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.