United in Diversity
The last Life Ball
On 8 June 2019, the 26th Life Ball celebrated life in and around Vienna City Hall for the last time. Outsiders and homeless in a society, “freaks” remain only as long as they hide in their niches. For this reason the Life Ball 2019 went on a journey across the rainbow. The starting point of the journey was a circus troupe that set up their tent in front of the town hall. A colourful family, border crossers on the margins of society, obeying the commandment of the different, the magical and the risky. A whirlwind came up and the circus performance, which Conchita WURST led through as circus director, took an unusual course. When finally Diane Brill, muse of Andy Warhole, appeared as a good fairy and pointed the way across a yellow road, a journey through the world of colors began. From station to station more and more people joined, but the emerald city was not the end point, the way, the yellow road, led far out around the whole world. The LIFE+ Award presented by M-A-C Cosmetics and the M-A-C AIDS Fund was presented during the opening ceremony in 2019. The project Circus Zambia by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, which supports young people in leading a self-determined life, was the winner.
The Sound of Music
25 years Life Ball
Life Ball was celebrating its 25th anniversary with an homage to “The Sound of Music”. The heart-warming, relatable story of the von Trapp family was building the expressive setting and a conscious reference to Austria. In addition to Conchita as Fräulein Maria, actor and theater director Herbert Föttinger played the role of Captain Georg von Trapp. For the first time M·A·C Cosmetics and the M·A·C AIDS Fund were donating 150.000 EUR to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Recognize the Danger
Life Ball is back and reinvented itself. The association AIDS LIFE got changed into LIFE+, a platform was created, giving transparency to relevant topics all year long. With the campaign Know Your Status the central message was transported. Life Ball focused on what is the purpose of the event, away from the celebrity hype: Fighting AIDS & Celebrating Life!
For the first time in over 23 years there’s no Life Ball, only the Ribbon Celebration Concert at Burgtheater is being held. A novum: Cardinal Christoph Schönborn held a personal speech and paved the way for the memorial service that took place at St. Stephens cathedral on World-AIDS-Day the year after.
The 23th Life Ball is inspired by Vienna’s secessionists and is being held under the motto Gold. It is an evening of highs and records: The Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) is new international partner and the golden Life Ball is achieving net proceeds of around 2.4 million Euro. The celebrity list is long: Bill Clinton, Charlize Theron, Mary J. Blidge and Sean Penn are coming to Vienna. Jean Paul Gaultier is exciting the guests with his designs. Nobody would have guessed: During his speech at Life Ball 2015 Gery Keszler is making his own HIV-status public and is announcing, that there won’t be a Life Ball in the next year. After 23 years of rapid growth, now it is the time for reflection and to pause.
Garden of lust
Love is a bloom growing anywhere.
The Vienna City Hall is converted into a garden of lust. Guests like Bill Clinton, Sänger Ricky Martin, actress Marcia Cross and singer Courtney Love are visiting the sea of blossoms. In the run-up to Life Ball the poster with transgender model Carmen Carrera was a public dispute. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is new political partner on an international level. Highlight of the evening was the performance of Conchita Wurst and the Songcontest winner song Rise like a Phoenix. As a perfect ending to Life Ball a fashion show hosted by head of Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani took place.
It needs the night to see the stars
In 2013 Life Ball is held under the motto 1001 Night because it needs the night in order to see the stars. Bill Clinton is attending the event once more, as well as Elton John, actress Hilary Swank, singer Fergie and “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden. Roberto Cavalli is thrilling the audience with his designs.
Fighting the Flames of Ignorance
Motto cycle: Fire
The 20th anniversary is being celebrated with several events: The evening before Life Ball a gala concert at Burgtheater is taking place, a day later the AIDS Solidarity Gala at the Hofburg. The four year long cycle is being closed with the element fire. The evening before the ball the gala concert at Burgtheater is taking place, followed by the AIDS Solidarity Gala at the Hofburg. Bill Clinton, Model Milla Jovovich and actor Antonio Banderas are wishing a happy anniversary. The anniversary ball is achieving net proceeds of 2.1 million Euro.
Spread the Wings of Tolerance
Motto cycle: Air
The quartered cycle will be continued with the element of air under the motto Spread the Wings of Tolerance. Guests are Bill Clinton, singer Janet Jackson as well as actress Brooke Shields. The designer duo Dsquared2 are hosting the fashion show. The highlight of the evening: Holly Johnson, former singer of Frankie Goes to Hollywood is touching the audience with the ballad The Power of Love. Together with UNAIDS Life Ball is hosting the AIDS Solidarity Gala at the Hofburg in Vienna for 250 exclusive guests. Besides the dinner an auction is being hosted, in order to collect donations in the fight agains HIV/AIDS.
Sow the Seeds of Solidarity!
Motto cycle: Earth
Sow the Seeds of Solidarity! – dedicated to the element of earth, Life Ball is the kick-off for the XVIII. International AIDS Conference in Vienna. With delegates from 139 countries it’s the biggest congress that year. In solidarity three special organizations are hosting three events: the amfAR gala at the parliament, the Elton John AIDS Foundation at the Red Ribbon Cotillion at Burgtheater as well as the Clinton Health Access Initiative at the traditional Life Ball at the Vienna city hall. New political partner on an international level since 2010 is UNAIDS – the HIV/AIDS program of the united nations. Among others actress Whoopi Goldberg, the Norwegian crown princess Mette-Marit and star violist David Garrett are showing solidarity with people affected by HIV/AIDS. Because of strong thunderstorms the opening show unfortunately had to be abrupted half time.
