Thursday, September 25, 2014

EVENTS: A taste of Hollywood glamour at Palm Springs Modernism Weekend, Oct. 10 - 13

Because you just can't have too many photos of Cary Grant ...

... or his house ...

Modernism Week, a celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture, art, fashion, and culture that takes place every February in Palm Springs, CA, will give visitors a preview of its signature weeklong extravaganza this coming Columbus Day weekend. From Oct. 10 -13, the organization will highlight the city's exceptionally prolific Modernist architecture and design with a series of guided walks, double-decker bus tours, workshops, book signings, receptions, and -- of course -- shopping opportunities.

Here are some pics, and a brief listing of the numerous guided walks that will be on offer.

Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood – The Movie Colony Historical Walking Tour

In this tranquil neighborhood lived some of Hollywood’s biggest stars such as Cary Grant, Dinah Shore, Van Johnson, Tony Curtis, Gloria Swanson, and Jack Benny. Frank Sinatra made it “his” neighborhood in the 1950s when his home, known as “Twin Palms,” became “party central.” Some of America's most renowned Modernist architects designed homes in this charming and prestigious area including E. Stewart Williams, William Cody, and Donald Wexler. The Movie Colony is also home to iconic architecture of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. This tour is a visual feast of the homes of Hollywood royalty and their unique architecture.
Above & below: Twin Palms
Frank Sinatra's "bold and lavish" house

Rat Pack Playground -- Modernist Homes of Vista Las Palmas

In this trendy Mid-Century tract development of Vista Las Palmas, the classic homes are affectionately nicknamed “The Alexanders” (in honor of the developers George and Robert Alexander). The talented team of Daniel Palmer and William Krisel were the primary architects. Although created through mass production, these stunning homes appear to be custom-designed. The Hollywood elite truly embraced the Modernist style of these tract homes when this architectural style was regarded as experimental and avant-garde. Early advertising even called the area the “Beverly Hills of Palm Springs.” Debbie Reynolds, Elvis Presley, Kim Novak, Barry Manilow, and the “Rat Packers” Dean Martin and Peter Lawford are some of the stars who lived and frolicked in the “playground.” Some of the desert’s most famous Modernist architectural treasures are also located in this neighborhood including the Kaufmann Desert House, an architectural masterpiece designed by Richard Neutra.

Below: Elvis' honeymoon house
Built in 1960 as a "House of Tomorrow"
by famed mid-century Palm Springs developer Robert Alexander
as a gift for his wife Helen (are you listening, Michael?)

Heart of the City Historical Walking Tour

Just south of Tahquitz Canyon Way between Palm Canyon Drive and Indian Canyon Drive sits the heart of the city — old La Plaza, the Welwood Murray Memorial Library, the Oasis Hotel tower, and the Andreas Hotel. Original stucco Spanish style buildings with traditional red tile roofs and arched passageways flank either side of La Plaza, as well as the historic La Plaza Theatre, which opened in 1936. The newly restored Andreas Hotel, originally the Royal Palms Hotel, was also built in 1936, and was the first air conditioned hotel in Palm Springs

Below: Andreas Hotel

Stars and Star-chitects in Deepwell Historical Walking Tour

In these well-manicured properties lived some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Loretta Young, William Holden, Carmen Miranda, Liberace, and Jerry Lewis.

Liberace's former home home is an elegant, surprisingly restrained Mediterranean estate. But he couldn't resist placing a large candelabra in front ; there are also several “L’s” strategically placed throughout the exterior of the property – including on the garage doors, in the driveway, and in mosaic tiles in the cement at the side door.

Wish I were here ...

Golden Era Hollywood Homes in Old Las Palmas 

Old Las Palmas began its development in the late 1920s and 1930s and has one of the highest concentrations of celebrity homes anywhere. Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn, Gene Autry, Lena Horne, Dinah Shore and many other Hollywood stars have been residents here. This “must see” neighborhood truly nurtured Palm Springs’ reputation as Playground of the Stars. Leonardo DiCaprio recently purchased a celebrated Modernist home in this neighborhood. (See May 11, 2014 posting.)
 Below: Dinah Shore's "Tennis House"
Living Room

For more information, link to Modernism Week's website here.

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