COVID Cancels Mega Circuit Party AGAIN

A moment from White Party Palm Springs 2019 (photo: Iggy Perez)

Jeffrey Sanker, the promoter and producer of White Party Palm Springs, has announced his mega circuit party will not be happening this year.

The 2020 edition of White Party Palm Springs was originally scheduled for April. But, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sanker postponed his event to October hoping the health threat would be under control by then.

But an announcement has been posted on the White Party’s official website explaining that after trying “everything in our power to try to produce our event with all safety measures in place,” Sanker and his team have decided “it’s just not possible to move forward, given the unpredictability of COVID-19.”

The announcement adds that all current ticket holders will have their passes automatically transferred to the 2021 festival taking place April 23rd to 26th.

The largest gay circuit party in the United States, White Party Palm Springs often draws up to 30,000 attendees to its dances, mixers, and concerts. In addition to helping fundraise for various LGBTQ charities, the multi-day festival has provided an annual economic boost to the Southern California city for 30 years.

Pride Journey: Palm Springs

Joey Amato in Palm Springs (photos: Joey Amato)

Guest post by LGBTQ travel journalist Joey Amato

Palm Springs is one of those destinations that you never get tired of. I’m not sure if it’s the landscape, or the abundance of over-the-top gayness that makes the city truly magical. On my most recent visit to the desert gay mecca, I attended Palm Springs Pride, an event headlined this year by TLC and Kristine W. This year was the largest pride celebration in the city’s history. I even had the opportunity to meet Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon.

First impressions are everything and I had forgotten how easy Palm Springs airport is to navigate. Within minutes after walking off the plane, you can be laying poolside at your hotel or shopping along the boutique and art gallery heavy Palm Canyon Drive.

I was visiting with my friend and fellow journalist Josh Rimer, who was named Mr. Gay Canada 2019. He and I met on a media trip in Phoenix/Tempe and have traveled to Columbus, Ohio together as well. Visiting a destination like Palm Springs is more fun if you travel with someone, unless you are an extreme extrovert, which neither Josh nor I are. Having traveled together in the past made this visit fun and enjoyable.

After checking in at Alcazar Palm Springs, we headed straight for the Opening Night Pride Party at Trina Turk, which was hosted by Brandon Liberati and Craig Ramsay. The party drew a who’s who of Palm Springs glitterati. Every year, Trina Turk donates a portion of proceeds from items sold during the event back to the pride organization.

Joey Amato with Mayor Robert Moon

Before heading out on the town, grab dinner a Trio, a staple in Palm Springs since 2009. In fact, the first time I visited the city almost a decade ago, I dined at Trio. Josh and I decided to share a few starters including the Coachella Valley Dates and Ahi Tuna Tower. We were both hesitant to order the dates as they are filled with blue cheese, which neither one of us are a big fan of, but they turned out to be delicious. The blue cheese complimented the sweetness of the dates which simply melt in your mouth. Trio also hosts one of the best parade-viewing parties in town, so if you come to pride in 2020, be sure to make a reservation.

Palm Springs nightlife is truly one of the best experiences in the country. There is a bar or club for every type of person, ensuring that whether you are LGBT or Q, you will fit in. Arenas Road has emerged as the epicenter of nightlife in the city with venues including Hunters, Chill Bar, Quadz, Stacy’s, The Eagle and BlackBook all within a 2-block radius. Other nightlife venues are scattered throughout the city and in neighboring Cathedral City.

After a night of partying, retire back to the Alcazar for a restful night’s sleep before heading out to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to get a bird’s eye view of the city. I’ll admit, I don’t like heights nor roller coasters, so the tram made me nervous. The ten-minute journey to the top, aboard a rotation car is quite the experience. There are 5 towers along the way and as the car passes each tower it swings back and forth, sometimes slightly, other times, enough to make you a bit queasy. A little side note, the temperature is at least 20 degrees cooler on top of the mountain, so dress accordingly. Josh and I wore our traditional tank top attire and were a bit chilly to say the least.

