Sep '08 - Sep '11
Palm Springs! My friends’ band was playing a show at a fancy hotel in Palm Springs yesterday, and invited me along. I wasn’t TOO far behind in studio, and besides, how could I say no to an all-expenses-paid trip to the most insane town in the world! I knew the hotel we were going to was fancy, but I had no idea just how; we got there and were literally in a pool being fed frozen grapes and margaritas by models. Yeah, I was uncomfortable too. More on that later.
The drive to Palm Springs was great; my friend’s car doesn’t have air conditioning so we kept the windows down, which was probably good as it made the ramping up to desert heat gradual; and there was no traffic. There are some great sights on the way:
Le Mont Garbage
We didn’t have time to stop at the Pee Wee Herman dinosaurs in Cabazon, which are now bizarrely occupied by a creationist gift shop, but here are some pictures from my last time there:
Dino-urbanism siting relationship
Dino escape infrastructure
When my friend saw the gift shop's slogan, "By Chance or By Design?" on all their merch, he turned to us and said gravely and with complete seriousness, "guys, we're in a giant, creationist, dinosaur."
A lot of the way to PS is just billboards and infrastructure in unbearable heat:
Brazen Bawdy Burlesque
The desert is even trying to swallow the mountains
Palm Springs itself is really strange. It’s a small town arranged for miles on a strip, 1-2 stories high, with an enormous desert mountain in the background. It’s got a lot of fantastic modern architecture, but most of it is private, often in gated compounds.
The Visitors Center is in a great former gas station
It’s also probably the gayest city I’ve ever been to; though I haven’t been to Provincetown MA, I bet they’re about equivalent. There’s literally a storefront with a sign that says “GAY HOME LOANS”. Really, what’s not to like.
Much of life in PS seems to be spent around various pools, but they take it a step further: any time spent as a pedestrian or not around a pool is spent under misters, as in Las Vegas; a significant amount of which are most likely supplied by the guy I sat across from at the Enric Ruiz-Geli lecture.
Palm Springs urbanism is defined by mist delivery infrastructure
My friend’s show was at the Viceroy, which seems to be a luxuriously converted motel with little bungalows, and has apparently hosted Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, and FDR.
One of the Viceroy’s pools - my friends’ band is playing at the end
The scene was one of carefully engineered hedonism - there were unlimited free margaritas and beers, and women in those absurd stripper leotards (which, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think signify pretty much only female oppression?) carried endless trays of fruit, which were followed up by cups of actually very delicious fries, and later hot dogs, which I'm sure would have been officially described using the moniker "upscale".
The offending articles
Yours Truly with my best friend, Free Margarita
Freed from my middle class guilt around service, my vision of paradise was allowed to manifest itself - a bucket of beers on ice with frozen grapes by the pool
My friend was making 90210 jokes between songs but no one was getting them so he referenced The OC and everyone gave a sigh of relief
The woman in charge of “gifting” (that’s a job, apparently) gave my friends a bunch of that disgusting Ed Hardy crap with the fake tattoos all over it - but don’t worry, they’re selling it on ebay. They even had branded scooters - ‘in this economy!’
We ended up feeling a bit sick and headed home. You’d probably say it was due to the margs, but I think it was too much absurdity; I try to defend the complexity and experimental intellectual foment of Los Angeles, but this was pretty much everything we’re attacked for… and I kind of enjoyed myself! Let’s just call it “My Little Secret In The Desert”.
A beautiful sunset guided our way back to LA, unfortunately through Coachella traffic