barry manilow

Barry Manilow Headlines Festive December Holiday Calendar

Here's a guide to events going on during one of the busiest times of the year.

Emily Chavous Arts & Entertainment

barry manilow
Barry Manilow will perform five shows in December at the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert.

“I like the people here,” Barry Manilow once told Palm Springs Life. It’s clear the people of Greater Palm Springs like Barry too. Whenever he appears on our cover, the issue disappears from stands quicker than a loaf of monkey bread from the coffee table on Christmas morning. Maybe it’s a neighborly love. Manilow moved to the desert full-time 20 years ago, maintains an active philanthropic agenda, and has become a paragon of the LGBTQ community.

Since the 1970s, the 74-year-old has sold more than 80 million records, positioning himself among an elite group of all-time best-selling artists. He launched his A Gift of Love concert series in 2009 as a way to demonstrate support for our valley. This year’s benefit includes five shows at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert contributing a portion of proceeds to 25 area charities.

“I wish I could do this in every city where I perform,” he shared with editor Steven Biller in his 2012 interview for Palm Springs Life. “But I live here, so I can do more … This is my way of saying thank you.”


Through Dec. 17 / Desert Rose Playhouse Presents: Times Square Angel. 
From playwright Charles Busch, the mind behind Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and The Divine Sister, comes a holiday musical pastiche blending all your yuletide favorites.

Through Dec. 17 / Palm Canyon Theatre 
Presents: Mame. It’s a classical musical, based on the novel Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis, in which a bohemian woman must care for her late brother’s son.



Mannheim Steamroller brings its new-age Christmas tour to the McCallum Theater Dec. 2.

Dec. 1 / Gabriela Aguilo at Ramey Fine Art. Painting with hot, pigmented beeswax, the Argentinian artist creates ethereal landscapes evocative of a vintage photograph that has been framed with frosted glass. Attend her exhibition opening reception on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

Dec. 1–3 / Desert Living Home Show. Whether you’re considering a full-fledged teardown or just looking to zhoosh up your home’s curb appeal, you’ll find all the inspiration and insider info you need at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Dec. 2 / Robert Tahar at Rebecca Fine Art. At the age of 13, the French artist preferred spending time in the Louvre to running around with friends. His abstract oils on canvas emphasize the convergence of two points and hint at his storied, well-traveled life, which has taken him from the North to South poles and to many varied communities in between.

Dec. 3 / Palm Springs Vintage Market. From midcentury curios to a colorful brooch to artfully restored furniture, there’s plenty of plunder to discover at the Vintage Market, which sets up on the first Sunday of the month from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside Camelot Theatres. palmsprings

Dec. 3 / Dorothy Nocita Memorial Vocal 
Competition. Rancho Mirage High School hosts the 34th annual competition, put on by the Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert, in which eight emerging opera singers have the opportunity to win more than $40,000 in prizes. palmsprings

Dec. 8 / Talking Photography: Thomas Demand at Annenberg Theater. The German artist depicts culturally significant places by constructing and photographing large-scale models made from paper or cardboard. He discusses his eccentric process and successful results at the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Dec. 8–17 / Indio Performing Arts Center Presents: The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. What happens when 
you mix a raucous trailer park with a little tinsel and a lot of “keg nog”? A trashy Christmas extravaganza full of spray cheese, strippers, and 
Scrooge-y behavior.


Dec. 1 / Ambrosia at 
Spotlight 29 Casino. 
The soft rock group formed in 1970 and earned five Top 40 singles including “How Much I Feel” and “Biggest Part 
of Me.” See them live 
in Coachella.

Dec. 1 / Dwight Yoakam Live at Morongo Casino. They say Johnny Cash once called Yoakam his favorite country singer. He brings his hillbilly hits (award winning since 
the 1980s) to the dusty 
trails of Cabazon.

Dec. 1 / Jim Jefferies at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. Fresh off filming the first season of his late-night political talk show on Comedy Central, which included a handful of incognito Brad-Pitt-as-weatherman appearances, the irreverent stand-up master is at it again.



Jewel hit the music scene in 1995 with the release of her debut album, Pieces of You. Catch her holiday tour Dec. 2 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino.

Dec. 2 / Jewel at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. The multiplatinum songstress and poetic goddess brings her Handmade Holiday Tour to Indio with special guests and a preshow artisan craft- and gift-making fair.

