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Palm Springs is a desert oasis that beckons travelers from across te globe and every walk of life – particularly in the spring. From the annual Coachella Valley Music Festival weekend and Modernism Week to the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the annual Kraft Nabisco Championship Golf Tournament (formerly the Dinah Shore Golf Championship), there is something for every one.
Just as Mariah Hanson’s Club Skirts Presents the Dinah attracts droves of lesbians year after year, so too does Jeffrey Sanker’s White Party draws tens of thousands of gay men from near and far for “the largest dance music festival in the world.”
In its 33rd year, the White Party Palm Springs will take place April 29-May 12, Covid permitting.
According to Sanker, who we interviewed in 2015, 26 years previously his friends Sandy Sachs and Robin Gans invited him to Palm Springs to see their annual Girl Bar Dinah Shore event that coincided with the annual golf tournament.
“The tournament always attracts a lot of lesbian fans, so they had a really good crowd,” Sanker said at the time. “I saw it and said, ‘I can do the same thing for men, even bigger.’”
Sanker, who originally envisioned the weekend as a spring break getaway for men, said he cannot believe how large and influential the White Party weekend has become since its inception back in 1989 – which was one DJ in a hotel ballroom.
“I always had faith in the event, even during the first three years when I was investing a lot of money just to build the brand,” Sanker said. “Now, White Party has become an annual tradition of many, I’m thankful and proud of that. Sometimes I look out over the crowd and think, ‘My God, what have I done?’”
Last year, sadly, Sanker passed away.
“We get attendees from all over now,” Sanker told us. “We always get a great contingent from Arizona. It’s become an annual tradition for a lot of guys from Phoenix and Tucson.”
While the weekend attracts loyal White Partygoers year after year, there are always a large number of first-timers in attendance. Sanker always advised all White Party virgins, to pace themselves, be safe and have fun.
“Like always, I want everyone to come and have a good time, enjoy themselves,” Sanker said. “Drink lots of water. Don’t forget sunscreen!”
Photo by Phil Lobel, Lobeline Communications.
Sanker added at the time that attendees are expected to dress in white, and he encourages everyone to be “white carpet ready”.
White Party Global (WPG) has announced the long-awaited return of White Party Palm Springs, the largest and most well-known gay dance music festival in the world, which will take the desert by storm April 29 – May 1, 2022.
“It is an honor to continue White Party Palm Springs for my dear friend Jeffrey,” says White Party Global Executive Producer Chris Diamond. “As we move forward with his vision of inclusion, diversity, and decadence, we are truly excited to once again showcase new dance music trends, global DJs, recording artists, state-of-the-art sound & visuals – and most importantly our returning guests… beautiful men from all over the world!”
Information on the host hotel, weekend pass pricing, and event details can be found at www.whitepartyglobal.com. (All tickets purchased pre-pandemic will be honored for Palm Springs White Party 2022 and 2023) Thousands of revelers from around the world will one-again descend upon the desert community for non-stop action beginning with three (yes, count them, three!) pool parties at the Hilton Host Hotel.
SOAKED! will feature poolside dancing, state of the art sound and video, hot go-go guys, and a sensational line-up of Global DJs including Orel Sabag (Israel), Isis (Mexico) and Bruno Knauer (Brazil), and Arno Diem (France).
Friday night, cruise into Rio’s Jungles and Rainforests with DJs Liza Rodriguez (Brazil) and Dani Brasil (Brazil) for an epic throw-down to kick off WPG weekend. Non-stop Jungle themed entertainment will keep partygoers captivated throughout the night and into the wee hours for a cruise-fest filled night!
Saturday brings the weekend’s most anticipated night as White Party Global celebrates 30+ years and moves forward into eternity with an “Eternal” themed White Party spectacle. This 6-hour superhero-themed party will feature jaw-dropping state-of-the-art staging, sound, lighting, and FX’s that will leave you marveling over. And as always, YOU are the dance floor “STARS;” so come dressed as always in traditional white or even better, as your favorite inter-dimensional superhero character! Your superpowers this night knows no limits! DJ’s driving White Party’s main event are DJs Rick Braile (Brazil), Chris Turina (Chile), and Phil Romano (Italy).
