By Frances Allen
A Miracle on El Paseo
The holidays always seem to bring a special cache of miracles and “A MIRACLE ON EL PASEO,” benefiting BIGHORN BAM (Behind a Miracle), began Desert’s giving season last Saturday by closing one block of El Paseo to street traffic, (equivalent to closing a block of Rodeo Drive), and creating a Winter Wonderland complete with the year’s first snowfall, live music and an ice rink featuring Olympic caliber skaters.
Produced annually by The Shops of El Paseo – the luxury retail and restaurant destination stretching one and a half blocks down El Paseo, east of Monterey – the event raises money for equipment and support for women from throughout the Coachella Valley who are patients of the Lucy Curci Cancer Center at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.
Since its inception five years ago, BIGHORN BAM has raised more than $2.56 million in support of local breast cancer programs.
This year, A MIRACLE ON EL PASEO featured food, drink, special activities and a donation of sales percentages by the luxury retailers that form The Shops on El Paseo.
The cause, the snow and the ice rink had a special significance this year as Olympic gold medallist, Dorothy Hamill, herself a breast cancer survivor, will participated in the event’s grand finale: featuring the arrival of Santa Clause and the lighting of a 60-foot Christmas tree atop the Gucci boutique.
Hamill won the Gold Medal in skating at the 1976 Winter Games at the age of 19 and, as a professional, has hosted and skated in most of the highest rated TV skating specials, including skating duets with Barry Manilow and Olivia Newton John.
The stores and restaurants that are members of The Shops on El Paseo are Gucci; Ralph Lauren; St. John; Bottega Veneta; Burberry; Cos Bar; James Perse; Leggiadro; Stuart Weitzman; Optical Shop of Aspen; Chico’s; Soma Intimates; Theodore; Rangone Firense Shoes, California Pizza Kitchen; The Daily Grill; and the soon to be opened Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar.
“Annenberg Theater Opening Night”
Holiday season in the Desert also means ‘theater season,’ and two-time Tony Award winner, Sutton Foster was the headliner for this year’s “Tenth Annual Annenberg Theater Opening Night.” This event, held in the state-of-the-art Annenberg Theater on the grounds of the Palm Springs Art Museum, held this year on Nov. 17, heralds the beginning of the intimate theater’s 2012-2013 season.
Sutton Foster is a multiple award-winning actor, singer and dancer, and has performed in 10 Broadway shows. On the faculty of Ball State University, Foster is currently starring in ABC Family’s new series, “Bunheads.”
This was a two-tiered event. Guests could buy a ticket for the early evening performance followed by a heavy hors d’oeuvre meet-and-greet reception in the museum’s foyer, or performance-only tickets were also available.
This annual theater opening is one of the year’s major fund-raising events, with all proceeds going to directly supporting the theater’s theatrical programming.
Wells Fargo Bank was the Presenting Sponsor for this performance.
Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational
Currently presented by Starkey Hearing Technologies and hosted by Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, national television has – after 25 years – finally recognized the entertainment value of the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational golf tournament. “Extra,” the popular television entertainment new magazine, will be covering next year’s tournament as well as the parties and entertainment. Not only will this increase the national awareness of the Barbara Sinatra Center, it should also broaden the base for the center’s financial support.
What began more than two decades ago as a small annual gathering of Frank Sinatra and his friends in the Desert to eat, drink and be merry while aiding the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center has grown into a major Valley event, while still keeping the spirit of camaraderie and love for Sinatra alive. The two-day celebrity-amateur golf tournament, three nights of dinner parties with entertainment and a spectacular luncheon and fashion are all dedicated to the memory and music of Frank Sinatra.
Golf legend Ken Venturi, one of Sinatra’s best friends, will co-host the event with Barbara Sinatra. Fe Zandi’s elegant couture designs will be featured in the Friday Fashion Show Luncheon and Frankie Valli will headline the Saturday night black-tie gala.
The 25th annual Sinatra Tournament will take place Feb. 21-23 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.
Over the years, the tournament has been supported by top entertainers and athletes such as Dean Martin, Tommy Lasorda, Dick Van Dyke, Shirley MacLaine, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Robert Wagner.
More information about the tournaments and the surrounding events is available at (760) 674-8447. Your participation will support the mission of the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center to provide counseling for young victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and to focus on prevention, community and education, thereby breaking the generational cycle of abuse. And, most important: no child is ever turned away due to a family’s inability to pay.