Palm Springs, CA

One of my favorite things about living in the Pacific Northwest is how easy it is to get to Palm Springs. I have really fallen for the desert, and I find a solid dose of Vitamin D helpful during the rainy and dark months in Seattle. If you plan ahead and can get reasonable fares directly into Palm Springs, it is the perfect weekend get away.

We always stay at the Ace Hotel. The location is great and the Stan Bitters fire wall pieces thrill me every time. There are three large installations, and below each is a fireplace and chairs, surrounded by the rooms on two levels. The macrame in the lobby and in the rooms continues to be super cool. I don’t want to know how much money I’ve spent over the years in the lobby’s B&W photo booth.

Janine Antoni, Caryatid, 2003
C-print and broken vessel

The Palm Springs Art Museum is a must. They rotate their collection, and have some excellent shows. In 2013 they had a Richard Diebenkorn show called The Berkeley Years, 1953-1966. That show was when I became enamored with the Bay Area Figurative Movement. I already knew and liked Diebenkorn, but that show in Palm Springs was when I fell in love with Roland Petersen’s work. They had a few paintings by Petersen, and other painters from the Bay Area Figurative Movement, as part of the exhibit.

Victor Vasarely, Grand Iboya (NB 63), 1970
Polystyrene on wood, edition 4/8
Louise Bourgeois, Spider II, 1995
Bronze, edition 4/6
Marina Abramovic, The Kitchen V, Carrying the Milk, 2009
Color video projection on DVD with sound, edition 5/5
Yaacov Agam, Paris, 1980
Acrylic on aluminum mounted on board
John Chamblerlain, Bees Knees, 1988
Painted and chromium-plated steel

Painting in back: Helen Frankenthaler, April Screen, 1972
Acrylic on canvas
Maya Lin, (from center to outside)
Arctic Circle, 2013, Latitude New York City, 2013, Equator, 2014
Vermont Danny marble
Robert Irwin, #3 x 6” Four Fold, 2013
Fluorescent light builds, theatrical gels, and electrical tape

I read this book years ago, loved it, and think about it every time I see a piece by Robert Irwin.

Sheila Hicks, Cord Structure, 1976
Cotton and muslin
Helen Frankenthaler, Carousel;, 1979
Acrylic on canvas
Robert Therrien, No Title (stacked plates, butter), 2007
Diego Rivera, Bathers, 1925
Oil on canvas
Duane Hanson, Old Couple on a Bench, 1995
Polychromed bronze and mixed accessories, edition 2/2

They have moved my favorite Duane Hanson couple down to the first floor of the museum. I was so happy they hadn’t been put in storage. It’s worth a visit just to see them.

The wind turbines on the way to Joshua Tree National Park from Palm Springs are quite striking, and the wind on the road can be rather intense.

After spending time in Joshua Tree National Park, and hitting the golden hour light perfectly, we found an awesome Mexican restaurant called El Guero Mexican Grill in the Yucca Valley. They are known for their chile rellenos, which were really excellent, as was everything else.

Still out in the desert, we went to Pappy and Harriets to see Mudhoney play a 9:45 show (which, surprisingly, started exactly on time). The place was sold out and packed with old timer Seattle grunge folks. I’ve seen Mudhoney many times, and they certainly still have it. We got back to Palm Springs after 1 a.m. where a wedding at our hotel was still going strong. We stopped at the hopping hotel bar for a drink, as we had to be on our best behavior all night, with the mountain roads back from Joshua Tree as dark as they are.

There are some wonderful antique shops, and stores, in Palm Springs which I always try to visit. The best store in the area, and the one I never miss, is Hedge. It’s in Cathedral City, where there are several worthwhile stores on the strip of shops. Charles and Thomas, the owners of Hedge, have a wonderful collection of vintage, modern furnishings, and decorative arts. You know how you go into a store and maybe find one thing you like? When you go into Hedge there might be one thing you don’t like. Seriously, this store is amazing.

3 thoughts on “Palm Springs, CA

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post, I want to go to Palm Springs and do exactly all these things!

  2. We saw Old Couple on a Bench at the museum maybe 15 years ago. Our grandsons we’re with us. “Grampa, are the real?” We still tell people about it. We’ll be there this April. We’ll have to stop by and sée them again.

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