Kenny Irwin's property on a normal day. Frank Sinatra's
first house in Palm Springs is just a block away. This is the
midst of the Movie Colony where every home is valued in
excess of $2 million. Neighbors are not pleased.
Palm Springs is known for many things ... desert weather, a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood or just about anyplace with either too much hustle or bustle and snow plows, movie stars hiding from prying eyes, innovative architects, a Gay lifestyle and so much more.
After 16 years of trying, the denizens of the Movie Colony and city hall lost a court battle last year to shut down RoboLights, the creation of local sculpture Kenny Irwin, whose vision of Christmas, is even more bizarre than Tim Burton's NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, finally won his battle to open his property for his yearly Christmas show.
Not to be outdone the city now lists RoboLights as one of the city's attractions of things to do and see in Palm Springs.
The neighbors have struck back by getting the city to forbid parking on the street the house is on and the street that takes you there. Luckily a park is a few blocks away with plenty of parking but, as the leader of our photography group said, bring a flashlight. There are no or at best few streetlights.
|This is the entrance (one of several) view to RoboLights at dusk|
|Once inside there are many paths and its easy to get lost.|
|Save your junk! You too can become a|
sculptor. One never knows.
There are just not words to describe what awaits you here. He has put together bits and pieces of just about anything you can imagine ... pipes, circuit boards, TV's, a whole bunch of skulls, a tanker full of Pepto Bismo pink paint. Someone spotted people delivering even more junk to him behind the house. Its not as if there isn't a whole lot there already!
|I don't think Disney would picture Freeze with this cast.|
I traipsed around this wonderland of, I guess the best description would be "land of the macabre, but as an artist you can't help but admire the total, unrelenting inventiveness, even lightheartedness of his collection and the work that went into it. After all, it covers 4 acres and he has over 1 million lights. In fact I spotted a worker there adding even more lights. Really? More lights?
|Your chariot awaits|
|Where else could you see a |
Irwin has become a Muslim convert and can be spotted on his grounds dressed in traditional Mullah garb. Some areas of the display feature Arab scenes and music. I didn't see him last night but did see him last year. There are some interesting scenes though that combine a variety of holiday themes.
|Pulling Santa in a way Hugh Hefner would love.|
The Easter Bunny driving a team of reindeer, Santa on a tank with a banner that reads "Come and Get It," with a gaggle of female manikins pulling Santa in a stage coach.
There are many beautifully lit tunnels that overlook the grounds, even the pool filled with bulls in rafts, a giant pirate ship, several snowmen and the afore mentioned Santa riding his tank.
I guess Santa is ready to shoot down Jack
Skeleton before he hi-jacks Christmas again!
It is so, bizarre you will find your fingers are never far from you camera or cell phone. Scene after scene greets you, each one more, is the word "outrageous?" than the last. It never fails to amaze and you never stop looking.
|Not your Grandmas's typical Village!!!|
And it was fun. Despite the warnings, I did sleep like a baby last night! So, you don't need to worry about that.
|There just isn't anything like this anywhere.|
I think that for an artist, whether you like this kind of exhibit or not, it does show the many kinds of possibilities there are out there. Much of his creations are made from cast off things we probably get rid of each and every day. He might be on to something. I have noticed that dimensional art, art that does something is becoming more and more popular. At Spectrum last year, two of the more popular spaces included things that did something. One space had creations made from black wire that when the handle was turned came to life ... a bicycle wheels turned, a trapeze star walked across, things moved up and down. Another space had electrical creations that were fascinating to watch. No two were alike. Created by an electrical engineer, he may well have been on to something.
|I can see those garages now! Where is it?|
I would say that if this kind of art, collages, things created from found pieces is what you want to do a visit to RoboLights is almost a command performance. He has definitely led the way into uncharted territory. You may not agree or even like what you see, but the possibilities it can open to the artistic person are immeasurable.
If you are in Palm Springs during the Christmas season, this is a must see venue. Even during the rest of the year, some of the creations are quite visible from the street and they are lighted at night.