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As the snow starts piling up in the east, Palm Springs, California — where the average winter temperature is in the 70s and there’s always lots of sunshine — sounds awfully good.

No matter what time of year you visit, VillageFest is something you will want to include in your itinerary. Taking place in downtown Palm Springs on Palm Canyon Drive, this street fair is held on Thursdays, from 6 to 10 p.m. October through May and 7 to 10 p.m. June through September. There are plenty of places to park, including a garage, several lots, and on the street, and yes, you can bring your furry friends who are happy being on leashes. VillageFest is closed on Thanksgiving and occasionally due to rainstorms or wind, but local news channels will alert you if those rare experiences occur.

Dining street side

While our fine dining restaurants are open on Thursdays, it might be time to have a unique experience buying your evening meal from one of the many food trucks or booths at VillageFest. Trust me, if you weren’t hungry when you arrived, you will be, for luscious smells permeate the air. This is your chance to try ethnic foods from truck owners specializing in their food lane; the last time I was at VillageFest, I smiled when I saw a cart serving empanadas, which instantly brought me back to my days living in the Caribbean. Many of the food items are cooked right before you, much to the delight of children who enjoy watching their meals being prepared, and there are picnic tables on the north side to eat on.

One of the many food trucks that stops at VillageFest. Photo by Kathy Condon

Art for sale

Walking down the street, you will find it crowded, so make sure you slow down and take time to step into the artists’ booths, where they are ready to share information on their processes. During a recent evening, there was an artist from Santa Cruz with pieces featuring palm trees that would be great for gracing large spaces in hallways, fitting well into modernism decor. There are also photos, prints, and watercolor notecards of Palm Springs that will be perfect reminders of your visit to the area. One of the more popular vendors is Sue, who takes tin cans and turns them into the ideal night lights or candle holders. You will be mesmerized by watching her create them on-site. 

As an added bonus, on Thursday nights, the Palm Springs Art Museum has free admittance from 5 to 8 p.m., a gift provided to the visitors and community by the city of Palm Springs. Check the museum’s website for details on the rotating exhibits.

One of the shopping options at VillageFest. Photo by Kathy Condon

Produce from our local farms

If you have visited the 26-foot high Marilyn Monroe statue on Museum Way, you can easily find where local farmers bring fresh produce to purchase. Dates come in several varieties, so be sure to ask for a sample; you may be surprised to learn they dance differently on your tastebuds with their unique textures. By the way, Coachella produces 95 percent of dates grown in the United States.

Our 350 days of sunlight annually allow farmers to grow produce here year-round, so you may be surprised how much is available. Also, you will find some delectable baked goods that are lovely with your morning coffee while enjoying our beautiful weather poolside. 

Dates for sale. Photo by Kathy Condon

Shopping is abundant

Yes, most local merchants keep their doors open during VillageFest, so you can buy the dress you saw earlier in the day. Or if you forgot your swimsuit or need a wrap for our cooler evenings, all of that is available. Small items that can easily be tucked in your suitcase for souvenirs or gifts can be found in the dozens of tented vendor booths. You will find everything from jewelry made out of paper, vintage clothing, candles, and specialty T-shirts to beautiful wood boxes and handmade pens. 

VillageFest was initially created to draw more people downtown during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Now 22 years later, it has become an institution in Palm Springs. We residents make sure to take visitors there, and have our favorite vendors we patronize for unusual gifts, making it easy to send a little bit of Palm Springs culture off to friends. This event is near many of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, making it even easier for you to explore this event that will help you learn, fill your senses, and enable you to check off items on your gift list.

Some gift ideas to bring home from Palm Springs. Photo by Kathy Condon

“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.

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

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

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

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

The name says it all.

At INNdulge, guests take full advantage of being on vacation, relaxing in the saltwater pool and 12-man jacuzzi and reveling in the property’s gardens. This clothing optional gay men’s resort in the Warm Sands neighborhood is a mid-century modern hotel built in 1958, with 24 rooms. Jon Jackson has owned INNdulge for 10 years, becoming a hotelier after retiring as an attorney.

