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“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

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

Day tripping is a fun way to get out and play at some of the super cool spots around Palm Springs. That’s what Dwight D. Eisenhower did in 1954, when he slipped away for many hours under the cover of having an emergency dental appointment. It is speculated that he was taken to Edwards Air Force base to talk to some aliens. The tall gray ones called Nordics

Believe it or not, we do have some actual history with “space aliens” — and I’m not talking about the energy vortex of Desert Hot Springs, where many have claimed to have had UFO sightings. Although now that I think about it, that counts.

What I am talking about is the Integratron, located an hour outside of Palm Springs in a town called Landers. The Integratron was built by George Van Tassel, and funded, it is said, by Howard Hughes. Van Tassel claimed he got the plans from Venusians, aka inhabitants of Venus. He claims the Integratron was capable of rejuvenation, anti-gravity, and time travel.

Integratron

The Integratron. Photo by Kay Kudukis

Today it is used as a sound bath, and it’s fabulous — 45 minutes of quartz singing bowls played at different frequencies while you lay on a mat with your eyes closed. Rejuvenating. I grew a whole new limb. (No, I didn’t. That’s regenerating, and another story.) Go a little early and check out the gift shop and hang out in their outdoor area. It’s pretty sweet.

Not far away is Giant Rock, an ancient tribal ritual site where Van Tassel held Interplanetary Space Conventions to raise money to keep building the Integratron. You can read the whole fascinating story at The Mojave Project.

The Integratron is booked waaaaay in advance, but if you do get in, on your way back to Palm Springs stop for a bite at the world-famous Pappy and Harriet’s.

Behind Pappy and Harriet’s is an old Hollywood Western film set called Pioneertown. You’ll feel like you traveled back in time to the Wild, Wild West (not the Will Smith movie, that was baaad.) There’s even a staged shoot ’em up at high noon.

The Salton Sea: It smells. Real bad. But there are reasons to go. It has a great history with the Hollywood types, and there’s actually stuff to do. Sheephole Oasis (thumbs down to the naming committee) and Hidden Springs are said to have a nice bloom of wildflowers.

The Salton Sea at sunset. Photo by Catherine Garcia

While you’re in the area, check out the art installation known as Salvation Mountain, then continue on to Borrego Springs for lunch, art, and scads of hikes.

Joshua Tree: I’m sure Joshua Tree is on your list already. It’s a national park so there is a fee to enter, but it’s hella worth it. If you happen to be there on April 22 or 23, there will be a free concert called SoundcheckEarth. Warning: The rocks are higher than you think. Do not jump off them. Someone I know may have done this. It may have been me.

Joshua Tree National Park. Photo by Catherine Garcia

Idyllwild, Lake Arrowhead, and Big Bear Lake: All adorable mountain towns that are great little day jaunts.

Whitewater Preserve: Very short ride down a very long road to a very secluded place with a ranger’s station/museum, beautiful picnic areas, a natural wading pool, and a longer hike to the swimming hole. Very relaxing day.

Redlands: Less than an hour from Palm Springs is the adorable city of Redlands. Lots of old architecture, and this article tells you all about the museums, theaters, parks, and places to eat. They seem to like making beer here — there are quite a few little breweries around town.

Umbrellas provide shade and public art in downtown Redlands. Photo by Catherine Garcia

This last one is going to take all day, but if you’re into ghost towns, Calico is where you want to go. There’s an old railroad, a mine, and more. It’s a regional park so you do have to pay to get spooked. Dress in layers.

And that’s all I’ve got for you this time. Hope you enjoy your stay in one of our chill boutique resorts, and that no matter where you go, you have a gas.

Stay cool everyone, and keep on keeping on.

Big Bear Lake. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

“I need to disappear, escape for a little bit / Take a trip to Palm Springs if you’re into it.”Mistel Marie, “Palm Springs”

It’s hot and getting hotter in Palm Springs, and unless you’re a Bedouin, it’s a bit too too for outdoor adventures. How do desert rats even exist?

I’d love to tell you, thanks for asking.

We stay in and around the pool with snacks and (adult) beverages close at hand. We wear sun bonnets (we don’t) and sunscreen (we should). Our rosé is always chilled, beer mugs frosty, tequila iced, and our martinis are shaken, not stirred. The only thing missing is someone to do all the cooking, cleaning, and bartending.

