A few weeks ago, The Hula Girls were asked to come to Palm Springs and perform at the Donald Wexler-designed, Royal Hawaiian Estates. It was a benefit for the Estates, during a party for Modernism Week.
We decided to make a short vacation out of it!
...of course we had to make a pit stop at the Cabazon Dinosaurs that were immortalized in "PeeWee's Big Adventure."
Unfortunately, we couldn't tell anyone that 'Large Marge sent us' because it looks like the famous diner had sadly been knocked down. It's too bad too... for years, it stood looking very period correct.
At least the sign is still there, right?
Arriving into town, I just had to swing by and grab photos or some of my favorite mid-century buildings... Like the incredible 1947, William Cody-designed Del Marcos hotel.
The Aloha Hotel... better looking from a distance than up close. I don't think you could pay me to stay here. But I do like the sign and the architecture!
A little further down Palm Canyon Drive, my girlfriend and I arrived at a hotel that I've been checking in to since about 2003. Original home of Tiki Oasis and more recently home to the Tiki Caliente weekender, the Caliente Tropics motel.
The hotel has been in varying states of quality depending on the different owners who have held court over the place... Right now, it seems to be in good hands! Their key cards have different theme appropriate photos on them, including one with a photo of my buddy, Mike Collins' Cadillac in front of the iconic a-frame. The rooms are clean and the staff attentive!
The Hula Girls' friend, Tiki Ray, carved a new tiki to stand guard at the front of the hotel entrance.
More tikis on the grounds of the 1964-built Tropics motel.
Some, in better shape....
And a whole bunch of relatively new ones carved by legendary modern tiki artist, Bosko.
And a mix of new and old.
The tiki in the foreground, carved by Ed Crismann in the 1960s.
And the vintage cabanas... I remember Danny Gallardo vending in one of those during Tiki Oasis 3 or 4... Almost 15 years ago. Yikes!
The desert oasis, encroaching on the cabanas...
With a crazy rain storm going on in coastal Southern California, and mild weather in Palm Springs, we decided to have a pool day.
Ashlyn Coco with the iconic trademark tiki.
You may be familiar with this tiki from staying at the hotel or from visiting during a weekender, but did you know that that tiki had a BODY?? I found this out a few years back when someone posted an old photo of it on Tiki Central...
If Ashlyn is about 5'6"... then that tiki, WITH the body, must have been 15-20 feet tall!
I wonder what happened to the body??
A smaller Crissmann tiki savagely looks on...
This weekend turned out to be the soft opening of Rory Snyder's newly reimagined Reef bar! The drinks and food were both great!
This cement piling was carved by Crazy Al with an angle grinder.
After that, it was dinner at the incredible Melvyn's, at the Ingleside Inn, followed by cocktails at the Tonga Hut.
Inside the Tonga Hut, Palm Springs. Art by Danny Gallardo.
...including a stop at Elvis' Honeymoon Hideaway, where Elvis and Priscilla lived from '66 to '67.
I love these 'floating' circular steps. Till this day, I had never seen them with the water running.
Would you look at the size of the front doors?? The door knobs are unusually low as well. Actully all of the light switches and fixtures are set at the height 'where your hand naturally falls'... Though they all felt low to me and I'm pretty sure that Elvis was quite a bit taller than I am.
...his built-in continuous 64 foot leather upholstered sofa in the sunken living room.
Oh right... like I WASN'T gong to pick up that guitar??
...on a couch that Elvis surely played guitar?? Right.
...the jukebox that Elvis played when he lived in the home.
His indoor barbecue...
...and Elvis' bed.
After all of that, it was time for the reason that we were in Palm Springs.
We returned to the Caliente Tropics hotel so that I could grab my guitars...
...walked across the street and passed this amazing breezeblock wall...
...and arrived at the Royal Hawaiian Estates!
After soundcheck, our girls, Ginger and Haylee, lounged in our 'green room', the beautiful home of event producer, Jaymi Gottfried.
The decor!!! Like a dream for me...
Ginger, in a fantasyland from a mythical time...
Meanwhile, they boys got 'primed' for the show, back at the Reef bar at the Tropics.
The torches were lit at the big tiki by the pool!
Jungle Doug Sanborn, Shorty Poole, me (Spike), and Gary Brandin
Then it was time for the show! Shag illustrated us in the souvenir brochure!
It was a great crowd to perform for. Lots of dancing! More than just Ginger and Haylee!
...though everyone did seem to enjoy them as well!
I thought it was appropriate to play my 1966 Venture's Model Moserite in Palm Springs for Modernism Week.
Thanks to the LA Weekly for the live photos.
We really had a blast performing at the Royal Hawaiian Estates and hope to do it again, sooner than later!!
The next day, Ashlyn and I stopped off at my buddy's shop on the way out of town. If you ever find yourself in Palm Springs, swing by Dazzle's from some great rare vintage items. He has a small tiki section but a ginormous collection of women's broaches, vintage bakelite, and cufflinks... I bought a patio set from him once, about ten years ago!
Ashlyn especially likes his filled-in flamingo pool!
Hope you enjoyed our little photo journal. We had a blast!
Till next time, Palm Springs, we love ya!