For the love of tacos, margaritas, friendship, parties with people you’ve never met and photography. Not really in that order. Before leaving Palm Springs my friend Tammy invited me to talented photographer Gary Dorothy’s amazing garden + outdoor space to celebrate the sweet 16 year anniversary of his gorgeous gallery Imageville. I admired a piece she and her husband David have of his in their home. It’s obvious that Gary also has a good eye for party detail. Complete with tended Margarita bar and a help yourself to tacos smorgasbord. And any Mexican-theme party would be totally incomplete without Bichon Frise piñatas right? Exactly. Simply divine!
This from California’s Prestige Magazine Palm Springs Life:
You think you’ve seen our mountains, palm trees, architecture, and iconic places. Then you see Gary Dorothy’s photographs and realize you haven’t really seen them after all. The owner of Imageville — his gallery in downtown Palm Springs (La Plaza) has a curious eye that sees the desert from a different perspective.
I also wanted to include the Palm Springs Modern-style
home to convey what we who live here see in most neighborhoods, period pieces that reflect a simpler time long past but somehow preserved here in this unusual desert town. – Gary Dorothy
I could change the heading to Melancholy Mood a song sang by Frank Sinatra but that sounds pretty gloomy. After viewing a special screening of the fabulous documentary film by *Leo Zahn which ended Modernism week here in Palm Springs, we know Sinatra’s life was anything but gloomy.
Sinatra in Palm Springs – The Place He Called Home.
I, like so many others have always loved Sinatra’s music, his style and well…the lifestyle was anything but dull. Because I’ve spent the last several years coming to Palm Springs and now live here part of the year I was really looking forward to seeing this film if only because it explored Frank Sinatra’s deep attachment to Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, his primary home for almost 50 years.
His wife Barbara called him a desert rat. Meaning he embraced the dreamy “desert rat” lifestyle of tennis, golf, cocktails, cards and entertaining. Very similar to my lifestyle minus the tennis, golf and cards.
The film captures the spirit of the Sinatra era and pays tribute to the unique lifestyle especially surrounding the renowned racquet club. Revealing interviews bring to life a bygone era . . . beginning with the post-WWII years and Sinatra’s 1947 home in Palm Springs, tumultuous times with Ava Gardner, his 1954 move to Rancho Mirage, his marriage to Barbara, and life at the “compound.” Major sequences are dedicated to historic restaurants Sinatra frequented for decades. Many still here and some I’ve gone to. My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting with Mel Haber who owned the historic Ingleside Inn and Melvyn’s cocktail bar which Sinatra frequented. He described Sinatra as having “an aura” about him. He’s the first and last person to be interviewed in this wonderful documentary. It didn’t matter which president or other famous person frequented your estabishment. Everyone wanted to know if Frank or “Mr. S” as they referred to him came in. If he showed up with his entourage and liked it, you were good. If he didn’t like the pasta it could get thrown against the wall.
‘Sinatra in Palm Springs’ tells the story of a man whose generosity and compassion for his fellow citizens had no bounds. He loved the desert and its people. He loved the local restaurants and bars. His best friends lived nearby.
How many people can aspire to live like him? It’s a large, legendary life and that’s why the screening was sold out. He really did do it HIS WAY.
At the end of the screening Mr. Zahn (*the filmmaker) was here for an audience Q&A.
And that’s another thing I love about being here. The filmmakers are on hand to answer questions especially during Film Fest and Modernism.
minimalism. What is it you really need in life to feel comfortable?
I’ve come to appreciate that what you really need to enjoy a comfy home environment is something very simple. Other than a solid roof over your head it comes down to a few basics…a comfortable bed, hot running water and elements that work. You can fill up your living space with all the extras you like, but if you don’t have the necessary comforts (if you’re not camping in a tent, that is) you won’t feel protected and secure. After that you can add in life’s little luxuries…smart TV, laptop, blow dryer, throw pillows, designer bags, etc.
I know this because it has become my living situation in Palm Springs for the past three months. I’ve downgraded but am happier for it. And it’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – only a small weight mind you. And a weight I put there myself. Because I wasn’t completely happy with staying in hotels (subject always to availability not to mention prices that go waaay up depending on what’s going on around town & on weekends) and renting places (which by the way have become harder and harder to find not to mention the astronomical damage deposit fee you must leave although if you don’t wreck the place you’ll get back). At first my husband and I ended up renting a townhouse with a lot more space but a lot less soul than what we now call part/time home.