And that’s where these resorts enter our three-part (!) story.

They all have gorgeous pools, and some have massage services, but they all have a restaurant or food options so you never have to leave. No cooking and cleaning for you, my friend. You are completely carefree to don swimwear all day, and work on your tan and alcohol intake in a place that is far, far away from the madding crowd, in the enchanting city called Palm Springs.

In this part, I’ll introduce you to the larger boutique resorts that have full restaurants.

Alcazar Palm Springs. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Alcazar Palm Springs — Featured in Food & Wine, the Los Angeles Times, and Travel+Leisure, Alcazar has 34 suites and is located in the Uptown Design District. The rooms are modern and sleek, featuring Italian linens, flat screen televisions, fireplaces, and your choice of poolside or private patios. In addition to their immaculate attention to detail, Alcazar offers WiFi, coffee, espresso, tea, juice, daily fresh pastries, and Townie bikes for exploring the neighborhood.

It is also attached to two of the best restaurants in Palm Springs, Cheeky’s and Birba. Although they don’t do room service, there is a passageway from the resort to both restaurants so you can stay as cool as you are.

The Cole Hotel. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

The Cole Hotel — In the same neighborhood is one of the more affordable resorts in Palm Springs: The Cole. It’s a 30-room resort with three different floor plans — the Cole King, Cole Suite, and Pool Suite, plus the 600-square-foot Honeymoon Suite, complete with a private balcony. There’s also a nice, swimmable pool where they have 21+ pool parties. The Cole recently welcomed Freddie’s Kitchen, conceived by Chef Frederic, who has a long history in French cuisine in Southern California and was once chef de cuisine for Joël Robuchon — the chef and restaurateur named “Chef of the Century’ by the guide Gault Millau and awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France.

Alas, they do not serve breakfast, but they do open at noon and snacks and drinks are available poolside until 9 p.m. Dinner starts at 5 p.m.

The Ingleside Inn. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

The Ingleside Inn — Classic Palm Springs, old school vibe, and another very swimmable pool. The Ingleside Inn was built in the 1920s, and transformed into an invitation-only private club by Ruth Hardy (check out her park), where notables Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, and Marlon Brando stayed; Carole Lombard and Clark Gable honeymooned there.

Since then, the property has become open to the general public, but they’ve kept the Hollywood glam intact, including their restaurant, Melvyn’s, a favorite of Frank Sinatra. He was particularly fond of their Steak Diane.

This resort has 30 rooms and is situated on two acres of land, closer to the south end of Palm Springs on Belardo, and is still a home away from home for many celebrities. The Casablanca Lounge has a piano player nightly, and you never know who might sit in — anyone from Neil Sedaka (“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”) to James Marsden (Enchanted and Dead To Me) to local favorites.

Poolside at La Serena Villas. Photo credit: La Serena Villas

La Serena Villas — Here’s another resort that has it all. It’s located in downtown Palm Springs, but well off the beaten path. They have the Whispers Spa that is for guests staying at La Serena Villas, the Del Marcos, and The Three Fifty Hotel only, so you can be pretty certain you’ll get the services you want, when you want them.

Also, it has a terrific restaurant called Azucar that is open to the public, so you can invite your friends to join you for dinner then invite them back to your suite for a nightcap on your private patio, or take it to the big, gorgeous pool.

The entrance to Smoke Tree Ranch. Photo credit: Smoke Tree Ranch

Smoke Tree Ranch — I have a friend who grew up in Palm Springs, and this is one place she’s never been and really, really wants to go. It’s that exclusive.

Located at the base of the mountains, the views from each of the 49 cottages are stunning. Sunrises and sunsets are actual events you won’t want to miss when you’re staying here. Some of the amenities include: flatscreen televisions, wet bars, refrigerators, coffee makers, cozy down pillows, deluxe down comforters and blankets, luxurious bathrooms with separate tubs and showers, plantation shutters, telephones with voicemail (!), private patios, and WiFi. Most cottages also have carports and wood-burning fireplaces.

Activities? Swimming, soaking, horseback riding, spa services, horseshoes, pickleball, tennis, golf, volleyball, basketball, croquet. And they have babysitting services.

