Palm Springs USA 2004
Sanker’s annual White Party weekend in Palm Springs was into its 15th
year this year. It’s held over the Easter weekend and always attracts a
mass of buff, beautiful boys.
Palm Springs? Where’s that? I’d never heard of the place until I saw a review of the White Party event in a magazine last year. The thing that court my attention was a photo from one of the pool parties, the pool was jammed full of buff boys splashing about wildly in the water. I said to my friend “I’m doing that next year, this looks a good party.” So I did…
Palm Springs is a quite little city in the California desert, 110 miles (2 hour drive) east of Los Angeles. Its population is said to be at least 40% gay and is clearly seen by the high number of gay bars, shops and “clothing optional” gay holiday resorts dotted around the place. Its peak season is in the winter from December through till April, other times of the year are apparently just too hot to handle.
White Party Palm Springs celebrated its 15th year this year, and its creator, Jeffrey Sanker (The US party promoter known as “The High Priest of Gay Parties”), couldn’t be prouder of how his baby has grown up.
It all began back in 1989, when Sanker decided to host an Easter weekend getaway out in the desert. It was like a gay version of Spring Break for the LA, San Diego, and San Francisco boys. The idea was simple: buy out an entire block of luxury hotel rooms specifically for a few hundred of Sanker’s closest friends to stay for a long weekend; host little get-togethers each night and let everyone work on there tans during the day; spice it up with a few porn stars and drag queens and give everyone a chance to relax and just hang out.
Although the event was extremely well attended during its formative years, it wasn’t exactly profitable for Jeffrey. But seeing everyone have such a good time he knew he was onto something. Guys kept coming back year after year; and they brought more and more of there friends with them. By the fifth year an entire hotel was booked entirely with gay boys, and room reservations were spilling over into other hotels. And those little get-togethers were turning into full-on dance parties.
Along the way the Saturday night main event was crowned “The White Party.” And crowd numbers grew to more than 15,000.
Last year, conservative city officials tried to halt the White Party, just as they did during the eighties with Palm Springs’ notorious “Spring Break” festivities for college students. But the great white momentum proved unstoppable, partly because of the power of the gay dollar and its yearly boost in the local economy. When White Party came to town, local hotel, restaurant, and store owners were seeing green! Jeffrey’s signature extravaganza was now also generating a million dollars in hotel tax revenue every year for the city of Palm Springs.
Today, Jeffrey’s little weekend getaway is the largest tourist revenue generating event for the City of Palm Springs. It’s even higher than the large corporate conventions and film festivals held there. The cities brand new openly gay mayor held a special proclamation at the start of this year’s festivities, officially recognizing and commending White Party’s 15th anniversary. The little park where the Sunday Sunset T-dance is held, has officially been renamed “White Party Park”.
The main show at White Party was a spectacular of dancing ballet boys in little while briefs spinning around to dramatic classical music. Then the big white curtains behind them slowly pulled back to revel the music was actually coming from a real orchestra. The whole Convention Centre went wild with disbelief, it was totally unexpected and truly a spectacular show, one of those moments in life you won’t forget in a long time. Tony Moran was the headlining DJ and did a fantastic job; he seems to be totally milking the circuit scene at the moment.
When Jeffrey Sanker was asked what he thought it was about White Party that keeps everyone coming back year after year, he replied “One of the big things has to be the location. Palm Springs is a truly magical place. The desert is warm and the scenery is magnificent. The people of Palm Springs welcome us every year, and that truly makes it special. White Party has really become sort of a tradition for a large number of guys. It’s like one big happy reunion every year, a celebration of camaraderie like none other that I’ve ever seen. All of this makes for an incredibly invigorating energy that permeates the weekend.”
Check the Sanker web site for further details: JeffreySanker.com
Here are some good link for further info about Palm Springs and the Easter White Party weekend: