Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

Everyone is doing it. Well, all the coolest people are, at least.

Of course, we’re talking about opera.

What did you think we were talking about? In Quantum of Solace, James Bond was climbing around the backstage area during a performance of Tosca at the Bregenz Festival in Austria. Not cool enough for you? Well, Bugs Bunny even did it, in the classic 1957 cartoon short “What’s Opera, Doc?”

This means there will be plenty of cool people at Palm Springs’ Sunrise Park on Sunday, April 8, for the annual, free extravaganza that is Opera in the Park.

It all began 20 years ago with a piano and just a couple singers, thanks to Arlene Rosenthal, now of Well in the Desert. Today, the event attracts more than 5,000 attendees. This year, eight singers will perform different arias, including selections from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story and Candide.

Bruce Johansen, president of the board directors of the Palm Springs Opera Guild, vouched for the quality of the performers. “These are not people who are thinking maybe they might try opera—but people who are committed and have their master’s degrees already,” he said. “They come from Southern California, in particular; most come from USC, UCLA and Pepperdine. … These individuals are starting and breaking into their careers now.

“Liv Redpath, who will be here, is currently performing in LA Opera’s Orpheus and Eurydice. A Mexican tenor, who is a huge star in Europe, Jesús León, is coming back to the valley. He sang for Opera in the Park many years ago … and as a gift will be performing in Opera in the Park this year. We have the chance to watch these singers grow up over the years and become major names in the operatic world. Our guild has had quite a bit to do with their success.”

Johansen’s background is in television; after walking by the Opera in the Park by chance, he discovered the Palm Springs Opera Guild. This chance encounter turned an interest in opera into a passion.

“The people in group cover the full gamut of being extremely passionate to others who enjoy it, but maybe don’t know all the nuances,” he said about the guild. “Everybody has a story about opera—either as kid who had been forced to see an opera and hated it, or as in my case: I had a brilliant music teacher who took us all to see a dress rehearsal of Carmen when I was 13 years old. It just changed my life.”

What does the Palm Springs Guild do beyond Opera in the Park? “We’ve held an annual Palm Springs vocal competition since 1983. The participants compete for various prizes, including scholarships. We also offer Opera in the Schools: Every year, we go into schools in the Palm Springs Unified School District and introduce them to opera. We do a half-hour assembly. With our introduction of opera to them in school, we are trying to take away the stigma that opera might have. … There have even been times when we can take a bus of students to see a performance at the LA Opera. In addition, we have the Prime Time Outreach series at the Rancho Mirage Public Library, which includes lectures and performances.”

The 20th Annual Opera in the Park takes place on Sunday, April 8, at Sunrise Park, located off Sunrise Way, between Ramon and Baristo roads, in Palm Springs. Rehearsals start at 9 a.m., while the actual program runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, including tented-seating information and details on pre-order lunches from TRIO Restaurant, visit

Published in Theater and Dance


Screening of ‘Tim’s Vermeer’

Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all of art: How did 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers. This is a Penn and Teller Film, produced by Penn Jillette. Q&A to follow with Lisa Soccio, assistant professor/gallery director at College of the Desert. 6 p.m., Thursday, April 16. Free. University of California at Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-202-4007;

Music and More

Aiden James

Don’t miss Aiden James performing his latest single, “Last Reminder,” from his album Trouble With This, which launched at No. 28 on the iTunes Top 100. Dinner at 5:30 p.m., with show at 7 p.m., Friday, April 10. $20 show only. Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 800-838-3006;

The Best of Sam Harris

Sam Harris’ career has run the gamut from singer and songwriter to actor on Broadway, film and television, to writer, director, producer and now, author. After winning Star Search in its premiere season, Sam and his powerhouse pop, gospel and theater influenced vocals have never looked back. 8 p.m., Saturday, April 11. $60 to $75. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490;

Cabaret 88: Donna Theadore

An American actress and singer who first came to attention as a headliner at many famous nightclubs during the 1960s, Theodore won a Theater World Award and Drama Desk Award, and received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the 1975 musical Shenandoah. She is best remembered for her appearances with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, making more than 50 guest appearances. 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 8. $88. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490;

Comedy at the Symphony

Piano humorist Wayland Pickard leads an evening of music and comedy in the PBS tradition of Victor Borge, Roger Williams, Peter Nero and Liberace—all rolled into one. His impressions include selections from famous “piano men” such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Scott Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis and even Schroeder from “Peanuts.” 7 p.m., Saturday, April 11. $25 to $45, with discounts. Helene Galen Performing Arts Center, Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-360-2222;

Opera in the Park

This free annual concert is a celebration of opera music. Bring a picnic lunch and join thousands of Coachella Valley residents and visitors to enjoy an afternoon of incredible music in an informal, tranquil outdoor setting with a professional orchestra and eight young up-and-coming opera singers. Noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 12. Free. Sunrise Park, 401 S. Pavilion Way, Palm Springs. 760-325-6107;

Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus Presents: Extrabbaganza

The Swedish pop group ABBA topped the music charts from 1975-1982. Their music found new life in movie musicals. The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus will perform a long list of ABBA’s hits. 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25; and 3 p.m., Sunday, April 26. $25 to $50. Temple Isaiah, 332 W. Alejo Road, Palm Springs. 760-219-2077;

Tachevah, A Palm Springs Block Party

A concert for music fans midway between the two 2015 Coachella weekends. The celebration of music and our city takes place outside the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs, and a DJ will keep the party rolling in between band sets. 5 to 10 p.m., Wednesday, April 15. Free. Spa Resort Casino, at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Calle Encilia, Palm Springs.

