The Palm Springs Intl. Film Festival has come a long way since its bow in 1990, when the awards ceremony was held in the home basement of then-mayor Sonny Bono
, who conceived the event as a way to promote Palm Springs as a major world tourism destination. Its sole honoree was Lucille Ball
, who, while nothing to sneeze at, was but a shadow of what the festival has shaped up to be, a 12-day star-studded spectacle and harbinger of Oscar gold.
This year’s festival, which kicks off Jan. 3 and will draw 135,000 attendees, marks its 25th anniversary in a manner that bears little resemblance to its humble beginnings, when Palm Springs was still a place where sagebrush rolled down the streets and the town, a sleepy hideaway for Rat Pack icons and snowbirds in golf shorts, turned dead after the winter holidays.
“What began as an event for the community has