2011-04-13: Art Gala Hijinks


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Summary: An art gala is held to raise money for the Maria Stark Foundation which donates money to various charities. The event was organized by Joan Thomas and Pepper Potts. Of course the evening would not be complete without an appearance from Tony.

Date: April 13, 2011

Log Title: Art Gala Hijinks

Rating: PG

NYC- Convention Center

In as much as there's the main gallery in SoHo, that building was far too small, so this mass showing is in one of the convention centers in the city. What is this? A fund raiser of course! Artists from all over the world have contributed their work to raise money for the Maria Stark Foundation for children. Large ballrooms are divided up with free standing partitions, all holding paintings, or making culdesacs for statuary. The whole layout is gracefully designed and allows for a lazy flow of people. It spans many rooms, and there are refreshments tucked into spots so that people never have to do with out. The event has been very well setup, and provides a suitable atmosphere for the world's rich and famous.
Joan, who set up most of this event, is an complete unknown for the most part. She snagged this chance spun it to first her boss, and then one Pepper Potts, and after that it's been a whirlwind of work. Wearing a nice black dress, the woman sits on the corner of a particularly ugly piece of statue as she eats a small sandwich. Why here? It's secluded. This nook has no one in it, and likely isn't to have many. As she chews she scrolls through things on this iStark pad she has. No, it's not work. It's her idea of fun. She's losing some money on the stock market. That's always fun!

Outside of the convention center in the procession of cars is a limo driven by none other than Happy Hogan. Once the car has slowly made it's way to the drop off location Happy parks long enough to allow Tony to exit on his own. The car pulls away leaving Stark standing amongst a few dozen camera flashes. Security for the event keeps the press and the paparazzi away from those attending the gala so Tony makes his way into the convention center without too much of a fuss being made. The party can now begin as the dapper Stark has entered the main lobby clad in a dark suit, plum colored shirt with matching pocket kerchief, black tie and sporting a pair of thick framed shades with purple tinted lenses.
Normally when an event invite is sent to Tony, Pepper keeps track of the invitations then Tony declines to attend nearly all of them. In this particular case he is present for multiple reasons. First, he likes art. By no means an expert on art collection or even styles he does purchase quite a few pieces to display either in house or at one of his many facilities that he personally likes. Another reason and by far the most important reason for him to be present is that the proceeds for this event are being donated to a local children s hospital via the foundation created in his mothers name. The rich and famous are mingling already and quite a few pieces have already been sold so the night is off to a good start. Pleasantries have been exchanged between Stark and those that approach him though the man is distracted at the moment as he's searching for his PA amongst the masses. Like a boat without a rudder Tony already grows tired of the crowd and is traveling along the edges glancing at various works.

And the crowd goes wild! Tony's arrival is a shock for many, and it means that he has to deal with a great many people. It's the normal round however. That one wants money, this one wants a favor, and that one wants to improve his standing. Going to try by spending time with Tony Stark. Imagine the points he'll earn by having a picture with him! ..ahem. Yeah, for all this event is raising good money, it kind of sucks being famous and not wanting to socialize. Finally there's a moment to slip away, and some of the further rooms, as well as deep into that maze of art lined passage, there's some peace to be found.
"Oh, you didn't." A feminine voice can be heard, but she's laughing. Someone just snagged something away from her. "Oooh.. you'll pay for that." Clearly this isn't some super villain planning anything, for her second bit is kind of muffled for the sandwich bit in her mouth. Bright raspberry colored hair is done in artful disarray, and matched by the hint of color on her lips. Joan's eyes are wrapped in heavy black to accent her pale eyes. No, not model quality this one, but she's pretty enough. The dress accents too. Just enough give to not show everything, but still snug enough to highlight the curves beneath. It's off the shoulders, and down to the knees. Bangles on wrists, and some gaudy gems at throat, but no earrings. No piercings either.

"Set up a meeting with Pepper," Tony suggests to someone who's mentioned a business proposal. Then a few people are easily side stepped allowing him to at least take a moment ot gaze upon nearby paintings. A rather interesting work has caught his eye. Unfortunately there appears to be no one available in the area at the present time. A small flat screen the size of a cell phone is pulled from a trouser pocket allowing Tony to shoot a message off to Pepper about picking up the particular piece of work. A quick image is taken then attached to the message before it is sent. As he's tucking the device away he rounds a corner to find a woman camped out upon the edge of a statue working on a datapad. "Has the gala already bored its first patron to death in the early hours of the event?"

