COACHELLA M A G A Z I N E
#THE PREMIER ISSUE COACHELLA WALLS ANGELINA CHRISTINA PHILLIP K SMITH III JONATHAN PORTUGAL ARSLANE MERABET DAVID MACIAS
February 13-15, 2015 Feb 12 Opening Night Preview | Benefits Palm Springs Art Museum Presidents’ Day Weekend + Palm Springs Modernism Week
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COACHELLA MAGAZINE PUBLISHER EDITOR IN CHIEF JORGE E PEREZCHICA ASSISTANT EDITOR KRISTIN WINTERS VP MARKETING JERRY PEREZCHICA CREATIVE DIRECTOR PHOTOGRAPHY LUNAFORA ART DIRECTOR ARSLANE MERABET WRITERS JORGE PEREZCHICA KRISTIN WINTERS MASTHEAD ARTWORK SOFIA ENRIQUEZ
©2015 Coachella Magazine Celebrating the Arts & Culture of Coachella Valley, California For all inquiries: email@example.com
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See exciting films and world premieres from around the globe.
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A PRESENTATION OF THE PALM SPRINGS CULTURAL CENTER
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ISSUE NO 1 SPRING 2015 ART 8 16 22 28 36 42
COACHELLA WALLS ANGELINA CHRISTINA PHILLIP K SMITH III JONATHAN PORTUGAL ARSLANE MERABET SARAH SCHEIDEMAN
MUSIC 48 DAVID MACIAS 56 CHELA
FILM 58 FILMMAKERS ON THE RISE 64 DOCUMENTARY
THESPIAN 68 THE TRAVELING FOUR
CULTURE 72 RAICES CULTURA
TATTOO 78 PALM TREES & TATTOOS
FASHION 80 QUIET PADILLA
DEPARTMENTS 82 86 88 90 92 94 96 98
FOOD+DRINK BOOKS COLLAB CHELLA GIRL BUZZ CALENDAR DISCOVER CELEBRATION
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pp 2, 4,46,47
art direction p 37
hometown: CathedralCity, CA instagram: @sofiaenriquez playing on repeat: "Lovers Carvings" by Bibio online fixation: BauBauhaus.com fashion style: 1922, 1969, 2001 and modern day comfort currently reading: "Creativity" By Matthew Fox guilty pleasure: Obsessing over 19th century's fashion illustrations
founder HooplaEIO.com hometown: La Quinta, CA twitter: @warslane playing on repeat: La Femme d'argent - AIR online fixation: Vice News fashion style: Dad fab currently reading: Where is Waldo? guilty pleasure: Five Guys (the kind you eat ;))
Read Brown Salon p 90 mua/hair stylist hometown: Portsmouth, NH twitter: @joshfhair playing on repeat: The Read Brown Hair Salon Playlist….A must have. online fixation: Amazon prime fashion style: Jeans and cashmere. Love PS in the winter currently reading: The Faithful Shoshona Freedman guilty pleasure: A spa day and a haircut. Go figure.
owner of Hester Lounge pp 37, 90
hometown: Cordoba, Argentina Resides in Palm Springs and Los Angeles playing on repeat: Jagged Edge and TANK online fixation: Architecture and Design fashion style: Anything Alexander McQueen currently reading: Killing Patton guilty pleasure: Cotton candy and lots of it.
ON THE COVER Mural by Angelina Christina “The Life Cube Project” LasVegas 2013 www.lifecubeproject.com Photography Kevin MX
photographer hometown: Indio, CA twitter: @artisttone playing on repeat: Wu-Tang Clan's A Better Tomorrow and Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga Cheek To Cheek online fixation: Uproxx.com and Flipboard app. fashion style: Mostly Star Wars shirts, decent jeans, and as long as I have a nice pair of sneakers. currently reading: Star Wars: A New Dawn guilty pleasure: I don’t feel guilty about any of it though lol. Love pizza, I LOVE Star Wars, I still have a huge crush on Carmen Electra.
hometown: Coachella Valley instagram: @georgeduchannes playing on repeat: lorde - yellow flicker beat (kanye west rework) online fixation: netflix fashion style: Whatever mood I'm feeling at the moment. at times you can catch me with a button up and tie other days I will be wearing all black and have a nose ring and gauges on. currently reading: Any online style and art magazines I can get my hands on. guilty pleasure: The Real Housewives
p cover photograph hometown: Tampa, Florida instagram: @shadow1188 playing on repeat: "Camera Thief " by Atmosphere online fixation: petapixel.com fashion style: Casual & comfortable currently reading: The Street Photographer's Manual by David Gibson guilty pleasure: Twizzlers
Palm Springs International Film Festival and ShortFest Modernism Week College of the Desert's Marks Arts Center American Documentary Film Festival Native American Film Festival Cinémas Palm d'Or AME Industry Counil Hester Lounge Read Brown Salon Rob Lebow Raices Cultura Palm Springs Art Museum Coachella Valley Art Center The Coachella Valley Art Scene TG Tattoo Coachella Valley History Museum Desert Oasis Comics Angelina Christina David Valenzuela Danny Owens Bill Schinsky Luis Fausto Hoopla EIO
to the premier issue of Coachella Magazine: celebrating the arts and culture of Coachella Valley, California. Each issue will feature a broad range of emerging to established artists in music, film, photography, fashion and more. Today, artists are creating their own spaces with ferocious passion and boundless ambition. In these soaring mountains and endless skies, artists see freedom — freedom to create, innovate and break the rules. We begin with Vol. 1, Issue No. 1, to discover: murals in old town neighborhoods — Coachella Walls, off the beaten paths in remote locations — Angelina Christina, ethereal installations — Phillip K Smith III, music on fire — David Macias, plus photographers and filmmakers who redefine their genres — Jonathan Portugal & Tamar Levine. From how it’s made, understood, and received, we applaud the work of these artists. Coachella Magazine invites you to an open space where we can share ideas and create dialogues about what excites and moves us. To chronicle a history that is alive and happening. To show our face to the world. This collaborative effort could not be possible without our incredible team of contributors — we thank you and look forward to hearing and seeing new faces. The premier issue is dedicated to you and all those who explore ideas about art and culture in the Coachella Valley and beyond. Be True. Be Wild. Be You. — COACHELLA MAGAZINE
Mural by ANDREW HEM
Mural by NUNCA
COACHELLA WALLS “For a long time — since I was a kid, I wanted to do a mural project,” Armando Lerma expressed in a conversation at his studio in the city of Coachella. Over his 20-year career, Armando has successfully established himself as a prominent artist with collaborator Carlos Ramirez, a.k.a., the Date Farmers. Their work consists of paintings, collages, sculptures, effigies, installations, and videos infused with political content and pop culture — which has exhibited at the Ace Gallery Los Angeles and internationally. In 2013, Armando teamed up with Medvin Sabio, director of L.A.’s Academy of Street Art. Together they pitched an ambitious public mural project to Coachella’s City Hall aimed to raise awareness to Eastern Coachella Valley and dedicated to the anonymous farm worker. On March 31, Cesar Chavez Day, “Coachella Walls,” marked its debut. Now five murals sprawl across the city of Coachella’s Historic Pueblo Viejo district by international esteemed artists, Andrew Hem, Nunca, El Mac, Sego and Date Farmers. Tell us how the “Coachella Walls” project began. The Coachella Walls project began after I met Medvin Sobio at the Wynwood Walls project in Miami in 2011. Medvin was a curator for the project and we [Carlos Ramirez and Armando Lerma] participated as the Date Farmers. I had wanted to do a public mural project in Coachella for a long time, and the time was right, as we were able to connect the dots and bring together the local politicians, artists, and community to support this project... It shows they have faith in us to do the right thing. The goal of the project is to bring some energy to the Pueblo Viejo district in Coachella, as well as to promote tourism by creating an outdoor street art museum with internationally known artists. Another huge component to this project is to inspire the community, especially the youth. Were there any challenges organizing the project? There were no major challenges organizing this project which isn’t to say we had an easy time. The city council, planning commission, artists, and community, all supported the project and it was more the logistics that we had to figure out.
What do you feel most proud about the project? Looking back at the first 5 murals completed is inspiring and makes me want to see what 20 murals look like. How important is public art to a community? Public art and murals can be very powerful in a community but it depends on the artist and the connection to the community, the art should reflect the community and be sensitive to its needs because murals alone can’t do it, you don’t want to end up with a big mess. What inspires and motivates you the most as an artist? Inspiration and motivation comes from the great mystery. Your studio is headquartered in Coachella’s Historic Pueblo Viejo district, what appeals to you the most about the city and how has it impacted your art? I decided to establish my art studio in Coachella’s Pueblo Viejo district because, I grew up in Coachella, and I found a warehouse space for a very affordable price that I could not resist, it’s almost too good to be true. How would you describe your art? The art we do as the Date Farmers is new art and reflects our experience, on the most basic level, it’s to say—we were here. What keeps you grounded and focused as an artist? Art has been my focus for over 20 years now, none of it came easy or quick, it takes a lot of work, and we take our work very serious—we made a commitment a long time ago. What is the future of Coachella Walls and what are your plans as an artist in 2015? For 2015, I would like to see the mural count reach 15. As for the Date Farmers, we are always working on something new—stay tuned. ORGANIZATION: COACHELLA WALLS FOUNDERS/CURATORS: ARMANDO LERMA & MEDVIN SABIO HEADQUARTERS: CITY OF COACHELLA INSTAGRAM: @COACHELLAWALLS
COACHELLA MAGAZINE 9
Mural by EL MAC
Mural by SEGO
Mural by DATE FARMERS
STARFIGHTERA Angelina Christina (b. Christina Angelina) grew up in Los Angeles and has been creating artwork since the age of 4. She describes her style as, “reflective of street art — art is a way to create communication between people.” Her education ranges from a BFA in Art from UCLA to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She currently owns and operates StarFighter Studios, a gallery and production studio in Venice, CA.- but her love for travel, people and places keeps Angelina’s artistic journey moving throughout the globe. Between painting murals off the beaten paths and in remote locations, commissioned work, live painting and gallery exhibitions — Angelina is pushing her art, including collaborations forward, both aesthetically and thematically at an accelerating pace. Angelina’s allurement to the desert extends back to her childhood, “I grew up traveling all over the Southern California desert including: Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Idyllwild, Indio, Salton Sea, Mojave, etc.” In September 2013 on a road trip up Hwy 40 to Salton Sea, CA., Angelina searched for a beautiful wall to paint — to the brink of exhaustion. Her luck changed with a chance encounter when a local resident recommended the 86 Meat & Liquor Market. The result was: “Shesha Sandstorm,” an imposing black and white mural painted in collaboration with artist FinDac, on the market’s long, exterior wall. The artwork rendered a goddess-like figure at the center scene with hands to her face, and a second set of hands holding up animal skulls — flanked by two other figures adorned with punkrock-spiked hair, each holding up a rattlesnake fearlessly in their palms. The mural is befitting for the desert landscape at Salton Sea, yet has a stylistic, urban approach nearly unseen in Coachella Valley. A year later the market was destroyed in a fire — but the mural remarkably remains unscathed. The indelible, “Shesha Sandstorm,” was only the beginning of more iconic works to follow in and around the Coachella Valley. Most notably is the mural titled, “Mountain Charmers,” (another collaboration
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Mural by ANGELINA CHRISTINA & EASE ONE
Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club Palm Springs, California
Leather wristbands and cap LUCKY DOG Spray Paint KOBRA
MOUNTAIN CHARMERS: Mural by ANGELINA CHRISTINA & FIN DAC BAR, Palm Springs, California
with artist FinDac) painted on the facade of Bar in Palm Springs, which depicts two women in war paint holding a giant snake rendered in bold colors: black/ red/white. “Art throughout the world is going through a new phase —[the murals are] bringing a whole new level of youth atmosphere to the Coachella Valley,” Angelina states. One reason the mural is influential was because it broke away from city’s well-established aesthetic and appealed to a younger demographic — on the other hand, it also caused a controversy, inciting both praise and criticism in the community. Ultimately, 18 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
“Mountain Charmers,” punctuated the youthful resurgence of downtown Palm Springs, and burnished her reputation in the Coachella Valley. In April 2014, Angelina was invited to paint a live mural in the Do LaB area at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and will return again in 2015. What attracts you to the Coachella Valley? It’s a beautiful part of the California desert, it’s like a little vortex of gorgeousness. There are so many different parts of the Coachella Valley too, and they’re all beautiful.
Can you tell us about the first mural you painted in the Coachella Valley and how that came about? I had just finished the Shesha Sandstorm mural with FinDac, out at the Salton Sea. To celebrate what we thought was our last night in the desert, we went to visit my friend Cash at Bar in Palm Springs. He introduced us to the owners of Bar and within twenty minutes they had decided that Fin and I were going to be painting a mural on the front of Bar, three days later it was complete.
