AT.Dragged.out

By Stan Jenson

As you’re speeding down the Interstate on your way to Palm Springs, you see a billboard for a drag queen named Arial Trampway, promoting a charity performance.  Later that evening, as you leave your uptown restaurant, you look down and see a star on Palm Springs’ Walk of Fame, honoring the man who is better known as Arial Trampway.  You look up towards Palm Canyon Boulevard in time to see first a chrome Cadillac, then a pink Hummer, each emblazoned with pictures of – you guessed it – Arial Trampway.

Who the hell is Arial Trampway – the forgotten love child of Angelina?  No, she’s the creation of Alfie Petite, an omni-present gadfly who is seen at virtually every social event in Palm Springs.  Arial is gorgeous, and she can only be described as bigger than life:  big hair, big boobs, big jewelry, and costumes which are rarely matched on any stage.

arial-trampway-gaypsArial came to prominence in Palm Springs when the producers of Carnival Cabaret were organizing their show.  They asked her to be one of the performers.  She said, “Look, you really can’t afford me as a performer.  What if I invest in the show, take over all the marketing aspects, and become a co-producer?”  As a result, the first Cadillac (a pink one!) came about, she was a daily fixture on social media, present every Thursday at the Palm Springs Village Fest, and frequently prodding journalists for just one more story.  As a result, the show had an incredibly successful couple of years.

Then, Alfie was contacted by the local Hard Rock Hotel, which wanted to build a new show around Arial.  Alfie said, “I will produce and create it, but I don’t want to be tied down every week.”  No, the Hard Rock wanted Arial, and they made an offer she couldn’t refuse.  DRG BRNCH now appears at the Hard Rock every Sunday morning.  The event starts with a spectacular brunch buffet.  Then, as the plates are being cleared, Arial rolls into the dining room on a hoverboard, lip-synching an opening number.  She then starts talking and shrieking as she makes her way to the stage, tossing out welcomes and insults with equal abandon.  From the stage, she chats for a bit to get the event going, then welcomes her first queen.  The lineup of drag queens changes each week, and each girl does just one number at a time.  Arial returns between numbers to keep the momentum and continuity going.

Unlike other performers, she is a great fundraiser.  At some point in the show, she asks two audience members on stage, drags them up a bit, then gives them buckets and sends them out in the audience to collect donations.  So far, her efforts have raised over $13,000 for charitable causes, including Desert Aids Project, Hurricane Relief ($1,700 in two weeks!), Project Angel View, and Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.

The 11 a.m. brunch show has been so popular that a 2 p.m. cocktail show has been added.  Reservations through Hard Rock Palm Springs are recommended for either show.

When I asked her what she would be doing in five years, she said, “Probably selling  real estate, but almost certainly owning and operating my own venue.”  Knowing this doll – well, you get the picture!

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