“My hospitality experience is in restaurants, but those skills easily converted,” he said.

An expanded continental breakfast is served in the morning, and an evening social hour and weekend pool parties bring guests together. Visitors often tell Jon they enjoy “the social aspect of staying with other like-minded gay men,” and in turn, he’s thrilled to provide “a great product and service.”

INNdulge, he added, “is a property that caters to gay men, who appreciate the pride of ownership we take in maintaining our property, and who in turn treat it with the type of respect deserving of a home away from home.”

By Katie Carrier

 

Palm Springs boasts a treasure trove of small hotels with big style that are ideal for guests seeking the perfect Instagram moment. Holiday House Palm Springs is one of the more recent additions to these local offerings, featuring an eye-catching blue and white design motif with pops of red.

Holiday House was originally designed in the 1950s by Herbert Berns, with strong midcentury lines and architectural details that were emblematic of the period. The hotel, located in downtown Palm Springs, was redesigned and relaunched in 2017 after an extensive makeover by renowned interior designer Mark D. Sikes, who is known for his signature blue and white color palette.

Each of the property’s 28 rooms feature unique combinations of patterned wallpaper, textiles and furnishings, as well as an impressive art collection that includes works by John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Alex Katz. The lawn adjacent to the hotel’s pool features a large Donald Sultan sculpture called “Red Poppies” that is one of the popular Instagram-friendly features on the property.

The blue and white striped furniture on the patio is another great spot for a snap for the ‘gram, surrounded by lush banana leaves and mature fruit trees. The hotel also offers fun amenities on site that are just begging for a social media shoutout, including a huge pool, blue and white polka dot bicycles that are available for guests to use and an original shuffleboard court.

The hotel lobby is also full of Instagram gold, including the “library,” which is covered in a striking blue pattern on every surface, an oversized David Hockney Sumo book, and the bar, which has a catchy neon art piece that makes a frequent appearance on social media.

The hotel’s cocktails are also super Instagrammable, featuring fun garnishes and swizzle sticks that make for the perfect poolside drink-in-hand pose!

Holiday House features one of the more unique dining experiences in the desert, with a family-style fried chicken dinner held each Friday night that is open to both hotel guests and the general public. Attendees dine al fresco at a beautifully-decorated long table, enjoying the delicious culinary creations of Chef Gabe Woo. Cantina Tuesdays are another great time to visit Holiday House, with gourmet Mexican fare and margaritas served a la carte in the patio dining area.

If you’re an Instagram fan, you will definitely want to experience Holiday House Palm Springs soon! Be sure to also stay tuned as we explore other great Instagram-friendly small hotels in Palm Springs in a new series of blog posts coming out each month.

The Palm Springs International Airport serves as a hub for welcoming people from all over the world, and visitors arriving in our open-air terminal marvel at the fact they can remove their jackets and immediately start breathing in the fresh desert air.

The first thing on the agenda is either getting through security or heading to the baggage claim area, both of which can be done effortlessly and efficiently at the streamlined facility. This modernist airport has kept up with the times, introducing the latest technology to make arrivals and departures seamless, and it’s also filled with several art installations. As these can be easy to miss amid the hustle and bustle, here’s a guide to several must-see pieces:

In the glass area by security:

“Tang,” aluminum with epoxy paint, by Tom Holland. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Tom Holland is considered one of California’s most important contemporary artists. He grew up in San Mateo and started his studies at Willamette University while also working for Oregon Gov. Mark Hatfield. While waiting for Hatfield between political events, Holland started painting in the car. When he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, Holland’s work turned from watercolors to oil on canvas and was labeled “funky.” He went on to experiment with aluminum and fiberglass, as it is light and didn’t need to be framed. By adding epoxy paint, Holland was able to have his sculptures reflect light and shadows.