What is the main difference between outdoor murals and art within a gallery or museum space? BIG DIFFERENCE. Artwork outside is for everyone, its inclusive… work in a gallery is extremely exclusive it’s for a specific audience; only the people that frequent that gallery or museum will be likely to ever experience it. It is also unlikely that an individual would stumble upon a piece of artwork inside of a gallery but you can drive past, walk past or turn a corner and see a wall you didn’t expect to see and it can change you or move you, it can change the path and mindset of your entire day. COACHELLA MAGAZINE 19
What is the creative process that goes into choosing a location, collaborator, and theme? It’s very organic for me. Each situation is unique. Many of my murals are collaborative, however, I’ve only collaborated with a few select artists. The impetus to collaborate with them always develops serendipitously. The theme/subject matter always develops on-site. It is a careful and intuitive process. I have to get a feel for the aesthetics of the place and a sense of the community there before I can really decide what belongs in each specific environment.
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What keeps you motivated each day as an artist? It has just basically become my whole life, full time. Wanting to put everything that I have to give into each painting, keeps me motivated. I know what I am capable of, and I don’t want any of the works to fall short. I want them all to be the best they can be, so I give each one everything that I can. Even if it means that I won’t sleep, or eat, it’s kind of a crazy/beautiful/wonderful obsession. And I just go from one project to the next, and with each project I have a kind of tunnel vision; all that matters is giving that painting all that I can, until I hit my deadline and then onto the next and so on. I love it.
SHESHA SANDSTORM Mural by ANGELINA CHRISTINA & FIN DAC Salton Sea, California
What is your fascination with animals in your work? I like animals because I feel, like as humans, we can identify with aspects of the nature of other living things. If we, for example, really imagine what it is to fly and ride the waves of the wind, we connect to something that is in us, but at the same time outside of us... What keeps you grounded and focused as an artist? All of the amazing people that I meet along the way. Whether it is someone that I collaborate with that becomes a close friend or someone that I meet for ten minutes at a wall.
How do you sustain such a busy schedule between traveling and painting murals? It’s crazy, I basically run/drive/fly from one project to next, no breaks, no vacations ;) What are your plans for 2015? I’ll be painting in Germany in March and I’ll be painting at Coachella in April. Overall, I’m planning to travel off the beaten path and paint murals in remote locations that I’m drawn to. ARTIST: ANGELINA CHRISTINA HOMETOWN: LOS ANGELES INSTAGRAM: @STARFIGHTERA
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PHILLIP K SMITH III
LIGHT & SPACE Phillip K Smith III (American b. 1972) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. His works are deceptively simple in their appearance yet compelling in their design; the works morph with the environment and the viewers interacting with them, breathing and exuding a life of their own. In October 2013, Smith III launched a project titled, “Lucid Stead,” in Joshua Tree, CA. This work is composed of an abandoned shed overlaid with mirrors and lights. This concept creates the effect of a house suspended in space, blending with the desert landscape, reflecting the light of dawn to the glow of the sunset. “Lucid Stead,” became an unexpected phenomenon, attracting attention from around the world and establishing Smith as breakthrough artist. In April of 2014, Smith III evolved his aesthetic with, “Reflection Field,” a massive-scale installation that marked its debut at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, to over 200,000 festival-goers. “Reflection Field,” gave rise to giant mirrored monoliths that erase the division of light and space, making the earth and sky an otherworldly canvas. Describe some of the inspirations for your work? Light, shadow, color, space, environment, distillation of form, and change. All of my work is a mixture, to some degree, of these elements. Within these mediums, I am searching for a pure, sublime experience that requires the viewer to question one’s surroundings, one’s own perception, and one’s own ability for description. Can you elaborate on some of the technology behind your works that utilize LED lighting? I have always been fascinated with technology. Many of the pieces that I am creating would not have been possible to create just 10 years ago. The tools that are available to artists today are shocking...Shockingly exciting and shockingly accessible. Through traditional tools and the most cutting-edge, so much is possible... and this inventory of materials and tools is changing every day. With this said, every one of my projects, no matter what, begins through the simple act of drawing.
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Can you also speak about and compare the progression of your recent large- scale installations? How has the dialogue linked between Lucid Stead in Joshua Tree, CA to Reflection Field at the Coachella music festival to Four Windows and a Doorway in a gallery setting and finally now, Bent Parallel on the oceanfront at the Untitled international art fair in Miami? The process and progression has been one of refinement and discovery. Lucid Stead evolved out of spending time in the raw desert of Joshua Tree over the course of 8 years...with no particular project in mind. When it came to be, it was as raw and connected to the place as it could possibly be...which is why I think it has affected so many people. Within the creation of Lucid Stead were my own expectations as well as many discoveries. The progression of the work through these various projects has been about following these discoveries, while changing the mixture of ingredients of those mediums I first mentioned: Light, shadow, color, space, environment, distillation of form, and change. Lucid Stead combined all of these into one work. Four Windows and a Doorway turned Lucid Stead inside out and removed the environment, allowing color to mix through spatial and perspectival relationships. Reflection Field returned to the outdoors bringing back the environment, light, and shadow, but now with the knowledge of the spatial relationships of reflected color. Bent Parallel is the first step forward in a series of installations and sculptures that look at these precise spatial relationships of reflected color. Specifically, Bent Parallel bends two parallel surfaces to create a third reflected, material-less, zero- thickness floating plane of color that is the mixture of the colors of the two bent planes. Standing in front of the piece, you see yourself, for example, as red on the left and green on the right, while a yellow plane (the mixture of red and green light) extends outward into space. Stepping up to the mirrored surface, you see yourself draped in color as your mind deciphers the spatial realities in front of you. Are you looking through a transparent colored field to an actual space beyond? What is real space and
LUCID STEAD PHILLIP K SMITH III Joshua Tree, California Photography STEVE KING Courtesy of ROYALE PROJECTS: CONTEMPORARY ART
COACHELLA MAGAZINE 23
REFLECTION FIELD PHILLIP K SMITH III
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — Indio, California
Photography LANCE GERBER
what is reflected space? In addition, Bent Parallel and the other associated installations can have different effects in different locations. Bent Parallel within a dark space removes 90% of the environmental reflections, allowing light, color, and change to dominate. Within a natural or lit environment, the relationship reverses, allowing the reflected surroundings to dominate, while being subtly tinted by the paced change of color. How does the recent career success affect your artistic practice? It has provided opportunity for continued focus and progression of thought, balanced with the invite of new experimentation. The scale of current projects in the studio range from pieces you can carry in your hands to an 8 story installation. If people have liked what they’ve seen so far...just wait! What is next for your work? Tell us about some of your future projects and ideas? There are multiple large-scale private commissions that, by contract, I am not allowed to discuss. But, if implemented, they will be incredibly memorable and powerfully sublime. There are also several large-scale projects that I can talk about that are in different stages 24 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
of development such as Parallel Perpendicular, which will be 5 mirrored and lit volumes floating in a park in West Hollywood, CA or Line to Circle & Arc-LineArc, which are two corten steel, light and shadow works to be installed in Arlington, VA. In addition to these larger works, I am developing smaller scaled Lucid Stead-inspired wall works, new light and shadow pieces, committing to 100 unique Faceted Discs over the next 10 years (10 released each year) as well as more intimately scaled versions of the color and reflection works that focus on these aforementioned precise spatial and perspectival relationships of color mixing. MUSINGS ON “BENT PARALLEL” THE INSTALLATION IN MIAMI FOR UNTITLED What was your main focus / objective / purpose for Bent Parallel? To create a work for the Untitled international art fair that would define the first step in this new investigation of the spatial and perspectival relationship of color, light, and reflection. To create an installation that operates at both the scale of the show and the intimate scale of the individual.
BENT PARALLEL PHILLIP K SMITH III Photography LANCE GERBER
Can you speak about the significance of Bent Parallel’s size range? (i.e. 8 feet is just a bit beyond “human scale” vs. the towering nature of Reflection Field; and is there a significance to the 21 foot length that provides pitch perfect mappings of perceptionbending “floating planes?”) I wanted the ability to stand up close to the piece and to allow the color and reflection to extend beyond your periphery, while preserving the ability to stand back and discern the formal relationship of the piece. So, the 8’10” dimension accommodates this reality, while the 21’6” horizontal relationship responds directly to one’s periphery. This horizontality also allows the colored planes to feel like they are fully extending into space... responding directly to the scale of the surrounding environment. Can you elaborate on the zones of color chosen specifically for Bent Parallel? The color programming works within the realities of color mixing of red, green, and blue light...matching pure colors with pure colors and pure colors with mixed colors.
Can you describe in more detail how the reflections operate, manifest and play off one another? Bent Parallel bends two parallel surfaces to create a third reflected, material-less, zero-thickness floating plane of color that is the mixture of the colors of the two bent planes. Standing in front of the piece, you see yourself, for example, as red on the left and green on the right, while a yellow plane (the mixture of red and green light) extends outward into space. Stepping up to the mirrored surface, you see yourself draped in color as your mind deciphers the spatial realities in front of you. Are you looking through a transparent colored field to an actual space beyond? What is real space and what is reflected space? In addition, Bent Parallel and the other associated installations can have different effects in different locations. Bent Parallel within a dark space removes 90% of the environmental reflections, allowing light, color, and change to dominate. Within a natural or lit environment, the relationship reverses, allowing the reflected surroundings to dominate, while being subtly tinted by the paced change of color. ￼ ARTIST: PHILLIP K SMITH III HOMETOWN: INDIO, CA WEB: ROYALEPROJECTS.COM
COACHELLA MAGAZINE 25
BENT PARALLEL PHILLIP K SMITH III
8' 10 " x 21' 6" x 8' Glass, aluminum, LED lighting, custom electronics
TORUS round lightworks sculpture pictured in the background Photography LANCE GERBER
DO OR DIE Bold. Colorful. Dramatic. Cinematic. The visions of boundaries, to pour my mind all over stories that are Jonathan Portugal’s often paint canvases in one’s mind. valuable to me, but for somebody else it could have a different meaning, depending on their state of mind. I So, tell us about yourself and your photography. like to create images without an ending, so you can give I was born in Mexicali but moved to Cathedral City at it the closeout that you see fit. a very young age, where I attended middle and high school. My passion for photography began when I was Describe your creative process. in university, where I obtained a degree in Integral My creative process works in many ways. I could Design. Somehow I had always been involved in find inspiration in music, and suddenly images start different branches of art, such as painting, dance and streaming into my mind. I always carry a notebook sculpture, but it was with photography that I discovered for these cases or even my notepad on my phone, my real passion. I felt very confident and strong about writing down key words, sketches. Sometimes it’s a expressing all the ideas I have through this form of art. song, sometimes it could be a movie, a picture, shapes Photography has allowed me to get to know myself and nature, inspiration sources are everywhere. Once better, through every corner of my mind, which is what I have the whole picture, I organize my thoughts into I try to deliver to my audience, a different perspective a storyline and sketch, so it’ll be easier to work the about any topic. I like to create imagery that will provoke moment I get to the photoshoot location. a reaction, good or bad, but always with an impact. I like to think that by creating images that are different, Do you see a link between fashion, film and music in I invite people to open their minds, broadening their your photography? mental bank of images, making them embrace things Definitely, there is a strong bond between them, and out of the ordinary. I use those resources whenever I am working on a concept, frequently find inspiration in music for my Where does your inspiration come from, do you have photography sessions. There is a film in particular by any major influences? Alejandro Jodorowsky, film maker and artist, titled Some time ago I was in Mexico City, and I happened “The Holy Mountain” that inspired me to create the to walk into a David LaChappelle's exhibition, and I “Cult” photo series. Many times, I could just be walking couldn't help being stunned by the use of colors and around with my headphones on, and I start creating style in the different stages. I was impressed by the stories in my head, ideas for photo sessions, coming skillful use of concepts and themes, and I said to myself, from the songs I am listening to. Fashion is in my head this is where I want to get, to be able to develop my all the time. I always think of making stories in random own signature style to a point of becoming instantly places. For instance, I could visualize a decaying stage, recognizable. Another photographer that inspires me and the contrast that using a model with a unique look, is Steven Klein. The way he uses mystery and sobriety giving it a story, can create very interesting results. amuses me, the mix of beauty and frivolity of colors provokes all sorts of emotions. I also find the works of How do you see the current art and scene in Mexico? Alexander McQueen and Alejandro Jodorowsky very It’s surprising the growth of opportunities these days inspiring for the creation of the PORTUGAL signature. in Mexico for anybody interested in these areas, such as experimental photography, magazines, product What do you enjoy the most about photography? marketing photography, etc. Art branches as Design What I enjoy the most is the possibility to create without and Photography are starting to develop throughout
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the country, nowadays even in mid-sized cities such as Mexicali (in which I reside), where people are demanding for more and more high-quality work in these arts. Nevertheless, at the moment, the growth possibilities are more latent going to large cities, which is the plan I have right now, where you can learn anything you want about any artistic area. What are your major goals as an artist? I would like to be recognized for my own style. Working with top of the notch brands to create advertising campaigns, fashion editorials for renowned magazines and photography of popular culture icons. Do you have any favorite collaborators, or anyone specific you would want to collaborate with? I would love to work with Brooke Candy, LA artist, because of her style and strength. Also with Die Antwoord, which is a South African band with a uniquely strong essence. There are also several designers I would be thrilled to work with such as Nicole Winters or Rik Villa. How important do you feel social media is to photographers to get their work out there and be seen? I think it is of utmost importance. These days there are many talented people out there, and fortunately there are many different technology platforms that can be put to use to promote your work. You have to be smart about exhibit your work somehow, searching for the best way to cause a major impact, so you can move forward in getting the attention and results you want. I see drama/tension in your photography, whether it's two friends turning at each other or a woman holding 2 other women by the leash or a male dripping in blood — is photography a cathartic/therapeutic experience to get things out of your system? As a child I grew up watching horror, mystery and sci-fi movies. I find death and its cults fascinating. My mental bank of images is full of that kind of imagery. When I am doing photography, my goal is to break social paradigms combining elements of beauty, horror, sexuality and decay. That’s why so many of my projects are inspired by those genres. More than an emotion releasing experience I would say it’s an emotion provoking attempt, based on my personal background.
