Serving Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby, Century City, Trousdale, Brentwood, Westwood

Frances Allen’s Desert Roundup—Local Hotel Finds Itself Between ‘Rock’ And A Hard Place

On the eve of the annual “One Night Only” benefit, Helene Galen hosted a V.I.P. cast party at her Tamarisk Country Club home in Rancho Mirage. From left: Nancy Goldstein and hostess Helene Galen. Photo by Pat Krause

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2018 – 5:14 PM

It is a perfect example of being between a rock and a hard place, but that’s exactly where the owners of the Hard Rock Hotel found themselves as they were placed in receivership less than a month ago.

 While the complete facts have not been released as yet, court documents specify that Kittridge Hotels & Resorts, (the property owner and an affiliate entity), owe its major lender approximately $31 million, plus unpaid management fees. This not-so-new-hotel has reverted to use of its former name: Hotel Zoso.

• • • • •

Just two blocks from the drama at the Hotel Zoso, The Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs which, once again this year was the host hotel for the White Party, that according to the promoters, is “the world’s premier gay dance party.” While the pool area at the Renaissance is packed shoulder-to-shoulder with men of all ages, nationalities and colors, there was an understandable shortage of women at the White Party. Throughout the weekend event, guests were also treated to concerts by Erika Jayne and the party’s guest star, Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue.

• • • • •

Coachella, the weekend pair of two equally extravagant rock concerts, is just a memory for the 100,000-plus fans who attended, but even stronger memories were borne by those who attended the one weekend of Stagecoach 2018, Coachella’s Country Music little cousin. Intermingled with the fun were fans who were present at the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas last year. For them, there was a feeling of belonging to a very special family. This year’s Stagecoach brought with it some special attractions. For instance, an old adobe was built to serve as a serious bar where you wouldn’t find an umbrella served with your drink. There was also a Honky-Tonk Dance Hall complete with instructors. Here you would build up an appetite for Gary’s Stagecoach Smokehouse, featuring barbecue ribs and brisket. There is also a bazaar, for that “must have” souvenir purchase.

• • • • •

It’s not the likeliest place to hold a fundraiser, but the Western Wind Foundation of the Desert’s fundraising gala pulled it off. The group, which supports the LGBT persons in the community, scored a large amount contributions as a result of its gala at the new Major General Kenneth P. Miles hanger at the Palm Springs Air Museum, home to a collection of impressive fighter aircraft. More information is available by calling 760-416-7790.

• • • • •

This is a tale of sorcerers and wizards, of musical and financial talents that have worked their alchemy to produce “One Night Only,” a live, on stage magical theatrical production of song that during the past years has generated more than $1 million benefiting Jewish Family Service of the Desert.

The founding sorcerer and producer of “One Night Only” is internationally renowned photographer/producer Michael Childers, who came up with the simple concept of having a group of about two-dozen Broadway stars appear on stage, each singing one different song … and only for one night. At least the concept was simple; its execution required a magical Merlin of immense skill and an overflowing Rolodex.

This year’s singular evening began the night before with an invitation-only, cast party at the ultra-contemporary home of Helene Galen, one of the event’s high-powered financial apprentices. Any visit to the Galen’s Tamarisk Country Club abode and viewing its collection of museum-quality art is a treat, but she has not limited herself to static displays. As guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from her golf course-adjacent patio, a portion of the Palm Springs High School Band, in full uniform and instrumentation, along with accompanying baton-twirlers and cheer leaders, marched from where they had been hiding and performed one song before marching back out-of-sight across the Tamarisk-trimmed rough.

The following night a sold-out crowd of more than 1,100 at the McCallum Theatre were treated to two-dozen Broadway songs, penned by those musical geniuses, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein and Lorenz Hart. The performance was held together and run flawlessly by Childers and director Jason Graae who had the theatrical equivalent of herding cats by putting the stellar cast, (all of whom donated their time), through their paces.

For those guests with VIP tickets, an after-party at Aqua in Rancho Mirage followed the 90-minute stage and offered large doses of gossip and camaraderie along with a lavish supper buffet.

The sorcerer’s apprentices who helped provide a memorable theatrical experience for that special night were honorary co-chairs Dr. Tim Jochen and Lee Erwin, Helene Galen, Barbara Keller and Harold Matzner. Event co-chairs were the ultra-hard working, Barbara Fromm and Terri Ketover.

Those sorcerer’s apprentices performing for “One Night Only” were: Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway, Billy Stritch, Teri Ralston, Jeffrey Scott Parsons, Cassie Silva, Davis Gaines, Lucie Arnaz, Faith Prince, Karen Ziemba, Brent Barrett, Scott Coulter, Kevin Earley, Rena Strober, David Burnham, Alix Korey, Patrick Cassidy, Aaron Lazar, Anna Minter, Bruce Vilanch, Sal Mintretta and the queen of the evening’s performers, Beverly Hills own Constance Towers Gavin, who gives proof to the fact that age does not replace talent – nor true beauty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for Breaking News & Alerts