Tag Archives: Tim Courtney Photography

JOIN THE ARMY! #TeamStevenMichael

My graphic artists have made me look like a winner in this one. And when I say “graphic artists” I mean photography by my dearest Tim Courtney, IAM logo by sweet Toddy, with me filling in the rest. It’s amazing what I can learn when I take the time to look it up on YouTube. Thank you Adobe Photoshop! Follow my hopeful journey to becoming the first Mr. All American Gent 2013 at theroadtoaag.blogspot.com and donate if you can! It takes an Army! Join mine.

#TeamStevenMichael

PICTURE ME HAPPY CHARITY SHINES

Now that Tim Courtney’s annual charity extravaganza Splash into Summer Bash for his non-profit organization Picture Me Happy is a great memory and successful event, I thought getting a few words from the man himself would be a nice finish to all the hard work Tim, his crew and celebrity hosts put in for the benefit of terminally ill children throughout California. I love going directly to the source and Tim tells it all.

“It was such a beautiful, fun, tasty and successfully event for Picture Me Happy (PMH.) Board members and myself received many a thank-you and tons of compliments. I’m happy to say that this year’s event brought in several thousand dollars more than the previous year’s party.”

“I am so grateful to out sponsors and our event coordinator Kerry Hendrix. Much appreciation to our celebrity guests. And a very special thank you to Mr. Steven Donnely who along with the PMH Board of Directors gave so graciously much of their time and efforts in creating a successful Splash into Summer Bash!”

“A moment of undeniable emotion came when Kandice spoke to the crowd about her and her daughter’s appreciation and gratitude for the PMH program. Kandice’s daughter Kristina has the blood disease sickle cell.” 

Incredible amounts of dedication came from Mr. Courtney and his Board of Directors including John Lustenring and John Hart, from beginning stages of planning, hitting the streets in search of generous donations and gathering an eclectic mix of celebrity to take on the hosting duties for the day. Since I was unable to attend because of schedule conflicts, I even jumped in the mix of stirring up buzz about the event through a wonderfully personal set of Q/A and features on the selfless entertainers who attended and became part of the Picture Me Happy family: Asa Soltan Rahmati, Bobbie Eakes, Michael Costello and Reza Farahan.

DJ eur-O-steve opened the dance floor to familiar tunes and from what I gather everyone who attended had a great time! One of my confidants at World Gym described DJ eur-O-steve as a “sexy pig” which gave me time for pause and ponder. What ever did he mean by that? Through the pictures I was able to see and use here courtesy of my dearest Rob, I was quietly sickened that I missed it all. Nashville was a blast and much needed but I would have also loved to attended the ACE Hotel Swim Club last weekend to support Tim, the charity and meet the celebrities in person. Ah, the life of a fierce jet setter!

In a social climate where people have their own agendas and act accordingly to their beliefs of what they should do or not, it’s often hard to get their attention pulling them out of their comfortable security of self zone. Events like these are perfect for that. In a communal venue that gives ample chance for new introductions, reconnection of frayed bonds that have occurred by time or space and the risk of having a really good time, for those who were there at ACE on Sunday I hear had a fabulous time. Can’t wait to see what next year’s event will offer us! I’ll be there with bells on!

THE BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL BOBBIE EAKES

Here we are in the home stretch of the Picture Me Happy charity event Splash into Summer Bash at ACE Hotel Swim Club and very few tickets are left. Founder Tim Courtney has been working diligently with his team on this event for a while and he’s thrilled at the turnout of support. The latest happenings include the joining of soap opera legend Bobbie Eakes who has offered to give her time and appear with our Reality Royalty celebrity hosts Asa Soltan Rahmati, Reza Farahan and Michael Costello.

Bobbie Eakes was Miss Georgia in 1982 making the Top 10 at Miss America and has been a shining star ever since. Between her famous roles on All My Children and The Bold and The Beautiful, to her musical performances with Collin Raye and dear friend the handsome Jeff Trachta, through her dedicated charity work, Bobbie gives of herself in the hopes of bringing true goodness around her. She is lucky enough to still have time to pursue her music with the Divas, a country-pop trio made of fellow actresses Kassie DePaiva and Kathy Brier.

Here’s what Bobbi had to say when asked about the ins and outs of celebrity, the competitive pageant world and the life of a popular soap opera actress. Forthcoming, approachable and so real. She is simply gorgeous!

Steven Michael – Good morning, Lady. Thanks again for being involved in Tim Courtney’s charity benefit. Everyone is excited and the energy for the event is everywhere. Glad you’re going to be part of it! Let’s jump right into a round of Q/A so people may know you a bit better. Here we go…

I know you and Jeff Trachta are close and have performed for years together and making music. How does he influence and encourage you to be better and keep going? I love Jeff. He’s so talented!

Bobbie Eakes – Jeff has been a dear friend of mine for many years. We not only played husband and wife on The Bold and The Beautiful but we also recorded two double platinum records in Europe and toured extensively. We’ve had so many laughs together and he’ll always be a like a brother to me. His positive outlook on life is so uplifting and he lavishes those he loves with encouragement and complements.

I agree, Bobbie. I know Jeff from the gym and have always had a great connection. So genuine. He treated us to his wonderful performance at the Spa Resort Casino a few years back and we LOVED the show. His voices are amazing!

