Conception opening show: Gery Keszler
Direction: Kim Duddy
Art production: 3 Stone Entertainment und Life Ball
The Style-Ticket-Owners and our guest stars were offered the opportunity of a special appearance, by entering the scene on the Magenta Carpet as the Ringstraße will be closed from Schwarzenbergplatz to Schottentor starting at 6 pm.
Dressed up guest could use the access through Ringstraße up to 09:50 pm
Entrée and Magenta Carpet
from 7:30 pm
As in the last years all our conspicuously dressed up guests and our guest stars entered the Life Ball through the main gate opposite the Vienna Burgtheater. The gate was realized by Kronen Zeitung.
The New Yorker star photographer Roxanne Lowit took cover pictures of the best dressed up guests and stars.
Life Ball Queen Award 2012
They have been the cultural heart of Life Ball for 20 years: the enthusiasts. A community, that doesn’t spare any expenses and are aiming at creative heights trying to bring the birds of paradise in them to life, they excel themselves creating costumes with glamour, boldness, fantasy and opulence that are incomparable to anything else in the world. These people made Life Ball what it is today.
The Life Ball costumes have developed to a certain kind of cult. Its avant-gardists are the visible ambassadors of the Life Ball idea: they prove that there can be a community in which being different is not frowned upon but celebrated. Wearing masks can save identities – and it is a possibility to show your real face in public.
Through the costumes all people are made equal. This feast shows equality through the greatest possible diversity. This makes Life Ball the strongest but also the most beautiful symbol and ritual of lived tolerance.
As a tradition the best costumes werde awarded and the winner was granted the title „Life Ball Queen“. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary the scene was performed more extensively and the election procedure modified. Andi Lackner and his Scout-Team chose the best 60 costumes before their entrance on the Magenta Carpet. Austrian Airlines flight attendants guided the 60 Life-Ball-Queen nominees to the photo shoot with Roxanne Lowit and over the Magenta Carpet. During this parade the judges gave their votes.
After a short visit at the VIP-grandstand within the ball area, where the first part of the ORF Live broadcasting took place, the Life Ball Queen nominees took their seats in the VIP boxes on stage. The Queens had the chance to follow the fashion show with the best view and were visible to everybody.
The Life Ball MINI 2012 entrance with Franca Sozzani, the chief editor of the Italian VOGUE, formed one of the Magenta Carpet Parade highlights. Cheyenne Jackson accompanied the entering parade with the world premier of his song „Drive”.
Opening of “Fight the Flames of Ignorance”
Music: A-Dur Polonaise by Frédéric Chopin
Solist: David Helfgott
After the beginning of the opening show with the Life Ball fanfare the Polonaise in A-Major by Chopin accompanied the debutants’ entrée. This musical piece was not performed in the traditional orchestra version but in the original piano version. For this a new Vision was created together with Steinway in Austria. 20 grand pianos were representing 20 years of Life Ball. 20 black grand pianos were placed on the whole length of the Magenta Carpet that carried the acoustical and visual orchestration.
These precious instruments were played by pianists, all of them classically trained. This grand piano orchestra was arranged around the star pianist David Helfgott, as the 21st instrument he played the legendary concert grand piano Steinway D-274, which was situated on the Red Ribbon Stage. The composition of the original version of the A-Major Polonaise by Chopin accompanied the unique debutants’ entrée.
The 20 grand pianos were numbered from 1 to 20, and labeled as 20 years Life Ball limited edition. Every instrument was signed by a famous patron. Steinway in Austria implement a special website for this 20 years Life Ball limited edition mentioning the instruments patron, number and price. A part of the revenue will be donated to AIDS LIFE.
Entrée of 200 debutants
The casting of the 200 debutants was supervised by Prof. Dkfm. Thomas Schäfer-Elmayer and Dominik Truschner who did the Polonaise choreography for the fourth time.
