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A destination for movie stars since the silent film era, Palm Springs has also long been on the short list for location scouts in search of substitutes for desertscapes around the world.

In 1918, Salome starring Theda Bara was filmed in the Indian Canyons (now the preserve with crazy good hiking). It wasn’t the first documented movie shot in Palm Springs — that was The Heir to the Hoorah in 1916 at the same location, directed by Cecil B. De Mille’s brother, William Churchill De Mille. The only copy of this film is in the Library of Congress. You can find the somewhat bizarre synopsis here.

The next two movies are both on streamers, and both shot in Palm Springs at Tahquitz Canyon’s waterfall. This area was used as a stand-in for Shangri-la in the 1937 film Lost Horizon (starring Jane Wyatt) and subbed for the Sahara Desert in The Sheik (1921) starring silent film heartthrob Rudolph Valentino. He became a frequent guest at The Palm Springs Hotel after it was purchased by the White sisters.

Tahquitz Canyon waterfall

Tahquitz Canyon’s waterfall. Courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Cornelia White was integral to Valentino not being convicted in a crime of a scandalous nature. Here’s the story: Valentino’s divorce decree to actress Jean Acker stated he could not remarry for one year after their divorce, but Valentino’s love for costume designer Natacha Rambova was reckless and apparently lawless, because one day before the year was up, they eloped to Mexico. Their honeymoon was spent at The Palm Springs Hotel, and somebody snitched. At trial, White testified that Rambova spent the night with her and not Valentino, who slept on the porch. As the marriage wasn’t consummated, Valentino was acquitted of bigamy.

But we’re not here for salacious stories (at least not today). We’re here for the movies that were filmed in and around Palm Springs and I’m gonna give you the locations of some of the places that still remain today. Let’s go!

The Damned Don’t Cry! (1950) starring Mommie Dearest herself, Joan Crawford, playing a gangster’s moll. This film noir is set at her boyfriend’s “Desert Springs” getaway. The home was actually the Twin Palms Estate, a.k.a. the main residence of Palm Springs’ most famous resident, gangster-friendly Frank Sinatra. It’s in what is called The Movie Colony neighborhood where — you guessed it — a lot of movie stars had homes. 

Frank Sinatra standing next to a microphone

Frank Sinatra. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Sinatra’s is a class one historic site designed by E. Stewart Williams and built by the Alexander Company, the one/two punch that solidifies its mid-century modern provenance. You can drive past it at 1148 E. Alejo Road, and if you get to the website fast enough, you can book a tour of it during Modernism Week. A wee bit of apocryphal gossip: a crack in the vanity of the main bathroom supposedly happened when Ava Gardner threw a champagne bottle at Frank during one of their famous fights. (Rent the movie on Prime, Apple, YouTube, Vudu.)

Palm Springs Weekend (1963) — Forget Daytona Beach and all the other Floridian hotspots where the spring break beach movies were set, this film has Connie Stevens, Troy Donahue, and the Girl From U.N.C.L.E., Stephanie Powers, partying in Palm Springs. Still standing locations: the police station at 200 S. Civic Drive and Margaritavilla (known as The Riviera at the time) at 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive. (Rent on Vudu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime.)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971), starring Sean Connery as Bond, used Palm Springs as a stand in for the South African portion of their hijinks. Most importantly, the marvelous summer home of billionaire brainiac Willard Whyte (Jimmy Dean) is still standing and also a class one historic site. The Elrod Home at 2175 Southridge Drive is architecturally significant, designed by starchitect John Lautner. Unfortunately you can’t go in, and you can’t really get to it. It’s way up on a bluff and it’s gated. The best way to see it is from East Palm Canyon and look up. (Do not do this if you are the driver, ‘k?) 

The "Diamonds are Forever" poster

The “Diamonds are Forever” poster.

It’s right next to Bob Hope’s house (also designed by Lautner), the spaceship looking residence you can spot while heading east on Highway 111. Your best chances to go in, or at least see the outside closer, are during Modernism Week, but it’s not a sure bet. A definite bucket list item for any Bondophile though. (Movie is available on premium streaming subscriptions only.)