***Jeff Trachta had this to say about Bobbie via Twitter, “Not only is Bobbie Eakes one of the most talented people I know, she is a great friend with the biggest heart.”

JEFF TRACHTA – BOBBIE EAKES

DUETS

When you are having downtime, away from the camera-ready makeup and hair, what are you wearing and doing? Are you able to have these moments without the viewer’s eyes, so to speak?

I’m usually very casual during the day. And, with this hot Palm Springs weather I can’t be bothered getting too dressed up most of the time. Also, exercise is a big part of my routine so I’m often in my running gear. I’ll only put on make up if I’m going out somewhere to lunch or dinner, etc.

I believe there’s going to be plenty of sunscreen at the event on Sunday. One of the pharmacies, CVS – I believe, donated a ton of it! The weather is supposed to be 103. How does celebrity feel? Overwhelming or do you take it for what it’s worth and see it clearly?

Well, let’s be very clear, I’m not a celebrity to the point that it is a bother. I don’t have paparazzi following me around town. I do have a lot of very supportive and kind fans and it’s a great feeling to know that you brighten someones day through your work, whether it’s portraying a character on tv and film or through my music. I try to keep up with all the wonderful fans through Twitter and Facebook.

I was on the set of Passions once and it was so quiet when they were filming these dramatic scenes that would usually have music churning through. Are you ever able to step outside yourself during a scene and soak it all in? You’ve been very successful in television.

I have always been very grateful for the work I’ve gotten to do. I try to never take it for granted because I sincerely feel blessed to be working for such a long time in this industry. When I’m in a scene, if it’s all going the way it’s meant to, I completely lose myself in the work and become that character. It helps to be working opposite talented actors who make it that much more real for you.

The longevity of a soap opera actor can be quite lengthy and profound. If you could act, sing or something else ONLY, what would you do? What’s most important to you regarding performing?

I get this question all the time and it is impossible for me to answer it. And to be frank, I don’t want to jinx it! I’ve always been able to do all the things that I want to do. I’ve been a singer and actor since my teens and I don’t see any reason why that can’t continue for years to come.

I agree, Bobbie! Keep chasing dreams and following true passions. I do! Any wonderful tales from the set you would like to share. A thrill of working with this actor or really couldn’t believe that something happened to that one’s character? Some juicy soap opera spill would be great!

One memorable job was playing opposite Dick Van Dyke in an episode of Matlock. It was one of my first roles and I played Dick’s young girlfriend. He murders me in a jealous rage and I’ll never forget how strange it was to see the always warm and funny Mr. Van Dyke playing a vicious killer. Looking up at him ‘stabbing’ me was frightening and surreal. That was probably the first and last time he ever played that kind of a villain.

How bizarre! Yes, he’s usually happy-go-lucky always. What about competing in pageants did you enjoy and not enjoy? Any fun memories?

I had an all around great experience as Miss Georgia and was thrilled to compete as a Top Ten finalist in Atlantic City. About a year after the competition, I actually moved into a house in Burbank with the girl who won Miss America that year, Debra Sue Maffett, along with Miss Tennessee and Miss Louisiana. If reality TV had been around back then, it would have made a great series. :)

This wonderful finale with Bobbie Eakes completes my series featuring the headliners of Picture Me Happy’s Splash into Summer Bash at ACE Hotel this Sunday! Since I’m going to be in Nashville visiting home and unable to attend, I really wanted to contribute my time the best way I could. For those attending, enjoy yourselves and meet new friends! Tweet me pictures and let me know how everything goes! And know that you’re doing a great thing by helping children that can really use your compassion and care.

DJ EUR-O-STEVE SPINS PALM SPRINGS

When it comes to getting the exact mood an event needs to be successful, a fierce DJ must to be available for filling the ears and spirits of the party goers, and get them to the dance floor. West Hollywood has that precious gem in their midst and you can find him creating magic as the resident DJ at the beautiful Mickey’s on Santa Monica Boulevard. DJ eur-O-steve hails from the UK but finds America as his home now. For everyone attending the Picture Me Happy charity benefit at ACE Hotel Swim Club May 20, DJ eur-O-steve will be the one making your feet move and heart race with jams, rhythms and grooves!

I’ve been elated that I’ve been able to assist charity founder Tim Courtney with getting some media love out for the event including these quick Q/A teasers with the celebrity hosts and now with our Musical Magician. Everyone has been so generous with their time and effort getting the round of questions back to me, I’m loving what I’ve been able to share with you.

Steven Michael – How did you get started in spinning music and creating wonderful moments for people with your mixing? Do you use the modern day way with a nice laptop or do you have to schlep discs or (Gasp!) vinyl into your clubs and events?

DJ eur-O-steve – Started as a DJs assistant in London, doing the back-breaking schlepping of the heavy vinyl – seeing their talent got me hooked! Now I use the modern way with a laptop controlled by CD or vinyl – able to have a much larger catalogue at hand, but not relying on any automation to mix!

Do you find people want to get at you more because of your status as a DJ? Do you have Groupies and $tarFuc#ers around you at all times?

Definitely, there are some hilarious colourful characters, or people expect you to “put them on the list” – I recall getting unfoundedly “heckled” for the first time in the US just recently, was quite an experience – the dancers and crowd near the stage turned against them and they got ejected, the dancers I work with are so good to me!

