The “season” in the desert seems to grow longer every year, and this one is no exception. In May, Greater Palm Springs has an abundance of music festivals, theater productions, film screenings, and art exhibitions. Here are our recommendations for an artful month ahead.

Above: The Joshua Tree Music Festival runs May 16–19 with an international lineup that also features some of the High Desert’s top acts. Photo courtesy Larry Sabo for Joshua Tree Music Festival



PRESERVATION CONFERENCE: The California Preservation Conference, set for May 8–11 at Hilton Palm Springs, will explore the innovative methods and strategies that architects, designers, planners, and others use to preserve cultural and architectural resources. It includes tours, workshops, and other educational sessions. Info

HUGH KAPTUR: Organic Desert Architecture, the exhibition offering a deep dive into the career of an architect with more than 200 built projects in the Coachella Valley, ends June 17 at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. Info

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



POSTCARDS FROM MECCA: The California Desert Photographs of Susie Keef Smith and Lula Mae Graves continues through May 11 at La Quinta Museum. The exhibition and a new book by Ann Japenga and Warner Graves follows the story of the photographers capturing the 1920s desert outback. Info



FILMS ON THE GREAT LAWN: Sunnylands’ free outdoor movie series is presented on three Fridays this month, celebrating the work of Pixar and the films that transcend generations: A Bug’s Life (May 3), Monsters Inc. (May 10), and Ratatouille (May 17).

DRAWN TOGETHER: Comics, Diversity and Stereotypes, a documentary film screening May 8 at Palm Springs Public Library, traces the fascinating journey of three talented artists — a Sikh, a woman, and an African American — who are challenging the racist stereotyping currently endemic in America. Info

EXODUS 1947: On May 9, the Tolerance Education Center in Rancho Mirage hosts a free screening of Exodus 1947, a documentary about a group of Americans who transported 4,500 Holocaust survivors to Palestine on a decrepit steamship after World War II. Info

FILM NOIR FEST: Another edition of the long-running Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival rolls May 9–12 at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. The festival opens with a screening of The Night of the Hunter and continues with a dozen other “B” film classics. Info

GO GREEN: On May 30, the free “sustainable film series” at Palm Springs Cultural Center offers a free screening of The Need to Grow, which reveals an opportunity to help regenerate the planet’s dying soils and participate in the restoration of the Earth. Info



CONCERTS IN THE PARK: Palm Desert’s free Concerts in the Park series returns May 2 with the electro-pop vibe of Berlin featuring Terri Nunn, followed by The Mighty Untouchables (May 9), Yachty By Nature (May 16), The Fancies (May 23), and Britain’s Finest (May 30). Info

CV MUSIC SHOWCASE: Jetta King, Empty Seat, Giselle Woo & The Night Owls, CAKES, Ormus, and Derek Jordan Gregg perform in the finals of the fourth annual CV Music Showcase May 4 at The Hood Bar & Pizza in Palm Desert. The grand prize is $2,000 cash, recording studio time, and a photo shoot. Info

SUAVECITO SUNDAYS: The free concert series presented by the city of Coachella returns every Sunday in May at Veterans Memorial Park, featuring Orquesta Bonko (May 5), Mariachi Nueveo San Diego (May 12), Nacho Bustillos (May 19), and Bohemio (May 26). Info

CLASSICAL CONCERT: Pianist Jeffrey Gilliam performs classics by Schubert and Saint-Saens, as well as tango by contemporary American composer William Bolcom, and the world premiere of work by composer Bruce Stark at the Desert Hot Springs Classical Concerts May 5 at Grace Church. Info

PIANO COMPETITION: The Steinway Society of Riverside County presents the winners of the 15th Annual Festival Competition in concert May 9 at the Rancho Mirage Public Library. Performers range from age 7 to 17 years of age. Info

8-HOUR SOUND: This free event on May 9, enacted by the Los Angeles Free Music Society, uses sound to activate the space of the Palm Springs Art Museum. Musicians’ improvised sound floats through the galleries, creating a potentially new take on the visual stimuli of the artwork in the collection. Info

