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Weinstein's (4011 Magazine St., 895-6278) women's clothing boutique has partnered with Italian design house Bottega Veneta for a special event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7. Eight exquisitely crafted Bottega Veneta handbags have been donated for the event, which benefits the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA). Seven of the handbags will be auctioned live, and another — a woven double-handle tote valued at $3,000 — will be raffled off at 7 p.m. Weinstein's owners Bonnie Wilson and Rosalyn Weinstein say the event was conceived "to help support all NOBA's community efforts, from staging world-class dance to providing arts education and youth development across the city." To purchase raffle tickets at $20 each, visit Weinstein's or call the New Orleans Ballet Association at 522-0996.

NO/AIDS Task Force will host its 20th annual Art Against AIDS art auction and holiday gala at the newly reopened Ritz Carlton (921 Canal St.) from 8 p.m. until midnight Saturday, Dec. 9. A silent auction will feature works by locally and nationally acclaimed artists along with items and gift certificates from area merchants. Abita Beer and cocktails by RAIN Vodka will accompany cuisine from local restaurants and caterers. A small live auction during the event will offer a few selected showcase pieces of artwork. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased in person at 2601 Tulane Avenue, fifth floor, and at Hazelnut (5515 Magazine St.) or by calling 821-2601. Tickets also will be available at the door at the same price.

Peggy Scott Laborde will be at Rubensteins (102 St. Charles Ave., 581.6666) signing her book, Canal Street, New Orleans' Great Wide Way, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9. Refreshments will be served. The book makes a great gift for locals who grew up shopping on Canal. While you are at Rubensteins, be sure to go upstairs to the ladies store, where apparel and accessories are marked down 30 to 50 percent all week.

St. Charles Vision will host its annual trunk show from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, and Thursday, Dec. 7, at 8040 St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans and 3200 Severn Ave. in Metairie. Enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres as you peruse frames and sunglasses in the new 2007 collections from designers including Chanel, Prada, Oliver Peoples, Modo, Coach, LaFont, Armani and others. You'll get a 50 percent discount on eye exams and a 20 percent discount on eyewear. For more information, call 866-6311.

Fur Real! Just in time for Christmas, the Encore Shop (7814 Maple St., 861-9028) has new arrivals of gently worn, nearly new furs in various lengths and sizes, including mink coats, a shirred beaver jacket, a full-length Persian lamb coat and more. While you're there, check out the newly reduced prices on winter clothing. The Encore Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds benefit the musicians of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.


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