I admit that during my performing days I had a few bitter queens that booed me once and you need that support. What do you go through when you have a dance floor and no one on it but plenty of people in the club and nothing seems to be what they want to hear? What is your secret weapon on moving people on to the dance floor?

Every DJs nightmare – it does happen sometimes, or a crowd is tough to get “warmed up.” I will cycle through some different material and watch closely to body movement, or toe tapping until you find the right element. I have stuff up my sleeve that I find people can’t resist in the form of certain “flashback” re-worked tracks.

The crowd at the ACE will have a great space for dancing so turn them out. What music will you be playing at Splash into Summer Bash at ACE Hotel? Vocal diva standards everyone knows or tribal infused friction sounds for the hardcore? Is this more along the lines of what you usually play or do you tailor it to the venue and theme?

Fun, happy, energetic vocal house/electronica is perfect for a daytime pool party – which is actually a personal favourite style. Every physical event needs to be tailoured somewhat, have to gauge, respond, and adapt to the crowd in terms of musical style and choices.

Sounds perfect for the Palm Springs personalities. DJs spend many a late night in clubs and at circuit parties. How do you do it night after night? Doesn’t it wear you out or are you a bit peculiar when and where you work?

It can wear you down if you spread yourself too thinly, (so to speak) – I do choose when and where I work and make sure that the places are enough diversified to keep me fresh and sharp at it!

Any feelings or memories about our Palm Springs Oasis? Do you make it down often? And what do you do when you’re not working?

LOVE IT! It really is such a wonderful relaxing place to go and chill, or have fun with friends there. I am quite hooked, hopefully be working more gigs there to get me out more often! When I’m not working I am a trashy television addict, but also keep myself fit at the gym and hiking.

THE REALITY OF REZA FARAHAN

I do fancy myself a creative blogger and word choreographer featuring fierce and fabulous dish and dirt happening in pop culture today. From celebrity news to reality jewels, I tackle topics not seen just anywhere. If it catches my eye, I love sharing my findings. If you’re still reading, then you’ve taken the bait. But wait, there’s more!

Coming May 20 to the ACE Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs is celebrity photographer (and dearest confidant) Tim Courtney’s annual charity event Splash into Summer Bash for Picture Me Happy benefiting terminally ill children in California. Monthly, Tim takes a group of selfless giving people to hospitals and offers the wonderful children a photography lesson with cameras and parents involved. This year’s main event has grown leaps and bounds from last year and promises to be the talk of Palm Springs in the next few weeks.

Persian stud muffin Reza Farahan from Shahs of Sunset on Bravo TV will be playing host with the most, along with gorgeous cast member Asa Soltan Rahmati and our very own reality wonder from Project Runway: All Stars Michael Costello. Music will be delivered by famed British DJ Eur-O-Steve with pulsating beats and handwaving by dance floor fillers without bright fabric fans occupying their hands. There’s an open bar, a fun photo booth and outrageous raffle items up for grabs. Bring your swim gear and splash in the pool to cool off from the man heat! Shirtless hunks and bikini-wearing girls unite for one great cause!

Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts with a trip home to Nashville to see Mom, my media pass will stay pristine and virgin for I’ll be unable to attend the benefit. Sad faces all around. I was shattered when I realized the event and trip were colliding. I’m excited about going home but I was also excited about tugging on Reza’s mustache in person. I find him super sexy and his this-is-me-deal-with-it-love-me attitude very attractive. I really do. Maybe we’ll connect in Los Angeles soon for a cocktail. But not this time. Again, frowns and pouts from my end. But I digress…

Luckily with the power of immediacy on the social network giant Twitter, I got in contact with Reza and bing-bam-boom he agreed to do an interview with me via the Internet before he arrived for hosting duties at ACE on the 20th. I was surprised and thrilled at the quick timeliness of Mr. Farahan’s responses. We stayed in contact and he replied within the week. I know he is busy running Sunset Boulevard and am gracious for his time. I quoted Reza verbatim with only slight changes for continuity. Here’s what we discussed!

Steven Michael – Your mustache is everything! It’s taken on a celebrity of its own. How is fame feeling with Shahs of Sunset getting such great attention?

Reza Farahan - My mustache is on ‘fire’ (wink,wink) and he couldn’t be happier with the attention he’s been getting lately. He and I are both thrilled that we have this platform and that we’re able to use it to bring awareness to homosexuality/homophobia in the Persian community.

How has the Persian community been in response to the show? Do they feel it’s an appropriate impression of the brotherhood and lifestyles and clear representation?

We’ve gotten mixed reviews from the Persian community. But I have to tell you that I could care less what the Persian community thinks. There are truly no 6 people of any community that can represent the entire community at large. I represent myself, period. The only people that I care about are the Persian/Middle Eastern youth that are struggling with their sexuality. I wanted to give them a voice and show them that you can exist, be strong, successful and accepted by your friends, family and the community. The Persians that make up my community are entitled to their opinions. The beauty is that I can count the number of people who’s opinion matter to me on 2 hands.

I really find your answers so honest and refreshing, Reza. Thank you! What do you find inviting about Palm Springs? You’ve been here recently for a few events and will be hosting the benefit for Picture Me Happy. Do you enjoy your visits here?

