That Sanitarium is Very Expensive!

A couple of years ago, Debbie Millman and I were staying at the Parker in Palm Springs. No, we weren't there together for a romantic getaway. There were 13 other designers there also. Debbie began reading a copy of Jacqueline Susann's  Valley of the Dolls that was in her room. When we left, she mentioned that she'd like to own a first edition. I immediately began looking for one, but before I could track one down, Debbie had bought her own. If you don't have time to read, or prefer to look at books with pictures only, I suggest watching the movie. Forget reading Machiavelli for tips on politics and business. Valley of the Dolls will give you all the information you need when you want to get your way. Throwing tantrums, overdosing, blackmail, seduction, and back-stabbing are all covered thoroughly.

Here are some examples of some of the dialogue that can be used for almost any situation:

When you don't feel like getting up from the sofa and want some soda: "I can't feel my legs!"

This can be said at any design conference if someone looks at you funny: "I don't need ANYBODY. I got talent, BIG talent."

I like to say this when I tell everyone that they need to work over the weekend while I plan on reading by the pool: "Having FUN kiddies?"

If someone suggests an independent film that sounds dull: "Art films? Nudies! That's all they are. Nudies."

This is good to say loudly on your cell phone in any public setting: "You told me Gramp's been sick, Mother, and I know about the oil burner. Okay, I'll pawn the mink. He'll give me a couple hundred for it. Mother, I know I don't have any talent, and I know I all I have is a body, and I am doing my bust exercises. Goodbye, Mother. I'll wire you the money first thing in the morning. Goodbye."

Not the Betty Ford Center

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, entrance

During my term as AIGA president, I discovered that I had three favorite tasks: calling people to tell them they had been awarded the Medal, meeting chapter leaders across the entire country, and picking the spot for the annual board retreat. Now before anyone gets in a huff about AIGA board members living high on the hog, this retreat is on everyone’s personal dime. It gives the board a chance to sit down and do some hard work together. As a California grown president I felt it was important to have our retreat in Palm Springs, just like Presidents Ford, Nixon, and Reagan. I chose the Parker Hotel. Formerly Gene Autry's Melody Ranch and Merv Griffin's Givenchy Resort and Spa, the Parker Palm Springs is a smallish hotel designed by Jonathan Adler.

I’d seen the Bravo reality show, Welcome to the Parker, and I thought it would be too chic-alors, and hip. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, there were the standard Hollywood types who were very hip and groovy, but the Parker staff was down to earth and friendly. Nobody frowned at my madras shirts. In the end, I felt bad that I chose a beautiful sunny spot, and then forced the board to sit in a dark meeting room all day. But we finished each day with some quick time at the pool, and making s’mores and marshmallows by the fire pit in the evening. Being very trailer trash, and needing to save money, I smuggled in a bag of liquor from the local supermarket. Hey, the drinks at the bar were expensive. It was only slightly embarrassing to be mixing my favorite cocktail, Rum or Bombay Gin with Fresca while we toasted the marshmallows. The always elegant Debbie Millman now has the heavy responsibility (I mean this, it’s true) of the AIGA presidency. Debbie has good taste and is a well-raised person and I’m sure she will move the board away from Albertson Grocery runs for Fresca.

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, guest room

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, the fire pit where the s'mores happened

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, cafe

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, pool. I need the pagoda umbrellas.

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, lobby

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, front desk. I love big keys.