How do you Pride in Palm Springs? Beyond the madness of hunting down the goods at the outlets, as well as the classic rat pack era restaurants, my expectations of the desert weekend were already wrapped around the old school glamour of what Hollywood’s get away had to offer. Instead, I found my beloved pocket of underground auteurs bringing their world of indulgence to the forefront at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs. Diverse programming fused their emblematic alternative music styles, along with paneled discussions which subverted the typical Pride celebrations.
On the opening night, the panel Being a Queer Artist in 2023 moderated by Saturn Risin9 and featuring Violet Chachki, Emeryld, Bronze Avery, Rush Davis, and Shane Thomas set up a framework which discussed alternative creators and Queer existences. This creative class opened up the dialogue on where the queer community stood amongst the systemic weight of corporate white het America. Though these types of discussions tend to be a passive means to intellectualize Pride, the programming featured was touching and inspirational in its frank discussion of the struggle and triumph and of the creative process vs business practices. The night was punctuated by a full-on dance party in the Ace’s Amigo Room featuring Shane Thomas, whose Blush party organized the weekend.
Saturday Brunch time was a splendorous pool session hosted by the previous night’s crew featuring top notch international DJing from our hosts, not too shabby having Beyoncé’s opening acts play for you while floating around the pool and lounging.
As the sun set the DJs settle down, the smoke machine billowed onto the ground of the pool, perhaps an incident of atmospheres merging. A full revue of music and performance had a touch of something urgent and empowering for every person. The sounds and weight of Emeryld’s performance bridged soul and pure rock into a riot girl tangle. Mia Carucci pulled the crowd into a hypnotic daze with decadent vocals and guitar reverb. The evening drew to a close with a top-notch performance from Violet Chachki in full regalia performing classic diva standards with all the splits and twirls one would expect from the RuPaul Drag Race season 7 winner.