I absolutely adore everything about Palm Springs. It’s not just a place, it’s more like a lifestyle. I find that as soon as I get on the 111, I relax. The people, the mountains, the architecture, the weather, the restaurants, the hotels and especially the pool at the ACE Hotel (Not to mention their peanut butter pie), I LOVE IT ALL!!!!! I could see myself living there full-time at some point.

We’ll have to stay in touch for when you come back next time! What’s the biggest misconception about filming reality television? Do you feel the show’s editing represents you and your friends according to truth or is it sensationalized any? And when the cameras and bright lights are off, how different are you than when you are actually being filmed?

I can honestly say that the Reza you see on TV, is the same Reza that exists in his everyday life 24/7. The thing about reality TV is that they shoot for a certain number of months and edit out the mundane or boring. But everything you see on our show organically happened in real life. I am as opinionated and loud in my everyday life, as I am on ‘Shahs Of Sunset.’

How does the Iranian community view homosexuality?

The Iranian community thus far has ignored homosexuality. They act like it doesn’t exist and if it ‘pops up,’ they try to make it go away. I thought that by being my authentic self on this show, and knowing that the entire community would watch, that I would force people to talk about homosexuality in our Iranian community. ‘Here I am people, I exist, now deal with it.’

Finally, what kind of man would you want to spend your long life with? Will he have a mustache, too?

Great question. For some reason, I am drawn to tall, lean white guys, with or without facial hair. I think it’s because that is the exact opposite of me? But that’s just the physical component. My soul mate would need to be confident, kind, smart and he’d need to challenge me and keep me stimulated! ;-)

(that’s one lucky girl…!)

My appreciation to my buddy Reza Farahan for giving us a glimpse of the reality he calls life. I encourage everyone to attend the Splash into Summer Bash for Picture Me Happy event and meet Reza in person. And give his mustache a good tug for me! You know, for the kids…

MICHAEL COSTELLO GOWNS ARE EVERYTHING

Last evening I was generously invited by famed celebrity photographer (and dear friend) Tim Courtney to join him on El Paseo in Palm Desert to see new couture pieces from Coachella Valley’s very own Project Runway: All Stars finalsist Michael Costello. The evening was thick with pre-summer heat and air-condition on blast as we jumped in Stella Stang for the ride out. Michael was having an exclusive show at Melissa Morgan Fine Art and is also appearing at Tim’s Picture Me Happy charity benefit at ACE Hotel and Swim Club on May 20 which gave Mr. Courtney a moment to touch base placing faces to names. Tim even ended up doing an impromptu PSA for the chary event on camera which was a major plus.

Once arrived we immediately introduced ourselves to Michael who was there with his son and being pulled in many a direction from the cosmetic consultants from Rain or television crews wanting interviews to his gorgeous muse needing some immediate styling during her photo shoot in the entrance. The energy was growing throughout the gallery and Michael was very generous in his conversation and approachability. The piece of jewelry he had around his neck, a pair of scissors wrapped in gold wire, was SIQ. Translation: Really cool.

We immediately grabbed a few photos with the man himself before we knew he’d be off draping some lovely fabric that had casually slipped from its perfected placement around mannequin feet and off shoulders. Full racks of Costello’s finer pieces were brought out for the women who must have to peruse through and hopefully purchase before they premiere in stores. Lively conversation, a sweet white wine and sickening evening gowns enveloped me while I found myself around the mannequins all up in the couture! To know me is to know I love a beautiful gown. Showgirl confession #420. Well, it was April 20th.

The hue and palette Michael brought to this collection of beaded and sequined shimmery subjects were colors of metal, copper, silver and gold. Tailored fabric pieces (drag lingo for simple lovely dresses without shimmer) in rich emerald green and luxurious cream were exquisitely complimented with simplistic gold accents and a perfected but casual drapery flow that made Costello famous on two seasons of Lifetime TVs Project Runway. While looking through his choices for purchase I found the stunning gowns ranged in price anywhere from around $1700 up to $5700 or so. They were GORGE! Sickening, in fact.

Melissa Morgan Fine Art was a perfect place for Michael’s showing with its white walls displaying contemporary art, interesting mod installations and a few very wicked pieces I particularly found interesting involving abstract illusion of domination and fetish. Well, that’s what I got from it. As we know art is what someone sees it as. It’s interpreted differently by different viewers. Art is subjective. (Side note: It took me all day to remember that phrase.) I enjoyed our time out chasing down some culture and lifestyle even though we found ourselves driving to Palm Desert for it. It was well worth the trip. I made some great connections, Tim spilled the Tea about the his charity and we soaked up life.

I was desperate to try one of the gowns on but I hadn’t shaved my chest nor beard and just didn’t think it would have looked right. However, in my mind it was a whole different story. Ah… glamour, glamour!

MICHAEL COSTELLO COUTURE

OUR VERY OWN FINALIST!

OK! OK! One more for baby, and one more for the road… Simply Exquisite! 

PALM SPRINGS LEATHER PRIDE 2011

PRIDE IN LEATHER

Last weekend in Palm Springs was the annual Leather Pride celebration bringing into town truckloads of dominant lesbians in full sadist Leather Regalia
and quiet subs being led around by their uniformed owners on leashes. All over town, leather brothers and sisters were seen united at events and representing their unique and diverse lifestyles at parties geared towards the general public and a few behind the privacy of guesthouse walls. Wherever you went the strong presence of a proud leather community was abound.

