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“Too much of a good thing is wonderful.” — Liberace

When you Google “best gay cities,” my results did not include one single listicle mentioning Palm Springs. What? People, our entire city council is LGBTQIA, and from Wikipedia’s entry for Gay Village: “An estimated 33 to 50 percent of Palm Springs, California, are gay male or other parts of the LGBTQ community; this statistic makes them the largest percentage community in the US.”

In 2016, Palm Springs received a final score of 100 points in the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index Scorecard. Our city exceeded the highest possible final score of 100 with a raw score of 109, and we’ve kept that score through their last report of 2020.

Speaking of the ’20s, 100 years ago, Palm Springs began its journey as a playground for celebrities and the LGBTQ+ community thanks to Dr. Florilla White and her sister Cornelia. The two “independent and eccentric women” (code: lesbian) purchased the Palm Springs Hotel and spiffed it up a bit. Rudolph Valentino spent his second honeymoon there (it was escandalo!), and Greta Garbo demanded the premiere of Camille be held at the new Plaza Theater while she stayed at the hotel. Side note: if it weren’t for the founding mothers of Palm Springs (the White Sisters, Nellie Coffman, Lois Kellog —she was a wild one! — and Pearl McCallum McManus), it might still be a dusty little town. And the Cahuilla likely wouldn’t be where they are today without the 1950s all-women tribal council. Historically, in Palm Springs, men beat the drum of awareness while the women quietly made history. Sisters, amirite?

Liberace.

Palm Springs is so gay Liberace, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Barry Manilow and gay icons Cher and Carol Channing had/have homes here. Not to mention the other “maybe they were, maybe there weren’t” plethora of stars. Although there is speculation, it doesn’t really matter, because Palm Springs has always offered personal privacy. No one is getting “outed” if they don’t want to be out.

Courtesy of CV Independent

In the 1980s, two anti-gay and AIDS-related bills were soundly trounced and, according to a 2017 article in Palm Springs Life, in 1991 club owner Gloria Green opened the first gay bar on Arenas Road, A Streetbar Named Desire (now known as Streetbar). I qualify that with the Palm Springs Life article because most accounts attribute the bar to Dick Haskamp and Hank Morgan, who apparently purchased it in the same year. So something is a little sketchy about the origins — however, Arenas would soon build up to become an all-gay city block with clubs and stores catering to gay men.

Pride was first celebrated in Palm Springs with a showcase called Sizzle. It wasn’t well received or advertised, and Sizzle fizzled out until 1992. By 1997, The Desert Sun estimated 30,000 people watched the (now) Pride parade.

Our gayness isn’t limited to Arenas. Oscar’s is alive almost every night with gay-leaning entertainment and Sundays is all about celebrating your gayness at the T-Dance. You can hear the party from blocks away.

We have so many drag queens they could hold court for an entire generation of royals, and they’re damn fine. Late night entertainment at The Copa and Toucans include long-running drag shows that pack the rooms, and drag brunches abound in our exceptionally inviting cozy town.

The San Francisco establishment of transgender performers AsiaSF chose Palm Springs as its second home. They opened just before the pandemic, and I’m told will reopen again in November — maybe December — of this year. I went to the opening in early 2020 (before you know what): these ladies are hot AF.

Some of the finest dining in Palm Springs is brought to you by gay restaurateurs. Roly China Fusion, Tropicale, Eight4Nine, Trio, PS Underground (an exciting take on dinner theater), The Purple Room (supper club), and 533 Viet Fusion to name just a few not on Arenas.

Desert Rose Playhouse is the one and only LGBTQ theater company and venue in the Coachella Valley. Now in Palm Springs proper at the old Zelda’s Nightclub space, they produce, support and elevate LGBTQ stories, actors, playwrights, and musicians. I have never been disappointed by their productions. So far this year I have seen The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Rocky Horror, and have tickets to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It’s a great space with a great vibe and the shows are delicious.

We have an LGBTQ+ community center, PFLAG (for supporters), and a retirement community for gays called Stonewall Gardens. We have two gay radio stations, the Gay Desert Guide, and the Palm Springs Cultural Center, with a mixture of artsy blockbusters and showcasing gay-themed films.

If you check out our website (already sorted for you!), you’ll find we have 11 resort hotels catering to gay men, some clothing optional. The Warm Sands area is generously dotted with gay boutique hotels.

One of my favorite things that hasn’t yet returned in the pandemic is our star drag queen Bella da Ball (aka Brian Wanzek) reading stories to kids at the Palm Springs Library. Bella even has her own star on our Walk of Stars.

There’s DAP, Desert AIDS Project, a terrific medical establishment that not only caters to gays living with AIDS but also administers to MediCal patients. I was on MediCal for a bit and they provide stellar care (I was sad when my insurance switched). They also run the resale stores Revivals which have terrific bargains on gently-used items, and some brand-new stuff too. Profits benefit DAP.

And of course there is the big event, Palm Springs Pride.

Some “must” events sent to me by Bella Da Ball:

November 1, 6 to 7 p.m.: George Zander Candlelight Vigil and March, 101 N. Museum Dr.

Beginning at the new downtown park (Museum Way and Museum Drive), this rally and march is in honor of George Zander. Six years ago to the day, George and Chris Zander were attacked in downtown Palm Springs, resulting in George’s death on December 10, 2015. This remembrance of George’s life keeps his memory alive, so that no other individual falls victim to a crime of hate.

