Learn about midcentury modern buildings and their architects on a walking tour along the main thoroughfare in Palm Springs, every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Photo courtesy Palm Springs Historical Society/Palm Springs Life


Start the New Year with a festival. January serves them up big: the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Rancho Mirage Writers Festival, Southwest Arts Festival, and others. But don’t miss all the action in local galleries and museums as well as on community stages. It’s high season for arts and culture. Here are our staff’s recommendations for January.



DESIGN & PATTERN: Curator Anna Katz, fashion designer Trina Turk, and artist Pat Lasch discuss their work as it relates to “Design, Pattern, Decoration,” January 13 at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs. Info

MOD TOUR: See exemplary midcentury modern architecture on a walking tour of Palm Springs’ main thoroughfare for banking and retail businesses, every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Info

BREAKING ALL THE RULES: See the exhibition of works by San Francisco-based graphic designer Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, the pioneer of “California Cool,” before it ends January 20, at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. Info

ALEXANDER GIRARD: A Designer’s Universe features more than 400 textiles, drawings, furniture, graphics, and folk art — as well as full-scale one of his best-known interiors, the 1957 Miller House in Columbus, Indiana — continues through March 1 at Palm Springs Art Museum. Info

TOUR THE WALKER: The replica of the Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House in “the pit” in downtown Palm Springs goes to the auction block this spring. Tour the architectural gem on weekends through March. Info



ART WALKS: Visit artists in their natural habitat — their studios and galleries — during the free-to-the-public Backstreet Art District Art Walk on January 1 in Palm Springs and El Paseo Art Walk on January 3 in Palm Desert.

ART FAIR: Take in a day of photography, paintings, ceramics, hand-painted silks, and more while supporting local artists and enjoying the natural beauty January 4 at the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. Info

ART ON MAIN: The free-to-the-public Art on Main Street comes to Old Town La Quinta January 4 and 18, featuring artists showing and selling paintings, jewelry, photography, ceramics, glass, woodwork, textiles, and more. 

CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS: Billed as “one of the largest exhibitions of local, living artists in the Coachella Valley,” Creative Expressions, organized by the Artists Council, continues through January 31, and a reception is scheduled January 10, at UCR Palm Desert. Info

ARTS FESTIVAL: The Southwest Arts Festival runs January 23–26 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. The lineup includes live music as well as pottery, glass, and painting. Info

3 GREAT SHOWS: Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert presents four exhibitions featuring historic works of art: The Californians, a survey of early impressionist and plein-air paintings; Theophilus Brown and Paul Wonner: Seen through Different Lenses, featuring the artists’ Bay Area figurative paintings; and Irving Norman: Dark Matter, highlighting the artist’s social surrealist unmasking of the world’s truths. The exhibitions continue through January 31.

REACH FOR THE SKY: Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage presents a season-long exhibition, Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration, featuring totems by the Hunt family of Canadian First Nations artists and the musician and artist Herb Alpert. Info



FILM FEST: The road to the Academy Awards begins January 2–13 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which will honor Renée Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez, Martin Scorsese, and others and serve up two weeks of the world’s best new films. Info

KUSAMA–INFINITY: The city of Palm Desert’s Public Art Documentary Film Series continues January 16 with Yayoi Kusama’s journey from a conservative upbringing in Japan to her brush with fame in America during the 1960s to life now as the top-selling female artist in the world. Info



SUNDAY SOUNDS: Yvonne Demery sings classics from decades passed January 5 in a Sunday Sounds series performance at the Palm Desert Community Recreation Center. Info

MĀKAHA SONS: Jerome Koko, whose music is synonymous with the gentle sounds of the Islands, and six-time Grammy Award winner Daniel Ho perform January 12 at American Legion Post 519 in Palm Springs. Ukulele players can attend a two-hour workshop. Info

PALM SPRINGS LEGENDS: McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert hosts a tribute performance January 15 honoring Jack Benny, George Burns, Carol Channing, Bobby Darin, Bob Hope, Mary Martin, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, and Nat King Cole. Info

ERICH BERGEN: Best known as Blake Moran on the CBS drama, Madam Secretary, Erich Bergen recently made his Broadway debut starring in Waitress The Musical. He appears January 18 Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs. Info

ROYAL PHIL: The Royal Philharmonic returns to the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert January 23 featuring conductor/violinist Pinchas Zukerman and a program of Tchaikovsky and Mozart. Info



CAMELOT: From January 17 to February 9, Palm Canyon Theatre in Palm Springs presents the musical story of King Arthur’s queen, Guenevere, falling in love with the young knight, Lancelot, and putting the fate of the kingdom in question. Info

FAMILY DRAMA: Script2Stage2Screne presents Marilynn Barner Anselmi’s drama/mystery Taking Care of Mimi, January 31 to February 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage. Info 

WRITERS FEST: Billed as “Coachella fest for the brain,” the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival presents 40 authors and 1,000 readers from around the globe at the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory, January 29–31. Info