Judith Chapman stars in The Guys, a production commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11, at Palm Canyon Theatre. Photo/Palm Springs Life, Getty Images


For the foreseeable future, your vaccination card might become your ticket to entry at arts venues across the Coachella Valley and beyond. But the shows are going on, and culture leaders are excited to see live audiences again. Welcome to the September edition of This Month in the Arts, brought to you by the California Desert Arts Council.

From community theaters to mega music festivals, showing proof of vaccination appears to be the new normal. A week after AEG Presents announced that all Coachella and Stagecoach music festival ticketholders will have to show proof of vaccination, the Joshua Tree Music Festival (Oct. 7-10) announced more stringent requirements: proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival, regardless of vaccination status, as well as a health questionnaire. Once inside, guests must wear a mask in high-density areas, The Desert Sun reports.They are also limiting capacity to ensure more space between people. 

Incidentally, the city of Indio has extended its development agreement with AEG subsidiary Goldenvoice through 2050 “to ensure the continuation of the long-term public benefits the Coachella Valley Music and Arts and Stagecoach Country Music festivals provide.”

Palm Canyon Theatre guests must show proof of vaccination or a negative test result (within 72 hours) to see The Guys, a play by Anne Nelson about the aftereffects of the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Commemorating the terror event’s 20th anniversary, the show runs Sept. 11–12 and stars Judith Chapman (The Young and the Restless), who reprises the role of Joan, an editor, and Michael Pacas, who portrays Nick, a New York Fire Department captain. Face masks are required indoors, per the city of Palm Springs ordinance.

Desert Rose Playhouse brings The Rocky Horror Show to the stage through Sept. 12, with producers Robbie Wayne and Matthew McLean creating the campy magic with sets that make use of the entire theater, according to CV Independent. “The cast is fabulous,” writes Bonnie Gilgallon. “The actor playing Frank-N-Furter has to set the tone for the rest of the ensemble, and the multi-talented Robbie Wayne does just that. He was absolutely born to play Frank-N-Furter.”

Dezart Performs opens its 14th season with an open-air production of Girlfriend, the pop-rock musical by Todd Almond and Matthew Sweet, Oct. 27–30 at the Rancho Mirage Amphitheater. Proof of vaccination is required. In the show, set in 1990s Nebraska, social outcast Will and popular football player Mike graduate high school and figure out how to evolve their relationship. A dinner-and-a-show ticket comes with a three-course meal catered by Lulu California Bistro.

Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ+ Film Festival returns Sept. 16–30 to the Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, with a pre-opening event, Drag Pop, set for Sept. 15 and the opening-night screening of Cloris Leachman’s last film Jump, Darling, opening the fest on Sept. 16. Cinema Diverse offers virtually and in-theatre screenings (observing COVID guidelines).

Also in Palm Springs …

Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Center reopens Sept. 9 with The Modern Chair, an exhibition following the development of the modern chair from the famous Thonet “B-9” bent wood armchair (circa 1905), widely considered the first modern chair, to designs of current times. Technological and stylistic advances pushed chair design forward at a breakneck speed in the 20th century, says guest curator Brad Dunning.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has been unclear about the opening date for its downtown Palm Springs cultural plaza, which will include a museum, spa, gardens, and gathering spaces that pay homage to the culture and history of the tribe, whose reservation checkerboards the western Coachella Valley, according to The Desert Sun. The facility, occupies nearly 6 acres on the corner of East Tahquitz Canyon Way and North Indian Canyon Drive, began construction three years ago, and tribal spokesperson Kate Anderson says it will open in 2022, but offers no specific date or additional details. 

A group has formed to defend the legacy of Frank Bogert amid calls to remove the legendary ex-Palm Springs mayor’s statuefrom the front of city hall, the newspaper reports. Friends of Frank Bogert formed following a recommendation that the city move a statue of him as it reckons with one of the darker moments in the city’s history: the forced eviction of minority families from tribal land known as Section 14 in the 1950s and 1960s.

In addition to stories of a decadent life on the road, Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum shares what led him to settle down in Palm Springs in his new autobiography.


Grant alert!

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation is accepting applications for the 2022 Coachella Valley Spotlight awards. The private foundation, which supports educational and other charitable projects, announced it will award $300,000 in grants to 12 Coachella Valley-area nonprofits. Applications are due by noon on Sept. 20. The News Channel 3 community advisory board, which includes representatives from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and members of the community, will select the recipients. In addition to a monetary award, each organization will be featured on News Channel 3’s Eye on the Desert, as well as in public service announcements, social media, and on the station’s website.