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Wed11252020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

If you are without a Coachella ticket, no worries: The Ace Hotel has you covered with the fifth annual Desert Gold event.

Desert Gold is an 11-day festival that coincides with Coachella, and it started with a bang on Thursday night, with DJ sets in the Amigo Room featuring the Coachella Valley’s own DJ Day; BBC Radio personality Benji B; and Flying Lotus.

DJ Day got the crowd pumping with his remixes of various rap songs and funky anthems. Benji B, known for a wide variety of sounds at the mixing board, started with a gentle instrumental and worked his way up to faster mixes before turning over the mixing board to Flying Lotus.

As the evening progressed, standing space became hard to come by, but that didn’t stop crowd's urge to dance. Flying Lotus, grandnephew of Alice and John Coltrane, whipped the capacity crowd into a veritable frenzy with his meditative and energetic infused style of electronic dance music.

Desert Gold offers events during both weekends of Coachella—and the days in between. Best of all, the events are all free to attend. You can take a swim in the pool with pool toys designed by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO; enjoy a wide variety of DJ sets and bands; or kick back and enjoy a cocktail inspired by one of the Coachella artists. The vodka based “Blurberry Lemonade” had hints of cinnamon and real blueberries; as strange as the concoction was, it was very refreshing.

Third Man Records—founded by Jack White—has an on-site store selling vinyl records and Third Man merchandise at reasonable prices. I was awe-struck by the selection of singles—starting as low as $6—from the White Stripes, Tom Jones, and Stephen Colbert with the Black Belles. There’s even the Jack White and Insane Clown Posse collaboration of Mozart’s Leck mich im Arsch that left many confused last year.

Third Man is also selling live albums—recorded in the Blue Room of their Nashville, Tenn., headquarters—which are normally website exclusives.

Here are some upcoming highlights:

• Miss Lily’s—a Jamaican diner, radio station and record shop from New York City—will be onsite selling the diner's famous jerk chicken on Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14.

• NPR Music will be featuring live music in the Amigo Room on Monday, April 15, and a special karaoke night on Tuesday, April 16.

• Local bandleader JP Houston will also host his weekly podcast from the Amigo Room on Wednesday, April 17.

• Warp Records will be kicking off the second Coachella weekend on Friday, April, 19, in the Commune, featuring Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus, Warp DJs and an unannounced special guest. After experiencing Flying Lotus’ set in the Amigo Room on Thursday, I can say this is something that you don’t want to miss.

• Third Man Records will host live bands at poolside on Saturday, April 20, with performances by Carly Ritter, Courtney Jaye, Dough Rollers and Gap Dream, Y DJ Blue Jeans, and Moon Beams.

• Just like it started, Desert Gold will close with a bang, featuring a performance from Redd Kross and Coachella Valley’s very own Eagles of Death Metal on Sunday, April 21.

Desert Gold runs through Sunday, April 21, at the Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free, but some events may reach crowd capacity. For a full schedule, www2.acehotel.com/desertgold/schedule.

It all began at an Ace Hotel job fair in 2009.

“Our vice president saw Linda in line, with this fabulous glittery dress and a pair of her signature glasses,” recalled Jason Dibler, the hotel’s general manager. “He said, ‘I don’t know what she does, but we need her.’”

That’s how Linda Gerard started her rapid ascent toward becoming something of a Palm Springs icon. Sadly, the hostess of the Ace’s wildly popular Sissy Bingo Monday nights is currently in the battle of her life: Several weeks ago, Gerard was diagnosed with lung cancer. Now, her friends and fans are joining forces to put on a fundraiser at the Ace next Monday evening, March 25.

That Ace’s vice president’s instincts have paid off: It turns out that woman in line is one hell of a performer. She was Barbra Streisand’s understudy when Funny Girl was on Broadway. She became a Provincetown singing legend, and opened one of the East Coast’s biggest lesbian bars in that town in the 1970s. Later, she moved to West Hollywood and opened The Rose Tattoo cabaret club. She even made a splash on Deal or No Deal, with the briefcase-holding models wearing oversized glasses in tribute as she won some good money.

Of course, Linda made an instant splash at the Ace. Her first gig was as the hostess at the King’s Highway restaurant, and somewhere along the line, she started singing—for a diner’s birthday, perhaps. So then she became the singing hostess, which led to a bingo night in the Amigo Room bar. Of course, this was no regular bingo night; Linda often would stop calling numbers and break into song, or a story about her life, or something else entertaining.

“It got so busy, so fast, that we moved (the bingo night) to the restaurant,” Dibler said, citing social networking as being key to Linda’s rise: Someone would post a video on Facebook, for example, of Linda doing her thing, and people would decide they needed to check her out themselves.

The Ace also released a compilation album of some of Linda’s songs, Fabulous Selections, on vinyl. (You can listen to some excerpts online at the Ace website. Good stuff.)

Gerard said that on a Monday in February, Linda showed up for bingo not feeling well—she was having difficulty breathing—but she still put on a fine show. She was soon thereafter diagnosed with lung cancer.

This Monday, March 25, starting at 7 p.m., the Ace is throwing a “Linda Fabulous” party. A portion of bar proceeds and all revenues from rooms booked for that night with the code “fabulous” will be donated to Linda (plus, the resort fee will be waived, and patrons will receive a 25 percent discount). Linda will also receive the proceeds from raffle tickets, and the raffle prizes look pretty sweet, with well more than a dozen businesses—from LuLu California Bistro to Vons to the Living Desert to the Ace itself—chipping in.

The entertainment lineup is impressive as well. Performers include Lady Tigra (of L’Trimm), Sean Wheeler (of Throw Rag and a frequent collaborator with Zander Schloss), JP Houston and the Fabulous Band, DJ Day, Rachel Dean, Giselle Woo, Alf Alpha and Ace karaoke host Kiesha. Manny the Movie Guy will host.

There’s also a chance of an appearance by Linda, the OWL (Older, Wiser Lesbian) herself, depending on how she’s feeling. Here’s what she wrote in a letter to friends and fans posted on the Ace website: “Thank you so much for your love and support. I look forward to returning to the Ace very soon. I will do everything in my power to rid my body of the monsters inside me and once again join you in King’s Highway, outside on the patio, the Amigo Room or wherever you are at the Ace. I will wear my giant glasses, sing lots of songs and even play some fucking bingo Monday nights. I hope to see many of you on the 25th. And again, thank you. This will be a celebration for all of us.”

Hear, hear.

Linda Fabulous takes place at 7 p.m., Monday, March 25, at the Commune space at the Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free, but donations, raffle-ticket purchases and generosity are appreciated. For more information, visit acehotel.com/fabulous.

Published in Local Fun

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