Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

After five successful years, the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival took a hiatus in 2018.

“We got off to a very good start and picked up a nice audience,” said Gail Christian, one of the producers. “Then after a couple of years, our audience wasn’t growing.

“The problem is that jazz is really only 2 percent of the music audience—and then (we were slicing) that even smaller, into women’s jazz. We felt that we needed to put more in the mix to bring a larger audience in. As much as people liked our events, not everyone was a jazz fan.”

Thus, Palm Springs Women’s Week was born. The inaugural week will take place Sunday, Sept. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 6, at venues across the Coachella Valley. The week is being billed as “a celebration of lesbian culture and thought”—although all people, men included, are welcome—and includes art, parties, lectures, dance, singing and all sorts of other events. The week includes the return of the Women’s Jazz Festival, on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4 and 5, and the L-Fund Golf Tournament, taking place Saturday, Oct. 5.

The week is produced by Christian and her partner, Lucy DeBardelaben.

“We call ourselves producers and promoters, but that’s not what really what we consider ourselves to be,” Christian said. “We consider ourselves to be activists. Lucy and I have a long history of being involved in feminist events, lesbian events. But we really see ourselves as political activists, and everything that we do on some level is politically centered. Like the Jazz Festival, for instance: While it’s about music, it’s about women musicians and how they are underpaid and underserved in their profession. The whole idea is not only to have an audience come, but for these players to get paid.

“Having said that, there are all sorts of other events we decided we would like to do that never seemed to make it to the drawing board. Out of all that came an idea: Why don’t we take the Jazz Festival and a lot of these other things that we’re interested in doing that highlight women’s achievements, and put it all into something called Palm Springs Women’s Week?”

The week came to fruition with help from The L-Fund, a group founded in 2012 that assists local lesbians facing a short-term financial crisis, and offers grants to lesbians for higher education or skilled training.

“I’m very close with Barbara Carpenter,” The L-Fund’s executive director, “and I was talking to her about the golf tournament, and said, ‘Well, you’ve got women coming in for the golf tournament,’” Christian said. “And she said, ‘Yes, and often those women ask, “What else is there to do?”’ And so she thought that would be a good idea if we could place Women’s Week around the Golf Tournament, and anchor the week with the Jazz Festival and the golf tournament.”

The week features a diverse slate of events—from jazz singer Rose Mallett paying tribute to Sarah Vaughan, to a “Power Gathering” during which a panel of local lesbian leaders will discuss current events before a screening of the documentary film American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. On Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Palm Springs Woman’s Club will be the site of a “Food and Wine Party” featuring a variety of women chefs, including La Tasha McCutchen, a winner of Hell’s Kitchen, and Nena Balestier, a winner of Chopped.

“Food has defined women’s roles in the family,” Christian said. “While they’ve always been able to cook at home, they’ve had a very difficult time becoming, quote, ‘a chef.’ It’s only in the past 20 years that we’ve seen women really start to come out of the woodwork as chefs. So we’re going to talk about not only chefs and their food, but we’re also going to talk about the relationship between food and women.”

Christian said she’s also excited about the festival’s emphasis on women in art, with an exhibit at Barba Contemporary Art Gallery (191 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs), and the spotlight on an unheralded collection of historic lesbian memorabilia called the June L. Mazer archive. It’ll be on display throughout Women’s Week at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club.

“It’s a very important archive that most people don’t know anything about. It is a 2,500-piece lesbian archive; my understanding is it started out in someone’s home,” Christian said. “… They really have done I think a wonderful job, with very little money, of pulling together a quite impressive archive. They are bringing about 50 pieces to Palm Springs that we’ll have on display all week.”

Christian said that Palm Springs Women’s Week is coming at a crucial time for lesbians—and all women.

“It’s important for the same reason that the civil rights movement is still important: Certainly, there have been gains made, but in this particular political climate, it’s very easy to see how easy it is to lose those gains, or to see them being eroded, unless you stay on top of it,” Christian said.

Palm Springs Women’s Week takes place Sunday, Sept. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 6, at various venues across the valley. For a complete schedule, tickets and more information, visit

Published in Local Fun

This Pride, the lesbians in Palm Springs have scheduled tons of fun!

