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Let’s take a journey through time and explore some of Palm Springs’ colorful LGBTQ+ history. Palm Springs is known for its stunning landscapes, modernist architecture, and a thriving LGBTQ+ scene that has played a significant role in shaping the city’s unique identity. It has long been a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community, with notable celebrities like Rock Hudson, Liberace, and Tab Hunter among the many who sought refuge in the desert.

Palm Springs’ LGBTQ+ history is both fascinating and inspiring, providing insight into the progress made in the fight for equal rights and recognition, and the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert is a treasure trove of invaluable information dedicated to preserving and celebrating the stories, memories, and experiences of the community. The LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert makes this history accessible to the public through its extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that paint a vivid picture of LGBTQ+ life in the Coachella Valley.

An exhibition by the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert. Photo courtesy of the LGBTQ+ History & Archives

One of the key events highlighted by the archives is the city’s first Gay Pride Parade in 1986, a significant milestone that showcased the solidarity and resilience of the community. Another pivotal point in Palm Springs’ LGBTQ+ history was the election of Ron Oden, the city’s first openly gay Black mayor, in 2003. This momentous occasion represented a significant step forward in fostering a more inclusive and diverse city.

Today, the LGBTQ+ community continues to thrive in Palm Springs, with numerous events, organizations, and businesses catering to the diverse needs and interests of its members. The annual Palm Springs Pride is a shining example, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world to celebrate love, acceptance, and unity. Just recently, Greater Palm Springs Pride declared Palm Springs a Drag Sanctuary City at the Drag4Drag rally in Palm Springs. The organization is taking a stand against current anti-drag legislation and anti-LGBTQ+ extremism and supporting artistic expression and advocacy, and as a result, the 2023 Pride Week theme will be “Drag Now. Drag Forever.”

What’s more, Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner and councilmembers Jeffrey Bernstein and Ron deHarte proclaimed April 18 as Drag Celebration Day to honor the city’s vibrant and economically important drag community.

The LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert regularly hosts exhibits, such as “The Power of Story: How Local Media Put Gay Palm Springs on the Map,” as well as events, including a number of “Sharing Our Desert’s LGBTQ+ History” gatherings. Future plans include specialized exhibits, digitalization of various collections, and an LGBTQ+ segment along the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

Staying at one of Palm Springs’ iconic boutique hotels allows you to delve deeper into the city’s rich LGBTQ+ history while enjoying an authentic piece of Palm Springs history experience yourself. Many of these hotels are also members of the Desert Gay Tourism Guild (DGTG), ensuring that your stay is both welcoming and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. 

So, whether you’re a history enthusiast, an LGBTQ+ ally, or simply looking for a memorable vacation, Palm Springs and its boutique hotels are sure to exceed your expectations. There’s truly no place like Palm Springs for vacationers seeking a unique and fun-filled getaway, with a perfect blend of sunshine, culture, and history. 

The charming Bearfoot Inn is the only gay men’s clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs’ historic Movie Colony neighborhood, putting it just steps away from all the action of downtown.

Once they arrived in Palm Springs, Glen Boomhour and Jerry Pergolesi knew they were in the right place.

The owners of the Bearfoot Inn originally had planned to open a hotel in Florida; as Canadians, this is the “go to sun destination,” Jerry said. Instead, they opened as a bed and breakfast in Toronto, which “gave us time to open our field of vision and take a serious look at Palm Springs,” Jerry said. “We’re glad we did.”

The Bearfoot Inn is proud to serve the gay community, in one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world.

After 11 years in Toronto, The Bearfoot Inn in Palm Springs officially opened on Jan. 1, 2013, although word spread ahead of time and they opened their doors a few days early to welcome drop-in guests.

“What’s great about Palm Springs is the weather, of course, and Palm Springs is probably the most gay positive city in the U.S.,” Jerry said.

The Bearfoot Inn is in the historic Movie Colony neighborhood, the only clothing-optional gay men’s resort with this distinction, and just steps away from downtown. Its 11 guest rooms all have memory foam mattresses, extra-large showers, and flatscreen televisions, and guests can relax outside in the heated saltwater pool and spa.

“We love the desert and we love that Palm Springs is so cosmopolitan while retaining a small town feel,” Jerry said. “In many respects, that is reflected in our attitude about Bearfoot Inn. We’re small, laid-back, and casual, but a little savvy, too — at least we hope we are.”

Jerry and Glen enjoy being involved in the community, and appreciate the support and sense of camaraderie amongst the hoteliers.

