Is the Marilyn statue right for Palm Springs anymore?

Wednesday, it was announced, once again, that a giant statue of Marilyn Monroe is coming back to Palm Springs. The statue was a fairly popular attraction in the city from 2012 – 2014, when it sat outside that once sat just outside a vacant downtown mall – but, a lot has changed in the city since then and maybe we can pause for a moment and ask: does the statue even fit in the city anymore?

As just about anyone will tell you, Palm Springs has changed a lot since 2014.  Sure, there are still plenty of cheesy, tourist trap t-shirt shops dotting downtown Palm Springs but, unlike a decade ago, the town is known for being more than just a sleepy haven for old people.  No, seriously.  People under 50 actually like visiting the city now!  I mean, I feel weird saying this, but for many, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley are actually…pretty cool.

Events like Coachella and Desert X have brought large, unique, and amazing art installations to the desert that have garnered worldwide attention.  Hell, the mirror house in Palm Springs had over 27 million of Instagram posts all by itself!

Of course, there have also been some giant artistic busts, but that’s a post for another day.

The Desert Sun went looking for what the cost of the Marilyn statue ended up being and the best the city manager of Palm Springs could say was “more than $1 million” – which seems like an awful lot of money in transient occupancy tax dollars that could’ve been spent on creating something completely new and unique to Palm Springs or, well, on literally anything else.

Now, who knows, maybe the return of Marilyn will be worth the time and money and people will love it and it will become the iconic thing to visit in Palm Springs.  But, maybe, just maybe the statue just doesn’t fit the city anymore.

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  1. $1 million dollars! That’s insane considering better things the money could be spent on, like tasteful public art. At one time, the City Manager had said the City was looking for a financial sponsor and RumChata was considering it. But I guess that deal fell through. Does anybody drink RumChata anymore?

    And I couldn’t agree with you more about the appropriateness of the statue. All of that Rat Pack/Marilyn Monroe/Bob Hope and other 50’s nostalgia had its day, but it’s over now. There’s a place for it in Palm Springs, but we don’t need more of it. People under 50 barely know who these people are, much less what made them famous. Palm Springs doesn’t need to be the 1950’s version of historic Williamsburg if it wants to continue to attract younger tourists.

  2. A big plastic Disneyland style Marilyn Monroe statue in downtown Palm Springs is just plain tacky and embarrassing. The face doesn’t even resemble MM and agreed; the monies could be better spent helping the homeless and taking them off the streets to make the city safer at night for tourists and townies, and resulting in helping the helpless be safe and have decent living conditions.

  3. You know… I hated it when it was here last time, I’ll hate it when it comes back.

    Palm Springs. You were like a beautiful older woman who was doing okay until someone told you that you were a beautiful older woman. Now you are just being pimped out to the Instathots. And that corrupt facelift is really horrible.

  4. Right for some wrong for others, Doesn’t it bring Tourists into town? Yes, the article says it brought 800k worth of free publicity. Isn’t what this town is all about, taking something old and dolling it up. We sell memories, photos, and a lifestyle. All things Mid-century live here, including me.