Archives for posts with tag: Palm Springs International Film Festival

20140321_142244I am beginning to think I may be the luckiest girl on the planet.  Things just seem to work out for me, even when it seems like I am standing in the bottom of a well, and the longest rope anyone can find to throw down to me is still three feet too short and a typhoon has just leveled the hardware store.

Fifteen years ago, when my art career was skyrocketing, and I was at a major crossroads in my personal  life, I was in Delray Beach, Florida looking for someplace to eat after supervising the final details for my one woman show at a popular art gallery. I was there alone, my sixteen year relationship in ruins, still reeling from the discovery that the man who raised me was not my biological father,  and with parents who said I’d known about him since I was six and had just “forgotten” about him.   I passed a restaurant with a handful of people in it, when something in me made me turn and go inside.  I sat at a table next to a pair of delectable men who turned out to be friends celebrating a mutual decision to relocate on opposite sides of the country. Richard had just moved to Palm Springs and Mark had just moved to Palm Beach.

20140226_114511My biological father lived in Mentone, California, so I had just decided to move to Palm Springs myself.  Richard and I exchanged phone numbers and the next day, I called my friend Daniel to give him the good news.  What I didn’t know, is that Daniel had only recently realized he needed a change in his life as well,  and was moving from Santa Fe to Palm Springs himself.  A few weeks later, I found an ad online for a house in Palm Springs, and called the landlord.   Since I was the first to call about the house, Jon agreed to hold it for me until I could find someone to look at it for me.  Richard was the only person I knew who lived nearby, so I called this complete stranger and not only asked him to look at the house for me, when he called back and told me it was perfect, but Jon needed a $1000 deposit, I got a blank cashiers check for the requested amount and mailed it off to him.  Richard delivered the check to Jon and took it upon himself to make sure that the house had new paint, new carpet and new kitchen and bathroom tile.

20140321_142853A month later I showed up at the house for the first time with some friends who agreed to help me move in.  The house, while far from posh, was huge.  Four bedrooms, (one with a fireplace), three bathrooms (one with an oversized tub for nice long soaks in the winter), a fenced yard, a pool with a waterfall and a garage.  I had room for a studio, a guest room, an office, and a library, which I filled with remarkable finds from dozens of thrift stores, and when I wasn’t getting ready for an art show, I was  “taking the waters” at the Spa Hotel and Casino, or driving backroads to Idyllwild to buy myself lunch and take a walk through town, or combing through  bookshelves at a second hand store in Joshua Tree.  I had a wonderful life, with great friends, and a successful career.  But when my father died in a car accident, I decided it was time to see what else was out there.  To “shake things up a bit”.   So I sold everything I didn’t absolutely need, packed up, and headed East.Denise & Red

I hadn’t been to Palm Springs in years, and this weekend, I am housesitting for Daniel, who is off to London and Paris with his boyfriend, Kenny.  Being here reminds me of so many things, not the least among them the sleek red dog I got as a pup, who hated the swimming pool, ate a hole in the carpet, and loved his girlfriend, Katie in equal measure.  It floods me with the memories of meeting my friend Tom Tyler (who was an extra in SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON), and dinner parties at Colin Webster Watson’s (a sculptor from New Zealand who had everyone from former Broadway stars to a couple who wrote for DYNASTY as his guests), of working for photographer, Michael Childers and  film director, John Schlesinger, meeting David Hockney, and Stephanie Powers, and Franco Zefferelli, and Steve Zaillian, and Michel LeGrand (who still owes me for the bowtie I bought him before the Palm Springs Film Festival!).  The six years I spent here were among the best years of my life, and being here this weekend reminds me of the people and places I loved, but it reminds me as well that I am making new memories, and reconnecting with old friends, that everything (and nothing) has changed, that the stars have lined up to give me a second chance at seeing the dream I’ve had of “making it” in Hollywood played out one way or the other.