“We’re so happy to be part of something that makes Palm Springs special, from being the city with the most LGBTQ hotels to being amongst the many boutique hotels that give Palm Springs its unique charm as a sun destination or a weekend getaway,” Jerry said.

It’s that time of year, when Palm Springs throws The Dinah — the biggest, baddest lesbian party in the world. 

Running from Sept. 20-24, The Dinah will be held at the big hotels, and if you like being in the thick of it 24/7, then read no further. If you’d prefer your own getaway from the getaway, then I have some suggestions. If you’re coming in a group, I have ideas for that, too.

Palm Springs boutique hotels for groups

The Marley is a hotel with one rule: you gotta rent the whole place. From their website: “The Marley isn’t like all the other Palm Springs boutique hotels. In fact, it isn’t like any other boutique hotel. After all, we designed it to fit the exact needs of one unique group of guests at a time. So you and your friends can relax like Hollywood royalty — in total privacy.”

Women use floats in the pool at The Marley in Palm Springs

Hang out with the whole gang at The Marley. Photo courtesy of The Marley

The Three Ten Hotel, recently renovated and remodeled, is a mid-century modern property that’s rented out to just one group at a time. The gated hotel’s seven rooms are all brightly decorated and have queen-sized beds, kitchenettes, full bathrooms, and patios. There is also an arcade/game room and washer and dryer on the property, and all bedrooms have a view of the sparkling central pool. On top of all that, there’s a firepit, barbecue and outdoor dining space, lounge chairs, hot tub, and a hammock, surrounded by lovely desert landscaping. No on-site staff.

The living room space with a couch and arcade game at The Three Ten Hotel in Palm Springs

The Three Ten Hotel has an arcade in the common room. Photo courtesy of The Three Ten Hotel

Limón Palm Springs is a one-group-at-a-time property, and its “celebration specialists” will help with everything from reserving transportation and golf tee-times to hiring a gourmet chef to make a delicious meal onsite. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a charcuterie board featuring locally-sourced ingredients, plus chilled bottles of prosecco and sparkling rosé.

A colorful bedroom at Limon Palm Springs with patterned wallpaper and a bed with a yellow blanket

One of the colorful bedrooms at Limón Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Limón Palm Springs

Blackhaus is a truly unique space. Just look at it! I’m not going to say any more — I just urge you to look for yourself.

An aerial view of Blackhaus hotel in Palm Springs

Four separate buildings make up Blackhaus. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

There are other places to stay, and ostensibly do a buyout. I’ve done the sorting for you — just go here.

More cool places to stay during The Dinah

Dive! Stunning hotel, marvelous pool, and exceptionally well-curated rooms. There’s also a soundproof after-hours room, so you can continue the party well into the morning.

A gilded elevator cage that has been converted into a bed frame at Dive Palm Springs

The Paris Suite at Dive showcases a 1919 brass and copper elevator cage. Photo courtesy of Dive Palm Springs

Drift, one of our newest hotels, is located downtown and has a plethora of social events. It’s a stunning hotel, just steps away from everything.

The pool at Drift Palm Springs surrounded by lounge chairs with the hotel's building in the background

The poolside views at Drift are delightful. Photo courtesy of Drift Palm Springs

Villa Royale is a 38-room hotel in the south end of Palm Springs. Built in 1947, it was owned and managed by a woman named Evelyn Pell. You can stay in her namesake villa, a private residence with its own hot tub and garden.

A chair and fireplace in a room at Villa Royale Palm Springs that has a tile wall and hanging picture of Debbie Harry

The Villa Royale is known for its stylish and art-filled rooms. Photo courtesy of Villa Royale

Old Ranch Inn  is done in a western style, and damn it is gorgeous! The eight-suite, dog-friendly property is completely walled and gated for your privacy. It’s centered around the pool, which is heated to a perfect 88 degrees. Old Ranch Inn is an intimate hideaway to call your very own, and as a bonus, it’s located one block west of Palm Canyon, making downtown your playground.

The pool at Old Ranch Inn with blue chairs around it

The pool is always 88 degrees at Old Ranch Inn. Photo courtesy of Old Ranch Inn

There are so many more Palm Springs boutique hotels, in so many different styles, that it’ll blow your mind. Visit the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to find the place that will boost your Dinah experience.

Have fun!

Chaps Inn caters to the gay leather and bear communities

The Chaps Inn offers comfort and relaxation in a secluded environment.

Stuart and Ian have owned the resort for almost 20 years, coming to Palm Springs from the UK.