American Gigolo (1980) — Besides the fact that this is about a male prostitute, a bit of a switcheroo for Hollywood, it is remembered (fondly) by many for its full-frontal nude shots of Richard Gere. As for Palm Springs? When he and Michelle (Lauren Hutton) come for the weekend they stay at 2389 S. Yosemite Drive in the Indian Canyons neighborhood. If you’re a golfer, you can actually play a round at Indian Canyons North Course and get closer than a driveby. If you’re a man who enjoys full-frontal nudity, check out our men’s swimsuit-optional boutique hotels. (Movie available on premium streamers Paramount & MGM and to rent on Prime, Apple, Vudu.)

We’re only up to the 1980s, and I actually skipped through a few decades of films that aren’t particularly recognizable in name or star, and we’ve still got plenty more to go, but we’ve run out of space this month. And I haven’t even told you about the films shot at some of our small boutique hotels yet.

While planning your next Palm Springs getaway, why not peep a few of the above films, then visit the locations when you get here. Fun! And when you stay and shop local you keep Palm Springs keeping on which means good karma!

I’ll see you next time because this will be continued…

“Baking can be done with a few simple ingredients, so it’s about simplicity and nostalgia — people are reminded of their childhood.” — Paul Hollywood

When I was a kid, if the sun was out, so was I, often jumping back and forth over the sprinkler when it got hot. When I hit my teens, we slathered ourselves in baby oil and iodine (don’t do that), threw a towel down in the backyard and baked in the sun until we got hot (do not do that either).

If you’re still a sun worshiper and love the heat, it’s a great time to come to Palm Springs. The deals on the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are banging (check out the Summer Splash Pass) and the restaurants are offering the Summer Eats Pass — that equates to an inexpensive getaway to the happiest, most laidback, little big town with its own international airport.

August 5: Craft Beer Festival

August 9: Chef’s Dinner at Boozehounds

August 10: Copa Nightclub — Lokera Thursdays (and future Thursdays) presents La Toxica Tour with a live performance from Mariah Angeliq. This weekly party features sets from JPatron, Boogs, and DJ Dynamiq, spinning reggaeton and hip hop.

August 11-13: Splash House (lineup)

August 11: Emo Nite at Pretty Faces nightclub

August 12 – 13: Clear The Shelters — The goal for the weekend will be to adopt out as many animals as possible. Boozehounds has agreed to cover the adoption fees for the entire weekend.

An ad for Clear the Shelters showing a cartoon dog and cat

Courtesy of Clear the Shelters

August 13: Diva Royale Drag Show at Pete’s Hideaway

August 18 – 20: Splash House (lineup)

August 19: Super Mario Bros screening at PS Swim Center, 405 S Pavilion Way, Palm Springs

Recurring events

Reforma — Check out their Saturday Drag Brunches. They change weekly, with themes like Disney Princess and Taylor Swift.

Cascade at Agua Caliente Palm Springs — Comedy, Jazzville, Latin Nights, and more. Throw a few coins in the slots after the show, maybe you’ll get lucky.

Crystal Fantasy — Psychic Fair every weekend, and drum circles.

Drift Hotel — Lots of fun pool parties going on.

Oscar’s — They’re under construction, but they’re still plugging away.

V Wine Lounge — Monday nights Leanna Rodgers, Tuesdays Keisha D.

Toucan’s Tiki & Cabaret — Always a party, never a drag, even though most of the shows are drag. Late night dancing.

Saturdays: Disco Inferno at Reforma (9 p.m.). Stay in town longer and dance all night on Motown Mondays (7 p.m.).

Palm Springs Cultural Center — The first cineplex in Palm Springs, the not-for-profit now has weekly musical acts, plays, markets (farmers’ on Saturdays), and larger name performers.

Courtesy of Palm Springs Cultural Center

Daytime indoor shopping

The Flannery Exchange

Flannery Exchange is really stepping up its game. Besides offering workshare space, there are dining options. Café La Jefa partners with Sisters Coffee, and their menu features espresso drinks, healthy gourmet food, pastries, and savory eats. Juices and tea also available. (FYI: Café La Jefa is closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays for the summer, check the website for hours.)