20140312_143050I used to drive through Palm Springs in early April, when the weather was perfect, and the sky was so blue it hurt your eyes, and declare to the universe that I was “the richest woman in the world”. And you know what?  Despite how hard the last few years have been, being here again reminds me that I still am.  I have the support of a wonderful man, generous friends, and the memories of how things used to be as the inspiration I need to make the most of this opportunity.  I am writing my heart out, and learning things about screenwriting I only thought I knew.

But that shouldn’t surprise me.

After all, I am the luckiest girl in the world.

For some reason lately I have been thinking about the Palm Springs International Film Festival.  Six or seven  years ago, when I was still living in Palm Springs, I worked part time for a photographer who lived with the great film director, John Schlesinger.   Michael was recruited by the film council to help produce the event, and as his assistant, I was “recruited” to be a celebrity wrangler.  The Palm Springs Film Festival wasn’t  the huge event it is now; after Sonny Bono died, the festival languished for many years.  A VERY generous benefactor stepped in and poured gobs and gobs and GOBS of cash into it.

Anyhow, at a meeting for all the celebrity wranglers prior to the show, we were asked to introduce ourselves, say who our celebrity was, and a little bit about what WE did for a living.  I was the second one to speak, so I stood up and said, “My name is Denise Meyers, and I am an artist”.  A woman WAY up the line leaned forward and said (with great excitement) “Have you ever done the LaQuinta Art Festival?”.  Never one to watch my mouth when it counted, I said (with great derision)….”No….those stupid bastards won’t let me in”.  There was a moment of silence, then this woman said….”My name is Susan Francis, and I am the HEAD of the La Quinta Arts Festival”.  I turned crimson in that moment and wondered why the earth never opens up to swallow you when you need it….

I have a talent for sticking my foot in my mouth, and I have learned to eagerly share the stories of my self humiliation because when you are good at something, and I mean REALLY good at something, you might as well put it out there for all the world to see.  I guess that’s why the Palm Springs Film Festival keeps coming to mind.  I was there when the festival was on its dying legs, and with hard work and perseverance it has become one of the major film festivals in the country, if not the world.

For the past three months I have spent nearly all day, every day, in my studio working on new handbags, new designs, searching ebay for vintage poker chips and bakelite radio knobs and old checkers, hunting through websites for the perfect fabrics, attending social media classes and setting up accounts with twitter and facebook and mailchimp until I actually had this little “social media song” I have been composing, running through my head.   I’ve sent letters and brochures and sometimes even samples, to magazine editors, and department store buyers, past clients, potential clients, boutique store owners…you name it.

A little over a week from now, I will head to New York with 40 BRAND new handbags.  It’s probably the largest inventory of product I have ever had, in any art form I have ever pursued, and I am PSYCHED.  The bags are gorgeous, and so unique – which may or may not prove to be a good thing.  I have found over the years that people find great comfort in having what everyone else has.  And I am also aware that the economy isn’t supposed to be great right now, but the small voice inside me says, this is going to be GREAT.  For some reason I continue to feel that this is the right place and the right time to be doing this, to be launching a new handbag line and EXPENSIVE handbag line at that, despite all evidence to the contrary.  And there is also the fact that I have decided to follow the advice of a good friend of mine by putting it out there that this is going to be a success. I have a tendency to want to keep any good feelings I have about things to myself because I am afraid I will “jinx” whatever triumph I desire.  But Randi told me that a friend of hers always said what she wanted, out loud and in a sentence, because she felt telling the universe what she wanted, gave HER the power to help make it happen.

This is the start of a whole run of shows, and even though the last three months have been sparse with respect to finances, it has been a time of creation and excitement and self-reflection and its all been leading to this….

Now its time for me to go change out of my pajamas and get back to work…whoever said art was glamorous has obviously never BEEN an artist!

THE AMERICAN CRAFTS FESTIVAL AT THE LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

June 19 and 20 and June 26 and 27

Saturday 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Sunday 10:00 am to 9:00 pm

Booth N216