PSST! — Intelligencer

The Best of the Coachella Valley and Beyond.



Courtesy Palm Springs Art Museum

Drawn to Design

L.J. Cella, who began acquiring drawings by Richard Neutra about eight years ago, has donated to Palm Springs Art Museum an important collection of more than 100 items of architecture and design-related work, including drawings by architects, landscape designers, and installation artists such as Robert Irwin; Frank Gehry’s cardboard furniture; and models. Cella lives in the Bay Area, but his father has had a home in the desert for years.

Opera’s Superwoman

The man who introduced opera fans to supertitles will direct the 2009 Opera Showcase of the Desert on Feb. 4. Lotfi Mansouri was general director of the Canadian Opera Company when he projected the libretto above the stage in a 1983 production of Electra. Mansouri also served as general director of San Francisco Opera from 1988 to 2001.

Dollars Sense

Happy Chickadee — a La Quinta-based online boutique (www.happychickadee.com) owned by Shari Brownfield and Amber Spinello and selling clothes, accessories, and toys for girls up to 4 years — donates $1 to $5 (based on each purchase total) to one of three charities. Shoppers can select from Kiva, which grants loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries; Nourish America, which feeds impoverished families; and First Book, which provides books to children of low-income families.

Kraft an Opportunity

The Kraft Nabisco Championship Celebrity Pro-Am is open to the general public for the first time this year. For $10,000, participants in the Pro-Am, March 31-April 1, receive two practice rounds at Mission Hills Country Club, invitations to three evening parties and admittance to the Kraft Nabisco Hospitality Center during tournament week, and a luxury gift package.

Happy Hour 2.0

For a more enriching take on happy hour, we like Copley’s on Palm Canyon in Palm Springs. The restaurant offers monthly Happy Hour Cooking Demonstrations from 5:45 to 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month. For $30, you get wine, hors d’oeuvres, and a tasty measure of owner/chef Andrew Copley’s expertise. Stay for dinner and take 25 percent off your check. Copley also offers three-hour cooking classes with a three-course lunch the second Saturday of each month. Information: (760) 327-9555.

Palm Springs Shopping - Home decorLine Takes Shape

Three Gen X/Y entrepreneurs in Wheaton, Ill., have developed a line of 12 modernist vases that replicate those designed at the turn of the century by Prairie School architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright. Once available in 500 shapes, Teco pottery is defined by clean geometry, architectural references, and minimal surface decoration.

Husband and wife Bryan and Lisa Kelly and Lisa’s brother, Eric O’Malley, formed Prairie Arts to revive accent pieces designed by Wright. They expanded into Teco pottery in 2007, sifting through hundreds of vintage vases in private collections to derive their line of 12 shapes, available in three historic colors (green, blue, and yellow) and five contemporary colors.

Locally, the vases are sold at Stewart Galleries in Palm Springs.

Photo by Lisa Herman

Word Association

Ingleside Inn owner Mel Haber has written a book about his move from the East Coast the West Coast and the opening and subsequent decades of Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn. Palm Springs à la Carte by Mel Haber with Marshall Terrill (Barricade Books) is set for release this month.

Contributions from three members of the Palm Springs chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier — Zola Nichols, Karen Stiegler, and Gail Nottberg — are included in Cooking With Les Dames D’Escoffier (Sasquatch Books). The new cookbook also features tips from Alice Waters, Lidia Bastianisch, Ann Willan, and other top chefs.

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