Over the past eight years, what started as an event with the aim of educating Coachella Valley residents on the importance of the buildings designed by men like Albert Frey, Donald Wexler, William F. Cody and A. Quincy Jones, and how to live in a midcentury home, has captured an audience of enthusiasts from as far away as Germany and Australia.

The visitors come see architectural treasures that are rarely open to the public like the Sunnylands estate designed by A. Quincy Jones for Ambassador Walter Annenberg in Rancho Mirage that is now the Annenberg Retreat and is used as an international conference center; Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs that was designed by Stewart Williams shortly after the modern state of Israel was born, are opening their doors for tours to the general public; and the Frey House II, owned by the Palm Springs Art Museum, a one-bedroom house designed by the architect and built into the living rock high above the city.

Fortunately for the programs that benefit from the proceeds of Modernism Week, some events sell out long before the opening events.  But there are still a number of events, including lectures, films, home tours and design events that have no limit on the number of tickets available or have space available on the day they take place.

Can’t decide what to take in?  Begin your immersion in Modernism with these events:


Palm Springs Modernism Show, Feb. 16-18, Palm Springs Convention Center. Period art, décor pieces and furnishings in one of the most anticipated modernism shows of the year. $20; 277 N. Avenida Caballeros.

Expo Tent and Prefab Showcase, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Prairie Schooner Parking Lot.  One of the hits of Modernism Week 2012, the expo and prefab showcase offers the latest in materials and green technology, furnishings, and eco-friendly trends, that fit in with a modernist lifestyle. $10; Calle El Segundo and Arenas Road.

Marrakesh Country Club Designer Showcase, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; Marrakesh Country Club, Palm Desert.  Country club developer John Dawson brought in John Elgin Woolf to bring the Greek Revival and country French combined with modernism into a unique desert blend. Tours, $25; additional luncheon, $20.

Tony Duquette: Wild Child of Hollywood Design, 1 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Hilton Hotel. Hutton Wilkinson, who worked with Duquette for 28 years, will talk about the designer’s influence on the homes and films of Hollywood.  $10; 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

Symposium and Lecture: The Public and the Modern House, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 23, Palm Springs Art Museum.  Experts from around the world will discuss public access to modern masterpieces while keeping the sites dynamic and serving the goals of the properties. $50;  101 Museum Drive. (760) 325-4490.


Moby on Modernism, 2 p.m. Feb. 24, Ace Hotel.  The Grammy-nominated artist talks with KCRW “Design and Architecture” host Frances Anderton (cq) about his perspectives on Modernism, Los Angeles’ weird architecture and other topics. $20; 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive.

Paris Loves Palm Springs, 7:30 to 10 p.m. Feb. 20, Club Trinidad. Forget “Mad Men,” Paris in the 1950s and ‘60s was the epitome of cool. Relive the music of Serge Gainsbourg (cq)  and Brigitte Bardot with canapés and cocktails and all things French cool. $50; 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive.