Strange and wonderful curiosities appear across the Coachella Valley and down to the Salton Sea as the second iteration of Desert X unfolds. The biennial exhibition of site-specific art became a viral sensation in 2017 with more than 200,000 photographs shared on social media over the course of the exhibition. Who could forget Doug Aitken’s Mirage, better known as “the mirror house,” in Palm Springs; Will Boone’s Monument, a bomb shelter containing a life-size sculpture of John F. Kennedy, in Rancho Mirage; or Phillip K. Smith III’s Circle of Land and Sky in Palm Desert?
At press time, Desert X organizers were still hush-hush about this year’s participating artists, but artistic director Neville Wakefield says that he hosted artists from around the globe for site visits and selected proposals that respond in a compelling way to the land and lore of the Coachella Valley region.
The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, continues through April 21.
Desert X hubs in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and Indio are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, and bus tours launch every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Additionally, tours of the art installations inspired by architecture happen daily during Modernism Week (Feb. 14–24).
On Feb. 28, Wakefield moderates a conversation with artists Ed Ruscha and Andrea Zittel and curators JoAnne Northrup and Brooke Hodge. The program begins at 6 p.m. at Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater. — Steven Biller
2. WATCH: Guys and Dolls — Through Feb. 10
Gamblers, missionaries, and nightclub singers take the Palm Canyon Theatre stage in this community production of the Tony Award–winning musical.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM CANYON THEATRE
An all-youth cast – from nine local schools – presents an abridged version of the famed Broadway musical, Guys and Dolls.
3. WATCH: Looped — Through Feb. 10
Fans of Tallulah Bankhead will be particularly drawn to this play, based on a true story, about the notoriously outlandish actress’ eight-hour, one-line recording session for her final film. See it at The Desert Rose Playhouse in Rancho Mirage. Read our review, click HERE.
4. WATCH: White —Through Feb. 17
Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre’s theme for the 2018–19 season is “a handful of … isms,” and James Ijames’ White explores several. The play centers on a white artist who hires a black actress to pose as the creator of his work in order to land a spot in an exhibition. Read our review, click HERE.
5. SEE: Pluralities of Being — Through April 7
Consider “the multiplicity of experience and memory across space and time” in artist Todd Gray’s exhibition of striking wall collages at Palm Springs Art Museum.
6. LAUGH: The Improv —Through April 13
A staple at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino for 12 seasons, this comedy series showcases up-and-coming stand-ups and comic idols, including Dat Phan (Feb. 15–16) and Allan Havey (March 15–16).
7. TASTE: Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival — Jan. 30–Feb. 2
Sommeliers and casual sippers convene at the Rancho Mirage Community Park for this annual celebration of all things du vin. Read our preview, click HERE.
8. WATCH: Honky Tonk Laundry — Feb. 1–10
A jukebox musical for fans of country, this comedy at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs focuses on the misadventures of two Southern belles as they attempt to exact revenge on the men who broke their hearts.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY FANTASY SPRINGS RESORT CASINO
The Beach Boys
10. SEE: Shadow & Transparency – Feb. 1–21
A childhood spent surrounded by folk-artist family members inspired Atticus Adams’ recycled-metal fiber sculptures. View them at Desert Art Collection in Palm Desert.
11. GROOVE: Marie and The Osmonds — Feb. 2
The Osmond brothers got their big break in 1962 on Disneyland After Dark. Sister Marie Osmond began a solo career in the ’70s. The siblings team up at Fantasy Springs.
12. LAUGH: Felipe Esparza — Feb. 2
Laugh with the Mexico-born, L.A.-raised funnyman, who won NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2010, at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella.
SPOTLIGHT 29 CASINO
13. GO: Coachella Valley Holistic Expo and Conference — Feb. 2
This free wellness expo put on by the Worldwide Health Crusade Association features 22 alternative healthcare providers at Tri-Palms Estates and Country Club in Thousand Palms.
14. GROOVE: Giselle Woo & The Night Owls and Right On Right On — Feb. 2
Get a taste of the local music scene (and the equally rockin’ local beer) at this free show at Coachella Valley Brewing Co. in Thousand Palms. Giselle Woo & The Night Owls wow with Mexican ballad-inspired rock, while Right On Right On dub themselves a “psychedelic, funkified, groovilicious jam band.”
15. LAUGH: Jay Leno — Feb. 2
The former Tonight Show host averages 200 stand-up comedy performances per year — not bad for a suburban kid who started out cracking jokes in jazz clubs. He brings his tour to the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert for a matinée and an evening show.
16. GO: Author Luncheon With Danielle Teller — Feb. 2
Physician and former Harvard faculty member Danielle Teller quit her job to write full time in 2013. Her books include a nonfiction on marriage and divorce (Sacred Cows, written with her husband, Astro Teller) and a novel that reimagines the story of Cinderella’s “evil” stepmother (All the Ever Afters). Join her for lunch at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa.
17. WATCH: Duel in the Desert — Feb. 2–3
This cutthroat competition brings all-star cheerleading teams to the Palm Springs Convention Center.
18. SEE: Multiply by Six Million — Feb. 3–April 28
Palm Springs Air Museum showcases a photography exhibition and complementary film by Evvy Eisen, who spent 15 years photographing and documenting the narratives of Holocaust survivors living in California.
19. GO: Movie Screening & VIP Party — Feb. 4
Palm Springs Cultural Center presents a drama-thriller by local filmmaker Gina Carey at Camelot Theatres. Her film, Rose England, follows the titular character’s journey to becoming the CEO of a multibillion-dollar cosmetics company.
20. GROOVE: Joshua Bell — Feb. 4
The Washington Post chronicled Grammy-winning violinist Joshua Bell’s incognito performance in a D.C. metro station in 2007 and nabbed a Pulitzer. His spellbinding stage presence reaches beyond the underground and touches down at the McCallum. mccallumtheatre.com
21. WATCH: Swan Lake — Feb. 5
Since first enchanting audiences in 1876, this story of a cursed princess transformed into a swan has been adapted by everyone from animation filmmakers to hip-hop dancers. The Russian National Ballet performs the dazzling classic as Tchaikovsky intended at the McCallum Theatre.
22. LAUGH: My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish, and I’m in Therapy — Feb. 6–7
Steve Solomon will be the only person onstage at the McCallum, but after this comedy’s two-hour runtime, you’ll feel as though you’ve met his entire family.
23. WATCH: My Son the Waiter A Jewish Tragedy — Feb. 6–March 10
This comedy at the Indian Wells Theater tells the story of star Brad Zimmerman’s 29-year turn waiting tables in the Big Apple while striving to make it as an actor.
24. watch: Rent 20th Anniversary Tour — Feb. 8–10
Composer Jonathan Larson waited tables to support himself as he worked on Rent, an ambitious rock musical that brought the grit of New York — and the devastation of HIV/AIDS — to Puccini’s La Bohème. Tragically, Larson died suddenly the night before the show opened. He’d miss Rent’s initial acclaim, as well as this 20th anniversary tour that serves as evidence of the musical’s enduring heart. See the Tony Award winner at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MCCALLUM THEATRE
Rent makes a stop at McCallum Theatre.
25. GO: Battle of the Badges — Feb. 8
Peace officers, firefighters, and military personnel compete in a boxing tournament at Agua Caliente Casino to raise money for local nonprofits.
26. GROOVE: Boyz II Men — Feb. 8
The R&B group had a song that stayed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks, a world record matched only by the ubiquitous “Despacito.” Catch their show at Fantasy Springs.
27. WATCH: Some Enchanted Evening — Feb. 8
Desert Theatreworks curates classic Rodgers and Hammerstein hits in Some Enchanted Evening, a magical night of song and dance at the Indio Performing Arts Center.
28. WATCH: For a Reason — Feb. 8
Desert Ensemble Theatre Company’s resident playwright, Tony Padilla, debuts his latest drama, a character study about a cantankerous aging writer and his caretaker, at the Pearl McManus Theater in Palm Springs.
29. GROOVE: Pancho Barraza — Feb. 9
The vihuela-heavy sound that likely comes to mind when someone says “Mexican music” is Pancho Barraza’s specialty. Catch him at Spotlight 29 Casino.
30. MOVE: Tour de Palm Springs — Feb. 9
A force for charitable good in the Coachella Valley for more than 20 years, this cycling event draws thousands of riders who will tackle routes up to 102 miles.
31. GO: Dr. George Charity Car Show — Feb. 9
One of the largest car shows in California takes place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. (Extra details and more car events on page 18.)
32. WATCH: Thunder From Down Under — Feb. 9
Thought Hugh Jackman and the Hemsworth brothers were the hottest hunks to come out of Australia? Think again. This crew of chiseled Aussie charmers takes the Agua Caliente stage for an interactive dance experience.
33. GO: Brew at the Zoo — Feb. 9
Get a little wild at the The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, where more than 50 specialty breweries and vendors will offer craft beer and gourmet food tastings.
34. GROOVE: Alex Cameron and Roy Molloy — Feb. 9
Australian indie artist Alex Cameron sings love songs (with an edge) over the wailing warmth of Roy Molloy’s saxophone at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PAPPY & HARRIET'S
Alex Cameron and Roy Molloy.