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Your work is often cinematic — do you plan to work on films as well? That’s something I definitely want to begin exploring. People often say, “Everything has been done before.” How do you find a fresh approach to express and introduce new ideas? That’s the exact moment when you have to literally apply yourself to create something new. No one has lived what you have, time and circumstances-wise. Your personal experience and a little bit of imagination come into play. You can always give a twist to something already created with your own style. Your personal background is the best source of inspiration when it comes to creating something new. Do you feel we are experiencing a new renaissance? Definitely, every now and then art is born again, and it leaves its mark in history, culture, our lifestyle. Everything is connected, and it’s in constant change, but at the same time the essence of what we are living remains. What are you currently working on now? At the moment I am working on my clothing line, dedicated to those that are looking to convey their own ideals. That’s the goal of my brand, which is about to be launched. In terms of photography, 2015 is a year full of projects, working with local and international fashion designers, models, fashion stylists, that I am still preparing. What do you want the public to come away with when they see your images? A positive influence by breaking social paradigms. Acceptance of a different type of beauty. A different perspective, away from everyday monotony. How would you describe your photography? In one word: unexpected. What advice do you have for aspiring photographers? Do or die. Do not put off the things you want to do. Do not be afraid of criticism. Dare to create something different, breaking the rules brings in the fun. ARTIST: JONATHAN PORTUGAL HOMETOWN: MEXICALI, MX WEB: PORTUGAL-PHOTOGRAPHYTUMBLR.COM
HOOPLA EIO A look into HooplaEIO’s Instagram stream is like falling into the proverbial rabbit hole — through the lens of an artist, photographer, musician, filmmaker, chameleon and more. After gleaning through just a few images, it becomes increasingly clear, Arslane Merabet has a knack for capturing unique portraitures of everyday-people that populate common places. His own inner compass drives his work, especially so with self-portraits, which reveal a penchant for the absurd. Arslane often portrays a multitude of characters that he seemingly inhabits as effortlessly as trying on new clothes. One can never know for sure what to expect next, “people assume things, but I’m not into anything… I’m a creative compulsive,” Arslane admits.
I think the world is absurd, but it’s also beautiful. Having that notion makes me neutral, which helps me not judge my work.
With social media on the rise, it’s the perfect platform for Arslane to hoist his imagination — often to the point where his personal life transcends and becomes an extension of his art, blurring the line between documentary and fantasy. Arslane is an artist who has the ability to see the world as a both stage and canvas — unafraid to explore, experiment or take risks.
ON CHOOSING A CAREER When did you realize you wanted to be a filmmaker? When I found out I could make money doing it. I wanted to be a lawyer at first but it was too boring. I never did my homework.
Although his talent lends itself to many mediums, he considers himself, “mainly a filmmaker, I’m an artist but I love film.” So, underneath all those guises: Who is Arslane Merabet? — no, I mean really? Here are excerpts from a conversation that took place at a coffee house in Palm Desert, CA on December 23, 2014. ON GROWING UP Where did you grow up? I was born in Oran, Algeria in North Africa and moved to the Coachella Valley at the age 15. Was it difficult adapting or making the transition? No—I adapted pretty easy. It’s all about energy— friendship has no language. It’s cheesy but true. That’s what I find in art: cheesy is pure, and I want to be pure honesty, expressing what I am feeling in the moment. I’m learning to tap into purity—cheesiness.
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Does art run in your family? My brothers create art, but art is not in my family. They are talented but they don’t take it seriously. I’m the only one that takes it seriously. They were the first ones that picked up art and when I saw them, I decided I could do that too. Who are some artists that inspire you? The world and every artist inspire me — S. Dali, F. Fellini, and L. Buñuel [he writes the names on paper].
Where your parents supportive? My parents were not supportive at first, but now they feel I can make it. When you’re a kid, there are three choices that get brought up: doctor, lawyer and firefighter—that’s so sad. Kids are not taught enough to follow their passion. I think the world is learning to get in touch with themselves. People are following their passion now. Art helps me find myself—but anything can help someone find themselves. What would be your dream project? An art project that involves hundreds of people—an ensemble of hundreds. My dream is to bring a lot of people together. In normal life, I’m very boring—but art gives me an opportunity to try different things. I don’t like just sitting down and not doing anything. MUSINGS ON THE COACHELLA VALLEY I’m more focused on the world in general, but now I’m starting to see the world in the Coachella Valley—
Photographed at HESTER LOUNGE 188 S. Palm Springs, CA
Image direction RC MERABET
Production assistant NICK COX San Diego, CA 2012
“I find myself as my own muse. I see myself as a blank canvas that could be anything.” — RC MERABET
Coachella Valley has its own vibe. It’s an island surrounded by mountains—a resort town and everyone is on island-time because everyone is easygoing. I think it’s good. I wanted to leave, but now that I’m older, I’m happy to be here. I think that when you get older you start to get comfortable. When you’re younger, the desert offers you leisure and not enough adventure. Things go in cycle. I love that whatever is happening now will last. These are good times in the Coachella Valley. In the 80’s and 90’s they had spring break here and old people killed it. How long before old people get annoyed and ask us to turn down the music? Let’s be hopeful. Old people don’t need the economy. Hopefully we will learn to live together. ON MUSIC In 2005, I picked up my first instrument when my brother started playing guitar. I like keyboards too, just because you can do everything with it. One thing I learned is to make art with anything around. I don’t have any favorite things. How did you come up with the stage name: Alfa Cologne? It’s a character name for a story I wrote in college about a perfumist. As Alfa Cologne, I just play whatever I feel like, but my main goal is to make cologne — my main goal in music is to sell cologne. Do you wear a lot of cologne? No — it’s pure business. ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY I think the music industry is funny. I care more about having a project done than being a musician—the feeling of accomplishment. I just consider myself an artist. I probably have personality disorder—I don’t like being one thing. People assume things but I’m not into anything—everything in moderation. 40 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
I know I’m going to die at one point, so I want to take everything in before I die. I want to experience the world. ON FILM I definitely want to start my first feature film. I want to give birth to a feature film—I feel like my biological clock is ticking. I just feel now is the right time. I want to film something in the desert—there’s some form of energy here that inspires people to do things and make art, and it produces a lot of talented artists. ON HOOPLA EIO I started Hoopla when I started being more professional about film. I was working on commercials—Hoopla was the happiest sounding word. Hoopla is me. This is how I present myself. It’s just me right now, but in the future I want to hire other artists to work for Hoopla if there’s a commercial or photo shoot that comes up. I love collaboration. Hoopla is my studio. Hoopla is my factory. ON INSTAGRAM: It’s compulsive; it has to do with me having to do things. I get an idea—if there’s no one there—I’ll take a picture of myself. I do it to stay stimulated—I don’t want to wait to make art. I just want to keep doing it. I find myself as my own muse. I see myself as a blank canvas that could be anything. I love people. I want to involve people into what is fun—art is fun. When I take picture or videos, I don’t like to get professional people; I like to get people who are normal. IN CLOSING: In the future, how do you want to be remembered? To associate me with happiness. ARTIST: ARSLANE MERABET HOMETOWN: LA QUINTA WEB: HOOPLAEIO.COM
THE COACHELLA VALLEY ART SCENE Sarah Scheideman, (30) executive director and founder of The Coachella Valley Art Scene, launched her first blog in 2008, shortly after graduating UC Riverside. Upon her return to the desert, she was eager to discover artists, musicians, and venues but couldn’t find an outlet that connected with the youth. So, she decided to create her own and thus, TheCoachellaValleyArtScene.com, was born. Finally, local youth had access to updates about art, music and happenings all around the Coachella Valley. Although, it didn’t occur overnight, Sarah’s promoting skills and do-it-yourself spunk “Yeah, totally!” proved to be a successful combination. Gradually, Sarah was connecting the community, both online and off, promoting her own events, including the now popular, World Famous Party, alongside DJ Alf Alfa, Coachella Arts Studio, an interactive arts and craft installation at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival grounds and most recently the 111 Music Festival which marked its debut on November 1st, 2014. One of Sarah’s most ambitious achievements to date is the opening of a front door art gallery in Cathedral City across City Hall, with partners Ian Cush and Rafael Lopez. The space may not be expansive in size, but you’ll be surprised at what Sarah and the CVAS gallery can do. By day, it’s a creative space for all-ages events, art shows, yoga, workshops and community open mic. By night, the gallery comes fully alive with shows that support local emerging artists who have the opportunity to display their work on its walls, including murals. Live music by local up-and-coming bands and DJs perform on weekends, taking youthful verve and adrenaline to another level. Browse around the merchandise shelf and you’ll discover a smorgasbord of fine art, zines, photos, stickers, patches, custom pillows, and more—all created by local artists. With more shows added regularly, it’s anyone’s guess where Sarah’s soaring ambitions will go next.
ON STARTING HER BLOG What was your inspiration for the blog? I graduated college and moved back to the desert. I didn’t have a job, so I came back. What was your college experience like? I went to College of the Desert for three years and then UCR. I really liked it—it was a big campus but it felt small. It was good for me. I was able to see how other cultures operate. What did you study? Film and Visual Culture. I wanted to work in a creative field. Was the Coachella Valley Art Scene your first blog? That was my first blog—at that time I was reading a lot of other blogs. I worked a lot of jobs to support myself. I took a receptionist job just so I could be in front of the computer all day.
ON PROMOTING EVENTS How did the “World Famous” parties begin? [At first] It was called “Something from Nothing.” We had art, music and a skate ramp at the Riverside County Fairgrounds (Indio, CA). It took about 2 months to promote—300 to 500 attended. The owner of Ace Hotel came by randomly—it hadn’t opened yet, [in Palm Springs, CA] but they were in town. We pitched to them “Doo-Wop in the Desert” It was called a bunch of other things before it was called “World Famous Party.” We were at the Ace Hotel for three years, but it became unsafe—so many people would come in. It was hot and steamy in the dance floor. Then the party started getting really big and out of control—it became a fire hazard and they told us to move—it’s getting too big. Alf Alpha would DJ for four hours straight. He has been DJing since high school, he always wanted to be a DJ. Goldenvoice helped take it to the Hard Rock (for a year in Palm Springs, CA). We reached maximum capacity. Then it moved to the Hacienda Cantina.
What did your parents think about the blog at first? They thought I was wasting my time. “What are you doing?” My great grandmother would call me up and say, “You have a lot of spelling errors.” She would read it the most. [She would say] “Oh yeah, this is going to be good, keep doing it.” She is the only one who is into art. How many partners do you work with? There’s three of us: Ian (Cush), he came to me about 4 years ago and said, “You need to fix your whole website.” Rafael (Lopez), I met at College of the Desert in screenprinting. [Then at University California Riverside] We both joined a club called “Hip-Hop Congress” organizing parties. We haven't changed what we are doing. He’s still throwing parties and events. When you have a blog, you still have to connect with people live, so parties and events is how we connect with people. We were just doing it for fun—I just knew, I wanted to work with art. The point I started taking it seriously, is when I saw this “For Rent” sign [on the Coachella Valley Art Scene building]. I thought, “I’ve been running this blog for five years now,” it just seemed like the right time. We became partners at that point, with Alf Alpha [Rafael] throwing “World Famous” parties. I organize and promote it.