Located adjacent to Arenas Road is Johannes, a lovely restaurant owned by chef Johannes Bacher. The modern décor is accented by the establishments menu which includes an assortment of house specialty Schnitzel. Hailing from Austria, Johannes brought his favorite dish to Palm Springs and it quickly became a favorite among the locals. Of course, we had to try some, and I can tell you, it does live up to the hype. I don’t remember the last time I saw schnitzel of any kind on a menu, outside of a German restaurant, which I learned is a different type of preparation. Another one of my favorites at Johannes was the Grilled Marinated Peaches & Burrata. I’d give that a try if you are looking for a lighter option.

Music lovers should also take note that Palm Springs is the gateway to Coachella and Stagecoach Festival, two of the largest outdoor music festivals in the country. Stagecoach has grown into the premier country music festival in the United States since its inception in 2007. The three-day event will take place April 24-26 and feature headliners Eric Church, Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson.

Palm Springs is a destination that always lives up to my expectations. Whether you are looking to party until dawn, relax by one of the dozens of pools around town or go hiking in nearby Joshua Tree National Park, the destination really does offer something for everyone.

Enjoy the Journey!

Joey Amato is the publisher of Pride Journeys, a website dedicated to LGBTQ travel. Joey has spent over a decade in LGBTQ media and public relations and currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. He can be reached at joey@pridejourneys.com

Billy Porter Covers Palm Springs Life Magazine

Billy Porter covers Palm Springs Life Magazine (photo: Aaron Feaver)

In a new interview for Palm Springs Life Magazine, Emmy Award winner Billy Porter (Pose) spills the tea on how he’s traversing the terrain of his ever-increasing celebrity.

Speaking to writer Jeremy Kinser, Porter covers a wide range of topics from EGOT possibilities (“Where’s my James Bond theme? That will get me my EGOT!”) to upcoming film roles in Sony’s musical adaptation of Cinderella (“I will be playing my fabulous self”) and the female empowerment comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Selma Hayek, Like a Boss(“Praise the Lord, I got a really good part!”) and more.

Porter credits his theater background (Tony Award for ‘Best Actor in a Musical’ in Kinky Boots, thank you very much) for prepping him with the stamina to keep up with the current onslaught of opportunities

“Doing eight shows a week in the theater in high heels breeds thoroughbreds,” Porter tells Kinser. “I’ve been able to apply the same skillset that goes into doing eight shows a week into this moment where I really need to be present. I need to show up for everything because I’ve worked 30 years to get here. I’ve got to show up, I’ve got to be ready, and I am!”

After working in Broadway productions like Five Guys Named Moe and Miss Saigon, it was during his tenure in the 1994 revival of Grease (where he served up a show-stopping “Beauty School Dropout”) that he was kissed by the visceral, gut-wrenching genius of the AIDS-era drama, Angels in America.                                                                                   

“I thought, how do I go from playing the teen angel with 14 inches of orange rubber hair on my head, prancing around like Little Richard on crack, to that?” says Porter. “That play was the turning point for me in choosing a different direction in my life and ending up where I am sitting in front of you today. This is the life I wanted for myself. I’m doing it on my terms, and it was Angels in America that launched that journey for me.”

