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social sciences

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Circuit Parties  
page: 1  2  

In the late 1980s Sanker created the White Party in Palm Springs after witnessing 2,000 lesbians at the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament. In 2000, Sanker faced controversy after a group of Southern California gay men asked Sanker to give a larger percentage of his White Party profits to Los Angeles-based AIDS groups. Sanker refused, and his White Party was boycotted that year.

In 2001, Palm Springs police reported 13 overdoses and two citations for sex in public during the White Party weekend. Consequently, the City Council considered banning the annual party. However, after local merchants detailed the amount of tourist money the White Party brought into the desert resort area, the City Council reversed itself. In response to the controversy, at the 2002 White Party organizers emphasized the dangers of drugs and distributed condoms.

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Circuit Events

Circuit parties come together in several ways depending on the scale and intent of the event. For example, the Black Party in New York is coordinated by a mysterious foursome known as the Saint at Large. Other events, such as Chicago's Fireball, use a steering committee to book DJs and performers, design and distribute promotional materials, and arrange sponsorships and hosting agreements with airlines, local hotels, and media outlets. Finally, in some cases a well known promoter--such as Jeffrey Sanker--orchestrates the entire event, as in the case of the White Party in Palm Springs. Charity fundraising parties often rely heavily on community volunteers to organize and coordinate the events.

There are usually two or three circuit party weekends a month. The circuit begins in January in Philadelphia with the Blue Ball. It continues with New York's Black Party in March, Sanker's White Party in April, the Cherry Party in Washington, D. C. in May, and Montreal's Black and Blue Ball in October. Other events include Fireball in Chicago (February), the Purple Party in Dallas (May), and Halloween in New Orleans (October).

Also, many gay-centered events such as Gay Days at Disneyland, Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, Southern Decadence in New Orleans, Mardi Gras in Sydney, and many gay pride festivals have circuit parties associated with them. In fact, circuit parties include events as varied as ski weekends in Canada, Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro, island parties in Spain, celebrations in Israel, and beach parties in South Beach.

Circuit parties have been the source of a great deal of money for gay charities. But perhaps the greatest attraction of circuit parties, particularly for young gay men who live in rural areas or small cities, is the opportunity they provide to become, at least temporarily, part of a larger community. The gathering of thousands of circuit boys instantly transforms resorts and other venues into spaces.

Kenneth Cimino

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Bruni, Frank. "Drugs Taint Annual Gay Revels." New York Times (September 8, 1998): A27.

Chayer, Roger-Luc. "Circuit Parties." The World National (July 20, 2002):

Circuit Noize Website:

Leinwand, Donna. "Worrying About the Dark Side of 'Circuit Parties.'" USA Today (June 20, 2002): A1

Signorile, Michelangelo. Life Outside: The Signorile Report on Gay Men: Sex, Drugs, Muscles, and the Passages of Life. New York: Perennial, 1997.


    Citation Information
    Author: Cimino, Kenneth  
    Entry Title: Circuit Parties  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated August 19, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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