There are two bright red ribbons on the Palm Springs Valley social calendar each year. The later of the pair is Evening Under the Stars, benefitting AIDS Assistance Program, which takes place this year on Saturday, May 9 at the O’Donnell Golf Club in Palm Springs.
But first there is the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, a Desert AIDS Project fundraiser named after the late, famed, local interior designer who had not only a terrific creative mind but a hugely generous heart. Steve, whom I sadly never had the opportunity to meet, is well-known as one of the pioneers on the homegrown AIDS benefit circuit, entreating many of his well-heeled clients throughout the desert communities to join him in his philanthropic efforts.
This, the 21st annual SCHA, will happen at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday, February 7. Dr. Michael Gottlieb—an American immunologist and researcher revered for his 1981 identification of AIDS as a new disease—will receive the Science & Medicine Award from DAP Medical Director Dr. Steven Scheinel. Local benefactor Helene Galen will be honored with the 100 Women Award by Senator Barbara Boxer. And entertainer Leslie Jordan will bestow the Partners for Life Award on David Morgan.
Hilarious standup comedian, actor, and writer Mario Cantone—known by many from “Sex and the City,” and by others from Broadway—will emcee the evening, which will feature something entirely new, an original musical production replete with ongoing theatrical narrative, song and dance numbers, and aerial performance art. It will feature Broadway’s Shoshana Bean of “Wicked” fame, alongside the all-stars from TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and the cast of LIVE IT UP Productions (under the direction of Trini Garza and Brandon Alameda, with original music composed by Scott Alan). Choreographer Mandy Moore (not to be confused with the singer-songwriter, actress, and fashion designer of the same name) will give the dancers all the right moves. And what moves they promise to be, seeing that Moore’s credit include “Dancing with the Stars,” Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” “American Idol,” Celine Dion’s world tour, and the movie “Silver Linings Playbook.”
This is definitely something different than in years past, and an extravaganza I, for one, simply cannot wait to experience. For more information, or tickets, please visit desertaidsproject.org. HIV/AIDS is not over. See you on the red carpet—red ribbon on lapel!