Just a thought... Creativity takes courage. [Henri Matisse]
Hey - set the PVR (or as they call it down here, the DVR) and get set for the big Thanksgiving Day Parade, if you have little people to share it with.
Yes, it's a holiday down here in the US and we have a sort of Turkey Wellington ready to go, along with a sweet potato pie that pal Lisa and husband Derek brought when they arrived here on Sunday. We'll pair it with some whipped cream (unless it's a side dish as opposed to dessert). All I know is that it's Patti LaBelle's own brand and recipe and it's something obscene like 400 calories for an eighth of the pie, so...it's going to be sweet, all right.
Having Lisa and Derek here (from London, Ontario, where she's just made the same leap out of radio that I did two years ago) has made us try to find our bearings really quickly. Just as doing a radio show in Victoria for nine months after we moved there made me figure out in a hurry where we were and what end was "up" (so that I could talk on the air about local things going on), having company has made us find interesting places to see and things to do.
It helps a lot when you have local knowledge and it turns out that our friends worked with a woman years ago who now calls Palm Springs home. She sent a list of things to do and see and restaurant recommendations, too, so we set out to cross a couple of those items off the list.
We sauntered up and down El Paseo, which is neighbouring Palm Desert's answer to posh Rodeo Drive. While we didn't buy anything, Rob and Derek spent time in a Tesla showroom, we moseyed through a few stores and Lisa clowned around with one of the whimsical artistic renderings that line the streets. We call this one, "Is there someone in my nose?"
Then we set the GPS to go to 1077 E Granvia Valmonte. It's a house - or we assume there's a house somewhere in there - set in the old Movie Colony section of Palm Springs once called home by such old time luminaries as Liberace and Dean Martin.
What's at 1077 E Granvia Valmonte? Well, it's a unique Palm Springs holiday attraction known as Robolights. We've all seen homes that go all out during the holidays. But this? This is something else. It has its own Facebook account and website. It's on Tripadvisor. And I have concocted my own story of how it came to be: the son or daughter of a rich Hollywood legend (now departed), was left this enormous property and decided to indulge in their passion of turning discarded items like old TVs, monitors or microwaves into creatures. Don't believe me?
Many of these Frankenstein's creations move, too, like the monstrously-sized rabbit here riding the grocery store motorcycle.
It's the stuff that a Stephen King novel is made of, I swear to you. Of course, some of it gets downright Christmassy and it's going to be open to the public for donations anyday now...
Even this shot from a distance doesn't capture the sheer enormity of this contemporary art installment now in its 30th year! There are more than 8.4 million lights on some four acres.
A man in his 60s out walking his dog just kind of shook his head and rolled his eyes when we asked what he thought of it. We're not the only ones who had to come and take a look - a local news crew was on the scene as well. And undoubtedly the crowds will grow exponentially as the holidays approach.
The real story behind Robolights can be found on its Facebook page. It is described as "the largest residential light display in the country created by artist Kenny Irwin" who is, as it turns out, a Muslim who doesn't mark the Christian holidays but who certainly makes them memorable for many.
The Desert Sun news website describes it as "beloved by some but a nuisance to others." There were attorneys working on its behalf (and it did open for the first time this year yesterday) and next year Mr. Irwin has to agree to put the exhibit at a commercial location instead of in this otherwise bucolic neighbourhood. Here's the view down the street.
Now that you've seen Robolights, who needs that Macy's parade today anyway, right?
Have a great one and tomorrow I'm going to start a Friday tradition from here to Christmas - and I may just help you with a gift idea or two, who knows?
(@erindavis on Twitter)