Desert Living

When you think Berlin cabaret during the Weimar, do you think Desert Living? Me, too! That's why the cover clicked. For most New Yorkers, nature is the gentle breeze from the passing subway, so having a pseudo-decadent cover shot of a pseudo Sally Bowles in the Kit Kat Club makes perfect sense. She stands astride cover lines for "Smokin' Hot Kitchens" and "5 Killer Home Remodels." Face it: Cabaret is smokin' and killer. And apparently, so are those who call the desert home.

At least, according to the mag's advertisers, which target upscale readers in the Southwest. The tagline -- modern luxury for the desert -- serves up food, fashion, design and travel. This 10-year-old lifestyle pub has a clean, crisp look and a commitment to affluence. How do we know? The price tag is attached to all front-of-book items, as well as the designer-bag spread.

Such detail would please my mother. She hates to look through shelter books, discover the perfect item, then wonder what it costs. Mom, you can stop wondering. The brown Hermes bag is $7,000, the pasta pot is $238 and the bottle of Leyenda tequila you'll need to revive yourself is $250.

Readers, however, will like the easy, upbeat tone.

Desert Living goal is to tout the region's lifestyle plusses -- and by and large, that means interiors. Take real-estate agents Shawn and Tiffany Danley. The subjects of the story "Finders Keepers," they don't look old enough to drive, let alone dabble in Donald Trump's favorite pastime. They've carved out a market for themselves -- matching buyers with unique properties. That's code for houses that retain original design and charm, without the "improvements" slapped on over the decades. Translation: most people don't want to live in an architectural nightmare. Could the previous homeowners be as dysfunctional as their design choices? Maybe you can judge a book by its cover.

Next up is "Get Plastered." It notes a popular trend among the green crowd: American Clay Plaster. In my co-op, we don't so much plaster as watch the building splatter paint on the walls, which, in New York real estate, equals major capital improvements. However, DL's Home section, which is sizeable, highlights a sleek, uncluttered look. Whatever desert living is, it isn't messy. Admittedly, we only see snippets of a kitchen or living room. In real life, you chuck your stuff in, and Frank Lloyd Wright's linear genius is buried beneath an avalanche of fashion mistakes.

So it came as some surprise to learn in the travel section that Ian Schrager's newest hotel, New York's Gramercy Park, is billed as hip in an unconventional way. Complete with creations from Julian Schnabel and Maarten Baas, it includes "mismatching furniture, clashing colors and textural overload." The rest of us just call this home. On the plus side, many stories boast clever headlines, including "Cool Down" for a fridge and "Stud Muffin" for that healthy, gluten-free breakfast treat. I paused, though, at "Pimp Your Bathroom." Since when did "pimp" become a word fit for civilized company? Do Wall Streeters "ho" a stock? Prediction: it will be the next big thing in action verbs.

Speaking of action, where does our "Cabaret" motif appear? In the "Go Figure" fashion spread. I'm not sure a $2,400 Gucci burgundy dress with poppy-piped flute sleeves is what Christopher Isherwood had in mind when he wrote "The Berlin Stories," but I know he'd approve the poses. And most of us would be happy to experience the low-key Horizon Hotel in Palm Springs, a renovated series of 1952 bungalows originally designed by famed architect William Cody. Starting at $159 a night, it's just blocks from downtown. While the desert has witnessed many transcendent wonders, like the Exodus story, DL chronicles more earthbound pleasures. If the serenity in these pages is anything to go by, heaven can wait.


Published by: City Publishing

Frequency: 8 times a year

Web site

Next story loading loading..