Host George Smart reports from February's Modernism Week in Palm Springs, the Mecca for all things Mid-Century Modernist! He spoke poolside from the Hotel Skylark with keynote speakers from the amazing annual event.
Bill Earls is the author of The Harvard Five in New Canaan, Modernist houses by Breuer, Gores, Johansen, Johnson, and Noyes. A virtual tour of thirty-five landmark houses, 1947-1966, that elicited strong reactions from nearly everyone who saw them and are still astonishing today.
Devon Chivvis is a writer, director, and producer of narrative and documentary television and film with a passion for visual storytelling. Since 2003, she has produced, written, and directed documentary and narrative television and film for a variety of clients such as Nat Geo Channel and Travel Channel. She's working on a documentary on the Harvard Five architects with Bill Earls.
Bert Simonis is the producer of Quiet Elegance, a documentary on Palm Springs architect Hugh Kaptur. Originally from Amsterdam, Simonis' other documentaries include The Last First Comic, an award-winning film chronicling the start of stand-up comedy in the burlesque industry; Mid-Century Moderns: The Homes That Define Palm Springs; 88 Days in the Mother Lode: Mark Twain Finds His Voice; and The Neon Struggle.
Today we explore two different approaches to reviving Modernist buildings: preserving them or building them from scratch!
Michael Miner is a documentary filmmaker who since 2002 has devoted his career entirely to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, chronicling the master architect’s buildings in a series of films. Miner’s first Wright film, Sacred Spaces, was completed in 2005 followed by A Child of the Sun, the story of the West Campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland and Romanza, which was released in 2011. Miner's fourth film is called Masterpieces. But here what's really interesting - he's on a mission to actually build some of Wright's unbuilt buildings starting in Banff, Canada.
Liz Waytkus is the Executive Director of Docomomo US, the leading preservation organization dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture, landscapes, and design. She has worked to increase the awareness of and appreciation for significant modern sites and developed annual Docomomo US National Symposium and the Modernism in America Awards. Her organization's most recent success was preserving the Ambassador Grill near the United Nations in NYC.
Host George Smart reports from February's Modernism Week in Palm Springs, the Mecca for all things Modernist! He spoke poolside from the Hotel Skylark with keynote speakers from the week.
Alan Hess is a journalist, historian, architect, and author with 19 books specifically addressing mid-century modernism and countless appearances in architecture documentaries. He's the Samuel L. Jackson of architecture movies!
Janice Lyle is the Director of Operations for Sunnylands Center and Gardens, known as the "Western White House" or “Camp David West” as a secure facility established by Walter and Leonore Annenberg for internationally significant meetings. Like world-leaders level of significant! She is the author of "Sunnylands: America’s Midcentury Masterpiece" and is the former Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
If you’ve seen a thriller like North By Northwest or Diamonds are Forever (or many others since) you may have noticed that the bad guy has impeccable taste. The classic villain has custom-tailored suits (or dresses, let’s not be sexist), a high-end car you can’t even buy used at Carmax, a British or vaguely Russian accent, and a gorgeous Modernist house, preferably with a killer view as certainly there will be some killing going on.
We're talking about Evil Lairs, the tricked-out Modoernist houses no self-respecting villain intent on world domination would be without. Our guests are two authors who have written about some of these infamous houses, both real and imagined.
Adele Cygelman was editor-in-chief of the Robb Report Collection and Senior editor at Architectural Digest, both of which surely had villain Ernst Blofeld as well as James Bond as readers. She is the author of “Palm Springs Modern” which was the first book to focus on desert modern architecture and its talented architects. The book has been a best-seller since 1999 and was re-issued in 2015 to rediscover the timeless, cool appeal of the mid-century modern. Adele spoke at Modernism Week this year on Arthur Elrod, who you’ll learn about shortly.Christine Madrid French is a nationally known advocate for the study and preservation of American architecture. After working as a historian for the National Park Service, she directed the Modernism Program for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and taught at the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida. I consider her ten-year fight to save Neutra’s Cyclorama in Pennsylvania is considered one of the heroic legends in preservation, even though the bulldozer ultimately prevailed. Her new book, Critical Insights Series: Alfred Hitchcock, will be out soon.