From San Fran to Palm Springs

Music is the journey a part of a path I walk down.  It’s the more exciting part of my life and I hope to continue to do it in whatever way I can.  Last year was a difficult year.  It was like dominos but I’m an optimistic and I will always look forward.  But I was rather numbed and so I couldn’t do much music.

Palm Springs, California Stephen H Willard unmarked

Palm Springs, California Stephen H Willard unmarked

So I don’t want to talk about the frustrations of rehearsing since October 2017 for the gigs that never happened in February (because Peter Murphy who I was supporting never got his visa) but rather speak of the amazing sights and smells and delights of the West Coast of America where I was travelling to anyway.  I told Peter I was not going to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge just yet!

Lettie at dawn at Baker Beach, San Francisco February 2018

Lettie at dawn at Baker Beach, San Francisco February 2018. She told Peter she wasn’t going to throw herself off the bridge over the cancelled gigs. Blame it on Trump!

For me San Francisco has to be one of the most extraordinary cities I have ever had the pleasure of getting lost in.  My legs actually hurt.  I have never had pain from walking so far and for so long and over so many hills!

San Francisco February 2018

Lettie walking around San Francisco where there was the warmest weather in years in February 2018

In addition to aimless walking I met the owner of, Lettie Maguire, who gave me the most amazing tour and background to the city. I also met 86 year old Stan Shaff and his son.  Stan’s Audium piece is performed on every Friday and Saturday and consists of one sitting in the dark and listening to 176 speakers playing out of this world music and every day sounds.

Palm Springs Weekend Cast Oscarcolour unknown date

Palm Springs Weekend Cast Oscarcolour unknown date

I then travelled to Palm Springs early at the weekend.  I suffered extreme culture shock or ‘car’ shock because without one you are stranded but thank god for my friends.  In fact, I was told it was even dangerous to walk.  The Tour de Palm Springs (which consisted of about 40 bicycles that I could see!) had started that week and unfortunately someone had run a pedestrian over.  The community is quite old and apparently despite the wide roads are at times not the safest drivers.  Here are some old postcards:

Greetings from Palm Springs California

The Palm Springs Plaza which is one of the picturesque shopping centres of America’s desert resort (Lower) The illuminated palms and world famous shops along Palm Canyon Drive make a spectacular sight at night

Greetings from Santos Catering and Restaurant published by Milton W. Jones

Greetings from SANTOS CATERING and RESTAURANT At your service on all occasions (Dexter Press NY)

Moorten Botanical Garden Photo Cactus Castle by Paul Pospesil (Dexter Press)

Moorten Botanical Garden Palm Springs Established 1938 – Showplace of desert lore with this resort city. Tree shaded nature trails welcome visitors among a thousand varieties of exotic cactus and other spectacular plants…Historic landmark “Desertland” is a residence of Patricia and “Cactus Slim” Moorten, desert plant specialists Photo:” Cactus Castle” in Palm Oasis

Palm Springs Spa and Mineral Springs Distributed by Mitock & Sons Mar 2 1968

Palm Springs Spa and Mineral Springs Indian Avenue and Tahquitz Drive Palm Springs – the most beautiful spa in the world. Utilizing the centuries of old famous hot natural mineral water springs of the Agua Caliente Indians

Red Skelton's Palm Springs Home

Red Skelton’s Palm Springs Home. This beautiful home faces the Fairways of the Famous Tamarisk Country Club

The beautiful home and swimming pool of Phil Harris and Alice Faye

The beautiful home of Phil Harris and Alice Faye which are so picturesquely situated on the grounds of the Thunderbird Country Club near Palm Springs.

The beautiful pool and luxurious buildings of the fabulous Shadow Mountain Club

Ariel Tramway Palm Springs California This picturesque pool adjoining the Racquet Club enjoys a fantastic view of the Mountains. Marlo Brando is seated on the springboard and Lucy Ball is sipping coffee with friends at the table on the right Color Photo by Gayle

Here is an article I found about Palm Springs and how it sprung up out of the desert not too far from Hollywood:

Whoopee Town from Picturegoer April 16 1955

Whoopee Town from Picturegoer April 16 1955

From Picturegoer April 16 1955

Whoopee Town from Picturegoer April 16 1955

I discovered more about it.  People would go there to get healthy and to cure TB.  The dry air being so good for the health.  Charlie Farrell and his wife Virginia Valli’s star’s of the silent era were no longer working so they decided to spend winters away from Hollywood and established The Raquet Club.  Later Lucille Ball settled there (along with other weekenders such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Red Skelton etc) with her Cuban husband Desi Arnaz who won a plot of land in a poker game.   To this day every other plot of land belongs to the American Indians who set up among other things casinos.  It means that the area is divided up and some plots are left empty.  It is fascinating to see this kind of urban development.  Also there is one swimming pool to every six people so I was very happy.    Apparently it uses up so much water from the Colorado river there are concerns for the future.  Palm Springs uses up more water than any other state in America.

I won’t bore you with all my tales suffice to say James ‘Gypsy’ Haake deserves a mention because at 86 years old he is the oldest cabaret artist in the world (was talent spotted by Mel Brooks in his fifties and when he’s in town always visits Oscar’s) and his show of impersonators was brilliant, funny and at times poignant.  I mean the guy who was Liza Minnelli was also Judy Garland and the performance was enough to make you cry!

Dan Gore's Carnival Cabaret Oscars Palm Springs

Dan Gore’s Carnival Cabaret Oscar’s Palm Springs

Palm Spring's New Hit Dinner Show!

Palm Spring’s New Hit Dinner Show with James GYPSY Haake

Other strange things and wonderful things.  Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideway (which is for sale sadly)…

Elvis Honeymoon Hideway.jpg

…and discovering what a Bear Convergence is but truthfully it was the company of friends who live in Palm Desert that made it the most memorable trip of recent years.

Southern California Sand Dunes color photo by Fred Clatworthy published Ferris H Scott, Santa Ana Calif

Southern California Sand Dunes color photo by Fred Clatworthy published Ferris H Scott, Santa Ana Calif

When I got home I watched a slew of Douglas Sirk films.  It couldn’t have been more appropriate and now I can’t stop dreaming about Rock Hudson.

It was David Baron‘s birthday in February (born on a leap year actually but celebrated on the 28th) so he released a song we found from the archives called ‘Save You‘.   You can buy it here.

I leave you with this video for ‘Save You’.  It was very emotional for me to create this film because it involved opening up old folders of photographs which was at times very upsetting.

I have travelled the world with Dolly inspired by Zena Dare’s The Lonely Doll.  It may sound juvenile and childlike but it gave for me a more interesting angle to thousands of photographs of just landscapes and things. This is in date order and encapsulates over 6 years.  These photographs are so precious to me and end up in Pioneertown, a place where Peter Murphy when he’s in town, plays.  As you can see she’s been slightly damaged along the way but there’s nothing I can do about that.  She’s getting older just like me.

Over and out.


About lettiemusic

Part time artist based in London
This entry was posted in David Baron, Lettie, Lettie Music, Postcards and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to From San Fran to Palm Springs

  1. A fabulous post, Lettie. Thank you.

  2. lettiemusic says:

    Thank you James! That means a lot to me…

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