Bar Chingona is a fun spot to grab a cocktail, and the other stores are pretty boss too:

It Refills — Really for locals, but bring your own container (or buy a glass one there) and fill it up with organic detergents, shampoos and conditioners, and face and hand cream. It’s all 100% Earth friendly. (I’m so enthralled with this idea.)

Bobo Palm Springs — Boutique carrying a curated collection of artisan goods from women-owned brands, women-of-color artists, and queer artists, with a rare selection of Japanese stationery writing and artist’s tools.

Covet — Handcrafted artisan jewelry, gifts, apparel, and home accessories.

Joyful Living — Sustainable designer fashion and fine art in a showroom highlighting timeless vintage luxury pieces still on trend, i.e Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Cartier, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, and more. By appointment only.

MIU — Man in Uniform is designed in L.A., made in Turkey. A range of high-quality printed rayon shirts and premium cotton T- shirts capturing California chic.

Carmela Ice Cream Company — Award-winning seasonal ice creams made completely from scratch in small batches using fresh, real ingredients. Often combining herbs and spices with seasonal fruits, Carmela is considered a pioneer in farm-to-table, artisan ice cream and has been churning out inventive and delicious flavors since 2007.

House of Florals — All things flowers except (from what I can tell) fresh ones. But local flowers are the inspiration for their wallpapers and home accessories.

Antiquing and thrifting

Besides the many options for retro and mid-mod accessories downtown In town, there are two large spaces to shop cool, and two of them are thrifters that profit nonprofits. People get tired of things, and then they donate them, and we get to rifle through them and find the stuff that needs to be in our closets.

Angel View — Angel View serves children and adults with disabilities. They have a big old store and they have an upscale boutique right next door. 462 N Indian Canyon Drive (corner of Indian Canyon and Alejo).

Revivals — The profits from this store help DAP Health offer healthcare and support an affordable housing project for the Coachella Valley. 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive.

Both nonprofits do pretty bomb things, so go get yourself a bargain.

And lucky you, just across the street and a block down Sunny Dunes is Antiques Row (at least that’s what I call it). There are single stores scattered all over the area (most of them are on the street called Industrial) and two malls that can keep you enthralled for hours at a time, right up to happy hour.

Temporary closings

Bar Cecil — closed August 14 – 21

PS Underground — reopening September

Purple Room — reopening September

Johnny Costa’s Ristorante — reopening September

Peninsula Pastries — reopening September 7

John Henry’s Cafe — reopening September 22

Tyler’s Burgers — reopening September 1

Miro’s — reopening August 31

Café Mon Amour — reopening September 1

Jake’s — reopening “end of September”

Like the song says, “I’ll see you … in September!”

“I got my hands up, they’re playin’ my song, they know I’m gonna be okay. Yeah, it’s a party in the U.S.A.”Miley Cyrus 

Commemorating the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, Independence Day was declared a federal holiday in 1870.

In 1941, thanks to 32 — shorthand for the shorthand FDR, a.k.a. POTUS Franklin Delano Roosevelt (I could talk in acronyms all day, I once worked in IT) — it became a paid federal holiday.

FDR was not an author of the Declaration — he was born over a century later — but he did an awful lot for America: he brought us out of the Great Depression, saw us through World War II, established the New Deal (which included Social Security), and much, much more.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress/Unsplash

He was so popular he was elected president four consecutive times. In 1932 he won the popular vote and received 472 electoral votes, carrying 42 states. In ’36 he won 60 percent of the popular vote, with only Maine and Vermont electorates backing his opponent. The 1940 and 1944 elections held more of the same, but to a slightly lesser degree. It’s hard to imagine an America so in tune with each other. I mean, four terms equals 12 years (I did the math for you, you’re welcome), and the majority of Americans agreed that FDR was the right man for the times. Under his guidance, America prospered. Had he not come into power, as they say, the outlook for America was very bleak.

FDR never visited Palm Springs, but his son Elliot built a gorgeous mid-century home in Indian Wells before he moved to Arizona. You can peek it here. (Side note: Elliot was a writer. He wrote mystery novels based at the White House, all solved by none other than his intrepid mother, the great Eleanor Roosevelt.)

