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“Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya!

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya

Ba-dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya, dee-ya!” — “September,” Earth, Wind & Fire

It’s not quite the end of summer yet, but almost every venue in Palm Springs is back and in the swing of things, a.k.a. there is plenty to do. So as someone once said, “Ain’t nothin’ to it, but to get down to it.”

Sweepstakes!

Locale and Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels (that’s us!) are partnering for the Ultimate Palm Springs Boutique Hotel Giveaway. Five different packages at five very cool and very different boutique hotels: A Place In The Sun, Azure Sky, Alcazar, Los Arboles, and Old Ranch Inn. Enter here by Sept. 19, 2022.

The pool area of Azure Sky. Photo courtesy of Azure Sky

New spots

The Flannery Exchange at 750 N. Palm Canyon Drive is a mixed-use property that includes offices, retail and food. Two new hot spots have opened here in an already very cool space:

Bar Chingona — Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 6-10 p.m. It’s in an Airstream trailer! You must try the cocktail made with fresh pureed watermelon, tequila, basil, and serrano with lemon juice. I love this quote, so here it is: “The concept is a Palm Springs take on Mexico City’s craft cocktail culture, born from Flannery Exchange owner Mike Flannery’s oddly specific longtime dream of having a bar in an Airstream trailer.”

Hoja Blanca — Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 6-10 p.m. A sort of pop-up, according to the website, serving reimagined Mexican food by locally-raised brothers Omar and Arnold Limon. Man, that makes them sound like produce or livestock. My apologies — they’re not farm-raised, but were cage-free.

Luchows — Hours: Thursday to Sunday, but call. Luchows was open for a hot Palm Springs second this spring, then it perma-closed — until an angel swooped in and brought it back from the dead. It’s like Lazarus! I hear it’s great, and that is splendid because we do not have many good choices for traditional Chinese food. One of the things I have missed about Chicago since I left 27 years ago. 4771 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in the Vons shopping plaza (they have a great gas station there too, a buck off if you pay cash).

PRO VR — Brand new virtual reality gaming. This is on Crossley Road, bordering Cathedral City, about 10 minutes from downtown Palm Springs. If you like escape games, this is that, but with heightened reality. Am I going? Does the sun shine 360 days a year in Palm Springs? (It does, so that’s a yes.)

Live shows

Oscar’s — LGBTQ or LGBTQ-adjacent shows.

Purple Room — Great acts, home of The Judy Show.

PS Underground — One of the most creative shows you’ll ever see, and the food matches that description too.

PS Cultural Center — Live music weekdays upstairs, blockbusters, indie films, and film festivals. They’ve even got a restaurant! This month is Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival — make sure to check it out.

Jazzville — All the best jazz from all over the world, every Thursday night.

V Wine Lounge — A mixed bag of entertainment including karaoke, and some of the best wine selections in town.

Cascade Lounge — Themed nights of comedy, Latin, and more.

The Alibi — Their line up is baffling but looks oh so fun.

Cheers to good times in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

LGBTQ

The Dinah — You can explore the website yourself, but I’m also going to tell you about the biggest lesbian party under the sun in an upcoming post.

Cinema Diverse — September 15-25. Now in its 15th year, this festival of international films from and about the LGBTQ+ community is held at the PS Cultural Center. See one or see them all.

Booze N’ Brush Next to Naked Sip N’ Paint — September 3. This is an exotic male model painting event. 400 Ramon Road.

Chill Bar — Varsity Fridays at 4 p.m. 217 E. Arenas Road.

The Swimming Hole — Sundays from Noon to 6 p.m. at Hotel Zoso, 150 S. Indian Canyon Dr. This is an LGBTQ pool party presented by Hunters Nightclubs and Tyler Caiden. Ages 18+.

Hunters: 

Sundays: Risqué Drag Review, hosted by Miss Rusty Waters, 9:30 p.m.

Mondays: Gaming Mondays, with prizes for winners.

Tuesdays: Trivia Night at 5:30 p.m. and Karaoke Night from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Wednesdays: Drag Me to Bingo with Miss Rusty Waters, 6 to 8 p.m., followed by the Spotlight Drag Show at 8:30 p.m.

Thursdays: Throwback Thursdays with music from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Drink specials start at 3 p.m.

Fridays: Fur Fridays, with $2 Bud Light draft and well cocktails, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturdays: Switch Saturdays Drag Show with a new host and new cast every week, 2 p.m. Terrific food to pair with your beverage.

Eagle 501 — Gear Thursdays, Bear Fridays, and Church Lady Sundays.

Karaoke

Retro Room — Karaoke every night!

Streetbar — One of the friendliest gay bars around. That’s their tagline — LMK if it’s true.

