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Desert Dreaming

As the season changes, the allure of the desert appeals with arts, culture, haute cuisine, high-end hotels, and more. Here are five things not to miss.

By Ann Wycoff

1. Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe

Palm Springs Art Museum presents this exciting exhibit that merges fashion, film, and material culture. Extraordinary high heels will be on display, from 18th-century court heels and tiny 19th-century Chinese slippers for bound feet, to contemporary styles by iconic designers like Dior, Ferragamo, and McQueen.

101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs

2. First Weekend Palm Desert

These monthly, action-packed three-day programs include free guided public art tours, extended shopping hours on elegant El Paseo, classic car cruise nights, free admission to certain museums, jazz brunches, a dance festival, and more.

Friday through Sunday, the first weekend of each month from November 2015 to May 2016.

3. The Grooves at the Westin

Legendary world-class musicians perform smooth and contemporary jazz at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa concert series. Look for guitarist Marc Antoine and Brian Simpson (November 14) and sax veterans Warren Hill, Marion Meadows, and Michael Paulo dazzling concertgoers with Sax for Christmas (November 28).

Masters Plaza, 7 p.m.

4. Peak Harvest Fest at La Quinta

Triple James Beard Award recipient and executive chef Jimmy Schmidt and his team salute the seasonal flavors and products at their peak at La Quinta Resort & Club’s signature restaurant, Morgan’s. Alba truffles are December’s spotlight, with a 30-day special menu featuring this Italian delicacy in dishes like white truffle silk celeriac risotto and pan-roasted truffled pheasant breast on a nest of chanterelles. Morgan’s also presents the Santa Barbara Spiny Lobster Festival & Dungeness Crab Festival from December 1 to 15. Well-curated wine pairings from their Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” list complement the three-course prix fixe feasts.

5. Palm Springs International Film Festival

Hollywood heads to the desert for the 27th Annual Palm Springs Film Festival, where cinephiles can enjoy 180-plus films from more than 70 countries. It also boasts the largest selection of foreign language Academy Award submissions of any festival in the nation.

January 1–11, 2016

Desert Dreaming

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