 

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Look out for #BillyPorter on the cover of the brand new December issue of @palmspringslifemagazine ⁠🎉 ⁠ .⁠ The award-winning American Broadway performer, singer, and actor, @theebillyporter is in hot demand, following a recent Emmy win from his powerful performance as Pray Tell in FX’s ‘Pose’.⁠ ⁠.⁠ Read “Thoroughly Modern Billy”, and never miss a #palmspringslife moment by following the #linkinbio 🌵✨⁠ ⁠.⁠ Words by @jeremykinser.period Photographs by @feaverish ⁠ Styling by @neilcohenstyle⁠ ⁠Hair & Grooming by @jamalhammadi⁠ .⁠ Pucci vintage caftan from @mitchellspalmsprings, @amanitomi jewelry, and Ooh-la-la de Paris from @p.s.sunglasses⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #palmspringslife #pslmagazine #visitcalifornia #visitgps #visitpalmsprings #palmsprings #lgbtq #fashionista #style #fashionlover #celebritystyle #pslfashion #explorepalmsprings #palmspringsgetaway #discoverpalmsprings #palmspringsweekend #fashionstory #fashionstyle #fashionshoot #magazinecover #psltheguide #musthave #billyporter #AMAs #posefx #fashionmagazine #fashionissue

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Inspiration can become a driving force. A force so undeniable it’s no surprise Porter would find himself cast in the critically-acclaimed 2010 off-Broadway revival of Angels, in the very role that sparked so deeply inside him.

In hindsight, Porter’s journey from Angels in America to the ground-breaking FX series Pose makes total sense. The straight-talking ‘Belize’ in Angels could have easily been a cousin to the no-holds-barred ‘Pray Tell’ of Pose.

Steven Canals, co-creator of the hit FX series, says he believes Porter’s irrefutable authenticity on the show is responsible, in part, for the broad appeal of the show which includes a sizeable straight, white female audience.

“I think ‘Pray Tell’ is one of the characters on the show that you wish you knew in real life,” he shares. “Many folks who watch the show have probably known some version of that character. I think a lot of our viewers, regardless of their identity, are seeing their own history, their own experience on the screen.”

Canals adds that on set, Porter is something of a role model to the cast in regard to navigating “this crazy business with class and with grace, and patience.”

Amid all this success, it’s not hard to imagine the stresses of balancing fame and travel alongside domestic life with husband Adam Smith. Initially, Porter demurs: “Let’s move past that question.”

But after a pause, Porter shares: “We’re finding the balance. It’s been a rocket ship liftoff, and it leaves the subject and the people around the subject wherever they’re at. It’s a lot. I’m in a space of trying to figure out how to balance it.”

 

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The category is – #LOVE! ❤️❤️⁠ .⁠ @theebillyporter took time out from his frantic schedule to exhale poolside for a #palmspringslife fashion shoot and interview. ⁠ .⁠ Reminiscing about his first time coming to Palm Springs, he says, “These mountains are so serene and stunningly beautiful … The air is so relaxing. It’s just lovely!”⁠.⁠ ⁠.⁠ Watch Billy Porter strike a #palmsprings pose on our youtube channel by following the #linkinbio⁠ .⁠ @tomford evening jacket, turtleneck, and trouser, @fleurdpins leather lapel flower, @ruthie_davis pumps, @amanitomi jewelry, vintage #TedLapidus sunglasses, from @mitchellspalmsprings and vintage pearls. ⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #palmspringslife #pslmagazine #visitcalifornia #visitgps #visitpalmsprings #palmsprings #lgbtq #fashionista #style #fashionlover #celebritystyle #pslfashion #explorepalmsprings #pose #posefx #palmspringsgetaway #discoverpalmsprings #palmspringsweekend #fashionstory #fashionstyle #fashionshoot #magazinecover #psltheguide #musthave #billyporter #fashionmagazine #fashionissue⁠

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Porter also spills the tea on some new film projects looming on the horizon.

The actor and Canals are in the process of trying to secure the rights to the life story of R&B recording artist Donny Hathway (“This Christmas,” “A Song For You”), who struggled with mental health issues before falling to his death from the 15th floor of New York City’s Essex Hotel.

A second project, currently in early development, is a big-screen biopic of iconic gay author James Baldwin, who Porter quoted while accepting this year’s ‘Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series’ Emmy Award.

“Those are the people I should be playing,” Porter tells Palm Springs Life. “I’m so thrilled that I’m at the position now where people want me to play those people.”

