Daily Briefing: Changes at the Air Museum, films in all their glory, weekend events, and more

Leading off: Eye-catching new entrance planned for Palm Springs Air Museum

The entrance of the Palm Springs Air Museum will have a striking new redesign thanks to a $2.5 million project that will also renovate the classroom and restrooms.

Fred Bell, board vice-chair and managing director of the museum, explained, “We’ve doubled in size and there are so many annual visitors that the existing entrance no longer meets our needs.” 

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The museum has experienced tremendous growth both in visitors and hangar space since it opened about 25 years ago. More than 100,000 people visit the museum annually, and it regularly tops the list of attractions in the Coachella Valley.

The grand new entrance is fit for a museum with a growing prominence as it expands its collections of aircraft from WWII to the present day. The hangar space has grown from 40,000 square feet to 91,000 square feet.

Bell added, “The front end of our building, as you come in, was really designed for a facility that’s about half our size.” 

The museum wants to continue its work in educating students on the history of the aircraft, and the new renovation includes a 400-seat classroom that can also serve as a lecture hall and event space. 

The architecture and engineering company Harley Ellis Devereaux drew ideas from the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, an F-117 Nighthawk aircraft, The U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, and even paper airplanes. Students of architecture may also notice the influence of Santiago Calatrava on the renderings.

Representatives from the museum estimate the renovation will be completed in about two years.

In brief: Rare chance to see classic films in 70mm

Movie buffs should have their calendar cleared for this weekend’s Secret Movie Club 70mm Getaway Film Festival at the Palm Springs Cultural Center at 2300 East Baristo Rd.

What’s showing: The absolutely stacked lineup is sure to please movie-goers of any stripe:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey shows Friday at 8 p.m.
  • Lawrence of Arabia shows Saturday at 8 p.m.
  • West Side Story shows Sunday at 2 p.m.

What’s 70mm? It’s a file format that requires special equipment, and it means frames are a larger size and wider in aspect ratio than what you usually see in 35mm format.

  • Translation: Better, brighter, and sharper images.

Original quality: All three films were originally shot in 70mm, meaning you’ll experience these masterpieces as the directors intended, and not on your laptop through a streaming service. 

Added bonus: You’ll help out local theaters who need movie fans to keep them alive. The dire state of the theater industry may be looking up, but box office numbers are still down about 20% from 2019 across the country.

  • “Cinema is a core part of our identity as an arts and cultural nonprofit organization, and what better way for us to honor the legacy of the Camelot Theater than to show these wonderful films as they were meant to be seen?” – Lauren Wolfer, program director, PSCC

Make an evening out of it: On Friday and Saturday doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a pre-party on the second floor bar space.

Bottom Line: Even if you can quote these movies by heart, you should still take this rare opportunity to see the films on one of the largest screens in the desert at a historical theater that opened in 1967.

Secure your tickets here.

? AM Roundup: Grab a cup & catch up

? Palm Springs police cleared another large homeless encampment. (NBC Palm Springs)

? Just when you thought you were free of music festival attendees, we learn the lineup for this summer’s Splash House. (The Press Enterprise)

? Thinking about treating mom to a fancy breakfast on Sunday? Try the local casino. (Palm Springs Life)

? Your weekend

?‍♂️ Saturday is World Labyrinth Day, and what better way to celebrate than at the ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Peace Labyrinth at the Center for Spiritual Living Palm Springs?

Take a moment: The meandering path in the front of the Center winds between trees and rocks and offers a moment of contemplation and respite from the hectic modern life.

  • “It is a journey in one place. You take a meditative pilgrimage into a sacred moment built from nature. At the end, you’ll ask, What conclusions did I come to? How am I different? Who am I when I’m no longer carrying so much?” — Peter Bedard, labyrinth creator

Details, details: The ceremony starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 at The Center for Spiritual Living, 2100 East Racquet Club Rd. There will be food and drinks before all are invited to take their own personal pilgrimage on the labyrinth.Reminder: It’s a labyrinth, not a maze! There will be no Jack Torrance stalking you through the hedges!

Read more about the labyrinth in our article from March.

?️ Also this weekend:

  • The Community Partnership on Homelessness is planning an online discussion today at Noon.
  • Temple Isaiah holds a special Shabbat this evening at 7 p.m. to welcome  Alan Potash, new CEO of the Jewish Federation of the Desert.
  • Desert Rose Playhouse continues its performance of Mid-Century Moderns tonight through Sunday.
  • The Sunrise Student Film Festival celebrates local middle and high school students this evening.
  • The Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market takes place at 2300 E. Baristo Rd. from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
  • The Desert Art Center holds a celebration of jewelry and fiber art from featured artists all weekend.
  • The Palm Springs Cultural Center hosts the one-time presentation of Peace by Chocolate on Saturday. Proceeds go to those affected by the war in Ukraine.
  • Palm Springs Genealogical Society is holding a Zoom event with a guest speaker on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
  • American Legion Post 519 is throwing a Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday starting at 9 a.m.

See our complete community calendar or list your event.

And finally …

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the passing of a larger-than-life champion of children who operated service organizations out of offices in Palm Springs.

Sandra Austin Ponder passed away last month after battling illness. She leaves behind a devoted husband, loving children and grandchildren, and thousands of Coachella Valley youth whose lives were made better by her work. She was 62.

  • “Mama Sandra” was instrumental in starting an adoption agency (Family Health and Support Network) that opened in 2004, the Building Resilience in African American Families (BRAAF) program in 2011, and in 2020 helped open a charter school.

During services Monday at First Baptist Church in Palm Springs, she was recalled as a no-nonsense person with a heart of gold. Pastors who spoke did a masterful job of removing sadness from the room and replacing it with gladness for the time she graced the earth and the legacy she left that lives on in all who knew her.

  • Those present, including her colleagues and the young Kings and Queens she helped guide, were reminded to continue leading by her example: “Don’t just say it, be it.”  

The Post was fortunate to have spent time with Mama Sandra over the past year. Our original article on her efforts appears here.

Kendall is unsuccessfully running away from the impending 100 degree weather.

Mark is grateful to the entire staff (both of us) for powering through this week.

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