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The Czarina’s Ball will be held at the glamorous riviera grand ballroom in the style of a russian court function and the Academy Awards on August 7th. Pulling this all together is Elizabeth (Liz) Loren Maria romanov, the newly appointed Czarina of riverside and imperial Counties within the iCS (imperial Court System). The event will become what the court describes as a “historical template for change and things to come”. It is the first such event in Palm Springs. Some of the proceeds of the Ball will benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation. The guest of honor will be Harvey’s nephew, Stuart Milk Jr. As part of the evening’s events, The Czarina will confer the Lifetime Achievement Award to one of Palm Springs top businessmen, philanthropist, and owner of Street Bar, Dick Haskamp. The Entertainer of The year award will go to the much loved Mona Caywood. A posthumous award will be presented in the honor of Bob Hoven and his contributions to Palm Springs.

Liz finishes by saying, “We are particularly grateful to the riviera Hotel for bending over backwards to insure this event is spectacular and becomes an annual affair only equaled by the imperial Court of new york’s “night of 1000 Gowns”.” Sponsorships and group tables with complimentary program ads are available. For this and ticket information, log onto

Dick Haskamp

Dick Haskamp was born and raised in Lincoln Park, Michigan, graduating from Lincoln Park High School in 1966. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1973 with a BA in Theatre Arts, having served in the US Army for three years.

Upon graduation, he moved to Santa Monica, CA While living there, he had various careers from landscaping to executive search to bartending.

Having moved to the Desert in 1990, he ended up bartending at a little place called ‘A Streetbar named Desire’, which his long time friend Hank Morgan and he soon purchased. Many ups and downs later, and now ‘STrEETBAr’, is the desert’s longest running bar!

over the years, Dick has served on a number of Boards of Directors, including AiDS Assistance Program, Desert Tourism Guild, Desert Business Association, Gay rodeo Association. He is known in Palm Springs as one of the most supportive leaders and philanthropist. He is a tireless mentor, continuously steering and donating to almost every non-profit movement that hits his radar.

Streetbar remains one of the most charitable businesses in Palm Springs. The Streetbar Artwall project alone has raised hundreds if thousands since its inception in 2003, with monthly art exhibits by local artists giving 20% of the art sales to the A.i.D.S. Assistance Program in Palm Springs which provides direct services to people living with Hiv/AiDS in the Coachella valley.

Dick regularly performs (as Shirley i-da-ho) with Les Dames du Soleil, a group of tremendously talented men, who, with their generosity and leadership, have raised approximately one million dollars for local charities. not only do they donate their time and talent for every benefit at which they perform, they also donate every dollar raised to charity, without recovering costs for their costumes or productions – which are elaborate, to say the least.

Some thoughts about the DUCHESS by Richard Brakefield, J.D.

Bob Hoven

Fortunately, most of us can point to someone whom we have known who has enhanced our life and enriched it simply by the effect of his or her personality and character. However, the number of such people one encounters in life is always very limited. Bob Hoven was such a person and, for those of us who knew him, his legacy is long in our memory and a permanent page in Palm Springs’ fabled history. His star shines brightly in the parade of celebrities, politicos and other persons who have left footprints in our community heritage and whose memory is proclaimed by placement of stars along Palm Canyon Drive.

From the frosty winters of Minnesota (Minnesnowta as he lovingly called it) and after a working for a big corporation and a tour of duty with the military, Bob came to our desert and found a home he loved. He embraced life in the desert. Having set his anchor here in the Coachella Valley, Bob immersed himself in community work and founded the Megascene, the most read and informative of the alternative papers in the valley at the time.

It was not the paper alone which brought him the adulation and admiration of the broad community of Palm Springs. Neither was it alone the fact that Bob was a thoughtful and responsible activist in the gay community that caused his opinions of current affairs and political issues to be greatly respected and brought local politicians to him seeking his opinion

Bob Hoven as the Duchess

and perspective on affairs of importance to our valley. It was above all Bob’s sincerity and genuine interest in people and their views that endeared him so deeply to the hearts of those whom he

encountered. Bob was gifted with an incredible ability to make one feel that his or her thoughts were of profound importance and relevance. If you were discussing an issue with Bob, he listened intently

to your opinions and Bob Hoven

asked probing questions, testing your commitment to your position. When making a point himself, he did so in carefully chosen words and well substantiated argument that was unerringly cemented in researched facts and history. Bob was a marvel at recalling political history. His political savvy was respected by all who met him and anyone who challenged

his position on a matter had to be equally well versed in the facts and history of the subject of discussion.

Bob was a serious patriot who served our nation in the Army and cherished our great constitutional republic and its principals of liberty and democracy. Extremism in any form was troublesome to Bob. A life-long and loyal Democrat, he was nevertheless not a party hack or uninformed follower. He spoke out against positions that he felt were unacceptable whether they came from a Democrat or Republican and he lauded positions he felt were good for the community and country regardless which party promoted them. This was most apparent in the choices of candidates whom he’d endorse.

So much more could written but nothing can replace the privilege of having known Bob as a close friend. He had many friends. Bob offered his friendship freely and he was a loyal and true friend to anyone who would accept it. He left heavy footprints in this valley and in our hearts and it will be a great day when another comes along who can fill his shoes. Did I mention that he wore a size 17?

We called Bob ‘The Duchess’ because he was one of our most important community leaders and because it alluded to his love of exorbitant and extravagant, comic drag. Bob Hoven had a profound sense of joy and lived his life as joyfully as he could. We capture a bit of that joy of living when we dedicate a day, the Day of the Duchess, to him. This year it will be celebrated at Street Bar, Saturday July 25. I hope you experience some of the sweetness of living wisely and fully as we celebrate the day of the Day of the Duchess!

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