Travel: Marilyn Monroe statue brings eternal 1950s flair to Palm Springs

Marilyn Monroe is spending the season in Palm Springs—all 26 feet of her. The public is invited to view this monumental sculpture by Seward Johnson anytime, 24 hours a day in downtown Palm Springs where until this year a Bank of America once stood at the corner of Palm Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon Drives. Her pose recreates that famous scene from “The Seven Year Itch,” when Monroe paused over a subway grate in New York on a steamy summer day in the mid-1950s with her white dress billowing as a whoosh of air suddenly lifted—and the rest is history.

“Her pose is so accurate that I could almost hear that whoosh of her skirt!” said Shaun Flagel, a tourist. “Other than the windmills I didn’t expect anything this large in the desert.” Flagel was in town to join the crowds for outdoor Marilyn Monroe movies that proved to be a huge success this summer. Monroe is helping usher in a new era of tourism for the desert, one delving deeply into mid-century modern architecture, entertainment and vintage hotels. Color is in and conformity is out for the moment.

Partnering in this effort is ShoPS (Small Hotels of Palm Springs), a collaboration of 26 vintage hotels scattered throughout Palm Springs, most with room counts under 50. The d/cor of these boutique enclaves harkens back to a digital-free time zone, and conventions are a rarity. Casa Cody, one of the hotels nearest to Marilyn, was founded in the 1920s by Harriet Cody, a cousin to Buffalo Bill. Spacious cottages in the adobe hacienda style prevail here. They casually surround two swimming pools, a whirlpool and lush gardens fragrant from citrus trees galore.

Hollywood legends visited here in the past (remember Lawrence Tibbett, the opera singer?) and during the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which is scheduled next year, Jan. 3-14, you might catch a glimpse of visiting stars from foreign countries who stay here (smallhotelsofpalmsprings.com).

 

 

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Delving into the Modernism movement, there is good news. For those who can’t wait until Modernism Week (an 11-day celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture and culture in Palm Springs) in February, a preview has been announced for Oct. 5-8 so that so-called Modernism “junkies” can get their fix before February.

DOCOMOMO National Tour Day, Oct. 8, kicks off four days of “enticing events.” DOCOMOMO is the complicated acronym for the international organization devoted to the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modernism movement. There are architecture tours given by double decker bus, an Annual Preservation Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Hotel and one event too esoteric to miss, the Modernism Week Cocktail Party at a yet-to-be disclosed private mid-century home. For more info, check out modernismweek.com.

A friendly tip: When the mercury rises to 115 degrees in the shade here in Palm Springs, the locals know the score. Hotel rates waiver in an unrestrained bid to attract those who might not otherwise visit the desert in the transitional month of October.

The new Palm Springs is a magnet for many people of all ages. In the October 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, Hermon Wouk, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, was asked “Where would you like to live,” and at age 97 he replied, “Realistically, Palm Springs.”

Pamela Price is the co-author of “Day Trips from Los Angeles” (globepequot.com) and serves on the Cathedral City Public Art Commission.

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13StarsManagerhttps://malibutimes.com
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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