The men wear tailcoats and the ladies were dressed in uniform opening robes. The robes designed by Sportal mirrored the extravaganza of the element of fire. The sumptuous and matching head and arm patterns were manufactured by Zaruba.
Opening song: Still I Rise
Music: Jon Secada
Text: Dr. Maya Angelou
Choreography: Kim Duddy
World premier of the musical interpretation of the poem „Still I rise“ by writer and human rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou composed by the three time Grammy winner Jon Secada.
The poem, written on occasion of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, is a call to self-assertion and pride, an outcry against prejudice, humiliation and surrender. These are attributes that Life Ball has been putting in the limelight since its beginning.
Open the stage for Life Ball
The Life Ball created scenery full of atmosphere this year in front of the Vienna City hall. Decoration elements were collected from all kinds of theater and musical festivals and were newly arranged around the huge Red Ribbon Catwalk.
During the opening the stage was changed from an ordinary setting to the place where it all happened – to a ball within the ball. Boxes were inhabited by Life Ball guests wearing the most spectacular costumes and outfits.
The staging concept of the main stage in front of the Vienna city hall was created by Gery Keszler and Manfred Waba. The artistic design of the main stage was conceived by Stefan Riedl, aka Triebl. The creative work was supported by ART for ART, Blaupapier and Fahnengärtner. The Theater an der Wien-boxes were derived from set decoration of the production of „Die Fledermaus“ (Concept Johannes Leiacker), decoration elements were taken from Seebühne Mörbisch.
The Life Ball guests were welcomed by Nicholas Ofczarek and Ben Becker. The two actors supported the anniversary ball and did the moderation of the opening show including an exciting double act between the, in Austria well known, symbols of live and death.
During the live broadcast on ORF2 Mirjam Weichselbraun and Alfons Haider took over the moderation.
Vienna’s mayor Dr. Michael Häupl welcomed the Life Ball guests.
Life Ball Crystal of Hope donated by Swarovski
Music: Christmas Eve Polonaise by Nikolai Andrejewitsch Rimski-Korsakov
Ballett: Life Ball Ensemble with members of the Wiener Staatsopernballett, Vienna Waltz Project, Ballett St. Pölten
Choreography: Christian Tichy
The entrance of the huge Crystal of Hope was musically accompanied by the Ensemble Wien Klang under the direction of Azis Sadikovic.
Solist: Mihail Sosnovschi
During the whole evening the Crystal of Hope shined above guests and audience as a symbol of power and hope.
Since 2005 AIDS LIFE has honored an organization for its outstanding projects fighting HIV/AIDS with the Crystal of Hope. This award decorates a ground worker and is sponsored by the Tyrolean Company Swarovski and is endowed with EUR 100,000. The 2012 „Life Ball Crystal of Hope donated by Swarovski“ was presented to Jackie Branfield, founder of the project “Operation Bobbi Bear”.
Project Bobbi Bear
Every fourth girl under the age of 16 is raped in the South African province of Kwa-Zulu Nata. As it is estimated that 51% of all adults between 16 and 45 are HIV positive, which is the age at which infection through a rapist becomes very likely.
Operation Bobbi Bear supports the protection of sexually abused children and helps minimizing the risks of an infection at the rescue. This organization takes care of physical and psychological health and they are trying to bring the abusers to court. An essential part of Bobbi Bear is to educate people about the danger of an HIV infection.
The founder of Operation Bobbi Bear, Jackie Branfield, first took action against sexual crimes in South Africa in 1992. She realized that children were having problems to talk to the police and were scared to report abuse. Because of this many crimes were not solved, and the criminals got away with their violations. Jackie was searching for a method with which she could get clear information and evidence that could be used at court and that made communicating with the children easier. She started using the teddy bear “Bobbi Bear”. The children were able to speak about their abuse with “Bobbi Bear”. Exact information is written or drawn directly on the bear.