35. GO: Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards — Feb. 9
More than 2,000 of the Coachella Valley’s most fashionable humanitarians will gather at the Palm Springs Convention Center for Desert AIDS Project’s largest fundraising event of the season, now in its 25th year. Read our story on Steve Chase, click HERE.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM/MARC GLASSMAN
36. LISTEN: China’s Plan for Global Economic Supremacy — Feb. 10
Michael Pillsbury, director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute and author of The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the World’s Superpower, reveals the details of this strategy at Thunderbird Country Club as part of the World Affairs Council of the Desert’s speaker series.
37. SEE: Artisans at the Pueblo — Feb. 10
Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs invites local artists to share their work at this monthly community event. February’s roundup includes clay-sculptor Gwen Fortner and the weaving, felting, dyeing group Desert Weavers.
38. MOVE: New Balance Palm Desert Half-Marathon and 5K — Feb. 10
Endurance runners gather at the Palm Desert Civic Center park to tackle the oldest half-marathon event in the Coachella Valley.
39. GROOVE: Carolee Carmello — Feb. 11
The Broadway star, who spent years playing Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia!, sings at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs.
40. GO: Indio Annual Health and Wellness Fair — Feb. 12
Indio Senior Center hosts a health fair featuring fitness and nutrition resources, giveaways, and tasty snacks.
41. WATCH: Murphy’s Celtic Legacy — Feb. 13
St. Patrick’s Day may be a month away, but it’s never too early to celebrate the luck of the Irish. The McCallum hosts this dance extravaganza.
42. GROOVE: Linda Eder — Feb. 14
Best known for playing Lucy in the Broadway debut of Jekyll & Hyde, Linda Eder also won Star Search in 1988 and was featured on Rosie O’Donnell’s eponymous TV show. See her at the McCallum.
43. GO: Art Palm Springs — Feb. 14–18
The Palm Springs Convention Center hosts this popular expo of postwar and contemporary art. With nearly 80 galleries displaying work and an average 15,000 attendees, you’re bound to find the perfect piece — and perhaps strike up a friendship with a few fellow art lovers. art-
44. GO: Modernism Week — Feb. 14–24
What better date than Valentine’s Day to kick off a series of events celebrating Palm Springs’ unabashed love for midcentury architecture, design, and culture? Presentations, dinners, and daily tours are individually ticketed, so visit the website and pick and choose to construct the modernism itinerary of your aesthetic dreams. We recommend “The Forgotten Frey: The Cree House” tour to view a historic home never before opened to the public.
PHOTOGRAPH BY FRED MOSER/COURTESY KELLY GOLIGHTLY
Modernism Week runs Feb. 14-24.
45. GROOVE: Engelbert Humperdinck — Feb. 15
This English singer beat out The Beatles for the top spot on the U.K. charts in 1967, but before that, it took a pub contest to convince a young Humperdinck to pursue singing. See him live at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon.
46. GROOVE: The Righteous Brothers — Feb. 15
Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield made waves in the ’60s and ’70s with hits like “Unchained Melody.” Hatfield passed away in 2003, but Medley carries the torch with Bucky Heard. They perform at Fantasy Springs.
47. GROOVE: Michael Feinstein and Storm Large — Feb. 15–16
Ohio-born Michael Feinstein is as famous for his archival work on the Great American Songbook as he is for his piano and vocal chops. Songstress Storm Large joins him at the McCallum for a rock ’n’ roll take on timeless tunes.
48. SHOP: Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale — Feb. 15–18
The art and design blowout returns to the Convention Center. Flip to page 20 to preview some of the dealers, and stop by the Palm Springs Life booth (No. 115) while you’re there.
49. GO: Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival — Feb. 15–24
Now in its 73rd year, this massive Arabian-themed festival at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio features carnival rides, camel races, a beauty pageant, agricultural competitions, live performances by major musical acts, and plenty of tasty date treats.
50. GROOVE: Snoop Dogg — Feb. 16
With 17 Grammy nominations under his belt, California-born Snoop Dogg has come a long way since he was discovered in 1992 by fellow rapper Dr. Dre. Scoop up tickets for his show at Fantasy Springs, then prep by watching Pizzanet Earth, his hilarious attempt at narrating Planet Earth, available on YouTube.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY FANTASY SPRINGS RESORT CASINO
51. TASTE: Greater Palm Springs Food & Wine Festival — Feb. 16
The Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa hosts an expansive tasting event with top eateries.
52. GROOVE: Air Supply — Feb. 16
The soft-rock duo met in an Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar and went on to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Hear their hits at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.
53. GO: Desert Woman’s Show — Feb. 16
Designed to be the perfect girls’ getaway, this annual expo brings speakers, chefs, and shopping to the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa.