The restaurant is old school; it has a dress code, so that’s kinda fun. Dress in your best summer designer fashion, and enjoy the poshness of it all while dining on the best Chef Tony Marks can cook up, including lobster and the finest steaks he can procure.

And get this — cottages are traditionally sold with three full meals per day in the Ranch House Dining Room. The meal plan begins with dinner on the day of check in, followed by breakfast and lunch the following day, and includes all gratuities.

But wait, there’s more! Coming up next week: a guide to the restaurants and bars at Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels that have no more than 30 rooms.

Without a doubt, Christmas in Palm Springs is bright and gay in a variety of ways. And variety is the spice of life, non?

The mornings yield a crisp temp of the low 40s, while the days are sunny and warm, in the 70s — light sweater weather. The spirit and spirits flow freely here, and if you’re not into the boozy side, there are a bunch of fun, family-oriented things to do. There are also some events that are not — family oriented, that is. Read on for all of the naughty and nice awaiting you in Palm Springs’ bright, open, and welcoming arms.

Courtesy of Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum Events

Santa Fly-In and Winter Light Show
Dec. 18-22, 6 p.m.

Each evening Santa Claus will arrive at the Air Museum in his helicopter to greet all the good little girls and boys who have come to see him. In addition to sitting for photographs and having a special gift for each child, Santa will open the museum to reveal a Christmas light spectacular for children young and old to enjoy. Details on cost per car or person TBD. 

Men Of The Desert Fashion Show & Luncheon
Dec. 5, 11 a.m.

Now in its 12th year, the Men of the Desert Fashion Show and Luncheon brings together dudes, dogs, and designer duds at the Palm Springs Air Museum. This fashionable event is held in conjunction with Animal Samaritans.

Desert Air
Dec. 10-11

Desert Air, a 21+ event that requires ID and vaccination card, debuts a dance weekend getaway under the desert sky – hosting two intimate days of world class underground dance music amongst the historic aircrafts of the Palm Springs Air Museum. No parking is available at the venue – a shuttle pass is highly encouraged for the best and easiest way to get to and from the Air Museum.

The Air Museum still has their warbird rides, too.

Miscellaneous Fun

Desert Tasty Tours
Available for most of December — check out their calendar for dates

This three hour, $85 walking tour of downtown Palm Springs features food tastings along the way. As Desert Tasty Tours puts it, “Eating your way through the tour is just one of the tasty ingredients — add a dash of history, a cup of culture, and a dollop of famous resident name dropping, and you get a delicious day of fun!” Open to guests 13 and older.

Drink, Dance, and Dine
Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 4 p.m.

Enjoy professional and educational performances and community dance lessons, plus hang out with the dancers at Persimmon Bistro & Wine Bar and under the sky in the gorgeous Meyerman Sculpture Garden. Presented by Nickerson-Rossi Dance.

Greentank and Friendly Farms Hall of Flowers (Cannabis Event)
Dec. 8, 5 to 9 p.m.

Eat, drink and vape your way through three specially crafted pairings that will take your tastebuds on a journey into the future of cannabis consumption. This event at Flannery Exchange features special flower sponsor guests Ball Family Farms and Humboldt’s Finest and special guest chef Jonathan Leiva from Oakland. This is a NO SMOKING event. All activations provided will be vapor only.

The Palm Springs Art Museum offers complimentary museum admission from 5 to 7 p.m. during Free Thursdays — be sure to make a reservation online ahead of time

Tours

Red Jeep Tours

Palm Springs Tram

Windmilll Tours

Dinner Theater/Shows (food is involved, okay?)

Oscar’s presents Gunhild Carling
Dec. 3 and 4

This was a HUGE hit last time around.

Purple Room
Dec. 3 and 4
The Skivvies — Say It Ain’t Snow
This troupe of entertainers dazzle with their alt-cabaret, new burlesque show.

Dec. 5,12, and 19
Judy’s Old Fashioned Christmas
Dinner starts at 5 p.m., followed by the show at 7.

Dec. 17 and 18
Diane Schuur

Courtesy of PS Underground

PS Underground

There’s so much going on — first we have Spy on Dec. 4, followed by Gospel Brunch on Dec. 5; Holiday Havoc (the elves have taken over!) on Dec. 11; Sounds of the Season on Dec. 12; Sparkle (international holiday traditions) on Dec. 17; and Rouge (1920s Speakeasy) on Dec. 30.

