Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joyeux Anniversaire!

Jeff and I rang in our 10th anniversary last month with a quick visit to one of our all time favorite and most sorely missed places of all time, Palm Springs!

Since our anniversary falls on the same week as Thanksgiving (Yes, I was originally wooed with leftover mashed potatoes!) we usually tend to stick close to home to avoid the nightmare of holiday travel, but this occasion seemed way too momentous not to celebrate properly, plus we've both been down with a touch of the sads this early winter and kind of needed a getaway, so we decided to scrape some pennies together and head for the suuun! Yes, we did end up on perpetually delayed flights full of screaming children, and got to spend the night in the SF airport on the way home, but it was absolutely worth it!

We were luckily able to snap up some really great off season rates, and spent our first night at the ridiculously cute Jonathan Adler designed Parker Palm Springs where we were upgraded to a patio room, and accidentally greeted with the cute dessert platter and champagne on ice arranged for the rooms previous occupants, so we were off to a pretty good start! We booked the Glutton's Delight, which was utterly silly and absolutely amazing all at once, basically a race to fit in as many super decadent meals as possible to make sure we used every last shred of our food credit over the course of 24 hours, which we managed to do, and then some, just under the wire! We had an absurd amount of food, including dinner at the super fabulous Mr Parker's (Where they also make a mean Old Fashioned!) surrounded by twinkly low lights and an amazing in-house art collection, a super fancy early morning coffee service for two and an extra extravagant mimosa soaked and candied fruit bedecked room service brunch on our sun-drenched mini patio just before check out time!

Here are a few snapshots from our stay, mostly via my beloved Instagram:
And a few slightly more epic vistas via the Parker website:
We spent the next couple of nights at the slightly more budget conscious (Thank you!) but equally adorable Ace Hotel & Swim Club where we pretty much instantly fell into full relaxation mode (and possibly slightly delayed food comas), lounging by the saltwater pool with our morning coffees, watching the crazy pink sun rise over the mountains, swanning to and from the hot tub in their cult-y robes and napping by the cute patio fireplace at dusk. Sooo perfect!
We also went on a ton of mini nature adventures around Palm Springs, like hopping the Aerial Tram up into the snowy mountaintops at sunset, hiking up to the Indian Canyons palm tree oasis, and visiting one of my new favorite places in all of Southern California, the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium, where I took so, so many photos of super rare cacti and succulents that it led to a mass exodus of my Instagram followers! Little do they know, I actually took a few hundred more on another camera, so here are a few of those too: And of course we had to run through practically every antique store in town, leading to a) maybe a new picker job spotting cute NW specific goods for one of the cutest shops in town, and b) my new all out obsession with the Ib Arborg Parrot Chair:
On our way out of town, we stopped in at the Palm Springs Art Museum for their awesome 60s and 70s Geometric Abstraction show, including my all time favorite early Judy Chicago, Rainbow Picket, a great Helen Frankenthaler (See below!) and a piece from one of Jeff's recent faves, Piero Dorazio. The museum itself, designed by Palm Springs architect E. Stewart Williams (See here for an adorable story about a jaunty sailor cap adorned Frank Sinatra commissioning his fancy new abode from him whilst enjoying an ice cream cone!) is an absolute mid-century modern gem (This blog has some great interior shots, including the perfectly 1974 tangerine orange restrooms!) and totally worthy of a visit all on it's own, complete with the original decor including the Panton-esque tangerine and olive carpets and a majestic poured concrete grand stairwell with what could only be the largest Sputnik Starburst chandelier all of the land: This stop kicked off the agenda for the rest of our trip, which mostly involved seeing as many of the Pacific Standard Time shows as humanly possible over the course of a few short days in a crazy whirlwind of nonstop art! I think I've discussed my obsession with Postwar California art movements here before, and the Pacific Standard Time initiative, spearheaded by the Getty Foundation, with the participation of 120+ other museums and galleries all across Southern California, just so happened to be a totally unprecedented convergence of absolutely all of my favorite art of all time, and most of the shows we had been dying to see just so happened to coincide with our trip, so we definitely couldn't pass up this possibly once in a lifetime opportunity to see it all in person! If you happen to be in, or are going to be in Southern California anytime soon, I would definitely, definitely recommend it! Here are a few of the highlights from the rest of our trip, in no particular order:

The flagship Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970 exhibition, amazing Greetings from LA, Artists and Publics, 1950-1980 ephemera show, and De Wain Valentine's Gray Column at the Getty! Here are our reflections in Gray Column as shot by Jeff, and a few of the smaller companion pieces in the show: Sage Organic Vegan Bistro cashew alfredo spinach basil raviolis, KindKreme honey chai / salted caramel raw brownie sundaes, telekinetic teen movie slumber parties and apple / champagne cocktails with one of our oldest and bestest mutual friends!

Discovering new favorite artists like Helen Pashgian, whose impossibly luminous resin pieces were on show both at the Ace Gallery Beverly Hills (Along with some early De Wain Valentine's!) and represented by a piece or two in most of the major museum shows; and new super fave Terry O'Shea at Cardwell Jimmerson whose dark, organic, and extra-smartassy work, despite also being cast resin based, was in a league all its own compared to the super glossy and super serious work of his contemporaries (Don't miss the story about how he "donated" a requested piece to LACMA by chucking it over the fence into the tar pits!)

Daily smoothies and a free Thanksgiving lunch buffet alongside Weird Al and tons of cute LA raw foodies at Cafe Gratitude, followed by chasing peacocks at the LA Arboretum and amazing vegan Chinese Thanksgiving dinner out in the Valley, via an unexpectedly awesome Yelp recommendation!

Basically the entirety of Phenomenal, the epic Light and Spaaace show at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, including tons of mind-bending James Turrell light wells, Robert Irwin, John McCracken, and my favorite Craig Kauffman, followed by fresh caught cute surf shack lobster chimichangas in La Jolla and a long drive up the coast at sunset!

The amazing ASCO retrospective (Imagine the Cockettes meets super tough proto-punk bubblegum performance art troupe meets renegade Echo Park urban planning committee!), the California Design show (Including a full scale replica of the Eames House living room!), and the Broad Contemporary at LACMA!

Kenneth Anger Icons and Under the Big Black Sun at MOCA!

Golden State of Craft at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, mostly featuring works from the Pasadena Art Museum's California Design exhibitions, whose catalogs are some of the most prized books in my collection! Here we are defying the strict no photos rule (Sorry guys!) to sneak a quick shot next to Pamela Weir-Quiton's Georgie Girl, which is not only probably my favorite piece in the entire California Design series, but one of my favorite things ever made in general: Finding the softest, slouchiest vintage Russian sailor shirt to end all vintage Russian sailor shirts at the impeccably curated Mohawk General Store, super extra discounted United Bamboo cat calendars at Opening Ceremony, and a super thematically appropriate mini collection of amateur resin art from our favorite semi-overpriced but always amazing LA antique mall on our way to the airport!

All in all, basically the best anniversary ever!

Here's to many, many more!

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