If you’re celebrating the Fourth this year, here are the fun and fabulous celebrations lighting up Palm Springs:

Courtesy of the city of Palm Springs (a.k.a. free events)

July 1: Stay cool while enjoying the family friendly dive-in movie Jungle Cruise. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Palm Springs Swim Center, 405 S. Pavilion Way, in the Sunrise Plaza Complex.

July 2: Celebrate with a drone show and concert featuring music from Petty and the Heartshakers. 6:30 p.m. at Downtown Park, Museum Way at Belardo Road (adjacent to the Forever Marilyn sculpture).

July 3: Watch the ’80s classic Goonies at Ruth Hardy Park, 700 Tamarisk Road. The flick starts at 7:30 p.m.

July 4: Grab your suits and attend the family-friendly pool party at the Palm Springs Swim Center. There will be water games, an inflatable slide, music, and great food. You can also watch the city’s “All American Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” at Palm Springs Stadium from the pool. The fun will last from 3 p.m. until the fireworks are over. Palm Springs Swim Center, 405 S. Pavilion Way.

July 4: Concert in the Park: “Turn the Page, Tribute to Bob Seger” in Sunrise Park, 480 S. Sunrise Way, 5:30 p.m.

Fireworks light up the sky. Courtesy of Pixabay

Pay to play

July 4: Independence Day Celebration and Fundraiser for AAP – Food Samaritans

Perched on the mountainside above the Palm Springs Art Museum is the O’Donnell House, where they are holding a benefit for Food Samaritans from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Powerhouse singer and entertainer Keisha D will provide the entertainment while Willie Rhine and his highly regarded Eight4Nine team will cater the event. View the city of Palm Springs’ fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. Tickets are $175. For more information, call 760-325-8481 or click the above link.

July 4: Palm Springs Power Baseball “All Stars Summer Collegiate Game,” Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 Baristo Road, 6 p.m. (with fireworks at 9:15 p.m.).

July 4: Palm Springs Cultural Center — There’s something for everyone on the agenda. Rock out to all your favorite ’80s hits with music provided by DJ Mod Girl (she’s a party all by herself!), and relive the campy glory of Rocky IV in an air-conditioned theater (the screening is free!). Hang outside in the cool zone in one of the petite party pools, play fun games to win prizes, and enjoy an All-American barbecue (hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato chips). Additional food and non-alcoholic drinks are available for purchase from the Camelot Cafe and Concessions stand (and alcoholic beverages are available at outside bars). The event starts at 3 p.m., with the fireworks show starting at 9:15. Purchase a seat so you can comfortably watch the show (as part of the price, you’ll also get one of those barbecue meals). 2300 E. Baristo Road.

Stay safe everyone! 

A sparkler sparkles. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?

Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are. 

― Tim Burton

If you’re not into sports and you’re still looking for madness, we’ve got you covered 365 days a year — even more so this March. There is SO much going on, it’s crazy pants. And the upcoming months are going to be jam-packed as well, so let’s get it started, uh-huh, oh yeah…

Recurring events

These will be here every month. Some of them will change their lineups, but make no mistake, they are always 100% worth your time.

Mondays: 7 p.m., Bella da Ball calls Bingo at King’s Highway followed by trivia at 9 p.m. At 6’4”, Bella is not only the most visible drag queen in Palm Springs, but she’s (arguably) our first lady (although no one will argue with you on that).

Oscar’s — A myriad of different entertainers, including a couple of fun plays this month on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Purple Room — Free shows Tuesday-Thursday, ticketed on weekends. Sundays: THE JUDY SHOW IS BACK!!!!!!

PS Air Bar — Dressed up like the inside of an airplane, they have good food and entertainment to boot. It’s an experience.

Drink up at PS Air. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

PS Underground — This is unlike anything you will ever find anywhere. From the wickedly creative mind of producer Michael Fietsam and the culinary genius of Dave Horgan, you will never be disappointed.

Cascade Lounge at the Agua Caliente Casino in downtown Palm Springs. Terrific space, great spot for comedy and our very own Jazzville.

