Lloyd of Rocks appears in uniform with a masked leatherman. Halloween, 1983.
LONG GONE MEMORIES
Hardt in the early 1980s owned the popular Pines West Guesthouse on Indian Canyon Drive. Due to its proximity to Desert Hospital he openly welcomed people with AIDS to his hotel much to the objections of Mayor Frank Bogart who publicly stated that Palm
Springs was not a place for sick people. He invited a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence from San Francisco to appear in an ad campaign he was creating with the white-faced comical nun in flowing robes being kicked with the caption reading "Kick Bad Habits!"
On his return trip back to the city by the bay said nun wore religious garb and outlandish make-up that caused quite a stir at the airport when boarding his flight - I can only imagine what antics went on in the jet as it winged its way north.
The last ad Lloyd of Rocks placed was for their New Year's Eve party. Months earlier he had been diagnosed with full blown AIDS and was a shadow of the man I once knew. The meeting
was emotional when he realized that it would be his last New Year's celebration and started to cry. Hugging him was all I could do to express my compassion and love.
Rhinoceros Cafe (owners Don Redman & Dave) located at Dave's Villa (behind Target) in Cathedral City, was popular to have lunch and watch the action in the spa just outside your window - it was the "Anything Goes" days in the desert - the resort
had more of a bathhouse aura than hotel. In the evening the orleander bushes and date palm grove between The Villa and Desert Palms Inn were popular cruising spots and increased substantially after last call at the bars. I was informed that those
ground are exceptionally fertile! When it changed ownership the orgy room became their dining room and the new owners (Don and Richard) created a cafe with a beautiful garden setting poolside featuring Sunday afternoon shows with hunky male dancers and
During our visit in 1984 to Club Palm Springs bathhouse, I introduced Police Chief Johnson to Clyde Sioux in a towel. Clyde in all his nakedness, curtsied and
announced that he was the Queen of England. Owners Paul King and Richard built a second floor to accommodate their many patrons. They later had to dismantle it because city permits were not filed and the addition was deamed unsafe. During
the late 90s the bathhouse was the death scene of a Clinton appointed health official. Presently the location is now occupied by a tile company. C.C. Construction Co. was located in the same strip mall.
GAF - is FAG spelled backwards but also stands for Gentry And Fillet the L.A. doctors who owned the popular Cathedral City bar. Somewhere in my collection is a photo I captured when the Queen of England & hubby Phillip were
motoring from the Annenberg estate & passing the GAF - her silhouette in her highness' limo complete with the royal wave! - in the background GAF employees were assembled outside waving as her majesty passed on the way to the airport! Priceless
When I attended DBA dinner meetings was always approached to buy 50/50 Raffle tickets - I had a problem with their fundraiser since it went into the general fund and told them
that it should be for something special - like a scholarship program. That year the DBA was able to offer a $500 scholarship. It was a start. Soon the Desert Rainbow Foundation was formed to address the scholarship program and assist in other
charitable and humanitarian causes. The Desert Business Association (DBA) helped establish a number of desert organizations that included: the Desert Women's Association (DWA) the Desert AIDS Project (DAP), Desert Community Outreach (DCO) and the AIDS
Assistance Program (AAP). My tenure on the DBA board in the 1990s was an exciting time (DBA presidents include: Jack Prey; Jim Allen; Dick Haskamp and Don Keating) to be involved in an organization that was progressive and active was very rewarding.
I had fun planning the DBA dinner and luncheon meetings - my favorite was "Dinner & a Movie" in honor of the Palm Springs Film Festival - my contact at the Film Festival, Craig Prater, helped coordinate the evenings festivities and have members of
the sponsored film in attendance to speak with the collected audience. I had diverse speakers ranging from political activitist, Anita Rufus to conservative radio talk show host, Marshall Gilbert.
We joined the Desert Press Club in the late 80's and made a few ripples when my staff and I attended a reception for the visiting White House Press Corps when President Reagan was in town at the Annenberg Estate, Sunnyland in Rancho Mirage - his annual
New Year's Eve tradition. It was at the Rancho Las Palmas Marriott and featured carving, pasta, and dessert stations - what a spread! Soon, the word spread that we were from a local gay magazine and people who we had been speaking with began to
keep their distance - I guess that they were afraid of being labeled "gay" - guilt by association. It didn't matter the buffet was still fabulous!
