Thank You For A Full House For Our UCLA vs. USC Cheers for Literacy Bar Battle

(L-R) Craig Gibson; Alexandra Taylor; Kimberly Vig, executive director of The Literacy Project; Chelsey Rice and Tony Lopez

It was a packed house for the Ultimate Cocktail War benefiting The Literacy Project

It was a packed house with more than 250 guests attending The Literacy Project’s (TLP) “Cheers For Literacy” bar battle at The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar in Newport Beach recently.

USC’s Alexandra Taylor and Craig Gibson competed for the coveted crown against UCLA’s Chelsey Rice and Tony Lopez in a fierce battle for collecting the most tips from their cocktail concoctions. Returning champ USC took the crown again, and bragging rights, by raising more than $3,000, while UCLA helped support The Literacy Project with an additional $1,000 in tips. The Literacy Project fan Al Freeman served as the evening’s emcee, narrating each round of competition.

The at-risk children are the true benefactors of this event and proceeds will enable them to participate in The Literacy Project’s reading program for free. To date, TLP has served more than 9,000 struggling readers with increased critical reading skills that demonstrates significant improved academics and self-confidence in education.

The USC team was comprised of Alexandra Taylor, senior associate publisher, Modern Luxury Media and Craig Gibson, vice president, Orion Risk Management. The UCLA team members were Chelsey Rice, former UCLA dance team and Tony Lopez, The Literacy Project board member, and past emcee at NFL Irrelevant Week.

In the crowd were The Literacy Project board members Sinan Kanatsiz, Joe Stapleton, Sue Grant and longtime supporters Jeannie Lawrence, Cheryl and Robert Venneri, and Gary Grant. USC’s Mike Salmon, Anthony Curci, Christian Fanticola and Stephanie Argyros were in attendance. UCLA’s John Ursini, part-owner of the family-owned Newport Rib Company was also there, along with Gary Matthews Jr., former Angels Baseball player. Former “Cheers for Literacy” celebrity bartender and Angels Baseball alum Chuck Finley also popped in for a toast.

Photo by Ed Melliza


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