The Albert Frey-designed former tramway gas station is now home to the Palm Springs Visitor Center. Photo credit: Gregg Felsen.
Fancy a design-driven winter getaway? Then head to Palm Springs Modernism Week, Feb. 16 – 26
You are ready to leave those winter blues behind… but sitting idly on the beach is not your thing? Head to Palm Springs for its 12th annual Modernism Week, a cool, iconic, annual celebration of mid-century modern design and architecture that takes place each February in Southern California’s hot gay destination. Story by Massimo Iacoboni.
Modernism Week offers a compelling combination of tours and film screenings, lectures and activities throughout the Coachella Valley, and with over 20 gay men-only resorts to chose from (ranging from swanky to modest and pricey to moderate), you’ll be able to combine that self-indulgent vacay you’ve been dreaming of with the glamorous pool-side shindigs and red-carpet affairs that have become the hallmark of this celebrated design celebration.
You will have over 300 events to chose from, ranging from all day excursions to nearby architectural hubs (Palm Desert, Claremont) and bohemian havens such as Joshua Tree (now home to dozens of Los Angeles’s most progressive art and design refugees), to dozens of celebrity house tours and lectures featuring some of the country’s foremost design and architecture glitterati.
Abernathy House is but one of the many architectural gems featured in dozens of home tours held during Modernism Week. Photo credit: Jake Holt.
Among the highlights: ’Modernism Week Opening Night Party,’ a chic red carpet affair with a 60s-era spy-movie theme, an homage to the James Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever,” which features a famous scene filmed at the Elrod House in Palm Springs, designed by John Lautner in 1968; a visit to nearby Bannon for cocktails at the beautifully restored, pristine vintage arcade at The Museum of Pinball., which features over 700 different pinball machines; and an homage to the art of travel itself, gay and not, at the amazing Vintage Trailer Show
WHERE WE STAY
Gay-owned and operated, Escape Palm Springs is a lovely1950’s property welcoming all but catering primarily to the gay male traveler. With a pool surrounded by spectacular views and tropical grounds, this intimate resort offers affordable and spacious rooms with small kitchenettes and an authentic mid-century modern vibe.
WHERE WE EAT
Re-awaken the carnivore in you at Mr. Lyons, a luxurious steak-house with a menu that puts small local farms first. Renovated in 2015 as a reimagining of the old Lyons English Grille (which had operated since 1938) the dining salon is pure old Hollywood glamour. If you’re looking for a more casual experience, but still want to experience the allure of days gone by, just head to the lounge for a cocktail (or two).
WHERE WE PLAY
The Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel hosts nightly themed events featuring experimental DJs and bands, drag entertainers and dance parties, such as the evocatively titled Soft Leather, a Pansexual dress to sweat event, on February 24 at 10 pm.