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June 02, 2017

Kelly Holland on What's New for Vice Is Nice 2017

CHATSWORTH, Calif.—It's just about summertime, and as pretty much everyone in adult must know by now, that means it's nearly time for Penthouse CEO Kelly Holland's annual fundraiser to benefit homeless animals, Vice Is Nice. And this year, besides the celebrity poker tournament, the "Monte Carlo Night," the raffles, the tarot card readings, the bands, the dancing and the roaming performers, Kelly is promising a couple of surprise spectacles that everyone's sure to enjoy. But of course, the real "spectacle" at every Vice Is Nice is the number of animal rescue organizations that Kelly, through the admission fees, food sales and contributions from the games of chance, is able to help—and this year, she's lined up a couple of worthy rescues that the adult community may not be aware of. "Each year, we try to identify three or four rescues that we think are doing really good work in the community," Kelly noted. "One of the rescue we're working with this year is called Operation Blankets Of Love [OBOL]. They do really extraordinary work. They're out of Granada Hills, and they don't directly foster or have a sanctuary for animals, but they are a conduit for donated things. For example, I think all the big pet store chains donate food that can't be sold because the bag came in crushed or ripped or cut—those bags don't just get thrown in the trash; the stores make sure all of that unsaleable stuff works its way into the hands of rescues, so OBOL spends their days running around and picking up food, toys, treats, cages—whatever anybody has that can benefit the rescue community. "They started very specifically with blankets, hence the name," she continued, "and they started in a very small way, getting donations of blankets and beds primarily for the shelters that are up in places like Palmdale, San Bernardino, where in the winter it gets really cold and those animals are outside, not in heated environments many times. And recently they've expanded, and they were asking me if I had any additional storage space in our warehouse because one of the major airlines donated pallets and pallets of blankets that they used to use in first class on the planes. I now have four big boxes of those blankets at the ranch right now. "One of the things they do, for example, is they go out and take food and blankets and pet products to the homeless who have animals, which I support and have done that work in the past," she added. "That's just one of those things that's lost on most people, but if you notice, there's a high percentage of homeless people that have animals, principally dogs, and that's because that is the one situation where they're not judged; they get unconditional love and support from those animals and generally the animals are better fed than the people, and the people that have those pets spend more time worrying about the pets than themselves. So Operation Blankets Of Love goes out and drops food and blankets to the homeless in the San Fernando Valley. They also do local events where they provide blankets, food, support gear to veterans that have animals, and seniors. They're really looking for stressed, at-risk populations that have animals. That parallels a project that the Animal Rescue Alliance has, which is my favorite project, called Seniors For Seniors. We adopt senior animals to senior people with no adoption fee, and we provide food and medical care, because oftentimes, the seniors can't provide that themselves for one reason or another, so we guarantee that we'll bring them food, pick up the pets and shuttle them to their vet appointments, and if there comes a time when they can't take care of that pet, bring them back to the rescue. Operation Blankets Of Love is doing something similar, and I appreciate that and support that." Vice Is Nice will also be donating to three other rescues this year, including the Simi Valley-based Pink Paws, as well as one in Topanga called Rags2Wags. "Rags2Wags has a great woman named Dora who will be at the fundraiser and who's just great at finding great homes for dogs," Kelly noted. "We've managed to put a lot of dogs that we've been asked to foster or have been dumped on the property with Dora, and she's been very successful in adopting dogs out on our behalf and also a lot of other dogs for other people, so we think she does really worthwhile work in the Valley, and we're going to support her." The other new recipient of Vice Is Nice funds will be the Colorado-based Douglas County Canine Rescue, a dog rescue that was brought to Kelly's attention by Eric Auday, who's been instrumental in getting Hollywood actors and other celebrities to take part in the annual celebrity poker tournament. "Eric adopted a dog from that Colorado rescue and specifically asked us if we would support that rescue and we said, 'Absolutely!'" Kelly said. We asked Kelly just which events at the gathering have been the most successful, and she admitted that even she was surprised at how popular the raffles have been. "They're sort of akin to bingo somehow, and when the rescue that I originally worked with, which was staffed by a bunch of blue-haired ladies, suggested raffles, I rolled my eyes and went, okay, I'll try that for their sake, and then the raffles became the biggest thing," she explained. "I remember very specifically Moose from Girlfriends—Moose of all people!