The producers of Modernism Week – October have added some exciting new programs to the already robust schedule of events for the upcoming festival that will take place in Palm Springs, California from October 19-22, 2023. Newly added programs include an entertaining presentation by Charles Phoenix about vintage trailers, live musical acts by Lynda Kay, and The Jazz Cartel, a talk about architect Albert Frey at the Palm Springs Art Museum, a screening of the film “Back to the House of Tomorrow,” and a two-part Albert Frey documentary screening. Modernism Week – October is an annual 4-day festival that showcases midcentury modern architecture, design and culture in the Palm Springs area of Southern California. Much like its larger festival, Modernism Week in February, visitors travel to Palm Springs from around the globe to attend more than 50 events over four days, including many free and low-cost programs. Tickets for the events are available to purchase at modernismweek.com.
These are the newly added events for the October festival:
Cocktail Reception and Dinner
Saturday Night at the Sinatra Estate
Back by popular demand, guests will enjoy a taste of the good life at Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate. Attendees will have private access to the beautiful estate that Frank Sinatra called home in Palm Springs. The stunning 1947 residence designed by E. Stewart Williams will be the backdrop for a magnificent soiree where the tastes, sounds and sights will take attendees back to midcentury Palm Springs. Guests may explore the legendary house and property while enjoying a Sinatra-inspired pasta feast and potent libations provided by Lulu California Bistro.
Charles Phoenix: Big Retro Trailer Slide Show Live On Stage!
10/21/23, $65, $50
With his infectious enthusiasm, keen expertise, and eagle eye for oddball detail, Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix explores the leisure life and colorful style of trailers, trailer travel, trailer parks and trailerites in the 1950s and 60s in this spirited live performance celebrating classic and kitschy midcentury mobile homes and vintage travel trailers.
Atomic Ranch Tours: A Twin Palms Homeowners Journey
10/21, $65 (Tour and talk)
Atomic Ranch editor Jickie Torres will conduct a poolside chat with the owners of a newly remodeled home in the Twin Palms Estates neighborhood of Palm Springs. From the pink front door to the pink kitchen countertops, guests will tour and learn how the homeowners bridged original features with modern updates in a way that perfectly honors the midcentury modern aesthetic.
Atomic Ranch at the Kirk Douglas Estate: A Talk & Tour
Tour one of Palms Springs’ most storied modernist estates – the Kirk Douglas Estate, constructed in 1954 by master builder Bob Higgins and designed by Wexler & Harrison. This classic midcentury modern residence is a testament to where Old Hollywood glamour and visionary desert design combine to be the family getaway for actor Kirk Douglas and his family for more than 40 years. Guests will enjoy a poolside reception and talk led by Atomic Ranch editor, Jickie Torres, and art and collectibles experts from John Moran Auctioneers along with the homeowners with the creative minds behind the renovation and remodel and learn how the current owners carefully restored and gently updated the home to bring it back to its midcentury modern roots.
Albert Frey’s 1931 Aluminaire House and Its Influence on American Modernism
In anticipation of the Palm Springs Art Museum’s permanent installation of the 1931 Aluminaire House, architect Leo Marmol will talk about the impact this structure had on American Modernism design. The home was designed by Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher as part of the New York Architectural and Allied Arts Exposition in 1931. Constructed of prefabricated steel and aluminum components and designed following the principles set forth by Albert Frey’s mentor, Le Corbusier, the structure acted as a harbinger of American Modernism and the futuristic way of life it promised. The lecture will explore why Palm Springs supports Modern Architecture as the prevailing aesthetic as well as Frey’s relationship with the desert.
Modernism Week – October will offer three exciting live performances. Two shows will be offered at Jazzville at the Cascade Lounge in the Palm Springs Agua Caliente Casino. Participants will enjoy state-of-the-art sound and lighting with pristine acoustics and plush seating. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a 7 p.m. showtime. There is a full cash bar with no drink minimums, served throughout the show. Must be 21 or over. Both the casino and Cascade Lounge are non-smoking environments. The third performance will be offered in the Annenberg Theater as a show-only performance.
The Fabulous Lynda Kay
10/19, $75 in the Cascade Lounge
The fabulous Lynda Kay and her full band and backup singers will perform a genre-crossing mix of midcentury jazz and Burt Bacharach pop. This evening will offer classic midcentury songs along with selections from Kay’s new double album “Black & Gold.” Kay’s diverse contralto voice and has been compared to such exceptional talents as Pasty Cline, Karen Carpenter and Dusty Springfield.
The Jazz Cartel Live!
10/20, $75 in the Cascade Lounge
The Jazz Cartel is a dynamic 9-piece ensemble that captures the essence of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, with a unique and contemporary twist. The band’s scorching horns, captivating rhythm section, soulful organ, and smooth crooning vocals seamlessly fuse the classic charm of the 50s/60s with an electrifying modern edge. What began as a quintet has evolved into a dynamic 9-piece powerhouse, enhancing harmonies within the horn section and delivering an even more exhilarating and grand sonic experience.
Lizzy & The Triggermen at the Annenberg Theater!
