Storm cuts short start of Austrian Life Ball

John Demsey M.A.C. Cosmetics, Kenneth Cole, Cole Productions, U.S. actress Whoopi Goldberg and Life Ball organizer Gery Keszler, from left, attend a news conference in Vienna, on Saturday, July 17, 2010. They are in Vienna for the Austrian capital's annual Life Ball 2010, a charity gala aimed at raising money for people with AIDS. (AP Photo/Hans Punz)

July 17, 2010 6:19:19 PM PDT
A thunderstorm has cut short the star-studded opening of a flashy Austrian AIDS charity gala known as the Life Ball.

Appearances by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese and Patti LaBelle - among other celebrities - had to be skipped after authorities issued a weather warning and ordered the square outside Vienna's city hall to be cleared.

The annual party attracts thousands of revelers in quirky costumes and aims to raise money for people with HIV and AIDS. This year's bash is linked to an international AIDS conference that kicks off in the Austrian capital Sunday.

Saturday night's show also should have included an address by actress Whoopi Goldberg and a video message from Sharon Stone, as well as a fashion show.