Derek sitting inside a little cave with a bench all made from tree branches and scraps of wood and painted bright yellow

This is what happens when you’re an artist to the core and your parents leave you too much money and land! 

Four acres of this: robots and carousels and and flamingos and toilets and whatever else he could find.

giant blue robot in front of a palm tree

White reindeer made of metal scraps

a toilet seat on a backstop as a basketball net with lights and giant candy canes in the background

Kenny Irwin is the artist in question. Although he converted to Islam, he says he created Robolights in Palm Springs to bring some joy to the city at Christmas. His four-acre sculpture display is up year-round but it’s only open to the public in November and December. And because it’s on private land – in the heart of a lovely residential area – Kenny isn’t allowed to charge admission. However, donations are gratefully accepted at the gate where you’re invited to push a few bills down a sink drain.

If you look closely – and we did – you notice identifiable bits in the sculptures. Computer monitors, vacuums, tools – anything he could save from the landfill. Or, more accurately, as Rob pointed out, Kenny is just “delaying” putting this stuff in the landfill! More than 8-million lights are in use. And this is purported to be one of only two microwaved microwaves in the world. (But how can we really know for sure?)

Small microwave inside a larger microwave. Both are burned and melted a bit

Some Disney characters don’t fare very well.

MIckey Mouse caught in the jaws of a dinosaur

Everywhere you look, there’s something unusual. It’s like walking through a zoo in an apocalyptic, yet Christmasy, future!

A small santa peeks out of an old telephone box

Some neighbours aren’t thrilled with the display in their otherwise sedate little piece of paradise. It’s been going on for more than twenty years, lighting up the ‘hood and bringing lots of traffic. This year, the city blocked off the streets and it has decided that next year, Kenny must move everything to a commercial district. On the upside, he’d be allowed to charge admission. On the downside, how do you move four acres of stuff? We may have seen the very last of Robolights. But we’ll never forget its many toilets!

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