Immediately outside the door of the main building:

“Caprice de Luberon,” French limestone, by Yasuo Mizui. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Yasuo Mizui served as a technician during World War II doing casting. After the war, he enrolled at Tokyo University, where he wrote his thesis “Art – Casting Daibutsu.” Mizui received a scholarship from the French government, which resulted in him working in monumental stone art and participating in the International Sculpture Symposium. “I am for unification,” Mizui said. “The stone sculpture becomes my act, and my act becomes stone sculpture.” 

In the courtyard near the escalator:

“Mai Chan IV,” lacquered steel, by Michael Todd. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Born in Omaha, Michael Todd graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of fine art degree from Notre Dame. He was awarded both a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and Fulbright Fellowship, and when offered a teaching job at the University of California, San Diego, he accepted and began working with steel (wood had been his previous material of choice). The steel from the shipbuilding industry activated his artistic design sense, and he started the compositions in space and the cosmos. Today he lives and creates in Encinitas, California. 

On the walkway to the Regional Terminal (Regional Terminal Concourse):

“Model for Meditation,” mandala sundial in bronze, by Paul Jenkins. Photo credit: Nadine Conger.

Paul Jenkins was considered an abstract expressionist and exhibited with artists like Jackson Pollack. His abstract work was created by dripping, pouring, bleeding, and pooling acrylic paint directly on a bare canvas, then scattering it with an ivory knife. “I try to paint like a crapshooter, throwing dice and utilizing my experience and knowledge of the odds,” Jenkins once said. “It’s a big gamble, and this is why I love it.” In the 1970s, Jenkins finished his first drawing of “Meditation Mandala,” and in the 1980s took that same concept and poured it into bronze. 

Outside the Regional Terminal:

“Big Horn Springs” by Joe Wertheimer, sculptor, and Mark Junge, painter. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Joe Wertheimer spent 15 years in London as a conceptual and design artist for films and television productions created by American companies. After a highly successful career, he realized his true passion was creating sculptures. Today, his sculptures are found throughout the world in restaurants, hotels, and private residences. Wertheimer lives in Agoura Hills, California, where he said he continues to “take things off the page and put them into three dimensions.” 

Mark Junge, a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, spent most of his life in California and now lives in Yucca Valley. He earned degrees in microbiology as well as fine arts, which worked together to help him develop his classical and traditional realism style. Junge specializes in Southwest desert and western landscapes.

Inside the Regional Terminal:

“A Tale of Survival in the Face of Crushing Inertia,” a collaboration between Debi Grupe and Linda Maxson. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Scenes at the U.S.-Mexico border triggered a conversation between Debi Grupe and Linda Maxon. Grupe felt the heaviness of the situation and felt powerlessness; Maxon thought of the opposing forces at work and wanted to illustrate the restorative power of creating through color, symbols, and movement. Thus, they made a massive floor to ceiling art installation, unveiled at the Maxson Art Gallery in Rancho Mirage.

Russel Pritchard of the Palm Springs Arts Commission approached the artists about creating a similar piece for the Palm Springs International Airport. Today, a four-piece similar art installation hangs in the ceiling of the Regional Terminal waiting area. 

The ambiance of the Palm Springs International Airport would be hard to match any place in the world — couple that with excellent boutique hotels and beautiful weather, and travelers can’t go wrong. Now is the time to book a flight, make a reservation at a boutique hotel, and explore everything Palm Springs has to offer.

“There are three good reasons to be a teacher — June, July, and August.” — Unknown

It’s June, and that means it’s National Accordion Awareness Month. If you’re not familiar with an accordion, it sounds like someone attached a keyboard to a bagpipe and powered it with a leaf blower. At least it did when I played it.

So, I’m here to tell you how to avoid them in the wilds of Palm Springs, all bona fide events/locations almost surely accordion-free zones. That’s right, I care about you. So, read on, my friends. I’ve got you.

