Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Palm Springs Gravel Festival!!!

Here in the desert, we are in the midst of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which sort of undermines the basis of this posting, but maybe not. Maybe it's the exception that proves the rule.

The Film Fest looks pretty cool. And I think I'll see about checking it out. But last Thursday, when That Cowboy and I decided--as we were encouraged to do by the local news--to take a walk through the first Palm Springs Village Fest Street Fair of the year, I think I caught my first glimpse of the proverbial man behind the curtain here in the desert city that I love.

So the First Palm Springs Village Fest Street Fair of the Year.

What might that involve?

They close off several blocks of downtown Palm Springs and set up lots of little booths selling things. Especially soap. (Given that cosmetic surgery is quite the burgeoning industry here in the Coachella Valley, I immediately thought about Fight Club, and it would take a lot now to convince me that there isn't a strong liposuction-soap making connection.) But basically, it was about the same deal as I have observed at the other Fests that I've attended since I've been here.

Consider the following...

Palm Springs Gay Pride Fest: The parade lasted all of forty-five minutes, and the largest contingents seemed to be local high school marching bands. After the parade, we all went over to a local park where there were... lots of little booths set up with folks selling stuff.

Palm Springs Leather Fest: No parade, just two blocks of Sunny Dunes Boulevard closed to traffic, and lots of little booths of people selling stuff.

Palm Springs Festival of Lights: Downtown Palm Springs closed to traffic, and a parade of sorts consisting of pickup trucks draped in those twinkle light nets you can buy for $8 at Home Depot from local businesses. And booths of people selling stuff.

Indio Tamale Fest: This required a drive east on Highway 111 to Indio, and awaiting us was downtown Indio closed to traffic with lots of booths of people selling stuff. Principally tamales. Although they also had several stages set up with live performances, many of which helped to explain the Selena phenomenon to me. The live performances really made this whole thing worthwhile, and to my mind, Indio totally beat out Palm Springs in the Fest department.

So a pattern emerges...

Somewhere in this city there is a room. And in that room are some people. And they're sitting around a conference table trying to dream up Fests of one kind or another. The goal is to bring the maximum number of people to Palm Springs every weekend from November 1st to April 30th. There are, of course, the notable Fests, such as the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Dinah Shore WPGA Golf Classic and the White Party, but that leaves a lot of weekend unaccounted for. And we can't have that.

I guess it's not enough that Palm Springs offers perfect weather and incredible natural beauty. Ya gotta have a hook, right? And if one must have a hook, let's see if we can expend the minimal effort required to construct that hook.

I don't know for sure that there's a Palm Springs International Doorknob Festival or a Palm Springs International Gravel Festival or a Palm Springs International Sexual Lubricant Festival, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that all of these have been up and going for the past fifteen years and they bring them in from as far away as Seattle and Amarillo and Chicago by droves.

My home, you see, is sustained by the perpetuation of a fallacy: Come to Palm Springs, where there's always something to do!. In fact, there's nothing to do here in Palm Springs. But that is exactly the reason why I--and so many other like minded folk--move here: It's very pleasant to do nothing. Especially when you're doing nothing in the company of folks who, in general, have their feet on the ground and their heads in heaven, in the warm California sunshine, and surrounded by majestic mountains and palm trees and the desolate beauty of the desert and such.

Oh. And there's really cool soap available, too.

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