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Barrio Girl

Isabel Toledo Chairs El Museo's Spring Gala

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Ruben and Isabel Toledo   
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El Museo del Barrio, the Fifth Avenue museum that's reopening in October following a $28 million renovation, found some imaginative ways to raise funds at its annual black-tie gala last night. Among the items up for auction were boxes of limited-edition cigars and portraits of Latin icons like Salvador Dalí and Christina Aguilera, created by East Harlem students tutored by co-chairs Ruben and Isabel Toledo.

During cocktail hour, a mariachi band serenaded guests, including birthday boy Governor David Paterson. "It takes a very strong man to wear those tight pants, especially with all those sequins and embroidery," said designer and Mexico City native Christian Cota. (He was referring to the band, not the gov, of course.) After dinner, their hosting duties complete, the Toledos headed for the door. "We can't all dance, actually," Isabel ventured. But Ruben begged to differ. "I've never seen a Latino who didn't dance," he said. A quick survey of the room, where a Gloria Estefan lookalike was performing an explosive cover of "Conga," pretty much proved him right.

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