Theater/Movies

Palm Springs Cultural Center

Classic musical movies on the big screen again. 

Dec. 4: Victor/Victoria

Dec. 18: Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

Dec. 25: White Christmas

Palm Canyon Theater 

The Sound of Music

Dec. 3, 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8 p.m.

Dec. 5, 12, 19 at 2 p.m.

Dec. 9, 16 at 7 p.m.

Holiday Sparkle Christmas pageant

Dec. 15

Desert Rose Playhouse

Christmas With The Crawfords
Dec. 9, 16, 23 at 7 p.m.
Dec. 10, 11 17, 18, 24 at 8 p.m.
Dec 12, 19, 26 at 2 p.m.

We find Ms. (Joan) Crawford prepping for her infamous 1940s Christmas Eve radio broadcast, with Christina and Christopher in tow. The show is a 90-minute parade of famous movie stars dropping by unannounced to sing, dance, and generally toss each other around. You know the gang: Hedda Hopper, Ann Miller, Baby Jane Hudson, Judy Garland, Gloria Swanson, Ethel Merman, Carmen Miranda, Mae West. and even the Andrew Sisters.

Brian Justin Crum Holiday in the Desert
Dec. 3 and 4
Brian Justin Crum is an American singer and actor from San Diego. In 2016, he came to national attention competing on the 11th season of America’s Got Talent, taking fourth place.

The Nutcracker, presented by CK Dance Company
Dec. 21 and 22
CK Dance, Palm Springs’ award-winning dance company, returns to the beautiful Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum for its 25th Anniversary performances of the quintessential holiday ballet The Nutcracker.

Music

Jazzville Wednesdays — see calendar for information on shows

Oscar’s — lots of fun recurring events

Martinis and Moxie – A Desert Society Social
Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.
Celebrating the music and life of Frank Sinatra.

Purple Room

You don’t have to have dinner to listen to some great music during the week, but the food’s pretty fab and they have a great happy hour.

Mondays: Charles Herrera and Keisha D’ perform timeless classics that inspire the soul.

Tuesdays: Rose Mallett, jazz legend, sings the music of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, and more.

Wednesdays: Michael Holmes and Darci Daniels swing to the music of the Rat Pack era.

Thursdays: Sharon Sills, Sass, Sex and Song. One of the desert’s most popular performers.

Drag and Nekked Men

A May Zing Sundays at Chill

Andy Santiago presents a drag brunch with no compromises. RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s Honey Davenport hosts Drag Race‘s Mariah Paris Balenciaga. Featuring Jazmyn Simone and Lauren Banall.

PS Drag Brunch
Roly China Fusion presents the only Sunday Dim Sum drag brunch in Palm Springs. Multiple dates, with tickets starting at $15.

Savage Men Male Revue
Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $20.

Hunk-O-Mania Male Revue Strippers Show or is it Illusions? If you figure it out, let me know…
Dec. at 9 p.m. Pete’s Hideaway. Tickets start at $30.

AirOtic Soirée: An open air burlesque cirque style cabaret
Hunters Palm Springs. Tickets start at $48.

New Years Eve, Rock & Roll Bash at the World Famous Palm Canyon Roadhouse
Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20.

Cheers in the new year at the Light It Up New Year’s Eve Block Party at Agua Caliente Palm Springs’ Cascade Lounge. Dance the night away while DJ Lady Kate takes the stage starting at 8 p.m. From food trucks to fireworks and all in between, bring the family out for a great evening!

I’m sure there are more NYE events, but getting that info seems to require selling my first-born cat, and I am not sure which one it is…

Also, coming up on Jan. 6 is the Palm Springs International Film Festival, so book your rooms and get your tickets now.

As always, stay safe, wear your mask, and carry your vaccination card or recent negative test with you at all times. You can still have fun following these rules — I’ve had some wildly fun times since they let me out of my house.

When it comes to 2022, here are some wise words from the grand dame of words, Dorothy Parker: Let the past die, my child, and go gaily on from its unmarked grave. 

Happy everything, everyone!

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! 