The voice startles Joan, and there's a brief stare at Tony. What? Who? Oh! Words sink in and her cheeks color slightly. Holds that pad to her abdomen in a sheepish kind of way. "No." Hasn't bored her to death. "I work here. I've seen it for weeks." Kind of defeats looking at it all now when she's been looking at it for days. "Are you lost? This is the most forsaken corner of the event." Which is why it was chosen to lurk in. Joan straightens from her perch. Not even wearing high heels. The strange part may be that the woman shows no recognition at all. Tony who? Has trouble remembering faces this one. Pad is tucked against hip as she steps away from her perch. "I wouldn't recommend buying anything in this area. Unless you want to drive people away." A pointed look back to that very ugly statue. No, doesn't look any better after the twentieth glance. Ew.

"Ahh, one amongst many who have had the unfortunate task of setting up the gala. I do think it is going well over all save for perhaps that particular statue." The piece was certainly an eye sore which is either exactly what the artist was going for or their going to be hurt when the critque's begin. "i am far from lost. I simply do not relish being trailed by a great many currying for favor. Besides," Tony gestures with a hand towards the far door leading to the much busier rooms. "I would rather the lot of them focus on the evening at hand and spend a considerable fortune to support the charity." Eyeing the statue closely Tony heads to the opposite end to sit down. "Your opinion of the works in this section is very low? I rather like the chaotic mess of the third painting on the wall just outside of where we are now."

Definately one of the rich, Joan decides. She turns slowly as Tony moves by, and keeps the smile that's pulled over her lips. "There was a purposeful effort to add some nice pieces back here, but for the most part there's a reason they are back here." Doesn't know what to say about those currying favor, so doesn't. "I hope they spend a lot of money too." For all she's a bit uncomfortable mentioning that. Is she saying the wrong thing? "The Maria Stark Foundation does so much good. It saved my little brother. Well, foster brother, but he's still family." There's a warm sound for that. Then she shifts the topic, "There's a dogs playing poker around that wall. With nude cards no less." Points off that way. "Someone brought in a cat Mona Lisa too. This is the worst of them though." Pats that statue and places the data pad down on the base where she was sitting. A napkin a drink, and some chips linger there as well.

Tony offers up a slight smile, "A few pieces to pretty up the disasters that line most of the available space?" It certainly was a good idea otherwise the room would most likely go unnoticed or quickly passed through. "No home or office can be complete without a Dogs Playing Poker or a Gentleman Wearing a Bowler Hat." The personal story does however gain his attention more so than the idle commentary about various bits of art and the hopeful totals at the end of the evening. "If you don't mind my asking; What is it that troubled your brother?" There's a bit of spying as well as he's not really glancing at the collection of refreshments so much as the data pad.

A shrug and a spread of hands. "Some gems amid the refuse." She's putting on a grin for that. "There's a flow to these things I found out. Most people won't explore the further rooms unfortunately. Even if you put amazing things back here. So the best pieces were where they will sell quickly, and then a smattering are used in hopes of drawing people like you towards the nooks and crannies. It was kind of fun to set up really. We spent three days organizing art." As for her brother, there's a more serious mien. "He's a rare bone disease. Gorham's disease." In which bones can literally disappear. "The foundation has bought him another decade they believe, which is amazing. So of course I help out where I can." Not buying a whole life, but perhaps time to do more. She clearly knows this, but holds to hope. Now, as for the pad it's got stock listings on it. She's been playing with some very complex markets. Not a beginner by any means. There's music as well, and a lot of data concerning this very event. Joan is one of the back bones of it. Emails between her and Pepper too. Of course their relationship is purely formal and they haven't met face to face.

"Someone should purchase the misfit works of art. It is not as if they must actually display any of it." Particularly the horror that Tony has caught sight of across from the statue that is currently dubbing as a bench. Slowly he turns his head towards Joan so that he may glance across his shoulder, "I am truly sorry for what is happening to your brother. I am however glad that the Foundation has been able to give him a bit more time. Hopefully as innovations continue in the medical field there might be a way to eek out a bit more if not find a way to counter the disease."
With the mood taking a downturn Tony decides to switch gears by pointing out the datapad. "I see you play the market. If I might make a suggestion?" If she allows he will take the data pad in hand and pull up various bits and pieces of information to show her a unique grouping that will be quite profitable in the long run.