54. GO: Fairy Tales and Frog Day — Feb. 16
Freddy the Frog hosts a toad-ally Royal Tea, among other activities, at this family-friendly Living Desert event.
55. GO: Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball — Feb. 16
Enjoy a slice of New Orleans in Palm Desert at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. Don your brightest beads and break it down to the sound of Star Search–winning band The Zippers. Proceeds benefit CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.
56. GO: Palm Desert Greek Festival — Feb 16–17
Greek culture buffs (or Mamma Mia! fans dreaming of a visit to Skopelos) should flock to the Saint George Greek Orthodox Church in Palm Desert for this annual festival featuring live Greek music and vendors hawking traditional souvenirs and snacks.
57. WATCH: It’s Magic! — Feb. 17
To the stars of It’s Magic!, making rabbits appear is, well, old hat. See breathtaking acts of illusion by Las Vegas headliners, America’s Got Talent stars, and international magic award winners at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/MCCALLUM THEATRE
58. learn: National Geographic Live — Feb. 18
Husband-and-wife photography team David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes take McCallum audiences under the sea in this interactive National Geographic experience. Encounter the abundant life in the waters of Papua New Guinea’s Coral Triangle and traverse the ice-cold oceans of the Antarctic and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
59. GROOVE: Legends in Concert — Feb. 19–20
With 17 Grammys and nearly half-a-billion records sold between them, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Cher, and Neil Diamond are titans of the musical world — and while they’re not actually banding together for the show of a lifetime at the McCallum, this group of talented tribute artists will make it seem as though they are.
60. WATCH: Catskills on Broadway — Feb. 22
Budding 20th-century New York comics honed their skills by performing for resortgoers in the Catskills. The setting (McCallum Theatre) may be different, but the laughs remain with comedians Freddie Roman, Sarge, and Mark Schiff.
61. GO: McCormick’s Classic Car Auction — Feb. 22–24
From a sleek Bentley Arnage with fewer than 23,000 miles to an aqua-blue 1951 Mercury, there’s plenty to delight car buffs at this biannual auction. Make a stop at the Palm Springs Convention Center to take a road trip back in time. Read for more details and car events, click HERE.
62. WATCH: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas — Feb. 22–March 10
This musical put on by Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs adapts the true story of Chicken Ranch, a brothel in Texas that took in the equivalent of $3.89 million at its height. The brothel closed down in 1973 after an investigation by a Houston journalist — but its fame never fizzled.
63. GROOVE: Keiko Matsui — Feb. 23
Born in Tokyo and educated at the Yamaha Music Foundation, Keiko Matsui has been playing piano for 52 years — and she’s only 57. She’ll play her East-meets-West compositions at Fitz’s Jazz Café at the McCallum.
64. TASTE: Coffee & Donut Festival — Feb. 23
Jelly-filled or sugar-dusted? Americano or café au lait? Whatever your preference, you’ll find it at this sweet fest dedicated to the combo favored by TV cops (and Dunkin’ devotees) everywhere. It happens at the National Orange Show Event Center, located an hour’s drive from Palm Springs.
65. GROOVE: Pitbull — Feb. 23
This Miami-born artist’s music video for “I Know You Want Me” was among the top-viewed YouTube videos of 2009, beating out Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” and the trailer for the second Twilight movie. Hear the hit, along with other Pitbull favorites, live at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY FANTASY SPRINGS RESORT CASINO
66. GROOVE: The Lettermen — Feb. 24
Though The Lettermen lineup has changed over the decades, their honeyed harmonies have remained the same. Hear classics like 1962’s “When I Fall in Love” and 1968’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” live at the McCallum Theatre.
67. WATCH: Steel Magnolias — Feb. 25
L.A. Theatre Works brings the beloved tale of female friendship and an unbreakable mother-daughter bond (the 1989 film version made a star of Julia Roberts) to the McCallum.
68. LISTEN: Dr. Drew Pinksy — Feb. 26
Celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky co-hosted radio talk show “Loveline” for almost 35 years. He also starred in the VH1 series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and even had an asteroid named after him. The addiction-medicine specialist comes to the desert as part of the Rancho Mirage Speaker Series.
69. WATCH: Evita — Feb. 27–28
Despite (or maybe because of) Eva’s stirring plea of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” you’ll likely still shed a tear at the McCallum’s production of this Tony-winning Broadway musical based on the life of Argentine political icon Eva Perón.
70. GROOVE: Songwriters Night — Feb. 28
This annual charity event at the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert features the songwriters who penned hits for country superstars like Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and Sheryl Crow. See Nashville’s best perform their most beloved tunes and hear the stories of how those songs came to be. Read our preview story, click HERE.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE WARBURTON
Alice Cooper is back to entertain at The Warburton.