November 7, 5 to 10 p.m.: Effen Vodka main stage, near the Hyatt Hotel on North Palm Canyon Drive. Party. Huge stage. Special video screens.

But wait, there’s even more eye candy than the parade! On November 5 and 6, enjoy the West Coast premiere of Global Rainbow by American artist Yvette Mattern. Specially designed lasers project a large-scale abstraction of a natural rainbow (the same colors in Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag) celebrating the diverse LGBTQ+ communities and symbolizing hope and peace. Beamed high above Palm Canyon Drive at Amado Road, as far as the eye can see, until finally diminishing to a colorful glow over South Palm Canyon.  

Hitting the stage on November 5:

5:30 p.m. — Charles Herrera 

6 p.m. — Steven Michael’s Dance Machine, dancers, flaggers, drag

6:15 p.m. — Jason Stuart

6:30 p.m. — Shannon 

7:15 p.m. — Sassy Ross

7:30 p.m. — Jeanie Tracy

8 p.m. — Jody Watley

8:45 p.m. — The Perry Twins

The unadulterated joy and magic the Palm Springs LGBTQ+ community brings to our little town is unparalleled. That’s right, I said it: unparalleled.

Not gay? No one cares, we are a mecca for all who want to be included…unless you’re homophobic, then according to the website Abodo, you should vacation in Buffalo, New York.

See you at Pride!

Did you know that Palm Springs is internationally famous? Well, it is. Since 2006, people from all over the planet have been coming to Palm Springs during the month of February for the banging party we call Modernism Week. It’s like the United Nations all up in here.  

Before the big event, Modernism Week holds a four-day preview in October called Modernism Fall Preview (a.k.a. Mini-Mod Week), running from October 14 through 17. It’s jam-packed with loads to do — over 50 events!  

Modernism Week and Mini-Mod Week are so popular the best events sell out the same day they go on sale. So unless some fabulous bit of wizardry transpires (it might, Palm Springs is magical), forget about Sunnylands and Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate Tour. There’s plenty left to see though, from significant mid-century modern home tours to architectural double decker bus tours. 

You can dress as you like, but a lot of people choose to pull out their pedal pushers and fedoras — whatever it takes to achieve that retro look. During Mini-Mod Week, the town takes on that old-timey feel of the ’50s and ’60s.

There are some cool cocktail-style events, but those sell out pretty fast. One of my very favorite supper clubs, PS Underground, has a brand new show for this year called Beatnik. Hurry and book, their shows are always outstanding. 

Even if you miss out on your favorite events, there’s still the main event at the Palm Springs Convention Center where you can browse everything mid-century modern, including art, furniture, and lighting. You can find a list of exhibitors here. 

If you’re the curious type like me, or a little iffy on modernism, this article breaks down mid-century modern art for you. The same with architecture here. 

Friday night is the big opening night party for the Modernism Show and Sale. Tickets are $75 in advance and $85 at the door. A purchase to the opening night party gives you access to the show on Saturday and Sunday. 

Skipping the party? (You’re gonna say “no” to a party?!) You can still buy a ticket for Saturday and Sunday that will cost you one Jackson (soon to be Tubman!) and gets you in both days so you can shop ‘til you bop later on that evening. 

Whether you do or don’t plan on going to the Modernism Week preview, but love the vibe of the mid-mod experience, we have mid-century modern hotels for the complete experience. There are 25 of them, all with great amenities — learn more about these fabulous spots here. 


The Purple Room, a Rat Pack-inspired supper club, has some of the finest entertainment in town. Here are the weekend shows during Modernism Preview:  

October 14: Sharon Sills (every Thursday) 

October 15: Branden and James — vocals and cello performing the Lady Gaga songbook 

October 16: Branden and James  — vocals and cello performing the Lady Gaga songbook 

October 17: The Judy Show (my favorite show in town! Every Sunday.) 

Also, check out V Wine Lounge, where the vibe is so retro you’ll squee. 

By the way, the bus tours are hella fun. I am a tour guide assistant and even from my view (I sit in the bottom of the bus, you’ll be on top — bring sunscreen and hold onto your hats!) it’s a fun and informative 2-and-a-half hour ride. 

Hope to see you there, and let’s go retro! 

“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

While on assignment for BBC News, Tayfun King was interviewing the owner of a boutique hotel in Buenos Aires when it hit him — he wanted to be the one running an inn.

As a travel reporter, Tayfun was immersed in the hospitality industry, crisscrossing the globe to learn more about the world’s most fabulous hotels. This wasn’t his original career choice — while studying mathematics and management at Cambridge University, he made a promise to himself: if he graduated with a first class honors degree, he would turn down the financial job offers he had received to follow his passion and become a professional Latin American dancer. Tayfun graduated with honors, and embarked on a dancing career, which led to him becoming a television journalist and host with the BBC, presenting programs on technology and travel.

“The travel show is where I developed my passion for boutique hotels,” Tayfun says. “I traveled to over 70 countries and 200 cities, and more than anything, staying at these amazing boutique hotels around the world stood out.”

Tayfun was fascinated by how these properties were able to forge their own identities, with each room connected despite their individual distinct themes. The owners he spoke with had “a passion that was coming through so clearly,” Tayfun says. “It was hard work for them, but they loved it and being able to express their creativity.”