Someone should buy it? "Then why aren't you?" Asked with a sweet smile. Nope, no idea who you are. Joan nods about her brother. "Thank you." For the well wishing. "That's what we're hoping for. He's already lived longer than anyone had dared hope, so we're fighting for every day we can." It it doesn't destroy the family, such trials often bring them closer together. Then the pad is pointed out and it draws Joan over. She's wearing a bit of lilac scent, but one must be close to tell that. Very close. Suggestion? "That depends." Not minding that you take the pad. "On whether or not you are going to charge me for the information." That's happened on more than one occasion. If that isn't the goal, the woman is more than pleased to learn. Will sit down and watch what you are doing. Very interested.

"Who says I'm not?" Tony points out before listening to her speak more about her brother and inquiring as to how old her brother is. With data pad in hand he taps it to his thigh several times. "My fee is rather steep I'm afraid." Stock market intel didn't come cheap, and good intel was much more costly to obtain. Bending the pad towards her she may glimpse at some of it before he pulls it back to be much harder to read. "Your name in exchange for possible millions." It could be considered a fair trade then again she could refuse and find the information no longer on the data pad.

"Then I hold you to that." The buying of art. "Especially the dogs playing poker." Honestly Joan hates that one. It's not even a good copy of the original idea. The brother is twenty two now, and works as a graphics designer when he's not trying to finish college. The disease takes an awful toll on the young man. Now him she'll talk about. His name is Matt too. But claim that the price is steep and she's giving you a look. Not sure whether to be amused or doubting. "My name." That's strange. "Really, just that." Confirm and that name is given. "Joan Thomas." More than a fair trade! Joan's just wondering there the catch is. Playing with stocks is one of her favorite things however, so she takes the chance to get that information.
Someone interrupts at this point, but it's innocently so. An elderly couple wanders in, grimaces over the statue, and leaves in disgust. Joan laughs at their expressions, and gives them a wave. They wander down some other corridors and are soon out of sight. Then her attention is back to Tony. "You're very good at this." Stocks she means. "Then again I suppose that stands to reason since I couldn't afford to buy the art here and you are." But that's said with a smile.

Armed with a name Tony hands over the data pad for Joan to peruse the information he's entered. It's nothing major but it will make money over time and do considerably well. "I dabble from time to time though it is unnecessary." If he comes off a bit arrogant at times it is because he is. The elderly couple walking through the room draws laughter from the man as he rises to his feet again to peer down at the hideous statue. "I'm afraid you'll not be able to convince anyone to relieve you of this piece. This event is a rather inspired idea as most often gala's are had and it ends up being either some well to-do ball or an auction."

Unncessary. Joan shakes her head over that in amusement as the pad is accepted. She doesn't want to be rich actually. Which is why she isn't. That she may earn a few million over the long run? Well, that suits her just fine. Money for a later date when she may need it. "The art goes right back to the artist. I am so not worried about it. Maybe he'll use it as a doorstop." An entirely silly notion considering the sheer size of the piece. She looks at the piece in a speculative manner and then rolls her eyes. Still ugly. Compliment this affair and she looks away. Mainly for being not so secretly very pleased. The hard work is paying off it seems. "They wanted a more relaxed atmosphere." They. Uh-huh. "The hardest part of arranging the maze. That's what we call it anyway." A smile for that as she motions to the endless arrangement of partitions that hold the art. "Making sure that the seating didn't hinder flow, but was there every few feet, and the refreshments…" A gusty of a breath. "Then setting up the art, oh yes, this took a lot, but it's been worth it. It's been some great exposure for some people who really need it."

"Perhaps if the piece is returned the artist may consider changing mediums," Tony teases as a few others appear to have found the furthest reaches of the gala and are now passing through the rooms. "I believe I will seek out the nearest refreshment table once I've managed to wrangle a …" There's a bit of a pause as he considers what term he wants to use as it may in fact be the wrong one. "Dealer? You wouldn't happen to know which sculpture they're lurking behind by chance?"

