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Blade guide to Palm Springs Pride

Dancing in the streets, food and a celebration of diversity



Palm Springs Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

The Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival arrives this weekend.

The Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival is a destination of choice this weekend for many LGBTQ Angelenos and their allies, and with good reason. It’s the largest LGBTQ gathering in the Coachella Valley, set against the palm tree lined backdrop of beautiful downtown Palm Springs and drawing visitors from around the world to celebrate the diversity and unity of the desert community.

Kicking off on Friday evening, Palm Springs Pride is a weekend-long, continuous party, with 4 music venues, cutting edge DJ stages, dancing in the streets, and over 150 food vendors, exhibitors and non-profit organizations on hand to serve your every need.

To make this year’s festival even more festive, for the first time in its history, you can enjoy an adult beverage while strolling through the LGBTQ entertainment experience on North Palm Canyon Drive.
Best of all, the festival is, as always, a free event – though donations will be accepted at entry points to help keep Pride free for everyone to attend.

Keeping visitors occupied all weekend long are a diverse array of artists and entertainers, beverage lounges offering premium cocktails along with wine and microbrews, a selection of festive food purveyors, and a variety of items for purchase including, jewelry, snacks, and sweets. There’s plenty to do, and while many folks enjoy going with the flow at Pride and letting it take them from one experience to the next, it can be helpful to keep a few key times and places on your calendar to ensure you get the most out of the festival – especially when it comes to the entertainment.

With that in mind, here’s the schedule of headlining acts that will be appearing throughout the weekend:

Friday, Nov. 1

Arena Stage:

5:00pm – That ‘80s Band
7:30pm – DJ Autumn Leilani
9:00pm – Kristine W, Queen of the 90’s dance music

Pride Stage:

7:30pm – Prince Poppycock
8:15pm – Ada Vox, pop singer, drag queen & top 8 finalist, “American Idol” ‘18

KGAY Stage:

4:00pm – Ray Rhodes

Saturday, Nov. 2

Arenas Stage:

7:30pm – Lee Dagger of Bimbo Jones
9:00pm – Heather Small
9:40pm – Black Sabbitch

Pride Stage:

4:50pm – Sateen
5:30pm – Pepper Mashay
6:30pm – Betty
8:00pm – TLC

KGAY Stage:

2:00pm – Paul Cowling
6:00pm – Ryan Skyy

Sunday, Nov. 3

Arenas Stage:

3:45pm – Maxine Nightingale, Grammy nominated legend of pop and disco

Pride Stage:

4:00pm – OneUp, LGBTQ finalists from NBC’s “The Voice” ‘18

KGAY Stage:

12:00pm – DJ Kidd Maddony

There are a host of other entertainers scheduled the throughout each day of the festival, on these three stages as well as the US Bank Stage. You can find a complete listing and schedule at

You might also want to take note of these scheduled events:

On Saturday from 11a.m.– 5 p.m, the Pride Youth Zone, a free event open to those 14-21, will be the hub for LGBTQ+ youth and their allies at the Pride Festival. The Youth Zone features continuous entertainment and activities, free food and drink, games, dancing, DJ Eric Ornelas, karaoke, seating, contests, games, youth-only confidential testing, drag and make-up fun, great conversation, creative expression, chalk drawing, shade from the sun, toilets and a washing station, safe sex information. Everything is free, and all youth are embraced. Located on Arenas Rd. behind Lulu California Bistro. Pride Youth Zone is the safe space for queer youth to hang out and meet others within the Pride Festival.

On Saturday from 11am – 5pm, and Sunday from 11am- 4pm, you can find the Children’s Garden, a playful place for children — from infants to pre-teen – and accompanying adults, at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. A private family-only place, offering hands-on fun for you and your kids where all kids are encouraged to have fun during Pride and learn the importance of being proud with who they are – as well as free kid-friendly activities, complimentary snacks and cool drinks, a nap area, and a clean port-a-potty along with a diaper-changing station, to ensure that the needs of a festival-going family are fulfilled. Parents are required to stay in the children’s play area with their children.

Sunday, of course, is also the day of the Greater Palm Springs Pride Parade. Stepping off from Tachevah and Palm Canyon Drive, it travels south on N. Palm Canyon to Amado, where it ends at the festival entrance. There will be emcee commentary at 4 reviewing stands (one at each of the 4 festival stages), remote broadcasts from local radio stations Mix 100.5 and Mod 107.3, and an official online broadcast station at Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge. In addition, a Deaf Pride reviewing stand will feature Sign Language Interpretation.