In 2014, Tayfun launched a hospitality company in Los Angeles. He opened a property in Venice Beach, and then turned his attention east to Palm Springs. He was interested in a particular hotel for sale, but when his realtor showed him 641 E. San Lorenzo Road — the resort formerly known as Escape — Tayfun knew this was the place.

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

“I didn’t expect that,” Tayfun says. “I was there to have a matter-of-fact look around, but once I walked in and saw the entrance, I had an emotional reaction. The feeling you get when you’re there is so welcoming. It’s so natural, and there’s so much greenery with the grass, the trees, and the flowers. If I were coming to Palm Springs for a stay, I would love to stay here.”

A lot has changed at the mid-century modern property, starting with the name. Tayfun chose BelleVue Oasis because “belle vue” means “beautiful view” in French and “was what I was experiencing in the moment,” he says. The 13-room hotel has a new pool, pool deck, and interiors, plus recently installed turf and two putting greens. The mature palms and tropical landscaping are still in place, and guests rave about being able to enjoy the serene setting from their private patios.

“A common reaction is this is a hidden gem in Palm Springs — it’s beautiful, it’s lovely, it’s an oasis,” Tayfun says. “We have a high number of guests who keep returning to the property, and people who say their friends told them to stay here.”

Tayfun plans on developing a boutique hotel brand that will first grow in California before expanding, and is excited to get it started in Palm Springs. For him, it’s important that hotels tap into the history and true essence of the cities they are in, and he wants to make sure that people know as soon as they arrive at BelleVue Oasis that they are in Palm Springs.

“I love Palm Springs,” he says. “I love the energy, the people are friendly, it’s spread out, and it’s so well groomed.

From the time they book to the time they check out, Tayfun aims to make it so guests enjoy every part of the BelleVue Oasis experience. He wants them to look forward to their stay, building it up ahead of time and then having their expectations surpassed once they arrive, and to leave with lasting memories of their visit.

“It’s so fulfilling and exciting hearing what guests have to say,” Tayfun says. “That has been so rewarding and greater than what I thought it would be.”

BelleVue Oasis spa at night

Night falls on BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

Missed Part 1? Read it here.

Welcome to summer in Palm Springs! This is long — lots to share! — so without further ado, the smaller resorts with restaurants:

Night falls on Arrive Palm Springs. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Arrive Palm Springs — This resort is built to be social, and the poolside restaurant serves snacks and libations including “Poptails” — icy alcoholic popsicles. They used to have another restaurant, but sadly, the local favorite for lunch closed. However, you’ll barely notice the temps when you walk a few storefronts away to the hotel’s coffee shop, Cartel Coffee Lab, and ice cream parlor, Ice Cream & Shop(pe). Just a titch further is 1501 Gastropub by local restaurateurs Chad Gardner and Willie Rhine. Directly across the street from the resort is Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey Bar, which is as trendy as it sounds.

The view from above Fleur Noire. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Fleur Noire Hotel — Initially called Burket’s Trade Winds Hotel, the new owners have reimagined the 1940s hotel and brought its original (heated) pool back to life. Surrounded by lush desert landscaping, the Spanish-style property has 21 casitas, studios, and standard rooms — all eclectic and all designed by Chris Pardo and wallpaper designer Ellie Cashman.

The clubhouse is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a communal pantry, lounge seating, and working and dining areas. They don’t actually have a restaurant, but Rick’s Desert Grill is its next door neighbor. They do, however, have a rosé and champagne speakeasy called La Boisson that will also bring your chilled libation poolside. You can literally have rosé all day.

Welcome to Holiday House. Photo credit: Holiday House

Holiday House — Smack in the middle of downtown and just a bit west of Palm Canyon is Holiday House. This is the sister property of Sparrows Lodge, which is located on the south end of Palm Springs.

Named one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels of 2022, Holiday House is a 21+ property. Please note there are no TVs in the rooms, but honestly, you can do that at home. Your time is best spent poolside, in a very swimmable pool.

The 28-room hipster hideaway has a little restaurant called The Pantry. Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and dinner is from 5 to 9 p.m., and they’ve even got a poolside menu. There aren’t a lot of choices for dinner, but what they do have is pretty scrumptious, which means they’re pretty busy. Locals try to go, but you guys generally have eaten all that deliciousness by the time we get there.

L’Horizon’s cabanas. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

L’Horizon Palm Springs — Originally designed in 1952 by William F. Cody as a retreat for television producer and oil tycoon Jack Wrather and his actress wife, Bonita “Bunny” Granville (yeah, no idea either), L’Horizon has been restored to its original grandeur and is 100 percent squee-worthy.

Located on three acres, the 21+ resort has 25 private bungalows, and the original 2,000 square foot home is available for bookings as well. The living room and yard of the house have unobstructed views of the mountains, and there is a sunken seating area, wood-burning fireplace, dining room, wet bar, kitchen, marble bathrooms with rainforest showers, and an outdoor shower.

When you’re done lazing by the pool, The Spa offers massages, body treatments, facials, and add-ons like peppermint foot therapy and wild lime scalp treatments. Once you’re fully relaxed, stop by Le Shop, a boutique featuring Naturopathica’s skin care and body products, resort wear, swimsuits, jewelry, sunglasses, and home accessories.

