Archive for the ‘Things To Do’ Category

Moorten Botanical Gardens

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Located at the southern end of Palm Canyon Drive, the Moorten Botanical Gardens and Cactarium is a favorite Palm Springs attraction and the enduring legacy of Patricia and Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten. Both shared a love of the Desert and its beauty, plants and wildlife. Nicknamed Slim for his tall lanky form and work as a contortionist, Moorten was one of the original Keystone Cops and became the stand-in for Howard Hughes. Poor health led him to Palm Springs in the 1930s with his young wife Patricia, a biologist with a special interest in botany. Together they explored the surrounding area collecting desert plants and in 1938 created an arboretum.

The Moorten Botanical Gardens now boasts 3,000 examples of desert cacti and other desert plants grouped by geographic regions: Arizona, Baja California, California, Colorado, the Mojave desert, the Sonora desert, South Africa, arid South America, and Texas. Outdoor collections include agaves, bombax, crested Cereus, cardon and boojum trees, arborescent “candelabra” Euphorbia, a two-story Pachypodium, thorned Caesalpinia and Bursera, and aloes of southern Africa and Madagascar. In the “Cactarium” greenhouse are cacti and succulents, with caudiciform species exhibiting thickened root crowns, many species of Asclepiads, Aztecia, Gymnocalyciums, Alstromeria, Euphorbia, and Ferocactus, plus two Welwitzia mirabilis from Namibian deserts.

Slim and Patricia Moorten designed and installed landscapes for Frank Sinatra and were friends of Walt Disney at his Palm Springs Smoke Tree Ranch. They consulted Disney to help design the western theme of Frontierland at his new amusement park which later became Disneyland. The Moortens were also well traveled and took their only son Clark for trips down Baja California and into Mexico collecting plants as far south as Guatemala.

Today, Clark Moorten ( right) is the curator of the Moorten Botanical Gardens and widely acknowledged as an expert on succulent plants in America. Clark tends the garden and propagates many of its plants for sale and is there to greet visitors almost every day.

For more information, contact The Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111
http://www.thehacienda.com/ .

Palm Springs ShortFest

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

It’s time to get your shorts on for the 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest, held from August 21-27, 2008 at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, CA.

Now in its 14th year, the Festival has announced its roster of 317 films, selected from a record of more than 2,700 worldwide entries. ShortFest will showcase 53 World Premieres, 47 North American Premieres and 24 U.S. Premieres. The selection of films for screening and competition features star-studded casts as well as award-winning films from 40 countries around the world. All selections are structured into 51 themed programs covering a wide array of issues for specific and general audiences to enjoy. The complete list of this year’s film programs will be available on www.psfilmfest.org on August 11.

Festival Director Darryl Macdonald commented, “This year’s ShortFest line-up reflects a return to more personal themes in the world of short film storytelling, and a move away from the ‘big issue’ themes of recent years, like the Iraq War, immigration and 9/11. That and the increasingly sophisticated use of technical innovations in the short filmmaking process are the two big stories that emerge from the short film world this year.”

“The quality of work from these films has been remarkable to watch, especially from countries where film production is on the rise,” said ShortFest Film Curator Kathleen McInnis. “For example, we have strong and vital narrative stories from more African countries than we’ve ever seen before. Filmgoers will be inspired by the wealth and breadth of storytelling from the global diversity in our film line-up.”

The selected short films are organized into 51 themed programs covering a variety of genres — including thrillers, horror, animation, documentaries, and comedies — and themes, including boy meets girl, siblings, security issues, crime, sins, romance, lust, friendship, parenthood, culture clashes, performance, travel, the Jewish experience, gay and lesbian lifestyles, and the event will feature a special focus on films from France. ShortFest viewers will also be able to experience shorts from Kenya, Colombia, Romania, Chile, Burkina Faso, the Philippines, Malaysia and other exotic locales. This year’s opening night screening on Thursday, August 21 at 6:30 p.m. will be highlighted by award-winning live-action and animated films including Life’s Hard (Romania), Manon on the Asphalt (France), Procrastination (U.K.), Sikumi (On the Ice) (USA), Tadeo Jones and the Basement of Doom (Spain) and The Wednesdays (Ireland).