PS Art Museum — Thursdays are free from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Thursday’s Village Fest — It’s like the tram. You gotta go at least once.

V Wine Lounge — The second Sunday of every month is the ladies T Dance. This began in February, and at the time of this typing is the only consistent lesbian party in Palm Springs. V Wine Bar is absolutely gorgeous inside, and also has a HUGE patio. A great place to start or end an evening in Palm Springs.

Historical Tours at Palm Springs Historical Society — SO many to choose from and absolutely worth the price.

MOGO Silent Disco — Use code “pspsh10” at checkout for a 10 percent discount!

Desert Tasty Tours — Full disclosure, I am one of the tour guides on the five-stop food tasting historical tour. It’s hella fun, especially for me.

Limited events

March 1: Dezart Performs: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecological Oncology Unit at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City

March 1-5: Palm Canyon Theatre: The Scarlet Pimpernel

March 1-5: CVRep: Once

March 3-5: LGBTQ Days Cathedral City including LGBTQ Days Cathedral City Bed Race

March 5: Palm Springs Vintage Market

Palm Springs Vintage Market

You never know what you’ll find at the Palm Springs Vintage Market. Photo by Katy Carrier

March 17-28: Palm Canyon Theatre: Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got The Will 

March 17-23: Fashion Week El Paseo

March 18: Red Dress Party at Palm Springs Air Museum (it’s a cool place during the day too!)

March 19: Alohana: A Palm Springs Celebration of Tiki Culture

March 24-25: Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival

March 4-May 7: Desert X 2023

March 26: South Palm Canyon Art Collective Sunday Soiree 

Upcoming events alert!

April 14-16 and April 21-23: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. If you need a room, we’ve got you.

Sept. 20-24: The Dinah. For party details, click here.

Palm Springs Cultural Center (This is also known as the Camelot Theatres)

The state-of-the-art theater was built in 1967, with the original screen fabricated in England and specially designed for the Camelot — with a curvilinear width of 68*4 feet, installed on a 120-degree arc, you’re not going to miss a thing. But wait, there’s more. They not only play current releases (blockbuster and niche) and films that are often LGBTQ+ forward, but they get creative with their programming as well. Don’t go anywhere, I’m not done.

There is a restaurant called Mildred’s (named after the character Mildred Pierce), two theater companies (Desert Ensemble Theatre and The Bent), name acts on the main stage, and local favorites in the upstairs lounge. If they had a hotel you wouldn’t have to go anywhere. And I didn’t even mention the farmer’s market and vintage fair! There’s so much going on, I’m dedicating the last bit of this month’s blog to their calendar.

Sundays: Keisha D, Soulful Sundays, Relive the heyday and hits of Motown with soul and jazz legend Keisha D.

Mondays: Mon Petit Salon. Tour the world with violin virtuoso Jeremie Levi Samson and guests.

Tuesdays: Jazz on the Second Floor. Join Leanna and the Jazz Collective for Latin and straight-ahead jazz.

Wednesdays: The Mod Squad. Join Francesca Amari, Jeff Stewart, and Wayne Abravanel for Mod Pop.

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

Film

March 2: PS Rewinds: Terry Gilliam — Brazil

March 3: Fellini Retrospective — Juliet of the Spirits

March 4: Desert Film Society — Carol of the Bells (Ukraine/Poland)

March 5: Screwball Sundays — It Happened One Night

March 8: Movies In The Park — Gigi

March 11: Desert Film Society — The Night of the 12th (France/Belgium)

March 11-12: The Rocky Horror Picture Show — Coachella Valley Shadow Cast Auditions

March 12: Screwball Sundays — Bringing Up Baby 

March 17: PS Rewinds: Terry Gilliam — The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

March 19: Screwball Sundays — The Thin Man

March 21: Among Friends Interactive — Sister Act

March 22: Movies In The Park — How to Marry a Millionaire

March 24: New York Dog Film Festival + Benefit

March 25: Desert Film Society — More Than a Roll With a Hole

March 26-29: Jewish Film Festival

March 30-April 3: American Documentary Film Festival

Note: Screwball Sundays is a new film retrospective series featuring classic screwball comedies shown as Sunday matinees, March 5 through June 18.