Fireside Lounge — Well off the beaten path, this local and exceptional dive bar is open 23 hours a day. The link is for address only, that page is a mess.

Ongoing events

PS Art Museum — Free Thursday evenings, followed by Village Fest.

Warbird Rides at the Palm Springs Air Museum. I’m not a war girl, but this terrific museum is fascinating.

Speaking of flying, PS Air is something you should check out. They call themselves a speakeasy, but the whole joint looks like an airplane. Very cool. It’s inside a great wine shop with delicious salads and other fine foods called Bouschet.

Palm Springs Museum interior

The Palm Springs Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

October brings the downscaled Modernism Week, so check out their events and reserve now. It’s a very hot ticket.

Please remember to shop, stay, and eat local. It keeps Palm Springs, one of the best adult playgrounds west of the Mississippi, thriving. And if you found this useful, tag us in your Instagram posts when you visit, and tell us what you did!

“April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.” — Edna St. Vincent Millay

In the spring, nature’s theater doesn’t always mean “head to the storm cellar!” In the desert, spring stages an extravaganza of colorful wildflowers called the superbloom. But that’s only when we are fortunate to have had a rainy winter.

This year the clouds have been a bit stingy with the wet, so it’s gonna be a smaller, but still gorgeous show. There are a few well-known spots to experience them, which I’m gonna tell you about because I’m nice like that and, full disclosure, I like to talk.

Keep in mind, almost all of them include some level of walking, and some are definitely challenging. So make sure you find your own comfort level and don’t push it. Even people who are avid hikers can misjudge their stamina or not bring enough water. It’s the desert — you need a LOT of water.

Mom warnings aside, off we go!

The best known spot is called Anza-Borrego, and it’s a little bit of a haul. About an hour and fifteen outside of Palm Springs, it’s well worth the drive. It’s best to go during superblooms, but you can still see swaths of gorgeous color in drier times. These clever folks have a website/hotline to check on the situation. Hey buds, how you bloomin’?

Wildflowers in bloom. Courtesy of Anza Borrego Botany

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve: This one is why I said “almost all of them” require some level of walking. It’s about 45 minutes from Palm Springs. Per the website: “The preserve entrance is one block south of State Highway 62 in Morongo Valley, a community located between Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. Several trails, including boardwalks through the marsh and stream habitats, meander through the preserve. The one-half mile Marsh Trail is wheelchair accessible. Open daily throughout the year, from 7:30 a.m. to sunset.”

Joshua Tree: It’s a national park, so make sure to hop on the site to purchase a pass before you go. Not only will it show you what blooms to expect, but the Joshua Tree itself should be blooming.

Coachella Valley Preserve, Thousand Palms: For those with sciatica (raises hand), I’m told there is a flat hike here. Hours: December 1 through April 30, Wednesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is an oasis, so you’re likely to see a lot of color. The trails are McCallum, Moon Country, Smoke Tree, and Herman’s Hike. Lots of critters too, so no dogs unless your pup is a registered service dog.

The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center in Palm Desert is another group of trails with possible flowering flora. Everything you want to know can be found here.

The La Quinta Cove to Lake Trail: Their website mentions wildflowers and I believe everything I read on the internet.

South Lykken Trail: This is a very popular trail. It’s on South Palm Canyon, just after E. Murray Canyon Drive (on your left). The trail is a titch further up on your right. Hit up Moorten’s on your way (keep scrolling more info). It’s near the start of South Palm Canyon on your right.

Moorten Botanical Gardens is a plant lover’s paradise. Photo courtesy of Moorten Botanical Gardens

East Indio Hills Badlands: From their website comes this dramatic reading: “This trail enters the Indio Hills badlands and traverses the San Andreas Fault exposing twisted and tortured rocks that have been uplifted and moved over millions of years. The trail enters several narrow slot canyons and twists and turns in the sandy washes before climbing up to the ridge with panoramic views of the entire Coachella Valley.” Epic.

Sunnylands: If hiking is not your jam, Sunnylands is the place to go. The grounds are astounding, and it’s free to roam them.

Wildflowers aren’t the only thing blooming. The cacti are absolutely bonkers with blooms this year. The little cactus in front of my house has buds where she never bloomed before. And you don’t have to leave town for that, you just go where the cacti are, which is everywhere in my park. But if you prefer something more structured, Moorten Botanical Gardens is for you. The cost to get in is minimal: $5 for adults, $2 for kids 6 to 15, and free for children 5 and under.

Kay’s cactus. Photo courtesy of Kay Kudukis

Here’s a little blurb about cacti: “The greatest diversity of spring-flowering cacti species can be seen in April. Some also stretch into May with some species such as the prickly pears cactus blooming well in early May. Saguaros tend to flower from mid-May to mid-June.”

