Uniquely Palm Springs: The Sounds
Living life at full volume
By Kevin Perry
The pulse of Palm Springs is an irresistible rhythm that permeates your ears, your heart, and your soul. It is simultaneously personal and social; your heartbeat syncs with the alluring pace and passion of our town, where you will dance and commune with other desert dwellers in a fever pitch of celebratory exultation.
We truly march to a different drum, and it beckons you to join our year-round beat.
Perhaps the most intoxicating music festival to rock our town each April is White Party. Cruising into its third decade of decadence, this mainstay of LGBTQ frisky business boats such past luminaries as Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Ke$ha, and disco goddess Kylie Minogue. White Party even helped boost the burgeoning careers of future superstars like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. Bad romance, meet good vibes.
Earlier that same month, ladies cut loose at The Dinah, which promotes itself as “the largest queer girl party music festival in the world.” That’s music to our multi-pierced ears! Sprawling from the Hilton to the Convention Center and reaching a chic crescendo after five empowering days, The Dinah throws down a gauntlet of funk and ferocity for all other festivals to follow.
The ripple effect creates a frequency that carries into the summer months. Look around; the pool water in which you immerse your summer tan is undulating with a strange, hypnotic formation. It must be Splash House: the concert series so nice, you can dive in twice! That’s right, SH takes place over two weekends in June and August, and the performers bring their acts poolside so you never have to leave the cool comfort of your floatie empire. But if you do choose to change perspectives, a battalion of free shuttles will transport you between the three participating resorts, multiplying your festival experience into a tsunami of revelry.
Fall brings cool weather and even cooler music musts. The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival is dedicated to showcasing female talent across town; Greater Palm Springs Pride unleashes inclusion and gay grooviness galore; and the Palm Springs Opera Guild raises their voices from autumn membership drives to winter competitions to their transcendent Opera in the Park spring event.
But why wait for a particular season to rock out? The sounds of Palm Springs are happening right damn now! Every Sunday, experience an outdoor 54 (Studio 54, that is) with a tantalizing trip back in time. Oscar’s Tea Dance evokes the best of the 60s/70s/or whenever you pretend to have grown up. It truly is a Palm Springs concerto of love.
And if showtunes are more your cup of sassy tea, Oscar’s also presents celebrity female impersonators every Friday and Saturday night in their cabaret. If you simply MUST join the chorus, flex your pipes at Quadz Video Bar, where the screen plays Broadway hits and the crowd plays along beautifully (and hunkily – meow!).
Now that your vocals are warmed up, grab the mic (but watch those nails, honey) with some drag queen karaoke at Retro Room Lounge. If you’d rather leave it to the professionals, simmer in the boozy charisma of Judy Garland at the Purple Room. Michael Holmes plays the semi-lucid legend with irreverent zeal and massive appeal, belting out standards and busting punchlines with equal tenacity.
For a more passive auditory experience, sit back and enjoy the jukebox at Tryst. Enjoy the tickled ivories at Stacy’s Piano Bar. Or explode with the full fervor of musical theater fanaticism at Palm Canyon Theater, a premiere SoCal stage for revivals, holiday classics, and touring blockbusters. Listen up for legends in the making…
And now, for the main event: live music is pumping out of every speaker and speakeasy in Palm Springs, spilling into downtown with an urgency that sweeps you into its arresting cadence. Village Pub will shake your booty (consensually) with dancing al fresco every night. Look up at the desert skies, marvel at the celestial tapestry above, and then take a look in the mirror; looks like we’ve got another star on our hands!
Moxie is another hotspot for haute entertainment. In addition to dance parties and live bands, their Bubbly Brunches welcome drag queen royalty fresh from the RuPaul stage to raise the proverbial roof every Sunday.
If jazz is more your thang, we’re cool with that, baby. Beebop your way over to Dead or Alive and shimmy along with their house band every Friday night. Don’t forget the best pairing with live music: beverages! DoA serves craft beer and curated wines to set your toes a’tapping and ignite your musical soul.
But sometimes, the best sound is silence. Visitors travel thousands of miles for the signature calm that only Palm Springs can provide, and Desert Serenity Float & Spa elevates your downtime with expert attention to oneness. Center your thoughts, focus on the harmony of silent echoes, and disconnect in a sensory deprivation wonderland of self-discovery.
By eliminating the noise in your life, you can begin to savor each sound that you welcome into it. Palm Springs is a cacophony of joy, laughter, and melodious celebration. Listen closely… you may hear your dreams coming true.