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“The people, the artists have to make it, they have to contribute... It takes a community to really make it happen.” — SARAH SCHEIDEMAN
GREASETRAP performing at the CVAS gallery in February 2015
“One thing I tell everyone is: They should be consistent, do your best consistently.” — SARAH SCHEIDEMAN
ON THE COACHELLA FESTIVAL Tell us about the Coachella Art Studio? It’s an interactive craft installation. Within 6-8 months [from starting the blog in 2008] the people from Coachella fest wrote me—I was like, “Woah!” They [the festival organizers] said, “This is pretty cool, would you like to get involved somehow?” [At first] We had three 10X10 tents—it was really small, but it’s gotten huge now. It’s an underground culture—it’s packed full of people and it’s one of the last free things at Coachella. We have ten different craft artists. This part: you have to make it happen—you have to participate. Every year Coachella fest outdoes themselves. I have to bring my A-Game. When do you start preparing for the festival? In December we start. ON HER BREAKTHROUGH Do you feel 2014 has been a breakthrough year?
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I thought “that,” [referring back to Coachella in 2008] was my breakthrough. I almost didn’t believe it. I was shocked by it. It made me feel like people are reading it and taking me seriously. If I stopped the blog — I felt, I would let down the community. ON OPENING A FRONT DOOR GALLERY Tell us about the CVAS gallery? The people, the artists have to make it, they have to contribute, it’s like a community space. It takes a community to really make it happen. People come here all the time and say, ‘I’m really glad this is here in the desert, there’s nothing else like it here.’ The DJ booth was Rafael’s idea, everything sold is by a local artist. We really try to keep it local as possible—I feel that every show should be completely opposite from the one before. Is there any advice you can impart to aspiring artists? One thing I tell everyone is: They should be consistent, do your best consistently. One reason The Coachella
Mural by Sofia Enriquez, for the show “swap. some. spit.”
Valley Art Scene has been successful is because it's consistent. If you're consistent, people can rely on you. ON LAUNCHING HER OWN MUSIC FESTIVAL What was your inspiration for 111 Music Festival? My younger brother—he inspired me to do the music festival. He’s a city urban planner. He loved public transportation. In Portland, he would meet up with friends and have a party right on the bus—it goes right through the city. The 111 Music Festival was 29 bands—it gives us something to build upon. Ian really helped make that happen—organize everything, make the website, graphic design—it takes a lot of work. How long did it take to prepare? About three months. At first it was just going to go around in a circle from Cathedral City to Palm Springs and keep it small. When we pitched it to Sunline Bus they said, “Why don’t you stretch it, so then you can get funding from other cities.”
Were there any challenges? Rafael took the bus on a trial run and the needle on the record kept on skipping, so he had to get a digital one. I wanted to get a choir, but they wanted to get 25 people in the bus—I couldn't do that. What kind of feedback did you get afterwards? Positive all the way around. All the cites really liked it. MUSINGS ON COACHELLA VALLEY What else do you want to see in the Coachella Valley? More opportunities—jobs for creative people. More businesses that want to have art for 18-35. Remind people that we are out here. A music venue like Fox Theater—purely a music venue—it could be a band or a DJ. Twenty years from now people are going to be like, ‘Golf courses—what’s that?’ ORGANIZATION: THE COACHELLA VALLEY ART SCENE FOUNDER: SARAH SCHEIDEMAN WEB: THECOACHELLAVALLEYARTSCENE.COM COACHELLA MAGAZINE 47
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MACHIN' MILITIA David Macias (30) is lead singer/guitarist of Marchin,’ a Latin influenced band formed in the high desert of the Inland Empire with an eclectic combination of sounds ranging from Ska, Reggae, Cumbia, Gypsy. Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, David arrived to Los Angeles at the age of 10. His father passed away when he was 16, followed by his mother’s death when he turned 20. As a teenager, David grew up in the neighborhoods of East LA. To avoid life’s trials and tribulations, he found solace in music, discovering the Beatles, Hendrix and HipHop, as well as playing his own music at age 15. Like many high school students, David wondered, “how am I going to pay for college?” The solution — he joined the Hospital Corpsman with 1st Marine Division, “enlisted at 17 and as soon as I turned 18, I joined — I loved the military,” David enthused. He served a total eight years and was stationed twice in Iraq, 20052006. From the experience, David gained a sense of camaraderie and discipline. He draws comparisons between music and military: “It was amazing — they are very similar, when you play shows you’re in combat — you’re in a battle to keep in the crowd — you find the balance, cater to the audience, playing a show and being fully on fire.” In his last year of service David Macias was stationed at 29 Palms, CA. and has made the high desert his home ever since. “I always liked the desert and the quietness, I didn’t like the city — I found a creative energy source here in the high desert.” After eight years of active duty, David Macias received a G.I. Bill and studied music for two years at College of the Desert. He is schooled in Mariachi, Latin, Reggae, Celtic, and Rock. “I learned music theory in school, I learned the rules of music, constructing things based on knowledge.” In 2012 David started the band Machin’ (ma-cheen: Spanglish Slang meaning “Supremely Excellent) he is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter. In addition to creating music for the band, he books and manages all the shows, living up to his philosophy:
“one person has to have a vision and everyone has to come together.” Bri Cherry, is classically trained in the Violin and brings 14 years of experience to the table. Andy Gorrill on Upright Bass is the music veteran in the band. Mitchell Arganda on drums and percussion gives Machin’ the added punch that brings people to their feet. “It’s perfect chemistry,” David said. Since it’s inception, Machin’ has had a transformative career going from one stage to the next. Machin’ played Joshua Tree Music Fest in 2012-13 and in April 2014 David played first weekend at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, “Goldenvoice heard us play at the Purple Room about a month before — being at the right place at the right time…right now it’s all I want to do — play music, all my energy and focus is on music — we don’t have time to do anything else but play.” In November 2014 David was the music director for the AMFM Festival in Cathedral City, “I helped pick the bands, produce a world-feel of music, it’s about delivering a message: unity through the manipulation of sound.” What are the main themes or ideas expressed in your songwriting? Justice, world peace, world music — it’s about love but for the world. What was it like growing up? I grew up in East LA, very gang oriented. How did you get through it? By finding solace in music and after school programs. Music — to get away from all that. How did you form the band Machin’? I met Bri playing at open mics, me and Andy have been playing since 2009, Mitchell Arganda joined a year ago — it’s the perfect chemistry Career wise, what has been a defining or turning point? Every show is a defining point/turning point —that’s the beauty of it — every show is different. COACHELLA MAGAZINE 49
“You find the balance, cater to the audience... and being fully on fire.” — DAVID MACIAS
How would you describe your military experience? It brings awareness to other parts of the world, the beauty is, you get to appreciate other cultures. Do you find a relationship between music and the military? Music heals, music is a healer — life and death as in combat. In military you can take different people. Same as in music. Militia is a concept — in music we recruit musicians, we eat and breath the shows. We don’t stop breathing —it’s what heals and brings peace to me. They are all related to music. If we can conquer a region as musicians we can move on. What inspires you? Whatever emotion triggers a song. You go through phases where you write 2 or 3 songs in a month and there are times when you don’t. Sometimes I write a verse on a napkin and then I revisit it four months later and think, that’s a cool verse. It’s like molding a clay pot — you can always change it. What’s it like playing live and how often do you perform live? We just want to search the world, [by creating the] exchange of energy — how many people you can have an impact on. [When] you get to that point, where they don’t want to leave —it’s like magic. When people are dancing it’s your responsibility to give them more. 10-20 shows a month. A big motivation is the interaction of live shows. I notice Briana Cherry, the violinist always plays barefooted — is there a reason? She feels grounded and comfortable when she is barefoot. It’s what brings her the magic What’s it like making a living as a musician? It’s not easy, it’s definitely difficult. It’s not about the
money but it’s about the pride and principle in what we do. [Once] We took a trip from Coachella Valley to Washington, we stayed in peoples yards and in their cars… Feel confident as an artist and you can go anywhere. In the military you spend time with the same group of guys everyday, every minute — same thing as a band — the loyalty and respect. It’s not just work it’s a lifestyle. What are you currently working on? Right now we are working on recording our first professional album, recorded in Joshua Tree — Joshua Tree is a magical place, it’s the desert, you’re in the middle of mountains. You can’t really describe it, you just have to go there and see it for yourself — there is mysticism there. We’re at a point that we feel it’s time. We go on tour in July. I encourage every artist to get out and explore. You get more appreciation when you get out of your comfort zone. It’s scary to leave and get out of your comfort zone. Our music is like our religion. What are your thoughts on the Coachella Valley? Diverse. You have a lot of talent in the valley. You can find anything and everything. One of the fastest growing communities. There is a lot going on — but I would like to see the bands coming together and making a statement, that we are here. What is your long term goal? Long term goal is to play music as long as I can. The more we push our music, the more people will want to listen to our music. BAND: MACHIN' MEMBERS: DAVID MACIAS -VOX, GUITAR BRIANA CHERRY- VIOLIN VOX ANDY GORRILL- DOUBLE BASS, ACCORDION MITCHELL ARGANDA -DRUMS, PERCUSSION HOMETOWN: YUCCA VALLEY, CA WEB: MACHINMILITIAMUSIC.COM COACHELLA MAGAZINE 51
MACHIN' performing in front of the CATHEDRAL CITY CIVIC CENTER
at the AMFM FESTIVAL, 52 COACHELLA MAGAZINE November 14th, 2014
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CHELA October, 2014 in Los Angeles Photo by AUBREY DEVIN
A POP LIFE Throughout the August 8-10th, 2014 weekend—DJs, music fans, partygoers and sun lovers converged at the 3rd annual Splash House pool+music festival in Palm Springs. It was a site largely populated by young 20-something-year-olds who arrived in a plethora of bathing suits and shirtless bodies, from all over southern California and beyond, like a bustling whirlwind, dancing euphorically to the sounds of pulsating music and feeding off each other’s eclectic vibes. With all the frenzy percolating across its three main venues: The Hard Rock Hotel, the Saguaro and the Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club— it set the atmosphere aglow with jolt of youthful exuberance that seemed surreal… and at moments ridiculous. In a time when people say the world is going to shits by what’s happening in the news, it’s easy to feel jaded or angry once in a while. But for one epic weekend in the summer of 2014—it was a time to bask together under warm sunshine rays, to feel what it’s like to be young today, to enjoy life, to free your mind and to remind ourselves to sweat it off — hey, this is Palm Springs after all—a world within its own world. Splash House offered a wide diversity of sounds—but Australian artists Cut Copy, Flume, Jagwar Ma and Chela made some big waves performing their own material live. Chela offered a refreshing alternative to the mostly male dominated lineup and took to the stage with Justin Goings on the drums—her exuberant performance was fun, infectious and joyous—and she showed us some pretty cool dance moves too. INTERVIEW WITH CHELA Can you tell us about yourself, where did you grow up, and what has inspired your music journey? I grew up in Perth, Western Australia. We ran various family businesses from caravan parks to flower farms and moved house a lot because of it. It gave me an adventurous spirit, and that has influenced my music immensely. How would you describe your music and the creative process of making a song?
I make pop music, the non-commercial kind. The writing process is very natural for me, I like to let ideas come to me rather than dig to find them. I take real experiences from my life and turn them into songs. It's so much easier to commit to a song when you've invested your true emotion into it. What are some themes you enjoy expressing in your music? Anything you haven't explored yet? There are so many little experiences and emotions here and there that I have been meaning to write about and haven’t found the perfect chance for yet! I collect my ideas as I go, that way I’ll always have something to write about. Sometimes you can feel blank for a while and it’s good to remind yourself of things you've previously felt strongly about. I mostly like to bring a sense of optimism and positivity to my songs. This world is fucked up enough. It's nice to give people a place where they can turn, to feel uplifted. What was your first experience like at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival? It was mad! Especially my first night, complete madness. We had to wait 3 hours to get in because Thundercat [Stephen Bruner] accidentally stole my pass and they had to reconfigure one for me. There was a big sand storm when we first entered and I remember thinking - this looks like the world is about to end, and people call this a good time? After the storm died down a bit, it became clear to me that the festival was a wonderland after all. One of the highlights for me was the Jeremy Scott party at Frank Sinatra’s old house later that night. I was so satisfied by the way everyone was dressed, it was a treat for the eyes. Tell us about your experience at Splash House pool+music festival in Palm Springs. Yes, it was rather strange and wonderful! There was more body matter than water matter in the pool, people were drunk and grinding, it was ridiculous! It made for a crazy party energy, which was great for us, because the ‘vibe’ was already there for everyone to have a good time. COACHELLA MAGAZINE 55
CHELA permorming at Splash House pool+music festival August 2014, Palm Springs, CA
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Did you study dance or are you self-taught? I had many years of learning dance as a child, all sorts from tap to ballet. Then, we moved cities when I was 15 and I didn't join another dance company. I enjoyed creating my own choreography and improvising. The beauty of improvising is finding the ability to let go and letting the music guide you. My dancing these days is a combo of all of these things. What do you look forward to most this coming year? Making my first EP! I'm very proud of the songs that I've chosen for it, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with everyone. I'm also excited about making music videos for each of the songs! With technology and trends changing often—how do you see the future of music? I have hope that musicians will find more ways to thrive financially and continue creating forward-thinking art using technology to their advantage. We must change with the times! What is the most challenging aspect of the music business and what is most satisfying to you? It’s extremely challenging being an independent artist and finding the funding to support your work. On the other end of the scale, one of the most satisfying parts of being an artist for me is receiving positive feedback on how your art has helped other people to feel joy. It always encourages me to keep going. What helps keep you focused the most as an artist? Remembering how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing, and how much love and support my family have put in to give my sister and I good lives. Hypothetical question: If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead who would it be? Michael Jackson of course! It would be a dream to share a dance with him. What advice do you have for aspiring artists today? Don't make music if you're in it for fame and money.