Festival attendees will be able to see a roster of films featuring familiar faces in front of and behind the camera, including Kate Hudson directing Cutlass (USA) starring Dakota Fanning, Virginia Madsen, Kurt Russell and Chevy Chase; Kirsten Dunst directing Welcome (USA) starring Winona Ryder; and Matthew Modine directing and starring in I Think I Thought (USA). Other star-studded shorts include past Palm Springs International Film Festival Rising Star recipient Jessica Biel who stars in and produced Hole in the Paper Sky (USA); Dana Delany in Flying Lessons (USA) directed by Janet Grillo; David Arquette in Nosebleed (USA) directed by Jeff Vespa; Jordan Belfi and Rainn Wilson in Missing Pieces (USA); Tony Shalhoub in LA Actors (USA); Whoopi Goldberg narrating The Descendant (Germany); Sir Ian McKellan voicing a character in the animated For the Love of God; and Robert Redford narrating The New Environmentalists (USA).

A jury of five industry professionals will screen this year’s short films selected for competition in eighteen categories including Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Live Action, Best of Festival and the Future Filmmaker Award. A total of $86,000 in money and production prizes, including $14,000 in cash awards will be given out. The Panavision Grand Jury Award winner will receive a digital or film camera package valued at $60,000 and two days studio time courtesy of Casablanca Studios. An additional $7,500 in Kodak film stock will be presented to the film winners in the student award categories. Other prizes will include copies of filmmaking software from Showbiz Software Store and Entertainment Partners, Apple Final Cut Studio 2, and the Ultimate Stock Footage Collection.

Confirmed jury members to date include actor Bill Pullman; Eileen Arandiga, Festival Director of the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto; Dana Harris, editor Variety.com; Sydney Levine of Film Finders; and Dragan Milinkovic, Serbian film academic and producer. First place winners will automatically become eligible for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a possible Academy Award nomination. Over the course of its first 13 years, the Festival has presented 58 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations.

Designated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an award-qualifying Festival and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest and its Short Film Market, are the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America. The Festival and its concurrent 2,700-film Film Market continues to serve as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and is well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films. Companies attending this year’s Market include Mini Movie Channel, Kodak, Nickelodeon, Panavision, Famous Frames Mobile Interactive, Metacafe, Big Film Shorts, Hollywood Shorts, Echo Lake Entertainment, Moviela, Current TV, Atom Films, Shorts International, Senator Films and more.

Several seminars and panels comprised of industry representatives will be assembled to discuss trends and provide advice on short filmmaking. The Festival will feature three separate master classes, one with actor Bill Pullman and another with Academy Award nominated cinematographer William Fraker presenting and discussing their work with filmmakers. The third master class will be taught by film critics David Ansen (Newsweek) and Claudia Puig (USA Today) on film criticism. Tribeca Film Festival Short Film Programmer Sharon Badal will attend to discuss her new book Swimming Upstream along with several of her collaborators.

Workshops planned include Kodak Presents “Stop By. Shoot Film.,” a hands on experience in using Super 16 mm film; Taking Your Short to Market; and Investigating New Media Opportunities. The Nickelodeon Writer’s Lab is an invitation only event that will prepare applicants for submission to the Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship. For those who prefer a more personal environment, the Festival will continue its popular “One-on-One Program,” an opportunity for participants to meet individually with publicists, agents, distributors, producers, exhibitors and festival programmers to answer any questions filmmakers may have.

For more information, contact The Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111
http://www.thehacienda.com/ .

Balloon Above the Desert

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Greet the sun or bid it farewell as you drift in beautiful desert skies in one of the most peaceful experiences of a lifetime. While floating effortlessly in one of our colorful hot air balloons, you will view breathtaking vistas of some of the most picturesque landscapes in California. Vineyards, polo fields, world famous golf courses, and exotic orchards are just a few of the unbelievable sights you will experience. Your flight direction is determined by the breeze.

For more information, contact The Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111
http://www.thehacienda.com/ .