“We had nothing to do with the hotel business at all, we just went straight in cold turkey,” Ian said. “We woke up one morning and thought, ‘Now what?’ It’s been a very good experience.”

The Chaps Inn is a 10-room clothing-optional gay resort, with a saltwater pool and spa. Most rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes, some have private patios, and the hotel is within walking distance of downtown Palm Springs. It caters to the leather and bear communities, and sees a lot of return guests.

“They always tell us what a wonderful time they’ve had, and that they will be back,” Ian said.

When they purchased the property, it was a straight resort and not clothing optional, but Stuart and Ian quickly picked up a client base through word of mouth. The couple enjoys getting to meet their new guests and greet return ones, and they don’t mind when the temperature soars.

“The weather is fabulous,” Ian said. “We’re both from England, so we absolutely love the heat.”

Twin Palms Resort is Palm Springs’ newest kid on the block. 

An upscale boutique hotel, Twin Palms is a brother property to the Santiago and Descanso. This trio of remarkable resorts offer gay men a gorgeous selection of naturally chic, swimsuit-optional retreats right in the heart of Palm Springs, and having now experienced all three properties myself, I can happily say “the third time’s a charm” with Twin Palms Resort.

Welcome to Twin Palms Resort. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Santiago was my first experience at a men’s resort in Palm Springs, back in 2018. As a 40-year-old gay man living in Los Angeles at the time, I’d never felt such freedom and restoration from a long weekend away from my big-city life. It was a game-changing experience for me.

I was curious how the other men-only resorts here in the Coachella Valley compared to the distinguishable Santiago experience. “How different can they all be?” I wondered. Having now experienced the majority of gay hotels here, it’s a privilege to be writing about what a spectrum of enticing options we have — each with its own flavor, vibe, and healing benefits.

The modern clubhouse. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

Twin Palms Resort is no different from its brother properties when it comes to top-notch luxury and leisure. The “casually extravagant” experience is what many have come to expect from a Resorts Palm Springs property, and yet Twin Palms already has a distinct personality of its own. Santiago has a modern Spanish aesthetic, while Descanso boasts a “California garden patio” motif. Twin Palms is the first to celebrate a true mid-century modern concept inside and out.

Nested in Palm Springs’ first modernist neighborhood, Twin Palms Estates, the resort looks as timeless as it does fresh in style, with its pops of yellows, blues, and greens. These colors accent that classic, clean white modernism style that makes Palm Springs architecture so iconic. It might even rival the hotel’s historic start — opened in 1959 as the Brentwood Apartments, the property was originally developed to blend in with the neighborhood’s 90 modernist tract homes, designed by one of the founding fathers of Palm Springs modernism, William Krisel.

Hotel guests can use these bikes to tool around town. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

What really makes Twin Palms Resort unique is its communal layout. The perfectly heated saltwater swimming pool acts as a centerpiece to its 20 single-story guest rooms, yellow umbrellas, and chaise lounges that all wrap around the pool like a rainbow. The 12-man spa is just as welcoming as the luxurious patio space, which faces a breathtaking view of the San Jacinto Mountains.

You have to love those mountain views. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

Like Santiago and Descanso, the Twin Palms experience also includes a hip clubhouse guest lounge, a communal fire pit, an outdoor mist cooling system, a 24-hour canteen with complimentary beverages, a daily complimentary continental breakfast, and complimentary poolside lunch.

You can expect the same level of guest service as well from Twin Palms’ friendly staff, and in-room welcome amenities too. Some highlights include beautiful modern gay artwork, a resort texting hotline for direct communication with the staff, lamps with charging stations, luxurious heavy-weight bathrobes, some fun “adult goodies” in the drawer of each bedside table, and even a personalized welcome note upon your arrival.

A plush king room at Twin Palms. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

In addition to an outdoor shower and pool bathroom communal showers, every room features grand marble bathrooms with spacious walk-in glass showers, sporting both rain and handheld shower heads – lending even more community appeal to the place.

The outdoor shower is one perk of staying at Twin Palms. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Twin Palms Resort is also as earth-friendly as it is gay-friendly, offering off-street guest parking with four electric vehicle chargers, sustainable bath products from Public Goods, and even bicycles you can borrow to explore the neighborhood.

It’s easy enough to retreat from the community as well. Every room features remote lighting and window shades, as well as private rear patios. Even the mini-fridge is tucked away in the bathroom vanity, which I thought was a clever decision.