But first, a little background.

The first official “Dyke March” event in the United States was part of the 1993 LGBT March on Washington, D.C. It boasted around 20,000 lesbians—and the women who marched got inspired and energized. Later that year, New York and San Francisco had their first Dyke Marches, and today, they’re held in various places, including Palm Springs.

By the way, try not to get hung up on the fact that this was started by and continues to be led by women who are proud to call themselves “dykes.” This event is designed for all women-loving-women, and every kind of human who loves women is welcome! And dogs, too!

I was lucky enough to be at the ’93 marches in Washington and San Francisco. There were markers and paints and big poster boards to make your own signs. I remember wandering around the National Mall, looking at the signs other women were making, and then plopping down in the grass to make my own. 

This brings us to today. Over the last few years, the lesbian community in Palm Springs has made great headway in organizing their own business and entertainment opportunities. The now-4-year-old Dyke March, for example, has grown from a mini-march into two days of events. This year, it all starts with a picnic, rally and march during Greater Palm Springs Pride, on Saturday, Nov. 3, from noon to 4 p.m., at Frances Stevens Park. That’s between Indian Canyon and Palm Canyon drives at Alejo Road. Bring a blanket, and stake your claim on the grass for a picnic with simple, catered lunches available for $5 (cash only). You can also bring your own feast—and make everyone else jealous! Sprawl out in the dreamy sunshine to enjoy an afternoon of women’s music, dance, speeches and comedy—with me as the emcee. There will be shade tents and some chairs and tables, in case you’re not the sprawling-out-on-the-grass type!

Also at the park: Lighting up the dance floor will be young DJ Ash, from Los Angeles, spinning so you can tea-dance your hearts out. A local favorite dance teacher, Jan Alden, will even teach a couple of country-Western line-dance lessons. This is a kid-friendly day, so plan to bring the whole family, as there will be fun and games … and face painting! Joanne Thompson will lead a drum circle, so bring your instruments, too.

Between music and raffles, you’ll hear brief yet brilliant speakers, including spoken word from Nalani Hernandez-Melo, a founder of the Wyld Womxn Collective. Also on the schedule: a melodious tease from Sweet Baby J’ai as she lures you to the Sunday Lesbo Expo Launch Party. (More on that in a bit.) Leslie Price, a lead nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood, will share insights on women’s health, and the ever-powerful orator Kate Kendell, who led the National Center for Lesbian Rights for more than 20 years, will rally a bit of energy as we’re about to march. Finally, there will be a few words from Bella Barkow, a producer of Lezathlon, the largest and intentionally most ridiculous lesbian sporting event in the world! (We’re hoping to convince her to bring one of their lesbian “field days” here to Palm Springs next year.) 

The short march to the Pride Festival area will step off from Frances Stevens Park at 4 p.m.

Later that night, you can dance the night away at the L-Fund’s annual Women's Pride Dance in the ballroom at Hotel Zoso, at 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, with DJ T-LA Storm. Tickets are $20 in advance at, or $30 at the door. All are welcome!

On Sunday, women can show up—first come, first served—to watch the Pride parade from the patio of the not-quite-reopened Alibi Room, at 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Drinks and catered eats will be available for purchase. When the parade has passed, stick around on the patio for a free drag king show with emcee Jesse Jones and the Inland Empire Kings: King Phantom, King Caux and Sir Labia.

The headliners and big names can be found after the parade inside at the Lesbo Expo Launch Party, from 1 to 4 p.m. This ticketed event includes awards, music, comedy, a taco bar and beer, all for $30. The superstar show features acclaimed comedian/emcee Marga Gomez from San Francisco, and a short concert with Sweet Baby J'ai and her Women in Jazz All-Stars from Los Angeles.

Kate Kendell will receive the Legacy Award; other honorees include Susan Unger, the project director at Get Tested Coachella Valley; Lucy and Gail, producers of the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival; and Michelle Castillo, co-founder of Wyld Womxn Collective. A special Palm Springs City Council resolution will also be presented by Councilwoman Lisa Middleton to Lynn Segerblom, a co-creator of the original pride flag. The whole event will serve as an introduction by the Palm Springs Dyke March Steering Committee to the planned day-long Lesbo Expo, slated for Pride in 2019.