—saying to me, 'I've got a raffle strategy.' And I went, 'What? What's a raffle strategy?' But I remember Moose and his wife, the first couple of years, walking out with so many raffle baskets and I thought, well, okay, he did have a strategy and it worked. So the raffles have grown, and the things that we have as raffle items have grown in both value and number. And then there's the poker tournament, partially because we finally clicked in with the celebrity poker people, including some mainstream actors; that went through the roof last year. I think we had 100 seats, ten tables last year, and we had people waiting, so this year we're expanding the tournament, putting on another two or three tables, and the prizes have gotten bigger, so we're putting a big emphasis on that." One of the things Kelly has found most gratifying is how well Vice Is Nice has been embraced by the adult entertainment community. "I noticed early on, even before the fundraisers, that there seems to be a disproportionate number of people from the adult industry who are deep into their animals and into rescue, like Julia Ann and Melissa Monet, and I thought, 'Hmmm, that's interesting,'" she said. "I don't necessarily know that it means that the empathic regions of our brains are bigger, because that's where empathy sits. I think it's a variation on the homeless theme, which is, we are always a renegade industry, and everyone in this industry has had to deal, in one way or another, whether it's with their parents, their peers, their exes or just anyone in the general public who finds out that the girl standing next to them is an adult actress—we have to deal with some amount of social ostracism, societal ostracism, and I think, because we choose to be in that position and accept that, it's good to have one situation where there's absolutely zero judgment on your life, and that's in your relationship with your companion animal, your pet. And of course, being outcasts themselves, they can perhaps empathize more with homeless animals. So we do do a lot of work in the industry with people who have to rehome an animal, or who are looking for an animal." But Kelly also had a confession to make. "With all of the new projects and the new initiatives that we have now at Penthouse, I'm behind the gun again, and I had actually allocated this weekend to start sending out my donor letters for sponsorship," she said. "Normally, I would have done that about a month ago, but there's still two months to the fundraiser, so I've got two months to get everybody geared up for my twisting the arms and begging and pleading and doing all the things I do to keep sponsors on board and get new ones, so I'm going to do that this weekend, and please, please, please don't shuttle my email to your spam folder, please! But I will be asking people to come on board at whatever sponsorship level they came on board with last year plus whatever else they can afford or find it in their heart to donate. So be prepared: take that email from Kelly Holland!" But what worries Kelly about this year's Vice Is Nice is that with the fundraiser now it its eighth year, it may now be too successful. "Vice Is Nice has been growing organically, and each year, the attendance gets bigger, we bring on more donors through direct sponsorship, which we rely on; it's 50 to 60 percent of the money we raise," Kelly explained. "But as we've grown, our efficiencies have grown as well, so at the end of the day, each year, we are spending less money on putting on the event, which means more money that we can share with the rescues. There will come a time, and I don't know when that time will be, but we'll reach maximum capacity. Last year, we hosted 700, 750 people. When we started this eight years ago, it was about 350 people, and I remember thinking it was crowded then, so there may be just a natural leveling point where that's just how many people are in the community that supports us—and we get a lot of requests from people in our industry to help them with animals they've taken that they can't keep, whatever." And the hostess does have one important message she wants to convey to potential attendees. "Since the crowds have grown, the parking situation has become a little stressed," she noted. "We're still okay; we had plenty of parking last year, and this year we've got the same thing; our valet people are out front to show you where to park and then shuttle you up, but I highly recommend Uber, Uber, UBER! If you use Uber, we will be more lenient as to how much you drink, because I am not very lenient about people falling down drunk. We have security and you get shuttled right out of there and we put you in an Uber whether your car's there or not, because we're not going to let you drive drunk, so we're going to control that to the best of our ability. So use Uber or we'll take your keys and you'll have to sleep with the donkey, which the donkey will appreciate your company but I doubt the drunks will when they wake up in the morning. So Uber, Uber, UBER!" And while readers are thinking about that, they can just surf on over to theanimalrescuealliance.org or phone (818) 257-0551 to preregister for the event—or simply to find out more information about it. Preregistration gets you in for $20, though it'll cost $25 at the door—so preregister now!

 
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