Frank Zappa, Joseph Papp, Bill Bixby, and Telly Savalas, all of whom died of the disease.
 
The Scene
At the gate, protesters from PETA shouted anti-fur slogans at the fashion community as they drove into the compound: "Leather is prostate cancer for cows!" "It takes diseased balls to hurt animals!" "Take the cure for cruelty!"

In keeping with Karan's exotic spiritual beliefs, Zuckerman's barn was decorated as a meditation garden, complete with power-crystal displays. Tibetan prayer wheels spun outside the structure. Buddhist monks burned incense and bowed at the guests as they entered.

Working the room were the gossip columnists: the New York Observer's Frank DiGiacomo, the New York Daily News' Liz Smith, and USA Today's Jeanne Williams. All the celebrities fled PR maven Peggy Siegal, who fell face-first in the mud chasing Bianca Jagger.

Holding the hand of her very supportive husband, sculptor Stephan Weiss, Karan told the dinner crowd that she became aware of prostate cancer last summer when DKNY lead designer Twombley Beck was diagnosed with the disease. Also, her guru, Deepak Chopra, educated her about the disease after helping junk-bond genius Milken drive his prostate cancer into remission. She pledged all the profits from her new line of yoga clothes to the cause.

Free bottles of her new perfume, Chaos, were distributed to the crowd. Karan's daughter Gabby hosted the dessert party.

Deepak Chopra led the donors in a wordless meditation ceremony. Guffaws from Mark Wahlberg's bandstand disrupted the mood.
 
Imagined Quotations From Donna Karan
Prostate cancer isn't a man's disease, it affects all of us. These are our fathers, our brothers, our sons, our husbands, our boyfriends."

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