Road to Pride 2016
By Ron deHarte

Greater Palm Springs Pride Week Makes Huge Economic Impact.
The Greater Palm Springs Pride nonprofit organization recently announced the results from its annual economic impact review of the Pride Week celebration in November 2015. Data from attendees participating in official events including the Pride Festival and Pride Parade reveals that the 2015 human rights and cultural tourism celebration generated over $22 million dollars of organization and audience expenditures in the region. The impact increased from $20 million in 2014.

Named as one of the “Best 11 Gay Pride Festival Trips on the Planet” by Jetsetter Magazine in 2015, attendance at more than two-dozen official Palm Springs Pride events passed 130,000. In addition to direct spending by attendees at events and parties, tourism revenue was generated from lodging, transportation, retail shopping, and restaurants.

The Pride organization’s year-round marketing efforts coupled with those of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism and the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau reinforce the first weekend of November in Palm Springs as a destination location to travelers around the world. Core attendance figures are fueled by locals, day visitors and tourists from drive markets. In 2015, the celebration also played host to visitors from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Germany and Australia.

“Pride Week is a time when the City of Palm Springs is showcased as a diverse and supportive community,” said Ron deHarte, president of Greater Palm Springs Pride. “Our vibrant LGBT community, allies and visitors from around the world relish the inclusivity of Pride Week.”

Pride Week’s November festival is a multi-day celebration of diversity, inclusivity, art, fashion and culture. The twenty-five official events in 2015 included the GQ Goes West fashion show, Broadway in Drag Pageant, multiple pool parties, Dyke March, L-Fund Women’s Dance, Arenas Rd. Block Party, a two-day festival, and the Pride parade.

The City of Palm Springs has been home to Pride events since 1986 and has played a significant role supporting Pride since the parade was first moved to Palm Canyon Dr. in 1997. The Pride Week celebration of equality, diversity and unity, is the single largest civic LGBT event in Palm Springs.

Pride Week 2016 is scheduled for November 1-6. Key events will include the November 1 George Zander Candle Light Vigil and March in memory of all victims of hate crimes, the Pride Parade on November 6 and the two-day Pride Festival on November 5 and 6. The three events are featured highlights of Palm Springs Pride Week.

For more information about Greater Palm Springs Pride, visit www.pspride.org and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/palmsprings.pride.

About Greater Palm Springs Pride:

Greater Palm Springs Pride (pspride.org) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community enhancement organization established to promote the public education and awareness of individual rights and civil liberties of the LGBT community and to promote the history, diversity and future prosperity of the Greater Palm Springs LGBT community. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2016, the organization continues to serve as a catalyst for celebrating the strength, equality, dignity and self-determination of the LGBT community locally and globally. Programs of the organization include the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, Pride Parade and Festival, the Community Pride Breakfast, Pride Honors Awards, the Arenas Rd. Block Party, OUT PSP and the new Pet Pride Parade.

 

Who will be the 2016 Queen of the Desert?
By Barry Dayton

They say “the third time is a charm” but we’re sure you’ll find charming to be a pale description of the 3rd Annual Queen of the Desert on Wednesday, June 1 at the Renaissance Palm Springs, benefiting Desert AIDS Project.

Maybe something more along the lines of FUN … FABULOUS … and FIERCE!!

Last year was a sold-out crowd of 600, so make sure you get your tickets soon by visiting desertaidsproject.org. You can even get a jump-start on making your choice of Queen-wannabee feel the love by voting for your Fan Favorite before the evening even begins! The fun begins with cocktails at 6:00 PM and showtime at 7:00.

Ethylina Canne – voted Fan Favorite in 2014 – is thrilled to be back for a second year as the show’s emcee, to keep the action moving along, and said “This year’s pageant is going to be bigger and better than ever … with more contestants, more surprises and MORE sequins!”

Bella Da Ball – a small-town boy from Minnesota who says he’s been wearing skirts and high heels as long as he can remember – will be helping out as the evening’s “voice of goddess” and Diva Pledge announcer.

Luckily, Ethylina and Bella can leave the judging to this auspicious panel:

Delta Work is one of a select group of female impersonators who nabbed a coved spot on the reality show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Boasting a career of 20 years in the art of impersonation, Delta is a part of an elite group of entertainers who produce the world-acclaimed Dreamgirls Revue of Southern California.

Gypsy, aka James Haake, is 83 years old – but still struts his stuff in stilettos with a touring casino production called Carnival Cabaret. No wonder Gypsy was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest working female impersonator in the world. Known coast to coast and around the world, is it any wonder Gypsy was recently immortalized on Palm Springs Walk of Stars?

Maude Chapeau & Dottie Du Bois, of Les Dames du Soleil fame, share that “Palm Springs Star” status with Gypsy … their star was awarded in 2007 … and no wonder. Decades of fundraising for AIDS-related charities, including more than $1 million for D.A.P. alone, have also earned them a Steve Chase Humanitarian Award in 2001 and the Outstanding Philanthropic Volunteers Award in 2011.

Get ready for DIVA-licious entertainment …

Anita Rose

Performing all around Southern California for the last four years, we know her locally from AlibiAzul, the Hard Rock Hotel, and venues in Redlands. Anita Rose is also performing in Seattle alongside Sharron Stone and Tyra Banks.

Jazmyn Simone-Echelon

This premier Southern California dancing queen is D.A.P.’s current reigning Queen of the Desert. Jazmyn has won many competitions over her career and continues to do her best to give back to the community by providing real entertainment for great causes.

Mystic Befierce Miller

Taking the stage since she was 19, this Riverside native says performing has been life changing. It’s apparent that Mystic loves what she does and she says she knows she has what it takes to be the next Queen of the Desert.

Pinkie Meringue Shimmer

Already known as Queen of the Headdresses – thanks to the talents of her husband Kevin – this Alabama native runs the “Quilting with Pinkie” group every Monday at D.A.P. where she has been a big supporter for years. Living with HIV for 18 years has never slowed Pinkie down from giving her time and talent to local organizations or performing weekly at Oscar’s and Copa.

Sheena Wolfe

This local girl is co-owner of Dynamic Dance & Fitness in Cathedral City where she inspires people to lose weight, remain healthy, and stay fit … all while having fun. Although fairly new to the scene, Sheena has had a passion for the art of female impersonation for many years.

Tommi Rose

With more than four DECADES of entertaining audiences around the world, the “retirement” Tommi began in Palm Springs 15 years ago has been anything but retiring. Cabaret performing, acting, DJ’ing, and serving on the boards of several charitable organizations have more than filled that time.

Trixie Garnett

This sweet-but-sassy drag concoction is no desert mirage. Trixie says she’s a Jill-of-All-Trades whose goal is to raise awareness and break down pre-conceived stigmas around HIV and AIDS. Trixie is a lover, not a fighter, who says “Let’s work together for a cause … not applause.”

IF YOU GO

3rd Annual Queen of the Desert
June 1 / Cocktails 6:00 pm Show 7:00 pm
Renaissance Hotel Palm Springs
Tickets: www.desertaidsproject.org