10/21, $75 in the Annenberg Theatre of the Palm Springs Art Museum
Dubbed “10-piece jazz sensations” (LA Weekly) and “one of the hottest swing bands in LA” (Good Day LA), Lizzy & the Triggermen has been making waves since they burst onto the So Cal scene. True to their speakeasy vibe, the band first began performing in a legendary, secret club in LA. Word-of-mouth about their incredible live shows quickly spread, and soon they were headlining some of the top venues in L.A., including the Wiltern, the El Rey, and the Troubadour. Wailing horns, killer vocals, and lethal rhythm section, the band channels the electrifying swagger of the big band sound and makes it feel new and modern through a mixture of originals and re-imagined vintage gems. Deeply rooted in the sound and swagger of bands like Basie and Ellington, their music is infused with a myriad of unexpected influences: from R&B to Bebop to Broadway to Indie Rock to even opera.
Back to the House of Tomorrow
Back by popular demand, Back to the House of Tomorrow tells the story of a house important for its role in Palm Springs and Hollywood history, and for its personal themes of family and community, tragedy and renewal.
Perched like a spaceship on a Vista Las Palmas neighborhood hill in Palm Springs, the House of Tomorrow (1960) is one of the most photographed homes in the city. An architecturally and historically significant residence, the house was custom designed by desert modernist architect William Krisel, for the family of Helene and Robert Alexander of the famed Alexander Construction Company. This film explores the unique design of the house, memories of the Alexander family living in the home in the early ‘60s, the decline of the house over the decades, its controversial fame as the Elvis Presley Honeymoon Hideaway, and the return to its original glory with the completion of its restoration in 2023
Albert Frey: The Architectural Interpreter (Parts 1 and 2)
10/21, $15 for each or both for $25
Part 1: 9 – 10 am, Part 2: 10:30 am – 12 pm
In 1939, Swiss-born architect Albert Frey embarked on a decades-long journey of discovery. His world travels and love of nature would lead him to a new style of modernism in Palm Springs, California.
Part I is the first of a two-part film series produced by Design Onscreen and directed by Jake Gorst and explores Frey’s early life and work in Europe to his New York architectural accomplishments in the 1930s, including the famed Aluminaire House, the Canvas Weekend House, features of the New York Museum of Modern Art, as well as his Kocher-Samson Building in Palm Springs.
Part II continues to reveal the mystique of an influential architectural master and includes guest appearances of architectural historians including Beth Edwards Harris, Alan Hess, Joseph Rosa, and Janice Lyle.
In addition to the newly added events, tickets are still available for these popular events including:
· Albert Frey’s Palm Springs Mini-Coach Tour (10/21 and 10/22, $130)
Albert Frey was of major importance to American modern architecture. This new tour is a comprehensive exploration of the homes and buildings of this preeminent desert modernist architect.
· Legendary Palm Springs Commercial Architecture Bus Tour (10/19 – 21, $90)
This exciting new tour will take guests to Palm Springs’ most iconic business buildings including major banks, hotels and civic buildings.
· The Homes That Define Palm Springs Bus Tour (10/19 – 21, $90)
This 90-minute tour will showcase some of the most popular neighborhoods in Palm Springs, drawing attention to the most spectacular home styles, including pre-war Spanish Colonial Revival and a range of midcentury modern residential architectural styles.
· Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour (10/19 – 22, $120)
Modernism Week’s signature and popular bus tour provides guests with an overview of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs.
· Twilight Architectural Bus Tour (10/20 and 10/21, $60)
The Twilight Architectural Bus Tour provides guests with a 1-hour evening view of some of the most significant midcentury architectural treasures of Palm Springs.
· Sustainable Homes Tour (10/21, $75)
Tour seven High Desert sustainable homes. Learn about homes that not only generate their own power, but are doing it in style.
· Frank Sinatra’s “Twin Palms” Estate Tour (10/19, $50)
The Palm Springs Preservation Foundation will host a tour of Frank Sinatra’s storied “Twin Palms” estate, designed by modernist architect E. Stewart Williams in 1947.
· Twin Palms Guided Walking Tour: An Insider’s Perspective of the Desert’s First Modernist Neighborhood (10/19 – 10/22, $45)
Experience the desert’s first Modernist neighborhood on the only tour guided by a neighborhood resident, local author, and neighborhood organization founder.
· Preview Party for Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show (10/20, $95)
Beat the crowds and enjoy a festive wine reception and early buying opportunity at the Palm Springs Modernism Fall Show. Preview party tickets include return entry to the show all weekend. The show opens to the public on October 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and October 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily show tickets are $25 and include return entry.
· Midcentury Mixology Cocktail Clinic at Mr. Lyons (10/19 – 10/22, $75)
Join this spirited midcentury cocktail-making clinic at the historic Mr. Lyons restaurant.
· Curated Vintage Event (10/21, $25 and $15)
Retailers and private dealers showcase their finest vintage apparel, luxury items, textiles, jewelry, and accessories. This event is not to be missed for those whose fashion is their passion.
Modernism Week top sponsors include Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Brizo, Dunn-Edwards Paints, JennAir, Willis, Flor, and Hyatt Palm Springs. The City of Palm Springs is the Civic Presenting Sponsor. To receive Modernism Week updates, visit modernismweek.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and Twitter.
Modernism Week’s signature 11-day festival will take place February 15-25, 2024. Tickets will be available starting November 1 at 12 p.m. PST and may be viewed online starting October 25. To receive updates, visit modernismweek.com and sign up to receive the free M-Weekly newsletter.