And…drumroll…L’Horizon also has a gourmet restaurant called SO•PA that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (feel free to order poolside as well). Dramatic, refined, and intimate, SO•PA offers a unique alfresco dining experience, and is on everyone in Palm Springs’ bucket list for dining.

The patio at El Mirasol at Los Arboles. Photo credit: Los Arboles Hotel

Los Arboles — The Casteñada family would like to welcome you to their 21-room “home” featuring a rooftop deck, a courtyard pool, hot tub, and home cooked authentic Mexican meals at El Mirasol at Los Arboles. 

I am not kidding you about the authentic food. Mama Casteñeda oversees the kitchen, and all of the dishes are from her recipe box (the box actually lived in her head, and she had no need to write them down until she opened a restaurant).

The restaurant is in a courtyard, and is a local favorite. They also have a sister location on the south end of town, the original El Mirasol. Pair the jalapeño margarita with any dish and you’ll be a very happy camper.

Pull up a chair at Sparrows Lodge. Photo credit: Sparrows Lodge

Sparrows Lodge — The bohemian sister resort to Holiday House also has zero TVs, but man do they have a great swimmable pool and misters all throughout the courtyard. The interiors have a modernist, beachy, farmhouse feel to them. If I’m any indication, you’ll feel a sense of serenity the moment you enter.

Their restaurant is called The Barn and like The Pantry at Holiday House, it’s on everyone’s bucket list. I cannot stress to you enough that you need a reservation, and generally well in advance. Executive Chef Sebastian Lowrey and Sous Chef Daniella Lara have created some wonderful offerings for lunch and dinner, and everyone wants in.

One of Villa Royale’s sparkling pools. Photo credit: Villa Royale

Villa Royale — Gorgeous old bones have been renovated to an even more glorious and contemporary retreat, well off the beaten path in the Deepwell neighborhood. The 21+, 38-suite property has three pools, mountain views, and folks, it is pet-friendly.

With over 50 original pieces of artwork on site, it’s like being immersed in a museum. All of the work was commissioned exclusively for the resort, and artists Sara Radovanovich, Lou Kregal, and Juan Casas lived at the Villa Royale while creating their oil paintings, which feature everything from pop culture icons to desert scenes.

Focusing on Spanish and Mediterranean flavors and led by Chef Louis Martinez, the Del Rey is Villa Royale’s small-plate restaurant. It boasts a beautiful 12-seat oak and marble bar, as well as booths and an outdoor patio with firepit. The cocktail menu is very creative — drink ingredients include black tea ice cubes, saffron syrup, and olive oil — so  get ready to imbibe. 

Coming next Tuesday: resorts with breakfast and lunch served on premise for guests only. Not a local in sight.

Location, location, location!

For those that love modernism, Old Las Palmas politely screams “I am quintessential Palm Springs.” Stretching west from Palm Canyon to the San Jacinto Mountains, the neighborhood is rich in history and real estate — many starchitects built here, and all aesthetics are represented, from the House of Tomorrow to Swiss Miss homes and everything in between and beyond. 

The roads wind into the mountains and are as dramatic as the homes once owned by Liberace, Dinah Shore, and Kirk Douglas (to name-drop a few), as well as the opulent sprawling estates commissioned by the studio bosses of yore. There’s even a mini-Hearst castle in the mix.

To get there, turn off Palm Canyon onto Via Las Palmas, a quiet residential street, where you immediately feel like you’re in another world. The stores and businesses melt away and the road splits in two (very Robert Frost). If you choose wisely, you’ll go left where a well-lit cobblestoned path bordered by desertscape grasses leads the way to an elegant white-bricked, mid-century modern hotel with giant palm trees and a copse of plumeria on either side of the bright orange door. You are now entering The Weekend, the only boutique hotel in Old Las Palmas. 

Welcome to The Weekend Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Once inside, the sparkling water from the rectangular pool dances in the sunlight, and it’s so stunning it takes a minute to notice that your surroundings are just as sleek and modern as the entrance. All white apart from the 10 orange doors that pop against the exotic green foliage, each suite faces that picture-perfect pool, with the sleeping quarters in the back (open the sliding doors to get to the private patio). We should emphasize: this is not a party hotel, this is a peaceful and luxe respite from the humdrum of the everyday, exhibiting clean lines and the simple elegance of modernism. 

Suites have their own private patios. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Formerly Las Palmas Gardens Luxury Apartments, and purportedly once owned by gossip queen Rona Barrett, the property was built in 1964 and advertised sunken tubs, private patios, and two-bedrooms digs. 

When hotelier Mark Hermann purchased the property in 2016, he made some major design decisions. Sunken tubs were replaced with roomy rain showers, and he took down the wall and cabinets separating the kitchen/dining areas from the living room, creating an open concept living space. Hermann honored the rich mid-century history of Palm Springs with bold color, artwork, and brickwork in the new great room. 

Although modernism is the epitome of style over comfort, Hermann managed to accomplish both — sophisticated yet supremely sittable furniture, and thick luxurious mattresses to snuggle into at night. Amenities spill over into the bathrooms with Frette towels and robes, and L’Occitane bath products.

The living rooms are perfect for lounging. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

The kitchen has everything except fire – a.k.a. a stove or oven, but honestly there are so many great restaurants you’ll want to try, who needs or wants to cook? You’re on vacation. Besides, there’s a microwave and a big old bowl for popcorn, plenty of room in the fridge for beverages and salads, lots of storage for snacks, dinnerware/cutlery, bottle openers (of course), and a Keurig coffee maker.