Last year when visiting Palm Springs and by an extremely pleasant turn of events (bumping into someone I know from Vancouver at a music venue who told me about this place) I discovered a small RV park very centrally located within a short walking distance to town center. With a clubhouse/pool/sauna/games room, etc. and a hiking mountain right behind the park and shops/restaurants closeby. Bonus: tons of hummingbirds. Out of curiosity I phoned to see if any spots were available for a short stay to camp in the Eurovan this time around (in between vacating the condo rental & hotel). They did not have anything available, however a park model RV came up for sale in a location I liked within the park so let’s just jump ahead here…I bought it. It’s super comfy, everything works and the dogs especially love it. You make the space your own. Each is different, some are very nice, others not. I found that people customize to their personal liking .
My husband had to fly back to Vancouver for appointments. On a Westjet flight back to PS he sat next to an interesting woman with a female dog sitting on her lap. It was the woman’s first visit to Palm Springs staying at her cousin’s gorgeous condo. We ended up going for a dog walk and she came back to our pad. She loved it and said if another came up for sale she wanted to buy it as a more affordable and perfect alternative to renting or buying a condo. (Bonus: no property tax issues and withholding tax at time of sale.)
Apparently nothing had come up for sale in a long time and the park is usually booked up a year in advance. But to her good luck karma, a couple only two spots away from us decided they wanted to sell their lovely upgraded park model and travel elsewhere for a change. All to say…we have a new neighbour! And Jack has a nice new little girlfriend. Funny how things work out.
The outer surroundings where we’re located are something else – anything but minimal to counterbalance the lack of….more space. The space is situated with a pleasant mountain view and privacy hedges (in between neighbours) and palm trees. It has all the comforts of home. I call it my pad-à-terre. I’ve found a very good nail place, hairdresser, tailor, dog groomer, fix-it phone guy, coffee shop and convenience store within short walking distance. You know, the other necessities of life!
The trailer itself is 350 sq. ft. of uncluttered liveable indoor space perfect for two (and a guest on occasion – there’s a pull-out sofabed) and another 400 sq. ft. of outdoor living space which is what I love the most. There are people who live here year round and others (travelers/snowbirds) who keep an RV here full time (because they like their assigned spot and want to secure the space) but only come a few months a year and the others rent space when available for days/weeks/months at a time. Park fees include garbage pick-up, electricity, cable, internet but not gas so we pay for propane. Otherwise, it is fully serviced.
This one is going to be kept here year round, whether we come for one month or six. It’s pretty simple living at it’s best. I have a bike to get around and the river walk a few blocks away to run & walk the dogs. But I must say that if the weather wasn’t cooperative I’m not sure I could do this full-time. Let’s just say that sunshine is a requirement for happiness! All that Vitamin D is healthy for a person!
As it turns out I’ve discovered more about myself. I like the simplicity of living light and having less stuff. So maybe as the saying goes “less is more” hence the tiny houses movement right now. This is living large by comparison. Call it country chic, shabby chic or whatever…I find it to be an excellent alternative to buying an expensive condo in the sun. It’s hassle free and in the worst case scenario if something happens I can…walk away.
Well the thing is, art can be found everywhere, even in the desert. And it makes perfect sense; beauty with beauty.
I realized that while taking a nature walk with the dogs right after a picnic. The location being Whitewater Preserve about 20 minutes northwest of Palm Springs. An absolutely stunning setting of over 2,000 acres of pristine desert with hiking trails and wildlife. From a distance I came across what looked like a birding roost, and on closer inspection found out it was made from sand bags. It’s actually an art piece. built to replicate how pigeons in Israel are put to roost. But it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on around town especially now, so I had to find out *more.
*From Feb. 25 through April 30, 2017, the Coachella Valley and its desert landscape will become the canvas for a curated exhibition of site-specific work by established and emerging artists, whose projects will amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming, and golf. The artworks, in various indoor and outdoor locations will be available for free and will offer visitors a way to see the valley and reflect on serious and playful issues through the lens of the participating artists’ creativity and work.
You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple walk
You never know what you will encounter while out on a simple drive
On the drive to the nature preserve you will come across hundreds on windmillsThe windmills are there for power generation with renewable energy. However I hate them for the fact that the valley is infamous for the number of birds that are killed because of them.
It’s Modernism week in Palm SpringsAn annual celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture.
And to demonstrate what kind of 20th Century Modern Woman I am – some recent selfies taken in front of mirrored windows around town. It also proves that my dogs are modern too! They should really be in Modern Dog Magazine.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
– Donald TrumpLewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
“Where should I go?”-Alice. “That depends on where you want to end up.” – The Cheshire Cat.”!