If it's Monday -- It Must be Bingo & Trivia at the Ace Hotel
“Bingo! I have bingo!” I yelled. I couldn’t believe it. But yes, every number on my card was covered. Emcee Shirley Claire strolled over -- placed one of her long legs on my table, waved a feather boa in the air, and sang, “Congratu-laaaaations!”
If it’s Monday night in Palm Springs – the Ace Hotel & Swim Club is the place to be. First for “Fabulous Bingo” in the King’s Highway diner -- a mix of singing, dancing, showbiz razzle dazzle and number-calling hosted by lifelong entertainer, former Fabulous Palm Springs Follies showgirl and recent star of America’s Got Talent Shirley Claire. Then for Ace Trivia, hosted by Palm Springs award-winning drag personality Bella da Ball, in the Amigo Room lounge.
And oh yes, there’s the bingo. It’s free. Shirley hands a card to everyone. You simply enjoy drinks and dinner. It’s gotten so popular, there are now two seatings. One at 6 p.m. and one at 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
As if Shirley isn’t enough fun. Mid-way through her 8 p.m. bingo show, Bella da Ball arrives – in full regalia -- and together they do a grand processional to one of Shirley’s songs; posing, partying, sitting on people’s laps.
At 9 p.m. Bella holds court in the Amigo Room hosting Ace Trivia. It’s free, too. And oh so popular. Bella has a loyal following of trivia enthusiasts, so get there early. Seating is first come, first serve. Since it’s in the bar, trivia is 21 and older.
Bella’s banter and story-telling is hilarious – especially with some of the wonderfully wrong answers. “Oh, oh – I know this,” I say, and hear others say, as we laugh and sip cocktails. But the contest is straight-laced about testing our trivia knowledge from entertainment and politics to history and geography. “Some of the questions are easy, some are fun, some are stupid and some are hard,” Bella says in her opening remarks. She sources the questions through years of research, a trivia service and various trivia games.
Players form teams. But no worries. “One person can be a team,” says Bella. She gives each team a whiteboard, pen and eraser. “Elect a secretary to record your answers,” she instructs.
Team members confab, write their answer on the board, flip it over and cap their pen. When time’s up, everyone holds up their boards and Bella makes the rounds with saucy comments about each answer.