ARTIST: CHELA HOMETOWN: PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA WEB: FACEBOOK.COM/CHELAMUSIC
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In Celebration of The 20th Annual Palm Springs International ShortFest: Meet the Next Wave of Visual Storytellers
FOAD AWARDS: HP Bridging The Borders Award Best international short Farzad Samsami (b 1980 in Tehran, Iran) director/ writer, founded the production company GorillaFilm in 2005, and has since then directed many professional music videos. ‘Foad’ is his first professional short film. Synopsis: Foad stars Oussama Zemmourri who plays the title character. Foad lives in a coastal town in Morocco and makes his living from all sorts of odd jobs to survive. Many refugees from all over Africa gather in this seaside town, and pay a lot of money to get to Europe by boat. Foad sees a business opportunity in the boat refugees. Cast: Oussama Zemmourri, Mly youssef Ezzahr, Trond Høvik and Youssef Derkaoui and many other non-actors. 58 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
Some short films were crowd-funded while others were self-funded. Which route did you take? All my previous films were made with zero budget but Foad was government funded through Norwegian Film Institute. In the end, I lost all hope because people told me I would never get the money. It’s not the kind of film you can make with no budget. But when I submitted my script — they loved it. I also submitted my script to Philip Øgaard, a top cinematographer, to build a team. Philip Øgaard read it, and called me soon after. What is the short about? It is a refugee story told from a new angle. It happens every day—but since people don’t connect with that. My goal was to to tell a story that is important as well as entertain—to say, it’s okay to laugh.
OUSSAMA ZEMMOURRI stars as "FOAD."
What do you hope viewers come away with after watching the film? Almost every day refugees drown in boats. I don’t have the answers but I see that it’s happening. I hope that someone very smart sees my film and comes up with an answer. Film can be one of the most cultural, powerful mediums and a means of connecting with people—it’s like a painting that you can really feel—it’s all about emotion…I hope that next time they see about it [refugees] in the news, they can have a little more How did you cast the film? I was looking for a 14-17 year-old boy to play “Foad.” compassion. One day a 40 year-old came to audition—so there were some communication issues. Eventually, I cast a 15 Is there anything about the film you would change or year-old boy [Oussama Zemmourri]. I found him in the do different looking back? streets. He had no acting experience. I felt like he was a I’m so proud of the film—every time I see it on the big young boy in the exterior but an old man inside. At first, screen, I get so emotional. I gave him too much direction—he would lose it and become self-conscious. So, I told the cinematographer Summing-Up: [Philip Øgaard] we have to work around him…But Foad is one of those rare films that makes both an when the audience sees his performance onscreen— important social statement and entertains. Much credit goes to Farzad Samsami’s direction—working with they feel him. non-professional actors and an original script. Philip What were some challenges about making the film? Øgaard’s beautiful cinematography and the music score I was in a foreign country—I couldn’t speak French. I by Tom Roger Rogstad and Joachim Alte for Big City don’t speak Arabic or French—and my film is Arabic Music, also help bring the story to life.. and French. When did you find out the film got accepted to the 20th Annual Palm Springs Intl. ShortFest? I found out it got accepted about six weeks prior—but I couldn’t announce it until two weeks before. The Norwegian Film Institute sent me an email and said “Congratulations.” I was picking up my children at Kindergarten at the time—and was so excited, I bought them ice-cream.
DIRECTOR/WRITER: FARZAD SAMSAMI HOMETOWN: OSLO, NORWAY WEB: NFI.NO LINKS: GORILLAFILM.NO
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Synopsis: A married couple in their thirties struggles to break free of the restricted world they’ve created together as they reach a turning point in their relationship. Tensions between them ebb and flow as each pushes against the routines and predictability that come with marriage and aging.
It’s Okay was written right before director Tamar Levine got married and says, “it’s very personal” — the film is about, “two people who have been in a relationship for so long — they are both kind of repressed — he has a personality about controlling everything.” Director Tamar Levine met her leading actor Thomas Sadoski while on a photo shoot for a magazine and stayed connected through social media. But it wasn’t until Thomas viewed Tamar’s first film titled, 22 Date Palm Way, shot with an experimental and stylistic approach, that left a lasting impression: “he called me up and said, ‘hey, I would like to make a film with you.’” At the time, Thomas, was doing a play with actress Jenna Fischer and brought her onboard. The result: It’s Okay, a 15-minute short film, shot in one day at a friend’s house in LA, B-shots the next, and 5 months in postproduction. The control vs. repressed climate in the marriage is often exposed by the use of metaphors such as a pig’s mask, “it’s not an animal people normally find attractive — my goal is to tell a story through every element — the masks are a symbol of her hiding — she’s craving affection.” Extreme close-ups draw the viewers’ attention to the small details: the threading in the living room sofa or eggs and bacon frying in a pan. The visual narrative tells more than words can express. “When we fight with people, we lose track of what’s important… they focus on themselves and forget everything else — I wanted to show that process of people,” Tamar states. As palpable inner-tension builds up to a simmering climax – a bittersweet exchange of affection finally brings a sense of release, “he gave her what she’s been waiting for the whole time.” While some directors can be dialoguedriven, Tamar prefers to fill the in-between spaces with images — this is where her 10 years of experience as a professional photographer serve her exceedingly well — composing shots that evoke sublime emotion or surrealism to deliver an intimate story. It’s Okay marks Tamar Levine’s confident transition from photographer to filmmaker. “With film, I’m able to make my voice more heard — I’ve always known that I wanted to do film. I love the collaborative aspect a lot — it’s more of a team.” Still, Tamar plans to shoot one more short, “Fish” before helming full-length features. In the interim, Tamar relished sharing It’s Okay at the Palm Springs International ShortFest with friends in the audience, “It was cool to see it on the big screen.”
Cast: Jenna Fischer (Her) Thomas Sadoski (Him)
DIRECTOR: TAYMAR LEVINE WEB: ITSOKAYFILM.COM
IT'S OKAY Tamar Levine is a director and photographer. Her first short film, 22 Date Palm Way, was recently featured at LACMA’s Young Director’s Night hosted by Elvis Mitchell. Her editorial work has been published in Filter, Glitterati, Nylon, Chaos, 944, Metro.pop, Runway and YRB Magazine, and more.
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Cast: Lee Stuart
THE TIDE KEEPER Alyx Duncan is a filmmaker and choreographer. Her research investigates human perception in relation to place, culture and political context. Her first feature film, The Red House, won Best Debut Feature at ReelWorld, Toronto 2012, and followed up with The Tide Keeper 2014. Alyx is currently producing Lani Feltham’s short film Mouse, co-writing two new feature films The Moon Baby’s Daughter and Wildness, and a series of shorts commissioned by Touch Compass Dance Trust. Synopsis: An old man is collecting rubbish on a beach along the waters edge. He pauses to measure the incoming tide. The Tide Keeper is a dance and puppetry film that speaks of one man’s fears for the environment and future of humanity. Blending reality and fantasy. — director Alyx Duncan
New Zealand director Alyx is a rare filmmaker — the consummate artist, “I always painted since I was a child.” Before she helmed the director’s chair — she spent 4 years in dance school and earned a masters degree in theater arts and choreographed for TV commercials, “I was always lopsided — one foot in dance and one foot in film.” But her creativite ambitions suddenly shifted when Alyx first picked up a camera, “it was like, I felt a rush of life — it’s like, I could capture the world.” The Tide Keeper was the result of an experimental scene from her first feature film The Red House that went to the cutting room floor, “and then I thought, this is good, and I continued it 2 years latter.” Her experience in dance is truly a gift that aids her understanding of motion, especially in the film’s dream sequence, which blends puppetry animation with live action, “dance is about time, space and rhythm and the human body.” Although puppetry techniques used strings to create the fluid animation, it required months to remove digitally. Alyx found a postproduction house in New Zealand that offered their services for free, but felt obliged to honor their time and knowledge, “film is a medium that requires the time, intelligence and collaboration of many intelligent people — I prefer to have an exchange,” Alyx said. “Many different people have different skills — everyone brings their strength.” Alyx wants The Tide Keeper to be open to interpretation, however, its scenes evoke a compelling underlying message. Just to give you an idea, in the climax, Stuart Lee is strangled and smothered by plastic bags in his sleep. “How can we reduce the amount of waste in the oceans?” Alyx asks. “It’s a major issue – my father is very passionate about the ocean.” Duncan worked with the presence and environmental concerns of her non-performer father, Lee Stuart, drawing inspiration from his experience as a fisherman for Green Peace. For The Tide Keeper, Alyx filmed on location in her hometown New Zealand, “the beach that I shot, I swam in it since I was a baby — what I love about film, is that you are seeing the beauty in front of you.” Overall, The Tide Keeper articulates complex ideas from a fresh and creative perspective — it marks Alyx Duncan as a gifted filmmaker to watch. DIRECTOR: ALYX DUNCAN WEB: THETIDEKEEPER.COM
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ONE ARMED MAN
Tim Guinee, who’s starred in Homeland, Revolution and the Good Wife, has made his directorial debut with the short production of Horton Foote’s One Armed Man. The short has received immense praise from the likes of Gus Van Sant, Ellen Burstyn, Matt Damon, Ed Harris, Edward Zwick, Richard Dreyfuss, Charlie Kaufman, Robert Duvall, Mandy Patinkin and more. Synopsis: It is the story of CW Rowe, a successful cotton gin owner and Ned, the man who lost his arm in its machinery. Ned believes he can either get his arm back, or bring CW Rowe groveling down to his level — and then some. Cast: Charles Haid (C.W. Rowe), John Magaro (Ned), Terry Kinney (Pinky) “We just did everything wrong that your not supposed to do, because everyone says a short should be 15 minutes and don’t do a period movie.” But for Tim Guinee’s directorial debut, he did just that — break all the rules. One Armed Man is a drama/period film set in the 1920’s
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and shot in New York. Although period films add many challenges to production, Guinee wasn’t fazed, “it got in my heart somehow.” But admits, “period movies are really expensive.” While many short films are crowdfunded nowadays, One Armed Man, was self-financed by Guinee, with the hopes of expanding it into a feature. Before production commenced, Guinee spent months reading and researching, and talking to experts about cotton gins and imagined what a normal day would look like at that specific time and place. With great attention to detail, Guinee states, “the clothes help you develop the character — we put period-money in their pockets — if you get one detail wrong you don’t believe it.” With Armed Man , Guinee is able to successfully bring out the best in his cast and crew, “however good the movie is —it’s because of the crew — a good movie is a gift from the community.” Overall, One Armed Man proves Guinee is more than an actor but a capable director as well — presenting one of the best cast performances exhibited at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Shorts. DIRECTOR: TIM GUINEE WEB: ONEARMEDMANMOVIE.COM
DARWIN SERINK & TOMMEE MAY
ABAN + KHORSHID Darwin Serink recently placed as a quarter finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting with the feature film Paper Cranes, as well as being an alumni of the OUTFEST Screenwriters Lab in 2011. Serink is a graduate of UCLA’s Professional Screenwriting Program. Tommee May is founder of Come What May Productions. Tommee co-produced and acted in Goats staring David Duchovny and Vera Farmiga. She cocreated and stared in The One ‘N Done series, which can be seen on Funny or Die; and served as an associate producer on The Romantics staring Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, and Anna Paquin. Synopsis: In Iran in 2005, a photo was taken of two men on the day they were executed for being gay. Inspired by true events, ABAN + KHORSHID is an intimate and vulnerable portrait of two forbidden lovers, glimpsing into the world in which they met and fell in love. With only a few hours left to live, they share with each other their dreams, their fears, their understanding of what life means to them.