The festival hours are as follows:

Friday, November 1

5pm – 10pm, Arenas District Pride Kick Off Celebration
6pm-10pm, Downtown street Party

Saturday, November 2 – Pride Festival

11 am – 10 pm, Downtown Palm Springs and @ 11:30pm in the Arenas District (exhibitors close at 9pm)

6 pm-11:30 pm, Arenas District Block Party

Sunday, November 3- Pride Festival & Parade

11 am – 5:00 pm, Downtown Palm Springs (exhibitors close at 4:30pm)
11 am – 6:00 pm in the Arenas District (exhibitors close at 4:30pm)
10am – Noon, Pride Parade

If that’s not enough to keep you entertained all weekend long, here are a few other Pride-related events that might be of interest:

Friday, Nov. 1

5pm – 7pm: Kiehl’s Pride Celebration, offering shopping, a raffle, and complementary cocktails and treats (175 N. Palm Canyon Dr.)

5:30pm – 7:30pm: Trina Turk Pride Kick-off. Trina Turk, Mr. Turk and Celebrity Guests invite you to an evening of sipping, shopping and giving back in the Palm Springs boutique. (891 N. Palm Canyon Dr. RSVP requested to [email protected].)

Saturday, Nov. 2

12pm – 4pm: Flagging in the Desert. Gather your friends and come celebrate flagging, magical music and, of course, Pride at Sunrise Park in the heart of Palm Springs, with Los Angeles DJ Michael Duretto providing the day’s soundtrack. Bring your blanket, picnic and refillable bottle – water and ice will be provided. A free event.

12pm – 5pm: Love Boat Palm Springs Pride Pool Party. GED Magazine is proud to present the 2nd Annual Love Boat Pool Party benefiting Greater Palm Springs Pride. So grab your tanning lotion and get ready for an epic day by the pool. This highly anticipated event with multiple big-name DJs, Drag Queens, Live Entertainment, Celebrity hosts, Raffle Prizes and giveaways, and the hottest go-go dancers around. Tickets are $15 to 25 in advance; $30 at the door. (333 E. Palm Canyon Dr.)

Sunday, Nov. 3

9am – 3pm: Pride Champagne Brunch at Eight4Nine. For the 4th consecutive year Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge will offer a Pride Champagne Brunch menu, with parade viewing from the patio, lounge or saved premium seating on the parade route. Additionally, you will be helping your local Pride organization. with 25 percent of the sales donated to Greater Palm Springs Pride to help keep Pride free and accessible for everyone.Call 760-325-8490 or visit to make your reservations early, it always sells out! (849 N. Palm Canyon Dr.)

Whether you choose to spend all your time at the festival or spread out and enjoy some of these peripheral offerings, Palm Springs Pride is sure to cap off your 2019 Pride season with plenty of good times to be remembered!

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Belinda Carlisle brings a heavenly Christmas Bash December 16th

Her work evolves beyond the demands of the pop market while never losing its hooks and whimsy. it reflects Belinda’s evolving life



Courtesy of Belinda Carlise

HOLLYWOOD – On December 16th, 7pm, the city of West Hollywood transforms into a piece of “Heaven on Earth.” An angelic supernatural deity from the sky won’t be delivering this gift, but rather an angel from iconic pop paradise.

That night, Belinda Carlisle makes a grand entrance and gives an eager audience the presence of a queen of pop, the most recent inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with her group, The Go-Gos.

It will be on that night that Belinda Carlisle hosts THE party event of the season with co-host, drag superstar, Trixie Mattel. One sings, one throws comedic shade, and a packed room at the Abbey will be losing their collective minds.  Not that the party itself isn’t all the reason you would need to get it on your calendar, the evening benefits a fantastic charity, The Animal People Alliance (APA), that intertwines the love for animals with the salve to human suffering.

Courtesy of Trixie Mattel

APA’s charter reads: “To provide high quality and compassionate care, of the highest standards, to neglected street animals in India and Thailand. We train and employ vulnerable people from the community, and pay living wages that help them improve their standard of living.”   The organization, by employing people who would otherwise be stateless and/or in poverty, has treated over 16000 street animals since 2014. Their programs for animals include rabies vaccinations, sterilizations and other emergency health aid.

Belinda sat down with me this week on the podcast RATED LGBT RADIO to talk about her life, her amazing career, her party and the strength she has achieved in standing up to both inner and outer demons.

She survives. She fearlessly opens herself up, and if anyone scrutinizes her past… she will lead the way.  She happily tells of being a member of the most successful all-women pop bands in history.  They sang and wrote their own songs, they played their own instruments. They did it on their terms. No men were needed or required. She candidly shares about her struggles with eating disorders and drug addiction. 

Belinda shows profound compassion for those struggling with addiction and darkness, “Addiction is a sickness…it is a disease of perception, you can’t see your effect on other people… It is a trap you feel you can’t get out of. Every addict has a heart and a humanity that is obscured by addiction. It is a horrible, horrible thing for anyone to go through. It is hard to remember that there is a heart under all that, there is something divine under all that darkness.”

