Gay party impresario Jeffrey Sanker dies at 65

Jeffrey Sunker, who revolutionized the gay party scene with a luxurious washbasin to escape the devastation of the AIDS epidemic, died at the age of 65.

The owner of a Los Angeles-based white party entertainment company died of liver cancer at Cedars Sinai Hospital on Friday.

Chris Diamond, a member of the Sanker’s White Party Foundation, Confirm the death of Sunker, He is described as “the Godfather of the Parties.”

Sunker’s largest music festival, White Party Palm Springs, has been a paradise for generations of gay men and is a day-long celebration. Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez performed there for an audience of over 30,000. White party events spread to Mexico and Thailand, making West Hollywood residents the most famous showman in the gay community.

According to West Hollywood LGBTQ activist James Duke Mason, the party started small in the late 1980s, with some hanging out by the pool in a hotel in Palm Springs.

For gay men of that era, the dance floor was a rest from reality. Friends died one after another from AIDS, and the world often shunned them because of their sexuality.

Whitney Houston, Taylor Dayne and other “dancefloor diva” sang love, life and spirit, said former West Hollywood mayor John Duran.

“It was very similar:’Our days are counted. We are told that it will take less than a year to live and we are dancing with our friends. We will go to the party so that there will be no tomorrow,” Durand said. Said.

The Sunker party swelled into a huge event. Longtime friend Mark Lehman said the scale and quality of the production far exceeded that of previous gay parties.

“He was visionary,” said Sandy Sachs, Chief Operating Officer of Sanker’s business. “He was PT Barnum in the gay world … he didn’t care about money. More important to him, when people came to his event, they went out of it. The scene of “Oh, my god” was a great element.

Durand remembers Sunker as warm, entertaining and enthusiastic — someone who spoke relentlessly.

According to Mason, Sunker often used the money he earned to defend the gay community on behalf of him. He has supported organizations such as the Desert AIDS Project, The Trevor Project, and Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing.

Sunker was born on December 2, 1955 in Bethesda, Maryland. I grew up and was interested in pottery and silkscreen. He majored in art history at American University, said his sister Diane.

In New York City, he started a magazine focusing on the club scene of the 80’s. It failed, but it gave him access to the club, where he started his first gig as a promoter of places like Studio 54, Palladium, Private Eyes.

In 1987 he moved to Los Angeles, where he founded an entertainment company.

But not all have approved Sunker’s noisy festival. Some have blamed widespread use of the drug.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents new challenges. Sanker was criticized for hosting a New Year’s Eve party in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.

Last year, White Party Palm Springs was streamed on Facebook. This year it was rescheduled for Halloween.

Lehman believes that Sunker is the most memorable in connecting people. The party wasn’t just about flashy lights and famous singers. They provided gay men with a sense of friendship and freedom to be themselves.

“Going out to that dance floor, shirtless, sweaty, a little drunk and a little expensive, but being with my tribe is very much for many gay men who feel like we belong. It was a reaffirmed experience, “said Durand. “We have built a community on the dance floor.”

Sunker survived by his mother Lenny and his sister Diane.

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