Alissa Walker’s Guide to the Pacific Standard Time Claremont, Pomona, and Palm Springs Focus Weekend

Posted on: February 15th, 2012

Check Out Alissa Walker’s Guide toPacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 Claremont, Pomona, and Palm Springs Focus Weekend

Well, hello there, art junkies! Your Pacific Standard Time work isn’t quite over yet. This weekend we’re going east—way east!—all the way to Claremont, Pomona, even the desert lands of Palm Springs. Your indefatigable guide Alissa Walker has surveyed the region for cultural highlights. Here are some great reasons to head east on February 18 and 19.

Take Metrolink: Yep, you can soak up Inland Empire art without sitting with traffic. Metrolink departs from Union Station for all points east. The Pomona College Museum of Art and Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College are both a short walk from the Claremont station, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art is a block from the Pomona station. Plan your trip at Metrolink.

Go Road Tripping: If you do plan to take the car, make a weekend out of your eastward journey. Stay one night at Casa 425, a cute boutique hotel in Claremont Village that’s steps away from campus, as well as dozens of restaurants and bars. Then make the drive out to Palm Springs on Saturday. Hotels are hard to come by this weekend due to Modernism Week (see below), but the sleek Riviera still has rooms available.

Get Your Hands Dirty: As part of its show Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California 1945-1975, the American Museum of Ceramic Art is offering a celebration of clay all weekend. In addition to docent tours of the show, artists will be demonstrating their ceramic skills and anyone age six and older can try their hand at wheel throwing. Over at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, another set of Clay Days will include music, dance performances, and other sculpting opportunities in honor of their exhibition Clay’s Tectonic Shift: John Mason, Ken Price, and Steve Voulkos, 1956-1968. (Re-enacting the scene from Ghost not allowed.)

Soak Up Modernism: Coinciding with PST’s focus weekend is the midcentury extravaganza Modernism Week, popping up at various locations all over Palm Springs. The ten-day celebration features trade shows, parties, and tours of the iconic design and architecture found throughout the city. On Saturday, February 18, the design social group design east of La Brea (disclosure: I’m a co-founder) is hosting a tour of Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California 1945-1975 at the Palm Springs Art Museum at 1:30 p.m., followed by cocktails at the city’s newest backyard oasis, the pool at the Saguaro hotel.

Go Retro: If the Backyard Oasis show has you yearning for the swinging scenes that once accompanied them, stop by the Palm Springs Art Museum on Saturday morning to see Charles Phoenix present his vintage slide show celebrating Southern California’s pools, patios and BBQs. I think it’s worth it just to see the swimsuits. Tickets are $25 and available through the Modernism Week website.

Rent Your Own Work of Art: The remarkable modern architecture that covers the Coachella Valley isn’t just for gawking at—it’s for living in. To spend your Palm Springs weekend in style, rent one of the 1960′s-era houses that are found on nearly every corner. Companies like Palm Springs Vacation Homes specialize in low-slung, sun-splashed pads perfect for spending the weekend in style.

Sample a Rising Star’s Cuisine: The newest restaurant in Palm Springs features a young chef who has already nabbed both an Iron Chef America championship and a James Beard Award. Jose Garcia heads Tinto at the Saguaro, which focuses on tapas and pintxos from Northern Spain. Dine on beautifully arranged plates of jamon and sip the red varietals that provide the restaurant’s namesake while basking in the Saguaro’s technicolor rainbow-on-acid palette at sunset.

See the Legends of Pomona: If you haven’t already been out to Pomona College Museum of Art to see its PST shows, this is the weekend to go. As part of It Happened at Pomona: Art at the Edge of Los Angeles, curator Helene Winer will host a conversation with John Baldessari, William Leavitt, and Alan Ruppersberg on Sunday afternoon from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Winer’s incredible shows mounted from 1970 to 1972 are the focus of part 2 of the exhibition, which closes this Sunday.

Alissa Walker is a writer, a gelato-eater, and a walker in L.A. You can read more at her blog, Gelatobaby, and follow her every step at @gelatobaby