The gay circuit party that helped revitalize Palm Springs is celebrating a milestone.
The White Party will be marking its 30th anniversary this year when it returns to the Palm Springs Convention Center and—in a move away from its longtime host hotel, the Renaissance—arrives at the Palm Springs Hilton. The weekend of almost-nonstop parties kicks off at the Hilton pool at noon on Friday, April 26, and concludes the following Sunday night (actually, Monday morning) with the Papa Tribal party at the Convention Center.
However, the weekend’s big event is the White Party itself, taking place at the Convention Center Saturday night. This year’s theme is “House of Gods”—and a featured performer will be Beth Sacks.
If you like dance music, you’re familiar with Sacks’ songs—often with DJ Aron—such as her cover of “Voulez Vous” and their newest song, “Hey Hey Hey.” I recently had a chance to talk to Sacks about her music—and how she wound up becoming one of the most popular names on the gay pride/party circuit.
What can people expect from your White Party performance?
A good time! They’re going to want to sing along, because they’re familiar with all of our music that I’ve done with DJ Aron. It’s a good time—a lot of energy, and a lot of uplifting songs that will make you want to dance.
How did you become a gay dance great?
I started singing as a child, listening to disco music; Donna Summer was my idol along with Gloria Gaynor. Later, I got involved in musical theater. I did many Broadway musical productions, and I toured with Phantom of the Opera. I moved to New York to pursue Broadway; I studied opera as well. … However, back in the days of Limelight and Roxy, I discovered Peter Rauhofer and Junior Vasquez.
As a child, always wanted to make the sounds that Donna Summer was making. I’ve always had a love, behind the musical theater that I was doing, for dance music. It just always felt very healing and free. Watching my friends struggle through coming out—you didn’t come out when I was in high school. You didn’t do that. It was a secret. It was not as open as it is today, and I always felt like the music, especially in the gay community, was about celebrating positive messages.
I’ve just always had a love for that type of music, because it’s very uplifting. It gives you hope. … I have to sit back and be amazed at how blessed I feel. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who were down on their luck or might have been going through something. … They tell us, “Your music gives me hope for another day.”
You’ve never been to Palm Springs?
No, this is my first time.
I have to ask: How can you be a circuit-party singer and never have been to Palm Springs?
(Laughs.) I remember when bringing a female singer (to a gay dance party) wasn’t always very popular. … It’s a boys’ night, if you will. But that’s changed. … Because of my work and because what (DJ Aron and I) have done together, I’ve been able to get recognized.
I’ve worked with (White Party promoter) Jeffrey Sanker before. … He invited me to come. I just said, “I will be there with bells on.”
What are expecting from your first time to Palm Springs?
I’m expecting it to be incredible. I’ve watched many videos from the party. I know it is the biggest party in the United States. So, I’m expecting a huge party—a huge turnout.
The White Party Palm Springs, part of White Party Weekend, takes place at 10 p.m., Saturday, April 27, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, in Palm Springs. Tickets start at $150. For tickets or more information, visit www.jeffreysanker.com/white-party-palm-springs.