Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Palm Springs Revivals
The small Southern California desert resort town of Palm Springs is one of the most bizarrely interesting places in the world right now.
Seemingly every male homosexual in the Western world over the age of 55 has decided to move to the place in the last decade, and the immigration has only become exponentially more intense over the last three years.
The last time I remember this kind of spontaneous gathering was in the 1970s when there was seemingly a beacon on top of Twin Peaks secretly broadcasting to every young male homosexual in the world, "Pack your bags and move to San Francisco." Currently the beacon seems to be on Mt. San Jacinto towering 12,000 feet over Palm Springs, except that everyone is 40 years older. Instead of the 1970s ritual litany of telling each other coming out stories, people are sharing their AIDS Plague survival sagas, which are singular and fascinating.
Unlike San Francisco, Palm Springs has not yet squeezed out the middle class completely, and the elderly immigrants range from wealthy A-Gay retired professionals to trailer park hippies, and everything in between. At a gay Christmas party at a trailer park last year, I asked a retired UC San Diego Sociology professor what he thought of this recent immigration, and he replied, "It's 1970s radical sex culture, reassembled." It will be interesting to see how this reassembly changes the wider culture – in dealing with the elderly, geriatric sex, intentional families of friends, and helping each other on the road to death.
All the photos (and the leg modeling) are by Palm Springs friend Steven Wibben in his backyard pool with homemade sunshades. Steven is reminiscent of my marvelous dead friend from the 1970s to the 1990s, Lee Brenneman, whose independent thought was oft-kilter, challenging, and beautifully funny.