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Frances Allen’s Desert Round Up—Film Festival Planning Under Way

Allen B Day

Pictured: Stephanie Hibler hosted a birthday party at The Capital Grille for Courier columnist Frances Allen Fridman. Enjoying the party, were from left: Ronnie Kassola, Hilbler, Allen Fridman, Renee Kumetz, Marianne Berman and Beverly Cohen.

What do Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Mychael Danna, Sally Field, Richard Gere, Tom Hooper, Helen Hunt, Helen Mirren, Naomi Watts and Robert Zemeckis have in common? They were among the honorees at last January’s Palm Springs International Film Festival. An impressive “A-List;” but according to Harold Matzner, president of the Palm Springs International Film society, presenters of the event: “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

During this span, it has battled, and overcome so many adversities it could serve as an award-winning documentary about determination and dedication. But, that’s past–here’s the future.

The upcoming edition will begin on Friday, Jan. 3, with the much anticipated opening night screening and reception. The closing night screening will take place on Sunday, Jan. 12, while the “Best of the Festival” screens all day Monday, Jan. 13. During the festival, 15 screens throughout Palm Springs will operate from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. with more than 170 films from 65 countries including dozens of premieres. The festival presents a majority of the films submitted for consideration in the “Best Foreign Language” category for the Oscars, as well as a large number of American independent and international features and documentaries making their world, North American or U.S. premieres.

The truly stellar festival event will be the star-studded, multi-celebrity, paparazzi-crowded, black tie awards gala—so big it has to be held in the Palm Springs Convention Center – on Saturday, Jan. 4. This is where individual stars are honored for their work in the fields of acting, directing, film scoring and a lifetime of theatrical achievements. Tickets and additional information are available at 760-322-2930.
If Mitch Gershenfeld, McCallum Theatre’s president/CEO, is smiling more than usual these days, it’s because he and his staff have just filled in the dates and performers set to appear at the 1,100-seat live entertainment theater for the 2013/2014 season.

Long known for its diversity in entertainment as well as pricing,  this season’s most expensive ticket ($125) at the McCallum,  goes to the Oct. 9 bluegrass performance of Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, featuring Edie Brickell.

Compare this to $7, the season’s lowest admission price. It will get you entry to the second annual McCallum’s Family Fun Day, featuring a variety of food and family-friendly games and activities in front of the theater beginning at noon, followed with a 3 p.m. performance by the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, a blend of unique comedy and juggling skills of Gregory Popovich, and the extraordinary talents of his performing (previously) shelter animal pets.

Tickets and more information are available online at
The only thing similar about them is their first name: Kevin. But where one Kevin sells jewelry via TV and multiple mall locations, the other, Kevin Parker, is the discreet, knowledgeable West Coast representative of David Webb, New York-headquartered purveyors of exquisite jewelry for more than 60 years.

Dividing his time between the Desert and Beverly Hills, Parker has become the jeweler to the stars of Hollywood as well as the captains of industry. But Parker can also be a good friend, as we found out last week at a birthday party that Parker hosted for the Yvonne Parks, the dedicated and dynamic mayor of Desert Hot Springs.

Also joining Parker in the celebrity booth at Spencer’s restaurant— anywhere Parker sits becomes the celebrity booth—was Aleda Lane, who wore enough gold and diamonds that menus could be read off the refracted light coming from her wrists.

And what have you been wearing?
Just when you think he can’t do any better, Michael Childers surprises.

For the past few years, Childers, a world-renowned celebrity photographer, has used his contacts and talent to produce an evening of pure entertainment benefiting the non-sectarian work of Jewish Family Services of the Desert.

Known as “One Night Only” the performances bring together more than two-dozen Broadway entertainers who each perform one number in the show.

Next year’s show, which will be April 23 at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, is billed as “Tradition – The Jewish Legacy of Broadway” and is a tuneful journey of how the musicals we are familiar with came from the origins of Yiddish Theater and Tin Pan Alley more than 100 years ago, as illustrated by the works of the great Jewish composers and stars of the period, from Gershwin and Berlin to Schwartz and Sondheim to Fanny Brice and Barbara Streisand, Danny Kaye, Joel Grey and Al Jolson.

Tickets for this not-to-be-missed evening are available from the McCallum Theatre, 760-346-6505.

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