There’s something about White Party Palm Springs that keeps me coming back. It’s a rite of spring and rite of passage. It’s hard to think of a more definitively, quintessentially gay getaway.
On the one hand, the journey we take and the road trip we endure makes me feel like I’m starring in my own version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, with the finale being an over-the-top display of glitter and glamor.
On the other hand, there’s an aspect of it that feels like a spiritual pilgrimage. It’s a sacrament of survival that gathers queens from all over, to groove under the sweltering sun and form a swishy sweat lodge.
It’s a gayer version of Burning Man, in a considerably more comfortable desert than the Black Rock Playa. I’ve heard Palm Springs called the Gay Retirement Village, and it’s no wonder. The essence of the experience is tanned and trim, rested and relaxed.
Living over the rainbow in San Francisco, we have every opportunity in the world to get our gay on, but it isn’t often that we get the sublime joy of dancing in the open air. Sure, we do everything “out in the open” in a metaphorical way, but a circuit party that takes place on a fairground in the middle of town is an affirmation all its own. It’s why I never miss the chance to get my dance on at Dore Alley or the Folsom Street Fair, and it’s also why I flock to the dick deck of an Atlantis cruise time and time again.
When I was just a baby fag hag, I remember imagining the White Party as gay heaven in a faraway land: beautiful boys, the aesthetic unity of everyone in fabulous white costumes, celebrities in the mix, and nothing but smiles with dancing for days. Now that I’m in the mix myself, I’m still pretty star-struck, especially at the Sunday T-Dance, when the sun sets poetically over our disco tribe, and dusk gives way to an explosion of colorful fireworks overhead.
I’m amazed that a seasoned circuit queen like me still sees magic in this seasonal celebration, and I hope I never get over it. Won’t you meet me there and help me live the dream of creating poetry in a picture-perfect moment? It’s one of my very favorite ways to love my gays.