GO: JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL /MAY 16–19
“It’s like a big family,” High Desert musician Bryanna Evaro says of the biannual Joshua Tree Music Festival. “It’s really loving and nurturing and feels like a safe space for everyone involved.”
Evaro and her bandmate, Mikey Reyes, of Desert Rhythm Project, have appeared on the lineup four consecutive years. Prior to 2015, they performed as the festival’s unofficial Thursday openers and Sunday night closers.
“It is still very much a grassroots festival,” Reyes explains. Though small, the family-friendly fest is mighty — attendees travel in from all over the world to discover up-and-coming acts. Past lineups act as a word search for now-famous names like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Elle King, and Chicano Batman.
Artists (including headliners Dynohunter, Vintage Trouble, and Oliver Koletzki) perform on two stages. Food vendors focus on organic, sustainable eats, and a global market sells artisan wares. Plus, the festival features large-scale art installations and offers a robust schedule of yoga sessions, healing workshops, and fun activities designed for kids. Most attendees camp on-site, where hot showers are available.
Evaro and Reyes encourage first-timers to arrive with an open mind. “It gives you an opportunity to fall into your own skin and let loose,” Evaro says.
WATCH: REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES / MAY 10–19
This 1990 play, based on author Josefina López’s own experiences working at a Los Angeles garment factory, focuses on gender politics and immigrant experiences — and still feels incredibly timely today. See it at the Indio Performing Arts Center.
WATCH: BIG RIVER / MAY 10–19
Palm Springs’ Palm Canyon Theatre puts on this bluesy musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in which a plucky young boy escaping abuse pairs up with a runaway slave for a ride down the Mississippi River in search of freedom.
GO: SAVING PRIVATE RYAN SCREENING / MAY 16
The Rancho Mirage Writers Festival Film Club features movies that have been selected to complement and explore the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Movies begin at 3 p.m. at the Rancho Mirage Public Library.
WATCH: FALLING / MAY 17–26
Encore Theatre District presents the story of a young, severely autistic man and his family as they deal with the question, “How can you love someone who is hard to love?” Catch the production at Palm Springs High School’s intimate Black Box Theatre. A portion of the ticket proceeds benefits the Coachella Valley Autism Society.
GROOVE: WILLIE NELSON / MAY 18
Long before his nine Grammy Award wins, Willie Nelson worked as a bible salesman. The singer-songwriter showcases his unique brand of outlaw country — popularized by albums like Shotgun Willie, Red-Headed Stranger, and Stardust — at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY AGUA CALIENTE CASINOS
MOVE: RUN OF THE DESERT CHARITIES / MAY 18
Strap on your running shoes and choose from one of 30 local charities to support in this 5K for a cause at the Palm Desert Civic Center. Strollers and dogs are welcome, and post-5K festivities include live music, games, pet adoptions, and food and blood drives.
TASTE: MORONGO TACO FESTIVAL / MAY 18
A $10 ticket gets you access to a festival of $2 tacos, live music, lucha libre wrestling, and a paws-itively adorable Chihuahua beauty pageant at Morongo Casino. Bold souls can participate in a pepper-eating contest; if you prefer tequila to Tabasco, the margarita station might be more your speed.
GROOVE: LUCIUS / MAY 18
Vice’s music channel, Noisey, described Lucius’ sound as “Fleetwood Mac meets early Heart”; Pitchfork drew aesthetic comparisons to David Bowie. The pop quintet headlines a concert at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown also featuring Portland-based indie-pop duo Pure Bathing Culture, whose fifth album, Night Pass, dropped last month.
GROOVE: HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES /MAY 18
Named after Alice Cooper’s 1970s “celebrity drinking club” (whose members included a Who, a Monkee, and two Beatles), this band — formed in 2015 by Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry — aims to honor the music of the legends of the ’70s. Stay up late with the Vampires at Fantasy Springs.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY FANTASY SPRINGS RESORT CASINO
Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, and Alice Cooper join forces for Hollywood Vampires.
GO: WOMEN WHO LEAD / MAY 20
Palm Springs Life presents a celebration of three remarkable women in the Coachella Valley. These leaders and role models — both in business and in life — include Debra Horvel (Rising Star), Kristi Hanson (Business Leader), and Oralia “Yaya” Ortiz (Nonprofit Leader). Keynote speaker is actress Joyce Bulifant.
GO: U.S. OPEN PROFESSIONAL FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS / MAY 21
If Kristi Yamaguchi is your all-time favorite Olympian and you have strong opinions about I, Tonya, this competition at Desert Ice Castle in Cathedral City might make you triple-axel for joy. Hosted by the Professional Skaters Foundation, the event is open to all pro ice athletes and is free for attendees.