The USO Variety Show

The USO has been entertaining troops worldwide in times of peace and war for more 70 years. Now, the Bob Hope USO needs you to laugh, enjoy and have some fun remembering the good ol’ times. Join us for a live nostalgic tribute to Bob Hope and his band of Hollywood celebs; enjoy free tours of the museum pre- or post-show time. 2 p.m., Thursday, April 9. $55 to $75. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-778-6262;

Zero Gravity: Music Festival After Hours Party

Zero Gravity will feature a mixture of top talent, emerging artists and special guest appearances. This year, the fairgrounds will be transformed into a mega-club party with amazing sound, lighting, lasers, larger-than-life artwork, exceptional VIP services and more. 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, April 10-18. Must request an invitation at the website; lineup and ticket prices TBA. Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, Indio.

Special Events

Cathedral City LGBT Days

Not your typical Pride event, this weekend promises to be interactive, festive and OUTrageous! Enjoy area restaurants, music, hot air balloon rides, the costume “charity bed race” LGBT films and more. Various times, prices and locations in Cathedral City. Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5. 760-770-0340;

The Dinah Shore Weekend

Club Skirts presents The Dinah, the largest girl party music festival in the world, rocking Palm Springs since 1991. Various times and locations, Wednesday, April 1, through Sunday, April 5. Prices vary; weekend passes $269.

White Party Palm Springs

The largest gay dance party in the world. DJs, live performances, pool parties and more. Various times, prices and locations, Friday, April 24, through Monday, April 27.

Visual Arts

99 Bucks Sale

The Palm Springs Artists Council presents this annual major fundraiser for the Education Department. Celebrities as well as Artists Council members and other artists create artwork on 5-by-7 canvases for this popular and intriguing one night event. The purchaser selects works to buy, and only after purchase do they learn the name of the artist. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 11. Free. Riviera Resort and Spa Grand Ballroom, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4850;

Indian Wells Arts Festival

More than 200 award-winning artists featuring hundreds of pieces of one-of-a-kind artwork available for purchase. The Second Annual Objet Trouvé Found Art Festival joins once again, featuring award-winning found artists creating a “festival of festivals.” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5. $13; children 12 and under free. Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 78200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells. 760-346-0042;

Submit your free arts listings at The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun



Nominated for three Academy Awards, Children of Men is a dystopian film loosely based on P.D. James’ 1992 novel. In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary. Prior to the movie, enjoy a short conversation between science-fiction expert Sherryl Vint, UC Riverside English professor, and Tod Goldberg, director of UCR Palm Desert’s low-residency MFA program. 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 8. Free. University of California, Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-834-0800;


In the early morning hours after St. Patrick’s Day 1990, thieves disguised as policemen gained access into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and successfully executed the largest art heist in modern history. Stolen is a full exploration of this unusual crime and the fascinating, disparate characters involved. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Lynne Richardson, co-founder of the FBI Art Crime Team. 6 p.m., Thursday, April 17. Free. University of California, Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-834-0800;



A luncheon with a musical program of Broadway favorites features Paul MacKey, Lola Rossi and other surprise performers. Proceeds benefit Well in the Desert. 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 2. $95. Spencer’s Restaurant, 701 W. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. 760-327-8577;


Residents and visitors alike can start off Saturday evening by socializing at the wine-and-cheese reception held on the center lawn before each concert at 5:15 p.m. For a $12 donation, guests enjoy light refreshments catered by Pacifica Seafood Restaurant and Sullivan’s Steakhouse, as well as two glasses of wine sponsored by Anderholt Whittaker. April 5: John Stanley King Band, benefitting YMCA of the Desert. April 12: Magdalena Chovancova, benefiting Angel View. April 19: Organic Sol, benefiting United Cerebral Palsy. Free. The Gardens on El Paseo, 73545 El Paseo, Palm Desert. 760-862-1990;


Building on a tradition of presenting talented young opera singers to the Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs Opera Guild of the Desert will present the 16th annual Opera in the Park. This annual event features a selection of familiar arias sung by talented young opera singers with a professional orchestra conducted by Maestro Valery Ryvkin. Bring your picnic lunch and enjoy a wonderful day of beautiful music. Food libations, and art vendors will add to the festivities. Noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 6. Free. Sunrise Park, between Ramon and Baristo roads on Sunrise Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-6107;


