(Hollywood Press Corps) — Friday, April 20, 2018 —The 5th Annual Light Up The Blues – Autism Speaks 2018 was hosted by Kristen and Stephen Stills. Producers, directors, musicians, actors and comedians came out for the cause. When MC Jack Black was asked by Yours Truly on the blue carpet, “Show me Sexy,” Jack Black obligingly posed (see below – haha!) Autism Speaks Board Member, Chuck Saftler was on the blue carpet with his wife, as well as Paula Salvatore, Capitol Records Vice President with her date. The Stills Family and The Producers of Autism Speaks, Anthony Young Evip, Raoul Mongilardi, and Brandon Cohen, also made their appearances on the blue carpet. Christina Applegate, Amy Brenneman, Kim Raver, and the always funny Sarah Silverman were also present to lend their support. Christopher Bollenback, owner of Bottega Louie, John Asher, and Michael Frondelli also showed their support on the blue carpet.
Spectrum artist Amanda Anderson walked the blue carpet and gave an amazing operatic performance later on the main stage. Tyler Kilmer came with his loving Mom and a large fan base. He posed for pictures on the blue carpet then played a soulful jazz trumpet number. Soulshocka posed for photos on the blue carpet with his trademark dark sunglasses. His performance on stage was striking and powerful, rapping about the challenges on being on the autism spectrum.
At one point in the evening, Jack Black auctioned of three Gretch guitars that were signed by the evenings celebrities. Each guitar went for $25,000.00, with Jack Black matching their bids for a total of $100,000 – the proceeds going to Autism Speaks.
Stephen Stills performing with Neil Young, with the Heartbreakers as the backing band was powerful, to say the least. A few of the Buffalo Springfield songs they jammed to were “Long May You Run”, “For What It’s Worth” and “Mr. Soul.” This concert was amazing in its lineup and the performances. The backup band was comprised of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers – Belmont Tench (keyboards), Mike Campbell (guitar) and Steve Ferrone (drums). The night went on with performances by Judy Collins, Patti Smith, Burt Bacharach, Sheryl Crow, Beck, Chris Stills and Oliver Stills. In addition to this amazing musical line up, comedian Jack Black was the MC for the evening, performing his version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” (haha!)
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a broad range of conditions like challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Research has shown that there is not one autism but many subtypes. Each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. Most are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences, and many are accompanied by medical issues like seizures, sleep disturbances and gastrointestinal disorders. The CDC estimates that 1 in 68 children are in the autism spectrum.
Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions across the spectrum for the needs of the individual with autism and their families. They do this through advocacy and support. Autism Speaks seeks to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism. They raise money to fund research into the causes of autism. They also seek to provide better interventions for autism spectrum disorder.