Because of its aesthetic and the uniqueness of the property, The Weekend is a favorite of international travelers looking for an authentic mid-century modern Palm Springs experience. Couples traveling together enjoy the two-bedroom options, while those looking for a romantic getaway love the peace and quiet of the one-bedroom suites.

A comfortable bedroom at The Weekend. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Keyless check-ins make for easy ins and outs, and there are wonderful options for libations and food on Palm Canyon, all with great provenance. Copley’s restaurant is on the old Cary Grant estate, Eight4Nine Restaurant was once the Palm Springs post office, and Ernst Coffee and Bootlegger Tiki are in the old Don the Beachcomber’s space. Also, the shopping along Palm Canyon has some kick-ass vintage resale stores. Looking for high-end boutiques, and the thrum of downtown? Tahquitz is about a 15-minute walk. 

If you’re in the mood for a nice stroll, the House of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway) is about 10 minutes from your door, and there is an unexpected connection. Barrett (who is still with us at 86) also owned a home right next to the House of Tomorrow where Elvis and Priscilla planned to wed. Knowing she’d make it a circus, Elvis contacted Frank Sinatra, who sent a limo to pick them up and under the cover of night, he whisked them off on his private plane to Las Vegas where, for better or worse, they exchanged their vows. 

Although that relationship was complicated, The Weekend is not. If you’re a fan of uncompromising elegance in the mid-century modern aesthetic, The Weekend is the perfect choice.

The Weekend is a fabulous escape, Monday through Sunday. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Oh my goodness, October’s weather was exceptional, and it’s just going to be better in November. Unlike the majority of the United States, November in Palm Springs brings bright, bright, bright sunshiny days. Everyone is riding bicycles and walking because it’s just too gorgeous to be inside a car. The nights are cooler, but can also get a tad chilly, so make sure to pack a light jacket or sweater just in case. I don’t want you to catch cold — we’ve had enough catching things!

Of course, Pride is this month. The parade is on November 7, but there are tons of activities the week leading up to it. Really hope you booked earlier in the year, but if not there may still be some openings at our boutique hotels and resorts, so scurry on over to Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels to see what’s still available. Good luck!

And now, in no particular order, November’s events and happenings:

Courtesy of Hunters

Hunters is taking their entertainment, literally, to the sky. Airotic Soirée is a brand-new sensual burlesque-style circus cabaret combining the best of burlesque, cirque-style entertainment, and astounding acrobatics. Shows are scheduled every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. through the end of the year. It’s gonna be so hot you can leave your sweater at home.

The Best Shows in Town

Purple Room — Sunday is The Judy Show! Squee!

Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn   Sunday Jams are back. $10. Make a reservation…it’s a hot ticket.

PS Underground — Rouge, Ami Kumar, Dirty Bingo, Cavern, and Bacon are the shows and dinners scheduled for November. A big congratulations to owners Michael and Dave who, after 25 years together, tied the knot. Mazel!

Oscar’s — Great Pride lineup: Bruce Vilanch and Poppy Champlin, Priscilla Presley, and more.

Toucans Tiki Lounge — Everything is dragtastic!

Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs has Jazzville, Latin nights, and comedy all month.

Keep your eye on Copa Nightclub. I hear Lipstick may be returning this month, along with Jason Weber in his 5:30 to 7:30 show Thursdays, replacing Mod Squad (which had replaced Jason Weber!). We’re hoping Mod Squad finds a new home…it’s a great show!

November 19 to 21: SoCal 356 Club’s Palm To Pines road trip for those with the need to…never mind, it’s a leisurely trip, no speed necessary.

Courtesy of Palm Springs Air Museum

For those with a need to speed, purchase a ticket for a warbird experience at Palm Springs Air Museum, where you get to ride in the warbird of your choice! Follow it up with the F-117 Stealth Fighter Experience in late November. This is your chance to see an F-117 Stealth Fighter #-833 up close and personal at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Each day will feature a 90-minute speaker engagement to enlighten the crowd on the historic aircraft. Purchase your tickets in advance from their website as space is limited. Note: these fighters are not usually on display.

Theater

November 4 to 21: Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Desert Rose Playhouse. I’ve got my tickets!

Tuesdays at 7 p.m.: Electricity at Oscar’s – I’ve see this two-man play, and it’s very good.

November 7 at Chill Bar: Jennifer Holiday — the original Dreamgirl. 

For car lovers: The 25th annual McCormick’s Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction on November 20, 21, and 22 will feature over 500 classic, exotic, sporty and high-end cars. Admission is free all day Friday; Saturday and Sunday are pay days.

Palm Springs Cultural Center

November 18: Get dressed in your best circus costume and head over to the Greatest Showman interactive event. Join us for cocktails at 6 p.m., with the DJ spinning the hits at 7 p.m. (We will DANCE!) Theater doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the singalong starting at 8 p.m.

November 19: Martinis and Moxie, a musical salute to Sinatra with special guests…some of whom had first-hand experience with the Chairman himself.

Photo credit: Lani Garfield

Pride

Above photo by Palm Springs resident Lani Garfield

Learn more about Palm Springs’ rich gay history, and the origins of Pride, here.

Have questions about this year’s big event? The official website has all the answers.

