2021 Desert AIDS Walk brings city out of hibernation for crucial cause
Gary Mergelkamp wasn’t about to let a little plantar fasciitis prevent him from participating in the 2021 Desert AIDS Walk. It was just the “walk” portion of the event that gave him trouble.
The fact he couldn’t navigate the event’s 3.5-mile walking route didn’t stop the Palm Desert resident from showing up early Saturday at Ruth Hardy Park to support his team from Spiritual Center of the Desert. The team has been participating in the event and contributing funds for the past five years. This year team members raised $2,000.
“It’s because this facility is so amazing,” Mergelkamp said when asked what brought him out to the park. “They do more to take care of both the positive and negative community than any other organization. And on top of it, they also do research.”
That facility is DAP Health, an advocacy-based health care organization that provides service to more than 10,000 individuals. Its staff and volunteers had no trouble waking the community from hibernation brought on during a nearly two-year battle with COVID-19. As of Saturday afternoon, organizers reported 1,836 donors helped raise more than $385,000 — 110 percent of the $350,000 goal.
“That’s a new record,” said DAP Health Chief Development and Strategy Officer Darrell Tucci before the walk, which has been held annually since 1989.
Crowds began arriving at the park an hour before the event’s 9 AM start. They were treated to performances from the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, warm-ups from Urban Yoga and Ted Guice Fitness, and a “health and wellness village” packed with booths from local businesses and organizations. Along the route, walkers were treated to a performance by The Desert Winds Freedom Band.
This year marks 40 years of HIV, with the first reported cases about what would become known as HIV and AIDS published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response,” said DAP Health CEO David Brinkman before the event. “It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help. And as we have learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.”
To donate: Donations are still being accepted for the event and can be made online at this site.
PRIDE BEGINS: The city’s largest celebration kicks off today and culminates with a parade on Sunday, November 7. All week long, expect music, parties, and more throughout Palm Springs as the community gathers to celebrate and honor the strength, equality, and self-determination of the LGBTQ community. The parade starts at 10 AM on North Palm Canyon Drive at the intersection of East Tachevah Drive and will travel south, ending at the entrance to the Pride Festival at Amado Road. For a complete list of all Pride events, including the musical lineup — headlined by Third Eye Blind — turn here.
ROBBERY SUSPECT SOUGHT: Palm Springs police are looking for a man suspected of an armed robbery Friday at a bank along East Palm Canyon Drive. According to a news release from the police department, the suspect entered the Citi Bank at 1675 E. Palm Canyon Drive and displayed a handgun while demanding money from the teller. An undisclosed amount of money was given to the suspect, who then fled the location on foot. Palm Springs police and the local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are coordinating the investigation. Police are asking anyone who may have information or witnessed the incident to call the department’s dispatch center at 760-327-1441 or provide information to Crime Stoppers anonymously at 760-341-7867.
ARRAIGNMENT: A 31-year-old man accused of killing two Palm Springs residents while burglarizing their homes is due to be arraigned today. Luis Flores Cantor of Palm Springs is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of burglary, and one count of assault, with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. He is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and is accused of killing 59-year-old Jennifer Dillon and 80-year-old Joseph Rajczi. If convicted, Cantor faces the death penalty if the District Attorney’s Office decides to seek it.
GRANT RECEIVED: A $25,000 grant was awarded Friday to the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs (BGCPS) to support the organization’s educational and enrichment programming, which is currently offered in-person and virtually. The Coachella Valley Spotlight grant, presented by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, is helping sustain the BGCPS’s programs that serve about 1,700 youth in grades K-12. “Through the pandemic, we have continually adapted to reach our members and stay connected to community needs,” said India Braemer, director of operations at BGCPS. “This grant is helping us fulfill our mission, even when we’ve had to cancel fundraising events and reinvent some of the work we do.” For more information about the club, visit www.bgcps.org or call 760-327-1304. The facility is located at 450 S. Sunrise Way.
GEORGE ZANDER VIGIL: Palm Springs Pride is holding a vigil and march for George Zander this evening at 6 PM. It begins at the new Downtown Park,101 N. Museum Dr. Today marks the sixth anniversary of the day George and his husband Chris Zander were attacked outside a nightclub in downtown Palm Springs. George died on December 10, 2015. Police said the couple was targeted because of their sexual orientation. “Help us carry forward the social justice efforts that defined George Zander’s life and honor his memory so that no other individual falls victim to a crime of hate,” organizers wrote on a social media page announcing the event. “We must remain determined to change hate, intolerance, and ignorance into love and acceptance.”
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center offers a widows and widowers program, chair yoga, bridge, and other classes and programs today, starting at 8 AM. The center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way. A complete list of today’s events can be found here.
ONE-PS: The Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS) Board of Directors meets at 2:30 PM via Zoom. To obtain the Zoom link, complete this form.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS: The city of Palm Springs will celebrate Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), from 5 PM until 8 PM at Palm Springs Pavilion, 401 S. Pavilion Way. There will be food (while supplies last), crafts, mariachis, and altars. Costumes are encouraged.