Her interest focuses more on what came after she embarked on recovery  “My life is much more exciting since sobriety, even more exciting than the hey day with the Go-Gos. For anyone out there who is worried about aging, or life being over at a certain point—it’s not. Life is just the most amazing miracle and privilege.”

Her significance for the LGBTQ community, impacts many of the most vulnerable.  She is the mom of a gay man, activist and writer, James Duke Mason. His birth made her examine the trajectory of fame, drugs, and rock & roll in which she was on, careening threateningly close to disaster and death.

She had settled comfortably into maternal nurturement when Duke came out to her at the age of 14. Belinda had been impressed with Duke’s ability to explain the situation to her. She found out that he had been online with PFLAG for weeks learning about how to present his news to her, information to give and educated about key talking points. 

Appreciating their real life help of a young person in need, Belinda vehemently supported PFLAG, the Trevor Project and others ever since. “I am so glad I have a gay son, I can’t even tell you,” she says.

Artistically, she also continues to thrive.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally inducted the Go-Gos this year.  It was an honor 15 years in the making.  It should have been an obvious choice to put them there.

As the first all-female group making it big, they sang, wrote every note and played every instruments. The Go-Go’s, a 2020 American/Irish/Canadian documentary film directed and produced by Alison Ellwood, cast attention on the Hall of Fame oversight, and essentially made the case for how special the group actually was.

Belinda also recently released a new single Get Together a cover of the 1967 Youngbloods hit. The Youngbloods sang it at Woodstock in 1969 to make a statement about the divisions of the Viet Nam era in America.

Belinda sings it now, her voice pure, mature and as an anthem making a plea, if not a motherly order, to reconsider the divisions we are experiencing today.  She says, “We live in this age of outrage.  This song is ‘ok people, CHILL OUT’. All this divisiveness is not going to get us anywhere. It’s timely.”

Beyond Get Together, Belinda works on more new music including singles and a new album.  She continues to produce with the top song creators of the industry including award winning song writer Diane Warren and Go-Gos dates at the end of the year.

Her work evolves beyond the demands of the pop market while never losing its hooks and whimsy. it reflects the channeling of Belinda’s evolving life.  When she lived in France, she released a French collection.

As she delved into spirituality and the culture of Thailand, she released the powerful Wilder Shores, which blended a spiritual mantra into pop hooks. “Chanting is a science, it has a super power. It is not airy fairy,” she states.

The fact is, Belinda Carlisle continues arriving and thrilling.  She does not need to prove herself to anyone.  She has defined the next thirty years of her life as philanthropy.  

“I just wing it as I go along. I learned what it is like to work from the heart. Work in a way where you don’t care about any kind of outcome. That is how I am working now. I am just having fun, and doing just what I want. I am really lucky that way,” she declares.

Her party on December 16th at the Abbey appears right on track to bear that out.

Love, humanity, care of animals and a major splash of fabulousness enveloping an enthused audience.

In other words, pure Belinda.


Listen to the full interview:


Rob Watson is the host of RATED LGBT RADIO, a national podcast and he’s one of the founders of the

A gay dad, business man, community activist and a blogger/writer, Watson is a contributor to the Los Angeles Blade covering entertainment, film, television, and culture with occasional politics tossed in.

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Andy Grammer partners with Trans Chorus of Los Angeles

Celebrating how important it is to live your life, your authenticity, and to feel good about who you are



Andy Grammer partnered with the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (Screenshot via YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, Andy Grammer partnered with the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (America’s first Trans Chorus, embracing all members of the trans, non-binary and intersex communities) for a special live performance of “Damn It Feels Good To Be Me” – celebrating how important it is to live your life, your authenticity, and to feel good about who you are. What a special moment. In conjunction with the partnership a donation has been made by Andy to the TCLA.

A note from TCLA: “The Chorus really enjoyed the song and especially performing it with Andy around the piano. It was upbeat and expressed how important it is to live your life and your authenticity and to feel good about who you are. That is the thrust of our Chorus philosophy of moving from victim to victorious.”

Connect with the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles:

Andy Grammer – Damn It Feels Good To Be Me (featuring Trans Chorus of Los Angeles)

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Michael Kearns, the Godfather of LGBTQ+ authenticity

Michael’s work has been described as “collisions of sex and death, of eroticism and grief,” but he has truly dug to an even deeper level



Michael Kearns by Keida Mascaro

HOLLYWOOD – The arc of LGBTQ+ history over the past 50 years has been one of constant upheaval and evolvement. From a period when it was both illegal and insane to be gay, through the achievement of being able to serve openly in the military, to marriage equality and the ability to create families to today’s fight against the tyranny against Trans people, the movement has not stopped to take a breath.