The Ocotillo, a shrub that’s so fancy Palm Springs named things after her, has orange-red flowers and that girl doesn’t care if it was wet or dry, she’s showing off. You can blink all you want, you’re not going to miss her.

The world is a bit serious right now, so it’s even more important to reset and enjoy a fleeting moment brought to you by nature. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Earth laughs in flowers.”

Have a giggle.

The Ocotillo bloom. Photo by Pixabay

“Last night you were unhinged. You were like some desperate, howling demon. You frightened me. Do it again.” — The Addams Family

Halloween is a great time to spend the weekend in Palm Springs. The weather is cooler, but not cold, and the food and entertainment are hot! Also, if you weren’t already aware, Halloween is a HUGE deal here in Palm Springs. Arenas is all about creativity in costumes, music, drinks and reverie — it’s quite the kiki.

Halloween is so big in LGBTQ+ culture that it’s called Gay Christmas. And on Arenas it is FUN, it is FABULOUS, it’s a CELEBRATION, and it is PAGEANTRY! It is a scene, baby!

A writer for The Advocate had some musings about why Halloween is such a big deal in gay culture and hoo boy, they were pretty dark, and not in a spooky way but in a way that sucks all of the gaiety out of fright night. So we’re not going to focus on the hocus pocus and go with another suggestion from him that rings true, “Halloween is the one time of year when everyone is allowed to be whoever they want to be.” That gets a bubbling, piping hot cauldron full of “yes!”

If you’re not gay, who cares? Everyone is welcome everywhere. For those who have an aversion to crowds, and it will be crowded on Arenas, there’s still plenty’o-ween to be had in smaller doses.

(If you’d like to read a detailed history about Halloween and Gay Christmas go here. Or you can come back to it after you read about all the spooktacular ((sorry)) goings on in Palm Springs 2022).

Halloween revelers in Palm Springs. Photo credit: Kay Kudukis

Party in the U.S. Gay:

Oct. 30: Arenas Halloween  — There is SO much to do and see, you’re going to have to click the link and check it out. If you don’t wear a costume, you can still go, but you’ll feel horribly out of place. Here are some shopping spots to find your spooky boo you. Or just find a fun mask.

Oct. 12, 19, and 26: A Classic TV Halloween at Quadz. On Oct. 19th, stop by for 1970’s HORROR FILMS: A Nod to The Classics in Palm Springs, or check out The History of Horror/Scariest Short Films Part 2 on Oct. 26. 

Oct. 20: Hey Boo! at Oscar’s, is described as such: “Heklina, international drag queen extraordinaire, will be ‘HELLina’ with her spooky parody songs and hocus-pocus tales. Heklina’s spine-chilling performance will remind you that this podcaster, actor, emcee and ghost buster is more than just a pretty face. Deven Green & Ned Douglas are the boniest award-winning performers this side of purgatory. Brought back from the dead for one night only, their live music and songs with inscrutable words will make you soil yourself with frightful laughter.”

Families with kids

Oct. 29: Spooktacular Halloween – Rancho Mirage Library — Enjoy an afternoon of trick-or-treating and a costume parade through the library. Christopher T. Magician will also be on hand to perform his Halloween magic show in the Community Room. 1 to 4 p.m.

Oct. 29 and 30: Howl-O-Ween at the Living Desert. Kids are encouraged to dress up in their favorite costumes and enjoy one of the many exciting activities planned for the weekend, including more than 20 trick-or-treat stations, a monster maze, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin decorating, animal encounters, meeting Living Desert zoo mascots, storytelling, face-painting, bounce houses, craft workshops, and more. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free with paid park admission.

Oct. 30: Cathedral City Spooktacular — This free event features trick-or-treating with more than 40,000 pieces of candy. Kids will have a spooktacular time participating in activities like Halloween costume contests (two bikes are being given away each hour), police and fire exhibitions, and games. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Charity events

Oct. 8: House Party For A Cause — $100 but well worth it. Debbie Boone (the ’80s), Steve Knill (The Voice), Alix Korey (Broadway) and my favorite, DJ ModGirl.

Oct. 30: Be a Hero For Kids — If you’ve got a little bit deeper pockets, check out this event presented by The Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs. It’s poolside!

All the rest

Escape Room — Vampire’s Lair, Jack The Ripper, and Merlin’s Magic Room are three of the spooky adventures awaiting you and your besties. The object? Just like Jordan Peele’s scary film: Get Out.

Oct. 16, 20, and 27: Palm Springs Cultural Center — Tim Burton “festival” with Ed Wood, Beetlejuice, and Nightmare Before Christmas. If you didn’t know, PSCC/Camelot Theatre has a 58′ screen, and the finest projection capabilities in the valley. It’s truly an experience to see a film in this theater.

