With apologies to Audrey Hepburn, Palm Springs is always a good idea.
Especially in February.
“It’s got a great climate and it’s a great escape from rain or cold or snow,” says George Smart, founder and executive director of USModernist. “It’s been a holiday spot for 80 years, and there’s a huge contingent of people who come there from Canada and L.A.”
Smart should know. For years, he’s been organizing tours of Palm Springs midcentury modern homes. “It’s got more than anywhere else per square mile in the country,” he says.
Next year, though, USModernist – the nonprofit dedicated to a cult-like fascination with midcentury moderns – is branching out.
2024 marks the launch of Modapalooza Palm Springs, a new series of house tours, parties and special events.
It’s spread over six days, from Feb. 17-22, and it’s a self-guided affair that kicks off with mixology demonstrations from Phillip Jones, also known as the Martini Whisperer.
“He’s coming just for this from Australia, and he’ll do classes a couple of times a day,” Smart says. “He likes Palm Springs in February and he’s a big architecture fan.”
The finer points of his presentations? For starters, there’s gin versus vodka, shaken versus stirred, ice versus no ice and olives versus lemon twists.
Then there are the house tours. The Kirk and Anne Douglas estate will host nine different tours. The Palevsky House, designed Craig Ellwood, will host a sunset cocktail party on Monday, Feb. 19th.
And the Christopher Kennedy Forever Home – by the well-known Palm Springs interior designer who specializes in freshening up midcentury modern homes. This one, he designed for himself.
“There are three homes, three daytime tours and three nighttime parties,” Smart says. “It’s always a treat to get inside the house of a celebrity like Kirk Douglas, and a house not toured before like Palevsky’s and to meet Craig Kennedey and talk to him about interior design.”
It’s promises to be a highly anticipated and very popular six days. “We expect 500 people for each house and about 600 for the parties,” he says. “So there will be a total of 1,500 for the tours and 200 for each party.
The tours are $65 each and the parties are $200 each. All proceeds are to benefit USModernist’s documentation, preservation and promotional efforts.
Did we mention the Martini Whisperer?
He’ll be there for seven – count ’em, seven – sessions.
For more, go here.