On Sunday, it’s time to converge under the beautiful desert sky for the world- famous T-Dance. “Big Top Circus” starts in the afternoon and continues into the night as the sun sets behind the spectacular mountains of Palm Spring. State-of- the-art sound, lighting, video, and all new surprises are in store for our guests at this year’s Big Top Circus. Warm breezes and hot dancing bodies fill the outdoor dance floor with music by International DJs Ben Bakson (Germany) and Dan Slater (Australia). The night culminates with a climactic firework and video display in a tribute to the White Party Palm Spring’s gay party impresario Jeffrey Sanker.
The weekend culminates in a high-energy closing party with “Afterlife” Sunday night. DJs Joe Gauthreaux (New Orleans) and Mauro Mozart (Brazil) will provide the night’s beats that will leave you dancing into a new dimension.
Additional special guests will be unveiled within the coming months. To be kept up to date on the latest announcements and new musical guests, please visit www.whitepartyglobal.com and follow us on social via Instagram and Facebook.
This year, White Party Palm Springs is powered by Kettle One Vodka, Andrew Christian, and Wet Platinum.
The state of Jalisco is Mexico’s most emblematic region, having given birth to so many of the country’s iconic cultural offerings, including the charro, or Mexican cowboy, and, of course, Tequila. This multi-destination state has plenty of space to maintain social distancing and remains a must for any fan of its signature spirit.
The following are Viva Tequila’s Mexico Experience top cities to visit in Jalisco’s agave-producing region, which is rich with the drink’s history and the culture that surrounds it, from mixology and gastronomy to the simple way of life in a hacienda.
Tlaquepaque was founded by the indigenous Totonac people. They produced everyday utensils and art objects before the Spaniards arrived. Today, the town continues to be an artisan city known for its galleries and handicrafts. It’s a must-stop because of its up-tempo culinary scene. Be sure to have lunch at Casa Luna Restaurant, right in the center of the city. The open courtyard under the shade of a large tree is a magnet for locals and visitors alike thanks to its hipster vibe.
Teuchitlán lies along the Tequila Route and is home to the most important archaeological zone in western Mexico: Los Guachimontones. The zone is the major site of the so-called Teuchitlán tradition, a complex society that existed from as early as 300 BCE until perhaps 900 CE. The dominant features at Los Guachimontones are circular stepped pyramids in the middle of circular building complexes. The 60-foot (18-meter) tall pyramid at Circle 2 has 13 high steps leading to an upper level, which was then topped with another four high steps. A post hole was located at the very highest level, most likely for volador (flying acrobat) ceremonies. The pyramids may also have supported small temples. Check out Hacienda Labor de Rivera. Built in the late 1800s, each of the property’s rooms are individually designed, with their own unique character.
Tequila has been designated both a “Magical Town” by the Ministry of Tourism of Mexico and a cultural UNESCO World Heritage site. The nearly 90,000-acre area is part of an expansive landscape of blue agave. Tequila’s fortunes have been shaped by cultivation of the plant, used since the 16th century to produce the spirit known as Tequila and for at least two millennia to make fermented drinks, such as pulque, and cloth. Within the landscape lie working distilleries, reflecting the growth in the consumption of Tequila in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, this agave culture is seen as part of Mexican national identity. The Tequila landscape has contributed to many works of art, including film, music, dance and paintings. Don’t miss Fonda Cholula, a wonderful colonial infrastructure — elegant, warm and harmonious with the buildings of the historic center. It’s a magical space to rest and enjoy the experience of Mexican cuisine that surrounds Tequila and its people.
Atotonilco El Alto is a town and municipality that covers an area of 246 square miles (638 square kilometers). The first part of its name means "Place of Hot Waters" in Mexico’s indigenous Náhuatl language. "El Alto,” or “The High One” in Spanish, was later added in honor of those who died in the Cristero War in the early 1920s. Make sure to visit Don Nacho Distillery, one of the most prolific agave-producing companies in the Jalisco Highlands.
Guadalajara is the gathering point of all Jalisco and the place where all the varied traditions of that vast territory coexist, giving rise to a unique urban identity. The city boasts artistic and cultural credentials long recognized worldwide. Guadalajara is also innovative and avant-garde, constantly undergoing a renewal and reinvention process that promises it an attractive future. It’s also full of rhythm! Guadalajara’s musicality is a source of inspiration. Check out La Tequila Cocina de México Restaurant, offering the best of the region’s gastronomic heritage, following traditional recipes of dishes while innovating with a contemporary intention.
