Sunday, February 28, 2010

16th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala

Last night I attended the 16th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala to benefit the Palm Springs based Desert Aids Project. I've written about it in prior years; the DAP is a non-profit organization that provides medical care and comprehensive support services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the desert community. They offer free, confidential, rapid-result HIV testing, as well as counseling, home health services, legal assistance and assistance with housing, medications, food, re-employment. My friend Jim Casey's company Integrated Wealth Management was the presenting sponsor for the evening and also pledged one million dollars in support over several years. During his remarks to the audience, he said last night's event was expected to raise more than $1.2 million. In a tough economy, the organizers managed to increase corporate sponsorships by 50 percent. The success of this fundraiser was critical, due to cutbacks in state and federal grants.
Star Power and Glamor turn out to Help the Desert Aids Project

above: Co-hosts of the evening were actors Richard Chamberlain and Stephanie Powers

above: Entertainment was provided by three legends of stage: Linda Eder, Jennifer Holiday and Roslyn Kind. The evening also attracted a plethora of stars to lend their support such as Linda Gray, Morgan Fairchild, Donna Mills, Michelle Lee, Elliott Gould, Diahann Carroll, Jimmy Van Patten, Rose McGowan and Kaye Ballard. The stunningly beautiful and talented Ann-Margaret was scheduled to appear to receive the Arts and Activism Award but was snowed in in New York and couldn't make the event in time.
I was especially excited to spend a lot of time with actress Stephanie Powers. She is a local favorite here in Palm Springs but I've liked her since her popular Hart to Hart TV series, a show I never missed. She looks as beautiful today as she did in the 80's. We both attended a private dinner the prior evening; she was asking about my opinion on dog foods, knowing I now work for Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods. She has the cutest little dog (who was quietly sitting in a little bag under the table). One of the things she told me was how much she liked being able to lend her support and name to help organizations like the DAP. She is grateful for having a successful career and felt it was important to give back. Some celebrities may not be able to write huge checks on their own, but by attending these events, they help sell tickets for these gala events and get people who might not otherwise planned to make a donation to open their wallets. Stephanie Powers is someone who is easy to like because she is quite genuine and glamorous at the same time.

above: Singer Roslyn Kind, award honoree Bob Mackie and actress Donna Mills

above: Co-hosts Stefanie Powers and Richard Chamberlain pose here with Elliott Gould who was a presenter to Ann-Margaret for the awards ceremony.

above: Celebrities Galore! These lovely ladies all posed for photos with the press in the "green room". From left to right: Rose McGowan, Linda Gray, Donna Mills, Jennifer Holiday, Michelle Lee, Morgan Fairchild, & Roslyn Kind. The photographers kept calling each of their names, so it was hard to figure out when to snap my own photo. I spent most of the evening chatting with friend Linda Gray, one of my favorite TV actresses. I like Linda from her role as Sue Ellen on "Dallas" all those years, but also from her recent work, including the soon to be released Expecting Mary film.
The Height of Style and Glamour

above: Pink was the theme, with beautiful fresh floral arrangements throughout the convention center.

above: the lobby of the convention center had these tall towers swathed in pink fabric, illuminated to create a dramatic glow in the hall.

above: the main stage, with the Pat Rizzo Orchestra

above: the tables were beautifully set...

above: a different camera setting enabled me to capture the glow of the wine glass stems, which changed colors all evening.

above: the floral centerpieces on each table were orchids, roses and some other pretty white flowers.

above: I thought the salads were a work of art, but I was hungry and they tasted delicious too.

above: Regular readers know I love chocolate cake. This dessert was really good, and not too rich either.

above: Sitting with actor Richard Chamberlain, we shared a few laughs in between courses.

above: Looking lean and incredible, Jennifer Holiday performed her legendary rendition of “And I'm Telling You (I'm Not Going)" of“Dreamgirls”.

above: Roslyn Kind sang “How Do You Keep the Music Playing”. You may not know that she is the sister of Barbra Streisand and shares the same looks and voice.

above: Broadway star Linda Eder sang “Something to Believe In" which was uplifting and had everyone swaying to the beat.

above: the amazing Miss Diahann Carroll returned to the Steve Chase Awards this year to present an award to her longtime friend, designer Bob Mackie. He was really nice and down to earth.

above: Here with actress Michelle Lee. At a private dinner the night before, I sat between Michelle Lee and Morgan Fairchild, they were both so sweet. Michelle is a lovely woman and cozied up to me for this photo. (I always liked her on Knots Landing)

above: another legend of the stage and screen, Miss Lorna Luft (daughter of Judy Garland and half sister of Liza Minelli). She is a real hoot. It was a fun evening that I won't soon forget.
-Rick Rockhill


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

what a fun elegant evening rick! lucky duck!

smiles, bee

KathyA said...

What an elegant and exciting night! All those stars and chocolate, too. The salad WAS indeed a work of art.

PS I believe the other white flowers are ranunculus.

Palm Springs Savant said...

Bee- thanks for calling into my radio show today!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It looks like it was a smasahing night and with so many wonderful talented people participating...I hope they raised a lot of money, which is what it's all about, isn't it?
I know what goes into putting together an evening like this---and how making it look so beautiful is not an easy task....!
That "chocolate" dessert looked so yummmmmmy Rick! I want some, right now! (lol)

Odat said...

Wow....e'thing just looks so inviting, the people, the place...the food...the flowers.....

Odat said...

Damn, I missed your program today!! I went out for a long ride...after being snowbound for three dayS.

kenju said...

You really get to hobnob with the rich and famous, don't you?! I bet that was a very fun weekend.

Thanks for the visit and comments, Rick. I can't take the credit for that post; I copied it verbatim from an email.

kenju said...

You really get to hobnob with the rich and famous, don't you?! I bet that was a very fun weekend.

Thanks for the visit and comments, Rick. I can't take the credit for that post; I copied it verbatim from an email.

Palm Springs Savant said...

kenju- Yes, I'm so fortunate to be able to attend so many events like this. It is EXACTLY the reason I started blogging- to share these very experiences!

Sheila said...

Sounds like a wonderful evening. I would have loved to have met Richard Chamberlain, one of my favorite actors going back to TV's Dr. Kildare. It's always fun to read about these events.


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