Saturday, December 29, 2007

Old Cans in the Desert

You know what found art is? Well, it's anything that you find that you think is artful. Here are a bunch of old cans. If I picked them up and made an ornament, say, chimes, out of them to put in your backyard, the cans together would be found art.

The desert if filled with found art opportunities. You can take a hike on any number of vacant lots in Palm Springs and find all kinds of interesting stuff. One time I found a full movie screen (you know the kind, they are used in classrooms and extended from a steel pole).

If you go up to Desert Hot Springs, you'll find a large selection of furniture, dishes, mattresses, all kinds of things.

I want to bring stuff to my back yard to give it a rustic look, however, my partner would kill me.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bell Tower off Tahquitz

I was on my bike the other day and spotted this bell tower just off Tahquitz.

I decided it wasn't a very good picture so I applied the color pencil filter in Photoshop to it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cool Plant

Plant/flower shot with camera pointing into the sunlight so that the light peeks out from the plant.

Anyone know what type of plant this is?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Spa Casino

Our casino, the Spa Casino, is located right downtown. It's a fairly nice place, not on par of Las Vegas, but clean and well-maintained.

There is a buffet, but it's gotten rather pricey over the past few years. Dinner will run you way past $20 a head. Breakfast, however, is a good deal and not bad tasting, either.

The lunch and dinner at the buffet has that sort of everything-tastes-the-same kind of feel to it, and you can expect pretty much the same kind and quality of food each time you go, a bit above mediocre to say the least.

The grounds of the hotel are beautiful and much of the building is of mid-century modern design.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Palm Springs Hot Springs

Here's the contents of a plaque that's downtown in front of the casino. Makes for some interesting historical reading. 

The Kausik Cahuilla are the owners of one of California's most famous hot springs. This natural resource provided them with permanent, palatable mineral waters which were used for curing, drinking and agriculture. It also was a direct access o the most valuable of all Cahuilla resources, the magical and powerful underworld in which powerful "nukatem" lived and from which Cahuilla shamans could acquire power, information and knowledge. It is remembered by Cahuilla that important shamens like Pedro Chino bathed in this pool and thereby acquired knowledge about healing from the pwoerfull beings who occupied the underworld to which the hot springs is connected. 

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hippies in Palm Springs

Oh sure, there were tons of movie stars that used to come here in the 50s and 60s. But, more importantly, Palm Springs has always attracted hippies.

If you lived here in the 60s, you probably went up to the waterfall at Taquitz Canyon and partied it up a bit--swimming naked, smoking a little weed and so forth.

Today, there are hundreds of people in Palm Springs in their late 50s and early 60s who haven't shed the tie-dye tee-shirts nor the long hair.

Peace, man!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Palm Springs Fire Department

No city would be complete without a fire department.

I'd like to think we have one of the finest. That's because the firemen are also paramedics so that if there's any emergency--fire or medical--the fire department is called.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Vintage Auto Central

In 1985, Keith McCormick held an auto auction for the first time. He now has the auctions twice a year. The next one is from February 22 to 24.

The auction will have 560 cars and will be held in the parking lot of the Spa Casino in downtown Palm Springs.

For more information go here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Palm Springs Christmas Tree

One of the many Christmas trees put up in stores up and down Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs.

Click on the tree and check out the decorations that are hanging from it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Roses in December

I fed my roses in November when the temps were in the low 80s. Now the temps are in the low 60s during the day and the 40s at night and the roses are bigger than ever.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Aloha Hotel

I'm sort of miffed about how there are so many places in Palm Springs with a Hawaiian theme.

I'd heard that during the mid-century everything had turned modernist, which meant that minimalism was in.

When people got sick and tired of looking at white walls, stone, concrete, steel and glass, they brought in a little Hawaii into their homes--Tikis, coconuts, hula dancers and whatnot.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Chi Chi

The Chi Chi (not Chi Chi club, just plain old Chi Chi) was probably the best entertainment venue Palm Springs ever had.

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Sophie Tucker performed there and just about everyone went there.

During the 40s and 50s the place was hot. In 1950, they added a supper club with a stage that retracted to an ice rink.

Please add what you know about this great place. As time goes on, the memories fade...

I'd like to know the locations. I'm thinking there were two locations, the second being a more modern building (at least that's what it looks like from some of the pictures I've seen.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Angel View Thrift Mart

Ahhhh, the thrift store, one of my favorite places. There are dozens in the Coachella Valley filled with hang-me-down treasures of the rich.

This store in Cathedral City, often referred to as "The Barn," raises money for the Angel View Crippled Children's Foundation.

Somehow their use of the word "crippled" doesn't strike me as being too politically correct. Angel View's been around forever and I think the foundation was named in the 50s, hence the word "crippled."

The foundation's headquarters are in beautiful Desert Hot Springs (okay, so that city gets a bad rap, I'm walkin' on water here).

