By Frances Allen
I haven’t counted, but I would not be surprised if the Desert hosts more museums than festivals, although some of the smaller exhibits tend to get overlooked.
One of our Valley’s most underused cultural resources is the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. Founded 11 years ago in modest-sized accommodations of less than 1,600 square feet, the Agua Caliente Band or Cahuilla Indians began to collect and preserve stories and artifacts of the tribe, sharing them with local residents and visitors.
Today, the museum serves more than 18,000 visitors a year and includes quality exhibitions at the museum and at off-site locations, as well as lectures and hands-on experiences with Native American skills and crafts.
Perhaps the museum’s greatest accomplishment to date is its recognition as a regional and national resource by the Smithsonian Institution, the first Native American museum in the country to be so honored. This recognition provides for a mutual sharing of resources in collections, scholarship, programming and technical expertise enabling the museum to bring world-acclaimed Smithsonian exhibitions to the Coachella Valley.
With the on-set of fall, the museum recently announced its 2012-2013 season exhibitions, programs and festivals.
The current exhibition, titled “Visions of the Indian Canyons,” a photographic journey deep into the majestic beauty and historic controversies of the four main Indian canyons adjacent to Palm Springs, is closing Nov. 4. It will be replaced with a new exhibition: “Where are the Tipis … the changing perceptions about Indians.” It will open with a free public reception from 6 -8 p.m. The exhibition, which provides insights into past and present misinformation about Native Americans, will run through Oct. 20.
The upcoming season will also feature a Bird Song & Dance Festival on Jan. 26, and a five-day Native FilmFest starting Feb. 27, showcasing the finest in films by, about and staring Native Americans and other indigenous peoples worldwide.
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is located at 219 S. Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs and admission is free.
More information is available at (760) 778-1079.
Gals, put on your angora sweaters, saddle shoes and poodle skirts; and guys, slick back your hair (or what’s left of it) into a ‘DA’ and squeeze into your pencil-legged blue jeans, The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies will open its 2012-2013 season on Nov. 1, with tickets going on sale Sept. 24.
Once again audiences will be riveted and enthralled by the colorful, Broadway-style, lavishly costumed, stage presentations staring the Follies’ legendary chorus line of ‘Long-Legged Lovelies’ and ‘Follies Gentlemen.’
Headlining this season’s musical extravaganza will be Lorna Luft (Nov. 1 – Dec. 31), Lou Christie (Jan. 8 – Mar. 9) and Lesley Gore (Mar. 12 – May 19).
Tickets range upwards of $29 and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at (760) 327-0225.
It has finally sunk in: El Paseo is to the Desert what Rodeo Drive is to Beverly Hills, and more of the Southland’s up-scale establishments have gotten the message and are running with it … straight to a spot on El Paseo in Palm Desert.
Mastro’s, the high-end steak and seafood restaurant that is one of Beverly Hills’ favorite eateries, has had a lease on El Paseo restaurant space since 2007, but didn’t want to build it out until now, citing the poor economy as the reason.
Mastro’s has felt a sea-change, and the restaurant, with 150 new jobs, is now set for opening Nov. 2.
Also coming to El Paseo is a Wolfgang Puck Restaurant that is in its final construction stage.
Of course, a meal at one of these fine restaurants means you have to look your best. No problem; for that last minute hair and facial fix internationally-known Just Blow Drys (sic) and Wink Lash & Beauty Bar are putting out the welcome mat on El Paseo as well.
Donald Trump Offends Desert Dwellers Again
Things have not been perfect in the Desert the past week. Palm Springs’ iconic windmills were criticized as being ugly by no less a style expert than Donald Trump. The part-time birth certificate inspector, part-time self-proclaimed real estate developer, said that wind turbines have destroyed the entrance to Palm Springs.
Love them, or hate them, local residents have come to realize that the windmills are the beginning steps in a (eventually) less oil-dependent lifestyle, and like over-protective parents, fiercely defend them to outsiders.
While the self-Trumpeter is entitled to his opinion, Desert memories are not so short that they have forgotten the time Trump came to town in 2002. Then, against a background of fawning and giddiness unequalled since, Trump did a deal with the Twenty-nine Palms Band of Mission Indians to have Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts manage the Indian’s casino and have the name on the casino renamed to “Trump 29.”
The result: Trump’s company went bankrupt about four years later, the name of the casino reverted back to its original, Spotlight 29, all of which left me with one great souvenir tee-shirt.