The author enjoying his room at the Twin Palms. Photo by Gregory Douglass

What makes the communal aspect of Twin Palms Resort so special is its potential for new friends and new connections to be made. In an environment somehow as nonchalant as it is enveloping, it was seamless to connect with fellow guests and then naturally go our separate ways. 

I’ve learned that every resort has a “scene” of its own. Time will tell what the Twin Palms scene is — but the stage is set for all sorts of possibilities. I suspect it will help spark a long line of lasting friendships that will all begin at the charming little gay hotel in Twin Palms Estates.

Unwind in the resort’s pool and spa. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

Beyond its scenic mountain views, mid-century modernist appeal, and boutique hotel poolside sanctuaries, Palm Springs is also a vibrant hub for live theater. For those seeking to infuse their vacation oasis with a splash of drama, Palm Springs and its neighboring cities in the Coachella Valley offer a year-round theatrical journey like no other.

I recently had the opportunity to experience the local theater scene myself, and am thrilled to be spotlighting five theater companies that are raising the bar here in the low desert.

The Bent

A man with a white wig and black mustache stands with his arms out during a performance of "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde" performed at The Bent in Palm Springs, California

“Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” is part of The Bent’s first full season. Photo: Jim Cox

About: The Bent is a nonprofit theater that has served the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley LGBTQ+ community since Dec. 13, 2022. As a relatively new theater company in town, The Bent’s mission is to keep LGBTQ+ theater alive here in the Valley. 

The local community and other organizations came together to support The Bent in their inaugural year, as they launched their first full season and gained their sea legs. The Bent’s first three shows were all nominated for either Best Comedy or Best Drama of the Year by the Desert Theater League, and had a total of 14 nominations.

My experience: I had the opportunity to attend Gross Indecency: The Three Trials Of Oscar Wilde, by Moises Kaufman. Based entirely on facts, the show was a blueprint for the price Oscar Wilde paid for his status as a gay icon. The performance I saw was masterful in its writing as well as its acting. The show starred Brent Anderson, Melanie Blue, Tony Bradford, Kai Brothers, Stan Jenson, Barbara Kerr, Jason Mannino, Willie Mullins, Alex Price and Koby Queenen. Every detail was well executed, from the beautiful set to the dynamic, versatile cast. I’m looking forward to seeing more from The Bent.

The Bent, The Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., Palm Springs

Coachella Valley Repertory

Eric Phelps and Jack Mastrianni on stage at the Coachella Valley Repretory

“The Fantasticks: A Love Story Reimagined” had its West Coast debut at the Coachella Valley Repertory. Photo: David A. Lee

About: Coachella Valley Repertory’s new Executive Artistic Director Adam Karsten is committed to bringing Broadway-caliber talent to the desert for a true theater experience in an intimate setting at affordable prices. During a recent conversation I had with Karsten, he mentioned the phenomenon that “heartbeats can actually synchronize throughout a show when it’s this intimate.” 

With the Coachella Valley Repertory now in its 16th season, Karsten’s vision is to continue building upon a storied history while introducing fresh initiatives, like their new works program Origins, a page-to-stage development program. The first show, Summer Session with The Bones Brigade, is premiering this month.

My experience: I was invited to the West Coast premiere of The Fantasticks: A Love Story Reimagined. I was very impressed with the aesthetics and caliber of operations within the theater itself before the show even began. While I can’t say The Fantasticks has even been one of my favorite shows, it was refreshing to see a new, very LGBTQ-inclusive spin on the play. It was a heartwarming Romeo-and-Juliet love story between two boys (in this reimagined version) with their mothers at the helm. The real highlights for me were the characters Henry and Mortimer, who both provided comic relief and masterful acting throughout. As a musician myself, I also felt it was an intriguing choice to have the orchestra consist of only a pianist and a harpist. I can’t wait to check out a new works production in the near future.

Coachella Valley Repertory, 68510 E. Palm Canyon Dr., Cathedral City

Dezart Performs

A white woman stands next to a white man holding a book while a smiling white woman sits down in a chair

“The Thanksgiving Play” is a snarky comedy. Photo: David A. Lee

About: Running strong for 16 years now, Dezart Performs has consistently produced innovative, contemporary plays that audiences in the Coachella Valley would otherwise only see while visiting a larger city like Los Angeles or San Francisco. That was one of their founding principles, and the Valley has welcomed the kind of bold, thought-provoking work that Dezart Performs presents. And as an Equity-sanctioned professional theater, Dezart Performs draws upon the rich talent pool both locally and from across Southern California, casting gifted amateurs alongside experienced pros.