Friday, December 7, 2007

Palm Springs Gold

See the rocks that make up the wall in the picture above? They're called Palm Springs gold, seriously. I used to write articles about construction materials for Palm Springs Life magazine and one of the articles I wrote was about rocks in the area.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Gerald "Our" Ford

This billboard's a tribute to Gerald R. Ford. He lived in Rancho Mirage before he died.

Ford was president from 1974 to 1977. This coming Dec. 27 it will have been one year since he died.

His obit can be found here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Palm Springs Landing Strip

My guess is that this is the place where planes landed before there was an airport in Palm Springs. Photo from the Palm Springs Air Museum.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Empty Food Court

Sad story: The Terrace Eateries Food Court's nearly empty. When it was being built about two years ago, it looked promising.
But today only two vendors out of seven occupy the place.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tiki Tiki

This is a Tiki that sits in front of one of the motels in the north end of the city.

It's an original (one that was carved in the 60s) as my Tiki carver friend, C.C. Rider had let me know.

For more Tiki check out my other blog.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stein Mart

Stein Mart in Palm Springs is in a pretty Spanish building. Stein Mart is a clothing store.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Moorten Botinical Garden

Here's an interesting place to visit, the Moorten Botinical Garden.

Located 1701 South Palm Canyon Drive, this garden has a large collection of cacti from all over the world.

Clark Moorten, owner of the place, is an expert on succulent plants.

Though small, it's well worth a visit, and, as I recall, you can buy plants here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Caught this sign near the entrance to the Indian Canyons. Whoa!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Palm Springs Googie Architecture

Here's an article I wrote a while back about Googie architecture--

Mid-Century Modern Goes Googie
By Matt Bamberg

Googie, abstract and geometric, ignoring gravity and consisting of a combination of then-space age materials—sheets of glass, steel beams, asbestos (oh no), plywood and plastic— has caught the eye of Dale Wissman, Executive Director for Building Horizons, a non-profit training program that teaches local high school students entry-level construction and construction-related skills during the actual building of affordable homes. “Googie is space-age, roadside-ultra-optimistic, mid-century modern architecture. Think The Jetsons, Tommorrowland, The Astro Car Wash, The Seattle Space Needle, and any motel that has the total futurama motif,” he explained.

Googie has been traced back to Coffee Dan's restaurants designed by John Lautner in the early forties. There was a Googie’s coffee shop at Sunset and Crescent Heights in Los Angeles. Since then Googie has taken some twists and turns.

“It was wildly popular in Southern California for certain high entertainment/concept businesses in the late fifties and early 60's and dovetailed with the Cadillac's tailfins of the same era. There were structures riffing on the new shapes and designs coming from NASA,” Wissman said.

Seeking out new and innovative designs for his projects, Wissman’s found that Googie contains some of the mid-century’s most alluring and futuristic video game-like designs. Yet, Googie structures with their extreme, metaphorical qualities and humor are hard to categorize.

While Palm Springs is certainly not the Googie center of the world, as other SoCal locales, there are notable elements of this flamboyant architecture in the Coachella Valley, a place that has become a mid-century Disneyland.

The Tramway Gas Station (soon to be the new Palm Springs Visitor's Center.) is probably the best-known Googie landmark. “Frey did his Googie-style turn with such sophistication, that it may be hard to see the Tramway Gas Station as projecting the optimism and future (of that style),” Palm Springs Preservation Foundation member Wissman explained. “You have to notice the architectural drama in the triangular roof jutting out to shade the original gas pumps.”

Referring to Googie as “Roadside flypaper”, Wissman wants his students to know that the architecture served a purpose—to get the highway traveler off the road and inside a business. Frey’s style did just that, got people to stop at the gas station to buy gas for new fashionable vehicles of chrome and steel. “And it does something else,” he added. “Frey's Googie-style building was architecture built to succeed in yesterday's future: the current day.”

The roof is the first eyebrow lifting experience on which Googie brings to the casual roadside observer from his car window upon entering Palm Springs. The top of which would probably be a skateboarder’s paradise—slopes that swoop—had they been built on the ground.

Large plate glass windows are the next telling sign, letting the car culture know that there’s something that they want and need, whether they have to have it or not. In this aspect, up and down Palm Canyon, Highway 111, Date Palm and other established thoroughfares in the desert the tale-tall signs of Googie are lurking.

Meant to attract the automobile, a Googie building became a destination in itself. It served as a Disneyesque Tomorrowland, built with the sole purpose of creating architecture and outdoor space that itself was the attraction. Googie-style buildings serviced the new culture of mobility: car washes, gas stations, roadside cafes, convenience stores and drive-in restaurants.

It spread from here all over the United States and Canada, a celebration of competition for the highway traveler, paralleling the US-Soviet space race, the launch of the USA’s Mercury missions vs. the launch of the Sputnik, the Soviet-era space craft.

