FREE! Palm Springs Premier of the The Freedom to Marry film

Local residents Rich Weissman and J.D. Horn are hosting a 2nd event for the community – Saturday, January 20, at 1:30 PM at the Camelot Theatre (the 7 PM screening is SOLD OUT) – to present this incredible full-length feature film, speakers and event activities. The screenings are co-sponsored by Gay Desert Guide and The Palm Springs Cultural Center, which includes Cinema Diverse, The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival, The American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs), the Certified Farmers’ Markets (CFM) and the Camelot Theatres.

The film, by Eddie Rosenstein, is the epic, nail-biting, untold story of how same-sex marriage became law of the land. It follows Evan Wolfson, the architect of the movement, and his key colleagues on the decades long battle, culminating in the dramatic fight at the U.S Supreme Court. The film is more than the saga of one movement's history – it’s an inspiring tale of how regular people can actually win, and how activists can effectively change the minds and laws of a nation.

And, Evan Wolfson, the founder and living legend behind marriage equality, will be speaking! Evan was the genius behind and head of the Freedom to Marry organization. He conceived of the concept while a law student at Harvard three plus decades ago, working on every step of the effort, state-by-state and nationally. He now works internationally, bringing marriage equality to many nations throughout the world. It is an honor to have him come to the Palm Springs community and speak.

Evan will be joined by other honored speakers: Kate Kendall (Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights) who appears in the film, Misha Isaak (General Counsel to Oregon Governor Kate Brown) who litigated and won marriage equality for Oregon, and Geoff Kors (Palm Springs Councilmember) who served on the Freedom To Marry national board. And, Modern Men chorus will be singing.

On January 20th, the Palm Springs Cultural Center will unveil the complex's new name on the building and new lobby. Starting at noon, there will be a tent for community activities, including taking photos of people jumping, to become part of the future “Jump For Joy” mural on the theater’s building (come get your photo taken as you jump – you may be in the mural!), and a red carpet step-up for photos with “Married In Palm Springs” backdrop.

There is an another free showing of the film with the same speakers/Q&A, “Jump For Joy” photographer, red carpet step-up, with singing by the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, on the same day at 6:30 pm.  Reserve Your Free Tickets

Icons & Idols Benefit Concert To Pay Homage to Janis Joplin, Freddie Mercury, George Michael, and Prince

The Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District is proud to announce that “Grab Your Seat: Icons & Idols,” its annual benefit concert, will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 7 PM at the Richards Center for the Arts (formerly Palm Springs High School Auditorium, located at 2360 Ramon Road in Palm Springs). The concert is a musical tribute to Janis Joplin, Freddie Mercury, George Michael, and Prince, and is presented by Michael Childers with Frank Goldstin.

This annual fundraising concert celebrates four musical legends who influenced the worldwide musical scene in a new production created by the celebrated Michael Childers with Frank Goldstin. “Grab Your Seat: Icons & Idols” pays homage to Janis Joplin (performed by Mary Bridget Davies), Freddie Mercury (performed by Von Smith), George Michael (performed by Jake Simpson), and Prince (performed by Rogelio Douglas, Jr.). These four singing sensations will bring new life to classic and cherished songs originally performed by these entertaining legends, and all proceeds will benefit Palm Springs Unified School District arts education programs. More Info

En Vogue, Thelma Houston, Ross Matthews Front and Center at the 24th Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards

Co-chairs  Patrick Jordan and Lauri Kibby will join Senator Barbara Boxer on February 10 when they welcome more than 1,500 D.A.P. supporters at the 2018 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards benefitting Desert AIDS Project. The party begins with red carpet arrivals at the Palm Springs Convention Center at 5:30 PM.

Now in its 24th year, the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards gala has raised millions of dollars to care for people living with HIV. First organized by and named for famed interior designer Steve Chase – a former D.A.P. donor, volunteer, and board member – the gala is a highlight of the desert social season and preceded the night prior by an exclusive VIP pre-party honoring major donors and celebrity guests.

Palm Springs Life Magazine had this to say about last year’s gala: “The Chase has a reputation among trendsetters as one of the few gala events where attendees are encouraged to have fun and take risks with fashion … and the guests did not disappoint. Black sequins and Mr. Turk dinner jackets were de rigueur for many men, as were well-fitted and accessorized tuxedos (which held their own alongside long gowns and sexy short dresses).”

This year’s Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards will be hosted by Ross Mathews. Mathews has established himself as one of the most in-demand television personalities hosts and pop culture experts in the entertainment arena today. Endearing and witty, Mathews has won the hearts of millions of Americans since his television debut – as a correspondent for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Mathews can be seen as a judge on the smash hit LOGO series “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Mathews is also a fixture on “E! News” and E! Network’s live red carpet award show coverage year round. He was most recently seen hosting E!’s “Live From E!”. He was also the host of “Hello Ross”, a weekly fan destination where the intersections of celebrity gossip and pop culture collide, giving a unique viewpoint into the latest Hollywood news. Mathews can also be heard weekly on his top-rated, PodcastOne show “Straight Talk with Ross Mathews”.
Chief Development Officer, Darrell Tucci is excited about this year’s entertainment. “I think we’re going to see a room full of friends singing along to the hits of headline entertainment En Vogue.”

The group has never been afraid to break the mold and step ‘outside’ the norm. From “Free Your Mind” to “My Lovin”, they have been trendsetters in music and style. Today, affectionately known as the “original funky divas”, they are redefining the idea of beauty and what it means, beyond the traditional sense, with their distinctive fusion of music and style.

