Outrageous in Pink

An Alexander Tract Home Transformed -- Jamie Kabler's Titillating Leisureland is Palm Springs' Party Central

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During the day Leisureland suggests an art gallery -- albeit one that's devoted to all things pink. There are photos by Richard Avedon, chairs by Rashid Karim, a fetishistic bust of an astro-gal by Colin Christian, and a toothy catlike creature by the British artist Mandad.

But Leisureland doesn't mean much by daylight. "It's all about parties," says Jamie Kabler, the proud homeowner.

Guests enjoy valet parking and klieg lights, and never have to search for their host -- he's on the red carpet, greeting each by name. The drink trays feature Pink Pusssies, go-go boys create a rhythm on the stage behind the pool, and sashaying past are 'drag artiste' Lady Bunny, whose bouffant hairdo shoots two feet towards the sky, or the voluptuous Amanda Lepore, whose lips are the size of sausages. "She doesn't say much," Jamie says. "I don't think she can, because her lips are so fat."

"I would have to use the word 'sensational' for his parties," says Barbara Wisbey, social columnist for Palm Springs' 'Bottom Line' magazine. "He has people at his parties form all walks of life, and he always seems to find the beautiful people."

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Jamie has thrown pajama parties for 500 guests, 'Valley of the Dolls' parties, birthday parties, a coming-out party for Mamie Van Doren's Mamietage wines, and fundraising events for the Desert AIDS Project, among other good causes. The parties are often educational. "I flew a samba band in from Rio one time to teach everybody how to samba," he says. Often they get wild. "A lot of times the girls take their clothes off like the Kennedy parties of the '60s and jump in the pool," he says.

"The great thing about Leisureland is, it's safe for a lot of TV and film stars who are not 'out' but want to come and have a lot of fun -- and nobody writes about it," Jamie says.

For all its outrageousness, however, Leisureland sticks to tradition -- Palm Springs tradition. In a town known for legendary parties, the home has already become a legend five years after Jamie moved in. "That was just a plain old house on the corner," Wisbey remembers.

But Leisureland, sybaritic as it is, never comes across like Sodom and Gomorrah because the sparkling water runs freely and Jamie himself is so clear-eyed and straightforward.

A businessman who devised the Hollywood 48-Hour Miracle Diet (a "health spa in a bottle," the firm vows), Jamie ('diet guru to the stars') hugs people often, grabs their shoulders affectionately, and is quick to teach the uninitiated how to wave their hands in the air like they just don't care. "He's happy-go-lucky and wants everybody else in life to be happy-go-lucky, too," Wisbey says.

Leisureland is also all about family values. "Our family is here in Palm Springs," says Jay Jones, Jamie's friend and interior designer, who claims to be "just a Southern Baptist boy from Oklahoma."

"We make our own family," he says.

Jamie's house, an Alexander tract home in the neighborhood of Vista Las Palmas (where Jamie has headed the homeowners association), proved perfect for its intended uses. "I like clean lines, and it's a showcase for my photography collection," Jamie says.

And although Jamie and Jay have performed miracles with the house, they have left its architecture intact -- suggesting that mid-century homes really are as versatile as proponents claim. It was Jay who came up with the name for the house, which sits fortuitously enough on Leisure Way.

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"Who wouldn't love Leisureland," says Joey English, a popular TV and radio host in the Coachella Valley whose own home is done up in vintage Cowboys-and-Indians. "It isn't my style. But it's Jamie's style."

Shortly after arriving in Palm Springs, Jamie decided to become part of the scene. Wisbey helped. "I get invited to everything," she says, "and I started taking Jamie around." Soon Jamie was involved with the Human Rights Campaign, the Desert AIDS Project and the AIDS Assistance Program, and joined the board of the Palm Springs Art Museum.