Cast: Bobby Naderi (Khorshid) Mojean Aria (Aban) “This film is dedicated to those who dare to risk their lives for love,” states Aban + Khrshid at the at the end. Writer/Director Darwin Serink delivers an impressive visual narrative, intercutting the story from past to present — from intimate bedroom walls to cold, isolated prison spaces, and ultimately outdoors. Although Aban + Khrshid runs at approximately 10 minutes, the unique structure reveals a lifetime of intimate memories the characters share. To achieve this, Darwin spent months finding visual references, and watching documentaries that represented the look and feel he wanted for the film. “The challenge is telling a story in such a short amount of time, and accepting responsibility for the entire crew,” Darwin said. “Trust your crew, you have to trust everyone. Just do it — just make it. Everyone has their voice and everyone has a story to tell,” Darwin enthused. DIRECTOR: DARWIN SERINK PRODUCER: TOMMEE MAY WEB: ABANKHORSHID.COM
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AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL
A PLACE OF TRUTH AWARDS: Winner of Best Documentary Film 2014 Emerge Film Festival Winner of Best Biography Film 2014 New Hope Film Festival Winner of Audience Award for Best Feature 2013 Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival
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Barrett Rudich has been a photographer, director and producer for over twenty-five years, for a wide range of companies and non-profit organizations including national brands such as Intel Corporation and the American Red Cross. But it was a serendipitous encounter on September 10th, 2011, that inspired his first feature documentary A Place of Truth. Barrett vividly recalls meeting street poet Abi Mott for the first time on a sidewalk outside Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon. Abi was sitting in a folded chair behind a vintage typewriter with a hand-made sign next to her that read: Name a Price. Pick a Subject. Get a poem. Intrigued, Barrett waited in line to get his own poem while a bystander explained how the process worked. When his turn came up, Barrett chose his favorite theme: Ambiguity. He paid a sum, and she began typing: “She was almost like in a trance, she gets in a rhythm, very focused into the moment, capturing the moment,” Barrett remembers. Once Barrett read the poem he was genuinely impressed, “Whoa! This is a really good poem.” Abi Mott, who is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania was, “very nomadic when I met her,” Barrett recalls. She was a 20-year-old, who dropped out of high school, and was couch-surfing in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco. Abi randomly came across Lynn Gentry, a street poet, while going around and passing out resumes to coffee shops. When Abi took an interest in what Lynn was doing, he encouraged Abi to try poetry busking herself and lent her a typewriter. Although Abi learned how to busk in less than a month, she had been writing poetry since the age of 17 and writing in general as far back as 11. “She’s a voracious reader,” Barrett said. When it comes to poets she is a big fan of Ginsberg and Anne Sexton. What appealed to Barrett about street poetry as a documentary subject is that, “I like the purity of it, all very immediate, it’s very cinematic.” That night they parted ways, but Barrett’s idea for a documentary was already taking shape. “I had the feeling from the beginning that I wanted it to be a road movie,” Barrett envisioned. Three months later, Barrett assembled a small crew and began filming Abi and her supporting cast of characters in Lancaster, New York City and New Orleans. Barrett and his crew shot over 20 hours of footage. “When I woke up every day, I was so eager to go out and shoot,” Barrett said..
Poem by ABIGAIL MOTT written in Palm Springs in front of Brian Marki Fine Art and Framing.
Two years later when A Place of Truth was complete, Barrett presented the film to Abi. “She was very emotional,” Barrett described. “She looked at me and said, ‘this is so beautiful.’” A Place of Truth premiered November 13th 2013, at the Mt. Hood Independent Film Festival in Hood River, Oregon. Abi Mott’s story continues to make an impact. While traveling with the festival tours, A Place of Truth was shown in the Monterey International Film Festival as part of a program sponsored by the US Consulate Office that reached out to at-risk young people from the community. These teenagers stated they were genuinely inspired by the film and by Abi’s Q&A session to pursue their own dreams. Abi, in turn, was very moved to have made a very real difference in their lives. DIRECTOR: BARRETT RUDICH WEB: APLACEOFTRUTH.COM TWITTER: PLACEOFTRUTH INSTAGRAM: ABIMOTT
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3rd Annual AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL: Official Selection
LIGHT SPIN “This is the story of how I managed to take half a million pictures of contemporary dancers in the dark using light-painting, stop-motion and bullet-time techniques,” writes Eric Paré on his website. LightSpin, is an official selection of the 3rd Annual American Documentary Film Festival which screened in March 2014, in Palm Springs, CA. Eric Paré hails from Montreal, Canada and is an artist of many talents: professional photographer, programmer, musician — and he can now add filmmaker to his list of credits. But as the old adage goes, “You can’t rush greatness.” Eric took a break from photography between 2008-2011 because he expressed boredom and didn’t feel he was adding anything new. Thankfully, he returned to the medium with vigor and a visionary idea: LightSpin. The project consisted of 25 performers who improvised contemporary dance movements at the center of a ring on which 24 cameras were mounted. What’s unique about LightSpin, is that it’s a very organic, yet calculated process. According to the documentary: “Every frame is lit by hand, one by one. Each picture has an exposure of 1 second. We worked on a rhythm, balancing light and breathing to make sure the dancer stayed motionless during the exposure.” When Eric Paré shot the project, his initial intention was to post it on the internet. “I just did a project and documented it,” Eric said modestly. However, once Eric uploaded LightSpin, it took a life of its own — attracting over 100,000 views online, and went on to be featured on many major photography websites. Only then, did the documentary start to gain some traction at film festivals. That was new for him: “It was totally unexpected, to have that kind of experience, where we can meet other filmmakers and share our experiences and future projects. This is clearly something I want to do more,” Eric expressed. By the time Eric submitted LightSpin to festivals he was already busy at work on his most ambitious project to date, Little Circle with contemporary dancer Kim Henry. Tell us about your documentary: LightSpin. LightSpin has been made with contemporary dancers in early 2013. I spent a few months experimenting 66 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
different techniques and tools. When I felt it was time, I chose a specific light (neutral density roll filter), and re-used it for the whole project. It was clear to me that I needed a strong signature for this project. The film is made from hundreds of thousands of pictures, and the documentary is about the process behind this technique. How was that like to manage/store so many images? I shoot one picture every 2 seconds when I’m doing stop-motion (like in LightSpin). Every time I take a picture, I trigger all the cameras. During LightSpin I used 24 DSLR’s, now I have 32. LightSpin required only one HD + one backup—but a 4TB one! (haha) I have about 20 hard drives at the studio, mostly 4TB ones. Is it you moving the light? I draw the light, yes. Tell us about the process, both creative and technical. I love working with dancers... they are usually strong and can hold the pose for one second. It’s not long, one second, but I need perfect stillness during that time, and I get good results with them—oh and that fits well with the technique :) When I’m doing light-painting + stop-motion, I have to stay very close to the dancer to be able to see what I’m doing. As it is all improvisation, I have to follow the dancer, so it becomes kind of a dance duo in ultra slow-motion. Did you hold an audition call? I had a few friends in that field, and they sent me some of their friends, and it went on and on like this... except for 2 top dancers (Margie Gillis and Paul-André Fortier), they are very well known in Canada. Are you a dancer? I am not a dancer, but I keep being asked about this, maybe I should start :) ARTIST: ERIC PARÉ HOMETOWN: MONTREAL, CANADA WEB: ERICPARE.COM
PHOTOGRAPHY ERIC PARÉ
MONTREAL, CANADA - 2014 DANCER/MODEL KIM HENRY
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THE TRAVELING FOUR
ANTHONY XU RAZER BRITTNEY and ROMAN
were among the volunteers at the 2nd annual AMFM (Art, Music, Film and More) festival in November 2014. But it was their shared affinity for acting in film and live theater that brought them together in the first place. The four thespians recall meeting each other almost a year ago, while playing background extras in a dance scene for, Palm Springs the Movie, and have been friends ever since. From there, they were introduced to the producer, Stephanie Bell, who connected them to the AMFM festival. When Coachella Magazine came across the Traveling Four, (as they call themselves) their natural charisma stood out from the crowd, and they were more than eager to share their stories: the trials and tribulations of a thespian life. Despite their age differences, ranging between 20 to 44, they still go everywhere together, from casting calls to just hanging out. Through acting, they have developed a communal bond — a support group. Whenever one of them hears about an audition, they reach out to keep the rest in the know, and whenever someone needs help preparing for a part, they do a table reading together. Yet as much as they have in common, they each have varying background experience and point-of-views that shed insight into the acting industry. Xu Razer: ON PLAYING THE BAD GUY (It’s all about the beard)
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ANTHONY GARCIA, XU RAZER, BRITTNEY DELEON REYES and ROMAN CANALAS Photographed inside VIP MOBILE SUITES & GREENROOMS in Cathedral City, November 2014
“I got into acting just for the reason that I can be somebody else.” — BRITTNEY DELEON REYES
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Xu Razer moved from New York to the Coachella Valley 10 years ago. He first began to take acting seriously after reading a book about what you want to do with your life: “To be an actor,” Xu Razer answered. “I love going to places and meeting people. I can be shy but I try to encourage myself to be a people-person. I can do things in movies that I would be too shy to do in real life.” Since then, Xu Razer has been a full-time actor for 6 years. Although he is most often cast as the bad guy, he has appeared in 27 films, including a coveted part for the Sons of Anarchy television series, mainly due to his long facial beard—his most distinguishing feature. “[When] Central Casting called me, Sons of Anarchy picked my picture out of 500 guys because I have the coolest beard,” Xu said. Because of this, “most of the parts I get hired to play are the bad guys.” Is this typecasting?–“Yeah, obviously,” Xu quipped. Does the beard help you get parts? “It’s the ONLY thing that helps me get parts!” Xu says with a wry smile. Xu Razer recently expanded his talents by writing his own script: “It’s a horror movie. I’m the hero. It was harder than what I expected, it’s the first script that I’ve written.” Although the script is as of yet untitled, we know this much: It’s a horror film, the protagonist is confined to a wheelchair — but this time, Xu plays the hero. BRITTNEY: ON BREAKING BARRIERS Brittney Deleon Reyes has been acting for four years. Her interest in theater started as sophomore at Indio High School and continues at College of the Desert, where she plans to graduate in Spring 2015 with an AA in theater. However, Brittney’s ambitions are quickly expanding beyond the desert horizon: “I’ve been in the Coachella Valley my whole life and I’m trying to get out of it.” After community college, Brittney would like to audition for a spot at UCLA or USC. When it comes to auditions, she doesn’t get nervous, but finds herself typecast as: cute, funny or innocent. “I’d like to think of myself as adventurous — I got into acting just for the reason that I can be somebody else,” Brittney enthused. “I would want to play someone who is in an Insane Asylum.” As an actress, she credits the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique for guidance, “[it] makes you more aware of your body — it creates a sensation that creates an emotion — instead of using memory.” Among her other talents, Brittney plays the ukulele and is a ballet folkloric dancer. Despite the lack of minorities in
film, Brittney is hopeful about the industry and sees a turning point ahead, “the whole Hispanic America is just waiting to break into the industry.” ROMAN: LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS Roman Canales was born in Indio, CA and now resides in Cathedral City. In addition to acting, he plays drums — but was hindered by a car accident 5 years ago. Roman didn’t get the necessary surgery until a year ago and is still waiting for the injury to heal. His acting credits include, being an extra in the movie Next, staring Nicolas Cage and Jessica Beal, a prison inmate, and a gas station attendant. But Ramon is ready for his breakthrough: “I want bigger roles,” he expressed. Although Roman admits it’s difficult being an actor, he is adamant about pursuing it as a full-time career. Ramon also makes his case for a film industry in the Coachella Valley: “You have the mountains, the Salton Sea, Yucca Valley, and Joshua Tree within an hours vicinity. You have all these locations to work with. There’s so much the valley has to offer. More people are starting to see the whole valley and not just Palm Springs.” The benefits of a film industry in the valley will be, “something that is going to inspire youth.” Ramon mentions his own inspiration: “One thing I like about Robert Rodriguez is that he opens up the door to more Latino actors.” But he acknowledges that more needs to be done, “we need more Latinos in a power position to open up the door.” ANTHONY: ON CAMARADERIE Anthony Garcia is also represented by Central Casting in Burbank, CA and has been acting for 10 years — his credits include Palm Swings, Fatherless, Diamond in the Desert, Vigilante Diaries, The Middle (TV sitcom), and appearing in an AMFM commercial. In addition to acting, Anthony’s hobbies include photography and riding his Harley. Anthony cites the camaraderie with his fellow actors as a genuine source of support, “whenever there is an event we [the Traveling Four] go together — you got to hang out with people that have the same mentality as you do.” Anthony has been fortunate to have worked with local director Christian Sesma on two films, Vigilante Diaries and On Bloody Sunday, and plans to continue working with him. “It’s not about the money, money is good but — we’ve all done movies for free.” ACTORS: ANTHONY, XU RAZER, BRITTNEY & RAMON HOMETOWN: COACHELLA VALLEY COACHELLA MAGAZINE 71
| CULTURE RAICES CULTURA
“The youth in Raices are a fun, crazy,
great group of students. They are very driven, dedicated, hungry, very humble.” — TONE RUBIO