"We can only hope." About that artist changing mediums. She pauses then to watch the people, looking back as Tony's voice draws her gaze back. For some reason that question has her smiling in wry amusement, and a simply finger points out that ugly statue. Hiding behind this one. Yep. "I'm one." A dealer. That smile spreads and lights up in her eyes. "Is there something you wanted?" Looking almost coy as her body language shifts to playful. "The dogs perhaps?" Totally just teasing you. There are several pieces here she's expecting to wrap up and ship back where they came from, and that's one of them. Holds that data pad up. "I could call up the lists and add your name." Of course there's an immediate shift in demeanor. "And I'm not serious about the dogs. If you wanted something I honestly can put it as purchased. I've access to the master list."

Tony steps closer to peer down at the data pad that Joan is holding then tips his head thoughtfully. "There is one piece in particular that needs to be rescued from this section of the gala. I appear to have lucked out in finding someone to assist me with liberating a piece of art without much effort in the searching."
The piece in question is just around the corner which he points out. Joan will however note that the piece has already been purchased by Pepper Potts for the asking price. Tony is unaware that Pepper has managed to secure the piece. "I could take the dogs painting off your hands to give to a friend of mine who will probably not appreciate it. It would greatly amuse me however."

Joan nods and starts shifting files around to find her master list. "Show me?" Which piece. "I did say some good pieces were hidden back here." A smile for that. Around the corner, peering at the numbers tied to the piece, and she finds a name on her list. "It's already been purchased." Said apologetically. "By the foundation it seems. Or at least I assume. Miss Potts of Stark is listed as having bought it." Sorry, Tony, she thinks it's gone. Settles that pad close again, but only for habit, not for the need to hide it. "I'm sorry." Never did get your name.

"My taste is shall we say, terrible?" Tony laughs about this before pointing out the particular painting. As Joan searches through her master list Tony takes the time to look about the pieces in this section once more. There were a few that should have stayed home but for the most part he thought the collection wasn't that bad. "Hmm? Purchased already?" That news surely puts a damper on things until it is revealed that Pepper has snagged the piece based upon the message Tony sent to her before running into Joan. "Ahh, mind if I see that?" If Joan hands him the device he notices the purchase price then types onto the data pad which may alarm the poor art dealer.

Totally does NOT comment about your taste. Not that she thinks this piece is bad. "I know little about art truth be told." Said as she works on the pad. "Or about what's suppose to be good or not. I do number crunching mostly, not art." Math could be called art, but hey, that's something for another day. Joan looks uncertain as the device is asked for. "I won't change the buyer name, if that's what you are suggesting." Not like she knows Tony from Adam! Still, assure, and that pad is offered. There is a look of surprise as Tony does change something. "Ah!" A sound of protest. "What are you doin…" Blink. "You.. Stop that." Flustered, she attempts to take the pad back. It should be noted there's a strange lack of real force behind it. Not someone trying to exert force. "You can't increase someone else's claim." Tries to hit buttons to jam the device.

Tony pulls his shades off to hang from the front pocket of his suit jacket. "You know nothing about art and are a dealer? That's not really a good mix though you seem to be fairing very well having organized this." Then she explains a bit further since Tony cut her off mid sentence so he understands the complete picture. A business woman rather than a dealer or an art aficionado.
The device is offered however after a moment then the two seem to be tugging upon the poor data pad between themselves as people pass by wondering what was going on. Joan isn't fighting all that hard to tug the device back though she is trying to lock it down whereas Tony merely holds onto it and moves it about in such a way to give her a hard time. "I can, and I have." Clearly he's having a good time with this and manages get the device away from her to hold behind his back. "My assistant refuses to over pay for pieces of artwork as she is an avid collector whereas I am perfectly fine with that." Draws the pad back up into view as he peers at the flustered woman with a quirky smile firmly in place. "I should have mentioned to her that I was going to go over and above the price tag this evening. No harm done." Offers the pad to Joan.

Of course she's not trying very hard. Doesn't want to either break the pad, or hurt the rich man buying things. Joan isn't stupid. She is flustered however. "Why would I have to know about art to manage finances?" Snappish for Tony being such a jerk. Put it behind the back and the woman narrows her eyes for it all. So about to give Tony a smacking when he claims to be the boss of Pepper Potts. Yes, Joan can do that man and she looks surprised. Warily surprised, "Right." Doesn't believe you, Tony! Give that pad back and Joan actually gets into the file to change the price right back to where it was. There are some dirty looks going your way, mister. Nor is she daunted by this. "You have Miss Potts call me and I'll increase the price, otherwise I'm making sure it stays this way." Because it's the right thing to do.

