desert x nicholas galanin

May 2021: 20 Things to Do Right Now

Catch Desert X before it leaves town May 16, take in an outdoor concert with country star Toby Keith, and find your inner comedian at the Comedy & Improv Festival.

Amelia Rodriguez Attractions, Current Guide

desert x nicholas galanin

Desert X, featuring the works of artists like Nichola Galanin, closes May 16.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LANCE GERBER

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Eduardo Sarabia’s The Passenger at Desert X.
PHOTOGRAPH BY LANCE GERBER

1.  Explore Desert X.

The third edition of the valleywide outdoor art experience runs through May 16. The free exhibition features site-specific installations by artists such as Zahrah Alghamdi, Serge Attukwei Clottey, and Nicholas Galanin that respond to and communicate with local landscapes and cultures.
desertx.org

2. Celebrate National Burger Day.

Americans put away almost 50 billion burgers annually. Pay homage to the classic sandwich May 28 at one of the valley’s best burger joints. Grill-A-Burger in Palm Desert is a Guy Fieri-approved spot for stacked patties and crispy fries.

smokinburgerpalmsprings

PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE DUCHANNES

Palm Springs’ Smokin’ Burgers and Lounge offers a version for heat-seekers with habaneros, jalapenos, and ghost pepper sauce. grill-a-burger.com; smokinburgers.com

3. See a sky full of flowers.

The Palm Springs Air Museum honors fallen soldiers this Memorial Day on May 31 with a spectacular flower drop, sending more than 3,000 carnations cascading from a B-25 Mitchell Bomber. palmspringsairmuseum.com

PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES

4. Hone your photography skills.

Looking to take your DSLR shots into the next level, but not sure where to start? Learn the basics of aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and more at photographer Kevin Brian Toohey’s four-hour beginner digital camera classes in Palm Desert on May 1 and 2. learnyourcamera.com

5. Push the pedal to the metal.

Don your leather jacket and join the Palm Springs chapter of the American Legion Riders for a family-friendly bike night May 20. The free event includes entertainment, prizes, and snacks. palmspringslegion.org

6. Become an artist.

Break out your paint brushes and explore the Desert Art Center’s expert-taught classes for adults in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District. Online offerings include drawing and figure painting, while in-person classes cover oils, acrylics, ceramics, stained glass, and more. desertartcenter.org

7. Say howdy
to Toby Keith.

The “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” singer performs a host of his country classics at Spotlight 29 Casino’s new outdoor venue Coachella Crossroads on May 15 with American Idol alum Jimmie Allen as the opening act. spotlight29.com

tobykeithspotlight29

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY SPOTLIGHT 29 CASINO

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE BAGEL DROP
The Bagel Drop in Rancho Mirage.

8. Eat locally
baked treats.

Need a carb fix? Order fresh baked goods made with love in desert home kitchens. The Bagel Drop makes tasty sourdough bagels available for pickup at the Rancho Relaxo boutique in Rancho Mirage, while Biscuit & Counter slings flaky biscuits in flavors like cheddar scallion and date chocolate chunk at The Cole Hotel pop-up in Palm Springs. thebageldrop.minimartapp.com; biscuitandcounter.com

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PHOTOGRAPH BY LANCE VALASQUEZ
Biscuit & Counter in Palm Springs.

9. Take a digital dance lesson.

The Palm Springs Bachata Festival offers more than a dozen online workshops May 22–23, so you can master new steps, taps, and turns with guidance from some of bachata’s best artists. fb.com/palmspringsbachatafestival

10. Dive deep.

The Desert Institute in Joshua Tree partners with author and naturalist Robin Kobaly to offer a virtual tour of what’s beneath desert soils. Go underground May 14. joshuatree.org

11. Brush up on art history.

Get a culture shot from your couch with Palm Springs Art Museum’s online exhibits. Click through a slideshow on beloved Coachella Valley architect Hugh Kaptur, see an interview with artist Gerald Clarke, or take a digital sculpture garden tour. psmusuem.org

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PHOTOGRAPH BY ERVEN JOURDAN. PERSONAL COLLECTION OF HUGH KAPTUR

William Holden’s South Palm Springs home designed by architect Hugh Kaptur.

12. Practice your Spanish.

The Center Palm Springs says bienvenidos to intermediate and advanced Spanish-language learners looking to sharpen their skills. Drop into the free Zoom group on Tuesday afternoons for a laid-back chat. thecenterps.org

13. Enjoy a creative escape.

Unplug and wind down in Joshua Tree with a healing retreat May 20–23. Hosted by yoga instructor and reiki master Angel Montague, the getaway includes daily flows, mindful meditation, plant-based meals, and more. sunandseayoga.com

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PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER YANG

Ken Layne

14. Hear haunting stories.

Celebrate National Paranormal Day on May 3 by tuning in to the wonderfully strange radio show Desert Oracle hosted by Ken Layne (pictured above). From aliens to a Bigfoot-esque beast called Yucca Man, you’re sure to catch a tale that chills your blood on Z107.7 FM (or Spotify for back episodes).

15. Be Bad on Cinco de Mayo.

Dos Hombres, the mezcal brand backed by Breaking Bad stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, provides smoky sips during a three-course dinner May 5 at the Saguaro Palm Springs’ El Jefe restaurant. Tastings throughout the meal give you the chance to explore plum-and- chocolate- and apple-and-mango-edged mezcals. thesaguaro.com

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PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY SAGUARO PALM SPRINGS

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PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES

16. Go birdwatching.

Drive less than half an hour from Palm Springs to the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, home to more than 250 species of winged wonders. Keep an eye out for California quail, golden eagles, and roadrunners while hiking one of the preserve’s six trails. bigmorongo.org

17. Enjoy tequila and tunes.

Sip mezcal and chomp on chips and limey ceviche at the Agave Caliente Tequila Bar at the new Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City. The atmosphere is extra energetic on Friday and Saturday evenings, when local musicmaker DJ Carlos spins. aguacalientecasinos.com

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PHOTOGRAPH BY  GETTY IMAGES

18. Play pickleball.

Despite the funny name, this sport’s basic gameplay should look familiar to you: It borrows aspects of tennis, pingpong, and racquetball. Grab some pals and paddles and hit the outdoor courts at Fritz Burns Park in La Quinta and Freedom Park in Palm Desert. laquintaca.gov; myrecreationdistrict.com