DNA, Tom Cruise, Emmy awards spice up Possible Dreams

— File photo by Tim Johnson

On Monday, the Possible Dreams Auction, the primary fundraiser for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS), will once again highlight the summer social season. The fun begins at 3:45 pm when the gates open under a huge white tent in Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs.

For 33 years, the Possible Dreams Auction has provided participants with a chance to bid on “unbuyable” items, which include outings with celebrities of the international and local variety. While dreams may come true for a few lucky bidders, the “dreams,” not surprisingly, don’t come cheap. Last year’s highest price item, an overnight on an aircraft carrier, came with a $25,000 price tag.

However, this year, the auction committee has, for the first time, added a silent auction to the evening’s proceedings to provide some less prohibitively priced dreams and allow more attendees the opportunity to help support MVCS. Through a host of essential human services, the half-century-old organization helps 6,000 Islanders annually.

“We want everyone to have the chance to be involved this year,” auction committee chairman Sandy Pimentel said. “And give people the opportunity to mingle a little before the live auction.”

The silent auction hour will feature music by Beetlebung Steel Band and Michael Haydn, on the piano and guitar. Pizza by Flatbread Company and beer and wine will be available for purchase.

The real excitement kicks off with the live auction at 5 pm. Items up for bid this year include European vacation packages, sports fantasies and, of course, celebrity donated items. Director Doug Liman, a frequent dream donor, is this year offering up the opportunity to visit the set and hang with the stars of his latest film. The flick, “All You Need is Kill,” starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, will be shot in London this November.

Other veteran dream donors, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, will be hosting one lucky couple for a performance of the play “Love Letters” at the Vineyard Playhouse. Danson and Steenburgen will be starring in the Pulitzer Prize nominated play next summer and the dream winners will get VIP seats and enjoy cocktails with the celebrated couple after the show.

A walk down the red carpet at the Emmy Awards and the chance to have your song produced by a Grammy winning producer are among the other glamour dreams this year.

Henry Louis “Skip” Gates has for many years donated a genealogy related dream. This year, the host of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” will, for the first time, include a DNA analysis in the dream package that includes dinner with him at Lattanzi’s Restaurant.

Livingston Taylor, who once hosted the auction, will be the draw for a private soirée dream. The winning bidder can select the music and food for a private “mini concert” at the Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown.

Popular dreams returning this year are a tour of cave paintings in a secret location in Paris with prehistory expert Duncan Caldwell, a stay in a private condo in Lake Como and an evening with journalist/author Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

A new feature will be a bidding war between Red Sox and Yankees fans. There is a dream each for fans of the rival teams. There will also be some other “crowd-grabbing” moments in the auction this year, according to Ms. Pimentel. “Our goal is to preserve all of the wonderful things that have made the auction great while reaching deeper into our community with some constructive and fun additions,” she said.

Professional auctioneer Dan Flynn will lead the bidding for the second year in a row. He will be helped out by locals Alex Freidman and Trip Barnes, who has also donated a “mystery adventure” dream.

In order to cut down the time of the live auction and keep things moving along, the committee has limited the number of items to 35 this year.

The post auction dinner will be held at Hooked Restaurant on Beach Road, Oak Bluffs. For $200 a head, guests will enjoy a stationed dinner and music and dancing with Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. A special $300 VIP ticket will include preferential seating for the dinner and auction and transportation from Ocean Park to the restaurant.

Tickets are $25. Parking is available at Waban/Alley Park for $5 with free shuttle service. Tickets for the after party at Hooked are $200 and can be purchased by emailing lminer@mvcommunityservices.com or calling 508-693-7900, ext. 229.