As a young comedian, waiting on the National Mall at the first Dyke March in ’93, I was intimidated by the strong emotions voiced on many of the signs. I finally drew flowers and peace signs around the words, “Issue-Free Dyke!” Through the whole parade, lesbians yelled back at me: “No such thing!”

For more information, visit

Published in Local Fun

Nona Hendryx has had a prolific music career dating back to 1961, as both a successful solo artist and a member of the popular Labelle trio.

She’s heading to Palm Springs to headline the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival, taking place Friday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 11.

Before Patti Labelle went on to a solo career, she was part of Labelle with Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash. They toured with The Rolling Stones and The Who before breaking up in 1976 (with occasional reunions over the years).

During a recent phone interview, Hendryx said all three members of Labelle shared duties and were equals as singers and songwriters.

“When we split up, people focused more on Patti and her career,” Hendryx said. “When we began in the early ’60s, groups were just groups, and you weren’t considered a lead singer or backup singer; you were a group. When we transformed into Labelle in the late ’60s and early ’70s, we were three individuals whose managers worked with groups such as The Who; we were more individual artists within the group. I was the primary songwriter, and we all had our strengths, and it wasn’t seen as Patti as the lead singer.

“I think our careers were able to go on from there because we had strong foundations as individual artists.”

As a solo artist, she’s worked with the Talking Heads, George Clinton and Peter Gabriel, to name a few notable names.

“Working with the Talking Heads was very creatively interesting,” she said. “There have been other people I’ve worked with, such as Dan Hartman. He was a songwriter and producer I’ve worked with over time, and (he) worked with me on my album Female Trouble. As a songwriter and an influence on me … I would say Dan was the most interesting person. He went from the pop world in music through experimental, and totally accepted me.”

When Hendryx went out on her own, she was creatively one step ahead of everyone else. While Hendryx was never a smash success, you can hear in her music how ahead of the game she was compared to her contemporaries.

“The music always informs me as to what it wants and how it wants to be presented,” she said. “The funk part of it is because of my live performances, and also my audience is an audience that’s more into the music, the lyrics and the funk I create, rather than just listening to it. My audience also likes to get up and dance, so the funk always provides some booty-shaking moments. Funk has a deeper groove in music than pop or dance music. The rhythms are much more tribal and African in the lower notes; the bass is very important to me along with the rhythms. That’s what informs me when I have a vision for an album.”

Hendryx also has talent in the visual arts. In fact, on the morning of our interview, she had just spent several hours preparing her latest art exhibition.

“When I was in school many years ago, that was one of those things I did and enjoyed the most,” she said. “I was developing that, and my desire to go to college to study it was interrupted by music. That took over my life, and the visual arts side of me went to the wayside, especially when I discovered songwriting, which has been my muse and my way of expressing myself.

“As the music business has changed, I’ve had more time to focus on visual arts, and a friend asked me about five years ago, ‘Why don’t you have a show at a gallery? I know someone who’d be interested in doing it.’ I did it, and it reawakened that expression inside of me.”

Hendryx has also been an innovator in music-performance electronics. She’s designed wearable controllers and has worked with technology students at the Berklee College of Music.

“When I first started in music, there were always so many wires involved,” she said. “I have been trying to move toward wireless, and the world has caught up with me. I was looking for a way of performing out in the open without wires to a soundboard or anything like that, and to be a pied piper, and I found this guy who was creating these audio installations, and one of the things he was working on was called the ‘Audio Tutu,’ and I had him develop one for me. It’s a Plexiglas wearable sound system. I can walk down the middle of the road and perform—or as I did at Lincoln Center, when I walked through the outdoors of the center and ended up inside in the show, singing.”

Hendryx has some new music in the works.

“It’s not going to come out until 2016,” she said. “It’ll be a different view of where I am now. It’s that hybrid of electronics, vocals, and the analog world.”

Nona Hendryx will perform at the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival at the Reception and Singing Party at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 9, at the Hyatt Palm Springs, 285 N. Palm Canyon Drive ($15); and at the Jazz + Blues = Soul event at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 N. Museum Drive ($75). For tickets or more information, visit

Published in Previews



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