Memorial concert fundraiser to be held in Palm Desert for Les Michaels
A fundraising memorial concert will be held Saturday in Palm Desert for cabaret producer and singer Les Michaels, who died of a heart attack last year, in an effort to get him a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
The concert is set to be held from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, according to organizers. Michaels is remembered for his years of presenting an ongoing open mic cabaret series at the same venue.
“He was also always developing new open mics, offering a microphone and a spotlight to anyone who loved to sing,” cabaret producer Clifford Bell wrote in Michaels’ obituary.
“His concept of the open mic experience was that it was a show, where YOU could be the star! Audiences loved Les. Venue owners loved Les. And performers loved Les.”
Bell said that Michaels united singers, musicians, press, venues and audiences, creating opportunities for people to pursue singing professionally and for the simple joy of it.
The memorial concert will feature Joel Baker and Wayne Abravenel serving as musical directors, accompanying 16 cabaret singers who will share their stories and remembrances of Michaels, organizers said.
The event will be co-hosted by Daytime Emmy Award-winning actor and singer Gregg Marx, and “The Desert Scene” radio host Bonnie Gilgallon.
A $25 donation, which can be made at www.star4lesmichaels.com, is suggested for the event. Free parking will be available outside the venue.
“Les Michaels was a champion for cabaret singers not only in Palm Springs, where he lived with his husband, but in Los Angeles as well,” cabaret singer Fracesca Amari in a statement.
“When Les passed at the age of 71 many of the singers whom he provided performance opportunities for, including myself, got together and said we need to do something to preserve Les Michaels’ legacy in perpetuity and to honor him for his passion, work and love of the cabaret art form.”
Amari said they hope to raise $18,000 in an effort to apply for Michaels to be considered for a star the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. Any money raised over the amount that secures his star and related expenses will be donated to Les Michaels’ partner, Rick Valencia.
A second musical fundraising event is set for Feb. 21, to celebrate Michaels’ birthday with a community open mic at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Road, organizers said. A third, yet to-be-determined, event will also be held in Los Angeles.
More information can be found at www.star4lesmichaels.com or by calling Amari at 616-364-8589