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Nestled within the Historic Pueblo Viejo district, a neighborhood which exhibits a flair of hometown charm, between Coachella City Hall, Veterans Park, a Mexican bakery with a mural painted on its side wall depicting two musicians by artist Nunca — here you will find Raices Cultura, founded in 2004. Raices Cultura is a non-profit organization that champions the arts and culture for local youth in the City of Coachella. Don’t let the modest appearance outside the building mislead you. Once inside, you see a place bustling with youthful verve and inspiration. It offers a space for creative expression, utilizing the arts as a tool to strengthen and build a healthier community. Just 3 years ago, Raices Cultura did not have a building or funding. Today, the organization’s impressive list of credits include, establishing an annual Día de Los Muertos event for the community, going 10 years strong, it has been invited to create an installation at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival since 2012, offers after-school programs which provides computers, books and art supplies to youth, and hosts regular community events such as Artchella to promote local artists and music. But Raices Cultura’s reach extends further, to help prepare youths for higher education and to foster leadership within the local community. To learn more about Raices Cultura and the young artists, Coachella Magazine interviewed Tone Rubio, artist/volunteer and Jocelyn Vargas, Director of Community Programs. TONE RUBIO Introduce yourself. My name is Tone Rubio. I am an artist and photographer. Born, raised, and still living in Indio, California. What is the mission statement for Raices Cultura? Raices Cultura mission statement: To create a space for artistic and cultural expression. To promote healthy communities. And to strengthen the voice of the eastern Coachella Valley. Tell us how Raices Cultura projects work. Raices Cultura works with a lot of high school youth. Provides them a place where they can come and be encouraged to evolve their artistic expression. The youth
are provided with tools that aren't necessarily available to them, whether it be computers to help them out with college applications, or an art studio where they can come and work on big art projects with the organization. Each year (since 2012) the organization is invited by Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to create a large art installation at the festival grounds. The project is a student youth led project. They brainstorm and come up with the themes, ideas, and designs for the installation. They help create the proposals that are delivered to the festivals art coordinator. Pretty much everything from the colors, the composition, the theme, the name... the students are the ones that decide. And the adults of the group are there as the artist mentors to help them figure out how to bring their creation to life. What are some skills the youth at Raices Cultura learn? Youth that come to Raices Cultura can learn many skills. They can learn anything from signing up for college scholarships, working on their portfolio for college applications, to working on large scale sculptures, and how to hang artwork properly for art shows. There are a number of programs and projects that are hosted by Raices Cultura every year that provide life long skills. Do you feel there are enough art and creative outlets in the Coachella Valley for the new generation? This aspect of the art scene in the valley is juuuuuust starting to take off. And it was long overdue. Now you are seeing local organizations and artists starting to take the initiative and doing things like opening their own art galleries, starting their own local shows. You have The Coachella Valley Art Scene opening up their gallery and boutique, you have artist Debra Mumm opening her own art supply store and gallery (Venus Studios). Many local venues for bands have been springing up all over. You can even add in the tattoo art culture. Look how many tattoo shops are in the valley now as compared to 5-10 years ago. Consumer wise, look how many screen printing shops are in the valley now. People aren't waiting anymore, they are going out and doing it themselves and being successful at it. And for us artists, we don’t have to walk by galleries in other parts of the valley and automatically feel like they would never give a local a shot. We say screw it...lets do our own show. COACHELLA MAGAZINE 73
Large scale calaveras (skulls) used for the annual DĂa de los Muertos event in the CITY OF COACHELLA , CA
TOP: Constructing an installation for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. BOTTOM: Making large scale skulls for the annual DĂa de los Muertos event. Photography TONE RUBIO CITY OF COACHELLA , CA 76 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
Describe the youth at Raices Cultura. The youth in Raices are a fun, crazy, great group of students.They are very driven, dedicated, hungry, very humble. They have been waiting for a venue, a place to go, something to be a part of. You have to remember, on this side of the valley—Coachella, Thermal, Mecca— there isn't much around for them to do or to go. And if they were to take a bus just to get to somewhere like La Quinta... it takes at least 2 hours. So, they want somewhere to go, something to be a part of. They are very happy and appreciative of everything. What are some things you feel are unique about the City of Coachella? Coachella is just one of those places...you take a stroll down Sixth Street...smell the fresh pan dulce from the bakery filling up the streets..turn the corner and pass by the groups of old men in their big hats playing their marathon games of cards and dominoes in the park... no matter where you are from... you just automatically get the sense of feeling at home. As a volunteer, what have you learned about the youth at Raices Cultura? They aren't afraid to speak their minds. Their voice is just as important as the next person in the organization, and they have been waiting to unleash their artistic side for everybody to see. What is the goal for Raices Cultura in 5 to 10 years? That it is known as a place that anybody from anywhere in the valley can come and collaborate and be a part of. JOCELYN VARGAS Introduce yourself. Jocelyn Vargas, Director of Community Programs Tell us about Racies Cultura and the youth. Raices Cultura has various programs and events that create opportunities for the community to engage in the arts and culture. Our annual Día de los Muertos event has been running for the past ten years. We have been able to grow the event to create a unique artistic and cultural experience for the community. In 2013 we were able to expand our event from the small church, Centro Martin Ortiz on 1st and Vine in Coachella to Downtown 6th street. We partnered with Run with los Muertos, we had large scale installations and unique
sculptures that created a unique experience. Throughout the year we have various programs that aim to help youth develop leadership skills. Both our Boys and Men of Color and Girls and Women of Color are spaces that create opportunities for both young men and women to engage in conversations that they may not be able to access in the community, school or at home. These spaces provide opportunities for young people to think critically about their community, with the hope of them becoming leaders in their community. What are some skills the youth at Raices Cultura learn? Students learn how to work collaboratively with other students as well as adults. Students are better prepared to engage in conversations about building a healthier community and learn how to utilize the arts to engage others in these conversations. What are some things you feel are unique about the City of Coachella and Raices Cultura? The City of Coachella has been supportive in our effort to bring art and cultural activities to the community. We have been able to bring unique opportunities for youth and residents in the city and I believe that it is because of the strong support we have from the community. The unique history of the eastern Coachella Valley has had a strong influence in our purpose in the community. Art has become a tool that has allowed us to engage residents in conversations around health and other issues currently affecting our community. We have made a commitment to continue to provide opportunities for our community to access art and cultural programs and activities. Where do you see Raices Cultura in 5-10 years? We hope to continue to expand the services that we provide at Raices Cultura, including building partnerships that will provide students with diverse opportunities to pursue degrees in the arts. We are currently looking to build Radio Raices Cultura that will create opportunities for students to learn how to create radio programming. We hope to support our community in utilizing the arts as a tool to strengthen our local economy and build a healthier community. ORGANIZATION: RAICES CULTURA FOUNDED: 2004 HEADQUARTERS: CITY OF COACHELLA WEB: RAICESDELVALLE.ORG COACHELLA MAGAZINE 77
TONY FRANCOIS / SEAN WOOD
PALM TREES & TATTOOS Co-owners Sean Wood and best friend, tattoo artist Tony Francois, had successfully managed TG TATTOO in Cathedral City for 5 years when they decided to take their venture to the next level with, The Palm Springs Tattoo Convention: Palm Trees and Tattoos, in the summer of 2013. Although the idea had been whirling in Sean’s mind for over 10 years, it wasn’t until he heard the news about Hard Rock Hotel opening in Palm Springs, that he jumped at the chance and set plans in motion. As the common adage goes, “big things have small beginnings.” It took Sean a few tries to pitch the concept to Hard Rock, but his persistence eventually paid off. Once they warmed up to the idea and agreed, things went into full tilt in February 2014. Sean proved his marketing mettle, as he worked in a flurry to prepare for and meet the July 11-13, 2014 kick-off. Within four months, he organized an exceptional team in and around the tattoo industry and acknowledged 78 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
spending up to 12 or more hours a day on social media as evidenced on Facebook and Instagram, where daily updates leading up to the event were posted roundthe-clock promoting tattoo artists, merchandising and sponsors. This strategy drummed up excitement at an accelerating pace and worked exceedingly well. “This is our first year but we have a five-year-plan,” Sean said. “I want more, ‘Ah-Ha,’ moments in my life, what I’m capable of doing — push yourself, push your potential,” Sean enthused. “It’s a good partnership, me doing marketing and PR because it allows [Tony] to do what he loves [tattooing]” Sean continued. “The Tattoo Convention is all about highlighting the best of tattoo culture and lifestyle — we want to bring people to the valley and do something for the local economy.” Sean is quick to credit others for their support in making the Palm Trees Tattoos a reality, “I honestly have
to give a lot of credit to Rich Pineda, a tattoo artist from Yucca Valley, and Sullen Collective (renowned for their tattoo lifestyle and clothing).” Sean also commends the local tattoo community, “there’s some amazing talent all over Coachella Valley. You can make a fantastic living as a tattoo artist if you put in the time and patience — you can make an amazing living as a tattoo artist.” He includes his own TG TATTOO shop: “Honestly, the work they do pushes me. They do not work for me, they are my family.” What was once seen as a sign of rebellion or counterculture, we now see tattoos becoming more mainstream, “tattooing is being accepted more like an actual business and art form,” Sean says. He points to his own tattoos to make a case about individuality: “I didn’t get this tattoo for you or for him, I got it for me — I want to be respected not just by the tattoo community, but by people like you — we only get one shot [at life] and I want to make it as cool as I can. I want to be able to walk into a Fortune 500 company and get that person’s respect for what I accomplished.” After the 3-day event was finally unwinding, and awards were given out, Sean recalls hanging out with a few colleagues when, “I saw my daughter come up to me, she was crying and I was wondering, why is she crying, and she says, ‘I love you daddy—I’m proud of you.’ One of the maintenance guys across the room yells, ‘that’s what it’s all about!’ — that was actually one of the best moments of my life,” Sean confided. While the first annual Palm Springs Tattoo Convention: Palm Trees and Tattoos was a resounding success, you can expect much more in July 2015, “plan, plan, plan — a full year of planning,” Sean says. “I want to make it the biggest and funnest event — I want it to become a destination spot, a weekend getaway retreat to meet a ton of cool people. I want to showcase tattoo culture. We want to show the world what the valley has to offer… everyone is welcome.” Top: Tattoo artist JASON WILSON Center: ANGELA MAZZANTI and KARLEE JANE of SULLEN ANGELS Bottom: JEREMIAH BARBA and JOSH DUFFY, winners of "Best Back Award"
CONVENTION: PALM TREES & TATTOOS FOUNDERS: TONY FRANCOIS & SEAN WOOD HEADQUATERS: CATHEDRAL CITY, CA WEB: PALMTREESANDTATTOOS.COM COACHELLA MAGAZINE 79
OF ALWAYS WATCHING COLLECTIVE PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE DUCHANNES How long have you been producing your brand? We have been around since 2006 but have been running as a formal brand since late 2012. Do you have a signature style that you are known for? Not so much “signature” but we get complimented a lot on the cleanliness and graphic boldness of our designs. I’ve been told it looks like a skate brand which is always a compliment to me since skateboarding is my first love. Where does your inspiration come from? Life and everything in between. It’s safe to say inspiration comes from everywhere. Perhaps even from you who is reading this now. Who knows. I will say being in spirit and emerged in a creative energy is one of the most beautiful experiences though, and that doesn’t necessarily only mean in fashion. 80 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
What is your creative process like? Typically there is no one particular process of designing new product. If I have an idea I’m always sure to make a note of it, so when I get with my graphic designer he can start cooking it up. We’ll usually just sit with each other and add and subtract what we like and don’t like until the design comes to life. Every idea, every design is always a different process. How did you come up with your name brand and logo? One cold winter night after many failed attempts of trying different logos, drawings, faces, ideas and images, my brother scanned an old baby photo of himself and started modifying it. After a couple hours our logo is what was birthed. It has changed a little bit over these years by becoming more sharp and clean — but has generally always stayed the same. I don’t remember the
exact moment but we overheard someone mentioning that “phantom looking face sticker” that was all over the city and they said, “It’s like, it’s always watching,” and just like that we had a name. #magic Is there a message or idea behind your brand? That’s a tough one. We want to say so much and express ourselves so much that it’s hard to answer without being categorized. So life, death, broken hearts, girlfriends, failed relationships, graffiti, wheatpasting, belonging, skating, action sports, music, drugs, god, the devil, dope shit, good and evil, simplicity, awareness, modernism, art, models, you, me, photography, enlightenment, and most importantly oneness. That is the message behind our brand. When you purchase something from us, we want you to feel like you’re a part of the brotherhood, part of the clicka. All the earnings go right back into the vision so we’re not just collecting money. Do you create all the designs? I am fortunate to work with my friend Tony Dumbrique when coming to designs. He comes up with concepts or ideas and then we go from there. Sometimes other friends and even at times co-workers have given me ideas to spark a new design. Other times, I have reached out to fellow artists whose work I enjoy and let them fully create for us and take my idea into their own hands.
