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    PHOTOS – The Abbey WeHo Raises Over $10K for AIDS Cause at Tree Lighting Event

    The Abbey Food & Bar had its 14th Annual World AIDS Day Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 1. The event was hosted by Sutton Stracke of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, with special guests Tristan Schukraft, the new owner of The Abbey and The Chapel, and The Abbey Founder David Cooley. It was also a fundraiser benefiting the fight against HIV/AIDS.

    The annual event generated more than $10,000 for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation during a night filled with holiday songs by the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles, holiday cocktails courtesy of Tito’s Vodka, a check donation presentation, and a Christmas tree lighting countdown led by Sutton Stracke. There was also be a performance by Lyle Anthony towards the end of the evening.

    The Abbey Tree Lighting Ceremony for World AIDS Day – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
    The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles perform at The Abbey Tree Lighting Ceremony for World AIDS Day – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
    Lyle Anthony performs at The Abbey Tree Lighting Ceremony for World AIDS Day – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

    Photos by Mike Pingel (click to enlarge).

    The ceremony marked David Cooley’s final night as the owner and host of the event, following the recent sale of the business to Mistr CEO Schukraft. Cooley, who appeared visibly emotional, shared how his friendship with Elizabeth Taylor inspired the annual tradition.

    Cooley also expressed gratitude for the community’s support over the past 33 years since he founded The Abbey. He acknowledged the decision to step away from the business, describing it as difficult, but ultimately the right choice. Cooley hugged Schukraft and handed over the reins to the new owner who pledged to continue The Abbey’s legacy and its role as a cornerstone in the gay community. He also joked about Cooley’s continued presence and he referenced a contractual agreement where Cooley continues to get free drinks.

    David Cooley and Tristan Schukraft – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

    Sutton Stracke spoke about the ongoing impact of AIDS on the community, acknowledging her own personal losses. The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles delivered a performance of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” emphasizing the challenges faced by the trans community during the holidays.

    World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 United Nations World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention and recognition takes place each year on December 1.

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    Mike Pingel
    Mike Pingelhttp://www.mikepingel.com/
    Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist. His official website is www.mikepingel.com


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    Kiss it
    Kiss it
    2 months ago

    This year’s tree was the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen the lights weren’t even working properly and they had beach balls for ornaments! And I’ve never heard of this woman that was hosting the event!

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