My experience: I attended Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, a snarky comedy about four well-intentioned but terminally “woke” theater artists at an elementary school attempting to create a pageant that will somehow celebrate both Turkey Day and honor Native American Heritage Month. FastHorse is the first Native American playwright to have a show produced on Broadway, which is important to know in order to really appreciate a show this brash. That said, I was particularly fond of the writing and the flavor of comedy screaming through the storyline. While the jokes weren’t always delivered as I believe they were intended to be, it was a strong, committed cast throughout. It will be interesting to see what Dezart Performs does next.

Dezart Performs, Pearl McManus Theater at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Rd., Palm Springs

Desert Ensemble Theatre

A woman in a black top and red skirt sings while on a dark stage

“Collective Rage: A Play In 5 Betties” is an outrageously fun production. Photo courtesy of Desert Ensemble Theatre

About: Desert Ensemble Theatre is committed to producing innovative plays that underscore the complexity of human interaction. DET offers theater internships to high school students, giving them on-the-job experience in professional productions and even awarding scholarships to graduating seniors who plan on continuing their higher education in theater arts. DET was named Best Repertory Company in the Desert Sun’s 2018 Best of the Valley Awards, and has since been honored with 28 Desert Theatre League Awards in all major categories.

My experience: I had the joy of sitting front-row center for a performance of Collective Rage: A Play In 5 Betties, an outrageously fun, queer, and female-focused show by Jen Silverman. It’s a story about when the lives of five women named Betty collide, and it’s a hard one to explain without seeing it for yourself. This was a strong cast of Betties, and there was one particular Betty who made me laugh until I cried towards the end of the performance; it was a glorious way to close out a show. It’s always a treat to see a Desert Ensemble Theatre production.

Desert Ensemble Theatre, The Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Rd., Palm Springs

Palm Canyon Theater

Six "RENT" cast members hold their fists up while on stage a the Palm Canyon Theater in Palm Springs, California

“RENT” is part of the Palm Canyon Theater’s 27th season lineup. Photo: Carlos Mendoza

About: Palm Canyon Theater is proud to be the Coachella Valley’s longest-running theater company. They opened their doors in September 1997 after Dr. William “Bill” Layne and his family submitted the winning proposal to the City of Palm Springs for how to repurpose the historic Frances S. Stevens School with a cultural nonprofit organization. Now in their 27th season, the Palm Canyon Theatre has since grown into a huge family taking on all sorts of ambitious and widely-loved shows in their lineup.

My experience: I had the opportunity to attend Palm Canyon Theatre’s production of RENT, however… I missed the performance entirely because I had the date wrong on my calendar (doh!). As embarrassed as I was to admit that to the kind people who comped me two press passes, I am still thrilled to include them in this article. 

I caught one number from PCP’s cast of RENT in a live concert performance at the Arenas Halloween Block Party main stage, and I was very impressed. That said, I can’t wait to see a future PCP show myself. I’m particularly fond of the music from The Light in the Piazza, so I’m looking forward to being in the audience for that one.

Palm Canyon Theater, 538 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs

A rich cultural fabric

These theater companies exemplify the thriving artistic spirit here in Palm Springs and its surroundings. Each venue offers a unique glimpse into the world of live performance, reflecting the diverse and rich cultural fabric of the area. From the intimate, reflective shows at The Bent to the grand, Broadway-like productions of the Coachella Valley Repertory, there’s a performance here for every theater enthusiast.

Just as these theaters bring stories to life, our small boutique hotels craft a similarly unique and personal experience. Each hotel, with its distinctive style and intimate setting, offers a gateway to the local culture and the vibrant heart of Palm Springs. There’s truly nowhere else quite like it for a vacation filled with fun, culture, and bottomless hospitality.

If you’re looking for a one-stop cultural shop for film festivals, a farmers’ market, live performances, arts programs, theater productions, lectures, food, libations, and more, look no further than the Palm Springs Cultural Center. 

Since its grand opening in 2019, the Palm Springs Cultural Center has been dedicated to offering diverse programming, and is certainly catching its stride this year with an impressive 2023 lineup and experiences. The center truly feels like the cultural heartbeat of our community here in the Coachella Valley.

The Camelot Theatre. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Cultural Center

The Palm Springs Cultural Center was founded in 2007 by Palm Springs philanthropists Ric and Rozene Supple. In 1999, the Supples bought and refurbished the historic Camelot Theatres building, and operated it as a three-screen complex with a full bar and restaurant. They introduced a list of prestigious events to the community, including Cinema Diverse and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. When the Supples gifted the Camelot Theatres building to the Palm Springs Cultural Center in 2017, they instilled their legacy and lifelong dedication to culture and the arts here in Palm Springs.