The use of these teddy bears is approved at court and prevents the children from telling their horrible stories in front of an audience at court. Besides that the Bobby Bear method helps finding the perpetrators and putting them to jail and it prevents other children from being abused. Thus, Bobbi Bear has significantly influenced the debate about children’s rights in South Africa.
Bobbi Bear is active at different kinds of places and is in touch with children living in foster families or at „Places of Safety“ that are run by the government. Every month Bobby Bears looks after about 4,000 children.
Furthermore, the organization wants to stand up against sexual violence and for the awareness of HIV and AIDS. To reach as many children as possible Bobbi Bear operates outreach work to raise the awareness at schools, churches and community facilities.
Blindfold – Life Ball Song 2012
Music and lyrics: Werner Stranka / Martin Gellner
Published by: Beat4Feet
Choreography: Kim Duddy
To give an additional voice to abused children, Beat4Feet have composed the song Blindfold, which deals with the issue of child abuse.
Committed and international musicians such as Truth Hurts, Natalia Kelly, Judith Hill and Melody Angel joined the project and performed „Blindfold“ after the „Crystal of Hope“ was awarded.
Second performance of the debutants to the Feuerfestpolka op 269 by Josef Strauss.
Queen Award by M•A•C Cosmetics for the Life Ball Queen 2012
For the first time Life Ball presented the “Queen Award”, which was given to the best guest’s costume before the fashion show.
The first prize included a stay in the Big Apple during the New York Fashion Weeks, tickets to several fashion shows, business class flights Vienna-New York by Austrian Airlines, a stay at the straight-friendly gay hotel OUT NYC as well as a 300 euro voucher for the M•A•C PRO Store. Additionally there was an evening make-up or a treatment for gentlemen.
M•A•C does not only feel bound to extravagant lifestyle, but has been showing their strong commitment fighting against the immune deficiency disease since 1994 when they founded the M A C AIDS Fund. In 2012 M•A•C Cosmetics supported the Clinton Health Access initiative donating € 100,000 to them.
Therefore President Bill Clinton held a speech on the Red Ribbon stage after the Queen Award. He presented the recent CHAI campaign to erase the mother- to-child transmission of HIV in Zambia and Uganda, to which all the donated money went.
VOGUE Italia hosts the 20th Anniversary Life Ball Fashion Show presented by MINI
Whether enfant terrible, legend or futurist; Haute Couture, cowboy-glam or lingerie; androgynous, funky or opulent – styles of many different designers have been presented on the Life Ball Red Ribbon catwalk in the past 19 years. Fashion lifestyle serving the good cause that provoked, fascinated or inspired – and thanks to its extraordinary staging forms one of the highlights at every Life Ball since its beginning in 1993.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary, Life Ball Founder Gery Keszler created an arc from the past to the presence with a retrospective fashion show 2012. It showed creations of former Life Ball designers as well as the most legendary looks of two decades.
Patron of the 20th Life Ball fashion show was none other than the most influential woman in fashion business: Franca Sozzani. Editor-in-Chief of the Italian VOGUE since 1988, she created a unique visual language for the magazine – thus making it the fashion bible par excellence.
The cooperation with the Italian VOGUE was enabled by MINI, one of the most important Life Ball partners. This year’s anniversary MINI was personally designed by Franca Sozzani.
International topmodels as well as celebrities were presenting the most spectacular Life Ball outfits.
Producer of the fashion show: Marco Maccapani
Styling: Alice Gentilucci
Backstage @ Life Ball
The M•A•C creative team was again in charge of the fashion show look. M•A•C was the official make-up provider of Life Ball 2012 and supported the charity event by sponsoring products and providing a backstage team of more than 30 make-up artists from all over the world.
Since the first Life Ball, top hairstyle artist Danilo Dixon from the US and his team fix the look of all major models and celebrities.
He was supported by Sturmayr, Makingof, perfectprops and Hair by Grecht using L´Orèal Paris hairstyle-products.