Awards Gala After-party

The Parker Palm Springs is a great place to star watch on the weekends or holiday’s because a vacationing celebrity is bound to stay there.

Saturday was an especially great day to catch a celeb since the after party for the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala was there.

By the time I got to the hotel around 10 p.m. I was told by a slew of photo snapping fans that Sally Field and Alan Arco (she meant Alan Arkin) had already walked by. I understood her mistake – Alan Arkin was in the movie Argo – but I still had to chuckle.

Right away I noticed security was much stricter, they weren’t even letting people out into the hotel courtyard without a ticket. Luckily I had mine.

As soon as you enter the party zone you’re underneath an enclosed temporary structure set up with tall tables and sleek white lounging couches.

Wait staff walk around offering guests fried artichokes, beef wellington and steak kabobs. Of course there’s an open bar with Ketel One Vodka as host.

Inside there’s a table with endless cheeses and vegetables and a desert table with sweet treats too pretty to eat.

There also dance floor inside the ballroom with a DJ spinning the latest hits.

I didn’t see Sally Field or Alan Arkin or Ben Affleck or Bradley Cooper (even though someone told me he was there).

The only actors/entertainers I bumped into were Charo and John Hawkes who had presented Helen Hunt, his co-star in The Sessions, with the Spotlight Award earlier in the night at the awards gala.

I got a brief chance to chat up the Oscar nominated actor who said it was “the story and script” that attracted him to The Sessions. He plays a 38-year-old paralyzed man who wants to lose his virginity and seeks the help of Hunt, a sex therapist.

It was “a role I haven’t seen before very often,” he said.

I also saw several directors including Ang Lee, Tom Hooper and David O. Russell who loosened his tie towards the end of the night and became the star of the party with his fun dance moves and frivolity which included a dance circle in the middle of the ballroom.

He did mention that he liked the local film fest because it was “robust.”

I can’t forget our politicians. Mary Bono Mack (former Congresswoman married to the late Sony Bono who started the film festival 24-years ago) and her husband Connie Mack were there including newly elected Congressman Raul Ruiz who replaced Bono Mack.

The after party typically winds down just after midnight, but for some reason the last stragglers weren’t kicked out until 1 a.m. which was fine by me.