Recognized as one of the top five highest selling American female music groups in history, En Vogue has sold more than 20 million albums and effortlessly transitioned into the digital age, amassing more than 30 million streams and more than 26 million YouTube views on their top six hit singles alone: the R&B and Pop smash hits Hold On, Free Your Mind, Never Gonna Get It, Giving Him Something He Can Feel, and Don’t Let Go.

Contrary to popular belief, En Vogue has never disbanded. As true music veterans who have withstood ever-changing music industry fads and trends, the group continues to record and perform worldwide with original members Cindy Herron-Braggs, Terry Ellis, and newest member, Rhona Bennett.

“We find total freedom and fulfillment when we hit the stage,” Cindy Herron-Braggs says. “It’s the ultimate connection with our fans. It’s about the energy you receive, the love, and the reciprocation from the message in the music.”
Attendees of The Chase know to pace themselves during the evening so they have energy left for its famous after-party, which will feature a DJ, a performance by Thelma Houston, and a series of tightly guarded surprises revealed as guests dance the night away in a lounge created inside the Palm Springs Convention Center. Guests of the after party can expect her signature blend of high- energy dance classics and soulful ballads.

Thelma Houston may be best known for the worldwide success of her disco anthem “Don’t Leave Me This Way”, but her support of AIDS Services organizations is also legendary. She is known for her dedication to humanitarian causes, including tireless efforts in the battle against AIDS and deep commitments to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In 2013, the City of West Hollywood named January 29th “Thelma Houston Day” in recognition of her many charitable activities.  Get Your Tickets

Time to Get Your Run On!  Palm Springs Health Run & Fitness Expo 2018

Start out the New Year with a healthy and fitness-oriented routine! Join thousands of runners for the Palm Springs Health Run & Fitness Expo Saturday, January 27 from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Run through the incredibly scenic neighborhoods of Palm Springs for the 10K, 5K and 1K Fun Run. Over 100 health and wellness booths provide giveaways and services, fitness experts, and cooking demonstrations. Register now and come experience one of the largest events of its kind in Southern California…Fun for the entire family! Every 5K and 10K registrant receives breakfast snacks, t-shirt, registration bag and finisher’s medal. 1K Fun Run finisher’s receive finisher’s medal.

When a runner registers through ACTIVE, they can now donate directly to one of our 3 charities (PSUSD Foundation, Desert Healthcare Foundation and United Way of the Desert) when checking out.  More Info

"The Fifth of July" by Lanford Wilson "The Fifth of July" on Stage at The Desert Rose Playhouse

"This is one of the most incredibly well-written, beautifully acted, profound and moving and often hilarious plays it has ever been my privilege to see in the American theater." – NY Daily News

Through February 4th, The Desert Rose Playhouse, the Coachella Valley’s LGBTQ+ Stage Company, will present Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July as our sixth season’s Gay Heritage Production, opening Friday, January 12, 2018, for a four-week run.  Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2 PM.

Playwright Wilson was one of the pioneers of LGBT Theatre in New York and went on to a Pulitzer-Prize winning career with many Broadway and film credits.  Previous DRP Gay Heritage productions include The Boys in the Band, Love! Valour! Compassion! and Angels in America, Part One.
Fifth of July is set in the 1970s in a sprawling farmhouse in Lebanon, Missouri.  It is the home of “Ken Talley”, a disabled gay Viet Nam veteran, and his botanist lover, Jed.  They are visited by Ken's sister, June, and her precocious teenage daughter Shirley, and by Gwen and John—the former a hard-living, pill-popping heiress who aspires to be a rock star, the latter her wary-eyed husband and manager. All are old friends from their rebellious UC Berkeley college days in the 1960’s where they were protestors and political activists who worked for what they hoped would be a better world.

The Desert Rose Playhouse production features the Valley debut of actor Brent Anderson as “Ken”.  The high desert’s Ann Van Haney plays “June” and local high school student Monique Burke as the precocious “Shirley”.  DRP favorite Jason Hull plays “Jed”, with popular company actors Melanie Blue and Michael Pacas returning from last season’s Clark Gable Slept Here and this year’s Times Square Angel as promising vocalist “Gwen” and her manager/husband “John”.  Also returning to our stage is veteran actress Alden West as batty “Aunt Sally” and Times Square Angel chorus boy James Owens as “Wes Hurley”, Gwen’s guitarist.  Jim Strait is directing, Robbie Wayne designs the set and costumes, and Phil Murphy is designing the lights.  More Info.

Dezart Performs rabbit Hole Gets a Rave Review from Stephen Radosh

Here's an excerpt…

When a play’s cast truly functions as an ensemble, with every member making a contribution of equal import, regardless of the size of the role, then theatrical magic occurs.  Such is the case with the current DezartPerforms production of David Lindsay-Abaire's RABBIT HOLE…

…Kudos belong to everyone involved in this magnificent production.  The scenic design by Thomas L. Valach, despite the physical limitations of the stage, manages to beautifully convey a roomy home in the suburbs. Phil Murphy’s lighting design perfectly focuses the action and sets just the right tone to match the ever-changing moods of those onstage.
As directed by Scott Smith, this production never sinks into the maudlin or melodramatic mode found so often in TV movies of this ilk.  He keeps his cast moving at a brisk but natural pace and, most importantly, lets the humor in the script (yes, there are some very funny moments) come through naturally and not as forced comic relief….  Find the entire review and get ticket info here.

Deepak Chopra MD's Headed to Palm Springs for First West Coast Appearance

Deepak Chopra MD, is the founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing. He is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including 25 New York Times bestsellers. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”

The good doctor will be appearing February 3 at 7:30 PM at the Richards Center for the Arts as part of the Palm Springs Speaks series.  More Info

Compiled from a variety of sources by Nicholas Snow