Modernism Mania – As Only Palm Springs Can Deliver - Visit Palm Springs tag-img

Modernism Mania – As Only Palm Springs Can Deliver

Modernism Week_Bus Tour

Mark your calendar “Retro.”  Palm Springs Modernism Week 2022 is back! Bigger, bolder, more Mid-Mod magical than ever.   

 By Barbara Beckley

With more mid-century architecture than anywhere on earth, Palm Springs is modernism heaven anytime. But in February, Modernism Week puts it over the top, giving visitors private entry to its exclusive Modernism lifestyle.

No surprise – Modernism Week 2022 tickets are on sale beginning November 1, 2021, for the live, in person February 17-27, 2022 extravaganza.

modernism week women in house
All Mod All the Time!

Founded in 2006, Modernism Week has skyrocketed in popularity, prompting the addition of the Modernism Week Fall Preview in October to give a peek at what’s to come. I joined the live and in person preview, held October 14-17, 2021 – and wow! Modernism Week 2022 promises to be the best yet, with more than 350 new and favorite presentations, tours and parties.

New delights – also set for Modernism Week 2022 – included the “Midcentury Mixology Cocktail Clinic at Mr. Lyons.” Here, I learned to craft the perfect whiskey sour. That a pinch of salt enlivens any cocktail – what?! And how (surprisingly) heavy those bottles are you see the mixologists wield behind the bar.

Cocktails. Of course. Barbara mixes & matches at the Midcentury Mixology Cocktail Clinic at Mr. Lyons x1500

New, too, were the larger-than-life patterns and unexpected art in the 1975 Stan Sackley-designed home of the Grace Home Furnishings owners, viewed on the “Modernism Week Featured Home Tour: Seventies Sackley.” And exuberant décor and colors (inspired by the 1968 Mexico City Olympics) by H3K Design on the “Modernism Week Featured Design Project Tour: Limon,” a 1964 all-steel boutique hotel designed for groups of up to 14 family, friends or associates.

limon vacation rental

Oldies but goodies were as wonderful as ever. “Best of Mod With a Twist” brought a chuckle as presenters showed us the not-so-politically-correct way men’s cologne – remember English Leather and Old Spice – was marketed in the Mad Men era; how Tiki originated right here in LA in the 1930s, and what sparked the 1960s Paint-by-Numbers craze.

As always, it was impressed to walk where heads of state and presidents congregated inside the 1966 Annenberg Estate home at Sunnylands.  And the 1964 Frey House II, the small-but-iconic private digs of master architect Albert Frey.

albert frey house II palm springs
Frey House II

The pop-up “Curated Vintage” show (Louis Vuitton, Pucci, Gucci, etc.) “Was like Filene’s Basement,” joked Mitchell Karp of Mitchells Palm Springs, who organizes this apparel/jewelry/accessories show at the mid-century Temple Isaiah. He was right. I scored an Adrienne Vittadini jacket for $98.

Fashionable finds at the pop-up Curated Vintage Event
Credit: Barbara Beckley

The beloved Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours are always tops for the “above-the-hedge” look at Palm Springs’ stunners. This time we learned about Palm Springs “financial district” defined by the architecturally significant bank buildings that line South Palm Canyon Drive. “We’re about architecture, not gossip,” the tour guide smiled.

bank of america palm springs

Still, he couldn’t resist telling tales as we passed the former Kennedy hang-out pad, and the Elvis Honeymoon House. Look for mid-mod story-teller Charles Phoenix to add a kick and shtick to the 2022 bus tours.

Nightly parties. Of course!

“Opening Night at the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale – Fall Edition,” paired cocktails and shopping – my kinda event – with an open bar and mid-mod vendors. This is a great event at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Luau-themed cocktails and live music poolside celebrated the new Tiki Hotel. You’ll love the hotel rooms.

tiki hotel room

“An Evening at Miralon” featured music by The Martini Kings, catering by local fav Lulu California Bistro and cocktails at the clubhouse of this new modernist-style twist on a golf community. Miralon is landscaped with olive groves and veggie plantings to give residents custom olive oils and fresh greens instead of golf. Fun art and comp cocktails attracted a cool crowd to “Shag’s October Modernism Print Release Party for ‘The Uphill Climb’.” Shag (www.shag.com), a.k.a artist Josh Agle, is a staple of Palm Springs’ mod scene.

And this was just the preview!!!!

A Night at Miralon, enjoying the contemporary modern-style clubhouse
Credit: Barbara Beckley

Modernism Week 2022,  Feb. 17 – 27, 2022. 

Modernism Week in 2022 will include over 350 activities.

What’s New?

A golf tourney, the new 18-hole “Golf Par-Tee and Tournament,” with pre-and post-parties, will pay homage to the ‘50’s when everyone was on the fairways. The first-ever celebration of Black History Month (February) will present “Stories Untold: Black Modernists in Southern California,” including architect A. Quincy Jones (Sunnylands) and Palm Springs developer Lawrence Crossley.

Lawrence Crossley Makes Mark in Palm Springs

“As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling,” promises an insider look at The Twilight Zone’s creator by his daughter. Also “Star Trek Modern: The Midcentury Designers Who Furnished the Final Frontier.” Parties at Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palm Estate, and a “Retro Martini Party” at an 8,060-square-foot modernist estate, with seven – count ‘em, seven – infinity-edge pools!

sinatra-house-beau-monde-villas-twin-palms-e-stewart-williamsNight

Also new in 2022, instead of a tent in a vacant lot, CAMP (Modernism Week’s Community and Meeting Place), will be at the Hyatt Hotel in Downtown Palm Springs. CAMP is free, where everyone gathers during their downtime to see retro presentations, shop at Destination PSP (very cool Palm Springs merchandise), buy Modernism event tickets, and schmooze over cocktails and light bites.

But Wait! There’s More

Retro home tours in more than 25 neighborhoods! Special tours led by modernism funny guy (and expert) Charles Phoenix. Nightly parties in Rat Pack perfect settings. A classic car show, landscape and garden tours, self-guided tours, fashion events, talks with world-class speakers and so much more.

Be there or be square!

Desert Modernism

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