Modernism Week – Vintage Airstream Trailer Tours

IMG_7181The closing weekend of Palm Springs Modernism Week featured two days of vintage airstream tours. Dozens of people hauled their restored travel trailers here for us to line up to take a peek inside at their handiwork.

IMG_7144The Decoliner looked like it landed here from another planet. (It was Oregon, actually.) Randy Grubb builds amazing custom cars — Jay Leno bought one — and he made this beauty in 20 months with the front cab of a 1950 COE, 455 Oldsmobile engine, and 1973 GMC motor home chassis.

IMG_7146The inside of it was just as groovy. Those little windows are part of the stairs that lead up to the flying bride. That’s right, you can drive it from the top.

IMG_7153Each trailer had its own unique style. One of my favorites was this 18-foot-long 1964 Airstream Bambi Two, probably because it reminds me of an Anthropologie store. The design was inspired by the Sierra Foothills and the modular furniture was made from salvaged local wood.

IMG_7162Owner Kristiana Spaulding rents out the trailer for commercial shoots and special events, plus she designs jewelry featuring (what else?) trailers. We also saw other airstream enthusiasts turning their passion into businesses by selling themed magnets and t-shirts.

IMG_7205It’s so easy to admire these shiny symbols of the open road (with a few of the comforts of home). RV connoisseurs would have been excited to see this rare (so I’ve read) 1965 Dethleffs Beduin, but I was more thrilled with what I spotted inside.

IMG_7199There was a retro tableau set up in the dining area, complete with ceramic tikis. They looked great with the tropical plant print on the seats.

IMG_7224The Palm Springs High School band program had set up a bake sale and there were also vendors like Vintage Roadside and a dude that made these neat neon signs (and whose business card I’ve unfortunately misplaced). Airstream Life magazine had organized this event for the past three years, but this was the last time they’ll be directly involved. I’m hoping next year will be just as memorable. (Oh yes, we’ll be back.)


Dazzles Vintage Store – Palm Springs, CA

IMG_7036After our Modernism Week architecture bus tour, my cohort and I started walking up Palm Canyon Drive to get a closer look at the tiki torches from Don the Beachcomber Palm Springs. About a block before we reached them, we stopped in our tracks when we spotted these two tikis out by the sidewalk.

IMG_7004They ended up serving their purpose, which was drawing us into Dazzles, a vintage store that we otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. It’s set back from the street in what appears to be a converted motel or apartment building that they share with a dentist’s office.

IMG_7015The first rooms you encounter are filled with knickknacks like macramé owls, resin grape clusters and this lovely Venus rain lamp. Make sure to keep exploring the rest of the building because this is just scratching the surface of their selection.

IMG_7016The tiki bar at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe no longer exists, but back in the day they produced so many mugs that they’re not all that uncommon to find. I also saw a couple peanut lined face mugs marked at $20 a piece.

In the central courtyard there was an empty swimming pool surrounded by for-sale patio furniture and more palm tikis. On the north side are open doorways leading to still more rooms that are also part of Dazzles.

IMG_7026Here’s where we really hit the jackpot of neat stuff — so many stacks of furniture and art that we had to be careful not to knock anything over. There’s also a large case of bakelite and costume jewelry that Yelpers seem to be quite fond of.

IMG_7027Hello, gorgeous! That’s a nice pair of…barstools. (I was referring to that tiki bar there in the middle, of course.)

I liked these matching restored rattan rocking chairs, but at five grand for the pair they were a wee bit out of my price range. Just like me to pick out the expensive items, but there were tons of other more wallet-friendly finds, including rattan side tables, coffee tables, wine racks and lamps.

IMG_7032Dazzles is just one of many mid-century modern shops in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District, which the Los Angeles Times recently blogged about. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the Shag Store and Trio Restaurant.


1035 North Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Modernism Week – The Contemporary Idol Art Show

IMG_7142Last month, M Modern gallery in Palm Springs celebrated Modernism Week with openings for two new art exhibitions. The Contemporary Idol featured work from “20 artists interpret(ing) primitive art in the modern habitat.”

A tiki art show at M Modern just wouldn’t be complete without a contribution from Shag. Naturally it had a little red “sold” dot next to it.

IMG_7040Derek Yaniger and Doug Horne were more familiar faces from The Book of Tiki 10th Anniversary exhibition at M Modern from awhile back, which is not surprising since author Sven Kirsten also curated this show.

IMG_7043The home decor aspect of the exhibition’s theme was emphasized by these tiki lamps courtesy of Jim “Polynesiac” DePompei. I especially liked the Andres Bumatay-style one on the left.

IMG_7058This “Twin Tangaroa Trio” is by Lake Surfer, whose carvings have appeared in Trader Vic’s Chicago and the Foundation Tiki Bar in Milwaukee. As there’s a lack of palm trees in his present homeland Wisconsin, he uses hardwoods like oak and maple, which give his work a distinctive look.

IMG_7054The pièces de résistance were undoubtedly the two intricate wood collages (“Face to Face” on left) from Leroy Schmaltz, “godfather of all tiki carvers” and co-founder of Oceanic Arts. It was also very appropriate for Ken Pleasant to be represented (“Irony” on right) since he carries on the aesthetic of Witco, the company that popularized primitive-style furniture in the 1960s. (See: Tiki Modern)

IMG_7076Dawn Frasier‘s paintings have such a beautiful, ethereal quality to them. “The Mystical Order of Mu” was part of this group show, but she also had a few other pieces on display.

IMG_7125The other new exhibition was called Modern Moods, a solo show from Bosko Hrnjak. I already dig his straightforward mid-century modern settings, but this one (“Sector 9”) gave it a fun sci-fi twist with a crash-landed spaceship and the sly suggestion of a future government cover-up.