Palm Springs is a hot spot for everything cool any time of the year. The city, though, takes hip to a new level during Modernism Week. That’s when the love of clean lines and sleek designs takes hold.
That unmistakable with-it vibe is magnified during the ode to a time when Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack made women swoon and evening cocktails were a must. The annual 11-day celebration – this year is its 12th edition and set for Feb. 16-26) is filled with film screenings, lectures, architectural tours and parties, lots and lots of parties. While the main goal of Modernism Week is to promote and celebrate the modern aesthetic, it also serves as a fundraising vehicle for the nonprofit organization, which provides scholarships to local students interested in architectural and design careers. And many of the activities are produced by partner organizations such as preservation or neighborhood groups.
“Each year we continue to broaden the programming for Modernism Week based on the feedback of our attendees,” said Chris Mobley, Modernism Week board chairman, in a statement. “This year we will continue that trend by offering new events and educational opportunities while still featuring the beloved favorites that our audience requests. We will offer a compelling combination of educational talks and film screenings, exciting tours, and activities throughout the Coachella Valley and beyond
Themes this year include multiple salutes to architect John Lautner and a focus on mid-century Mexico. New this year will be a Learning Lab, a day of talks geared toward design professionals. The overall emphasis of everything is on education but with a strong bent toward celebration and fun.
Modernism Week veterans know the score, but newcomers may find it a bit overwhelming – there are almost 300 events. Many of them require tickets and are sold out and have been for some time. Others are not and there are many free activities for those dipping their toes for the first time into modernism mania. One place to start is CAMP – Modernism Week’s Community And Meeting Place. It will be located in a huge tented structure at 350 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Here visitors can meet and mingle, shop and dine, relax and basically get their bearings. Packed with its own programs, it serves the dual purpose of being a central location for the events. Admission to CAMP is free.
One of the event’s staples is the annual Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale (//spring.palmspringsmodernism.com). The event, now in its 17th year, is considered the largest of its kind in the country with 85 top national and international dealers. The show runs Feb. 17-20 at the Palm Springs Convention Center starting with a gala benefiting. Modernism Week. The show/ sale offers the public access to collections from 85 national and international dealers. A free art exhibition called “Plastics from Paradise: California Modernizes the American Lifestyle’’ organized by the Museum of California Design is planned.
What’s new and different this year? Plenty. Guests can buy a $495 VIP lecture/film pass that provides them with special access to more than 30 discussions and films at the Annenberg Theater and the Camelot Theaters. A “behind-the-gates’’ tour in Indian Wells as well as a “Day in Old Pompeii.’’ The Modernism Week Show House: The Christopher Kennedy Compound will feature the home of Kelly Lee (aka “Kelly Golightly”). Landscape and design talks and hands-on presentations are scheduled. And two architecture exhibitions are planned at the Palm Spring Library – a William Cody exhibition featuring objects created by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo architecture students of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo ($10) and an E. Stewart Williams exhibition with photos of 12 career highlights that have been recommended for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places (free).
Want more? There are neon sign talks, the West Elm House tour, Chino Canyon Project home tours and side trips to Banning to see the Pinball Museum, Alta Loma to wonder at the beauty of the late craftsman Sam Maloof woodwork and his home and Claremont for a Claremont Modernism Tour. Throw in the Vintage Travel Trailer Show and a Modernism Yard Sale, and, well, you’d better wear comfy shoes.
These are even free:
• Palm Springs Walk of Stars Dedication for John Lautner, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m., Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, 300 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
• Modernism Week Vintage Car Show, Fe. 20, noon-3 p.m., Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs
• Tours of St. Theresa Catholic Church’s main sanctuary, Feb. 25, four tour times, St. Theresa Catholic Church, 2800 E. Ramon Road, Palm Springs. Free but reservations required at email@example.com
• Modernism Week Yard Sale, Feb. 26, 8 a.m.-noon, H3K parking lot, 501 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.
For a complete listing of Modernism Week programs and events, tickets and to see which events are still open, go to //www.modernismweek.com-30-
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