Sunday, 16 February 2014

Palm Springs - Architecture and Dates

Last night after a lovely dinner at Thai Smile we did the  Mid Century Modern self driving tour. This is an event of the Modernism  Week 2014 Festival which involves tours, lectures etc. However many of the events are sold out or not convenient for our laid back style (in short they are too early in the morning for us!). This component involved downloading a map from the website and driving around after 5pm on a couple of designated nights. That seemed like a good fit.

The buildings, all on the same street, were all commercial. On the side of each one was an illuminated projection of the architects name and date it was completed. The oldest was built in 1925 and the newest in 1964. There was also a new building that followed the architectural style. Mid Century modernism refers largely to the post war buildings that utilized the technology of the time, cement, iron beams, large expanses of glass to provide large open spaces, bringing the outside in, embracing nature and natural flow. Think of the curvy, retro chairs that are so in demand now.
This was formerly a U.S.Post Office. Built in 1950.

The buildings tend to have lots of glass and beams that extend from the large inside spaces to the extensive patio roofs. There seems to be a substyle of desert mid century architecture that has even more emphasis on the outside space. Palm Springs, as it developed, for the wealthy, in the post war years has a large number of these buildings and kept prominent architects of the time busy.

We were unusually late last night as not only did we do some shopping downtown, ate dinner, drove the illuminated tour but we also managed to send Anita into a gay bar for directions and went into a nightclub at Hard Rock Hotel (wristband and everything).

This morning after taking Bentley for a walk around the neighbourhood we drove to Indio for the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival. We were in a rush to get there for the camel and ostrich races.
And their off. Number 3, Sheba, won, but she was on the inside.
After the race the camels were bought over to the stands so we could admire them, take
pictures and ask questions.
The ostriches, who had races earlier, didn't want to do anything but sit in the sand
and flick dust over themselves.
We wandered the fair amazed by the huge portions at the food booths. We looked at the exhibits of judged dates, baked goods and citrus fruit and generally enjoyed that it was not overly hot or overly crowded.
As always the palm trees and mountains for a backdrop.
After about 5 hours at the fair, where we ate a huge donut and a small salad, we stopped at Shields Date Farm on the way home. We had a date shake there and watched "The Romance and Sex of the California Date". I learned how difficult it is to grow dates; the flowers have to be pollinated by hand, and huge ladders are permanently attached to the palms to assist with this, the ongoing caring for and final picking of the dates. 95% of the dates grown in the US are grown in this valley.

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