Some stand out events include:

November 5: Coming Out Celebration – A Night of a Hundred Stars

November 6: Skater Girlz Jam presented by Lesbo Expo. Cool event featuring women skateboarders with some great talent. 5 to 7 p.m. at PS Skate Park.

Third Eye Blind, Jody Watley, and A Flock of Seagulls are among the performers who will hit the stage at Pride — this great article from Palm Springs Life has the details.

All indoor venues require a vaccination card or a recent negative COVID-19 test, so be prepared and be safe. A mask is like a condom — it helps contain the spread of disease. And because life is a bit weird in a mask, it may help prevent pregnancy, too.

See ya in December!

Triangle Inn Palm Springs

“You have some queer friends, Dorothy.” – The Road To Oz, Frank Baum

Drumroll! The Dinah Weekend has returned! The largest lesbian/queer/non-binary party starts on September 29, and runs through October 3. Bonus: It’s celebrating its 30th birthday!

Check out the link above for the 411- they continue to add. But before you book a room, check out options at Palm Springs Small Preferred Hotels. Side effects of a boutique hotels: sleep better, quiet time when you need it, romantic time when you want it, and then the big party after a disco nap. It’s also less crowded than the big hotels, which means you are a bit safer.

If you check out lesbian events in Palm Springs, you’d get the impression that book clubs and hikes are the only strictly non-stick activities, but I am 100% certain lesbians are interested in some slammin’ party events (see any photo taken at The Dinah). After all, girls just wanna have fun.

Even “MeetUps” has nothing for lesbians. When I asked a few of my sapphic friends, they said they mostly hang out with the boys on Arenas, or at 1501 Gastropub which is neither straight nor gay, just cool. Which makes me think lesbians are woefully underserved in Palm Springs, and it’s time to step it up! (I have no suggestions, just a protest sign. I’m an activist running on empty for this one.)

The gay guys, on the other hand, have everything covered. From hotels, to restaurants, to bars and events. Their cup runneth over. So, here are some of the great spots for gay men here in Palm Springs.

Photo: Linda Milks

HOTELS that cater to gay men

INNDulge – Well-named and floating with hospitality, this clothing-optional resort is delightfully indulgent in all the best ways.

Hacienda at Warm Sands – A longstanding Palm Springs favorite of discerning men, this resort boasts beautifully lush and tropical landscaped grounds,

Vista Grande Resort – This was the first gay, clothing-optional property in Palm Springs and its testosterone-charged atmosphere makes you feel alive.

Triangle Inn Palm Springs – Small and intimate, the mid-century Triangle Inn (designed by Hugh Kaptor, no less!) offers serenity in the desert.

El Mirasol Villas – Built in the 1940s by Howard Hughes, El Mirasol Villas offer men a blend of Spanish style and bygone Hollywood.

Desert Paradise Resort Hotel –  A lovely luscious sanctuary that routinely attracts repeat guests (who often view the hotel as a second home).

All Worlds Resort – Palm Springs largest gay men’s resort has something for everyone.

Santiago Resort – High-end and all-inclusive, the clothing-optional Santiago Resort boasts the largest pool of any boutique hotel in town.

Descanso Resort, a newly refurbished, completely reimagined men’s resort brought to you by the guys of the Santiago Resort…with the all-inclusive services and care you expect.

And coming soon, another brother property, Twin Palm Resort. Watch for it!

You can also use the sort button on the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website (I’ve already put in the search parameters for you. You’re welcome.)

La Dolce Vita Spa Entrance

Restaurants & Bars

All restaurants are all friendly, but this description cracks me up. Gay Desert Guide describes Rio Azul as a “Very gay tapas restaurant.” They have four-top swings at some of the tables, which is fun. It’s a great place to watch the Pride Parade too.

ON ARENAS

In Chicago there was a street lined with gay bars, just north of Belmont that we called “Boys Town”. Arenas is just like that. A small street packed with gay bars and restaurants. If you know where Lulu is, go east young man, away from Palm Canyon, and across Indian Canyon, where you will find party land. Not all of the gay establishments are on this street, but a good deal of them are. It is also a great place to shop for clothing. Please note that many of these places require proof of vaccination (smart!), so make sure you have it handy.

Bars/restaurants

Stacy’s Piano Bar

Chill Bar

Street Bar

Hunters Nightclub

Eagle 501

Blackbook Bar

Quadz

Stores

Bear Wear

GayMart

Division

Men’s Waxing

Rough Trade Leather and Gear

Off Arenas Bars and Restaurants

Oscars – Home of the Sunday night T-Dance.

Tool Shed – on Sunny Dunes

Q Trading Company – on Sunny Dunes where you can pick up a copy of local writer, David Eugene Perry’s book, Upon This Rock – a twisty, gay, thriller set in Orvieto, Italy.

Toucans Tiki Lounge

Beginning September 16 is Cinema Diverse, which is streaming with, it seems, a few drive-ins that are not included with the passes.

Lastly, BOOK FOR PRIDE NOW! Check out our resort hotels for great options. I’d hate to see you sleeping in my bushes. They’re not comfortable. I may or may not have first-hand knowledge.

“I always say, shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” — Tammy Faye Bakker Messner

People tend to think of Palm Springs as a place to go and relax by the pool with a cocktail, and it totally is — however, when you leave the luxury of your small boutique hotel, adventures in shopping await.

