5 virtual events not to miss



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Modernism Week’s fall preview won’t include any in-person events due to COVID-19, but the celebration of mid-century architecture and design is still happening online. 

The annual event typically draws mid-century modern architecture fans to the Palm Springs area for home and neighborhood tours, lectures and parties that offer a taste of education and preservation efforts ahead of Modernism Week. 

Modernism Week Executive Director Lisa Vossler Smith said staff moved quickly to prepare content for the fall preview. 

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The Edris House sits nestled high on an alluvial fan below Mt. San Jacinto. The architecturally significant home was designed and built by E. Stewart Williams and will be a featured home during this year’s Palm Springs Modernism Week. (Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

“We want to bring the best of Palm Springs and the best of modern design around the country and internationally to our online programming,” Vossler Smith said. 

Virtual programs will be available to purchase and stream Oct. 15-31 at modernismweek.com and include a variety of the tours, architecture talks — even a happy hour — that attendees are accustomed to. 

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The 15th annualModernism Week is slated to be held online Feb. 11-21, 2021.

Vossler Smith said the team is already “planning ahead for February to have an even more expanded online schedule.”

Last year, Modernism Week attracted an estimated 152,000 attendees and generated an estimated economic impact of $57 million for area hotels, shops, restaurants and other local businesses. 

In the meantime, here are five highlights of the Modernism Week fall preview that you don’t want to miss this week:

Modernism Week Signature Home Tour Video Series ($35) 


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Before the pandemic, Modernism Week’s home tours allowed 200 guests to walk through a single property. Modernism lovers around the world will be able to go through these homes on a virtual platform this week.

The “Modernism Week Signature Home Tour Video Series” is a 70-minute, pre-recorded video tour that features five significant Palm Springs homes, taking viewers inside their interiors, gardens and grounds.

One of the homes on the tour will be the Edris House, which was designed by Palm Springs architect E. Stewart Williams during the 1950s. The three-bedroom home’s wooden exterior and floor-to-ceiling glass windows mend into the desert landscape and bring the outdoors inside. 

Charles Phoenix Virtual Tour of Palm Springsland ($35)

Mid-century pop culture expert Charles Phoenix, known for his classic car “Joyride” videos, will be hosting a 40-minute show-and-tell tour of Palm Springs landmarks and architecture during the “Charles Phoenix Virtual Tour of Palm Springsland.” 

“Charles is a wonderful entertainer and lover of Americana, particularly the ’50s and ’60s,” said Vossler Smith.

Phoenix has also appeared on shows such as “Jay Leno’s Garage,” “Martha Stewart” and “Storage Wars.” 

Fast Forward: Designing the Future of Palm Springs ($25)

“Fast Forward: Designing the Future of Palm Springs” is a six-hour program split over three segments that will be presented by the Palm Springs Architecture Alliance, which is made up of nationally acclaimed educators, historians, architects and more. They will present solutions to the challenges of development and preservation in Palm Springs.

Vossler Smith said discussions also will include Spanish and Mediterranean design in the city. 

“(Development and design) is always a hot topic and we’re not just talking about mid-century modern when you consider the history of Palm Springs,” said Vossler Smith. 

Mod With A Twist ($15)

“Mod With a Twist” is a series of five, 10-minute long episodes on entertaining modernism-related subjects, such as “The Real Mad Men,” “Power Couples of Design,” “HiFi Living,” “Think Pink” and “Pointing to the Way of Change — Bullet Bras.”

Local celebrity presenters include Palm Springs Modern Committee board member Bob Bogard, designers Richard and Debra Hovel, and marketing consultant Juli Cavnar. 

“We’re creating a virtual experience where these are pre-recorded video segments that are infotainment. They’re informative but also entertaining short talks about different aspects of mid-century culture,” said Vossler Smith. 

Vossler Smith said these events will typically occur around the early evening, during happy hour. 

Live From the Zoom Zoom Room ($5)

Enjoy a fun-filled, virtual happy hour at 6 p.m. on Oct. 16 with a modernism mixology lesson, architecture trivia, stories and surprises. “Live From the Zoom Zoom Room” will be hosted by children’s entertainment producer Kellee McQuinn with music by DJ Baz.

This is the only live event of the virtual program. 

“We hope all of our friends will make their own cocktail and join us from their own safe space, and still be able to mingle,” said Vossler Smith. 

Desert Sun reporter Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bblueskye. Support local news, subscribe to The Desert Sun.

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Wednesday November 2, 2022