Dec. 7 / Under the Streetlamp at the McCallum Theatre. Under the Streetlamp, a group of guys who’ve all held leading roles on Broadway, perform tight harmonies from the Great American Songbook alongside the Desert Symphony. Get ready for doo-wop, Motown, and feel-good rock ’n’ roll.

Dec. 8 / The Cordovas at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. If you’re into the psychedelic harmonies of Grateful Dead, you’ll dig The Cordovas. Established in Nashville in 2011, the band was named by Rolling Stone this summer as one of the “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know.”

Dec. 8 / The Clairvoyants at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. You watched the mentalist duo secure second place on America’s Got Talent in 2016, earning Howie Mandel’s praise as “the best, most amazing thing I’ve ever seen on America’s Got Talent.” Now see their magical feats in Rancho Mirage.

Dec. 9 / Tony Bennett at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. Bennett turned 91 in August and continues to slay onstage, headlining multiple gigs a month and cultivating a nascent generation of jazz fans through duets with the likes of Carrie Underwood and Lady Gaga. Don’t miss his appearance in Indio.

Dec. 9 / Theresa Caputo Live: The Experience at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. Don’t let the fake nails, big blonde hair, or permanent spray tan fool you. She’s TLC’s Long Island Medium, a practicing spirit speaker for 10 years with a years-long waiting list. Guaranteed her messages from the other side will bring some in the audience to tears.


The Clairvoyants share their mentalist magic Dec. 8 at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.

Dec. 9 / Terry Reid at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. He turned down an offer to be the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, instead recommending buddy Robert Plant, so he could pursue a (highly successful) solo career. Catch him in a low-key, intimate performance possible only in Pioneertown.

Dec. 15 / Gabriel Iglesias at Morongo Casino Resort Spa. The Latino comic known as “Fluffy” moved around a lot as a kid and grew up not too far from Greater Palm Springs, spending part of his childhood in Riverside. His self-deprecating humor has earned him numerous awards and a die-hard fan base.

Dec. 15 / Earth Moon Earth at Pappy & Harriet’s. Established in the Mojave Desert, Earth Moon Earth is everything you’d imagine a dusty desert band should be: ethereal, synth-driven beats mingling with space rock acoustics and vocals that make you sway.

Dec. 16 / Clint Black at Spotlight 29 Casino. 
The twangy honky-tonk singer’s 1989 debut single, “A Better Man,” shot to No. 1 and propelled him to win a shelfful of awards. He’s heading to Coachella with a set list of his greatest hits punctuated by a few seasonal favorites.

Dec. 16 / Fu Manchu and Mos Generator at Pappy and Harriet’s. Slick back your curls, because heads will be banging as stoner-rock band Fu Manchu headlines in Pioneertown. Inspired by Black Flag in the mid-1980s, these guys have gone on to release 11 albums and perform for sold-out audiences all over the world.

Dec. 16 / Fu Manchu and Mos Generator at Pappy and Harriet’s. Slick back your curls, because heads will be banging as stoner-rock band Fu Manchu headlines in Pioneertown. Inspired by Black Flag in the mid-1980s, these guys have gone on to release 11 albums and perform for sold-out audiences all over the world.

Dec. 23 / Frenchie Davis at Copa Nightclub. The soulful R&B and pop singer was a contestant on American Idol and The Voice and has gone on to appear in Broadway productions of Rent, Dreamgirls, and Ain’t Misbehavin’. She appears at the Copa, a cozy nightclub in Palm Springs.

Dec. 30 / Dashing Through the Dough at Theatre 29. Twentynine Palms’ resident improvisational troupe, The Baker’s Dozen, presents a night of anything-goes comedy and Whose Line Is It Anyway?–style improv games.



Plain White T’s appear a Sap Resort Casino on New Year’s Eve.

Dec. 31 / KC and the Sunshine Band at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. They danced onto the music scene nearly 45 years ago and have sold more than 100 million records. When the disco/funk masters drop the beat in Rancho Mirage, you know what to do: Shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake your…

Dec. 31 / Plain White T’s at Spa Resort Casino. Illinois’ indie darlings headline the New Year’s Eve Block Party at Spa Resort Casino, where you can view the Times Square celebration on big-screen, get turnt on the dance floor, and ring in 2018 as Tom Higgenson belts out “Hey There Delilah.”


