New deal could extend the stay of Forever Marilyn in Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS, Cali. -      Once people find out Marilyns in town, they all have to get a picture of her.

     Christine Brauch is visiting from Tucson and stopped to take pictures of Marilyn on Monday, even though temperatures were close to 114 degrees. "I haven't been here in years and years and I came for my granddaughters dance competition and we saw this and I said, I want a picture of my granddaughter under Marilyn," Brauch says.

     That kind of enthusiasm is exactly why Palm Springs Resorts wants her to stay put as long as possible.

     Aftab Dada is the Chairman of Palm Springs resorts and he is fighting to keep her in town. "Well what she has does for Palm Springs for the last 14 months is absolutely mind boggling," Dada says. "She is the most photographed person, I believe in the entire state of California."

     Local businesses want to see her stay extended just as badly.

     Gerardo Ornelas works at Crazy Shirts, right across the street from the statue. He tells us, "You know, summer season is our slow season and when she came it was around the beginning of summer, and you know I didn't see a slow down last season, I'm not seeing a slow down this season so she's really great for the economy and the businesses here. Bringing tourism and tourists in the store of course."

     The 26 foot tall Marilyn was originally supposed to stay in Palm Springs through the first week of June. Now, she'll be in town until September 10th, but Palm Springs Resorts is trying to keep her until the land she sits on is developed.

     Dada continues, "She has to leave before the year ends because we don't have a space for her, because of the redevelopment of the new desert fashion plaza. But, the goal is to bring her back, end of 2015."

     Marilyn's next home still isn't set but, other countries and cities want their shot to have the statue over the next two years.

     "Definitely Hong Kong, Bejing, and Tokyo are the three asian countries that are the front leaders," Dada explains. "Along with some European countries."

     There are two other Marilyn statues in production so other cities around the world will have a better chance to see her in the future. However, keeping her permanently, original or copy, still has several conditions.

     Dada says, "Definitely there is a big price tag and we are currently negotiating. Hopefully we will get a reasonable price to bring her permanently to her home in Palm Springs."

     She also needs a new place to stay. The city is hoping to develop an event center at the new Desert Fashion Plaza, which would be Marilyn's permanent home if she returns in 2015. 

     Before Marilyn's current exit date in September, there are still two more events at the statue on the way. A Marilyn look-a-like contest is scheduled at the statue on August 1st, the deadline to sign up is July 30th.

     And, a farewell concert is scheduled for the 7th of September, which will include live band tributes to The Beach Boys and The Beatles.

     For more information about the statue, check out http://www.visitpalmsprings.com/

     To sign up for the look-a-like contest, head to http://forevermarilynpslookalike.eventbrite.com/

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