January 13, 2015

Movie Madness and Good Times in Palm Springs

Betty and I are just back from a fabulous time in the California desert. Palm Springs hosts an internationally known film festival each January. Over the course of 10 days, over 190 new movies and documentaries are screened, celebs dash in and out from Hollywood to be seen and promote a project, galleries and restaurants are overflowing......in short something very glamorous, exciting, and quite different from events Betty and I normally attend. 

All the movies shown are listed on a giant grid...an overwhelming abundance of choices.

We loved it. Invited by RV buddies Mike & Tamara Reddy to join them at this year's festival, we drove from Scottsdale to the city made famous by movie stars who spent their vacations and winters here. Mike and Tamara made their way from Orange County to meet us at an RV park just south of downtown.

For five busy days we watched some tremendous (and one not so tremendous) new films. We had dinners that ranged from a simple deli or pizza place to a lively and exciting dinner at glamorous Lulu's.

A peak through the trees at Cary Grant's Home

Together we did a walking tour of one of the neighborhoods where movie stars of the golden days of Hollywood lived part of each year. We peered through the gates at the homes of Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Jack Benny. We experienced Village Fest, where several blocks of downtown become a  feast of sights, sounds, and food every Thursday night. 

We saw films that may or may not show up at your local theater at some point. Each was thought provoking and very different from each other. It was quite interesting to discuss our feelings after the movie. One that I disliked Betty liked a lot. As we talked about the reasons for our reactions, I suddenly understood what I had missed and she had seen - and I had a new appreciation for that film.

We spent a few hours at the Palm Springs Art Museum, a beautiful building with some stunning works. That experience became much more meaningful because of the tremendous commentary of our guide. He gave us insights we would never have had on our own. He showed us how to look at something with a fresh perspective, and walk away with a totally different understanding of the artist's intent and its affect on us.

While The Reddy's hiked a few hundred miles (well, not that much but a lot), Betty and I set more modest goals: relax from a busy holiday season and set our sights on what our life should be in 2015. As you know from previous posts we are looking at some changes in several areas of our lives together, and the time away from home seemed a perfect time to discuss what is going on.

Besides the walking tour of the "movie" part of town we visited Sunnylands Gardens. This was one of the biggest surprises of our time in town. The Annenberg estate is one of the most beautiful places in America. But, more importantly, the couple who lived here donated hundreds of millions of dollars to important social causes. 

courtsey: palmspringslife.com
  They also opened their home to world leaders, presidents, and even British royalty to gather together to discuss world problems and craft political solutions. Even today, men and women seeking solutions to our most difficult problems gather together at Sunnylands. Every U.S. President from Eisenhower through Obama have spent time here with other world leaders. It was inspiring to learn what Walter and Leonore Annenberg had done with the wealth and opportunities life had given them.

Did we enjoy the festival and our time with Mike and Tamara? Enough that we already decided to spend a week there next year if all our schedules permit.
Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in Palm Springs comes home with us as memories and great times.

We had great weather

Temperatures around 70 made for a perfect stay 

One of the shorter lines waiting to see a movie

Starting my morning on the patio next to the RV

Good times together

Walking away until next year


  1. Hello, Thank you for an informative post about your trip. I really enjoy films, but I imagine I will never make it to the Palm Springs festival. Your post was almost like being there! I have certainly heard the name "Annenberg" because their foundation is one of the major sponsors of PBS and NPR programs. I was curious how he acquired his wealth and found that as a publisher he originated both "TV Guide" (against advice!) and "Seventeen" magazine. The former made him enormous profits, and I imagine the second did as well.

    Just wanted to let posters know that in response to the many comments and discussions surrounding the "stale" post, I went Sunday and finished up Red Cross Adult & Pediatric First Aid & CPR. A major part of the course is online. I would highly recommend it, as some of the information is relevant to personal and family care. But, this morning my stomach muscles are sore from doing CPR on plastic dolls!

    1. Congrats on finishing the Red Cross course. That is a good soreness.

      The Annenberg's were powerful, rich people who knew the importance to using their influence and resources well. I knew the name from their unflinching support of Richard Nixon during his decline and fall, but hadn't realized the depth of their philanthropic donations, including $500 million dollars to help strengthen public education.

  2. I love film festivals - this one sounded amazing and HUGE! Got a favorite?

    1. "A few cubic meters of love" was a a powerful story of love and culture clashes. It was an Afghan film set in Tehran. "Gente de Bien" was a Colombian film that spoke strongly about class distinctions and boundaries.

  3. Your trip to the film festival sounds exciting, and thanks for posting the photos so we could see what it was like in Palm Springs.

    1. If you are interested in exploring different kinds of movies than the type Hollywood churns out, a film festival is a great place to start. Most cities and many universities offer film festivals every year. The Phoenix Film Festival starts at the end of March and a local community college has one that starts in two weeks. Betty and I intend to attend both.

      I find the movie experience so much more enriching if I don't allow myself to exist on a diet of just escapist movies and fantasy adventure stories.