Dec. 2 / Desert Mountains Art Faire. Handmade gifts carry the most clout, right? Find something unique for those on your nice list at this monthly fair highlighting the work of local artisans at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. Stick around for an afternoon lecture on earthquakes.

Dec. 2–3 / Indio International Tamale Festival. Spicy pork. Rajas de poblano. Smoked Gouda cheese. Belgian chocolate. Shredded chicken. Sweet pineapple. Strawberry daiquiri. Yep, they’re all tamale flavors coming soon to the Civic Center Mall in Indio. Are you drooling yet?

Dec. 9–10 / Desert Art Festival at Frances Stevens Park. Known as Palm Springs’ original art show, the monthly festival brings local artisans together with the community. Scope out one-of-a-kind objets d’art and an opportunity to score a last-minute holiday gift.

Dec. 14 / Walking Tour of the Inns. In Palm Springs, we have a thing for chic boutique hotels. Take a self-guided evening tour of storied spots like Casa Cody, Orbit In, and Korakia Pensione. Start at the Palm Springs Art Museum, where you’ll receive a flashlight and a map. 760-320-9346

Jan. 2–15 / Palm Springs International Film Festival. Mark your calendars for next month’s star-studded film festivities, known among insiders as the industry’s awards barometer of the season. Recent years have lured such celebs as Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks, Ryan Gosling, Amy Adams, and Sean Connery.


Through Jan. 14 / The Renova Rink @ The River Winter in the desert? Lace up your ice skates and show us your best Michelle Kwan. The River at Rancho Mirage’s seasonal pop-up ice rink is back.

Dec. 2 / Festival of Lights Parade. Palm Springs’ annual holiday parade marks its silver anniversary this year. Come together with an estimated 100,000 spectators to see the massive display of lights. Rather not leave your couch? For the first time ever, the festivities will be broadcast live on KMIR.



Festival of Lights Parade in Palm Springs Dec. 2.

Dec. 2 / Mannheim Steamroller Christmas at the McCallum Theatre. Savor the sounds of the season with Chip Davis’ multi-instrumentalist neoclassical new-age music group Mannheim Steamroller, hailed for its modern renditions of Christmas classics.

Dec. 3 / All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 at the McCallum Theatre. One of McCallum CEO Mitch Gershenfeld’s picks of the season, All Is Calm, enacts the real-life unofficial truce among World War I soldiers during the holiday season. They laid down weapons for carols, shared meals, and the chance to bury the dead.



New Year’s Eve at the Spa Resort Casino complete with fireworks.

Dec. 3 / Dance to the Holidays at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. Competitors from Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, and So You Think You Can Dance spread a little holiday cheer in a heartwarming concert and dance extravaganza directed and choreographed by Dancing with the Stars’ Jaymz Tuaileva.

Dec. 7 / Winter Wonderful: Christmas on Broadway at Vicky’s of Santa Fe. Every year, swanky Indian Wells restaurant Vicky’s of Santa Fe throws it back to the era of the crooners with its Supper Club Series, benefiting music education programs for local children. Enjoy an 
elegant three-course dinner and a Broadway quartet.

Dec. 8 / Colors of Christmas 25th Anniversary Tour at the McCallum Theatre. Peabo Bryson, Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr., Ruben Studdard, and Jody Watley headline this festive jubilee, performing with a 12-piece band and spectacular choir. mccallumtheatre.comDec. 9 / Santa Fly-In and Winter Fun Land at Palm Springs Air Museum Old Saint Nick has ditched Dasher, Prancer, and Vixen 
in favor of an actual aircraft. He lands at 11 a.m. with special gifts for the kids and will unveil the air museum’s Winter Fun Land, complete with a fresh layer of snow.

Dec. 9 / Snow Fest at Cathedral City’s Civic Center Plaza. Santa makes a pit stop outside city hall to join Mayor Stan Henry for the city’s tree lighting celebration, which follows a holiday lights parade. At the festival, choirs will set the mood as you browse the outdoor crafts market, treat yourself to a little hot cocoa, and traipse through the blanket of snow.

Dec. 15–17 / Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus: 
Joyful Traditions at the Annenberg Theater. 
Blend the warmth and familiarity of festive tunes like “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” with Hanukkah sweaters and tinsel trees, and you’ve got Joyful Traditions, a concert at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater to kindle the holiday spirit.

