Leaders of a group trying to stop the city from allowing installation of a 26-foot-tall statue of actress Marilyn Monroe near the Palm Springs Art Museum are moving their case from the courts to the streets.
Following the loss of a legal challenge filed by Committee to Relocate Marilyn (CReMa) in Riverside County Superior Court, the group is planning a protest this Friday, April 30. Group members, including its leader, designer Trina Turk, are encouraging the public to meet at the site of the placement, near Museum Way and Belardo Road, at 10 AM.
The call for action Friday comes at the same time the group is gathering signatures on a petition and follows a fund-raising effort for its legal fees. To date, nearly 32,000 people have signed the petition and about 330 have contributed just over $66,000 toward the fees.
“Placing a hyper-sexualized, misogynist statue of Marilyn at the entrance to the elegant Palm Springs Art Museum sends a message to the community, its visitors … and tourists that this somehow represents ‘the real Marilyn’ — a Marilyn she would have been proud to see celebrated,” petition organizers wrote. “Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s the opposite.
“She wanted to be taken seriously as an artist and not just a sexual icon. We join others in asking the City of Palm Springs to venerate — not defile — her memory. We challenge Palm Springs to find more appropriate ways to honor her memory and the true legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”
In its lawsuit filed against the city, CReMa attorneys argued that it was illegal to not not hold a public hearing before ordering the closure of Museum Way for three years to display the statue. City attorneys maintained that because the street closure will only be temporary, placing the statue on the street and closing it to vehicle traffic does not require a more thorough hearings process. The judge agreed with the city and ordered work to move forward on April 9.
P.S. Resorts, an organization of hoteliers and tourism stakeholders in the city that purchased the statue for $1 million last year, had planned an installation and unveiling event this month. As of last week, however, the group said those plans were still pending. There is no word whether the statue has arrived in the city from its previous location in New Jersey. There also is no indication city officials will seek any further public input.
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SHOOTING ARREST: Palm Springs Police arrested a bail agent Friday morning, April 23, after he reportedly shot and killed a man in front of officers at a residence in the 100 block of East Via Escuela. According to a police report, officers responded to a panic alarm and reports at the residence from both the bail agent and the person he was trying to apprehend around 2 AM. When they arrived at the scene, the subject of the attempted apprehension was seen with a knife and tasered by police, but remained a threat. It was at that point, police said, that the bail agent shot and killed the man, 33-year-old David Charles Spann. The agent, 36-year-old Fabian Herrera, was arrested on suspicion of murder. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the incident, said Herrera has a criminal history and was not supposed to be carrying a weapon. The department also reported that while Spann was wanted by a bail company, there was no warrant for his arrest. Because the incident involved a death at the scene where Palm Springs officers were actively investigating a call for service, Palm Springs police requested the assistance of outside law enforcement to handle the investigation.
‘BOOZEHOUNDS’ OPENING: Palm Springs dog owners who like to dine and drink will have a new place to do both, with their pooches, when Boozehounds opens Tuesday, April 27. The new venture, at 2080 North Palm Canyon Dr., will serve a dual purpose — a coffee, co-working, and lunch spot by day, and a happy hour and dining hot spot by night. Coffee service is from 8 AM-3 PM; Happy hour runs from 3-5 PM; and dinner is served starting at 5 PM and lasting until 10 PM Sunday through Thursday and until 11 PM Friday and Saturday. In keeping with the theme, the menu includes multiple options for canine companions to nosh on.
- PARKS AND REC: The city’s Parks and Recreation Committee meets at 5:30 PM. An agenda and Zoom information for viewing the meeting is here.
- TEEN EVENT: Teen librarian Sean Corbin hosts “This is NOT Teen Talk” at 4 PM on Instagram Live.
- VILLAGEFEST MEETING: The city’s VillageFest Board will conduct its regular meeting at 5 PM. On the agenda is discussion of a reopening plan for the popular Thursday night downtown event, as well as possible layouts when the event does start again. For a look at the agenda and instructions on attending the meeting virtually, turn here.
- APPEALS BOARD: The city’s Administrative Appeals Board will hold a special meeting and then a regular meeting, starting at 5 PM, to hear multiple appeals of decisions about vacation rentals in the city. The agenda and related documents, as well as how to view the meeting online, can be found here.
- PLANNING COMMISSION: The city’s Planning Commission meets at 5:30 PM via Zoom. The agenda and Zoom meeting information can be found here. Included on the agenda is a public hearing for a permit to operate a new nightclub and cocktail lounge at 333 S. Palm Canyon Dr. (the former Robinson’s Department Store building).
- STORY TIME: “Read-To-Me Story Time” with Nancy Valdivia, the city’s children’s librarian, takes place at 10 AM this morning on YouTube and Facebook.
- DINING OUT FOR LIFE: Restaurants in Palm Springs who usually donate a portion of their sales on this day each year to help people in the community living with HIV/AIDS will instead be the beneficiaries of the event. “Because of the struggles that many of our restaurants have had this last year with COVID, we have decided that instead of asking for financial support from restaurants we are asking the community to please support locally-owned restaurants by ordering take-out or dining in / eating out on April 29th,” DAP Health said in a statement. For information on restaurants you can support, go here.
- ‘DIA’ EVENT: Children’s Librarian Nancy Validivia reads a special Día story in English and Spanish at 10 AM on YouTube and Facebook. El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), commonly known as Día, is a celebration of children, families, and reading that culminates yearly on April 30. The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
- OUTDOOR ART: Desert X art installations are on display throughout the Coachella Valley, including several within the Palm Springs city limits. The free event runs through May 16. A map of the installations can be found here. Some require reservations to view.
- VACCINES: Anyone 16 and older now qualifies for a COVID-19 vaccine in Riverside County. If you qualify, you can get one at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 8 AM-5 PM today, and all week through Friday. Appointments are encouraged, but not required, and can be reserved online at www.rivcoph.org/COVID-19-Vaccine. You can also find a list of community providers such as pharmacies here.