HIGH DESERT SOUNDINGS: This two-day outdoor music festival, set for May 10–11 at the Palms Restaurant in Wonder Valley, presents musicians and sound artists across the spectrum of styles. Info

JAZZVILLE: Trumpeter Yay Yennings Quartet makes his Jazzville debut May 15 at Hotel Zoso in Palm Springs, bringing their West Coast bop to the desert. Info

JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FEST: The festival returns to the Joshua Tree Lake Campground May 16–19 with an international lineup that also features High Desert faves including Beats & Rhymes, The Adobe Collective, Megan Hutch, and Gabriella Evaro. Info

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY: CK Dance Company presents The Sleeping Beauty, a ballet based on the classic fairytale, May 25–26 at the Annenberg Theater at Palm Springs Art Museum. Info



MYRNA’S GETTING MARRIED: Script2Stage2Screen presents Jason Hull’s fast-paced comedy which asks, Doesn’t everyone love brides? The show runs May 3–4 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage. Info

DESERT’S GOT TALENT: Boo2Bullying presents the third annual Desert’s Got Talent on May 4 at the Annenberg Theater at Palm Springs Art Museum. The show features singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, and other performers of all ages. Info

GOOD PEOPLE: With his signature humorous glow, David Lindsay-Abaire explores the struggles, shifting loyalties and unshakable hopes that come with having next to nothing in America. Good People runs May 1–19 at the new CVRep Playhouse in Cathedral City. Info

PAGEANT: Like Monty Python meets Bert Parks — the late host of the annual Miss America telecast — Pageant offers a sidesplitting look at a beauty pageant — in drag, the play runs through May 12 at Desert Rose Playhouse in Rancho Mirage. Info

REAL WOMEN: A microcosm of the Latina immigrant experience, Real Women Have Curves, presented by Desert TheatreWorks May 10–19 at the Indio Performing Arts Center, finds five full-figured Mexican-American women racing to meet deadlines in an East L.A. sewing factory while hiding from the INS. The play celebrates real women’s bodies, the power of women, and the incredible bond between women who work together. Info

FALLING: Presented by Encore Theatre District May 17–19 and 24–26 at the Palm Springs High School Black Box, Falling explores the dynamic of a family with an autistic young man. The play bravely speaks a truth about love and family and about hopes and dreams. It asks, “How do you love someone who is difficult to love?” Info

METEOR SHOWER: In Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower, running May 30–June 2 at Palm Canyon Theatre, two couples watch a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower, and when they begin to flirt with each other, insanity reigns. Info

LIVE STORYTELLING: The Coachella Valley Storytellers Project returns May 22 at the Rancho Mirage Public Library and Observatory with local residents telling true personal stories under the theme “Unexpected Adventures.” Info



ART WALK: Artists open their studios and galleries during two art walks on May 1 — at The Art Place in Palm Desert and the Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs — and one on May 4 at the Muse Creative Center in Palm Springs.

LOCAL COLOR: The fourth annual Artists Council exhibition, Artistic Expressions, showcases works in a variety of styles and media by local artists through May 17 at UCR Palm Desert. All artwork is available for purchase. Info

POWER PLANTS: ArtsTank Greater Palm Springs grant winner Cat Chiu Phillips presents the site-specific installation Power Plants, calling attention to the tonnage of e-waste generated across the globe, through May 24 at College of the Desert. Info

40 UNDER 40: The second annual Gui Ignon Memorial Exhibition for Young Artists opens May 4 at the CREATE Center for the Arts in Palm Desert. The show features local artists 40 years of age and younger and awards cash prizes to winners announced at the opening. The exhibition continues through June 22. Info

PHOTO FEST: Palm Springs Photo Festival, aka Connect 2019, runs May 5–10 with a robust lineup of workshops, seminars, portfolio reviews, presentations by renowned image-makers, networking events, and more. Info

STUDIO TOUR: Cool off and see some fine paintings, photography, and sculpture May 11 during the Idyllwild Art Tour. Collect two free raffle tickets at each venue and meet at the Courtyard Gallery at 4 p.m. to see if you won. Info

LINES IN THE SAND: The exhibition, at Palm Springs Art Museum through Aug. 11, 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

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