Dec. 19 / Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at the McCallum Theatre. Who knew a Jewish 
saxophonist would put on 
one of the top Christmas shows in the valley? Special 
guests David Benoit, Rick Braun, Peter White, and Selina Albright join the Grammy nominee.

Dec. 31 / Mildly Wild New Year’s Eve at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. Don your best cheetah print to ring in the New Year with a surf-and-turf dinner and champagne toast amid the mildly wild grounds of Palm Desert’s sprawling zoo and gardens.


Dec. 1–3 / HITS Palm Springs Ironman. 
Swim. Bike. Run. Collapse. 
Choose from five distances
at Lake Cahuilla Park in 
La Quinta — ranging from 
open (100-meter swim, 3-mile bike, and 1-mile run) 
to full Ironman — and prove you’re worth your sweaty salt.

Dec. 2 / Experience Sonic Geometry at the Integratron. George Van Tassel built the white-domed Integratron in Landers after aliens gave him the secret to rejuvenation and time travel. Forty years after his death the space is used for meditative sound baths, but a ticketed sonic geometry frequency experiment provides opportunity to experience the structure as Van Tassel originally intended.

Dec. 2 / First Saturday Cruise-In at the Westfield Palm Desert. Each month, valley gearheads gather to talk shop and show off their freshly waxed rides — from custom hot rods to immaculately restored classics. There’s food, music, and prizes too. palmspringscruisin

Dec. 4 / Birding Walk in Palm Desert. Bring binoculars to the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitors Center and search the desert hills for feathered friends with an experienced birder.

Dec. 4 / Beginner’s Golf Clinic in Palm Desert. So you wanna gear up your golf game? Head to KZG Performance Center for a free beginner’s clinic covering the basics of a killer swing. You’ll hit with a PGA pro and see your results on the Trackman 4 launch monitor.

Dec. 9 / Dublab Presents: Dayclubbing at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. If you think life in Greater Palm Springs is just one perpetual pool party, well … you’re right. When the rest of the world is knee-deep in packed powder, we’re floating on a giant flamingo sipping a cucumber-vodka drink called the “Desert Facial” at the Ace. This month’s dayclub DJ is Jake Viator.

Dec. 9 / Evening with the Cosmos at Sky’s the Limit Observatory. View the inky night sky in Twentynine Palms where stars stand out sans any light pollution. This time of year, the Andromeda galaxy, Double Cluster, and Orion Nebula are in full view.

Dec. 9 / Hike to Samuelson’s Rocks from the Joshua Tree Visitor Center. In the 1920s a Swede named John Samuelson — allegedly the survivor of a shipwreck on an island with giant carnivorous ants — settled down in the middle of the desert. He carved what he called his “eternal verities of existence” onto several giant rocks. Hike there with Desert Institute.

Dec. 9 / Warrior Custom Golf Celebrity Golf Tournament. The annual charity tournament at Cimmaron Golf Resort in Cathedral City lets the 
public play alongside celebs like ’80s rocker 
Eddie Money and comedian Andy Dick. Tournament fees include meals, an open bar, and golf swag.

Dec. 10–12 / Barbara and Frank Sinatra Classic at Bighorn Golf Club. Swing to support the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center and enjoy a golf tournament weekend chock full of included entertainment, from a luncheon with comedian Tom Dreesen to an evening with Barry Manilow. barbarasinatra

Dec. 16 / Gladiator Challenge: Season’s Beatings at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. Witness the wicked force of some of MMA’s toughest competitors. Past challengers include Urijah Faber, Jaime Jara, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

Dec. 16–17 / Astrophotography in Borrego Springs. Trek into Borrego Springs, California’s first officially designated Dark Sky Community, with photographer Stan Moniz to learn the ropes of light painting, star trails, and nightscape portrait photography.

Dec. 21 / Edible Companion and Perennial Gardening at the Cathedral City Library. The grass is always greener when you’re landscaping with complementary plant species. Master gardener Susan Krings discusses and identifies companion plants, which benefit each other when grown in the same vicinity.

Dec. 23 / Star Party in Palm Desert. Stargaze with the Astronomical Society of the Desert at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitors Center, using telescopes and giant binoculars.