Elite Land Tours

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Palm Springs tours to magnificent unspoiled, remote locations. Experience a sense of adventure and discovery with an unexpected twist – luxury! They will take you to breathtaking locations in air-conditioned comfort in the world’s best-in-class all-terrain HUMMER H2 with knowledgeable, expert guides. Choose a spectacular backcountry adventure to a remote area of Joshua Tree National Park or go to the infamous San Andreas Fault where you can witness entire mountains pushed up (and out) by the earth’s tremendous forces. Other adventures include a complete tour of the Salton Sea where you will see unusual geological oddities such as mud volcanoes and giant bubbling mud pots and a very special tour to the only wolf sanctuary in the world where you can actually interact with them – this is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. Their tours have been featured on the Travel Channel, the Today Show, in Conde Nast Traveler, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications worldwide. Elite Land Tours was recently awarded Attraction of the Year by the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Authority. They are the original Palm Springs Hummer tour and the only tour using authentic Hummers.

All of our guides are well-trained and are continually acquiring the most current data available. As members of the Desert Institute and the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, they attend many classes throughout the year. In addition, each guide is CPR and First-Aid certified. Tours include resort pickup (door-to-door service), admissions, gourmet snacks, and an assortment of refreshments. As always, a delicious gourmet picnic lunch is available as a tour enhancement.

For more information, contact The Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111
http://www.thehacienda.com/ .

Hiking up on the Tram

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Mt. San Jacinto State Park offers 54 miles of hiking trails located within a 14,000 acre pristine wilderness, one of the last in California. All trails are accessed by exiting the Tram’s Mountain Station and descending a concrete pathway approximately .3 miles to Long Valley. In Long Valley there are picnic tables, water, Ranger Station, flush toilets and some easy trails.

Long Valley Discovery Trail: Follow the nature trail posts around a ¾ mile (1.2 km) loop. This easy level trail provides an excellent introduction to the Park’s plants and animals.

Long Valley Discovery Trail: Follow the nature trail posts around a ¾ mile (1.2 km) loop. This easy level trail provides an excellent introduction to the Park’s plants and animals.

Desert View Trail: A 1.5 mile (2 km) trail leads to a number of scenic overlooks and forest views. Short climbs, moderately strenuous.

Round Valley: A 2.5 miles of trail leads to picturesque Round Valley. Fairly level trails, short climbs, moderately strenuous.

Wellmans Divide: From Round Valley to Wellmans Divide is a 1-mile hike with a 600 feet elevation gain. The view from here is truly spectacular. Looking west you can see the dome of the Palomar Observatory and to the southwest Tahquitz Peak Lookout. From this point you can continue down to Idyllwild or up to the San Jacinto Peak. Elevation gain, strenuous.

San Jacinto Peak: This strenuous three to four hour hike one way will take you to the second highest point in Southern California. On clear days it is reported that you can see Catalina Island or the glow from Las Vegas at night.

For your comfort always wear sturdy closed toe shoes, layered comfortable clothing, hat and sunscreen. A light jacket in spring and early summer and for fall and winter a heavy jacket and gloves is a good idea, along with appropriate waterproof shoes. Water is only available in Long Valley and Round Valley. Bring your own water if you are traveling further. Stay on designated trails only.

For more information, contact The Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111
http://www.thehacienda.com/ .

Celebrate Summer in Palm Springs

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

It’s all part of Palm Springs Summer Splash – a thirteen week
Summer Celebration designed to put Palm Springs, California on everyone’s
Summer “To Do” List!

Famous for its Sunny Winter weather, Palm Springs used to slow down
for the Summer, but not anymore! The Desert Gay Tourism Guild has
worked with area hotels, restaurants, bars, retailers and entertainment Venues to create a vibrant (and varied) line-up of special offers and
special events that last throughout the Summer.

There’s something (and usually several things) to do every day, and, at night, all roads lead back to the pool for a midnight swim beneath the stars!

So come on! Jump in and join our “Summer Splash!”

For more information, contact The Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111
http://www.thehacienda.com/ .

The Living Desert

Monday, February 6th, 2006

The Living Desert is a 1200-acre interpretive center which features mountain lions, wolves, javelina, bobcats, golden eagles, and much more. This is a natural setting nestled at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains. Make sure you stop by to see the baby giraffe Maliki – the newest addition to the park.

For more information, contact the Hacienda
From Within US:
1-800-359-2007 or 1-760-327-8111
From Outside US:
01-800-359-2007 or 01-760-327-8111