Dave Chappelle Acrisure Arena

Things to Do This Week in the Desert, Dec. 12–18

Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock open Acrisure Arena, Alton Brown performs at the McCallum, and Gladys Knight hits Fantasy Springs. Here are 43 things to do this week in Greater Palm Springs.

Site Staff Attractions, Current Digital

Dave Chappelle Acrisure Arena
Dave Chappelle (pictured) performs with Chris Rock Dec. 14 at Acrisure Arena in Thousand Palms. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY CARLA SIMS
José Sarria Pop-Up Museum: Through Dec. 14

Palm Springs’ Welwood Murray Memorial Library celebrates the 100th birthday of the late drag queen and activist José Sarria with documentary screenings and an exhibition.

David Dornan: Through Dec. 16

Stop by Coda Gallery in Palm Desert to browse David Dornan’s photorealistic paintings of flowers, oilcans, and other subjects, which take on new depth under his observant eye. 

Alton Brown Live: Dec. 12

TV’s Alton Brown transforms the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert into a new kind of Cutthroat Kitchen with his live show featuring comedy, cooking demos, and wacky experiments with audience participation.

LGBT Dine Out & Toy Drive: Dec. 13

Meet local LGBTQ+ folks and their allies at Grand Central Palm Springs. Bring your appetite, plus a brand-new, unwrapped toy for the tots at the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City.

Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle: Dec. 14

The pair of comedy legends performs in the round for the official grand-opening performance at Acrisure Arena in Thousand Palms. With the stage at the center, there won’t be a bad seat in the house.

Hypnotic Mayhem: Dec. 14

Prepare to be hypnotized — perhaps literally — by Ron Stubbs, who compels audience members at Marvyn’s Magic Theater in La Quinta with improvisational comedy and his astonishing power of suggestion.

Easton Corbin: Dec. 14

This Florida–born baritone sings “A Little More Country Than That” and other twangy tunes at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.

Delia Ephron: Dec. 14

Delia Ephron (who co-wrote You’ve Got Mail with her sister Nora) stops by the Rancho Mirage Library to share tales from Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life, her moving memoir about battling cancer in the midst of new love.

Deanna Bogart: Dec. 14

A troupe of talented guest musicians join multi-instrumentalist Deanna Bogart at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs as part of the casino’s Desert Blues Revival concert series.

Let It Snow: Dec. 14

“Run Rudolph Run” to the Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs for a festive fundraising concert. Donate canned goods or gifts for kids to bring holiday spirit to local nonprofits.

The Doobie Brothers: Dec. 15

On the heels of their 50th anniversary tour, the four-time Grammy winners (who just reunited after 25 years) tear up the stage at Acrisure Arena in Thousand Palms.

Afrofuturism & Psychedelic Therapy: Dec 15

Palm Springs Art Museum’s Mixed Feelings lecture series invites attendees to draw connections between two seemingly disparate topics. This week, medical hallucinogens meet speculative fiction by Black authors.

Joie de Vivre Cabaret: Dec. 15

This lively cabaret show at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs features more than music — burlesque beauty Miss Magnolia and tap dancer Christopher A. Scott join Chloé Perrier and other marvelous jazz players onstage.

Nick Paul: Dec. 15–17

Nick Paul’s magical and comedic acumen nabbed him a consulting gig on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. See his spectacular tricks at Marvyn’s Magic Theater in La Quinta.

Matthew Maloney: Dec. 16

Coachella Valley hometowner Matthew Maloney returns to the desert for a side-splitting stand-up show at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs.

Grupo Firme: Dec. 16

This Mexican banda group’s first United State tour includes a stop at Palm Desert’s Acrisure Arena, where they’re accompanied by a squad of superb folklórico dancers.

Balearic Beat: Dec. 16

Chicago record label Numero Group aims to uncover underappreciated albums and musical ephemera. They share groovy tunes from Spain’s Balearic Islands at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs.

Jeff Dunham: Dec. 16

Comedy Central record holder Jeff Dunham (his special is the network’s No. 1 most-watched) appears live at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage.

Naughty or Nice?: Dec. 16–18

The 100 members of the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus trill holiday tunes at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs. Expect classics like “O Holy Night,” plus nontraditional ditties sourced from Elf the Musical and David Bowie’s discography

The Santa Clause 2: Dec. 17

Bundle up and come on down to the Center Lawn at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert for a holiday movie night under the stars. This week’s film stars Tim Allen as St. Nick.

