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Desert Magazine - Events with a Cause

Everything was pretty in pink as the iconic Rancho Super Car Wash Pink Elephant sign at the Tamarisk Club in Rancho Mirage was celebrated last fall. Preservation Mirage hosted a cocktail reception and buffet on Oct. 20 to launch the historic designation and restoration of the vintage and very popular pachyderm. A commissioned work by modernist artist John Pirman depicting the beloved beast was revealed. His illustration was in Desert Magazine’s November issue. Philip Monaghan, event chair for Preservation Mirage, says, “John Pirman’s work captures the mood of mid-century style in a way that is timeless rather than kitsch.” Pirman was present at the event and signed an original archival print plus numerous posters, which were sold to raise funds for Preservation Mirage’s many projects in the community.

Guests were tickled pink by a special signature pink elephant cocktail that featured Meili vodka, organic fresh lime juice, Sprite, and a splash of cranberry juice. The delightful venue was decked out in pink orchids and decor and a delectable spread was enjoyed on the terrasse. Many people wore pink ensembles as an homage, including a wonderfully crafted pink elephant hat, pink caftans and maxi-dresses, elephant brooches, and pink suits.

Pirman lives in Sarasota, Florida, and is active in the midcentury scene there through Architecture Sarasota. He says of the project, “I could not believe how amazing the design of the Pink Elephant sign is. I love the pink color, the movement of the neon, and the smile on the elephant’s face … It was a dream job to imagine it brought back to life, as it was in 1966 and will be again soon.”

Preservation Mirage began as an informal group of homeowners that met to exchange ideas about preserving mid-century architecture in Rancho Mirage, California. The group became a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2017. Its mission is to celebrate the architectural history of Rancho Mirage by promoting its protection and appreciation. Learn more at


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