Bella da Ball Finds a Home Among the Stars in Palm Springs

Popular diva stands out in a crowd, literally



Bella da Ball, aka Brian Wanzek, will receive a place on the Walk of Stars in front of Azul Tapas Lounge Nov. 9 in Palm Springs.

James Cesena

 

Growing up in a small town in Minnesota, there weren’t too many people that Brian Wanzek didn’t know.

“Everyone knew one another or was related to one another,” he says.

Palm Springs has become that kind of town for Wanzek, who is probably better known as Bella da Ball, the 6-foot-6 (in heels), big hair, big glasses diva often seen with a microphone and a clipboard as the emcee.

Since 2000, Bella has been at the front of a variety of functions and venues, running Trivia at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, a Cabaret Variety Dinner Revue at Azul Tapas Lounge or helping to spearhead a charity drive. In each case she keeps the show moving, punctuates the air with deadpan humor while disarming just about everyone in her path.

“It’s so much fun because I think they are taken a little awe of it (her appearance), yet they want to have their picture taken with me,” Bella says. “Or they ask, ‘Can I touch your hair’ or say, ‘You’re so tall’.”

Bella’s dedication to the Greater Palm Springs area didn’t go unnoticed. A group of Bella’s friends led by Doug Graham organized a drive to literally cement her place in the town’s celebrity history. On Nov. 9, Bella da Ball will become star No. 358 in front of Azul as part of the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

“I was totally amazed and overwhelmed,” Bella says of the movement to get her a star. “I was just gasping. Totally impressed and honored. I couldn’t believe it.”

It’s not the first time Bella has been honored. Wanzek has also received the Herb Lazenby Community Service Award for the AIDS Assistance Program at the annual Evening Under the Stars event last May, and the Outstanding Community Service Leader award from the Desert Business Association.

“My parents were very involved with community and charity events,” Wanzek says, “and I think they instilled in me to work with people, help people, work with the community, get out there and do a little bit, participate and support.”

While earning a place on the Walk of Stars is certainly a milestone, there are far more stages for Bella to grace going forward.

“I just did a wedding reception for two guys,” Bella says. “We totally surprised the guests. We came from behind the scenes and all of a sudden we were doing a drag show plus a hula-hoop contest. We’ve done funerals and wakes. One woman said if she ever dies, she wanted a drag show at her wake, so we did it.”

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

 

VIDEO: Hear how Bella da Ball got her name, look and where it all started.

Add your comment:
Desert Guide

Related Articles

Watch Our Top 10 Palm Springs Hotel Videos

Watch our videos to discover what the hotel options are in the Greater Palm Springs area from well-known big names to small, boutique hotels.

The Palm Springs Hotel Continues Boutique Resurgence

The Palm Springs Hotel, set to open this fall, will bring an industrial take on midcentury modern design in North Palm Springs.

10 Things to Do in Greater Palm Springs This Weekend

Palm Springs Life helps plan out your weekend in Palm Springs and the desert resort cities with concerts, events, restaurants, nightlife, clubs and the world of entertainment only found in the desert.

Cool Jazz on a Hot Summer Day at Mission Hills Country Club

A hot summer day was the perfect time for more than 150 supporters of ACT for Multiple Sclerosis to gather at Mission Hills Country Club for cool jazz.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club Brings Positive Vibe to 'Summer School'

Summer school has never been a good reason to celebrate until the Ace Hotel & Swim Club fashionably borrowed the name for its upcoming art and music collaboration in Palm Springs.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.