If you haven’t yet paid homage at the very large sandaled feet of the statue of Marilyn Monroe that has been gracing Downtown Palm Springs at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way since May of 2012, you better put a plan into gear pronto because the 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound replica of the Hollywood glamor goddess—whose official title is “Forever Marilyn”—is leaving town (for good?) on April 2, 2014. Me and most of my friends from Rancho Mirage and the environs have spent many a morning, afternoon, and night in the company of “Forever Marilyn” during the last two years, but we’re making a point to head back and sing her praises one more time before she’s dismantled and carried off into the desert sunset.
The oversized piece of public art, created by artist J. Seward Johnson, depicts the silver screen sex symbol in the famous pose from 1955 hit movie “The Seven Year Itch,” where she stood atop a subway grate, using her hands to keep the skirt from her white halter dress from blowing up over her head thanks to all that hot air streaming between her legs.
Since Marilyn is exhibited outdoors in Palm Springs, you can visit her any time, day or night, until she departs. But if you want to be part of the official going-away party, that’s taking place on the evening of March 27, during the Palm Springs street fair known as VillageFest.
In case you’re wondering which locale would be so appealing to “Forever Marilyn” that she would skip town and abandon all the delights of the desert, she’s headed to Hamilton, New Jersey, where she will be part of a tribute show to Johnson. On loan to Palm Springs from The Sculpture Foundation, she was previously in Chicago. But between you and me, I think she’ll eventually wind her way back to the Palm Springs Valley. After all, legend has it that the real legend was discovered here, when she was photographed more than a half-century ago at the famed Palm Springs Racquet Club. So here she should stay…Marilyn…forever.