When Wayland Flowers & Madame appeared at Jezebel's Cabaret in 1985 I scheduled an interview that would appear during his run at the North Palm Canyon location. Rather than interviewing Wayland, I chose to interview Madame and have her share
views on a variety of subjects. Mr. Flowers at the conclusion of the interview remarked, "That has to be the strangest interview I ever gave!"
The Alligator Grill was one of those
greasy spoon type local diners with limited menu of hamburgers, hot dogs & chicken with an occasional salad and special of the day. In 1982 Sebastian was the proud owner of the establishment that would feed the hungry huddled masses on their way
home from a night on the town - the perfect after hours place. Located across the street from His & Hers restaurant - they were early desert eateries catering to gay people (the gay answer to Cheers). He soon joined the New Lost World
staff as chef of that resort's restaurant - bearing his name. Sebastian later moved to L.A. and started a film career with his husky Samoan physic. Sebastian catered the seven days of celebration in each of the gay bars on our first anniversary.
By hosting a party complete with tray-passed hors d'oeuvres and cake in each bar, we wouldn't show favoritism. Each cake was prepared by David of Just Desserts in Palm Desert on El Paseo - now long gone.
The Chrysalis Resort (Your Place in the Sun, Le Petite Chateau, Desert Stars, The Citadel, La Dulce Vita) was Bill's hotel located on Via Soledad & would play host to the Christopher Street West - Los Angeles Gay Pride (CSW) directors
when they caucused in the desert. We'd set out a Sunday brunch buffet complete with baskets made from watermelons brimming with fresh fruits and serving freshly baked croissants & gourmet brewed coffee. We were able to meet some of the gay
& lesbian L.A. shakers & movers in an informal setting poolside - Bob Craig, Jerry Hyde, Greg Carmack - names that may not mean anything to you but they were the people behind the early CSW festivals and founders of L.A.'s Frontiers magazine.
TBL is a few months older than her sister publication in L.A. and they were interested in getting desert businesses to advertise in the newly created publication - once they became publishers.
Bill & I loved to dance & frequented the clubs regularly before we purchased the publication. Rocks and C.C. Construction were great for dancing but one evening at Aunt Hatties (Hwy. 111 & Date Palm Drive - home to Oil Can Harry's
in the 70s, Hatties and Daddy Warbucks in the 80s & 90s) we both were threatened with expulsion if we didn't put our shirts back on - it was summer & dancing shirtless was cooler - I told Helen the manager that I wouldn't mind if the women went topless
since that was the reason why we had to cover-up. Helen was a tall and imposing person - not quite a woman - and served as a fighter pilot in Korea - her change had not been physically completed and was quite a shock, I'm sure, at the coroner's office
when she crashed her plane into the desert floor.
You could always find Lady Di at a number of bar stools or oleander bushes in Cathedral City during the 80s. She would wear her
hair in a large bee hive with makeup for days & a nasally streetwise attitude. Once when delivering magazines to Daddy Warbucks she orders, "Take me home!" I explained to her that I had a lover & he just wouldn't understand - she then clarified
slurringly, "no, no. . .my home!" I obliged & got to meet her hairy trucker male companion. Lady Di was no lady! - I didn't recognize him when she appeared wearing men's clothes but that voice was a dead give-away.
Spring Breaks in the desert during the early 90s was a zoo. Crowds would cross the street en masse bringing traffic to a stand-still while pranksters made their way from car to car spraying the baffled drivers
& passengers with water guns and cannons! Soon Mayor Bono would be caught chasing young girls in thongs hanging off the backs of bullet bikes speeding through the heart of Palm Springs - his motor bike skills were something to behold - I wondered
what he'd say once he was able to get them to stop? The main drag usually was a loop using Palm Canyon & Indian Canyon with Alejo & Tahquitz the turning points. I would usually avoid that area when I worked at Hank's Cafe American
located at Tahquitz & Belardo. Barbara the hostess would seat gay people upstairs at the five tables - overlooking the dance floor - that I would attend & serve. Often gay & lesbian couples expressed their desire to go downstairs &
join the others moving to the live music. Knowing the difficulties their dancing would cause I explained - why dance in a crowd when you can dance under the stars - with that I opened the French doors leading to the balcony overlooking the resort's pool
& gardens - and we had dancing - alfresco in 1981.
Roy Dean had the brightest blue eyes and frequently held court at Streetbar - he appeared in a number of movies but recalled one
in particular when he played the young butler in "My Fair Lady" - and reveled us with stories about the making of the movie - and tales regarding the stars Rex Harrison & Audrey Hepburn. He also was a noted photographer and published author.