Monday, October 22, 2007

Equality California Awards Gala: Starring Patti Lupone

On Saturday I attended the annual Equality Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Equality California (EQCA) is an organization that strives to create equality in our state. I'll explain more about what EQCA does later, but first let me tell you about the terrific evening! This was the first major event of "the season" here in the desert. Between October and May, there are over 250 charitable gala events in the Palm Springs area. It's a very active social community, with plenty of wealthy residents who can support their favorite charities and enjoy a formal evening socializing with friends. But I digress. This year's Equality Awards honored Broadway legend Patti Lupone and also the local Greenberg-Peet family who work tirelessly for a wide range of issues and causes in the Palm Springs community and beyond.

The event was "black tie optional, which yielded a nice combination of formal wear, from gentlemen in tuxedos to suits, and ladies with full gowns to cocktail dresses. (I always enjoy going somewhere where everyone is well dressed). I decided to wear my tuxedo with a red ascot instead of a bow tie. I have a collection of ascots (cravats for any Brit readers) that I am single-handily trying to bring back in fashion. The pre-dinner cocktail hour was actually two hours, allowing plenty of time to peruse the items in the silent auction. I resisted the urge to bid on anything, with all of the events I attend each season, my house would be full of all kinds of stuff if I bid at every event!
Time for Dinner...
Inside the ballroom, tables were dressed in black tablecloths and red napkins with boxes of neatly-trimmed beautiful red roses in the center of each table. I was the guest of Integrated Wealth Management (my financial planning advisor), who was a Governor's Circle Sponsor of the evening. The table was right up in front of the center stage, which afforded a fantastic view of the evening's awards presentations and entertainment.

Brodway Legend Patti Lupone Performs
After the required speeches, accolades and presentations were finished, Broadway star and legend Patti Lupone performed as the evening's entertainment. She was very personable, down-to-Earth and came across as genuine and warm. Unfortunately photography was strictly forbidden, so I was unable to capture any images of her performing. She did a narrative of her early career, with songs she performed as a "kid" trying to break into show business. She performed a wide range of Broadway showtunes, in some cases singing the part of the male lead instead of the part she actually played on stage. One very amusing number was from West Side Story, where she sang both roles of Maria and her mother. She switched back and forth, changing her voice and pitch to correspond to each part. It was actually very well done. She also sang "Ya Got Trouble", from Music Man, which is a tough number to perform with its speed and pace. But my favorite part was her closing performance from Evita: "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", a role she famously performed on Broadway. Patti Lupone's incredible talent was evident throughout her nearly 90 minute performance. It was a fantastic evening, one which I will not soon forget.
A note about Equality California (EQCA):
I respect that everyone is in their own place with personal views and opinions, so I will briefly share some information about what EQCA does. EQCA is an organization whose mission is to achieve equality in California for gay and lesbian people. In particular, the core interest is access to marriage. The point of the organization is not to ask for special rights for gays and lesbians, but rather, to extend the same access to marriage that straight people have. During the event last night, they showed a new commercial before dinner showing a woman in her bridal gown, whose father was about to bring her to the ceremony where her fiance was waiting. They showed her being confronted with a wide range of obstacles preventing her from getting married. The obstacles they showed were a metaphor, such as losing her veil, being held back from walking down the aisle, having to step over trash, tripping and falling, etc, all this while her family and husband-to-be watched. The end of the commercial asks "What if you couldn't marry the person you love?" It was a clever approach to the gay marriage debate. The commercial didn't even show any same sex couples, or mention of "rights" or "equality". Instead, it was about family, love, and feelings. I thought it was a good way to shift the debate. I'm honestly not an activist type by nature, but the approach of EQCA these days is to get people to just talk about it, share their own experiences and initiate dialogue between average, everyday people. So that's it. I'm not going to get all political here, that's not what my blog is about. However in my own way I have shared what I learned from last night's event. So whether you agree with the topic or not, watch for this commercial and see how (or if) affects you in anyway. Click here to watch the new commercial if the You Tube window does not appear below

-Rick Rockhill

12 comments:

Mags said...

I stole this from you. (But gave you a link) It's too good to keep on just one blog. ;)

Scott said...

Thanks Rick. Who could argue?

CRUSTYBEEF said...

Great story! I too will be swiping this one and sending it out..

Great blog too!! Sounds like fun!
You make me want to venture out of my mom post and return to the fun world of corporate events, fun clothes and social activity.

Yes, I agree with you, your sense of style with that suit should make a comeback..it's quite dapper. (sp?)

Always,
Crusty~

Mags said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you (because it was past midnight and I was on a Red Sox high) that your red ascot is lovely!

TWISI said...

Love Patti!

David said...

I love the tablecloths, and your "Ascot"

snowelf said...

Rick,

As I am more liberal than most in the area of human rights and especially in the area of love, I adored this post and the commercial was so, so touching.

And I'm with you--I love going places where I have to get all dolled up. I just love looking at beautiful things, I guess. :)

You guys look fabulous in the picture!!

--snow

marlupe said...

Well I agree with this and like the commercial...(but I didn't need convincing!). Good job presenting your position and opinion, I know it can be tricky!

Casdok said...

Great blog!!

Steven said...

Looks like a great time was had by everyone and the entertainment sounded enjoyable. The commercial has a great way of presenting the "point" without overstating it.

LouLou! said...

First, the fact that you not only choose to wear an ascot, let alone pull it off with great panache - Well, why am I not surprised???

Second, the commercial has a brilliant approach - It's about feelings and commitment and love - How better to appeal to the conservatives??

Serena Joy said...

Sounds like it was a lovely evening. I like dress-up events, too, and you certainly did look spiffy.

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