Oh, James

In Deep With Franco at amfAR's Inspiration Gala


James Franco   
more photos

How much would you pay for a private photo session with James Franco? At last night's amfAR Inspiration Gala, the experience was auctioned off for $16,000. "I've always believed in it, but to be involved in this big a way is very recent," Franco said of his work with the influential AIDS nonprofit. The depth of his involvement may depend on just how obsessed a fan that winning bidder is.

Heidi Klum knows a thing or two about amfAR's fundraising ways, having volunteered a similar service at the organization's Cannes gala years ago. "I had to massage some dude I'd never met before," she recalled. The "dude" in question was Kenneth Branagh, a friend pointed out. "But still! It was a bit odd," Klum said.

Klum, who was presenting the evening's Award of Courage to Michael Kors, worried her mouth would go dry. "People say you have to bite your tongue in order for the glands to produce spit," the Project Runway host fretted. "If it's taped, I don't mind. But I don't like speaking in public." In the end, she did just fine, even if she didn't stir the crowd up quite the way Jennifer Hudson's high-volume performance of "Hallelujah" did, or Courtney Love's snarling cover of "Under My Thumb."

Liza Minnelli took a moment to memorialize Elizabeth Taylor, the organization's founding international chairman, while Kenneth Cole cheered along the marriage equality bill that's one vote away from making it through the New York legislature.

The other spirit-lifter of the evening, which was co-sponsored by Piaget, was a metal-themed fashion show: Wilhelmina male models, Van Halen soundtrack, armor, spikes, body glitter, and lots of, er, studs, all of it unfolding in front of spectators more visibly engaged than the ones at your typical catwalk affair. Kors, for one, was digging the change of pace. "I love a different group. This is a combination of fashion, medicine, Hollywood, Chelsea, uptown—a little bit of everything," the designer told "I think fashion folk have seen maybe one too many runway shows."

Subscribe to today!