I tend to joke that working at World Gym in Palm Springs is Gay Pride every day so when these bigger weekends come to town they rarely faze me. Been there, done that, have the rainbows etched in my eyes forever. However, I do love me a big strapping man who knows how to handle a sassy southern dame like me so bring it. Palm Springs Leather Pride 2011 promised to excite and tantalize from early on in the week with men wearing ink and facial fur blazing.

As the Gay Gods and Mother Nature fought it out with cold rain and clouds, we locals wondered if the chill would deter our wonderful visitors. It did make for great opportunity to dust of the leathers and slide them on which everyone did. Friday evening a Formal Dinner was held at Leon’s that’s relocated to the Desert Princess and from what I hear men in sexy Leather Chaps
were sitting around eating delicious beef which is a picture Norman Rockwell didn’t know to paint. “Leather Wearing Beef Eaters,” in oils.

Later Friday evening the Tool Shed hoisted and hosted the Leather Vendor Market and Back Lot Party. The warmth of cigar fire on stogies, testosterone pouring out of horny pores, tight leather pants pulled across muscular asses and strong cocktails poured by the Tool Shed’s finest kept the masses happy and warm all night into the wee morning hours. Across the way one could see an impromptu demonstration between a slave and Master then make a 180-degree turn and witness the hotties from their gym exchanging saliva (or was that sativa?!) with each other. Just saying.

As it rained sporadically between thick clouds and overcast gloom on Saturday I found myself with famed photographer Tim Courtney discussing world domination at Jake’s over delicious lunch positioned perfectly under the awning outside. I watched leather clad men walking hand in hand down Palm Canyon over my glass white sangria. With a cupcake to-go, I was off to take lunch to my husband and decide what I was wearing to the Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2012 contest later that evening.

Arriving a few minutes late to the Palm Springs Convention Center, we made it through the door during the Presentation category which is first. Now I love a good pageant, err, contest and thought it smart to hold it outside in the lobby with big screens and stage because from outside it looked grand instead of shoving it inside a ballroom. People were able to mill about the Silent Auction, cruise one another, meet and meat old friends while emcee Lenny Broberg kept things moving as he always does. He is the one to have at a leather contest. I’d love to master his ceremonies be it hosting a contest with him or one-on-one something just him and I, and his San Francisco police uniform.

The judges had a hard job because the top spots were very close from what we in the audience saw on stage. I say “we” since like you I quietly judged from my various seats in the house just not on the official panel with judges Stephen Blackwell, Alex Lindsey, Amy Marie Meek, Anthony Rollar, Utah Rox, Rik “Hooker” Newton and Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2011 Drew Kramer dressed in fierce orange leather from head to boots. With four strong contestants all holding their own on stage through categories of Physique/Jockstrap and Formal Leather Wear/On-Stage Speech the title was anyone’s to take. But only one leatherman did. Here’s the scoop…

Michael Mitchell, Mr. Leather Indulgence 2012, was an excited blond who admitted proudly to being a pumper and enjoys the fantasy of a group of hot men while spinning in a Lazy Susan chair. His body from my view was on-point smooth and ripped beyond belief. Michael started things off while the next contestant Mr. Tool Shed Leather 2012 Todd Peter brought beefy back which was more my taste.

Todd came in prepared and clearly confidence was on his side not to mention the roaring crowd. Lenny soon handed over the microphone to a jock-clad Todd after asking him “What do you have hidden in your secret closet?” The crowd gave a collective “Ah…” after an inked-up Mr. Peter admitted he wishes that he had a clone of his boyfriend Todd because he loved him so much he wants two. When Todd smiled the spotlight bounced off his pearly whites and he lit up Palm Springs.

The next contestant was Mr. Streetbar Leather 2012, Thomas Oliva, who also seemed like a seasoned pro. He had that delicious masculine beef I tend to appreciate in my men and a genuine swagger of humility but strength. Mr. Oliva’s speech was from the heart about coming out in a leather bar for the first time and what it meant to him. The crowd really cheered him after his speech.

Rounding up the four was Mr. DiGS Leather 2012 Lenny Lesemen. Lenny seemed like he was having fun, represented DiGS very well for being their first representative and placed fourth. Michael placed next in third with the top two being Thomas and Todd. There wasn’t a contestant representative from Barracks even though someone roamed the crowd in a Mr. Barracks Leather 2012 title vest. When I asked about not competing he quickly replied that he competed last year and walked off. I thought it peculiar to be last year’s winner and wear next year’s title vest.

And drum roll, please… Our new Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2012 is Todd Peter who deservedly won and now prepares for Chicago during Memorial Day Weekend competing for International Mr. Leather 2012 hopefully to bring back the title of IML to Palm Springs like Gary Iriza did a few short years ago. The Recon Victory Dark Dance Party soon followed the contest and Sexy Men in Leather danced into the darker hours of morning.

Helios hosted the Sunday Pool Party BBQ which I translate as “Play Party with Food.” Luckily sunshine came out giving a taste of each weather trend over the course of a weekend. Later that day Barracks packed ‘em in so tight some bitter queen couldn’t get to the bar fast enough to get a drink so she dialed 911 getting police involved by clearing out the place around 6:30. Well, maybe that’s not exactly how it happened but police did stop by taking care of the way-over-capacity crowd that Barracks tends to allow. They cleaned house regulating how many came back in at a time. Such a drastic finale to this great weekend. Good Luck to Todd Peter at IML next May! We’ll be watching for you to take the title, Mister.