Michael Kearns, the first recognized “out” actor on the Hollywood landscape, has been a visible presence through it all. More importantly, he has always” been visible on the gay scene. In the seventies he epitomized the free love and erotic freedom that many gay men lived. He was featured in classic gay porn movies and did a PR stint as the face of the “happy hustler.”  

“That was my introduction to a lot of people,” Michael told me when we sat down for a chat on Rated LGBT Radio. “I kind of captured the zeitgeist of the times, the freewheeling seventies. We forget that there was that period of time when sexuality was joyful and exciting and thrilling.”

In the eighties he was visible in mainstream media as a gay man playing gay men characters. In 1983, Michael was cast in a minor role on the Cheers Emmy winning episode “the Boys in the Bar.”  He was instantly recognized for his gay sexual iconic status by LGBTQ audiences, even though the population at large did not know who he was. The casting director who fought for his casting was Stephen Kolzak, who would himself become a prominent AIDS activist before he died at 37 in 1990. Stephen casted Michael to make a statement. He wanted to signal to the LGBTQ community that Cheers had our backs. “He was one of the only ones that had the guts,” Michael remembers.

“There were a lot of stereotypes in television regarding gay portrayals. I was pegged and cast in some of those roles. I did play the stereotype, but rather than a straight guy playing those roles, I brought authenticity. I was real. Straight guys playing gay would always spoof the role. They were always ‘winking’ and signaling to the camera ‘I am not really that way.’  So, the performances are by in large horrible, even with some academy award winners. The actors were constantly saying that it was not who they were—if they weren’t making that clear on the talk shows, they were doing it in the performance itself.’ Michael says.

Michael soon morphed into an HIV positive man playing HIV positive characters, while off camera becoming a visible and vocal AIDS activist. “It was a new kind of cliché. They had to always make me look horrible. The ghastlier the better. They could not have an HIV character who looked normal—as I did when I arrived at the set. Finally, I had enough and refused to do that anymore.” Michael then immersed himself in theater where he found greater character honesty and truth.

 As gay men captured their identities in the 90s as husbands and fathers, Michael was there too—becoming one of the first gay men to adopt a child.  It is that role, as a father, that Michael has said is his greatest.

Today, Michael has been a driving force behind QueerWise, a multigenerational writing collective and performance group. Through QueerWise, Michael gives poetic voice to talent that would otherwise be voiceless. Its members include published poets, writers of fiction and non-fiction, playwrights, singers, musicians, social activists, dancers, actors artists and teachers. 

This weekend, on Sunday October 17th, QueerWise launches its latest work, The Ache for Home. 

“The Ache for Home is a video presentation of heartfelt stories from formerly homeless/unhoused individuals in and around West Hollywood. It was developed through a mentorship program facilitated by QueerWise members. The production represents citizens-turned-writers who share their inspirational stories from those glamorous streets and sidewalks, ranging from soaring self-acceptance to narratives of truth-telling defeats,” states Michael. The production can be seen on QueerWise’s YouTube Channel starting 5pm October 17.

The Ache for Home features a young cis male with a passion for music and art, who finds joy “when I can put a smile on someone’s face and give back”, a retired mixed race bisexual government worker who is a voracious reader and literacy advocate, two trans males share their experiences of living on the street, and a former resident playwright who was homeless for 44 days and nights in the city. “I am thrilled at our inclusion of transmen in this work,” Michael says. “It is a poorly represented community within a poorly represented community.”

On current controversies with media and transgender targeting, particularly the Dave Chappelle issue, Michael remarks, “I am glad it is generating passion. It is bringing up conversation on the plights of black trans women who are victimized at an alarming rate, we should not say victimized… we should say murdered. I am glad we are shedding light on that.”

Michael’s work has been described as “collisions of sex and death, of eroticism and grief,” but he has truly dug to an even deeper level. The Ache for Home takes its inspiration from the Maya Angelou quote, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Michael Kearns work has always encouraged us to go, and live, “as we are.” He is the amalgamation of eroticism, grief, healing, and appreciating the richness of life itself.

He is the godfather of LGBT+ authenticity. In earlier days, he may have represented sex, he may have walked us through a period of darkness and death into the arms of the creation of the new family. He has now brought us home, and when we look at him, we see a new quality.



Rob Watson is the host of RATED LGBT RADIO, a national podcast and he’s one of the founders of the

A gay dad, business man, community activist and a blogger/writer, Watson is a contributor to the Los Angeles Blade covering entertainment, film, television, and culture with occasional politics tossed in.


Listen to the show here:

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