Palm Springs center hosts ‘Breakthrough Conversation’ on winning LGBT rights


John O'Connor

As the world anticipates a hearing of the Prop 8 case in March by the U.S. Supreme Court and a decision on it by summer, LGBT residents in California — who arguably have the most to gain, or lose, with the case – are being proactive to establish marriage equality.

The LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs will host at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, a ”Breakthrough Conversation” on how to win back marriage and continued acceptance. Its focus will be new and improved ways to talk about LGBT issues with one another, friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.

“As our movement continues to move forward we will learn more and more how to have discussions,” says George Zander, Coachella Valley field manager for Equality California. “Even in California we are waiting for the Supreme Court. We all hope for a positive result, but if it goes badly, we need to prepare now to explore all available avenues for overturning Prop 8, including the ballot box.”

Equality California Executive Director John O’Connor will provide an update on what the organization is doing in that regard at the meeting. O’Connor formerly served as executive director of The Center.

The event begins with a meet-and-greet at 5 p.m., followed by the program at 5:30 p.m. Wine and refreshments will be provided. The Center is at 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.

For info, call George Zander at (760) 409-0208 or email

Palm Springs LGBT center receives $100,000

Jeff Wolter of the Nesteggg Group (center) cuts the red ribbon at the Palm Springs food bank recently renamed the Nesteggg Food Bank at The Center, as City Councilman Rick Hutcheson (right), The Center Board Chairman Randy Lowe (left) and others look on. Photo by Will Dean

The “egg” phrases were flying Thursday at The LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s food bank in downtown Palm Springs.

Jeff Wolter, owner of the Nesteggg Group, said it was an “egg-cellent” and “egg-citing” occasion — with good reason. His financial and insurance services firm had just committed $100,000 to support the food bank during the next four years. And in return, the facility was renamed the Nesteggg Food Bank at The Center. It’s located at 610 S. Belardo Road.

For nearly three of the five years the food bank has been open, Nesteggg has done its accounting. During that time Wolter became familiar with the food bank and The Center’s other programs, and said he wanted to give back.

Gary Costa, interim executive director at The Center, says the food bank serves about 275 people each week.  Recipients are seniors and others who receive disability benefits. Nesteggg’s contribution will help cover food, staff and overhead expenses, Costa adds.

Wolter was recognized by Costa, The Center Board Chairman Randy Lowe, Palm Springs City Councilman Rick Hutcheson and others Thursday during the unveiling of the new name. It was also an occasion to  acknowledge another “egg-ceptional” contribution.

Earlier this week, Hickman Family Farms out of Arizona donated 900 dozen eggs to the food bank. The company provides eggs to grocery stores and other businesses across the Southwest, including between Arizona and San Diego.

Wolter says it will provide a couple hundred dozen eggs every week.

For information about the food bank and other center programs, go to


Superstorm Sandy buys time for Barbie

"PS ... I Love You, Barbie and Ken," designed by Jim Holmes of Mattel.

The auction of specially designed Barbie and Ken dolls to benefit The LGB T Community Center of the Desert has been extended.

Bidding on the dolls, named “PS … I Love You, Barbie and Ken,” was set to close at noon today (Wednesday), but weather conditions on the East Coast delayed it. The offices of the website conducting the auction are affected by the storm dubbed Sandy, says photographer Steven Henke. Bidders now have until Nov. 2 to place a winning bid at

The dolls are valued at $2,500 and the highest bid as of 2 p.m. today was $950. Other items up for bid include three photographs of the dolls and an Assouline Barbie book. Funds raised from the auction will benefit Palm Springs’ LGBT center.

Henke also has original photos he shot of various Barbies and Ken at Palm Springs landmarks and sights, exhibited at Savage Art Gallery as a fundraiser for The Center. Proceeds from the sale of some of the images now exceed $10,000, and an average of 30 people per day stop in to see the images, gallery owner Shawn Savage says.

Barbie visits Warm Sands. Photo by Steven Henke.

Savage Art Gallery is at 870 E. Research Drive, Suite 1, Palm Springs. Info: (760) 464-5978.


Palm Springs Barbie auction ends today

PS ... I Love You, Barbie and Ken, Designed by Jim Holmes

Time is running out to place the winning bid on the “PS … I Love You, Barbie and Ken” dolls up for auction on .

Bidding ends at noon Wednesday (3 p.m. EDT) for the one-of-a-kind dolls designed by Jim Holmes and donated by Mattel to benefit The LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs. The auction includes an Assouline Barbie book and three portraits of the dolls.

Barbie visits Warm Sands. By Steven Henke

In addition to these auction items, a photo exhibit at Savage Art Gallery and Boutique is also raising funds for The Center. Each photo shows Barbie life-size at a Palm Springs landmark or location, ranging from the Marilyn Monroe statue downtown to the Ace Hotel & Swim Club.

Photographer Steven Henke began taking the photos in January as he became familiar with Palm Springs. He decided to donate them to help The Center.

More than 500 people attended opening night October 20 and about 30 people per day have visited the exhibit since then, gallery owner Shawn Savage says. So far the show and sales have raised in excess of $10,000, he adds.

To see the photos, visit the gallery at 870 E. Research Drive, Suite 1, Palm Springs.

Christine Ebersole replaces Megan Mullally at Center Stage

Guests expecting to hear Megan Mullally and Supreme Music Program perform Thursday evening during Center Stage in Palm Springs will get a show from a Broadway veteran, instead.

Actress and singer Christine Ebersole will replace Mullally at the fundraising gala for The LGBT Community Center of the Desert. Center officials announced Monday that Mullally had to cancel her group’s appearance because of a family emergency.

Megan Mullally

Mullally, who since “Will & Grace” went off the air in 2006 has kept busy with music and other TV, film and stage work, looked forward to visiting Palm Springs when Desert Outlook interviewed her a few weeks ago.

“I wish it was tomorrow,” she said. “It’s never too soon. We’ll probably spend a couple of days there.”

Ebersole, who for many years has had a versatile singing and acting career, ranging from “Grey Gardens” to the “Sullivan and Son” sitcom now on TBS, will take center stage at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The show starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, following cocktails and a silent auction at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are sold out.

For more information, call (760) 416-7790.