We smell an EGOT in someone’s future 🙂

It’s a great read accompanied by a – no surprise – gorgeous photoshoot by Aaron Feaver.

Click over to Palm Springs Life for the full cover story by Jeremy Kinser.

Billy Porter covers Palm Springs Life Magazine (photo: Aaron Feaver)

News Round-Up: April 28, 2019

Bremen Menelli

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunk Bremen Menelli, currently in Palm Springs, is all smiles. I know a whole lotta gays are in the PS, so lots to smile about.

• Judith Light, Emmy and Tony Award winner, will be honored with the 2019 Isabelle Stevenson Award, presented to theater community members in recognition of their humanitarian contributions.

Light has worked tirelessly for decades as an advocate for LGBTQ rights; she’s been there for the fight against HIV/AIDS; and she continues to work with the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Truly a more-than-worthy recipient.

• Fourteen states currently have pending legislation that would require all presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their individual tax returns in order to appear on the ballot during the presidential or general election. The fourteen states are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Donald Trump – they’re looking at you.

• One day after former Vice President Joe Biden announced he is running for president in 2020, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has issued a statement saying he will no longer accept campaign donations from federal lobbyists. Additionally, he will be returning the $30,250 he had received from those who had donated.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced in an email on Friday that the campaign will no longer accept contributions from federal lobbyists, and plans to return $30,250 to those who have already donated.

• With over 3 million LGBTQ Americans living in rural areas, gay-friendly towns in red states (like Fayetteville, Arkansas) are in the hunt for LGBTQ travel dollars saying they welcome the gays.

• Woofy Pennsylvania state lawmaker Brian Sims started a conversation on his Instagram posting a photo of a Truvada pill, with the caption:

“PrEP/PEP: Starting this day off smart, proactive, and in control! Think this is an invite to talk about my sex life? It’s not. Think it’s an invite to shame me or anyone else? Grow up. “Stigma” is the thing our enemies want us to be stunted by. It literally kills us. It’s stupid and we control our own fate. No shame in this game. Just Pride. #PrEPsavesLIVES”

News Round-Up: March 25, 2019

Gus Kenworthy

Some news items you might have missed:

• Out Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy recently debuted his new hair style he jokingly dubs “petty in pink.” #PinkIsSassy

• Only 55 percent of Americans believe that gay and lesbian people face a lot of discrimination in the U.S., down from 68 percent in 2013.

• Lawyer Michael Avenatti has been arrested on charges related to an alleged $20 million extortion of the athletic apparel company Nike. His famous client, porn star Stormy Daniels, says said Monday that she is “saddened but not shocked” at the charges.

• Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked a move by Senate Democrats to call on Attorney General William Barr to release special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on the Russia investigation. It’s ‘too soon’ says McConnell.

• Police are looking for a man who opened fire at the gay bar, Toucan’s Tiki Lounge, in Palm Springs, California, this weekend. Two gun shot victims were taken to the hospital where they were reported to be in stable condition.

• Randy Report favorite Marina dropped her new music video last week, “Orange Trees.”

While we’ve only just passed the spring solstice, clearly Marina has her head in the summertime as she takes us to the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with the upbeat electro-pop track and video.

Her upcoming album, LOVE + FEAR, is available April 26.

The Obamas Head To Palm Springs

President Obama with former Ambassador James Costos

Just another example that shows why the Obamas are my kind of people.

Following the inauguration, the Obamas will hop on a helicopter from DC heading for Andrews Air Force Base, where they’ll take a flight at 2:45PM to Palm Springs, CA.

The former First Couple will relax in Palm Springs with longtime friends, former U.S. ambassador to Spain James Costos and his husband Michael Smith, the interior designer for the White House since 2008.

The Costos/Smiths live in an enormous abode in the Thunderbird Heights gated community in Rancho Mirage.

According to reports, this will be the fifth stay for the Obamas at the California home.

