Editor's Letter - February 2010

Celebrate Modernism!

Steven Biller

Our desert has so much going for it — Native American heritage, celebrities on red carpets, fine art and culture, and a landscape that invites adventurers to see the land from jaw-dropping perspectives. So the prevailing interest in the area’s midcentury modern architecture — which has captured the attention of local and visiting enthusiasts, experts, photographers, and journalists — hardly surprises us.

I recall the first architecture/interior design feature I wrote when I joined Palm Springs Life in 2002. I visited the former Las Palmas home of Peter Lawford and Patricia Kennedy — where John F. Kennedy reputedly had his infamous 1962 liaison with Marilyn Monroe. The George and Robert Alexander-designed house boasts many of the father-son team’s signature midcentury features — most notably the butterfly roof with glass following in triangular fashion. The inside was loaded with black leather and chrome Le Corbusier cube chairs, Phillipe Starck’s chairs, Herman Miller reproductions of Charles Eames’ charcoal-colored stainless steel chairs, a custom-molded Lucite table by Arthur Elrod, and a pair of white Mies Van der Rohe pavilion chairs.

The visual narrative captured the essence of life in Palm Springs back in the Rat Pack heyday. And, to my surprise, the feature — with photography by Scott Van Dyke — drew an appreciable response and helped me understand the culture of modernism in the Palm Springs area. And it continues to gain momentum.

This month’s edition — our fourth annual Modernism Issue — continues to celebrate the architecture that has spawned Modernism Week, the Modernism Show at Palm Springs Convention Center, lectures and films at Palm Springs Art Museum and Camelot Theatres, and tours of iconic residential and commercial properties. For a Modernisn Week schedule, see the Desert Guide in this issue.

In “For the Love of the Land” (page 38), Morris Newman, a frequent architecture writer for the Los Angeles Times, revisits the work of John Lautner, the subject of an exhibition opening this month at Palm Springs Art Museum. And in “Out of the Shadow” (page 44), Newman introduces photographer Leland Lee, who at 91 years old will get his first solo exhibition at Michael H. Lord Gallery this month.

Dig the vibe and enjoy the treasures!


My neighbor came over with her copy of the January issue of Palm Springs Life, and to say that I was surprised to see our small Ducati club mentioned on the cover — with Bob Mackie and Diahann Carroll — is an understatement. Then to open your premier publication and see us on the second contents page really got my attention. And then the four pages of story and pictures just flat blew me away! The club’s vice president and I are just out of our minds with the possibilities that this article could do for our club.

We cannot thank Janice Kleinschmidt and Ethan Kaminsky enough for their hard work in putting together this fabulous article. This is truly a dream come true for our new group of Ducati enthusiasts. As soon as I can get some of extra copies, there will be one on its way to Ducati’s U.S. office and then another on its way to the main factory in Bologna, Italy.

This is a huge push for our small club to grow and teach riders how to be safe while riding sport bikes here in the Coachella Valley. There is enough bad press for motorcycles, and their riders, but Janice and Ethan did a masterful job or portraying us in a very positive way to the valley’s residents. Our sincere thanks for a wonderful issue — one that’s sure to be saved for the whole year with the “Best New Restaurants” article in your Dine Out section. I know I will be using it. Bravo!

Cathedral City


In the Social Datebook section of the November 2009 issue, we incorrectly credited the photograph of the Alzheimer’s Research Center fundraiser. The image was photographed by Maxine Pecard.

Comments to this website are moderated by staff. While all comments are welcome, we encourage all to be polite and please do not use this system for advertising or business promotions. Any complaint towards a business or service should be directed directly to that business and not posted here. If anyone has a complaint that a comment is defamatory, please contact me at tmay@palmspringslife.com and I will take appropriate action promptly. Thank You

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Palm Springs Life
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Women’s Council Of Realtors Hosts Boutique Fashion Show

The Palm Springs Desert Cities Chapter of the Women’s Council Of Realtors (WCR) will roll out the red carpet for its Seventh Annual Boutique Fashion Show and Luncheon on May 8 at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.

Intersecting Perspectives

While Moby might be best known for infectious DJ sets and his blend of electronica, trip pop, and rock that has sold millions of albums, he’s equally well-versed and respected in architecture and design.

Unstoppable Mickey Gilley Still Has Stories to Share at Stagecoach

Country legend Mickey Gilley is still on the road telling his life story featuring a 17 hit-song career, and the 79-year-old will stop when they put him “in that box.”

Aerial Vantage Point Brings New Perspective to Greater Palm Springs Golf Courses

Veteran Coachella Valley photographer Scott Avra brings desert golf courses to viewers from a whole new vantage point using drone technology.

Lilly Pulitzer for Target Home Collection to Hit Greater Palm Springs Stores

With the countdown underway to the Lilly for Target launch in the wee hours of April 19, it’s time to make your prioritized selections from the official Lookbook and create an action plan.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

GuestLife Magical Monterey Bay Experience

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2015 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.