Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Equistrians Only

Palm Springs has many horseback riding trails

The desert, more specifically Palm Springs, has a lot to offer--golf (who plays golf here anymore?), hiking and shopping (the best mid-century modern furnishings and accessories in the world). But perhaps the most popular offering is relaxation--sunning (not healthy) and sleeping (lovely).

Rarely mentioned horseback riding is probably not on the top of the snowbird or hipster list of things-to-do. Too bad, because it's an hour that ends up being better than a massage, which are both about the same price.

The bump and grind of the horse's movement is thrilling. The scenery stunning.  Consider the Smoke Tree Stables offering of horseback riding when you're here.

You'll fall in love with the horse for sure. 

Note: the opinion given in the article is solely my own. Sure it sounds like an ad, but it should with such a cool activity for a hot desert. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Text and Image Photography--No Golden Palms in Palm Springs

The word "golden" doesn't cut it in Palm Springs

Today, I bring you a little bit of text and image photography to Palm Springs Daily Photo. The post begins with the words golden palms. No business in the city has picked  up that name.

We've got Twin Palms (the name of Frank Sinatra's estate) and Colony Palms (a hotel on Indian). Across the Coachella Valley there's Two Bunch Palms, 1000 Palms, Pacific Palms, Indian Palms, Rancho Las Palmas (that would be Palms in Spanish), Whispering Palms, Heritage Palms and Andres Palms.

Certainly golden palms exist in Palm Springs. When the sun reflects on the palms' trunks at a certain angle, they turn orange (or rusty brown if you look close), a beautiful site for sure.

Naming is an art in these desert cities. Consider Rancho Mirage, a name that is poetic, almost spelling out upper class as it sits right in the Valley's mid-section, prime real estate in a sun-drenched land.

At one time there was consideration of renaming Indio to Rancho Indio to give it some glamor, but you don't hear about that much anymore.

Names are important here. They spell class and given an air of sophistication.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Can Marilyn-Obsessed Palm Springs Deal with Losing Her?

Forever Marilyn statue in Palm Springs

It's like the loss of a best friend, one who is a 25-feet tall voluptuous blonde hanging out on the corner of Palm Canyon and Tahquitz with her skirt blown up, revealing an intimate undergarment under which tourists gaze curiously upward as if they've just spotted a UFO. Do we really have to say goodbye.

Not yet. Not until June, at least, when the heat of the summer pumps up some Palm Springs sizzle.
By then, who knows? Maybe the city of Palm Springs will negotiate a new deal with the Sculpture Foundation, the organization responsible for Marilyn's travel schedule. As of yet, the next destination hasn't been planned...or hasn't been made public.

When Marilyn begins to be disassembed, sadness is sure to cast upon an extension of the city's giant doubt--the rebuilding of prime commercial space on which Marilyn's skirt now blows upon the most valuable land in downtown Palm Springs. What in the world will happen to that blank space?

As of today, you might be drawing a blank, what with that gang ready to bulldoze the entire deal that has been made to reconstruct the eyesore known as the Desert Fashion Plaza.

Will they win?

Will it be held up for a public mandate come election day 2013?

We shall see...

Pick up a photo of Forever Marilyn for your home.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Inside of a Trailer at the Palm Springs Modernism Show and Sale 2012

The Palm Springs Modernism Show and Sale 2013 is coming up. Above you'll find a peek at one of last year's attractions, a trailer. More specifically, the inside of a trailer. Also, a few years ago, I wrote an article in the Modernism Show guide.

On a side note, while trailers are considered, shall I say, tornado bait by some people. I had read that in a novel awhile ago and found it to be humorous, but a bit judgmental. The term, however, is valid, but any structure, trailer or otherwise, is tornado bait. You don't have to look further than Joplin, MO to know that.

Getting back on topic, I'm proud to be in a city where trailers are glamorous. Many Palm Springs trailer homes are winter domiciles for the snowbirds and are located right under Mt. St. Jacinto's shadow.  In front of some of these homes, you'll find retro cars in colors you've never seen before, manicured gardens filled with ornaments and more bedrooms and bathrooms than some homes.

To see some of these homes, drive to Sunny Dunes after making a left on Ramon and Sunrise and turn right. One block down on the right the homes shimmer in the desert sun.

Another must-see attraction in mid-century modern Palm Springs.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Old Biltmore Hot Tub

Hot tub at the old Biltmore Hotel

Back in the last century one of the hotels to be seen it was the Biltmore, a mid-century modern hotel at the south end of Palm Springs. The old hotel was demolished and replaced with a condo complex much to the consternation of the preservationists who were trying to save it from the wrecking ball.