Don’t believe me? Tammy Faye Bakker Messner and her scandal-of-an-ex-husband had two homes in Palm Springs, one of them in Movie Colony. According to the Los Angeles Times, she was well known for her frequent shopping sprees in the posh clothing and jewelry stores of Palm Springs. That was back in the mid- to late-1980s. Imagine how much it’s grown since then? (You don’t have to — I’m going to tell you!)

These days we have the very visible The Block, an amalgamation of high-end stores from Tahquitz to Museum Way (here’s a great little map of the area). If you’re looking for a distinctive gift to make friends and family feel special, you need to shop outside of the big box. So, let’s venture across the street from the commerciality of the big brands and take a leisurely doggie paddle toward the treasure trove of unique boutiques teeming with the panache of our friendly shop owners who will add an extra dash of holiday cheer to your day. 

They are always available to help you find that perfect gift, or that perfect outfit that puts a big fat smile on your face. (Browsing is perfectly fine, too.) There are a LOT of local retailers, and it’s hard to list every one, so I’ve done a bit of pre-sorting for you with a few links that can get you to the right stores for the category in which you’re looking to purchase. 

Clothing and Accessories Stores

Gifts, Accessories, Collectibles

Specialty Food and Wine

Pets

Art, Galleries, and Supplies 

Collage by Kay Kudukis

If you’re into finding shops on your own, the best tip I can offer is to make sure you duck down into the side streets and a few little alleyways that have their own enclave, like the shops around the corner from men’s store Frank Clothier and celebrity favorite Crystal Fantasy.

We also have a toffee shop, Brandini’s, near the historic Plaza Theater. They have a terrific story and out-of-this-world toffee creations. Absolutely worth the calories.

Along the way are coffeehouses galore, and delightful lunch spots where you can meet or regroup with friends, or if you’re a lone wolf, relax in a sunny spot and plan the rest of your shopping spree. 

Collage by Kay Kudukis

There’s also the Corridor, just north of Alejo on Palm Canyon Drive. It’s a great place to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, enjoy the artwork, then do a little side shopping at Jill’s and Absolutely Fabulous.

Speaking of fabulous, check out the uptown Design District at Palm Canyon Galleria. It’s chock full of vintage high-end wares and home furnishings and many carry numerous mid-century and vintage items. Get a load of Bon Vivant with its vintage glass and jewelry, Froelick Gallery, and more. Inventory has included Blenko glass, vintage Tiffany jewelry, Bakelite pieces, Murano and Ikebana vases, Marbro lamps, Raymor pottery, a Bjorn Windblad porcelain bowl, and pieces by Palm Springs artists. Regular hours are Thursday through Monday. 

If you’re into vintage jewelry and have a few hundred Hamiltons to spend, try Gallerie24, local designer Carlos King’s boutique (by appointment only). On Indian Canyon are a few cool spots, specifically the Mojave Trading Post, where local crafters have their own mini-shops with wondrous things. And because Palm Springs is associated with retro and vintage items, here is a nice little list of all things antique-y:

Home Furnishings and More

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs
505 Industrial Pl.

Sunny Dunes Antique Mall
507 E Sunny Dunes Rd.

Little Shop of Treasures
616 E Sunny Dunes Rd.

Aida’s Antiques
401 Industrial Pl. S

Victoria’s Attic Antique Mall
798 N Palm Canyon Dr.

a La MOD INC
886 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Porter & Plunk
3500 E Tachevah Dr. Ste. H

Vintage Clothing

Iconic Atomic
1103 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Mitchells Palm Springs
106 S Indian Canyon Dr.

The Frippery
664 N Palm Canyon Dr. 

Vintage PS Gal
798 N. Palm Canyon Dr. #VPSG

That’s it for me this year. Hope to see you at one of our cool resorts or walking down our festive streets — I’ll be the one in the mask. Cheers to 2022!

Holy Ned, October is jamming! We’ve got Modernism Week Preview plus Palm Springs Leather Pride. If neither of those float your boat, there’s HALLOWEEN! It’s a huge holiday here in Palm Springs, and Halloween on Arenas is sick (in the best way possible). Costumes are off the charts creative, and the whole town is one big party.  

And now that it’s cooling down, all of our venues are heating way up. Keep in mind many indoor events require a vaccination card and a mask. Hey, the world is a bit of a horror show these days, but Palm Springs knows how to be safe and party. 

So now, without further ado, say hello to October events:  

Jazzville Shows at Agua Caliente Casino Cascade Lounge  

MFUO Featuring Jacques Lesure — Thursday, October 7, 7 p.m. 

Rumproller Organ Trio at Jazzville Palm Springs — Thursday, October 14, 7 p.m. 

Dan Delgado Sextet — Thursday, October 21, 7 p.m. 

Agua Caliente Casino Caliente Comedy 

Craig Conant  — Friday, October 1, 8 p.m. 

Pablo Francisco Comedy — Friday, October 8, 8 p.m. 

Brian Scolaro — Friday, October 15, 8 p.m. 

Tom Arnold — Friday, October 29, 8 p.m. 

Lalo Guerrero Tribute Show — Thursday, October 28, 7 p.m. 

Cultural Center – Camelot Theatres 

Drag O Rama featuring Rosemary Galore
Sunday, October 3, 2:30 p.m. (repeating Sundays)
Tickets starting at $15

 

Presenting Drag O Rama

 

REPO! The Genetic Opera — special screening of the cult horror film
Thursday, October 7, 6 p.m. social hour, event at 7 p.m. 

