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USModernist Presents Modapalooza Celebrating Palm Springs Modernism

Tours, Parties, and Martini Lessons Benefit Modernist Preservation and Documentation

Saturday-Thursday, February 17th-22nd

Modapalooza features prominent Modernist homes in Palm Springs including the Kirk and Anne Douglas House (left), the Christopher Kennedy Forever Home (center), and the Palevsky House (right). Images courtesy of US Modernist (Kirk Douglas and Palevsky) and Public 311 Design (Christopher Kennedy).

Click here for additional high-resolution images.

PALM SPRINGS, CA: Among the Palm Springs Modern events to attend are the Modapalooza tours and parties in homes by Modern and contemporary talents: Donald Wexler, FAIA, Craig Ellwood, and Christopher Kennedy. Benefitting USModernist®, America’s largest open resource for Modernist architecture, Modapalooza events occur February 17-22, 2024, and include VIP options. To get people in the party mood, USModernist also offers martini classes with Australian Phillip Jones, aka The Martini Whisperer.

Kirk and Anne Douglas House

Tours: Sunday, February 18th, 10:00 am-4:00 pm, every 40 minutes

Sunset Cocktail Party: Wednesday, February 21st, 5:00-7:00 pm

Designed by Donald Wexler, FAIA, and Richard Harrison in 1954, in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs, this 4,000-square-foot home was a vacation spot for the famed actor Kirk Douglas, his wife Anne, and their family until 1999. The home was purchased and renovated by Diane Bald, an architect and design director of Roots, which she and husband Michael Budman co-founded. Behind stone walls and gates, the main house has beamed ceilings, Saltillo tile floors, and flagstone-lined foyer. Outdoors, intricately landscaped grounds include various patios, garden atrium, saltwater swimming pool, and a tennis court that backs up to what was once Dinah Shore’s house, and which is now Leonardo DiCaprio’s. At the Sunset Cocktail Party, special guests include prolific architecture documentary filmmaker Jake Gorst and the Purple Room’s jazz singer Rose Mallett.

Palevsky House

Tours: Monday, February 19th, 10:00 am-4:00 pm, every 40 minutes

Sunset Cocktail Party: Monday, February 19th, 4:30-6:30 pm

Craig Ellwood designed this 1971 house—rarely open to the public—for Max Palevsky in Palm Springs, having designed Palevsky’s Fifth Avenue apartment at New York’s Sherry-Netherland Building (1960) as well as the headquarters for his business Scientific Data Systems in El Segundo, CA (1966). Inspired by a trip to Morocco that the Ellwoods and Palevskys took together, the main and guest houses offer Palevsky’s desired privacy behind whitewashed walls. Palevsky was an art collector, venture capitalist, philanthropist, and computer technology pioneer—and the house is still owned by the family today. Ellwood’s daughter Erin, who is working on a documentary about her father’s life and career, will be a special guest at the Sunset Cocktail Party.

The Christopher Kennedy Forever Home

Tours: Thursday, February 22nd, 10:00 am-4:00 pm, every 40 minutes

Sunset Cocktail Party: Thursday, February 22nd, 4:30-6:00 pm

Interior designer Christopher Kennedy purchased this 3,160-square-foot home in 2020 and embarked on a full remodel. He’s known for completely transforming Palm Springs houses, bringing them back to their original Midcentury Modern glory with sustainable materials. He’s done that with his own house originally built in 1978 that’s situated on a golf course in the historic Indian Canyons neighborhood. Guests at the Sunset Cocktail Party will meet Kennedy, who is the author of two design books: California Modern (Fashion + Décor, 2015) and Making Midcentury Modern (Gibbs Smith, 2017).

Shaken vs. Stirred: Martini Classes with The Martini Whisperer, Phillip Jones

Saturday-Monday, February 17th to 19th; 12:00 pm or 2:00 pm

Skylark Hotel, 1466 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

Originally constructed in 1955, the Skylark Hotel Palm Springs has been meticulously restored to nuance the style and character of the Midcentury Modern era. Ninety-minute group classes by martini expert Phillip Jones, who travels all the way from Australia’s capital, Canberra, will be fun and full of spirit(s). Classes are sponsored by Vermont Spirits, makers of gin, vodka, and bourbon.

Golden Glam VIP Ticket

VIP tickets—which afford special entrance to all the homes and parties, plus a special gift bag—are available in limited supply. Included: VIP early admission to the Palevsky Sunset Cocktail Party on Monday, a special VIP Martini Whisperer class on Tuesday at 12:00 pm, VIP early admission to the Kirk and Anne Douglas House Sunset Cocktail Party on Wednesday, and VIP early admission to the Christopher Kennedy House Sunset Cocktail Party on Thursday.

Get tickets and additional information:

About USModernist

USModernist® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization that provides documentation for nearly every iconic Modernist house in America with the mission to educate the public to preserve Modernism. USModernist Radio—hosted by the organization’s founder, George Smart, Hon. AIA, along with co-host Tom Guild—engages worldwide architects, historians, and architectural patrons in lively conversation. USModernist Library, the world’s largest open searchable digital collection of major US 20th-century architecture magazines, is a priceless resource containing more than 4 million downloadable pages from publications dating from 1890 to the present.

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