Summer in the desert means watching a lot of movies, either sitting in air-conditioned darkness or floating in a refreshing swimming pool. You can also find cool, enriching escapes at local museums and theaters (the kind with a stage). California Desert Arts Council recommends these arts and culture events for August.


Above: Endless Summer,the documentary following two young surfers around the world in their continual search of the perfect wave, screens August 27 at Rancho Mirage Public Library and Observatory.



THIS IS TASTY: The 3rd Annual Taste of Summer Rancho Mirage continues through August 19. A $10 wristband gives you access to $4 cocktails, appetizers, and/or desserts offered by participating Rancho Mirage restaurants and resorts. Info

COMIC CON: The legendary Jim Lee leads a lineup of artists and actors participating in Comic Con Palm Springs August 24-26 at Palm Springs Air Museum. Don’t miss the Zombie Walk, Super Sonic Speed Dating, Geek Fest, and Doc’s Prop Shop! Info

HI-DEF FRINGE: Original, nontraditional, gritty, edgy, and thought-provoking performance art takes the stage August 24-26 at Hi-Def Hi Desert Fringe Festival at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. Info



TIMELAPSE: Filmmakers were challenged to use time-lapse techniques to “Tell me a story,” the theme of the Timelapse Film Festival August 4 at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. Info

KEDI: The story of hundreds of cats that for thousands of years have freely roamed Istanbul, where they are considered the mirrors to ourselves, screens August 6 at the Rancho Mirage Public Library and Observatory. Info

GREY GARDENS: Palm Springs Cultural Center (formerly Camelot Theatres) on August 11 hosts a book signing and conversation with Tony Maietta and Jerry Torre, followed by a screening of The Beales of Grey Gardens. Info

WILD PARROTS: San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill has become home to a flock of wild parrots over the years. Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill documents how Mark Bittner, a musician with no experience in ornithology, developed a bond with the birds that changed him and earned the respect of the community. The film screens August 13 at Rancho Mirage Public Library and Observatory. Info

SEX, FOOD, MURDER, REVENGE: Opulence, decadence, and gluttony fuel the artful masterpiece The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, screening August 16 at Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs. Admission is free! Info

WALKING THE CAMINO: Filmmaker Lydia Smith follows a group of hikers as they make the arduous, 500-mile trek to the shrine of St. James in Galicia, Spain, also known as the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage. The film screens August 20 at Rancho Mirage Public Library and Observatory. Info

ANIMATION FEST: The Palm Springs International Animation Festival & Expo screens more than 250 short and feature-length animated films by artists from more than 100 countries. It also includes VR experiences, live animation demonstrations, and panel discussions from August 22 to 26 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Info

ENDLESS SUMMER: In the documentary that gave birth to the surf and travel culture, director Bruce Brown follows two young surfers around the world in their continual search of the perfect wave. The film screens August 27 at Rancho Mirage Public Library and Observatory. Info

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: An FBI trainee with a knack for analyzing serial killers enlists the aid of a jailed sociopath in tracking a sadistic murderer in this 1991 classic, which screens August 29 at UCR Palm Desert Campus. Info

RED TAILS: This important film featuring riveting aviation sequences about the Tuskegee Airmen screens August 31 surrounded by vintage airplanes inside the air-conditioned Miles Hangar at Palm Springs Air Museum. Info

GREASE: ARRIVE hotel in Palm Springs presents the most successful movie musical of all time August 31 in its free Dive-In Movie series. Info



MUSIC ALL SUMMER: CV Rep, located at The Atrium in Rancho Mirage, features soprano Michelle Fiore with pianist Kurt Jordan (opera) August 7, Rob Thorsen Trio (jazz) August 14, and Brenda Silas Moore’s All You Need is Love: Music of the Beatles, with her band and backup singers, August 17-19.

SPLASH HOUSE: Weekend 2 of the desert’s wildest pool party jams on August 10-12 at Renaissance Palm Springs, The Riviera Palm Springs, and The Saguaro Palm Springs. Info

JAZZ IN THE PINES: The 25th annual Jazz in the Pines sounds off August 10-12 at Idyllwild Arts Academy, featuring more than two dozen bands performing on the breathtaking mountain campus. Info



BLANK ON STAGE: A thought-provoking one-person play, Blankwriter and performer Brian Stanton plays 12 characters, exploring every avenue of what it means to be a man, ultimately discovering the horrific truth of his birth. The play runs August 3-5 at CV Rep in Rancho Mirage. Info

HIGH DESERT HUMOR: The improv troupe The Bakers Dozen takes you on an adrenaline-fueled ride of comedic silliness August 11 at Theatre 29 Twentynine Palms. Info

HARVEY: Elwood P. Dowd is a friendly eccentric whose best friend is an invisible 6-foot rabbit, Harvey. His sister and daughter try to have him committed to a sanitarium, where the psychologist and his staff make you wonder who is more dangerous to society. The play runs August 17-25 at Theatre 29 in Twentynine Palms. Info

DESERT STORIES: Come hear true-life experiences and a few tall tales from some of the desert’s best storytellers, and some special guests, August 18 at the Hi-Desert Cultural Center. Info



ART WALK: The galleries of the Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs (August 1), Art Walk at the Art Place in Palm Desert (August 1),  and the Perez Art & Design District in Cathedral City (August 11) welcome guests to see their latest exhibitions and meet their artists.

POP-UP EXHIBITION: The Light Which Reveals the Alarming Ghosts, a pop-up exhibition of media-based installations unfolds throughout August at the Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio. Organized by LIFEWORK Gallery, the show features work by Griselda Calderon Lopez, Zach Fleming-Boyles, MLN17, and Kevin Townsend. Info

FELT HAPPY: The Coachella Valley Art Scene presents an interactive experience where you step inside a fictional space that encourages you to become the artist. It’s free August 9 at Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. Info

EIGHTY @ EIGHTY: Palm Springs Art Museum’s main space in Palm Springs, showcases recent gifts— including works by Alexander Calder, Julius Shulman, Diane Arbus, John Divola, Maynard Dixon, Frank Lobdel, Squeak Carnwath, and Hung Liu —as well as photography by Walker Evans and Ralph Gibson, and Lee Jaffee’s images of Jean Michel Basquiat. Info

DESERT PHOTOGRAPHY: Journey Through the Desert – The Road Less Traveled, a survey of photography from the early 20th century to today, continues through November 25 at Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. The show includes Stephen H. Willard, John Divola, Lee Friedlander, Karen Halverson, Wanda Hammerbeck, Richard Misrach, and Mark Ruwedel. Info

SOLO EXHIBITIONS: Flat Black Supply in Palm Desert will present two solo exhibitions: Los Monstritos, a solo exhibition of Janet Zepeda, plus art, zines, books and clothes on Aug. 18, and MONSTROUZITY, a visual collection of new artwork by Raz on Aug. 25.