Of Christmas Trees and Decadent Treats
Shari Belafonte (second from left) is happily left holding the Baccarat gift as Laurie Weitz (to the right of Shari) and the “Bond Girls” as spy-themed party benefiting the Palm Springs Art Museum. (Photo by Pat Krause)
Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, Patrick Evans, Jack Jones, Carol Connors and Bella da Ball caroled merrily at the ACT for MS 13th Annual Christmas Tree Lane. (Photo by Pat Krause)
PALM SPRINGS – Nowhere else can you attend a quartet of philanthropic events, rub shoulders with world-class artists, sip a goblet filled with Vichy Catalan water and then cap the evening with a scrumptious strawberry butterscotch milkshake — crowned with a homemade doughnut and light-as-a-feather marshmallow — all in the same month.
Parties flow like wine here, and philanthropic events create a wonder world of celebrity-infused parties.
For example, when Larry and Laurie Weitz hosted their first Art and Espionage Extravaganza at their dazzling residence, the lucky winner of this mind-bogglingly fun mystery event received a $500 gift certificate from Ozel Jewelers on El Paseo. That was even before bright-red Baccarat gift bags stuffed with goodies from Skinn’s Hollywood Red Lip Palette, along with a box of Dial.A.Smile Whitening Lightning, was presented to 100 guests. Singer-actor Bobby Eakes, wearing a dramatic gold gown that would make any double agent blink twice, entertained with a medley of James Bond theme songs.
In downtown, it appears that the Mr. Cox Lifestyle Lounge — located on S. Indian Canyon Drive to the immediate left of the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs — is making a splash in its first weeks of operation. New at this nostalgic, modernism-inspired luxury boutique is their chic water bar designed by Leon Siwek, a local gentleman with a worldwide reputation for fine imported water. Opening night found him extolling Sole and Arte Sole mineral water, among others. At $8 for 1.0 liter, this fine water in comes in .75-liter bottles adorned with nothing less than a fine replica of the famous Italian painting “La Scapiglatta.”
More down-to-earth were the scrumptious Eisenberg hot dogs (sourced from Chicago) served at a sing-a-long at the Cinémas Palme D’Or in Palm Desert. Honoree Phyllis Eisenberg was all smiles as Tools for Tomorrow, a charitable organization providing art education to the public, recognized her for her desert-wide philanthropy. Actors Gavin McLeod and Joyce Boulifant (remember the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”?) were onstage to honor Eisenberg as she introduced a screening of one of her favorite films, “Fiddler on the Roof.”
A bit farther down valley, in Indian Wells, Christmas trees proliferated at the ACT for MS 13th Annual Christmas Tree Lane held at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort. Gloria Greer, event co-chair and the standard-bearer for desert social news, once again decked the halls with stunningly decorated trees — 18 in all — sponsored by supporters of this local charity supporting multiple sclerosis patients. A standout was a glamorous tree “in Honor of Norma Greer” (Gloria’s daughter) designed by Paris Sneider.
Back in Palm Springs, wrapping up this remarkable run of charitable events, was a sugar-charged moment for friends at Great Shakes on S. Palm Canyon Drive (just steps from See’s Candy Shop). Barbara Wisbey, local source for new desert hangouts, recommended the Malted Vanilla with Toasted Marshmallows. “There’s 27 more varieties just in case you want to try one a day for a month,” she added with a laugh.
Indeed, colorful variety is never in short supply in the desert.
Pam Price is the co-author of “Day Trips from Los Angeles,” available at globepequot.com.