Ric and Rozene Supple. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Cultural Center

The newly-minted Palm Springs Cultural Center opened its doors in January 2019, and the PSCC team set out to “incubate, produce, and encourage arts and cultural programs in order to leverage the unique power of creativity to open minds, bridge what divides us, and discover what connects us.” Its diverse programming aimed to inspire learning and deepen the relationships with the local community, and recognized the interconnection between the cultural arts and food culture. After introducing its first theater company and producing its first show, COVID took the world by storm, and like so many others, the Palm Springs Cultural Center had to close its doors. 

Welcome to the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Cultural Center

However, the Farmers Market continued to operate throughout the pandemic, being deemed a necessary business. A little over a year later, the Palm Springs Cultural Center re-opened, reignited its theater program, and brought live music to the mix. After speaking with Palm Springs Cultural Center Executive Director Michael Green, Nunzio Sisto entered the picture as music program director, introducing classical music and further diversifying both the music and theater programs.

Gregory Douglass performs at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Photo courtesy of Gregory Douglass

The PSCC team’s ongoing mission for the Farmers’ Market is to serve the community as the only one in the Coachella Valley that matches dollar-for-dollar (up to $15 per person) for those who are in need of food and part of low-income and/or senior food programs. For instance, a family of four may be entitled to $60 worth of matching funds every week. This program echoes the Palm Springs Cultural Center’s dedication to making its programming as accessible as possible for all income levels.

What’s more, the PSCC team also aspires to remain a good community partner, offering its space to organizations in need of a place to gather for meetings or rehearsals, like the Sunrise Park Neighborhood Association, The L-Fund, and the Youth Training Orchestra.

The radical shift to home box office streaming content has changed the game for movie theater-goers over the years. Even major theater chains have suffered, but the Palm Springs Cultural Center has pivoted its focus to revival films and special event screenings, making for more integrated, memorable experiences. A recent Valentine’s Day screening of Moulin Rouge featured curated grazing boxes of special love-themed treats to enjoy throughout the film. In addition, local gay organization Among Friends presents ongoing gay cult classic films that are as immersive as they are entertaining.

The “Moulin Rouge” snack boxes. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Cultural Center

If you’re curious about all that lies ahead, check out the Palm Springs Cultural Center’s 2023 lineup. Highlights include the Glenn Miller Orchestra in music (March 13), Martin Sherman’s GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM in theater (through March 4), Jimmy Dore Live in comedy (March 25), the American Documentary Film Festival in film (March 30 – April 3), and the Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market (each Saturday). There’s also weekly live music upstairs in the lounge, featuring local musicians like Keisha D, Mon Petit Salon with Jeremie Levi, and Leanna & the Jazz Collective.

Leanna & The Jazz Collective. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Cultural Center

Of course, all this diverse programming costs money. The Palm Springs Cultural Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which means that it relies on the ongoing support of the very community it serves. You can help PSCC by becoming a sustaining member in exchange for enjoying complimentary screenings, member-only discounts, and pre-sale opportunities. You can also make a tax-deductible donation, sign up for the PSCC’s newsletter, and even ​purchase a seat (or several) for yourself and to honor someone else in the community.

The Modern Men’s Gay Chorus performs on stage. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Cultural Center

The Santiago Resort celebrated its 20th anniversary by undergoing a complete transformation, but its mission remains the same — to provide guests with outstanding service in a serene environment.

The Santiago first opened its doors in the 1990s, and came under new ownership in March 2015, when three partners purchased the hotel and set out to “redefine what a premier gay resort can be,” general manager Kent Taylor said. All 23 rooms have been completely upgraded in the Modern Ranchero style, with custom-designed furniture, luxurious linens, Saltillo tile, and FLOR carpet.

Outside, guests can lounge around the pool, which is the largest of any of the men’s gay resorts in Palm Springs, make their way through the tranquil gardens, and stop by the 24-hour cantina with complimentary beverages and snacks. As the resort is swimsuit-optional, there is a large hedge surrounding it, ensuring privacy for all guests.

The staff goes out of its way to make sure guests are comfortable and feel welcome, and they enjoy getting to meet a variety of people. “We have world travelers who have so much to say and so many interesting stories to tell,” Kent said. “I love that every single day is different. One would think it is the same thing over and over, but it’s quite the opposite — every day is a new experience, a new challenge, and new faces.”