“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!

“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!

Happy New Year!

The holiday season has gone its merry way, and we’re all feeling a little less flush in the pocket and a little more snug in the waistband. And that’s okay! We’ve got a full year to refill the coffers and pare down the pooch so screw it, let’s put it all on the back burner and have some glorious “it’s all about me” time basking in Palm Springs’ hospitality. You worked hard all year and you deserve a break, damnit. 

It’s hot tubbing, spa treatments, and hot toddies time! Come on. You know you wanna.

Before we get started, a wee bit of bad news: Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) has canceled its gala due to the new and highly unwelcome Omicron coronavirus variant. Keep an eye on PSIFF’s website for schedules and possible changes. So far, it’s the only event to (wisely) take that precaution, but these are strange times. Everything can change in a nano.

And now, it’s time to plan that “me” time!

Courtesy of PS Air Bar

Starting January 2, check out Disco Boozy Brunch at PS Air Bar. Recurring weekly on Sundays until March 27. Also, check out their Saturday night movies and grab yourself some fine wine from their downstairs parent, Bouschet. And by grab, I mean pay for it.

Desert Rose Playhouse has the world premiere of a new musical, Mid-Century Moderns. Set to the music of 1966, it’s the story of a plucky Wisconsin widow who transforms from frump to fabulous when she finds herself at the center of modernity in Palm Springs. Featuring the music of Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Lesley Gore, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, The Association, The Monkees, and many more. Sounds fun!

Palm Springs Air Museum has tons of great events coming up, including a show about Amelia Earhart. They also still have the Warbird Experience.

PS Underground 
Lots of fun. You never know what to expect. All of their shows are delightful, delicious, and wildly entertaining.

The Purple Room. Photo courtesy of The Purple Room

Purple Room offers entertainment six days a week, with ticketed shows on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Always Rat-Packy, and always classy. I’ll say it again: You’ve gotta see The Judy Show.

Palm Springs Tramway
Wear layers and heavy coats for the top.

Cascade Lounge at Agua Spa in downtown Palm Springs offers Caliente Comedy every Friday night, and Thursdays belongs to Jazzville.

Oscar’s is always coming up with innovative entertainment, so make sure to check their website. Every Sunday is the T Dance and Bitchiest Brunch.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge is known for the city’s longest continuously running drag show, Tommi Rose & The Playgirls, as well as weekly theme nights, ranging from Latin Fever Monday to Neon Thursday to Dirty Pop Saturday. The club also brings in top tier cabaret and performance talent as part of Toucans Live on Stage.

CannaBUS Express Tours Canna-Sprinter. Photo courtesy of CannaBUS Express Tours

CannaBUS Express Tours
Greater Palm Springs is basically the Silicon Valley of cannabis. This is a very lively and informative 3-hour tour behind the scenes of the big business.

V Wine Lounge has music on Mondays, tacos and margaritas on Tuesdays, and karaoke on Wednesdays. Plus, they have a bomb selection of unusual wines. The lounge has a super cool vibe, so check it out.

Keep an eye out for a new franchise restaurant opening at 190 E. Indian Canyon later this month. Although these restaurants can be found all over Florida and in many other states, this will be the first I Heart Mac and Cheese in California. Comes with a side of Lipitor. (I’m kidding. It’s extra.)

Every Thursday is the Village Fest, every Saturday is the Certified Farmers Market, and the first Sunday of the month is the Vintage Market. If you’re craving vintage items on a day that is not the first Sunday of every month, then head on over to Sunny Dunes and Industrial Place and the Antiques Mall.

Oasis Music Festival is brand new event, and man do they have a lot of great acts during their five-day run. January 26 to 30 are the dates, and the venues are all over Palm Springs. What a great way to hear some great music and check off some of those venues you’ve been meaning to try. 

The Shag poster for Modernism Week 2022. Photo courtesy of Modernism Week

Notes to your future fun selves:

February is Modernism Week. It is likely many events have sold out (enthusiasts be enthusing), so get cracking on signing up. If you’re too late, you can always scratch your mid-mod itch with a copy of their new Shag poster here, or pop into Shag’s store to get an original. This is the fifth poster for Modernism Week by the local artist.

BNP Paribas Open is in March, so start planning now.

