White Party Palm Springs Blog 2011: Day 1: Neither Rain Now ... Snow?!?
If you’re wondering why the number of gays in your local neighborhood may have suddenly decreased today, it’s likely because they’ve joined the annual pilgrimage to Palm Springs for Jeffrey Sanker’s White Party.
The trek to Palm Springs was a bit out of the ordinary today, as those on the road found themselves running into random bursts of blizzard-like conditions along the 10 East, the major freeway connecting Los Angeles to Palm Springs. A last-minute check of the Palm Springs weather forecast revealed temperatures in the fifties, thus requiring a quick stop for warmer clothes at the Cabazon Outlets, just outside of Palm Springs’ city limits.
If you’ve never been, seriously, get there pronto. Amazing shopping, stellar deals, and a definite lifesaver when all you and your friends have packed in your multiple suitcases are mesh tank tops, dangerously short short-shorts, and underwear that’s likely illegal in most of the world’s countries.
The Renaissance Palm Springs, the White Party’s host hotel, was swarming with boys who had just rolled in this afternoon, excited to kick off three days of back-to-back dance parties. It felt a bit like arriving on the first day of summer camp when you were a kid; a warm reunion for many and a completely new world for wide-eyed newcomers. Some here devotedly work the Circuit or have been attending the White Party for years; a large contingent is SoCal boys, the majority of whom are lads from LA.
A small crowd were at the welcome party the night before and are already well into their element. You can tell which ones these are because they’ve chosen prime eye-candy viewing spots by the lobby bar and have cocktails in hand.
The Welcome Center, where guests check in to pick up their tickets, is thick with a spirited, friendly vibe and there’s a small mob lined up to participate in photographer Adam Bouska’s popular and politically-minded NOH8 Campaign. Charo whips into the room in a revealing white dress that’s basically see-through and she poses for pictures with every gay who asks politely, including a fluffy white dog. Seriously, how does this woman have so much energy? And sorry, but what the hell does cuchi-cuchi mean anyhow? It makes me feel like I’m supposed to flash something every time I hear it.
Though Welcome Bags at events like this are typically uneventful, this year’s must be given a quick run through because of a few particularly notable items. As expected, the bag is partially filled with all of the standard paper pieces, miscellaneous magazines and flyers promising future discounts and free samples. But then it gets into the bigger items; a couple of condoms from getfreecondoms.org, a bright pink whistle promoting porn queen Chi Chi LaRue’s store, a Dirk Yates Private Amateur Collection DVD, a foam disc promoting the DVD release of Disney’s TRON Legacy movie, and a carton of flavored Vita Coco coconut water. Then there’s the genius piece de resistance: a two-bottle pack of Fleet enemas from their new "Naturals" line, with an accompanying flyer telling readers "No matter what you call it, keep it clean." Genius. Generous. And hilarious.
On a trip back out to the car to grab some jewelry and the right boots to wear to tonight’s underwear party (because when the suggested dress code is that minimalist, it’s all about the accessories) -- Bobby Trendy is spotted rolling into the Renaissance, with a bell-hop behind him, pushing a trolley full of Rite-Aid shopping bags. Perhaps a sign that the party weekend has officially begun?