2011 © PULP

STEVIE NICKS KNOCKS ME OUT

STEVEN SPILLS © 93

SEASON FINALE

As June approaches we are faced with the inevitable rising temperatures while local and tourists alike are flocking out of town for escape. Of course there are some of us that must stay and trudge onward so the town will continue until season starts up again and people return. Locals adapt by making decisions for day getaways and book weekend vacations to keep minds occupied with scheduled escapes. Those of us who stay in Palm Springs for the summer know how to deal with the heat and pace ourselves for sanity. Although, speak to me in August when I’m slowly simmering underneath a black vinyl roof in my Jeep Wrangler while sitting at a traffic light.

Bewitching songbird and rock goddess Stevie Nicks recently performed to a sold-out house at Fantasy Springs and we were there to rock on. Madame Nicks had unfortunately been cancelling shows and appearances due to illness with pneumonia so when it was confirmed that she would be on I was happily able to take Jacques to his first live Nicks fix. The Friday night drive to Indio wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. However, it’s not a commute I’d want to do everyday. After grabbing some quick food and a cocktail we found our seats behind two people that had obviously taken some super acid they had saved from the 60s. The choreography this one hot mess was doing in the aisle had me screaming and was slightly distracting. We pushed through. Concert crowds are a crap shoot at best.

The show started and Stevie Nicks wonderfully performed eleven hits from her Fleetwood Mac and solo albums, and the delicious gem “Secret Love” from her In Your Dreams album that just dropped and is climbing up the charts. If you haven’t bought it and are a fan you must get it! At 63-years-young, our Stevie has no signs of slowing down. The Lady Nicks gave us one good series of spins during the opening of “Stand Back” which caused the rowdy crowd to roar and she naturally commanded the stage the entire time. Stevie recently mentored the cast of Glee when they performed juggernaut time-definers from Rumours and has made numerous appearances recently from Oprah to Dancing with the Stars. On her newest musical endeavor, surrender to the driving guitars of “Wide Sargasso Sea,” haunting “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream)” and romantic memory of “Italian Summer.”

The next day we attended the Picture Me Happy benefit and pool party where nearly 200 men and women converged to raise money for terminally ill children throughout California. Sunshine blessed shirtless hunks with warmth while founder Tim Courtney was on hand to charm partygoers and local catering giants Grillmarks provided the smart food offerings. Mark Carter and John Lustenring have come together to create a culinary service that presents both whimsical cookout food and more elegant fare in healthy alternative ways. Let Mark do the cooking during your next party and head over to http://grillmarkscatering.com for menus and information. Through the course of charity donations and the pool party, Picture Me Happy at http://picturemehappy.org raised over $5K for the children the organization benefits! Thanks to everyone who attended and donated, the selfless volunteers, DJ Luc Benech, host Jim G. and hostess Bella da Ball, and Mother Nature.

In closing, I wanted to share a priceless story from last evening. On Saturdays, Escena Grill has prime rib for dinner and that’s what we usually order. An insider tip from me to you would be that if you want lunch there, go on easier-to-get-in Saturday rather than everyone-is-there Sunday. Although if you do go on Sunday, go early. But back to last night…

Our reservation was outside to watch the gorgeous sunset. Next to us was a table of sixteen male golfers who appeared straight but when at least 10% of the population is gay, someone is doing someone. I’m just saying, and wondering. They were harmless but rowdy. However, their server was also ours and had waited on us before. After saying hello, we told our busy one to deal with them since we weren’t in a hurry but Pinot Noir would satisfy us for a bit. We continued to enjoy the breeze and atmosphere until they headed back over to us. I’ve omitted any information that would get someone in trouble since the following was all in fun and others may take it out of context.

Here’s how the dialogue flowed between us, verbatim. Server: “Are you ready to order?” Me: “Sure. The lettuce wedge to start and prime rib, medium.” Server: “Did you want the king cut, or the queen?” Me: “Oh, the queen cut, sweetie. Thanks.” Server: (smiling) “Perfect… Since you are a queen.” Me: (after busting out laughing) “How true, you. Touché!” What a ballsy move?! We tipped double!

2011 © PULP

INTERVIEWING TIM COURTNEY

SHOOTING THE GREATS

Celebrity photographer Tim Courtney now calls Palm Springs home after a life in the spotlight in Hollywood shining the photographic spotlight on others. Known for capturing celebrities in sometimes vulnerable and very candid ways by allowing them to be themselves in a relaxed but energetic setting, Tim has delivered iconic portraits every time for decades. Mr. Courtney recently granted me time in his penetrating lens and the images I received in return hurt my eyes they were so damn good! All of my wonderful new photos were shot by Tim Courtney! I know Tim personally so I invited him over to the house and had a very quiet one-on-one interview as the sunlight reflected beautifully through the window into his clear blue eyes.

Steven Michael (for The Bottom Line): So what was it that got you started in photography and what were you involved with that led you into this field of art?

Tim Courtney: I had started out as a music major in Southern California at a private university, originally from Kentucky, and started singing, songwriting and doing lots of studio recording work during this time. One of my first gigs was singing at Dolly Parton’s birthday party at Sandy Gallen’s house in Bel Air, Christmas 1982. Years had passed and I was at a crossroads not knowing where or what I really wanted to do next. I was looking through an LA Weekly and saw an ad for a photography class and put my finger on it and said that’s what I was going to do. The bizarre thing about it was that I knew nothing about it, never owned a camera and didn’t know anyone who did. The decision was completely impulsive.