Chip ‘N’ Dru: Our Favorite Sings
Saturday, October 9, 6 p.m.

Multi-talented singer Dru Rutledge and veteran Broadway pianist Chip Prince present Our Favorite Sings. Featuring a multi-genre selection of songs in the style of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Debussy, Puccini, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Broadway, Opera, Top 40 chart toppers, and more!  

Martinis and Moxie: A Society Social
Friday, October 15, 6 p.m.

A “My Way” society revue celebrating the life and music of Frank Sinatra.  

2021 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival
Thursday, October 21, 7:30 p.m.

Founded in 2000 by the late mystery author and Palm Springs community leader Arthur Lyons, the popular Film Noir Festival includes an eclectic mixture of prestigious and obscure black and white B movies from the classic film noir period. The festival is known for unearthing and screening rare films, restored classics, and for the special appearances of the stars who were in them.  

The Purple Room 

Tuesdays: Rose Mallett 

Wednesdays: Michael Holmes and Darci Daniels 

Thursdays: Sharon Sills 

Fridays and Saturdays: Ticketed events 

Sundays: The Judy Show   

PS Underground 

That’s Amore, an Italian feast set to music.
Saturday, October 2, 7 p.m. 

Gospel Brunch featuring great music and Keisha D.
Sunday, October 3, 11 a.m. 

Ovation! A Jazzed Up Sunday Brunch
Sunday, October 10, 11 a.m. 

Death by Cheese, a ghoulishly cheesy Sunday brunch.
Sunday, October 24, 11 a.m.  

420 Bank Dispensary and Lounge 

Cheech Meet & Greet
Friday, October 1, 3 p.m. 

Kottonmouth Kings with DLOC
Saturday, October 23, 9 p.m. 

Rabbit Country
Friday, October 15, 6 p.m. 

Open Mic Night
Thursdays — October 7, 14, 21 

Oscar’s House Parties 

Saturdays: Mimosa Men (Brunch) 

Sundays: Bitchiest Brunch 

Sundays: World Famous T-Dance  

Oscar’s Special Events 

Edie Las Vegas Showgirls: Unleashed (ticketed event) — Saturday, October 2, 7 to 9 p.m. 

Sandra Bernhardt — Monday, October 4 and Tuesday, October 5

Remembering The Golden Girls — Wednesday, October 6

An Evening With Cameron Ross — Thursday, October 14

Melissa Manchester outdoor concert — Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22

Theater 

Desert Rose Playhouse Presents Xanadu 

Thursday to Sunday, through October 17 

(Note: So far their season has been spectacular!)  

Palm Canyon Theater 

Sordid Lives — Through October 3 

Shrek The Musical — Beginning October 22 

More options 

Wind and Wine Paint Party
Saturday, October 16, 11 a.m.
Palm Springs Windmill Tours
Wine glass painting class and Windmill Tour  

Paint Splatter at Superbloom Studios
Thursday, October 14, 6 p.m.
Starts at $150.00  

The Gem Show at Palm Springs Convention Center
October 21 through 24   

Modernism Fall Preview
October 14 through 17
 

Halloween 

Palm Springs Cultural Center 

Jazzville Creepy Cocktail Party
Sunday, October 31, 3 p.m. 

Cinema Bizarro: Best of Retro Cartoon Halloween Specials
Sunday, October 31, 1 p.m.  

Jazzville Presents The Jazz Cartel Halloween Special
Sunday, October 31, 5 p.m. 

Hocus Pocus hosted by the Sanderson Sisters
Sunday, October 31, 5 p.m.

A screening of Hocus Pocus with special guests the Sanderson Sisters. Kids receive a (kinda) real magic wand from the spooky woods of Salem.  

Zombie Burlesque Cocktail Party
Sunday, October 31, 6 p.m.  

The Three Michaels playing the Halloween score live, plus private party
Sunday, October 31, 8 p.m. 

An ode to John Carpenter’s Halloween with the musical score, scares, and skits performed live in front of an abbreviated version of the film projected on the big screen. 

Dirty Little Secrets Presents Shock Theater Spooktacular
Sunday, October 31 8 p.m.

California’s longest running burlesque and variety show. From zombies to fire performers, this eclectic shock theater of sensational striptease will keep you laughing and howling all night! 

PS Underground 

BITE – a bloody vampire dinner
October 26, 27, 28, 31, 7 p.m. 

Halloween on Arenas Road – The Queen Of All Halloween Parties
The party starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m.. Take an Uber/Lyft, parking will suck, and you’ll likely get pretty boozy. There’s too much to talk about, so I’m just sending you to the link. Prizes up to $1,800! 

For Gay Men Only

The Dirty Show with Skyler Gentry
Wednesday, October 6, 7 p.m.

$25 includes complimentary booze, snacks, pre-show and post-show party after every performance. The venue is outdoors with spaced seating. 

Hot Uncle at the Barracks
Saturday, October 16, 9 p.m.  
 

Palm Springs Leather Pride 2021: Unlocked: Full Release
Begins October 26 and runs through October 31. Multiple venues, starting at Eagle 501 bar.  SO MANY EVENTS! Event packages (too easy) here. Need some leather? Try Gear and Rough Trade Gear. 

That’ll do it for October. Don’t forget to shop and stay local. See you in November!