Pride in the Desert
Now that the desert is cooling down after one of the hottest summers on record, it’s time to head to beautiful Coachella Valley and celebrate Greater Palm Springs LGBT Pride. This year’s festivities are scheduled for the Friday, November 2 through Sunday, November 4.
The 2012 Pride Parade is set for 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 4 along Palm Canyon Drive, through the heart of downtown Palm Springs. Openly gay Retired Staff Sergeant Eric Alva, the first American soldier wounded in the Iraq War, will be honored as Grand Marshal. Alva has since become a prominent LGBT civil rights activist, whose efforts were instrumental in the repeal of the military’s discriminatory "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy.
Being honored during the parade as Community Grand Marshals are film-maker and historian Glenne McElhinney and retired political reporter Hank Plante. McElhinney recently directed the award-winning documentary On These Shoulders We Stand, about the early LGBT community in Southern California and is one of the original members of Dykes on Bikes. Plante meanwhile, was one the first out gay television reporters in the U.S. and has won several Emmys as well as the Peabody Award. Finally, fashion designer Michael Costello and singer Joey English will be celebrated as the parade’s Celebrity Grand Marshals.
In addition, several individuals and organizations will be recognized at the Pride Honors Reception on Friday, November 2 at 6:00 p.m. These include the Reverend Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church and LGBT rights pioneer; Viola Johnson, longtime activist and leader in the leather com- munity; Masen Davis, who will be honored with the 2012 Spirit of Stonewall Award for his activism and service on behalf of the transgender community and AIDS Walk Palm Springs, which has been selected as the 2012 Advocate of the Year.
Paying tribute to and celebrating our community at the Pride Festival on Sat- urday and Sunday will be an all-star roster of musical talent. Headliners include Erasure’s Andy Bell (don’t miss The Rage Monthly’s exclusive interview with Bell), dance duo Karmin and The Crystal Method, pop diva and American Idol alum Kimberly Caldwell, openly gay (and hot) singer-songwriter Justin Utley and the legendary Pepper Mashay. The full lineup and performance schedule may be found and discounted festival tickets purchased in advance at pspride.org.
The festival closes daily at 6:00 p.m., but that hardly means the celebration has
ended. Everyone is invited to head over to the Arenas Road Block Party on Sat- urday, November 3. This free community event will run from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. featuring live DJs, street performers, food and beverage stations, and fun for all.ThosewithenergyleftovercanpartythenightawayattheadjacentLGBTclubs on Arenas.
A featured pre-festival Pride event is the LGBT Center Concert, Center Stage a benefit headlined by the fabulous Megan Mullally and Supreme Music with special guest emcee Ross Mathews on Thursday, November 1 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. For tickets go to thecenterps.org.
There’s no end to the festivities during P.S. Pride, which will also include a Miss Broadway in Drag pageant at the Palm Canyon Theatre, the clothing-optional Hot Wet and Proud Pool Party, the 12th annual Front Runners Pride Run and Walk, and Hands On: Pride at Ace Hotel and Swim Club. Last but far from least, the 25th Annual Palm Springs AIDS Walk will take place the morning of Sunday, November 4. The walk has raised more than $6 million over the years to support the sizable number of local residents who are living with HIV/AIDS. Walkers may register at desertaidsproject.org.
Clearly, the desert is the place to be the first weekend of November. Get out your rainbow flags, stay hydrated and have fun!