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If you’re concerned about the problem of hunger in New York City, you’re in excellent company. At the 6th Annual Food Bank for New York Can-Do Awards on Tuesday evening, some truly awesome people showed their support. It’s a good thing—four million New Yorkers access food-assistance programs these days. Event chair Mario Batali, emcee Stanley Tucci, Jon Bon Jovi (the evening’s honoree, and more on him later) and a few special guests did an amazing job of raising money and awareness for such an excellent cause. Of course there was a lot going on; here are some highlights.
* To win one of the supersonic live-auction items—dinner for 24 cooked by Mario, chef/Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio and Momofuku’s Dave Chang—you need to be intent on outbidding Mariska Hargitay and Emeril Lagasse. You also need $60,000. Who’s got that going for him?? Jimmy Fallon.
* To win tickets to the launch of U2’s 360° world tour in Barcelona—yes, with first-class Delta tickets and hotel accommodations—you need $45,000. And for tickets to see Billy Joel and Elton John, you need some $35,000. Anthony Bourdain was out of luck after the price went over his $10,000 bid.
* A few things to know about Bon Jovi: He is absolutely passionate and informed about the issues of hunger and low-income housing. He is very funny (i.e., calling his presenters, Kenneth and Maria Cuomo Cole, Sonny & Cher). And he is absolutely gorgeous.
* To be unofficially voted Best Dressed for the evening, it helps to be wearing a gorgeous fuschia pink Zac Posen dress—and to be Katie Lee Joel.
*Table conversation is amazing—you'll hear off-the-record updates on who's headlining 2009 New York City Wine & Food Festival (which also benefits the Food Bank). And details of People magazine's poll on whether Susan Boyle should get a makeover. (We weren't the only people talking about the Britian's Got Talent phenom. At the party, Bon Jovi told Extra he hopes she wins, saying "After pursuing the dream and never giving up, good for her." Boyle, being told this, said she thought Bon Jovi was "fantastic.")
* At an event like this, the house band will feature REM’s Mike Mills.
* At an event like this, REM frontman Michael Stipe will introduce the special guest: Bill Clinton.
* At an event like this, the only thing that could possibly be more exciting than hearing Clinton talk to an energized crowd about fighting hunger, and thank his friends Bon Jovi, Stipe and Batali, is when he steps off the stage and Bono is standing there to greet him.
* If you ask a tall Secret Service guy who’s towering above the crowd to take a picture of Clinton, Bono and Bon Jovi, he’ll look at you like you’re crazy (and refuse).
* At a silent auction, Colicchio will always bid on a John Lennon photograph by Bob Gruen. Sometimes against Rocco diSpirito.
* At the after-party at—you guessed it—the third floor of the Spotted Pig, there will be virtually no corner of the room that you can stand in without talking to a very famous rock star—at the bar, Bon Jovi; in the corner, Bono; on the banquette, Stipe. It had the makings of the most epic music video.
* If an unnamed reveler falls off their bar stool, Bono will be the first person there to help them up. And tell them that he's been on the pub floor more than once himself.