Viva Tequila Festival’s Mexico Experience brings guests on a luxurious tour of these five exciting cities to embrace Jalisco’s Mexican spirit and provide a deeper understanding of the different regions that cultivate agaves, local foods and the local culture.
Few cities have grown faster and more dramatically in the past half-century than Phoenix, which in 2005 overtook Philadelphia to become the fifth most populous city in the nation.
It’s also larger in area than Los Angeles and the hub of a metro region that includes several other fast-growing metropolises, including Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and Glendale. But the “Valley of the Sun” is much more than a popular place to live—tourism here has taken off thanks to the bounty of lavish resorts, a cultural renaissance in downtown Phoenix, and some of the best shopping, dining, and recreational opportunities in the West. More recently, the region’s office of tourism has begun enthusiastically wooing LGBT travelers.
A highly contemporary metropolis surrounded by mountains and high desert, Phoenix is in many ways the last stronghold of the western frontier. The region is dogged by certain challenges prevalent in the West, such as rampant sprawl and sometimes oppressive smog. It’s also bone-dry here - only the Sahara is less humid than Phoenix’s Sonoran Desert. Most of the year, the weather is ideal for outdoor recreation, with winter highs in the mid-60s and spring and fall highs in the mid-80s. About the only period with blistering heat is summer, when daytime temperatures routinely climb into the low 100s (and many accommodations drop their rates precipitously).
In terms of gay-friendliness, Phoenix defies labels. This somewhat conservative capital city has long maintained strong Republican leanings, but some of the region’s most famous right-of-center politicians - including Sen. John McCain and the late Sen. Barry Goldwater - have expressed relatively accepting attitudes toward gays and lesbians. And somewhat surprisingly in 2006, this traditionally “red” state became the first in the nation to vote down a proposed ban on same-sex marriage. Phoenix has a highly visible GLBT community, and a huge number of queer bars, social organizations, and “family”-friendly eateries.
Visitors to this area have traditionally made a beeline for swanky Scottsdale, with its chichi hotels, lush golf courses, haute galleries, and sumptuous spas. However, Phoenix proper - which is home to most of the region’s GLBT bars and other businesses - has enjoyed a notable comeback of late, especially the once soulless downtown commercial center.
The action centers on Copper Square and its massively expanded convention center, plus dozens of trendy restaurants, high-end hotels, and fine performance venues. There are also a 24-screen cinema, several museums, and sports stadiums that host baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks and basketball’s Phoenix Suns. A cultural must is the outstanding Phoenix Art Museum, a dramatic green-quartz structure containing 19th-century European paintings, delightful artworks of the American West, and Abstract Expressionist masterworks. Two blocks north is the Heard Museum, a 1928 Spanish Colonial Revival hacienda containing the nation’s top collection of Native American art and artifacts.
Several peripheral residential neighborhoods have become gentrified of late, such as the Willo and Garfield Place historic districts. Of particular note is Roosevelt Row, a burgeoning mixed-use residential district that supports several excellent galleries as well as a wonderful bakery, Tammie Coe Cakes (stop in for a latte and a sweet treat or two). Speaking of baked goods, ardent pizza connoisseurs have been known to travel thousands of miles for a meal at Pizzeria Bianco, inside a historic building in the heart of the bustling Heritage Square section of downtown. Chef-owner Chris Bianco has been dubbed a pizza-making genius for his simply sensational wood-fired pies, including the Wiseguy (topped with roasted onion, house-smoked mozzarella, and fennel sausage). Just beware the long lines.
Vinophiles have taken a shine to Cheuvront Wine & Cheese Cafe, the brainchild of the city’s openly gay state senator, Ken Cheuvront. This happening place near the Phoenix Art Museum serves countless vintages by the glass and bottle as well as a long menu of stellar cheeses, salads, pizzas, and snacks. It’s a short walk down Central Avenue from here to reach the city’s premier gay bar, Amsterdam, an elegant lounge that’s part of a larger complex that includes Club Miami and Malibu Beach Bar. Other gay night spots within a short drive include the lesbian-favored Club Vibe, which replaced long-running Ain’t Nobody’s Biz and offers dancing, darts, and pool; the leather-and-Levi’s-oriented Phoenix Eagle; and the high-energy Karamba Nightclub. Gay two-steppers and country-western fans gather at Charlie’s, while fans of drag and karaoke get their fix at Burger Betty’s, an Aussie-themed gay restaurant and bar.