NO ARCHITECTURE MEETING: The city’s Architectural Review Committee, which was scheduled to meet at 5:30 PM tonight, will not meet. Its next meeting is scheduled for November 15 at 5:30 PM.
SUNSHINE SISTERS: Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters is going wine tasting this evening at 6 PM at Bouschet, 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive. You can sign up to be part of the group formed to help women make new connections and friendships on Meetup here.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center offers more than 20 events and classes today, starting at 8 AM. The center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way. You can find a complete list of everything offered today online here.
SUNSHINE SISTERS: Palm Springs Sunshine Sisters will ride bikes to Indian Canyons, starting at 8:30 AM near Smoke Tree Stables, 2500 S. Toledo Ave. You can sign up to be part of the group formed to help women make new connections and friendships on Meetup here.
YOUTH CRAFTS: Students in grades 2-5 are invited to watch Palm Springs Public Library children’s librarian Nancy Valdivia demonstrate how to make an Acorn Pocket Apron on the library’s YouTube channel. The video should be uploaded by 10 AM. You can pick up materials for the project at the library, located at 300 S. Sunrise Way.
SOLAR AND GREEN: The city Sustainability Commission Standing Subcommittee on Solar and Green Building meets at 10:30 AM via Zoom. A complete agenda, as well as participation instructions, can be found online here.
SITE PRESERVATION: The city’s Historic Site Preservation Board meets at 4 PM for a closed session, followed by a regular session at 5:30 PM. A complete agenda, as well as participation instructions, can be found online here.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center offers fitness classes, a bereavement support group, Dick Brodie’s Jam Session, and more today, starting at 8 AM. The center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way. A complete list of everything offered today can be found here.
MOBILE HEALTH: A mobile health clinic will be parked at the James O. Jesse Desert Highland Unity Center, 480 W. Tramview Rd., from 9 AM until 4 PM. Operated and staffed by Borrego Health, the mobile unit will provide a variety of medical services for residents.
HORA DE CUENTOS: La bibliotecaria Nancy Valdivia lee cuentos, canta canciones y enseña conceptos de aprendizaje temprano (miércoles en español y jueves en inglés) para estudiantes de preescolar de 10:30 AM a 11:30 AM Puedes ver los videos en YouTube aquí.
LIBRARY BOARD: The Palm Springs Library Board of Trustees meets virtually at 5:30 PM. More information about that meeting can be found here.
PRIDE AT CULTURAL CENTER: The Palm Springs Cultural Center, located at 2300 E. Baristo Rd., presents an evening of short films, starting with a pre-screening reception at 6 PM. Multiple short films are shown, starting at 7 PM. The event is a joint fundraiser for both palm Springs pride and the Cultural Center. Tickets can be purchased here. The event kicks off a full slate of events found during Pride at the center. More information about all of the events can be found here.
BOOK CLUB: The OutBook Book Club meets at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Book club selections are chosen by group members and highlight a mix of new LGBTQ+ releases and influential classics. This week the book club will be discussing The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels. Most titles are available as downloadable audiobooks and/or eBooks from Palm Springs Public Library. To attend the Zoom event, please email book club coordinator Hubertus Zegers at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of the meeting.
PRIDE COMEDY SHOW: Mina Hartong brings her Palm Springs Pride edition of the Lez Out Loud comedy show to Runway Bar & Restaurant, starting at 6:30 PM. Online ticket sales have ended, but there may be some available in person. Hartong is well known to Palm Springs audiences, appearing at multiple venues in the city over the years. Aside from performing award-winning comedy, she is also an emcee and educator, having taught in the public school system for 21 years.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers jewelry making, a movie of the week, journaling, and more today. The Mizell Center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way. A complete list of everything offered can be found online here.
STORYTIME: The Palm Springs Public Library offers storytime for preschoolers starting at 10:30 AM via YouTube. Librarian Nancy Valdivia reads stories, sings songs, and shows early learning concepts (Wednesdays in Spanish and Thursdays in English). You can find more information here and watch the YouTube videos here.
WOMEN’S CHAT: The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert offers a chat group for all women — no matter how you identify — to discuss topics of interest and find connections every Thursday at 10:30 AM. You can find information about the event here.
WASTE REDUCTION: The city Sustainability Commission’s Standing Subcommittee on Waste Reduction meets at 2 PM via Zoom. An agenda and participation instructions can be found here.
NOT TEEN TALK: The Palm Springs Public Library’s teen librarian hosts an Instagram Live session each Thursday at 3:30 PM. To follow along, follow @psplteenzone on Instagram here.
FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at a community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Rd., between 5 PM and 7 PM, and at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, from 4:30 PM until 6 PM. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community this month is available here.
FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 5 PM to 7 PM. Tickets are required and can be obtained here.
CITY COUNCIL: The Palm Springs City Council meets in closed session at 3:30 PM, and then in regular session at 5:30 PM. Instructions for participating or viewing the regular meeting, as well as an agenda for both meetings, can be found here.
VILLAGEFEST: The city’s weekly outdoor street fair takes place at 6 PM on Palm Canyon Drive downtown. The event includes vendor booths on both sides of the street, which is closed to vehicular traffic.