It’s never too early to prepare for Coachella or Stagecoach. Start booking rooms and getting tickets now. Looks like Coachella is already waitlisted!

Reminder: We love you and every single one of our neighbors, which means indoor events require a vax card. I got an electronic copy of mine here, then told Siri to take a screenshot and saved it in my iPhone’s Notes. Super simple.

Stay safe, and I hope to see you around town! 

“I try not to limit my madness to March.” — Maxine (a.k.a. John Wagner for Shoebox Cards)

For most of the world, March is a tempestuous mistress. Cold and blustery, then cold and sunshine-y. She’s a whole lot of brrrrrrrrr.

In Palm Springs, March is more of a minx: flirty and fun. Her daytimes are generally in the 80s and sometimes 90s, however she can give you the cold shoulder, too. Especially at night. The solution is to bring your swimsuit and a bunch of layers because in Palm Springs, March is a swinger. She gets a bit chilly at night but bounces back by 10 a.m.

Without further ado, we will now continue our fun streak of delightful Palm Springs activities, with one event that’s so cool I might have just peed a little reading about it. Read on while I change me undies:

New restaurant alert:

Osteria Palmina

Dinner and a show:

The Purple Room

March 3, 4, and 5: Lucie Arnaz: I Got The Job 

March 6, 13, 20, 27: The Judy Show 

If you’ve read this blog before, you know it’s my favorite show in town.

March 11 and 12: John Lloyd Young 

March 17, 18, and 19: Marvelous Marilyn Maye

March 25 and 26: Joe Pasa as Joan Rivers

AsiaSF 

Dinner and a lip sync show! The costumes are outstanding! Same producers as the one in San Francisco.

PS Underground

Pop 80s — Featuring The Gand Band

Gospel Brunch with Keisha D

Laurel Canyon — a tribute to those artists of the area, like Linda Rondstadt, Joni Mitchell, and The Doors (with music from The Gand Band).

The Mod Squad Variety Show — Another personal favorite, this one’s a brunch.

Ovation — A jazz-inspired Sunday brunch.

Light — I have always wanted to see this show! Described as an “unparalleled multi-sensory journey” that offers an “unprecedented dining experience through culinary art and technological innovation.”

Broadway BlindA musical Sunday brunch.

A Night at the Chi Chi — Mark your calendars, this one’s on April 1 and 2.

Courtesy of PS Underground

Oscar’s 

The Women Of Knots (that’s Knots Landing, people!)

Drinks and entertainment:

Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente in downtown Palm Springs

Jazzville — Every Thursday

Caliente Comedy — Every Friday 

Latin Nights — Every Sunday

PS Cultural Center

Jazz on the Second Floor

Martinis & Moxie

Theater:

Palm Canyon Theater
Palm Springs Getaway! Runs until March 13.

Desert Rose Playhouse
Electricity
Brian Justin Crum 
Palm Springs The Musical: Born To Sparkle — World premiere!

Courtesy of Palm Springs The Musical

The Annenberg
The Anniversary — A full-length dance film event.
Coachella Valley Symphony Concerto Concert
Lilias White — White has appeared in cabarets and concert halls around the world, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and Lincoln Center. Her debut solo studio album, Get Yourself Some Happy!, was released in July.

Desert Ensemble Theatre
All This Intimacy Described as a sex comedy gone wrong.

Dezart Performs
The Mountaintop — A reimagining of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last day at the Lorraine Hotel and his encounter with a young maid. There’s a huge twist in this play, something you can expect to be handled brilliantly by Dezart. 

All the rest:

Palm Springs Chalk Art Festival
OMG!! I LOVE chalk art, especially from artists with a sense of whimsy. One of my favorite creators on TikTok is chalk artist David Zinn. This is a free event.

MOGO Silent Disco Tour
If anyone wants to do this, please include me!

Photo courtesy of MOGO Silent Disco Tour

Palm Springs Vintage Market
This Palm Springs staple will run on March 6 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

French Cooking Classes
In the chef’s private home — all reviews are spectacular!

Of course the old “musts” are still available, and if you haven’t, well…you must!

Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum

Hiking at Indian Canyons — Please note: closed on March 11 for the Legacy Hike. 

Happy Palm Springs everyone! See you in April.