The boys are back in town, the boys are back in town! Well, not quite yet. But over the weekend of April 8 through 11, tens of thousands of them will descend upon the Palm Springs Valley from around the globe for the annual bacchanalian springtime ritual known as Jeffrey Sanker’s The White Party Palm Springs, celebrating its 27th incredible year in 2016.
This upcoming incarnation of what’s without a doubt become the premier gay dance festival in the world promises all things bigger and better—an entirely new experience. Judging from the advance information available at press time, revelers are indeed in for a strikingly reimagined extravaganza.
So, as for what’s changed, first off, while the Friday daytime Splash Pool Party (from noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel) will certainly see many dip their toes into the warm waters post-check-in, Saturday’s similar event is no more. That will surely shift sold-out attendance to the fantastic frolic that made its smashing debut last year: Saturday’s Splash! at Palm Springs’ Wet N Wild Water Park from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Also gone is Sunday morning’s complimentary yoga session, though on Saturday at 10:00 a.m., on the East Lawn of the Palm Springs Convention Center, yogi master Francisco Ramos will guide through poses those seeking a breather from the man-made mania. Finally, the Saturday night White Party after-party has also been axed in favor of extending the main event for a full 10 hours, from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
So what’s left in store for the boys (and the gal pals who love them)? Plenty! As in, seven fabulously fun parties in 72 hours, featuring some 16 accomplished domestic and international DJ’s representing such cities and countries as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Brazil, the U.K., Spain, Greece, Australia, and Mexico. As always, the entire affair kicks off with the Commando Military Ball (formerly the Underwear Party) on Friday night from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. in the Renaissance Ballroom.
Then the perennial Big Daddy of them all—the actual White Party on Saturday night—boasts not only a different guest entrance this year (through the front doors of the Convention Center as opposed to through the back on Avenida Caballeros) but an all-new production. There will be never-before-seen layouts, staging, lighting, video displays, and special visual effects. Not to mention the latest and greatest music. It’s kind of a “you have to see it to believe it” deal. I, for one, can’t wait! Spinning the master controls will be Israeli-born, internationally known DJ Offer Nissim, whose remixes for Beyoncé, J. Lo., and Madonna are legend. Of course, the wee hours will see the appearance of the eagerly awaited surprise diva performing live on the White Party stage.
Those hoping for a last dose of our rejuvenating sunshine can take in the XLSIOR Mykonos World Tour Pool Party, which will recreate the summer’s hottest international gay festival on the shores of the Renaissance pool deck on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Then it’s time to head on down to the Sunset T-Dance (the biggest T-dance in the world) at White Party Park across from the Convention Center on Caballeros from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. Watch from the famous White Party Ferris Wheel as “Queen of the White Party” Erika Jayne sings for the troops—alongside a second, surprise performer—before the kaleidoscopic fireworks display (choreographed to the sounds of my personal favorite, San Francisco’s D.J. Grind) closes the al fresco fiesta.
What? You want more, you say? There’s always the Closing Party, when Tel Aviv’s Papa Party—one of the world’s most highly regarded gay parties—alights in the desert and takes over the Renaissance with host Eliad Cohen (AKA 2012 cover model for the Spartacus International Gay Guide).
Exhausted yet? You can sleep when you’re back home in your own bed. That’s what I’m gonna do, because I dare say it sounds as if Jeffrey and his team have conjured up what promises to be an incredible experience. So, if you’ve never been to White Party, come on down. And if you’re a battle-scarred veteran, well, this may actually be better than your first time.