After a challenging year for LGBT communities nationwide, the 2017 Palm Springs Pride theme of “Viva la Vida” (Live Life!) signifies a hopeful sentiment of solidarity here in Palm Springs. In the first Palm Springs Pride since the Pulse Nightclub massacre, as well as the 2016 presidential election and subsequent rollback and danger to LGBT rights, the Greater Palm Springs area welcomes proud LGBT community members and allies “to remember those we have lost, affirm our commitment in the fight for equality, and to look forwards to the future and what it holds for LGBTQ people worldwide.”
Here’s a look at some of the Pride celebrations ahead at the biggest off-season Pride gathering in the country.
Early Pride festivities commenced September 28 with the Pride Honors Awards. Among those recognized were the Transgender Community Coalition, which received Organization of the Year and whose new memorial to those who have lost their lives is to be dedicated on November 20th, Transgender Day of Remembrance. Also honored were Douglas Woodmansee and Marshall Pearcy, who have raised over $2 million, as the drag duo “Dottie & Maude”, for AIDS and community charities since joining forces in 1980.
This year’s official Pride event calendar brings the spotlight to Greater Palm Springs starting on November 3rd at 6pm with the Viva la Vida Street Party on Arenas Road. The one block street, populated by gay bars, restaurants and shops and widely known as the hub of gay Palm Springs day and nightlife, will be closed to vehicle traffic. The US Bank Stage and host Alexander Rodriguez of “On the Rocks Radio” will play host to the music of Iconique, the sizzling LA synth disco band whose sound evokes the best of David Bowie and Chic. Later in the evening the music is in Jen DM, resident DJ at Cruise at the Eagle, one of the last queer gatherings in Silver Lake. The event is open to those 21 years of age and over only; ID is required.
The iconoclastic Dale Bozzio comes to Palm Springs with Missing Persons on Saturday, November 4 at 2:30, and Seattle YouTube star Mama Tits performs at 9pm. Featured performer on Sunday is the all-gay tribute band GayC/DC, giving a queer perspective on AC/DC starting at 1:15pm.
Performances on Saturday by local entertainers Keisha D and Jesse Jones at 6pm on the Arenas Road stage follow the Dyke March and Rally, commencing at Frances Stevens Park at 4pm. The L-Fund presents The Women’s Pride Dance at 7pm at the Hard Rock Hotel.
The pedestrian Pride Street Festival comes to the heart of Palm Springs on Saturday and Sunday, between Baristo Road and Amado Drive. Music stages at the Hyatt Palm Springs and the Pride State presented by Desert AIDS Project will provide entertainment. The diverse lineup of more than 80 performances include special appearances by Modern Men and the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus. The Pride Stage is for all ages and is home to the Safe Schools Desert Cities Youth Zone and a Children’s Headquarters space with crafts and games for the young ones, and will offer HIV testing by Get Tested Coachella Valley.
The streets of downtown Palm Springs will be lined with booths by community organizations, LGBT-friendly businesses, and vendors as well as local merchants. Look for a Palm Springs Pride decal in the window of stores supporting the event, and find a list of Official Pride Restaurants and Pride Watering Holes in the Pride Guide, available in print or its digital form (found here).
The big event starts at 10am Sunday as the 31st Official Pride Parade kicks off at North Palm Canyon and Tachevah and struts down to the festival entrance at Amado Road. The parade features fitness guru Craig Ramsay and celebrity hairstylist Brandon Liberati, stars of the Bravo reality show “Newlyweds: The First Year”, as Celebrity Grand Marshals; Purple Room restaurateur and entertainer Michael Holmes as Community Grand Marshal; and US Navy SEAL Kristin Beck as National Grand Marshal. The parade includes the Transgender Pride and March presented by the Transgender Community Coalition. Many restaurants along the route will offer viewing parties, so check out the guide mentioned above.
Other events to be held by other organizations during pride include:
Palm Springs Front Runners & Walkers 5K Run and Walk, Saturday Morning (Registration required)
“2020 Vision – A Survival Guide for the New World”, an amusing look at today’s news by Miss Richfield 1981, at the Camelot Theatre
“The Legend of Georgia McBride” opens the 10th season for the award winning Dezart Performs at the Palm Springs Women’s Club
CCBC hosts its Pride pool party on Saturday afternoon and evening with live entertainment.
For a complete listing of Pride events, click HERE or visit www.PSPride.org.