What do you prefer to shoot? Image wise. Any preferences? And how were the classes you took?

Classic black and white images are what drew me to start. It’s important to me on a deeper level. I loved Herb Ritts’ black and whites and was very influenced so I took a handful of classes but realized that it would be my own style that would make me successful and happy, and became “self-taught.” I loved shooting classic nudes and decided that’s what my focus would be. The technical aspect of the course was important for me to learn but I didn’t stay as long as some do which can be up to four years. It was very frustrating, but I learned it. I decided not to be artsy in the class just get the core.

You even had to prove yourself at Visage, the agency you approached for representation, right?!

Yeah, they were a hard sell because since they also represented Herb Ritts. They compared me to him which I felt was a great complement having only owned a camera for two years. Plus, they didn’t believe black and white was a popular choice in magazines until I showed them the lead campaigns in Italian Vogue were of black and white images.

When did you ever finally warm up to color? 

I didn’t shoot color for about three years and was sticking to my guns and holding off but got pressure from the magazines to shoot it so I did. I had to appreciate how color would work for me and which types of film to use and what opportunities they offered. When I shoot, I like to use the skills on the front side so I don’t have to do so much on the back side. With Photoshop, it’s a lot different today.

How did you start getting these jobs you’re famous for? Tell us about the celebrities you’ve shot. I’m thrilled to be part of such an elite group in your portfolio.

Well, these are people who really aren’t photographed by just anybody without something going on. I’ve been blown away walking into Queen Latifah’s suite at the Ritz-Carlton where she told me I give great direction. I was in Shirley MacLaine’s apartment in Malibu shooting her portrait the morning after she gave Barbra Streisand a lifetime achievement award. I loved doing the Bea Arthur shoot at her home that was used for Life magazine. I worshiped Maude who showed me there was a bigger life outside Kentucky. These people didn’t know me but they trusted me and that’s why the shot was so good.

I’ve shot 98 Degrees, Fran Drescher, Janet Jackson, Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen. So many of them have complimented me on giving great direction. I believe that’s my forte giving something that’s natural, intimate but powerful. Not always just their image like Phyllis Diller who comes to mind. Very guarded. You don’t get anything other that what she allows. Most everyone else was very open. I always know how to enhance the career of the celebrity by the image. Also, I save companies money because I can assess situations fast and accomplish the shoot swiftly and smoothly. I shoot less and get more for my client to use.

Tell me more about shooting with Bea Arthur. Loved her! Miss her.

Well, she taught me so much about working with celebrities. Her home is divided into three separate houses and there a lot of outside area. My ideas were thrown out the window because I decided with her dogs and the natural sunlight and outside it was perfect. She had no one doing her hair and makeup for the photo shoot and wore her own clothes. I followed her and she went along and when it was over she commented, ‘That was painless.’ I loved that and had never heard it put in such a way.

What finally moved you to Palm Springs? Was it also a whim like the photography?

Oh, Steven. You’ve already seen through me. (laughs) Actually my best decisions have been made like that. Snap decisions. I’ve been told that’s what we should do. Passionate choices. It was a surprise getting here to Palm Springs. I was established in West Hollywood but wasn’t feeling that being there in the scene matched my spirit any longer. I needed more nature. I took a seven month break back to Kentucky after spending the prior year starting a photography-based non-profit organization called Picture Me Happy, picturemehappy.org, benefiting chronically terminally ill children in Southern California hospitals. I wanted to live somewhere warm and thought about San Diego but Palm Springs won.

Tim, what have you grown to love about our fair valley? How do you find Palm Springs as a single man?

I’ve found Palm Springs to be very nurturing. Either you love it or you’re going hate it. It’ll either match your spirit or you’ll be ready to leave soon. Living here makes you feel like you are a part of a community and I’m very happy. As a single man?! (laughs) When I first moved to town I was a kid in a candy store. I loved having a second round at 47-years-old. I had to put myself out there and be part of the dialogue. I think coffeehouses are a great thing. It’s a great way to meet people. I push myself because it’s important for the spirit to nurture by being introduced to others. I’ve gained some relationships here in Palm Springs that have made my life richer.

When did you have that ‘aha’ moment where you thought, I’ve made it? I’m really doing this.

Wow. Hmm, that’s interesting. The decision to start the photography was an aha moment, for sure. Wasn’t sure where it would go but was ready for it. I had an aha moment staying for three days at Maya Angelou’s home and having her embrace me, literally, and sharing our time together. She had given me more respect and love as a professional and another human spirit that overrode anything else I had ever experienced with another celebrity. She was very giving of herself to me that day. We became very close. Another aha moment I had was attending the Vanity Fair party positioned between Tom Ford and Brad Pitt. And of course seeing magazine covers or my images used for other promotional and advertising media.

You meditate every day and I envy that! Tell me more about the clairvoyance and medium aspect in your life. I’m sorry to say I’m open to possibilities but am also skeptic.

