The calendar feels a bit empty after such an eventful end to 2023. From house parties to house music, there was no shortage of things to do as we closed out the year. January is typically a little slower-paced. Except for the “Elephant Man” in the room: The Palm Springs International Film Festival.
This year’s festival got underway with Thursday night’s gala and awards. Killers of the Flower Moon won the Vanguard Award. Its subjects had a special moment in Palm Springs as our new Agua Caliente Cultural Museum hosted a high level gathering between local leaders of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and those of The Osage Nation, who were here to attend the awards ceremony.
I’ll be attending many movies of the next number of days. Our LGBTQ+ selections look to be especially compelling and I hope you’ll take in a film or two. While the big stars who swoop in for the awards ceremony have departed for their Hollywood homes, we still have our local celebs that you’ll see out and about in our corner of paradise.
Brad Fuhr, your Gay Desert Guide on KGAY 106.5 Palm Springs
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Palm Springs International Film Festival 2024
The 35th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) runs Friday, January 5–Monday, January 14. One of the largest film festivals in North America, the Festival welcomes over 136,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. Produced by the Palm Springs International Film Society, all 12 days are packed with events and film screenings, featuring over 180 films from 70+ countries at various venues in Palm Springs and Cathedral City. This year, the line-up includes award-season front-runners, international Oscar submissions, a spotlight on South Korea, family screenings, LGBTQ+ stories, and much more. Check out a list of recommendations here. See you at the movies! More info
The festival opens with a screening of Wicked Little Letters Starring Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley on Friday, January 5, and the festival will wrap up with Best of the Fest screenings taking place Monday, January 15.
Mini Masterpieces at Desert Art Center
The very popular Mini Masterpieces Fundraiser returns to celebrate the 74th year of the Desert Art Center in the studio gallery with an Opening Reception on Saturday, January 6 from 5–7 pm. For this event, all member artists are invited to submit 6”x6” artworks on canvas – each piece is priced at $74 in celebration of the anniversary. More info
Brunch with Patsi
You may be familiar with Patsi Kocan‘s Dinner with Patsi events, but this weekend it’s a very special Brunch with Patsi on Sunday, January 7 from 9:30 am–12:30 pm at Low Desert / Modern Mexican. Patsi will be there with her red hat to pass around and collect donations benefiting Brothers of the Desert. More info
Gilligan’s Island – The Musical
Desert Theatreworks presents Gilligan’s Island – The Musical from January 5–28. America’s most iconic sitcom from the 1960’s comes to the stage reincarnated as a fun family musical. Written by the original TV show’s creator, Sherwood Schwartz, all the show’s beloved characters seem to have leaped straight from the TV screen to the big stage, bringing their hilarious adventures along with them. The skipper and his hapless first mate, Gillian; millionaire Thurston Howell and his wife, Lovey; film starlet Ginger Grant; farm girl Mary Ann Summers; and the professor battle hurricanes, quicksand and even an alien with their usual fierce determination. Will they finally make it off the island? Get tickets
Christine Andreas: Paris to Broadway
The Purple Room Supper Club presents Christine Andreas: Paris to Broadway on Friday and Saturday, January 5 & 6. Andreas performs with Martin Silvestri on piano (and accordion) songs by Piaf, Charles Trenet, R&H, Kern, Porter, Berlin, Bacharach & David. You will be transported from wherever you are, to the City of Light, Paris; to the Champs Elysees, a Parisian café, the streets of Pigalle that gave the world Edith Piaf….then back again, trans-Atlantic to the glittering lights of Manhattan and onto the Broadway stages that Christine and Martin Silvestri know so well. Get tickets
One Vision of Queen feat. Marc Martel
The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa presents One Vision of Queen feat. Marc Martel on Saturday, January 6 at 8 pm. Few singers have shaped music history as much as Freddie Mercury did during his life. A natural baritone, he had an incredible ability to color his voice across its range. Now Canadian rock singer Marc Martel is bringing the legend back to the stage. Get tickets
Country Dance Fridays
Dance Ranch Palm Springs presents Country Dance Fridays, a great night of country western dancing, including two-step, waltz, shadow, East and West Coast swing and line dances, every Friday from 7–9:30 pm at Step by Step. The dance lesson is at 7 pm with dancing from 7:30–9:30 pm. Dance Ranch Palm Springs is a country western dance group serving the LGBTQ+ community and its friends. Country dancers of all levels are welcome. More info
First Fridays El Paseo
First Fridays El Paseo takes place this week in the famed shopping district of El Paseo, from 4–7 pm on Friday, January 5, (and the first Friday of every month through May 2024). The event features a variety of activities, including: ArtWalk El Paseo, a self-guided tour of over 15 fine art galleries; El Paseo Cruise Night, a classic car show and cruise; Biennial Sculpture Exhibition, a display of 18 new sculptures with QR codes for more information, and a collection of interior designers, home decor, and consignment shops in the El Paseo Design District. You can also enjoy free rides on the El Paseo Courtesy Carts! More info
Palm Springs and Palm Desert Farmers’ Markets
The original Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market is outdoors at the Palm Springs Cultural Center every Saturday from 8 am–1 pm, while the original Palm Desert Certified Farmers’ Market is outdoors at the Entrada Center, alongside the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce on Sundays from 8 am–1 pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to shop for farm fresh produce and other artisanal products. The markets provide a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables plus a mouthwatering array of other products such as farm raised meats, eggs, cheeses, honey, organic coffee, flowers, prepared foods, chocolates, soaps and more, plus live music, demos and other special events. Learn more about the certified Farmers’ Markets in Palm Springs and Palm Desert.
Drag Brunch in the Desert
Palm Springs is a glittering oasis not just for snowbirds and vintage enthusiasts, but also for drag aficionados. Our vibrant drag scene pulsates with sass, sequins, and sky-high wigs. There are drag brunches not only on Sunday but Friday and Saturday as well! We have listings for drag by day of the week in the Gay Desert Guide Nightlife Channel. Just look for the “Drag Shows in the Desert” listings! You can also find a general rundown of drag offerings in our Drag Shows with Courage, Ostentatiousness, Charisma, and Kookiness article, featuring shows at Oscar’s, Reforma, Chill Bar, one eleven bar and more!