Industry Comes Out to Support Eddie's Kids

STUDIO CITY – Approximately 150 adult industry members and supporters turned out last night to bid on sports memorabilia and other items, and to drop big bucks on a charity casino night, all to support Eddie's Kids, the charitable foundation created by retailer/distributor Eddie Wedelstedt.

The event took place at the Universal City Sheraton Hotel, beginning at 6:30 Friday evening.

"We served 31,000 kids last year, but this year, with the help of my daughter Beverly, we expect to be back up to 50,000," Wedelstedt announced, attributing the decrease to his inability to oversee the charity while serving his sentence for having pled guilty to one count of transporting obscenity.

The Eddie's Kids Foundation arranges for tickets to sporting events for disadvantaged children, plus transportation to and from the events and refreshments while attending — and it doesn't come cheap.

"You know, I was speaking to a guy to try to get hot dogs for the kids while they're at the games," Wedelstedt explained. "And he said he could give them to me for four bucks a kid. And I said, 'Wait a minute; that's the best you can do?' And then I checked around, called a few people, and can you believe, people are spending $11 for a hot dog and a Coke these days, so the guy was actually giving me a really good deal."

The foundation treats children to "a day off from their lives," Wedelstedt said, in several major western cities, including Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles, and is looking to expand the service to several more.

Attendees could donate to the foundation in several ways, including bidding on items in the silent auction, playing blackjack or roulette, or simply making direct donations. Items in the auction included sports memorabilia such as signed basketballs, helmets, hockey pucks and sticks; designer jewelry, clothing and handbags; gift certificates for facelifts, botox treatments and other surgeries; a "night at the theater" package including dinner and a limousine; and even a signed copy of "Recipes for Hot Sex" by Dr. Joan Irvine and Jeanne Ernst. (We're not sure if any of those recipes were used for the buffet dinner that was served.)

But certainly the most intriguing (and expensive) item was a black 1989 Jaguar XLS V12 with just 20,000 original miles, contributed by long-time foundation supporter Frank Arstone.

Supporters flew in from all over the country to attend last night's event, the first such benefit since Wedelstedt was incarcerated in May of 2006. Among the attendees were novelty moguls Ron Braverman, Susan Colvin and Scott Tucker; video producers Patrick Collins, Joy King, Steve Hirsch, Bobby Rinaldi, TT Boy, and Bruce Mendelson; salesman Howard Levine; Michael Warner of Great Western Litho; east coast retailer Ricky Jay; AVN publisher Paul Fishbein; porn star Amber Lynn; former Free Speech lobbyist Kat Sunlove; ASACP executive director Joan Irvine; attorney Bob DePiano and a host of others.

One surprise guest, however, was comedian Tommy Chong, who'd accidentally wandered into the event while looking for a fundraiser sponsored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) which was taking place at the same hotel.

"I spoke to him; he was very nice," said Vivian Wedelstedt, Eddie's wife. "He asked me what kind of event this was, and I told him about the foundation and that it was in support of free speech. He wanted to know if he could speak, and I told him of course he could; that we're all about free speech here. I also told him that he and my husband had a lot in common, since he had done time for selling bongs and my husband had done time for selling porn ... but in the end, he decided not to speak."

The event lasted until about 11 p.m.. It is not yet known how much money was raised for the foundation that evening.