Posted: Monday, January 29, 2018 – 11:56 AM
“It can’t get any better than this!” That’s the yearly take-away comment from guests and celebrities who attended the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Awards Gala during the past many years. This year’s gala – the 29th – thanks to the very much hands-on and watchful eyes as well as major underwriting by Film Festival Chair Harold Matzner, Gala Chair James Houston, Helene Galen, Donna MacMillan and Joann McGrath, along with additional funding from presenting sponsor American Express, along with Entertainment Tonight, deserved the accolades.
More than 2,400 guests attended the gala this year, while another 1,000 spectators, some camped out for 12 hours, lined Jackie Lee Houston Plaza opposite the red-carpeted entrance to the Palm Springs Convention Center to shake hands and obtain autographs from the bevy of A-List, formally attired celebrities attending one of the biggest, most influential film fests in the country. Just how influential? Some 90 percent of the actors honored by the PSIFF go on to garner Oscars and/or Golden Globes in the year they were also honored in Palm Springs.
Inside the cavernous convention center, super party planner Sheri Kelly, worked her magic yet again by creating a purple-hued wonderland featuring individually lighted glass table favors and literally thousands of purple tulips and orchids that were specially grown for the event. This year’s gala “back-story” centers around Oscar contender Gary Oldman, star of Darkest Hour, who was actively seen engaged in checking out the Palm Springs’ real-estate market in anticipation of moving to the Desert. Imagine the two-man show starring Oldman as Churchill and Desert resident Larry Luckenbill’s FDR. Live theater doesn’t get better than that.
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First, it was golden shovels if you wanted to signify a standard of opulence for a new construction project. But the owners of The Dream Hotel have raised the bar and used a pair of golden jackhammers to signify the beginning of construction on Palm Springs latest luxury hotel, just north of the city’s convention center.
According to Lauri Kibby, the project’s developer, the hotel will offer 170 luxury rooms and take two years to complete. It will also feature 30 condominiums, several pools, restaurants and bars.
In the meantime, Palm Springs can only dream.