Posted: Mar 3, 2011 7:51 PM by Jeanette Trompeter
Updated: Mar 7, 2011 1:36 PM
In this economy, how do you raise more than 100-thousand dollars for a charity in a city the size of San Luis Obispo. You tell people to check their egos at the door, and put on one heck of a show. And that's just what more than 100 people will do tomorrow and Saturday at the Alex Madonna Expo Center. It's more proof there's No Place Like Home.
This is not your typical fashion show. Phyllis' musical review is what the name implies. It's part Broadway, part vaudeville, and all about the community. "I really believe in the Women's Shelter, and Phyllis and the Madonnas have given so much to community.... I'm just honored to be asked to be a part of it." says San Luis Obispo City Council Member Kathy Smith.
Phyllis Madonna started this tradition 24 years ago when she was asked to do a fashion show as a fundraiser. She thought a parade of party dresses would hardly bring in the kind of money the charity deserved. "Instead of going monotone, this girl's wearing purple. This one has lace at the bottom of her dress...they can all see that!"
Since then her shows have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Women's Shelter of San Luis Obispo. And doctors, attorneys, police officers, news anchors, mayors and other politicians get on board. They're hoping to pull in $150k this year. "First of all it's for a good cause for the women's shelter, and no one can say no to Phyllis Madonna." says San Luis Obispo mayor Jan Marx. "And, it's a lot of fun!"
This is the first year Phyllis Madonna will not be performing on stage with the others, but she still gets much of the credit for getting the models to step outside their comfort zone for the cause. Who else could get newly-elected Sheriff Ian Parkinson to dress up as a member of the Village People. "YMCA. Yeah, I know." chuckles Parkinson after the last walk-through rehearsal.
Some of the models doing performances have been rehearsing since summertime. And with less than 48 hours to show-time, some are still trying to get the moves down.
The whole production has grown since Alex Madonna shut down the dining room for a night to make room for the gala. There are now four shows, two tomorrow and two Saturday up at the expo center named in his honor. With more room, they can serve more people. And not just those in the audience this weekend, but those struggling to leave abusive relationships who find refuge at the women's shelter.
This is not your typical fashion show. And that's just why it's another reason there's no place like home.
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