Let Love flow
Motto cycle: Water
In 2009 a quartered Life Ball motto cycle begins, that leads through the four elements, with a crowning finale at the 20th anniversary in the year of 2012. The first element of that cycle is water and Life Ball 2009 is being held under the motto “Let Love flow” with a production in and on water. Among the prominent guests are Bill Clinton, who followed the invitation for the first time, as well as Katy Perry, Eva Longoria, Pamela Anderson, Ivana Trump and Fran Drescher. For the first time Life Ball was opened with debutant couples on the red carpet, just like Operaball, in a traditional way.
Landing on Planet Life Ball
Life Ball is held under the motto Landing on Planet Life Ball with a bombastic opening show that is composed like a theatre play. Models are presenting exclusive lingerie by Agent Provocateur on the Red Ribbon Catwalk. Again, guests at the ball are Sharon Stone, Kim Cattral, Rose McGowan and Deborah Harry. The net proceeds of Planet Life Ball are 1.4 million Euro.
Once upon a time
Once upon a time – with this motto Life Ball is being broadcasted live on ORF for the first time. Two days before the ball, Bill Clinton is being awarded by Gery Keszler at the AIDS-Life charity gala at the Castle Schönbrunn with a cheque to support his organization the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). Clinton is not coming to the ball himself though. Instead once more, Sharon Stone is being a guest at Life Ball, as well as the Scissor Sisters and actor Alan Cumming. Magical about the evening as well is the net proceed of 1.2 million Euro.
The Sound of Life Ball
A choir of love
Sharon Stone is visiting Life Ball as the acting president of amfAR. Various other celebrity guests are travelling to Vienna from New York with the Life Ball plane by Austrian Airlines. As part of the Motto A Choir of Love against an Army of Ignorance guests like Catherine Deneuve and Naomi Campbell are celebrating the feast of life. Superstar Anastacia is thrilling the audience with her musical performance.
Vienna rocks! Let Hope Infect the Virus
Life Ball is expanding its international commitment and is supporting amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and the TREAT Asia Program. Vienna rocks! Is the motto which is attracting numerous guests to Life Ball 2015. Elton John is gracing the ball with his presence for the fifth time, but also Liza Minneli, Heidi Klum and Dita von Teese are rocking Vienna. For the fifth time since his death the creations of Gianni Versace are being presented by his sister Donatella Versace. On this evening the Euro million limit is being reached.
For the first time styling terms are being established and the Style Bible introduced. Elegant evening wardrobe or a creative styling is a must, otherwise the city hall cannot be entered for the ball. The Style Police is checking the guest’s wardrobe.
Let us not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness
Life Ball is being held under the motto Let us not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness. Guest of honor Elton John is not only giving the opening speech but is also performing for the first time at the opening show his new ballad For The Boy In The Red Shoes. The fashion show is being hosted by Missoni.
"A decade for life, a decade against AIDS”
“A decade for life, a decade against AIDS”: 10 years of fighting against AIDS is being celebrated. Sensational is the wedding chapel, in which hetereo- and homosexual couples are being able to get married. Only in 2018 Austria is legalizing the same-sex-marriage.
Now Life Ball has made the international breakthrough: For the first time Life Ball is working with an international organization and is supporting the Elton John Aids Fundation (EJAF) as well as implementing projects in South Africa. Elton John is personally attending Life Ball, giving the opening speech.
Life Ball is breaking out of Vienna’s City Hall and is taking over the city hall square in front. For the first time the opening show is open to the public for free. The models are walking over a runway in the shape of a Red Ribbon.
Life Ball in der Hofburg
Because of renovations Life Ball is not able to take place at the Vienna City Hall, but is being held at the Hofburg. For the first time the event raised donations in the amount of 10 million Schillings (Euro 726.728,00).
Life Ball is achieving pertinence as a marketing platform. Swatch is one of the first sponsors, that is supporting the ball in a big dimension. In that year the first Life Ball-Barbie, designed by Vivienne Westwood and available in a limited edition is being released.
Gery Keszler and his team is being awarded with the austrian tourism award, with more awards to follow. The “Queen of Punk” Vivienne Westwood is attending the ball again and is hosting the fashion show. Falco is giving a performance. It’s one of his last gigs before his accidental death.
Future, Space, Techno and Barbarella
In the meanwhile, Life Ball has become a spectacular phenomenon, the tickets are sold out immediately. Under the title Future, Space, Techno and Barbarella star-designer Paco Rabanne is hosting the fashion show.
Life Ball is being incorporated in Vienna’s prestigious culture festival, the Wiener Festwochen – the interest is raising continual. For the first time the ball is not only covered in Germany and Austria, but also via French and Spanish TV. MTV is attending as well. On the third Life Ball Jean Paul Gaultier is presenting his designs.
The Austrian Federal Chancellor and other political representatives are attending Life Ball. What before was noticed as a scene event, is receiving attention now as a major event raising attention for HIV/AIDS far above Austria’s borders. At the Vienna City Hall fashion designer John Galliano is thrilling the ball guests with his creations.
Life Ball takes place the first time
Under the patronage of the city Vienna and with the support of hundreds of volunteers, the first Life Ball is taking place on 29 May 1993 at the Rathaussaal. There was never an event like this before, in favor of people affected by HIV and AIDS, that has been held at a politicial building. The raised donations went towards national aid projects in order to support direct help for people affected by HIV and AIDS.
Founding AIDS LIFE
Gery Keszler and Torgom Petrosian († 1994) established the charitable association AIDS LIFE (today LIFE+) with the goal, to build a platform that is raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and to raise donations for aid projects.