Today, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hot tub with this shape because the cost of installing one with such an intricate design would be prohibitive. It's too bad that at the very least, this part of the hotel could have been saved. But it wasn't.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Mysteries of a Palm Springs Oasis

Palm Springs oasis hdr
HDR photo of a Palm Springs oasis

A Palm Springs oasis offers peace and serenity, especially if you catch all the details clearly. The mysteries associated with an oasis lie in the local Indian legends about the land, in this case the Agua Caliente tribe who have inhabited the area long before the city was established. 

In this sharp photo of a Palm Springs oasis in the Indian Canyons, you see trees changing colors, rocks, palms, grass and a mountain--all the elements you'll find in a Palm Springs oasis.

Oases in Palm Springs are formed where the water collects after flowing down the mountain. The water is usually made up of melting snow so that the oasis floods in spring after a winter of abundant snowfall above. By late summer the water stagnates, but stays crystal clear because of its isolation in the desert.

The serenity of the oasis is best expressed in Western thought and pop culture in the song Midnight at the Oasis, which goes something like this:

Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Shadows paintin' our faces
Traces of romance in our heads
Heaven's holdin' a half-moon
Shinin' just for us
Let's slip off to a sand dune, real soon
And kick up a little dust
Come on, Cactus is our friend
He'll point out the way
Come on, till the evenin' ends
Till the evenin' ends
You don't have to answer
There's no need to speak
I'll be your belly dancer, prancer
And you can be my sheik

Friday, January 11, 2013

Alan Cumming Makes the Festival Work (Any Day Now)

Alan Cumming's performance in Any Day now at the PS Film Festival enthralled the audience.
Frequently at film festivals, there is one star who offers an performance so emotional and heartfelt that audiences pack the theater show after show, leaving no seat unfilled, in essence pulling the festival together so that it leaps to success. To be sure, a fine script and good supporting actors assist in making the star of the film the brightest among dozens of international films. The bright star in the 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival appears to be Alan Cumming.

Cumming's performance in Any Day Now reveals a Palm Springs International Film Festival coming to life, matching its audience's pathos and humor--an actor in a film that paints a clear picture of the human rights struggles in the 70s that people today might have either forgotten or were not old enough to experience and that makes any kind of references to sexual orientation mute and all references to "family" potent. When it comes down to doing the right thing, Cumming's character Rudy transforms from a male diva to a concerned parent of "his child," a disabled kid, Marco, with Downs Syndrome whose number one problem is his dysfunctional mother. 

The film illustrates that mother isn't always best, especially when she's gone down a road that transforms her to a human drug consumption machine whose intellect is so dulled it couldn't make the cut of an unruly family pet.

Cumming's performance, nothing less than stunning, is well-balanced to the goody-two-shoes partner played by Garret Dillahunt, both of whom brought a story about an innocent boy who came together with two guys to make one sweet family home.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Palm Springs Restaurant Chain

Grab a burger at The Grind in downtown Palm Springs

Anyone who eats out in Palm Springs often enough will eventually discover that there is a unique Palm Springs restaurant chain of eateries throughout the Coachella Valley. All offer decent food consistently, and each specializes in its own dishes.

When you think of restaurant chains in Palm Springs--The Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden and Applebee's probably come to mind. They're located here and everywhere across the United States.

Local chains in the Coachella Valley make up some of the restaurants so that their reputations for good or bad food and service comes not only with each restaurant, but also with the chain.

The Grind is one of five restaurants of the Kaiser Group. One of the five--The Grind--is the least expensive and most casual. The other four can be somewhat pricey, especially for dinner.

Not to miss, though, if you're on a budget is the Happy Hour at all five. The food is great, portions are substantial and the service, impeccable, and, of course the beer, wine and cocktails are cheap.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

PS Film Fest 2013--Snow White Comes to Town in Black and White

The poison apple in Blancanieves
In the past few years we've seen several versions of Snow White coming to the big screen, all met with great fanfare. Snow White now comes to town as the opening film of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and it's in black and white.

Now the Palm Springs International has procured not only a new version of Snow White in  (from Spain), but also one that is silent. That's right a silent film a-la The Artist.

The film, Blancanieves, originates from a Grimm fairy tale. It isn't necessarily Snow White who steals the show, according to Twitch Film, which names Maribel Verdu who plays the campy evil stepmother as the one to look out for.

Not bad for a film that closed the Mumbai Film Festival in India, and a notable new version of Snow White that introduces a gored bullfighter as Snow Whites' father and a wicked nurse as the stepmother.