June 1: Rock The Park free concert featuring Mirage, a Fleetwood Mac cover band. They do not, to my knowledge, have accordions in any Fleetwood Mac track, so you’re safe. Go downtown before the concert and explore; maybe figure out where you want to have dinner, make a reservation for later, then head on back by Marilyn to rock out. After the concert, go back to said restaurant and you’ll skip all the lines. (Why yes, I have been called an evil genius before. Thank you.)

June 2: Fresh off a sold-out Vegas run, TikTok sensation Broadway Barbara is playing Oscar’s. If you know you know. (And that’s the only time I have ever “known” when someone uses that phrase. I don’t get it, but I know how to use it. Which means I’m evolving.)

June 3-12 is Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. This is the week when you can try all of the delicious cuisine Palm Springs has to offer on the cheap. Check out the participating restaurants at the link above. (Highest risk of an accordion, but if you avoid Italian and Hungarian, you should be safe. However, then you’ll be missing out on great Italian and Hungarian food, so…your call.)

June 10-12: Splash House is back. You can get tickets here. (The lack of accordions is astounding.)

Courtesy of Splash House

PS Cultural Center

Sundays: Keisha D — One of the best set of pipes in Palm Springs.

Mondays: Mon Petite Salon

Tuesdays: Leanna & Jazz Collective

Upcoming movie events: Mostly camp, often sing-a-longs, and generally a good old blast from the past. Just recently they did John Waters’ Serial Mom, the epitome of classic campy fun.

PS Underground Creativity with zero flaws. Shows sell out in a hot Palm Springs second, so find your level of fun and get’er booked.

June 3-11: Starstruck (part of Restaurant Week)

June 12: Dirty Bingo

June 24: Game Show

June 26: Ovation Brunch

The Purple Room — World class acts and local phenoms. Always an eclectic mix of music in this great Rat Pack location. Note: The Purple Room is closed for the summer starting June 24.

Tuesdays: Rose Mallett

Wednesdays: Charles Herrera, Michael Holmes & Darci Daniels

Thursdays: Sharon Sills

June 3 and 4: Billy Stritch — Cy Coleman Revisted

June 10 and 11: John Lloyd Young

June 17: Jeff Harnar

June 18: Jonathan Karrant

June 24: Kevin Tokarz, Danny Flahive and Andy Fraga — Three of the desert’s finest musicians playing all the music. This is listed as The Purple Room’s season finale, but the website offers one more…

June 25: Elvis the Early Years w/Scot Bruce

Note: The Judy Show is on hiatus while Michael is recovering from a pretty serious medical issue. That’s also probably why they’re closing up a little early this year. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to more Judy next season!

Courtesy of The Purple Room

The Alibi had shows all through May, and have not announced anything for June. If they do, you’ll find it at the link above. It’s a great indie music spot, and I’m giving this one an accordion warning on account of those crazy indie artist kidz.

Copa — It’s not your Barry Manilow version. This one has drag shows and late night dancing. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only (unless a private party).

AsiaSF is still having dinner shows. The food is good and the show is splashy.

We’ve got one theater company that’s still giving us all the entertainment through the summer months, and that’s Desert Rose Playhouse, the only Alphabet Mafia theater in Palm Springs. Every show is a celebration, whether it’s a stage show, comedy show, or musical review. It’s in the space that once housed Zelda’s nightclub, and of course there’s a bar, silly. If you’re in town early June, go see their double-header: Sex, and The Drag. Both written by Mae West, and both with a very naughty history. Always good — sometimes risqué — fun.

Courtesy of Desert Rose Playhouse

Open mic: Neuro Center on Wednesdays with Joel Baker — This is on Alejo, and a few major streets east. However, if you love singing with a real live piano player, Joel’s the guy. Local performers stop by and sing, so if you’re resting your vocal cords, you can enjoy an impromptu show — if you’re not, join in. Bring your accordion! (Kidding, leave that packed in the garage.)

Don’t forget to shop and stay local! And let’s meet back here again next month, k?