Bruce in the USA: Dec. 17

This McCallum Theatre concert honors The Boss and his iconic E Street Band with note-for-note renditions of the Jersey-born artist’s greatest hits, including oft-misunderstood political powerhouse “Born in the U.S.A.”

Gladys Knight: Dec. 17

The “Midnight Train to Georgia” singer, who first performed on TV at age 8 and went on to garner fame as the frontwoman of The Pips, brings her signature Empress of Soul sound to Yuletide favorites at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.  

Farewell Mister Haffman: Dec. 17

Desert Film Society presents this engrossing historical drama set in Nazi-occupied Paris. The French feature boasts a rare 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Live and Let Die: Dec. 17

Musician Tony Kishman perfected his Paul McCartney tribute playing the “Blackbird” writer in the musical Beatlemania. He honors the legendary Beatle in his show at Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella.

Breakfast With the Grinch: Dec. 17

Devour donuts, design a cute wooden ornament, and meet Whoville’s greenest and grumpiest resident at this kid-focused craft event at the Create Center for the Arts in Palm Desert.

Star Party at the Monument: Dec. 17

The International Space Station may not be accepting tourists just yet, but you can explore the skies Earthside thanks to the binoculars and telescopes of the Astronomical Society of the Desert. Count constellations at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center.

Sax for Christmas: Dec. 17

Saxophonists Euge Groove and Michael Paulo and guitarist Blake Aaron play a jazzy holiday show at The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa.

Coachella Valley Firebirds Home Opener: Dec. 18

After playing four games in the Seattle area and 16 on the road, the Coachella Valley Firebirds hockey team makes its debut on home ice at Acrisure Arena in Thousand Palms.

Merri-achi Christmas: Dec. 18

Mariachi Sol de Mexico, led by fifth-generation mariachi musician José Hernàndez, appears at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert for an evening of holiday tunes and traditional dances.

Open Mic Night: Dec. 19

Singers, storytellers, comics, and composers can flex their skills — and grab food truck eats — at Old Town Artisan Studio’s monthly open mic night in La Quinta.


Fun Home: Through Dec. 18

Coachella Valley Repertory puts on Lisa Kron’s theatrical adaptation of an autobiographical graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. The Tony winner is the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist.

Palm Springs Getaway: Through Dec. 18

It’s always sunny in Palm Springs! Local actors portray beloved icons and celebrities from the city’s history in this high-energy musical at Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs. 

White Christmas: Through Dec. 23

A song-and-dance duo follow a pair of singing sisters to snowy Vermont in this romantic musical version of the 1954 classic film. Hum along at Desert TheatreWorks in Indio.

Holiday Squares Pop-Up Store: Through Dec. 23

Shop for every art lover on your list at the Artists Center at The Galen in Palm Desert, where the Artists Council vends 8-inch canvases, ceramics, and other gifts.

Beyond Van Gogh: Through Dec. 27

Step inside 300 famous Van Gogh artworks at this immersive exhibition at the Empire Polo Club in Indio that projects the artist’s paintings on the walls and floor.

WildLights: Through Dec. 30

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert twinkles by night with holiday light displays. Grab a hot chocolate and snap a photo with Santa.

Boxo10x10: Through Dec. 31

High Desert arts initiative BoxoPROJECTS celebrates its residency program’s 10th year with an exhibition of 10 artists’ work.

Magic of Lights: Through Jan. 1

Dazzling dinosaurs, bright Barbies, and illuminated monster trucks set Indio aglow in this drive-through holiday light display at the Empire Polo Club.

Outburst Projects: Through Jan. 29

Five artists draw upon their cultural histories to create evocative pieces, from woven artwork to cyborg-like sculpted monsters, as part of this residency program at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Petra Cortright: Through Mar. 26

The Santa Barbara–born artist known for self-portrait videos composes “paintings” with internet imagery in this exhibition at Palm Springs Art Museum.

Phillip K. Smith III: Through May 21

Palm Desert resident Phillip K. Smith III fills four galleries at Palm Springs Art Museum with installations inspired by the desert’s unique quality of light. psmuseum.org

A Place at the Table: Through June 4

View the formal table settings that the Annenbergs set out to entertain presidents and royals at Sunnylands Center & Gardens.

American Framing: Through July 2

The Architecture and Design Center in Palm Springs brings attention to the subtle architectural genius of wood framing through models, photos, furniture, and a full-scale structure.