Tony shrugs his shoulders, "Most people are involved in something they have an interest in. No offense intended if it was taken as a knock against you." As this continues on the man seems to become more amused rather than behave himself then apologize for altering her master list. "You don't believe me then?" Part of his amusement stems from the fact that Joan clearly had no idea who Anthony Stark is. The device is back in the proper hands though not without some hostility present in Joan's gaze. A finger is lifted asking for a moment.
The slim cell phone sized device makes another appearance tonight as Tony makes a show of tying something with his thumbs quickly then pocketing the device. A few moments later Joan's cell rings while Tony appears nonchalant about it all. "Are you going to answer that? It might be important."

"I started helping a friend and kind of got pulled in." So it's more for that than interest. Still, she's been enjoying it. Well, not enjoying this terribly much, but hey. "Why would I believe you?" Joan asks back at Tony, in disbelief. "You haven't shown me any kind of proof that you are who you claim, and you just tried to make someone pay considerably more than they intended. Which is incredibly rude." So not giving in, no matter what Tony may claim. And not even as he starts working that device. Not even as her own phone rings. Another look to you and the phone is fetched out of her cleavage. No, really. Looks at it, gives you a disapproving look, then answers. "Hello, Miss Potts. So it appears. He's being quite the jerk." Pulls the phone from her ear, "She's laughing. Why do you do this to people? Don't you have toys you can play with instead of people?" Then back to the phone. "Okay, he's legit then? Yes, he changed the price on my master list without telling me who he was. Can I stomp on his very rude toes?" The game is on her, and while she's irked, she's at least trying to be of moderate humor about it. "She won't let me stomp your toes." Meanie.

Palms press together in mock supplication. “I would ask to be forgiven but I find it too terribly amusing that you don't know what I look like given the charity event.” Of course the poor woman could have been living under a rock and honesty not known about Iron Man or Tony Stark. It was a rarity that he found someone who honestly had no idea who he was which made for quite an amusing time at least for him. “Toys lose their luster after a time but people are forever entertaining.” Joan is back to speaking with Pepper so Tony steps out of the middle of the hallway while putting his shades back on. Such a simple alteration in a data file has successfully annoyed two women in one swoop. Brilliant! Giddy beyond all measure he pouts at Joan, “If it is any consolation she will give me hell for the better part of twenty-four hours tomorrow.”

Joan isn't buying that gesture anymore than she's willing to buy swamp land in Florida. "I can't recognize people's faces without a lot of exposure. It's a real medical condition. Look it up." Which is said very seriously, yet she doesn't snap. "I have heard of you, now that a name's been given, but I honestly pay little attention to the famous. It's not like I'll ever meet you again after tonight." Then it's back to talking to Pepper. Poor Pepper. How do you deal with that man? Doesn't mean to take it out on that woman however. The call doesn't last long, and Joan actually thanks Pepper for her time. And for the contribution. Doesn't thank Tony. Doesn't say what she's thinking either. That's clear. "Mr Stark, your purchase has been noted in our master file. I hope you enjoy the rest of the show." Joan isn't exactly mad. Flustered and uncomfortable so she's given you a dismissal.

Perhaps a bit too much fun was had at the poor woman's expense. Tony takes a step closer thanking Joan for all of the work she has done to make this evening happen. There won't be an apology coming from the man as those have to be pried out of him and even then the apology will not carry much weight. "I'll let you get back to your chips, and the stock market." Clearly turning her dismissal into his taking his leave on his own terms. With a bow of his head in her direction he offers up a fleeting smile, "Have a good evening, Ms. Thomas." With that Tony disappears into another room to find his way through the maze so that he may leave as his part of the evening is over and done with.

Beats having people throw themselves all over you, right? Undaunted by Tony's reputation, but think she's insane for being rude to him, Joan holds her ground until the inventor is gone. Says nothing more to him. Then she tucks her phone away and returns to that statue. "I'm crazy." A shake of the head, things are gathered up, and the woman goes to hide until the end of the event. Truly hide.

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