Muscles, divas and disco — Palm Springs White Party recap

Posted on 02 May 2008 at 3:16pm

 

Circuit Notebook

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Are circuit parties dead? Kind of.

Even Jeffrey Sanker knows that smart promoters need to distance themselves from such a passé term. The White Party Palm Springs steers itself as a “spring break” weekend vacation. And from the looks of it, the White Party is alive and going strong. From April 18-21, eight parties were strung together in the gorgeous resort town east of Los Angeles.
It’s not a get-together that attracts mid-term queer collegians — because the tickets for these parties are pretty steep. However at the White Party, youth has nothing to do with beauty. Attendance records are reported in the umpteen thousands, but the numbers of drop-dead gorgeous A-listers who attend is utterly staggering.
Instead of a all-out-sex buffet, the vibe is more “see and be seen,” and there’s a large population of Los Angelinos muscle gods. On top of that, almost every queer celeb from Southern California were making the rounds: Reichen, Alex Mapa, Wilson Cruz, David “Color Splash” Bromstad and JD Jordan, the new massage therapist from “Work Out.”

TRANSEXUALS, ATTITUDE AND SUNBURNS …
Again, the White Party weekend isn’t cheap: depending on when purchased, weekend passes are $250-$450. Some of the parties came off better than others.
Held at the Wyndham ballroom, the Boxers of Briefs Underwear Party ($50) is the first big shindig of the weekend (the Thursday “welcome party” and Friday “pool party” are scheduled too early for most arrivals).

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For some reason, this aussieBum-sponsored Underwear affair was one of the easier nighttime parties to meet new people. The ballroom is a dark cavern where countless go-go boys practically did gymnastic routines on huge dance boxes. The dancers even got a little freaky with each other.

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There is a bit of an “attitude” at the White Party. Because there are so many gorgeous people, most people are concentrating on looking their best. And that doesn’t create an especially flirty atmosphere — unfortunately, the vibe is more “I’m too pretty to talk to you,” which sounds overly harsh but is apt nonetheless.

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Being in the open air with the stunning Santa Rosa Mountains in the background, the daytime Spring Break Pool Parties at the Wyndham are terrific ($15). But don’t think for a second you’ll get a lounge chair.

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This year, the star of the weekend was transsexual superstar Candice Kayne’s poolside strut to Ida Corr vs. Fedde Le Grand’s “Let Me Think About It.”

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With five backup dancers, Candice had the crowd in the palm of her hand as she did a lap around the pool, hopped on stage, did the splits, and then marched off the stage and into the pool.

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After her performance, she hosted a hot-bod contest and the winner got $1,000 cash.
Two years ago, the big celeb was Janice Dickenson and her modeling squad — that event became an episode on her reality show, where Janice trashed a couture dress by getting it wet. In comparison, Candice kicked Janice’s ass.

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Big-bonded ebony goddess Frenchie Davis had fun with crowd. So did Lady Gaga.

The pool party is great because you can see everyone in their swimsuits. Plus, it’s casual enough that you actually jump in the water to cool off. One good thing was the free sunscreen that little hottie boys generously handed out to guests. I saw one poor fair-haired fella who forgot to put on some SPF and must have needed an ice bath after he got out of the sun.
Later that night was the big White Party ($100).

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While some people go overboard on cooking up super-fun ensembles, some people just wear white T-shirts and jeans and look just fine. Held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, this party is almost too big. The size of the crowd is near impossible to take in.

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With a recorded introduction by Shirley Q. Liquor, RuPaul was the big performer of the night. However, as tall as she is, the crowd, the stage and the room dwarfed RuPaul.

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Promoters must realize that the big party can be overwhelming. So for the enochlophobics (fear of crowds), drag-porn queen Chi Chi LaRue manned a DJ booth where she played a lot of rock hits, like Kelly Clarkson, on a smaller dance floor.
At 4 a.m., another party started up, Climax ($40), which is held in the Wydham ballroom. It’s much like the previous night’s underwear party — but with proper pants and shorts.

The music — since Sanker knows that his attendees had more mileage than the club-hopping bunny set, he said he was making a point of trying to appeal listeners who could relate to the weekend soundtrack. This year’s White Party theme was “Boogie Fever” — an homage to old disco, where Sylvester’s “Mighty Real” was a perfect choice.
It was interesting to hear two songs that got heavy rotation in various remix incarnations: Janet Jackson’s “Feedback” and Madonna’s “Four Minutes to Save the World.” Janet easily won. The setting for that Madonna singe — which I’ve given endless chances to impress me — couldn’t have been better: A buffet of eye candy. But no matter how many gorgeous men danced to it, the song tanked every time. But when Janet whispered “black skin, dark skin, my Asian persuasion ….”, it would always light up the room.
On Sunday, there was another pool party ($15), and this one you could actually get a lounge chair. Don’t expect much from the performances, but it was a terrific way to soak up rays, dance and check out more hotties.
The X-Treme T-Dance ($100) is a spectacular outdoor affair, with a Ferris wheel, pizza, dancing and just when you thought they must have run out, more stunningly gorgeous men.

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By Sunday, the experience gets to be overwhelming. Frenchie Davis performed again and then Taylor Dane sang for a bit.

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As the sun went down, an extended remix of Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” played as an impressive fireworks display lit up the sky. In many ways, the moment served as a nice bookend for the weekend.
But if that wasn’t enough, there was yet another after-hours party at the Wyndham ballroom ($75). More go-go boys, more gorgeous men …

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