Palm Springs Modernism Week From My Viewpoint
Updated: Feb 25
I am a fortunate person to be living in Palm Springs. Perhaps, fortunate is not the correct word, for I chose to move from Vancouver, Washington, nine years ago. After 24 years in the Northwest, I looked for new adventures and, frankly, warmer weather. Little did I understand the world that was opening to me.
You have read about many of my adventures on my previous blogs. Today, however, I wanted to focus on one I am experiencing literally out my door. The subject is Modernism Week, a misnomer 11 days in length.
This annual event started in 2006 when it began an extension of the Palm Springs Modernism Show and Sale and Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Symposium. Today, with 340 events to choose from, it attracts over 100,000 people from all over the world in February every year.
My Role in the Festivities
Knowing Modernism was approaching, I applied for a Media Pass for the event on the Modernism Week website.
The email arrived. As a newcomer helping to tell the Modernism story, I was thrilled to receive passes to cover seven events. In return for the tickets, my job is to share the information through various written articles. Of course, I also used my social media to broaden peoples' understanding of this extensive event.
I will make sure you receive links to my published articles, but I wanted to share what I came away with after attending these events.
Modernism is So Much More than About Buildings
Yes, Palm Springs architecture style, now labeled Modernism, is prevalent. During the 50s and 60s, architects took risks, used steel in new ways, experimented with design elements to bring the outside in, used natural stone, and emphasized simplicity.
Happily, many of these homes still exist. They have been restored and even designated as historical sites assuring their protection in the future. During Modernism, you can take the double-decker bus to see neighborhoods with these homes and even tour individual residences.
History of Airstreams
I spent many years camping in a trailer with my family as a child. When the pass arrived for a film/lecture on Airstream trailers, I readily admit that I thought okay, but my excitement was underwhelming. Camping days were in my rearview mirror.
Yet, that afternoon, I found myself mesmerized by what I learned watching the documentary about the history of its development and relevance today.
Untold Stories of Black Influence in Palm Springs
Remember I said I have lived here for nine years. Fortunately, stories are being uncovered and now written down. Listening to the presentations of black architects, Community Activists and learning more about Lawrence Crosley, for whom we named a street, was quite the eye-opener.
I attended other lectures, but you get the picture. My brain was stretched because I was exposed to new subjects.
Conversations were always enlightening, standing in line or sitting next to someone in the auditorium. I met a reporter from the Financial Times flown in from England to cover the events. These casual interchanges often ended, offering some great insights into these visitors' perceptions about our community.
The Dreamboats shared their talent at the open-air space at the Hyatt Palm Springs, exposing the younger people at Thursday night's Street Fair to the music popular in the 60s. Generation Y parents were seen rocking their children's strollers to the beat.
Craving to find a vintage 60s dress or shirt? Need new décor for your home? How about a vintage lamp or vase? We have everything from style shows to vintage vendors pulling out all the stops with their finds and willing to let go to a new home.
I trust I have raised your curiosity a bit. Tomorrow, February 27, 2022, is the last day of this 11-day feast of touring, learning, and shopping under the umbrella of the word Modernism. If you are interested, I suggest you go to the Modernism Week website and sign up for their newsletter to get earlier notice of tickets for the smaller preview week in October 2022. You might also want to consider getting in your hotel reservation. For now, you understand thousands of people will descend on Palm Springs for this internationally recognized event.
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Kathy Condon is a freelance journalist and travel writer. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide. Her book It Doesn't Hurt to Ask: It's All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist By USA Book News Kathy@kathycondon.net