LGBTQ+ ARCHIVES: The newly formed LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert holds its inaugural exhibition, titled “Sharing Our Desert’s LGBTQ+ History,” for free at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library in downtown Palm Springs, located at 100 S. Palm Canyon Drive, from 6 PM until 8 PM.
MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers a Fit After Fifty class, a pastels studio, chair yoga, and more. The center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way. A complete list of everything offered can be found online here.
MEN’S CHAT: The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert offers a chat group for all men to discuss topics of interest and find connections every Friday at 10:30 AM. Information on registering for the event can be found here.
LGBTQ+ ARCHIVES: The newly formed LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert holds its inaugural exhibition, titled “Sharing Our Desert’s LGBTQ+ History,” for free at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library in downtown Palm Springs, located at 100 S. Palm Canyon Drive, from 10 AM until 5:30 PM.
INTERFAITH KABBALAT SHABBAT: People of all faith communities and beliefs are invited to join a 2021 Pride Welcoming of the Sabbath Service in person or online at 6:30 PM. The pluralistic online prayer service with a core of Jewish liturgy will include song, ancient poetry, contemporary readings, and meditation led by members of our local clergy. The in-person event is at United Methodist Church of Palm Springs, 1555 E. Alejo Rd. The online live stream can be found here on Facebook Live.
ONGOING & UPCOMING
SHREK PERFORMANCES: Palm Canyon Theatre’s production of Shrek The Musical continues through November 7. Showtimes are 7 PM on Thursdays, 8 PM on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 PM on Sundays. Children under 12 get in free with proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the performance. For tickets or other information, call the box office at 760-323-5123 or order online by visiting PalmCanyonTheatre.org. The theater is located at 538 N. Palm Canyon Dr., at the corner of Alejo Road. Box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM until 4 PM.
PRIDE RUN: The Palm Springs Pride 5K Run & Walk takes place Saturday, November 6 at 8 AM. The event is both in-person and virtual for 2021. Registration is available here.
SKATER GIRLZ JAM: Lesbo Expo Presents hosts a woman-identified LGBTQIA+ skateboarding eventon Saturday, November 6 at Palm Springs Skate Park, 405 S. Pavilion Way. The event includes a skateboarding clinic at 2:30 PM for anyone who wishes to participate. Gates will open for ticket holders and day-of ticket sales at 4:30 PM. The main event gets underway at 5 PM. prizes will be awarded for highest Ollie, longest boardslide in transition, longest manual, dizzy lick flips, youngest ollie, and more. Tickets are available here.
MARILYN THEMED EVENT: Have you ever wanted to dress like Marilyn Monroe and run through town with a beer buzz? The Palm Springs Hash House Harriers is inviting all active-duty military, veterans, their friends, and family to participate in the “Marilyn White Dress Hash” on Saturday, November 6, from 2 PM until 5 PM. The event starts at Palm Springs American Legion Post 519, 400 N. Belardo Rd. If your spouse, child, aunt/uncle, niece/nephew, grandparent, etc., served in the military, you can join the American Legion or Sons of the Legion. Drop by any time for an application, which is $35 per year.
WELLNESS SUMMIT: Brothers of the Desert is conducting its third annual wellness summit focusing on Black gay men and their allies in the Coachella Valley and beyond in-person (and virtually) on Saturday, November 13, at Margaritaville Resort in Palm Springs, 1600 North Indian Canyon Drive. The one-day event runs from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM. It features innovative workshops, interactive discussions, and inspiring keynote presentations on a diverse range of topics, such as spirituality, sexuality, and identity, emotional health, aging considerations, examining race, physical health, social advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Registration for the event is available here.
MIZELL SPEAKER SERIES: The next event in the 3rd Wednesday Speakers Series is November 17 at 5:30 PM at Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way. A screening of L.A. A Queer History – Where It All Began, a film by Gregorio Davila, will precede a talk with the filmmaker moderated by Brian Blueskye, The Desert Sun’s arts and culture reporter. The history of and culture of the Los Angeles lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is often overshadowed by their New York counterparts. In truth, Los Angeles gave rise to one of the most influential LGBTQ cultures and activist movements. Davila’s film explores this history and more. The screening is afree event. More information is available here.
DESERT JAM: The annual benefit for Palm Springs-based Well in the Desert — Desert Jam 2021: Jammin’ for the Well — is slated for Monday, December 6 at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino ballroom in Rancho Mirage at 6 PM. The Jackson-Garrett Band and a host of other musicians are slated to perform, with Jeanie Cunningham serving as masters of ceremonies. Aside from the music, attendees can expect dinner, live and silent auctions, and a special tribute honoring jazz singer Yve Evans. All proceeds benefit The Well’s work to feed and provide for those experiencing homelessness in our community. More information, including how to purchase tickets for the event can be found here or by calling 760-285-7297.
POLICE AND FIRE EVENT: The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce is taking reservations for its annual Police & Fire Appreciation Luncheon, held Tuesday, December 7, from 11:30 AM until 1 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center. More information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities is available here.
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