My husband, Michael, and I love Palm Springs. Gorgeous weather and uber-gay community 🙂

Palm Springs: Victor/Victoria Nominated For 11 “Desert Stars Awards”

Wow. How cool is this?

As regular readers may remember, this past spring I directed and choreographed (theatre is the other half of my career) a production of the musical Victor/Victoria in Palm Springs at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Springs for the College of the Desert. Great experience, wonderful cast and creative team.

Today I got word that the production was nominated for 11 “Desert Stars Awards” by the Desert Theatre League, including two for me for my direction and choreography.

I have to say the best part of the news is seeing so many of my collaborators having their work acknowledged.

Congrats to everyone!

Here’s a list of:

• Outstanding Production Musical/Opera/Pageant – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• Outstanding Director of a Musical/Opera/Pageant – Professional – Randy Slovacek – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• Outstanding Musical Director of a Musical/Opera/Pageant – Professional – Darlene Romano – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• The Michele Gaines Award for Outstanding Choreographer of a Musical/Opera/Pageant – Professional – Randy Slovacek – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical/Opera/Pageant – Chris Sands – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical/Opera/Pageant – Professional – Eliott Goretsky – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical/Opera/Pageant – 2 – Chelsey Clime, Kara Masek – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• The Ron Hamm Award for Outstanding Hair and Makeup Design – Professional – Lynda Shaeps – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• Outstanding Lighting Design – Professional – Keith I. Smith – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

• Outstanding Props and Special Effects – Professional – J.W. Layne – Victor/Victoria – College of the Desert

Weather Forecast: Gorgeous

I’m in Palm Springs for a couple of weeks on business, and had to take a pic of the gorgeous day here.

Wow.

If you’ve never done the Palm Springs thing, you’ve got to come here. This is pretty much how it looks all year round.

And yes, I got out of the middle of street once I got the pic 🙂

Documentary: “Desert Migration”

The new documentary Desert Migration screens this Summer at Frameline Festival in San Francisco and Outfest in Los Angeles.

Clip Description:

When HIV treatments improved and people stopped dying by the thousands, many gay men took stock and said, “So…now what?” Their peer group was decimated and they themselves had only escaped death by a narrow margin.

Retiring to California’s Palm Springs seemed like a viable decision. Health services were great, housing was affordable, there was a large gay population and it was always sunny. The roads they took to get there were varied, but all promised a veritable Lost Horizon, where age, illness and sin were a thing of the past.

However, being left to your own devices in a town where the sun always shines has a way of exposing who a person really is. With no friends, no job, and traumatized by recent memories, the burden is entirely on the individual to make something meaningful grow in the dry, harsh desert.

Desert Migration examines the lives of these men; their history, their present, and their possible futures as they struggle to come to terms with the second chance they have been given. Faced with their own mortality and the inevitable wear and tear on their bodies from both the virus and the medications designed to save them, how do they strive to create a life of value? Their stories illuminate how people across the US and the world are struggling as they age with the virus and the damage it has caused.

Palm Springs: Anti-bullying fund raising via shirtless car wash studs

So if you’re going to get your car washed ANYWAY… Why not have hunky guys in swim suits do it? And for charity?

Win-win in my opinion.

From the Huffington Post:

A group of Speedo-clad men came together last week in Palm Springs, Calif. to take part in the “Studs and Suds” carwash, a charity campaign that sought to raise money for a local anti-bullying foundation, “Boo 2 Bullying.”

The organization sought to work towards “ending the pain of bullying while embracing our differences” through initiatives such as the carwash.

President and founder of the “Boo 2 Bullying” campaign Dimitri Halkidis said that bullying isn’t an issue that only affects LGBT youth. “I don’t think it matters what sexuality you are,” stated Halkidis. “Bullying is bullying weather you’re white, yellow, green, black, straight, LGBT– it just does not matter.”