Monday, October 20, 2008

Equality California Awards: Honoring Dear Abby and Starring Lorna Luft

Saturday evening we attended the 2008 Equality Awards Gala event in Palm Springs, honoring Advice columnist Dear Abby, and Tim Hanlon, of Wells Fargo Bank Foundation. More on the awards event in a few moments. You may recall my post last year when Patti Lupone was the 2007 award honoree. A FEW EDITORIAL COMMENTS: Regular readers know that I usually avoid political subjects on this blog. This site is intended to be light entertainment for all readers. I respect that everyone is in their own place with personal views and opinions, so I never "lecture" readers who take the time to visit. For those of you interested, EQCA is an organization whose mission is to achieve equality in California for gay and lesbian people. It does not seek special rights but rather, to extend the same rights that straight people already have and also reduce discrimination. Since is an this election year, EQCA has focused its efforts to defeat "California Proposition 8" which seeks to overturn the existing law that allows same sex couples to marry in California. Basically EQCA is trying to preserve an existing right in our state. Since I lean toward the more conservative side of the spectrum, I'm not an activist type by nature, and sometimes I get a little uncomfortable with fringe views within some special interest groups. However, on this issue EQCA seeks to initiate dialogue between everyday people, to share their own experiences about the topic of same sex marriage. During her remarks later in the evening "Dear Abby" said: "I believe if two people want to commit to each other, God bless 'em. That is the highest form of commitment, for heaven's sake, and what's wrong with a little more love and positive energy in this world?" Never one to shy away from expressing her opinion, I think Dear Abby has hit it right on the head.
"Dear Abby" with The Palm Springs Savant, Rick Rockhill:
Left: I found Dear Abby to be gracious, charming and very sweet. I enjoyed the opportunity to speak with her. The Equality Awards Gala is one of the early events of the Palm Springs social season. It is formal-wear event, although slightly more casual than some of the full black tie events. The evening began with cocktail hour and a silent auction. The auction featured a nice selection of vacation packages, certificates to restaurants and spas and art by local area artists, all fully donated. The costs of the evening were underwritten by sponsors, to allow revenue from the silent auction and ticket sales to benefit EQCA. When we reached our table in the ballroom, there were signs on the table that said "in lieu of floral centerpieces, we have used those donated funds to support the campaign to defeat Proposition 8", which seemed like a good idea.

above: a wonderful smooth-jazz band provided entertainment during dinner

above left: the tables were set with rose petals scattered on the black table linens. above right: a thin cucumber peel held the chopped salad nicely. The entree was beef tenderloin, I was so hungry I forgot to snap a photo!

above: they had two desserts, a strawberry or chocolate mousse on a round cake. The chocolate was better than the strawberry, which was a little too sweet for me.

above: Emmy Award winning actor/comedian/playwright Leslie Jordan was the emcee for the evening. He is probably best known for his sharp tongued character as "Beverly Leslie" on TV's Will and Grace. His career includes a number of terrific TV roles in "Boston Legal”, “Hidden Palms” and “Reba", along with movies such as "Sordid Lives". Jordan's quick wit had the audience laughing and kept the program moving along. He is very personable and easy to speak with; we chatted about his act and one of the jokes he told on stage. He enjoys Palm Springs and spends a great deal of time here in the desert.

above: The other honoree for the evening was Palm Springs resident Tim Hanlon, President of the Wells Fargo Bank Foundation. Mr Hanlon is a philanthropist in the Palm Springs community and has dedicated his personal life and career with Wells Fargo to improve the lives of all Californians. He was honored for a long history of community support, but also for questioning inequality in corporate policies and affecting change in the workplace. Wells Fargo is rated with a perfect score by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Mr Hanlon had a role in shaping some of the polices adopted by Wells Fargo.
Fabulous Entertainment
above: Actress and performer Lorna Luft was the headline entertainment for the evening. Miss Luft is the daughter of legendary entertainer Judy Garland and producer Sid Luft (mega superstar Liza Minelli is her half sister). She is a successful recording artist, Emmy-nominated producer and best-selling author. Her recent CD "Lorna Luft: Songs My Mother Taught Me", produced by fellow Palm Springs resident Barry Manilow (who is practically my neighbor) celebrates the music of Judy Garland. Lorna recently moved to the Palm Springs area so we'll be seeing more of her around town I am sure!
Dancing the Night Away
above: Following Lorna Luft's performance, the dance floor opened up with the music of a popular DJ who had the well-heeled crowd dancing. It was a fun evening and a great way to support EQCA.
-Rick Rockhill



it sounds like you've had a nice evening..the colors of alone are welcoming!!


lime said...

it sounds like it was a very lovely evening. thanks for sharing :)

A Lewis said...

You've got quite the collection of pictures with all sorts of happy people, don't you? And, hey, that Leslie Jordan is one hell of a funny man.

Tequilla Mockingbird said...

I'm soooo jealous- j'adore Leslie Jordan- watch Sordid Lives recently and thought it was hysterical.

TM x

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

boy that chocolate mousse looks good! and i agree with her too...

smiles, bee

karma lennon said...

I LOVE Dear Abby!

kenju said...

That looks like a wonderful event! I watch Leslie Jordan in the new TV series "Sordid Lives" and it is hilarious and he is GREAT in it!! I saw and loved the movie, too.

snowelf said...

You know, there are a lot of things I am conservative about too, but love isn't one of them. I find it ridiculous that there are "restrictions" on who someone can and cannot marry. There are enough couples in the world who are together for the wrong reasons, why keep apart two people who want to be together for the right one?


grand *ma said...

I'm green with envy, Rick. Just look into my eyes. They're a dead giveaway. ~:o)

Listen, I need your help and I need it soon, too. Time is of the essence. Spread the word, k?


RhodesTer said...

Hey, I met Leslie Jordan when he stayed at "my hotel" a few months ago.. nice fella.

I've met a celeb who you've met.. neener neener.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have missed a lot of posts Rick....Just wanted you to know I have voted already--I'm a permenent Voting By Mail person, due to my Health Issues---And I very much Voted NO on 8.

That is a different "Dear Abby"...the original is gone now, yes? (Either retired or passed on....) What is this lady's real name?

Anyway, a very interesting post. Sounds like it was a terrific night.
I LOVE Leslie Jordon! He performed any number of times for STAGE, here in Los Angeles...So Very Talented!


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