The fifth-annual event. Receiving the St. Cecilia Patron of Music Award will be Nancy Harris, on behalf of the Coeta and Donald Barker Foundation. Local artist Gideon will create the art piece that will be presented to the foundation. A reception, a sit-down dinner and a divine opera presentation are included. 6:30 p.m., Sunday, April 13. $125. Renaissance Esmeralda Resort and Spa, 44400 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells. 760-323-8353;


L&G Events is proud to announce the return of the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival, with more than 30 national and international celebrated female jazz musicians. Various prices, times and locations from Thursday, April 3, through Sunday, April 6. 760-416-3545;



Meet the author of The Dog Lived (and So Will I), a New York Times bestseller. She’ll talk about her love of beagles, her triumph over cancer and her wildly popular memoir of survival. 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 2. Free. University of California, Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-834-0800;


The Palm Springs Air Museum presents Dr. Ed Gordon, who has lectured around the world and taken travelers to locations in Europe and the Pacific in order to highlight the facts of World War II as they unfolded. By January 1945, the Allies were closing in on what remained of Hitler’s Europe. Even though the Germans had spent their last reserves in the abortive Battle of the Bulge, 10 million solders would still resist during those last 100 days. Gordon recounts the landmark events that would shape the political destiny of Europe and the world for the next 50 years. 1 p.m., Saturday, April 5. Lecture is included with regular museum admission. Check the website for other lectures, which occur every Saturday in April. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-778-6262;


Neurosurgeon and author Dr. Eben Alexander will discuss his near-death experience and his book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife, which chronicles his powerful, life-changing story. 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 9. $85. Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower Medical Center, 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage. 760-340-3911;

Special Events


A fun and unique fundraising event, and a great cocktail party. The event features professional entertainment (including singer Taylor Dayne) plus live and silent auctions of celebrity donated items such as art, tickets to a show, a celebrity book, signed memorabilia or even a doodle itself. A benefit for Desert AIDS Project. 6 p.m., Saturday, April 5. $179. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 415-420-9063;


Desert Willow Golf Resort transforms into a showroom of vintage cars on display. See all the classic cars, enjoy live music, eat an amazing dinner and have a great time. 5 p.m., Saturday, April 19. General $49; classic-car owners $35. Desert Willow Golf Resort, 38995 Desert Willow Drive, Palm Desert. 760-346-0015;


The Digital Arts Technology Academy is holding its second-annual Golf Tournament in support of students competing at the state and national levels. Noon, Saturday, April 5. $99. Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort, 1885 Golf Club Drive, Palm Springs, 760-989-2483;


Club Skirts presents The Dinah, the largest girl party music festival in the world, rocking Palm Springs for 23 years. Various prices, times and locations from Thursday, April 3, through Sunday, April 6. 888-923-4624;


The fur will be “faux,” but the fun will be real. Chef Arturo Montez will whip up fabulous food, and libations will flow. You’ll be seated on the faux fur ... and can pet real fur on our beautiful dogs and cats. KESQ and CBS Local 2 personality Bianca Rae will emcee. 6 p.m., Saturday, April 12. $95. Palm Springs Animal Shelter, 4575 E. Mesquite Ave., Palm Springs. 760-567-6464;


The largest gay dance party in the world, with DJs, live performances, pool parties and more. Various prices, times and locations, from Friday, April 25, through Sunday, April 27. 323-782-9924;

Visual Arts


The Artists Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum holds its annual “99 Bucks” art-sale fundraiser, featuring 5-by-7-inch canvases, created by a wide range of celebrities and artists, all sold anonymously for $99. After the canvases are purchased, the name of the artist is revealed. Past contributors include Ed Ruscha, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow and K.D. Lang, among others. 4:30 p.m., Saturday, April 12. Free. Riviera Palm Springs, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4850;


View the beautifully painted landscapes and street scenes of the desert by the artist during El Paseo’s First Friday Artwalk. 5 p.m., Friday, April 4. Free. Desert Art Collection, 45350 San Luis Rey Ave., Palm Desert. 760-674-9955;


In conjunction with Desertscapes, a month-long collaboration of major arts and community organizations celebrating artwork inspired by the Coachella Valley landscape, three Southern California photographers—Bill Brewer, Victory Tischler Blue and Jeff Alu—will be featured in three solo exhibits. Through Thursday, April 10. Free. Marks Art Center at College of the Desert, 43500 Monterey Ave, Palm Desert. 760-776-7278;


Cabot’s hosts the new Hopi Kachina Carving Event as part of the museum’s 100th anniversary. Friday, April 11, through Sunday, April 13. With museum admission. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, 67616 E. Desert View Ave., Desert Hot Springs. 760-329-7610;


More than 200 award-winning artists feature hundreds of pieces of one-of-a-kind artwork available for purchase. Paintings, drawings, ceramics, glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry, apparel and hand-crafted wares are included. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, April 4, through Sunday, April 6. $12; children 12 and younger free. Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 78200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells. 760-346-0042;

Submit your free arts listings at The listings presented here were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun