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Did You Really See Monroe in Palm Springs?


Yes I did. Early December of last year. (Happy New Year!).

Weather, 60’s—felt warmer in the sun who slid away from us early in the afternoon behind the San Jacinto mountains, leaving us shivering in the pool. Thus we spent the majority of wet time in the spa, with a plastic pitcher of white wine for company.

The town is small, comparatively speaking, accessed by the open-air Palm Springs Airport, where cell service is intentionally spotty to prevent people from ordering Ubers and Lyfts. Not a problem, as cabs are cheaper, depending on where you are going. We stayed at the Palm Springs Tennis club, a venerable resort tucked up against a ruggedly imposting ridge on the west side. We don’t play tennis, my best buddy girlfriend and I, nor pickle ball, but the rooms are adequate and affordable in the off-off season first week of December, before holiday transplants move back into town, and after fall tourists have melted away to Iowa, New York, and Bavaria. We had kitchens, a plus in a town where the cost of your average fish taco lunch pushes twenty dollars. Always get the doggy bag.

Marilyn is back in town. PS leaders built a park, miraculously (police patrols, German shepherds?) bereft of the numerous houseless folks residing in the city, where her 26 foot tall, stainless steel and aluminum John Seward Johnson II sculpture stands in the iconic white dress (William Travilla) from the iconic 1955 Billy Wilder film The Seven Year Itch. You know the one, unless you are five years-old or lived in an isolation chamber for the last 70 years. New York Subway? Tom Ewell’s goggle eyed stare?

Whether you think the sculpture is art, or misogynistic, or commercialist, or a Twentieth century signature moment frozen in time, it’s pretty amazing. I didn’t know it was there when we came upon it one night, traveling on foot—car rentals in PS are insanely expensive right now—from the best meal ever at the Pig and Rooster back to our hotel. I’d never heard of it. Tourists or maybe locals, who knows? were circling with phones raised. One exhibitionist—there are a lot of these sorts in PS—posed behind her, gazing with mischief up the back of her dress. I’ve read you can’t see anything revealing there. I stayed back and snapped a blurry-night image on my iPhone.

Here’s a chance to plug my book, The Monroe Test, a romantic-thriller featuring a bit of Monroe mythology available on the BVC store. And what’s a Monroe themed book with without romance?

Besides sampling the Palm Springs atmosphere of mid-century modern design, we hiked. Tahquitz Falls, on Aqua Caliente Indian land, is easily accessed from the city and therefore madly popular during busy seasons. Palm Canyon, one of Indian Canyon’s many trails, is mystically beautiful. If you hike out far enough, you leave the day-trippers behind. And reachable with Lyft or Uber drivers who like to cruise out there.

And where to get the best grilled chicken (thigh, not breast—yeah!) avocado sandwich in the world is Cheeky’s downtown. Prepare to wait for a table but it’s worth it. Good for two meals, too! (A doggy bag meal.)

I’m getting hungry now, and am glad that just the other day I re-watched The Seven Year Itch on the Criterion Channel. Monroe lives!


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