Bruce Vilanch To Entertain On Stepping Stone’s 35th Anniversary Cruise

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San Diego Gay & Lesbian News
Live it Up with Bruce Vilanch on Stepping Stone’s 35th Anniversary Cruise
August 31st, 2011

One of San Diego’s most anticipated charity events is just weeks away: Stepping Stone’s third annual Mission Bay Cruise, co-hosted by none other than six-time Emmy Award winner Bruce Vilanch. This year’s gala cruise on Sunday, Oct. 2nd, promises to appeal to everybody’s taste buds.

Expect an extraordinary evening of mingling, dining, and entertainment onboard the exquisite “gem of the bay,” the William D. Evans sternwheeler. Proceeds go to Stepping Stone’s exemplary alcohol/drug recovery and HIV/AIDS services as well as to the agency’s campaign for a women’s sober living program.

“The Board of Directors of Stepping Stone are thrilled that Mr. Vilanch has agreed to join us on our third Mission Bay Cruise. After writing for the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and Tonys for years, he has proven to be one of the funniest people in Hollywood. Come enjoy a memorable evening and help us celebrate Stepping Stone’s 35th Anniversary,” said Tom Reise, Board Chairperson.

Stepping Stone is San Diego’s nationally recognized United Way member organization addressing the unique needs of LGBT individuals suffering from alcohol and drug addiction since 1976. The agency’s state-of-the-art treatment facility provides life-saving and life affirming programs, both residential and after care. Additionally, Stepping Stone delivers HIV/AIDS support services and individualized treatment curricula. The organization also operates a transitional living program with over 13,000 bed days delivered annually. The Mission Bay Cruise is the agency’s annual signature event, bringing together community leaders, alumni, and friends of the organization.

VIP guests will be invited to a Meet N’ Greet with Bruce Vilanch on the 3rd floor deck. One of the entertainment industry’s most sought after jokesmiths, Vilanch is most widely recognized as the Emmy-winning writer of 21 Oscar broadcasts, and multiple Emmy, Tony, and Grammy broadcasts. He has written material for Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, and Paul Reiser to name a few, and has also written scripts for multiple one-person shows, musicals, and concert specials.

Known for his eclectic eyewear and collection of unique T-shirts, he began as a child model for Lane Bryant, but when his initial efforts as an actor came to naught, he became an entertainment writer for the Chicago Tribune instead. Impressed by his review of her cabaret performance in 1970, Bette Midler hired him to punch up her act where he gave birth to Midler’s famed Sophie Tucker jokes. He later moved to Los Angeles where he wrote for variety shows like the original “Donny and Marie” and “The Brady Bunch Hour” (both ABC) and provided material for Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers.

A special after dinner show will keep you laughing into the week. What else to expect on the cruise? A delicious four-course dinner under the 2nd floor masterpiece of a 50,000-piece stained glass dome. A composite of many actual steamboats that plied America’s rivers in the 19th century, the 100-foot-long William D. Evans was launched in 1986 as a loving tribute to that era’s most elegant mode of transportation. From the three hand-crafted wooden masts at her bow, to the twelve ton paddlewheel at her stern, the boat recalls in smallest detail a colorful period of American history typified by graceful living. Skimming the blue-green waters of Mission Bay, the William D. Evans presents the perfect setting for Stepping Stone’s 2011 gala.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of this leading non-profit organization. Meet distinguished recovery ambassadors, community leaders, elected officials, trustees, and the larger “Stepping Stone community.” Guests will enjoy a multi media exhibit chronicling the history of Stepping Stone, from the days when LGBT addiction treatment was non-existent to modern day practices, activism, and success.

Boarding is at 4:00 pm, the reception with Bruce Vilanch at 4:15 pm (VIP Guests bypass the line); Dinner will be served at 5:45 pm, and Live it Up with Bruce Vilanch starts at 6:30 pm, to be proceeded by a live auction. The belly of the boat will also feature live DJ music, a dance floor, and a silent auction featuring high end items.

VIP Tickets are $125, regular tickets $75 per person. Table captions save $50 on their table for 10, not including VIP upgrade.

Boarding passes can be purchased at and at Stepping Stone’s administrative office at 3767 Central Ave., San Diego, CA 92105.

For more information, table captain service, and sponsorship opportunities contact Bixi Craig, Director of Development, at 619.278.0777 ext.115 or