Googie fever’s rapid rise came among space success from John Glenn orbiting the earth to the men on the moon. Amusement parks and tourist attractions followed in celebration, which gave way to spinning restaurants, and space-age banks and airports. “The L.A.X. tower is SUPER GOOGIE,” Wissman said.

“Now more than ever, nostalgia for a simpler, more optimistic time goes a long way towards explaining the resurgence in interest surrounding Googie design,” stated Wissman.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Chauffeur Lives Here

Here's some great Spanish architecture. This is the El Mirador garage. It opened in 1929, one year after the El Mirador Hotel opened. There was a gas station in front.
Chauffeurs lived on the second story.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Camera Trick

Check out this cool Palm Springs Veteran's Day parade photo. What do you notice that's unique about it.

Hint: I moved my camera along with the marchers as I shot.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

29 Palms Stud Haircut

When you think of the Palm Springs area, you gotta think of 29 Palms. That's where the marine base is and if you're a local you know it's there because the marines come to town often.

29 Palms is about an hour from Palm Springs on Highway 62.

It is believed that the name 29 Palms came from a nearby oasis that existed during the California Gold Rush, which, supposedly, had 29 Palms (or maybe 26?)

The base is officially known as the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Twenty Nine Palms California.

The marine base, the largest in the United States, has some 8500 residents, many of them men, and many who need stud haircuts.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dog in Stroller

Why is it that so many dogs in Palm Springs are treated like babies. I mean this is a grown dog. Why can't people just use a leash?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Big Men Shakin' It

Girth and Mirth club member in a tribute to being "big."

One thing about last Sunday's gay pride parade in Palm Springs, is that no one group of gay people was omitted. Everybody's go there thing.

Here's the Girth and Mirth float, an organization of big men and their admirers.

According to their Web site their purpose is to appreciate big people.

You see, the "regular media" favors thin or muscular people. Big people are oppressed and are seen in a negative light. Many big people have tried to lose weight, but just can't. So diets no more for this group. Why would they want to go on up and down diets or take pills? They are just a-okay with being big.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Airport Restroom

Someone dressed up as Sen. Larry Craig (R)
in an airport restroom at Palm Springs pride

It's old news yes, but Sen. Larry Craig is still in office.

Senator Craig, as you'll recall pleaded guilty to soliciting sex in a men's room in the Minneapolis airport.

Perhaps this image will remind us that many in Palm Springs are Democrats.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Palm Springs Gay Pride Parade

Howdy cowboy, today was the Palm Springs pride parade, which marched down Palm Canyon in all it's color and camp. More photos are here.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bye Bye Retro Sign

Ahhh, come on city of Palm Springs, why did you take this down. The new one's okay, but this one, with it's script writing and wood materials, makes for a throwback to the 50s.

Isn't that's what Palm Springs is all about, saving what's left from the rat-pack days?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Hot Guys in Palm Springs

Okay, so maybe you didn't expect a picture of a couple of hot guys on a daily photo blog. But what do you want? Palm Springs is nearly 40 percent gay. Gotta address that in some way.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Airport Fountain

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fall Scarecrow

Oh Scarecrow

His rag tag hay
Have you seen it?
I have not,
until today.

Littered inside,
Spilling out.
Please don't set me.
For scare I will not

I've a hat for when
it's hot.
I'm the neighbor's
telling soul.

Pass by me please,
Notice that I've got
everything it takes
for G_od's sake.
Where's the rake?

I'm littered with straw.
For I'm scared,
of the dog's bark
when the sky blinks dark.

----------------------------------------A poem for the scarecrow I found in the neighbor's yard.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Retro Costume

Now that our "season" is here, the time of year when the snowbirds and movie stars come to get away, leaving us with what's best about Palm Springs: the party.

This woman is in some pretty groovy retro gear last year at the Palm Springs Modernism show.

I can remember the best party I think the desert's ever had is when Mamie Van Doren showed up at the Blonde Bombshell party at M Modern Gallery.

She'll be back, too--at a Christmas time party coming in December.

BTW: Why not get out that retro clothing for Halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autumn and Unautumn

Geeze, just got back from a 20 mile bike ride. Rode up Dinah Shore 5 miles out Bob Hope 5 miles to Highway 111 then rode another 10 miles back to my house.

This time of year I get to missin'

I leave you with this...a man with an absent fall.

Takin' the fall
Is what I've done
Fallin out of Autumn
An autumn photographer
...Drop out

No golden leaves
Nor maple ooz
Neither cool nor warm
Not hot or cold

Stiff breeze
Still, so very still
Desert Autumn
Mountains status quo

Neither flowers
Nor leaves
Red and orange
And yellow

No fall, no pay
for a short day
Still, there's no way
To say autumn
In the desert

But only if you stay.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Old Palm Springs Fire Engine

Everyone's got their minds on fire these days. Imagine trying to put one out with this!