Gypsy with Mel Brooks in “To Be or Not to Be”

The community is coming together to show the love to James Gypsy Haake, who at the age of 83 has been named as the world’s oldest working female impersonator in the upcoming edition of the Guiness Book of World Records.

A Coachella Valley resident since 2006, New Jersey born James “Gypsy” Haake’s career has spanned sixty-five years. From Broadway chorus-boy, to Manhattan nightclub owner, to star of legendary Beverly Hills celebrity hot-spot La Cage Aux Folles.  Along the way he starred opposite Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft in To Be Or not To Be, Jane Fonda in The Morning After, Joan Collins in Dynasty, Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills, and Katy Sagal in Married With Children – working with directors including Alan Johnson, Sydney Lumet, and Robert Altman. Still going strong, Gypsy still makes audiences roar every weekend in the Carnival Cabaret at Oscar’s Café & Bar in downtown Palm Springs.

Palm Springs Walk of Stars Honors

Say organizers, “Carnival Cabaret, in association with Arial Trampway Entertainment, Oscar's Cafe & Bar, Lulu California Bistro, and members of the drag community are presenting a Gala Performance of Carnival Cabaret to celebrate the art of female impersonation and to honor film, stage and TV actor, stand-up comic and drag legend James “Gypsy” Haake.  It’s all happening April Fools’ Day; Wednesday, April 1st 2015, with a hosted Cocktail Hour at 6 pm, followed the show at 7:00 p.m.  Where, at the ballroom of Palm Springs Jewish Community Center at 233 West Alejo Drive adjacent to Temple Isaiah.”

The Gala Star event on April 1st was conceived by life-long Gypsy fans and Palm Springs residents Alfie Pettit (aka Arial Trampway) and Shizl Bee when they rang in the new year with Carnival Cabaret at Oscar’s Café & Bar in downtown Palm Springs. Upon meeting producer Dan Gore after the show, Alfie exclaimed “I think I should sponsor an event to get Gypsy his star on the Walks of Stars!” to which Dan replied “I think Arial Trampway should be in the show!’ They shook hands, Shizl snapped a picture and the rest was history. They reserved the ballroom at Palm Springs Jewish Community Center and started rehearsals, all while still producing their new hit dinner-show weekly at Oscar’s.

As the major sponsor, Pettit will be hosting as his alter ego, Arial Trampway, a free and easy spirit with a convertible pink Cadillac.  Naturally, Arial’s theme song has recently been “I’m a Barbie Girl, In a Barbie World”, but with the help of Carnival Cabaret make-up artist and costume guru Kevin Wiley, Arial’s friends can expect to see a new and transformed Arial come show-time.

Working with dancer choreographer Luis Camacho, whose credits include Vogue-ing with Madonna on tour, and dancer Vertarias Black, Dan is ramping up a show with more performers imitating more celebrities, back-up dancers, and a variety of local talent representing the art of female impersonation in many forms. Since then, the event has evolved into an all-out celebration of the art of drag, where the guests are encouraged to cross-dress if the spirit moves them, and participate in a commemorative photo shoot on-stage following the finale.

Reserved orchestra seats are $89.95, regular banquet table seat $59.95 and limited chair seating, $39.95, all including a hosted bar (courtesy of Oscar’s Café & Bar), complimentary Hors d’oeuvres (courtesy of Lulu California Bistro), and a drawing for fabulous door prizes.

Click here for tickets.

“It’s always a fun night when the drinks are included, and it’s for a worthy cause – raising the funds for a true star to get his star on the Walk of Stars,” say organizers, “And it’s also April Fool’s Day, the perfect holiday to cross-dress and honor a guy like Gypsy. He is the ultimate funster. Perhaps because he defies any attempt at being taken seriously… Gypsy has known them all and done it all and at the age of 84, he remains forever hip.”

Former George Michael impersonator, Dan Gore created Carnival Cabaret, a  La Cage –style celebrity female impersonation production in 2000. Since then, he and Gypsy and a troupe of professional male actors have performed  the theatrical, musical–comedy revue at casinos, supper-clubs, college campuses, and private events throughout the country, most notably for eight years at the Horizon Resort Casino, making Carnival Cabaret Lake Tahoe's longest running casino production in history.

Carnival Cabaret opened in the last week of 2014, and sold out to primarily straight, wealthy conservative audiences for whom it's novelty appeal is strongest. It re-opened on February 5th for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and contracted a third time for March and April. We are working to keep the show alive for summer tourists and locals alike

The cast line-up changes by about 1/3 every week – our Marilyn / Liza are returning for April – Frankie Kein is world renowned drag royalty; our Pink / Katy Perry is an amazing kid – Kenneth Rex – who grew up watching the show after school in Lake Tahoe waiting for his waitress mother to finish her shift, and where Carnival Cabaret was Tahoe's longest running casino production; next week we have Adam Guerra, a Madonna who went viral in January. 

At Carnival Cabaret, you never know who might appear! From Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Patsy Cline, P!nk, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, to Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Streisand and more…it’s always a star-studded evening! All celebrities are portrayed by professional male actors – you will not believe your eyes!

Gypsy says “PS I love you because…”

  1. …everyone here is younger than me.
  2. …showbiz legends don’t die here.
  3. …I was lost along the highway on the way to heaven.
  4. …I was hungry for work and now work because of hunger
  5. ..after 50 years of entertainment bliss, life continues, and who could want a better place to spend any day of 83 years of life.

Congratulations, Gypsy!  I am honored to have seen you perform and to have hosted you recently on Nicholas Snow Live.  Thanks for being a forever trailblazer!


Nicholas Snow

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