Monday, February 23, 2009

15th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala

On Saturday night I attended the 15th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. It was a fundraiser for the Desert Aids Project (DAP), a non-profit organization that provides medical care and comprehensive support services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the desert community. They provide free, HIV testing and counseling, home health services, legal counsel and assistance with housing, medications, food, and re-employment. They also promote prevention and education outreach efforts. This year's awards gala was fully underwritten by donors, so the proceeds from the ticket sales, silent auction and live auction all went to the DAP. I believe they raised over $1.1 million at the event-hopefully even more after the final tally is complete. The awards gala honors people who have helped raise awareness, raise money, or advance the cause of helping people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The evening was presented by my good friend Jim Casey at Integrated Wealth Management who was a major sponsor to underwrite the event. In an era of economic uncertainty, Jim's firm is providing sound wealth management to its clients and has really stepped up as a fine corporate citizen in the Coachella Valley. This year's honorees included: Barry Manilow, Bebe Neuwirth, Kristin Chenoweth, Dr Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), and local residents Bill Jones and Harriet Goldberg. The event was co-hosted by Linda Gray, Donna Mills and Morgan Fairchild, and the evening's entertainment was the incomparable Diahann Carroll. I was in the VIP room when the press were shooting photos during the cocktail hour. In this photo you can see from left to right: Linda Gray, Bebe Neuwirth, Barry Manilow, BD Wong, Morgan Fairchild, Kristin Chenoweth, Suzanne Somers, Donna Mills and Dick Van Patten.

above: the three co-hosts. TV and stage giants Donna Mills (Knots Landing), Morgan Fairchild (Falcon Crest, Paper Dolls) and Linda Gray (Dallas). I always loved these women.
above: the dinner tables were set in silver, with beautiful red roses in the center of each table. The red ribbons has tiny lights that blinked softly, giving the table a magical feeling. I sat in between Linda Gray and Dick Van Patten, which made for fun table conversation all evening.
above: the co-hosts were gracious and charming

above: Suzanne Somers presented a special Community Service Award to her friend and neighbor Barry Manilow.
And speaking of Barry Manilow...

above: Here I am with Barry Manilow...I'm a fanilow for sure. I always enjoy talking to Barry, he is a great guy.

above: with actress/singer/dancer Bebe Neuwirth, who is very pleasant.

above: Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, Pushing Daisies, Legally Mad, West Wing..and lots of stage work too). She is a Tony and Emmy winner with a big personality and voice to match. I really enjoyed speaking with her-it was the first time we've met. She has a warm personality and wonderful Southern charm.

above: I watched Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas for 12 years and always liked her. I've met her many times- she is such a doll. We sat next to each other all evening at dinner. I can't speak highly enough of Linda. She is one of the easiest people to chat with and very genuine too. She served as a UN Ambassador for 10 years in support of women's issues worldwide. I admire her a great deal.

above: I also sat with Morgan Fairchild for awhile and caught up on things. She looks AMAZING. Morgan is very intelligent, especially regarding health and HIV related issues. Not only has she donated her time to raising awareness of health issues, but she is quite knowledgeable as well.

above: I had time to catch up on things with Donna Mills during the cocktail hour. She has so much going on I don't know where she gets the energy, but she looks great too.

above: Glamorous and stunning friends Heather and Jason
Fabulous Headline Entertainment!
Above: Diahann Carroll was the headline entertainment for the evening, and wowed the audience. She is a real pro, with incredible poise and great timing. She sang a combination of standards and some Broadway too. After the night was over, I walked Diahann to her limo and thanked her for her performance and support of the event. Palm Springs is lucky to have her!
A Palm Springs Life Magazine cover too
The January edition of Palm Springs Life magazine featured the three co-hosts of Steve Chase Awards. They had a photo shoot at a private home in the Movie Colony area of Palm Springs. It was marked the first time the stars of Dallas, Falcon Crest, and Knots Landing “worked” together, although they have known each other over the years in Hollywood. To make things fun for the photo shoot, they built on their former TV role character reputations as "bitches" and staged a pillow fight. I spoke with Linda and Morgan about it last night, both said they had a lot of fun doing the photo shoot, particularly since they were all dressed to the nines and swinging down feather pillows at each other!
Above: a fun way to get people interested in the Steve Chase Awards Gala. The pillow fight was pictured in Palm Springs Life magazine. These ladies know how to have fun.
All in all, it was a fantastic, fun-filled night, all for a good cause that I was happy to support in a small way. I am grateful to have been a part of the evening, one which I shall not soon forget.
-Rick Rockhill