Oh, yes. Well, me too! I do a meditation every day in various way on any given day. I write and also love dancing. It makes me feel free! Sometimes I pray. I’m not into religion. I do believe we all need a belief system. Whatever works for you. In the psychic and clairvoyant work I do, I always ask for solutions. I don’t go around telling people my spin on what I feel and hear and see. I will let you know this information when it’s pro-active. I don’t know where it comes from. If I find out I’ll let you know. I discovered the ability at a personal growth workshop and it evolved from there. I’m just to here to help provide clarity in situations. I love personal readings because it’s what’s coming up right then when people are at a crossroads. I do my best to keep a real humility to that part of my life. I’ve been given a gift that can help people and that’s what I do.

What’s coming up for you? Plans, projects?

I’ve just really started getting things going since the first of the year. DiGS in Cathedral City is holding a benefit for Picture Me Happy on May 22 and we’re also having a charity pool party on May 14, as well. As far as photography goes, I’ve put my toe back in Los Angeles and have a few things happening. I’m also working on “Palm Springs, We Love It!” which I hope will become a big community photo competition. More to come on that. I love helping make people become more successful with my photography. I’m so happy here in Palm Springs but have begun to get really busy and I’m blessed for that. If I’ve made a decision in my heart, I’m going for it.

To book your session with Tim, please contact him through his website http://timcourtneyphotography.com. I can speak first hand, Tim is amazing. And I thank him for taking time with me to share his story with you.

2011 © The Bottom Line

STEVEN TAKES PALM SPRINGS

STEVEN SPILLS © 88

TASTING THE LOCAL LORE

After getting my husband off on his whirlwind trip to France for a surprise birthday/anniversary/reunion, I made the most of being a single gal for the weekend and saw my single friends. Very Carrie Bradshaw of me, don’t you think?! Plus, I had gotten some beautiful new Christian Louboutins in mauve with buttons and I wanted to show them off. Well, let me correct myself. It was a Brooks Brothers shirt and I did get a good number of compliments. Cue laughter. Fade in.

The sun was just coming up as I returned home from PSP Airport and I did a round of cleaning on the house before heading into work. I had made plans to meet co-worker and partner in crime for the weekend John Lustenring at Wang’s in the Desert for drinks after work and then off to some dinner. I am rarely privy to experiencing the actual Happy Hour on Friday’s at Wang’s because when we go we quickly scoot in and are whisked off safely to our table for dinner. It’s a whole other scene on the patio.

Once I arrived and whipped my Wrangler into a makeshift parking place (yes, I have nerve) owner Joel poured me some poison from behind the bar and I pressed it around the room saying hello to those I knew and many I didn’t. Best thing to do in crowded situations like that is to smile and acknowledge everyone as you move them out of your way making your path, cocktail in tow. Big bear hugs to my UK blokes Jonnie and Jeff for ordering my tour t-shirt of The Saturdays. You both were feeling really good! My cocktail slowly drained through my straw (yes, very dainty) and while picking up sexy daddy-bear Jim G. along the way, we three punched it towards the new hotspot on Palm Canyon, BIRBA.

The location is next to Cheeky’s and is more of an open-air upscale bar that serves delicious pizza and salads with cocktails. When you walk in BIRBA you are transported to a hotel rooftop in Los Angeles with its perfectly positioned trees, fire pit, modern white couches and clear orange chairs. A mix of electronica and lounge music pipes through speakers and live DJs spin nightly. Our waitress Sunny had been there since they had opened a few months ago and described the crowd as 60/40 along the lines of gay/straight ratio. It seemed more even to us. However, everyone was just enjoying the gorgeous weather and appreciating life considering the devastation in Japan and beyond. Surely you’ve seen the video from CNN of the earth slowly cracking and moving back and forth with water forming underneath it. Freaky doesn’t begin to describe it. Mother Nature will always have her say over ours.

I had just told some visitors from Chicago who were returning to rain and cold that we take our weather here in Palm Springs for granted. The next day I was saying that we take our lives for granted. The massive earthquake in Japan, aftershocks and tsunamis that followed should be a wakeup call for those not doing what they want to be doing, not being with the ones they want to be with. How many lives do you have?! One. You’re not a cat with nine so today is the day. Right now is the time. You don’t have tomorrow. Possibly. But not certain. As Tim McGraw croons, “Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” Don’t wait to the last minute to wish. Please. Yes, this seems like it should be the end of my “Spill” but as life must go on, so does my column because it’s not yet finished.

Saturday I had a intriguing interview with celebrity photographer Tim Courtney at our house for an upcoming issue of The Bottom Line and attended an intimate cocktail soiree at Luis and Mike’s at their stunning home that evening. Afterwards, I gave myself an A- for my efforts grilling my very first streak and frying my own fresh fries for dinner. My man cooks. I eat. Sunday I caught some sunshine during the World Gym Gorillas victory game at Demuth Park and met John at the Barracks for some manly drink before seeing the lip-syncing girls do drag at busting-at-the-seams Toucan’s. Expand your cage to fit more birds, I encourage.

After the show I dropped in on the T-Dance going on at DIGS in Cathedral City called “Sloppy 2nd Sundays.” The men were horny, Eric Mitchell was flagging and saliva was the drink of the hour. Peaked your interest?! It’s the second Sunday of the month at the former Club W location. Check out their web domain htp://digsbar.com for more tea. Come dressed to decompress in less. I’m out. Live it, people. I’m just sayin’.

2011 © PULP