Paul Kurdian and Sam McDermott started their married life off with a bang.

While they were dating, the couple imagined one day starting a business together, and the opportunity arrived on the morning after their wedding.

“On our way to Sunday brunch at my brother’s house, Paul received a call from a former client who had owned another hotel he sold for her,” Sam said. “She told Paul she was ready to retire completely and called to see if he could help with the sale of this hotel. We decided to purchase it ourselves, and nearly eight months later, we began our journey, and the rest is history!”

There were several things about the 18-room property in Palm Springs that appealed to Paul, a real estate broker with corporate experience in operations and management, and Sam, who has a background in strategy, marketing, and business development. The timing was “pretty remarkable,” Sam said, especially since she had once “flirted” with the idea of buying a hotel, and owning one was something Paul had always dreamed about.

“How this came about was surreal because we wanted to extend our life partnership in a new and exciting way,” Sam said. “Many newlyweds have children within their first year of marriage — we gave birth to a new business.”

The hotel was in need of some serious sprucing up, and Sam and Paul started by removing “anything old and outdated.” They replaced “everything that guests could see and touch,” and added conveniences like Qi wireless charging stations in every room. 

All of the carpeting was ripped out, new flooring was installed, and each room now has its own air conditioning and heating unit. The walls are covered with fresh paint, the rooms are filled with new furniture, beds, linens, and towels, and the pool is surrounded by colorful umbrellas and loungers. Perhaps the biggest change Sam and Paul made was giving the property a new name: The Inn at Palm Springs.

“Inn at Palm Springs is the very first property you see on your way into Palm Springs on Highway 111,” Sam said. “We like to tell people we are the Gateway to Palm Springs. When you visit, you’ll see a happy and colorful vibe throughout the property.”

The hotel is dog-friendly — Sam and Paul’s own pup, Gus, lives with them on-site — and able to host small groups for special occasions. 

“We’ve had several guests tell us they plan to come back with a group and take over the inn,” Sam said. “We find joy in helping our guests create great memories with their friends and family, and we look forward to hosting more intimate gatherings in the future.”

Because Paul and Sam have both traveled so extensively for work and fun, they came into this with a clear vision for their hotel: It had to be comfortable, clean, and private, a space where guests felt welcome the instant they stepped onto the property and left feeling they had a positive experience that was an excellent value. The effusive response they have received from patrons shows they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We’ve been very grateful for the wonderful guests who have stayed with us,” Sam said. “It is the positive feedback we receive from guests that keeps us motivated each day.”

February is full of fun happenings in Palm Springs!

Tour de Palm Springs    2/7 – 2/8

The Tour de Palm Springs cycling event is back for its 22nd year, raising money for nonprofit organizations in the Coachella Valley. The event includes food, drinks and live entertainment for participants as they cycle through the city of Palm Springs.

https://tourdepalmsprings.com/

Modernism Week   2/13 – 2/23

The annual Modernism Week in Palm Springs celebrates midcentury modern architecture and design with hundreds of individual events held during an 11-day period, including architectural tours, educational lectures and films, nightly parties, the Modernism Show & Sale at the Palm Springs Convention Center and more.

http://www.modernismweek.com

Art Palm Springs  2/13 – 2/17

The Art Palm Springs art fair, held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, brings together galleries from throughout the US and abroad, showcasing post-war and contemporary art.

https://www.art-palmsprings.com/

Palm Springs Air Museum Gala 2/21

This year’s Palm Springs Air Museum annual gala event will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, featuring celebrity guest and master of ceremony Joe Mantegna, with musical entertainment by Frankie Avalon with Matt Mauser and the Pete Jacobs Big Band.

https://palmspringsairmuseum.org/gala/

A Curated Collection 2/22 – 2/23

Vintage fashion lovers won’t want to miss the A Curated Collection event, happening at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs. Dealers from across the country will present high end vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and other accessories.

http://acuratedcollection.com/