Tea N. Crumpet said...

Jason is scrumptious! Look at all that HAIR! It's perfect! (Tea blows kisses! LOL)

I can't get how great all of these stars look-- they were my image of adults when I was 9-15-- and now they look just like they did then, but better!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun evening! Thanks for sharing!

Sharon said...

Rick, thanks for sharing this; sounds like you had a blast. A friend of mine was outside of the red carpet and said that Bebe Neuwirth was amonst the most charming, personable and friendly celebrities there. She graciously posed for photos for her fans, which I think shows what a classy lady she is.

jackie said...

WOW, you hit the motherload of photos today! fun post.

kenju said...

See? I swear you never take off that tux!! LOL

All kidding aside, it looks like a wonderful evening. You are lucky to be a part of all that.

Anonymous said...

Rick! these pics are great as well as your wonderful description of the event. I was out there by the red carpet taking pics and looking for you and Dick Van Patten. So sorry I didn't get to see you! You look like you had one wonderful time. Caroline

Cher said...

You always do a fantastic job reporting and you look like you had a wonderful evening. I wish I could have been there.

snowelf said...

How could you ever forget that!?
Everyone looks so gorgeous! And what fun!!


A Lewis said...

BARRY BARRY BARRY BARRY!!!! I'm so jealous.

Kathy said...

How exciting and what a good cause! I'm a Fanilow, too, and have seen him in concert here at Merriweather Post Pavilion. He's great. I also admire Bebe Neuwirth and Kirsten Chenoweth.

Cheryl said...

Living vicariously through you. What a fabulous night!!!

Anonymous said...

Dang dude, sweet pics! Sounds like an awesome night. Love the blog. Thanks for sharing the love. xox

Kimberlee ~ Linda Gray's biggest fan! :) said...

Thank you for the fabulous pictures of Linda Gray!! She looks AMAZING! The pictures are divine! :) If you have more of her can you please post them!

captain corky said...

Another great adventure Rick! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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

i love suzanne sommers but it sure looks like she's about to burst forth in that dress! ha ha ha

smiles, bee

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Looks like a GREAT Evening! I hope they raised a lot of money---Not easy to do in these tough times economically speaking...!
I LOVE Diahann Carroll....She is so incredibly talented and a true "Class Act".

Palm Springs Savant said...

Bee- Yes, Sexy Suzanne did look like she was spilling out of her dress, she looked great!


I know I've said this oodles of time, but you have an amazing life. Looks like you had a nice time.

That's great!


Desert Songbird said...

Wow! Look at you rubbing elbows with the celebrities! I love Kristin Chenoweth; she was awesome on The West Wing.

Naomi said...

What a great life you lead over there in Palm Springs Rick! You are so lucky to have met all those famous people.

T-Bird said...

Suellen WAS Dallas for me. Especially when she quit drinking and made JR's life a living hell.

Diahann Carroll needs to be credited as one of the MAJOR movers and shakers of the white American conscious. Her JULIA TV show was absolutely revolutionary and she never gets credit for how stunning it really was. Single unmarried mother, professional woman, role model, beautiful, dated. Did a fine job raising her son. I hope Obama recognizes her with a Kennedy Center Honors. If you have ANY pull with anyone, please float that idea up the celeb food chain. And of course she kicked ass on Dynasty bitch slapping Alexis in her debut. Then there is her singing… She is the total package and much much much more. A ten course meal.


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