by Cindy Duffy
Fans of Modernism Week will be glad to learn that the tenth anniversary celebration has been expanded to include more tours, parties, neighborhoods, and lectures than ever before. Highlighting midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture in the greater Palm Springs area February 12-22, 2015, the festival features more than 200 exciting events including the 15th annual Modernism Show & Sale, films, lectures, Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, nightly parties and live music, walking and bike tours, a keynote address by designer Todd Oldham, vintage fashion, classic cars, garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and much more.
Modernism Week is going more social in 2015 with the introduction of CAMP (an acronym for Community And Meeting Place) the new central hub of activity during the 11-day event. A 30,000 square foot tented festival headquarters, CAMP will be the Modernism Week check-in location for Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours and ticket sales, and will also offer programs, films, book signings, daily Happy Hour entertainment, and special events. All events are open to the public with the purchase of a CAMP wristband for admission: $20 for 1-5 days, $30 for 10-days. CAMP wristbands are available at the door or in advance at modernismweek.com.
Located at 555 N. Palm Canyon Drive (at the corner of Palm Canyon and W. Chino at the gateway to Palm Springs’ vibrant Uptown Design District), CAMP will feature luxurious, designer hospitality and lounge spaces, a Café with specialty on-the-go lunch cuisine, and a fabulous outdoor bar featuring cocktails and Happy Hour specials with live entertainment daily from 3-6 p.m.
Ferguson, the exclusive Kitchen & Bath Sponsor for Modernism Week, and California Home and Design will produce a series of panel discussions at CAMP titled “Renovation Insights.” The series, featuring local designers, contractors, property owners and developers discussing various aspects of evaluating, buying and renovating midcentury homes for personal use, vacation rentals or resale, will take place in the Theater tent. For a complete schedule of CAMP events and activities please visit modernismweek.com/camp.
A highlight during the first weekend of Modernism Week will be a keynote address by designer Todd Oldham. Known to millions through his fashion lines, interior designs, and television appearances, Oldham is also a book publisher and prolific photographer. His talk, Todd Oldham ’s Alexander Girard, will be presented at the Hilton Palm Springs on Saturday, February 14.
Also new for 2015 will be the release of “Desert Modernists – The Architects Who Envisioned Midcentury Modern Palm Springs,” a special 144-page commemorative book, focused on the elite group of architects who shaped the genre of “Desert Modern” architecture in Palm Springs. Including stunning photography of their most significant and historical projects, and chapters written by an esteemed collective of 14 authors, the book will highlight notable architects Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, William Krisel, E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler, and Hugh Kaptur, among others. “Desert Modernists” will be available for purchase at CAMP and other local retailers in February.
One of last year’s most sought-after events, the Modernism Week Show House: The Christopher Kennedy Compound will return for a second year. Brainchild of noted Palm Springs designer Christopher Kennedy who spearheaded the project, a midcentury modern residence in the prestigious Indian Canyons neighborhood of Palm Springs will be re-imagined by Kennedy and a collection of A-list designers and brand partners. The Compound, site of several exciting events taking place during Modernism Week, will be open to the public for tours.
The area’s captivating desert modern neighborhoods and midcentury residences, so abundant and beautifully preserved, have helped Modernism Week become one of the most popular and internationally recognized architecture and design festivals in the world. Eleven new neighborhood tours have been added this year, including a Gene Autry Neighborhood Tour with Celebrity Guest
Jackie Autry. Also new are Racquet Club Estates and Racquet Club Garden Villas, Little Beverly Hills, Park Imperial South, Indian Canyons, Sandpiper, Seven Lakes, Sandcliff, Smoke Tree Ranch, and more.
Neighborhood and home tours helped fuel Modernism Week’s growth; however, it is not widely known that the organization assists local neighborhood groups by funding their preservation efforts and other community projects. More than $219,000 of revenue generated by neighborhood tours during Modernism Week in February 2014 was given back to each community, and a special tour during October’s Fall Preview benefited the Palm Springs Neighborhood Involvement Committee – an all-volunteer service group comprised of and representing 35 officially certified neighborhood organizations in Palm Springs.