“The Thin Man” is part of the new Screwball Sundays series. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Cultural Center

Live music

March 1: The Swingin’ Sixties

March 6: Sand, Stars, and Guitars — Special Consensus

March 7: The Swingin’ Sixties

March 9: Razzle Dazzle: A Broadway Revue

March 13: Glenn Miller Orchestra

March 21: CV Philharmonic Society Chamber Series: Early Music

March 23: Razzle Dazzle: A Broadway Revue 

Outdoor markets

Saturdays: Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market 

Sundays: Palm Desert Certified Farmers’ Market 

Theatre

March 10-12, 17-19: Desert Ensemble Theatre Company: Kafka’s Joke

March 2-4: The Bent: Gently Down the Stream

March 7 and 14: The Bent: The Lincoln Debate

March 25: Jimmy Dore Live! 

March 24: PS Dance Project — Communities’ Finest

March 26: L-Fund Grant Comedy Series: Robin Tyler

That’s it for March! Don’t forget to shop and stay local. See you for more madness next month!

The Palm Springs International Film Fest (PSIFF) is a very big deal, and not just to Palm Springs. It is, in fact, true to its name, international. Filmmakers and cinephiles come in from all over the world to see the showcased films.

And there are movie stars. So many movie stars. We are lousy with movie stars. (That’s an expression meaning “we have a lot,” we treat them great, not to worry.) You might run into one at a restaurant, because they have to eat, even if it is just a tiny bit. And we have some pretty great restaurants. They’ll be all up and down the valley, just like in the old days. Ah, the old days…

“Picture this: Palm Springs, 1958, Desi driving the latest model Cadillac convertible down Palm Canyon Drive, Lucy in the passenger seat, a pink polka dot scarf keeping her red hair in place, which is good, because the fire department might have thought her head was on fire without it and had to take action. And she had these big white sunnies that made her look like a movie star. Because she was, you know.” — Sophia Petrillo (IYKYK)

PSIFF turns 34 this year, and she’s grown into quite the boss — last year, there were around 1,000 entries from more than 60 countries, with only 130 films making the cut. For 2023, some big names will be receiving awards from the festival. Here’s the rundown:

Colin Farrell, Desert Palm Achievement Award, The Banshees of Inisherin

Sarah Polley, Director of the Year Award, Women Talking

Cate Blanchett, Desert Palm Achievement Award, Tár

Michelle Yeoh, International Star Award, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Steven Spielberg, Vanguard Award, The Fabelmans 

Austin Butler, Breakthrough Performance Award, Elvis

Viola Davis, Chairman’s Award, The Woman King

Bill Nighy, International Star Award, Living

Danielle Deadwyler, Breakthrough Performance Award, Till

Brendan Fraser, Spotlight Award, The Whale

Also, I think I missed a memo — and I don’t even know how one might put this in a memo — but one category is Talking Pictures, which appears to be studio backed films with sound. Is that new? Is that because…why is that? Someone forward me the memo, I need the memo! 

There is a category of Gay/Queer Culture films, which is pretty self-explanatory. And then Fully Subtitled Films which is probably where the “International” part comes in because they’re not in English. Just thinking out loud here, but …you know what, you can figure it out. I gave you the links. You may not even care. But if you got the memo, still forward it, please. 

If you’d like to see a schedule by day go here. If you’re curious about the venues, click here.

Some considerations, from the website: All patrons must provide proof of full vaccination and photo ID in person at our vaccination checkpoints to receive a vaccination wristband. The vaccination wristband must be worn throughout the festival to attend all screenings and events. Those checkpoints can be found here.

If I sound like I’m a little bitter, you got me. It’s one of the biggest international events in Palm Springs and I’ve never been. But you can go! Get your tickets here. Then you can blog all about it and tag us so I can live vicariously through you! Plan?

That’s @PalmSpringsPreferredSmallHotels on Instagram, and me @kaykudukis.  

Be sure to take lots of pictures, and if you see a UFO at night, for heaven’s sake, zoom in and hold the camera steady. Tag me in that one, too.

Don’t forget to shop and stay local, and happy 2023!

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