I keep hearing at smarter dinner parties (and some of the dumber ones, too), attended by trendy attired and mouthy financial folk, realtors, doctors, etc, that fine art’s considered a luxury investment, not an essential one, like real estate, or health care.

Oh, really?, I often ask.

By the way, thanks so much designer Christopher Kennedy for your surprise-40th bash this weekend (definitely one of the smarter dos), where your creative pack of apparently non-essential pals from all walks of artistic life were in full, vibrant force. Cool video.

Indeed, what would happen if Christopher closed his showroom here in Palm Springs? And I and every other gallery owner in Palm Springs and LA did the same?

All those very necessary locales such as hospital wings, airports, shopping malls, banks, brokerage houses, civic gardens, private homes, could now just be adorned with…what? Maybe works from all those four-year-old kids belonging to parents who say their bratty offspring could do better jobs than the contemporary artists they’re looking at?

Since when were the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s “David,” Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell and Warhol’s genius collections not considered an “essential” to our cultures, both financially and artistically? These are the men and women who have given us the frisson to go onto create whatever we do, much like Picasso’s towering Untitled sculpture in Chicago’s Dealey Plaza.

Or just walking down the hall of the Desert Aids Project here in Palm Springs, where I get an absolute rush every time I see what their in-house artists are up to. Because that’s how many of them literally get well. Pulling out the good inside them to offer it up for others to enjoy.

Just a thought on this weekend memorializing the wars fought years ago to secure our rights, our country, our very lives.

My dad fought in a couple of wars (fighter pilot) and when I told him I wanted to become an artist when I was twelve, he helped me build my first studio. That was his idea of defending what he’d risked his life to do.

By defending my right.

That’s what’s essential in life—defending our differences, and talents, and nobly so. Which also means paying an artist his or her worth. Not like something you’d discount at Ralph’s, please.

And certainly speak up the next time you hear some piece of shit money-marketing opinion being powered by $35 apple-tinis brought to him by a waiter whose real job is making art.