Blatino Oasis...The Full Story
In December of 2006, I was on the phone talking with one of the dancers that I booked at my Oakland based nightclub promotion called Club Rimshot. The dancer, who is Puerto Rican, was calling me to check on his upcoming booking at the club and told me that he was in Palm Springs, California where he was filming an adult film at the time. He told me he thought that my club following might enjoy an event in Palm Springs. My response was, why? He went on to describe the chill vibe, beautiful scenery, numerous gay clothing optional resorts, bars and parties. He knew this would be of interest to me because we had discussions many times before, about some of the shared social issues that Black and Latino men face and the need for stigma free vacations for gay and bisexual men.
I asked him how many men of color did He see there? He said not many, but that the venues could be turned into a men of color oasis in the desert.
I knew that one of the biggest challenges would be to introduce men of color to a destination that they were not use to being invited to for a "circuit party" type of getaway. Unlike cities with name recognition for Black people like Washington D.C, Atlanta, New York, Miami, or even Los Angeles, I was aware that I would need to do more than just promote, I would have to introduce my audience and Black and Brown people nationally and around the world, to a place with a small people of color population, that most had never heard of or been to.
Another big challenge that I faced was the economic backdrop happened the following year when the financial crash of 2008 and the "Great Recession" hit. Millions of Americans at that time were losing wealth and their homes. Black and Latino communities were disproportionately effected & hit hardest by the financial recession. Economist estimated that overall black wealth dropped an estimated 53% as a result of the great recession, compared to 17% of wealth lost by whites. The financial crisis of 2008 decimated the very modest bit of wealth accumulated by blacks in particular.
These were huge socio-economic and cultural factors was the economic backdrop that I was faced with, not to mention the fact that, although Palm Springs area is beautiful, affluent, just a short drive from Los Angeles, and a place where half the population is LGBTQ, most Black LGBTQ people didn't see this desert oasis as a travel destination for them because it is so white.
Many people don't know that for most of the 90's and up until 2017, I had a club and produced events that celebrated mostly Black LGBTQ life and culture.
My launch in 2007 went surprisingly well. Then in 2008,