This holiday season remember that the arts are gifts that keep on giving. If you want to feel the joy, you’ll find it on the stages and in the venues where music, theater, and arts bring you to your feet. Get in the spirit by indulging in some of our staff’s arts and culture recommendations for December. Mark your calendars and enjoy some of these great events.

Above: The massive, 18½-by-17½ -foot, acrylic-on-canvas painting A Whirling Square (1975) is among the most striking works in the survey exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Sam Francis, continuing through April 29, 2019, at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert.


WALKER GUEST HOUSE: Tour a replica of the Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House, an icon of Sarasota modernism, in downtown Palm Springs through March 2020. Info

ART OF REUSE: Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse continues through Jan. 14, 2019, at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center in downtown Palm Springs. The show presents three designers’ alternative approaches to the high human and environmental costs of textile industry waste. Info


TAMALE FESTIVAL: Come see why the Food Network recently ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival among the nation’s top 10 All-American Food Festivals. The food, music, and fun unfold Dec. 1 and 2 in downtown Indio. Info

MAKERS MARKET: The free-to-the-public Palm Springs Makers Market, Dec. 9 at Palm Springs Art Museum, is a new annual artisan fair showcasing select makers in various fields from our deserts and beyond. Plus: free admission to the museum! Info


TENDING THE WILD: Part of the Wild Coachella series at UCR Palm Desert, the Dec. 5 screening of Tending the Wild shines light on the knowledge of indigenous peoples across California, exploring how they actively tended the land and developed a deep understanding of plant and animal life. Panel discussion follows the screening. Info


A VERY JEWISH CHRISTMAS: In a Dec. 6 concert presented by UC Riverside Jewish Studies and Jewish Federation of the Desert, guitarist Dr. Peter Curtis performs the holiday music of American Jews at UCR Palm Desert. Info

JAZZ AT THE REP: Bestselling jazz keyboardist Scott Wilkie performs his holiday show Dec. 11 at CVRep at The Atrium in Rancho Mirage. Info

POSTMODERN JUKEBOX: Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox performs pop music in a time machine, reimagining Top 40 hits by artists such as Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Radiohead, and more with vintage, Gatsby-esque glam and a contagious energy Dec. 8 at McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. Info

HOLIDAY CONCERT: The California Desert Chorale performs a holiday concert Dec. 9-16 at the Indian Wells Theater at CSUSB Palm Desert Campus. Info

DAVE KOZ & FRIENDS: The celebrated saxophonist brings together a magical combination of musicians to celebrate this special season Dec. 18 at McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. Info


HAIRSPRAY: In the 1960s, dance-loving Tracy Turnblad wins a spot on “The Corny Collins Show,” and the attention of teen heartthrob Link Larkin. But the show’s manager will do anything to oust the overnight star before she topples the reigning dance queen and brings racial integration to the show. Hairspray runs Dec. 1-16 at Palm Canyon Theatre. Info

DESERT OF LOVE: A staged reading of The Desert of Love, a new play by Bruce Bonafede, is set for Dec. 15 at CVRep at The Atrium in Rancho Mirage. Info


UNSETTLED: This sweeping exhibition (through April 30, 2019) at Palm Springs Art Museum features more than 75 artists living or working in the Greater West, including Ed Ruscha, Gerard Murillo, Sonia Falcone, Ana Teresa Fernández, Edgar Arceneaux, Andrea Zittel, Nicholas Galanin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Pelton, and Phillip K. Smith III. Info

SAM FRANCIS: From Dust to Dawn, an exhibition of paintings by the acclaimed California artist, is on view at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert through April 29, 2019. Info

OPEN STUDIOS: The sixth annual La Quinta Artists Open Studio Tour rolls Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info

CATHEDRAL CITY ARTISTS: The inaugural Cathedral City Artists Exhibit runs Dec. 1 through Feb. 2, 2019, at the art gallery at city hall. Info

SMALL WONDERS: Aili Schmeltz opens Object/Window on Dec. 2 at BKB Art +Design, which also features a month-long group show, Small Works, featuring AZ West, Brian Bosworth, Leonardo Bravo, Jonathan Cross, Bob Dornberger, Stan Hunter, Melissa Manfull, Nancy Pearce, Janelle Pietrzak, and Lili T. Info

ARTISANS AT THE PUEBLO: Local artists John Coleman, Gwen Fortner, Nancy McHenry, and Robert and Terri VandenBurg share their work Dec. 9 at Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs. Info

FLIGHT PLAN: The Birds of Sunnylands, the new, season-long exhibition at Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage, exhibits 52 photos of some of the more than 130 species of birds that migrate here every year, all photographed at the Annenberg estate over the past two years by wildlife photographer and ornithologist Tim Laman. Info

LINES IN THE SAND: The exhibition at Palm Springs Art Museum explores the history of the desert through for themes: land, light, people, and place. It features highlights from the museum’s collections of indigenous art, depictions of the California desert through painting and photography, and contemporary art inspired by the physical and cultural environment of the state. Info