It was the summer of 1973 and I boarded my first airplane flight ever to attend Michigan Technological institute’s summer camp for geeky kids like myself. I was “into” electronics, studying for my FCC license so I could work at the local radio station and start what would be my lifelong career.
On the local radio station playing in the dorm was Barry Manilow’s “Could It Be Magic” in heavy rotation. It would not become a national hit until two years later. That song left a lasting impression on me and was the first time I’d heard his music. Last night nearly 50 years later I had an opportunity to meet Barry Manilow!
I’d heard rumblings that Barry would be at White Party, and surmised he might appear on stage to introduce the evening’s divas. And I thought I might see him behind the velvet ropes in the VIP area.
It was so much more than that.
Les Dames du Soleil and I were chatting during a DJ set, but they needed to sit down and were ushered into a VIP area by White Party producer Chris Diamond. I was left behind but waved to them as I chatted with others. Within an hour, me and the KGAY staff were also in that VIP area. And a little bit later, Barry Manilow and his entourage show up. I thought for sure we would be asked to leave, but instead Barry joined our posse.
We all geeked out at our incredible fortune to be watching White Party’s Orbit Tea Dance, drone show and fireworks with Barry Manilow!
DJ Modgirl was the first to introduce herself and have a chat. She penetrated his inner circle with her disarming smile. I finally got up the nerve to go say hello and introduce myself as “the owner of KGAY radio and his neighbor”. (Barry lives high above me in the Mesa). So I said to him “I just wanted to thank you for giving me fodder to entertain all of our listeners with your incredible music”. He smiled. Later, John Taylor joined and made his way to the front of the VIP area. He had some words with Barry as well.
I woke up this morning thinking the whole thing must have been a dream, but it wasn’t. Could it be Magic? It was.
Brad Fuhr, your Gay Desert Guide on KGAY 106.5 Palm Springs
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Walk of the Stars Will Recognize LGBTQ Honorees
The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce has announced that Walk of the Stars Palm Springs will now include a special designation to recognize LGBTQ honorees. The project is an effort put forth by the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert (Gay Desert Guide’s Brad Fuhr is a founding committee member). The Walk of the Stars Palm Springs website and app will now include a new designation that will acknowledge the LGBTQ community’s contributions to Palm Springs. It is expected that the updated website and app will be formally launched sometime later this fall. Learn more
Stonewall Democrats May Membership Meeting
The Desert Stonewall Democrats March Membership Meeting is Tuesday, May 16 at 6 pm at the Mizell Center Community Room (with a Zoom option). This meeting will tackle the onslaught of anti-trans legislation that is sweeping the country. The speaker will be Jacob Rostovsky, Executive Director of Queer Works, a Palm Springs based organization that is making a difference for the LGBTQ+ community. Come early at 5:30 pm for refreshments and social time, RSVP requested. More info
Trans and Nonbinary Tuesday
The Transgender Health and Wellness Center hosts their monthly social event, Trans and Nonbinary Tuesday on Tuesday, May 16 at 6 pm at the Trixie Motel. Attendees have the opportunity to mingle with the gender diverse community and get connected to vital resources. Locations of the social event vary each month to increase visibility in the Coachella Valley and community partnerships are created with local businesses so community members are safe to gather and enjoy. More info
Annual Joint Chamber of Commerce Mixer
The Annual All-Valley Multi-Chamber Networking Mixer takes place Wednesday, May 17 from 5:30–7:30 pm at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Join an anticipated mix of 650 business people and individuals across the two-hour event, mixing and mingling in the hanger to accommodate the larger crowd, with lots of planes and history to view, too. Wristbands are only $20. You can buy at the door, but to avoid the line, they can be bought ahead of time at any of the local chambers. More info
Recap: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Episode 1 & 2
Gay Desert Guide Drag Correspondent Dante Noto is back with his recap of the Season 8 Premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, which arrived as a double episode! The All Stars are introduced in Episode 1, and Dante says “Classic All Stars rules are in effect” in the race to win the $200,000 prize. They also learn that the eliminated queens can win $50,000 in an online fan vote for the best unused runway looks. In episode 2, the queens perform in a live sketch comedy show, “It’s RDR Live,” modeled on Saturday Night Live. Dante says “…my overall impression is that these queens are really going to put on a great show this season and there’s no obvious front runner. Expect fireworks, stunts, betrayals, tears and fashion fashion fashion!” Read his full recap of Episodes 1 & 2 [here].
Book & Movie Salon for Women: The Perfume Thief
Lesbians of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley and beyond present a monthly B.A.M. Salon (Book and Movie Salon) for women hosted by Flynn Sylvest and Irma O’Dell on Tuesday, May 16 from 7–8:30 pm on Zoom. B.A.M. Salon looks to develop and deepen LGBTQ+ community and connection through stimulating and informative conversations about books and movies that highlight women authors and women’s stories and experiences. This month, the featured book is The Perfume Thief by Timothy Schaffert. Next month: the movie Parched. More info
Cinema Diverse Showcase: 1946
The Palm Springs Cultural Center and Cinema Diverse Showcase present the film 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture, from May 12–18, daily at 4:30 & 7:30 pm. This is the film all the community is buzzing about: What if the word “homosexual” was never meant to be in the bible? Follow the story of tireless researchers who trace the origins of the anti-gay movement among Christians to a grave mistranslation of the Bible in 1946. Get tickets
Coachella Valley Firebirds Advance to Round 3 in the Playoffs
Success continues in the inaugural season for our local ice hockey expansion team, the Coachella Valley Firebirds! This season, they began play in the 2022-23 American Hockey League with the brand-new Acrisure Arena as their home ice, as an owned-and-operated affiliate of the Seattle Kraken. Impressively, they made it to the playoffs and have advanced to Round 3 against the Calgary Wranglers! Games 3–5 (if needed) of Round 3 will be played back on home ice at Acrisure Arena, starting Monday, May 15. Get tickets
Movies in the Park: The Girl Can’t Help It
The Palm Springs Cultural Center presents Movies in the Park – Season 2 at the New Downtown Palm Springs Park on select Wednesdays. This week: On Wednesday, May 17 at 7 pm, the film will be The Girl Can’t Help It. Hefty hoodlum Marty “Fats” Murdock (Edmond O’Brien) employs has-been agent Tom Miller (Tom Ewell) to transform his girlfriend, Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield), into a singing star because he trusts Tom not to make a pass at her. However, the more time Tom spends with the stunning blonde, the more smitten he becomes. His troubles multiply when he realizes that Jerri can’t sing a note, is not in love with Murdock and wants to settle down with a nice man like himself. More info
Plaza Theatre Open Houses
The Palm Springs Plaza Theatre Foundation is holding free Open House events at the theatre to display plans and renderings of the renovations to the historic building. The informal Open House events will take place every Tuesday from 7–8 pm through June 6, where Foundation board members and other volunteers will greet attendees and answer questions about the project. The purpose of these free weekly events is to provide attendees with an opportunity to see firsthand the restoration plans for the iconic building as it enters its next act. Reservations are not necessary. More info
Introduction to Reverse Mortgages
The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert and Arthur Santos of First Capital Group Inc. present Introduction to Reverse Mortgages on Wednesday, May 17 from 10–11 am at The Center. Older Americans are staying increasingly active and living longer. Life in retirement is not what it used to be, not even from 10 years ago. It has become vitally important to make sure that one has the financial means to live a comfortable, secure retirement. This workshop will provide you with the basics of Reverse Mortgages, so you can determine if it’s right for you. More info.