Examples of how the funds from upcoming February tours will be used include new midcentury clubhouse furniture for Seven Lakes Country Club, refreshing the folded plate carport roofs at Park Imperial South, and several neighborhoods plan to add signage and convert to more drought-tolerant landscaping. Vista Las Palmas and Racquet Club Estates support local schools and charities, and revenues from Sandpiper tours will fund programs at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert – The Galen, and provide a new student scholarship for a Palm Desert graduate.
This year, midcentury enclaves in the cities of Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert and Indian Wells feature prominently on Modernism Week’s schedule with exciting new tours and events:
• A Mod, Mod, Mod, Mod Marrakesh (2/19) – cocktails and dinner at the fabulous Marrakesh Country Club Clubhouse
• William Krisel Sandpiper House Tour and Party (2/17) – tour remarkable homes built from 1958 to 1969 and party at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert
• Palm Desert Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour (2/19 & 20) – a two-hour tour featuring homes by Krisel, Burns, White, Frey, Outcault, and more
• Indian Wells Signature Home Tour and Luncheon (2/20) – concludes at Indian Wells Golf Resort with a light lunch and conversation with an award-winning architect
Modernism Week films and lectures are a great place to learn about the origins of midcentury modern architecture and the architects who designed them. There are lectures about architecture in Palm Springs, Hawaii, Chicago, Los Angeles, Michigan, Long Island, and Europe, as well as architectural photography and garden design. New Lecture Series Package Deals (2/14-20) feature three to four lectures per day on fascinating topics and include either a delicious box lunch or a hot beverage and museum access. At Michigan Modern Monday (2/16) enjoy six lectures, one film and lunch as you immerse yourself in Michigan Modern: a design movement; a cultural phenomenon; an intersection of indigenous, imported, and exported design; and a newly defined epoch.
Free events include an Opening Night After-Party at Bootlegger Tiki, Illuminated Modern, Star dedication for legendary modernist architect Richard Neutra on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, the Vintage Car Show, SHAG’s “The Ensuing Elephant” Print Release Party with Martini Kings Playing Live, and the Modernism Yard Sale, among others.
Tickets are still available for several amazing parties – too many to mention here! Featuring music, dancing, cocktails and more, they offer modernistas a perfect opportunity to dress to impress in vintage attire. One not to be missed is the 10th Anniversary Opening Night Party: Modernism Eclectic Dance Blast (2/12) with Jason Bentley, KCRW’s Music Director and host of ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic’ and ‘Metropolis’ who will take everyone on a wild musical ride. Located at CAMP, it will be a Throwback Thursday night celebrating 60 years of midcentury modern style at the best party of the decade! Dig out your platform shoes and bell-bottomed jeans, dust off that sharkskin suit and skinny tie, pull out the Pucci mini-skirt or the poodle skirt, give attitude with a demure 50’s or wild 60’s bouffant, or revive the Afro. Includes a 5-day wristband for return admission to MW CAMP ($20 value included).
Attendees of the Modernism Show & Sale Preview Reception (2/13) will be the first to see and shop the world-class collection of midcentury furniture, art and objects before it opens to the general public. The Vintage Travel Trailer Show, showcasing 40+ beautifully restored vintage trailers, buses and Airstreams (many never-before-seen at Modernism Week), is the site of the first Vintage Travel Trailer Show Party “Rockin’ Saturday Night!” (2/21) with retro Rockabilly music and fun for the whole family. To see all the Modernism Week After Dark events scheduled throughout the week, visit modernismweek.com/parties.
For those who are newcomers to Modernism Week and may need help figuring out which lectures, tours, and parties to attend, check out the great Modernism Week for Newbies guide at modernismweek.com/newbies!
The City of Palm Springs is the Presenting Sponsor of Modernism Week, and all events are open to the public. To learn more visit modernismweek.com, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
About Modernism Week:
Modernism Week is a California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Modernism Week is also a charitable organization, providing scholarships to local Palm Springs students pursuing college educations in the fields of architecture and design; as well as giving grants to local and state preservation organizations for their efforts to preserve modernist architecture throughout the state of California.
Modernism Week’s Mission:
The mission of Modernism Week is to celebrate and foster appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in Palm Springs.