Oct. 28: The Hilton’s Palm Springs Halloween Comedy Mashup.

Oct. 28, 29, and 31: PS Underground “Bite: Vampire Circus” — Always a frightful night in the best possible way. It changes every year, but it’s always wonderful. From the top-notch entertainment to the fantastic food to complement the evening. Expect the unexpected.

Oct. 29:  Mogo Silent Disco Monster Mash — Dance like nobody’s watching (even though they all are, because you’re dancing down the street to curated music with a bunch of people wearing headphone). Always fun.

Stay safe, buddy up, take rideshares, and don’t forget to hydrate. Love, A Witchy Woman

Creative Halloween costumes abound in Palm Springs. Photo credit: Kay Kudukis

Palm Springs, California, is a mecca for the LGBTQIA+ community and home to some of the most fabulous boutique hotels in the world. Many of our hotels are attached to equally spirited bars and restaurants that serve up some deliciously colorful cocktails.

Today, I’m spotlighting five different bars that are serving up the Top Five “Gayest” Drinks in Palm Springs in honor of our vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. Each bar has its own unique take on their gayest drink, and I’m excited to share them with you.

The “Garden Cooler” at Azucar at the La Serena Villas

Azucar is a cozy little hideaway at the La Serena Villas. The bartender, Manny, served up the Garden Cooler, made with rum, cucumber, basil, lemon, and sugar. This drink was not only refreshing, but it’s also the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. Manny created this drink on the spot for me to review, and I have to say, he hit it out of the park. It’s not too sweet and goes down easy, making it a fantastic drink for a hot summer day. This drink made me feel like a Slim Aarons model from one of his iconic Palm Springs photographs. This drink is not on the menu, but I’m sure Manny will make one special for you upon request. Azucar at La Serena Villas, 339 S. Belardo Road.

The Garden Cooler at Azucar. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “Hello Kitty Kitty” at Blackbook

Blackbook is in the heart of Palm Springs’ beloved Arenas District. Tom the bartender poured me a Hello Kitty Kitty, made with Portland Potato Vodka, Giffard’s Violette liqueur, club soda, Orgeat almond syrup, and a mammoth rosemary sprig for garnish. This drink has been on the menu since Blackbook first opened, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s sweet, bubbly, and looks like a psychedelic rosemary garden in a glass. Blackbook, 315 E. Arenas Road.

The Hello Kitty Kitty at Blackbook. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “Lucy Goosey” at Del Rey at Villa Royale

Del Rey is a hip Mediterranean tapas-style joint, tucked inside the Villa Royale hotel. Alejandro was behind the bar, serving up the Lucy Goosey. He made this drink with Grey Goose vodka, orange liquor, raspberry syrup, and lemon, shaken and strained into a coup glass with lime zest. Alejandro created this drink on the spot for me to review, and it tasted like a bowl of frozen sherbet on a perfect summer day. It’s fruity, but not too sweet, and it’s a great drink for any occasion. He chose the name “Lucy Goosey” as an ode to famed Palm Springs celebrity Lucille Ball and the Grey Goose the cocktail was made with. While it may not be on Del Rey’s drink menu, I’m sure Alejandro will make one special for you if asked. Del Rey at Villa Royale, 1620 S. Indian Trail.

The Lucy Goosey at Del Rey. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The “La Passion Pour la Vie” at The Front Porch

The Front Porch, located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs, is known for La Passion Pour la Vie, the winner of the Audience Choice Award at the 2020 Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Competition. It’s lovingly made with house-infused apple tequila, mezcal, house-made passion fruit syrup, house-made apple juice, St. Germain, lemon, and a float of pomegranate liqueur, smoked with applewood. The La Passion Pour la Vie is a work of art. It’s as delicious as it looks (the flowers are even edible), and it’s the perfect drink to sip on a warm Palm Springs evening. If “Gayest Drink in Palm Springs” were an official competition, this cocktail wins my vote. The Front Porch, 117 La Plaza.

The La Passion Pour la Vie at The Front Porch. Photo courtesy of The Front Porch

The “Plush Cosmo” at V Wine Lounge

Finally, we have V Wine Lounge, where Doug served up the Plush Cosmo. This drink is made with Plush plum-flavored vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, and freshly-squeezed lime juice. This drink is essentially a Cosmo, but the plum-flavored, corn-distilled vodka by Plush takes it to the next level. It’s not too sweet, and the fresh lime really accentuates the flavors. V Wine Lounge, 600 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

The Plush Cosmo in a martini glass

The Plush Cosmo at V Wine Lounge. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Whether you’re looking for something sweet, tangy, or bubbly, there’s a drink for everyone here in Palm Springs. So come and explore, sip, and savor the flavors. I think it’s safe to say that Palm Springs is serving up some of the best drinks in the world year-round.