With all the snazzy new resorts that have opened in Scottsdale and other outlying cities, it’s easy to forget that Phoenix itself is home to a pair of aces: the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore, and the intimate, old-world Royal Palms, both of which opened in the late ‘20s. The 40-acre Biltmore, with its gray, low-slung, angular buildings containing 738 guest rooms, lies in the shadows of Phoenix Mountain Reserve. There’s also fine golfing and an acclaimed spa. Set aside an evening to dine at Wright’s at the Biltmore, where such inventive regional American fare as milk-poached pork tenderloin with foie gras sauce draws fawning accolades. Many a diva whiles away a Saturday afternoon at the nearby Biltmore Fashion Park, strolling through high-end boutiques and snacking at trendy restaurants.
The genteel and cozier Royal Palms Resort and Spa could pass for a splendid private villa in Spain, with its fanciful stone paths meandering past fragrant gardens and citrus-tree-shrouded casitas decked in old-world antiques and tiles. The weekend brunch at T. Cook’s - best enjoyed on the sunny patio - is a Phoenix tradition, and the resort’s tranquil Alvadora Spa provides some of the most supremely relaxing treatments you can imagine, from Watsu water therapy to crystal-stone facials. Die-hard massage junkies should book one of the seven state-of-the-art spa suites.
In downtown Phoenix, the upscale Hyatt Regency Phoenix and the eight-story, moderately priced Best Western Central Phoenix Inn are solid options, all within a short drive or walk of area bars, restaurants, shops, and museums. A less obvious pick is the funky, gay-friendly Hotel San Carlos, a grand if faded 121-room Italian Renaissance-style lodging that’s allegedly haunted (by friendly ghosts). It’s definitely seen better days, but for the price, it’s a good bet with a convenient, central location - especially if you prefer quirky over glamorous.
Nearby Scottsdale abounds with more recently built resorts, from the supremely cushy Sanctuary Camelback Mountain resort and swish Four Seasons Scottsdale, to the sexy and hip Scottsdale Mondrian and retro-chic Hotel Valley Ho. In Chandler, consider the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass (which is expected to become a Starwood Luxury Collection property later in 2007), an attractive spread on the Gila River Indian Reservation, 20 miles southeast of downtown. The vibe here is low-keyed and unpretentious, thanks in part to the consistently genial employees. The much-lauded Kai restaurant and the transcendent Aji Spa remind you, however, that you’re staying at a truly splendid desert hideaway. An equestrian center offering trail rides and a campy ersatz frontier town called Rawhide (think stagecoach rides, goofy gift shops, and gunfightin’ reenactments) may help you to channel your inner cowgirl or -boy.
Greater Phoenix also has a handful of gay-oriented accommodations, which range from homey B&Bs to saucy clothing-optional retreats. Downtown’s gay-owned but mainstream Yum Yum Tree Guest House, in the hip and historic Willo neighborhood, occupies a 1920s school building with soaring ceilings and Mexican-tile floors. Shaded patios and gurgling fountains surround the Spanish Mission-style building, which also adjoins a relaxing pool area. A racier option is the Arizona Royal Villa, a nudity-permitted men’s compound with an impressively enticing pool, hot tub, and sunning area and rooms and suites in a variety of configurations. For $10, non-overnight guests can spend the day here swimming, tanning, and mingling with fellow sun-bunnies. It may lack the pizzazz of the Biltmore, but this frisky compound is the closest you’ll find in these parts to a Palm Springs-style gay resort.
