Greater Palm Springs Pride Announces 2014 Pride Honorees & Community Grand Marshals

LGBT civil rights attorney, pioneering businesswoman and first openly transgender trial judge in the United States top the slate of activists and community leaders to be recognized with Spirit of Stonewall Awards

Greater Palm Springs Pride announces the recipients of its 2014 Pride Honors Awards. The prestigious Pride Honors are presented annually to individuals in order to recognize the work they have put into raising awareness and furthering the causes of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their allies. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on October 10, at the Hyatt Palm Springs.

Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to the nation’s leading transgender advocate for LGBT rights Shannon Price Minter and businesswoman pioneer Mariah Hansen. Recognized for enhancing the community through the arts, the 2014 Organization of the Year is The Desert Rose Playhouse. Fiona Foyston and Pat Bergmann, along with Tony Marchese, will be recognized with Spirit of Stonewall Community Service Awards.

Pennie Feenhan and Gordon Elkins will be honored as Volunteers of the Year, and Riverside County Sheriff Chief Deputy Raymond Gregory and community activist Wes Rankins will be recognized with the Spirit of Pride Award for advancing equality, promoting diversity and celebrating the strength and talent of the LGBT community. The 2014 Friend of Pride Award will be presented to student advocate Tori St. Johns and in recognition of her trailblazing work as the first openly transgender trial judge in the United States, Superior Court Judge Vicky Kowlakowski will be the 2014 Spirit of Stonewall Special Guest.

The Community Grand Marshals recognized for their positive and lasting impact represent two generations of volunteerism and service in the community. Alexis Ortega is part of a new generation that’s dedicated to building a stronger and more vibrant community and Thomas Smith is recognized for thirty years of community service, leadership in the leather community and as an award winning author.

The prestigious Palm Springs Pride Honors Awards are presented annually to individuals to honor the work they have put into furthering the causes of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their allies. The awards reception will take place October 10, 2014, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Hyatt Palm Springs located at 285 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.  Tickets are available online at Proceeds from the reception will go to the Pride LGBT Landmark Monument Fund to establish a Wall of Honor landmark monument to honor and remember LGBT community members.


Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which opens its Seventh Edition on Thursday, September 18th and runs through Sunday, September 21st

“We are screening a total of twenty eight feature films and more than 30 shorts this year,” said Michael C. Green, Cinema Diverse Festival Director and Managing Director of The Palm Springs Cultural Center. “This will be the largest number of feature films we’ve ever screened, and about the same number of shorts that we screened at last year’s festival.”

The 2014 opening night film is Saugatuck Cures – a great comedy produced and directed by Cinema Diverse Alum Matthew Ladensack, who screened his short film, The Apple Tree in 2012. “We are excited to make our World Premiere at Cinema Diverse,” Ladensack says. “We plan to bring as many members of our team as we can to the opening.”

Saugatuck Cures touches on a number of today’s most compelling issues, including conversion therapy, religious freedom and gay marriage. The film includes stellar performances by Max Adler (Glee, Switched at Birth), Danny Mooney (Ides of March, Whip It) and Judith Chapman (The Young & the Restless). Ms Chapman, who lives in Palm Springs, reports that she is quite excited to see Saugatuck Cures make its World Premiere in her hometown.

Cinema Diverse continues on Friday, September 19th with a full schedule of films. Screenings begin at 11am at the Camelot Theatres and continue throughout the day, and through the weekend

With a variety of comedies, dramas and shorts

the 2014 Festival is rich with entertainment and options. Green added, “We’ve got lots of choices, and two great ticket pass options that people can choose from.” The All Access Pass, which grants access to all screenings and each evening’s after party, is only $149.00. That’s a tremendous value for the film buff who ‘doesn’t want to miss a thing’ during the weekend. And for those who may have limited time, but want to see multiple films, we have The 6 Pack Deal, priced at only $69.00.”

Individual tickets are $13 each, and can be purchased in person at Camelot Theatres, or online at Passes and individual tickets are on sale now. For a complete schedule of films and show times visit


Legendary Drag Icon Charles Busch performs at Copa

Charles Busch, one of the most prolific, talented, and outrageous New York theater artists, will bring his legendary show to Copa for a 2 night performance on September 19 & 20 at 8 PM. Playwright, actor, novelist, drag artist, and leading lady. Splashed on the map in 1984 at the dingy yet inspired Limbo Lounge as one of the burgeoning artists of New York’s East Village arts scene, Busch’s scandalously sex-charged, cross-dressing classic, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom quickly became a theater phenomenon. It moved from the Limbo Lounge to the Provincetown Playhouse and ran an unprecedented five years, securing its place as one of the longest-running shows in Off- Broadway history. Vampire Lesbians of Sodom also marked the birth of one of New York’s most memorable theatrical companies, as Busch’s legendary Theater-in-Limbo plays brought together an eclectic troupe of actors whose talents are now on display in rare archival video footage.

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset and the afore mentioned Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history.  His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play.   He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, Psycho Beach Party and Die Mommie Die, the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival.  In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A Very Serious Person, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention.  He is also the subject of the documentary film The Lady in Question is Charles Busch. For tickets to see this extraordinary performer visit