Royal Palms Resort & Spa youtu.be
Arizona Biltmore www.arizonabiltmore.com
Arizona Royal Villa www.royalvilla.com
Best Western Central Phoenix Inn www.bestwesterncentralphoenix.com
Burger Betty's www.burgerbettys.com
Club Vibe www.clubvibe602.com
Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North www.fourseasons.com/scottsdale
Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau www.phoenixcvb.com
Hotel San Carlos www.hotelsancarlos.com
Hotel Valley Ho www.hotelvalleyho.com
Hyatt Regency Phoenix www.phoenix.hyatt.com
Karamba Nightclub www.karambanightclub.com
Phoenix Eagle www.phxeagle.com
Pizzeria Bianco www.pizzeriabianco.com
Roosevelt Row www.rooseveltrow.org
Royal Palms Resort and Spa www.royalpalmshotel.com
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com
Scottsdale Mondrian www.mondrianscottsdale.com
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa www.wildhorsepassresort.com
Tammie Coe Cakes www.tammiecoecakes.com
Yum Yum Tree Guest House www.yytguesthouse.com
Now that the UK-US travel ban will lift, there are some rules and regulations drivers on both sides of the Atlantic need to know. And let's face it: From Ireland to Idaho, many of the sights on either side of the pond need a car to access them.
From driving on the right hand side to gaining a motoring permit at 14 years old, road laws in America and the UK may shock drivers who are not used to them when travelling abroad.
The car rental experts at StressFreeCarRental.com are offering insights into some of the many differences there are between the UK and US regulations. With many American driving laws set at state level, the country’s road laws differ greatly depending on what state you are in.
This insight could be especially useful for motorists hoping to visit the US with news the 18 month travel ban for arrivals to America from the UK and EU is set to be lifted early next month. The new rules mean fully vaccinated British people will be able to on holiday in America once more.
A spokesperson from StressFreeCarRental.com said: “Coming to grips with the rules of the road in different countries can be difficult for many motorists universally.
“However, once drivers have got to grips with the driving laws in their own country, it can be fascinating to learn about how these laws differ to other countries.
“The driving laws highlight differences in allowances for handheld devices, seatbelts and the age that motorists can gain access to a driver’s license.”
Side of the road
Potentially the most well known difference between UK and US road rules is the side of the road people drive on, with the UK designated to the left side and Americans on the right. The rule for UK motorists to drive on the left side of the road has origins in the Middle Ages and was once linked to those travelling on horseback. Whilst in the US, drivers have been restricted to the right side of the road since 1804, when New York became the first state to regulate right hand travel on all roads.
Use of a handheld device
UK laws deem it illegal to use a handheld device whilst driving a car or motorcycle. Instead, drivers must utilise hands free devices, with any windshield or dashboard mounts in no way obstructing the driver’s view of the road.
In America however, the rules of the road regarding handheld devices are different depending on the state. In most states, it is illegal to use a handheld device to text while driving. Other places utilizing this law include Washington DC, the US Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.
However, take a trip over to Arizona and South Carolina and you must be using a hands free device. Montana is the only state that doesn’t have a statewide law restricting the use of cell phones while driving in some manner.
Members of the public travelling without seatbelts is a huge concern for public safety in the UK. Motorists are urged to understand the severity of the seat belt law. A recent survey by the West Yorkshire Police showed that Brits aged between 17-34 have the lowest compliance rate combined with the highest accident rate. UK legislation states that any person in a car over 12 years old or over 135cm tall must be wearing a seat belt at all times. Repercussions for motorists and passengers not following this rule is a fine of up to £500.
The difference between America’s approach to seatbelt laws has been split into primary enforcement or secondary enforcement laws. Primary enforcement states that a police officer may pull a driver over because they can see the seat belt is not in use. Secondary enforcement states the driver must first be pulled over for a different offence before the officer is able to cite the driver or passenger for their seat belt use. Motorists are urged to understand the law in any new states they may be driving in to ensure they are not breaking any state laws.
California, Mississippi and New Mexico are among 20 states which apply primary enforcement rules for all occupants in all seats of the vehicle. On the other hand, New Hampshire is the only state that does not require any adults to wear seat belts at all as they do not have legislation in place.
Minimum driving age
In the UK, prospective motorists can apply for a provisional license at 15 years and nine months old. They can then go onto obtaining a full license and driving a car at 17 years old. Once motorists have a provisional license and meet the minimum age limit of 17 they are able to drive with L-plates on all roads except for motorways. With 18 being the minimum age for 78% of countries setting their driving laws, the UK is slightly below the majority.
The American minimum driving age, however, is not quite as generalised across the country. Americans experience minimum age laws set at state level, with some states allowing motorists to get their permit as young as 14 years old. The state of South Dakota is the most relaxed when it comes to issuing motorists with restricted licenses. There, teenagers can become permit holders at 14, receive their restricted license at 14 years and six months old and then go onto receive a full license by just 16.