Photos courtesy ®Always Watching Collective
You’re also in a band. How does music influence AW? Yes, I am part of a trio called “The Discomfort” alongside Larry Benjamin and Dj Ba5e. Music hasn’t had too much of a direct influence into our brand, however there are certain ideas and quotes of mine or Lars’ that I would like to eventually incorporate into a design and have them printed as shirts or stickers. What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Of course seeing the final product in its physical form, but I’d have to say, when I randomly see people wearing our product and when someone tells me, “Hey I seen someone wearing one of your shirts!” It's a wonderful feeling. Meeting goals is always rewarding as well which encourages us to just keep moving forward no matter how fast or slow progress is. BRAND: ALWAYS WATCHING OWNER: QUIET PADILLA WEB: ALWAYSWATCHING.BIGCARTEL.COM COACHELLA MAGAZINE 81
| FOOD + DRINK
COACHELLA VALLEY BREWING CO. LOCAL CRAFT BEER At age 18, Coachella Valley Brewing Co. master brewer Chris Anderson ventured into craft brewing: “Me and my buddy realized you don’t need to be 21 to make your own beer.” He started acquiring knowledge from reading numerous books and experimentation in general. Chris Anderson earned a degree at The University of Alaska Anchorage Culinary Arts program. He furthered his career with over 20+ years of management experience, and won numerous awards, including 1st Place at The Great Alaskan Beer and Barleywine festival in 2000 and Gold at the Toronado Barley Wine Festival. In August 30, 2013, what started out as a lofty idea became a reality — Coachella Valley Brewing Co. celebrated its grand opening in Thousand Palms, California — it's committed to crafting beer that showcases the agriculture and the attitudes of the desert. Under Chris Anderson’s leadership, business is booming four-times the rate than anticipated. Coachella Valley Brewing Co. focuses on 82 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
the uniqueness of the Southern California desert with quality locally grown ingredients and expertly crafted beer. Chris Anderson’s approach is innovative yet labor intensive — the end result is described as the first truly: farm to glass. “The East Valley is a huge agriculture hub. That was a big part of the business plan, 70%-80% comes from locally grown agriculture,” Chris explained. One of the main reasons why Chris chose the Coachella Valley is because, “it’s one of the few places in the world that you get this kind of weather—one of the most beautiful places in the planet.” On the sweet taste of success: “If you love what you do and you’re passionate about it, you’re going to succeed.” Stop by and enjoy a glass from The Coachella Valley Brewing Co. — cheers. BREWERY: COACHELLA VALLEY BREWING CO. CEO/HEAD BREWER: CHRIS ANDERSON HEADQUATERS: THOUSAND PALMS, CA WEB: CVBCO.COM
| FOOD + DRINK
HACIENDA CANTINA & BEACH CLUB DINE. DRINK. SWIM. Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club is a stylish, one-ofa-kind Palm Springs food, drink, entertainment and swimming venue. The design is credited to Chris Pardo Design: Elemental Architecture. The overall aesthetic is a hybrid cantina/lounge, accented with rich colors, artwork with skulls and crosses, and industrial modern. “I have always been a fan of and inspired by tequila bars and the unique connection the Mexican culture has with the Day of the Dead,” designer Chris Pardo said. Artwork by renowned artist Angelina Christina compliments the atmosphere, “I was fortunate enough to meet Angelina through our mutual friends Dononvan and Molly Funkey (owners of Bar which features her work). We showed her the space and explained the overall look and concept, then let her run with it. She’s an amazing artist and really makes the spaces come to life.” Chis added. 84 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
The menu is prepared by Chef Ruben Galvez, born in the town of Jerez in Zacatecas Mexico, who understands traditional Latin flavors and brings over twenty years of culinary experience to Hacienda Cantina & Beach Club. By day, Hacienda is a hip sun lover’s paradise set against mountain backdrops, including an outdoor bar, cabanas and live DJ music. At night it is a chic restaurant, bar and lounge that serves up fresh and organic Mexican Cuisine. All drinks are masterfully hand crafted with fresh juices and natural sweeteners. “We wanted to create an upbeat, unpretentious vibe that’s both comfortable for a Sunday brunch/pool party or an evening out,” Says Chris. “Each room offers unique experience based on what you are looking for.” VENUE: HACIENDA CANTINA & BEACH CLUB LOCATION: PALM SPRINGS, CA WEB: HACIENDACANTINABEACHCLUB.COM
“'Gorgeous' embraces individuality and promotes equality with Art.” — ROB LEBOW
ROB LEBOW: GORGEOUS Rob Lebow grew up in San Francisco and moved to Los Angeles where he began a career as a photo editor assistant at Warner Bros. Pictures and then photo editor at 20th Century Fox film studios. After 25 years worth of experience shooting commercial advertising and lifestyle portraiture—Rob decided it was time for a change and moved Palm Springs. “Photography has always been a passion,” said Lebow. “It was great for me—there was never really competition, I just felt like I was doing my thing. I just needed a change—I was working in advertising—I reached a point where I got burnt out a little bit and came to Palm Springs to recoup. I think Palm Springs can be what you make of it—I can focus on my work.” About two years ago, Rob Lebow attended a drag queen show at Toucan’s Tiki Lounge in Palm Springs and says he was totally inspired. The creative spark worked like an elixir and fueled a two-year project comprising of thousands of images and interviews that were eventually edited down to approximately 200 photos for a book titled ‘GORGEOUS.’ “I was always shooting for someone else,” Lebow expressed. But ‘GORGEOUS’ allowed Rob to pursuit something on a more personal level. “It was about doing something from my heart and what I’m passionate about—it’s a whole other game when you’re shooting for yourself rather than pleasing someone else.” What began as a drag queen project suddenly evolved to include, artists, 86 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
transexuals, gender benders, advocates, performers plus interviews. “I was more concerned about telling a story and making people proud.” Rob Lebow sought out to do something no one has ever seen before and describes his photographic approach as “classic, iconic, fine art.” Rob Lebow’s study of beauty and gender was intended to educate, entertain and empower. “I feel, there is a gender movement happening—blurring the lines, but also people not being so hung up about gender—right now, it’s about erasing all the judgment.” Although the project did not always come easy, Rob’s persistence paid off. “I got a lot of rejection from people—a lot of people I didn’t know and trying to convince them—I sent out a lot of letters and links to my website.” Eventually, Rob Lebow also discovered a great deal about himself through the project, “They are so self-aware of who they are and proud,” Lebow said. “I think the book relates to a lot of people, because everyone goes through identity issues — just embracing who you are.” On November 2014, Rob Lebow exhibited images from ‘GORGEOUS’ for its debut at Gallery 446, in celebration of the 2014 Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival. Now Rob Lebow is seeking out publishing opportunities. BOOK: GORGEOUS PHOTOGRAPHER: ROB LEBOW WEB: KROP.COM/ROBLEBOW
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Epidemic Kylie SKATE KNIGHT EPIDEMIC SKATEBOARD SHOP established in 2001, is an independent skate shop providing quality and unique products to the Coachella Valley. KYLIE KNIGHT is an artist who makes paintings, flyers, zines, comics, music (lead singer of the band Greasetrap), and promotes local events. How did the collaboration come about? KYLIE KNIGHT: The Epidemic x Kylie Knight collaboration fell into place almost effortlessly. Epidemic has been continuously producing great events and products with an emphasis on supporting local talent, and I was stoked when they approached me with the idea to turn one of my paintings into a two deck series. I've been a fan of their work for years and vice versa, so making a board together felt very natural. The skate decks were limited edition, so we aren’t planning on releasing any more of that particular design, but I’d be willing to collaborate with Epidemic to produce more designs for future boards. EPIDEMIC: We have been collaborating and working with Kylie for several years now. She was in fact, our first featured artist in our previous Palm Desert store’s art gallery space. Kylie is a major presence in the art scene, and as major fans of this scene we see her at pretty much anything and everything we attend. We love the loud, energetic and raw energy produced in her work and it seemed like a natural fit to replicate this energy onto our product. What was your original inspiration for the artwork? KYLIE KNIGHT: I work with shapes, colors, and lines first and the context usually comes later. This painting to me is about vulnerability, but I'd prefer the audience to gather their own ideas. 88 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
Do you skateboard or plan to take up the sport? I used to skateboard when I was much younger but I'm actually pretty accident prone and try to avoid most sports that could potentially cripple me, haha. When you collaborate with local artists—what do you generally look for? EPIDEMIC: Over the years we have had the opportunity to collaborate with many artists from various backgrounds. The underlying theme in their work seems to be originality, a vibrant personality, and a strong work ethic. Do you have ideas for other products? KYLIE KNIGHT: There’s nothing solidified for the future right now, but I'm constantly working on new ideas and paintings. We might make some t-shirts in the near future if we can agree on a design. What are you currently working on? Anything we should watch out for in 2015? KYLIE KNIGHT: I am currently working on completing a series of paintings that have been in progress for the last 3 years. Hopefully looking to have a solo show sometime this year. Other than that, I have my band Greasetrap, and we play shows pretty frequently. Hypothetical question: If you could collaborate with any artist living or dead, who would it be? KYLIE KNIGHT: Jean Michel Basquiat EPIDEMIC: Brad Walters COMPANY: EPIDEMIC SKATEBOARD SHOP FOUNDED: 2001 HEADQUARTERS: CATHEDRAL CITY, CA WEB: EPIDEMICSKATEBOARDSHOP.COM LINKS: KYLIEKNIGHTART.TUMBLR.COM
EPIDEMIC DECKS BY KYLIE KNIGHT: 2 DECK SERIES, LIMITED EDITION
MUA + HAIR JOSH FULLER READ BROWN SALON Photographed at HESTER LOUNGE
90 COACHELLA MAGAZINE PALM SPRINGS, CA 188 S. INDIAN CANYON,
| CHELLA GIRL
Briana Skye (23) 5 ft. 8’ was born and raised in Palm Springs, CA. Her distinctive beauty can be attributed to her mother who is Filipino/Spaniard and her father who is Italian/German. Her dark hair and big eyes instantly stuns you under her gaze. Once drawn in, you discover that she is a trained dancer in jazz, tap, ballet and gymnastics — her nimbleness and graceful moves accent her feline frame and sultry allure. Her worldly travels have taken her all over, from Vancouver, to New York, to Sicily. But what stands out the most about Briana is her total confidence — her determination to mark her own path in life. “In eighth-grade I wanted to be a Victoria’s Secret model — some students laughed and others thought it was okay,” Briana recalls. By the age of 18, she moved out of the Coachella Valley and attended community college in Santa Barbara. She started modeling while hanging out with friends at Brooks Institute, where photography students were looking for models. In 2011, Briana’s first editorial was featured in Cielo Magazine and published internationally. “I’ve always been a creative person. That’s what I love about modeling. I love expression and being able to evoke emotion. I’m very sociable, I like human interaction — everything about modeling and photography is chemistry,” Briana explains. “There’s something about modeling that makes you become a different person.” But Briana’s ambitions do not stop there, her next move is Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Her plan is simple: “I’m going to audition to get into acting school — there is no plan B — just that.” It comes as no surprise that her favorite filmmakers are bold and
visionary, such as Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson and Angelina Jolie, “what I love about her [Angelina] is that she’s so badass.” In person, Briana can quickly dispel any preconceptions you might have about her — exhibiting a strong sense of confidence (she’s a Leo, of course). She’s independent, sexy, polite, feminine, philosophical, yet cool as the breeze. By choice, Briana does not have a manager because, “I like creative liberation — to do what I want, to do creative collaborations of my own,”Briana explained. In conversation, she captivates you not just by her outward beauty (albeit she exudes plenty) but through total composure. She waxes poetics about: “I’m really into metaphysical — everyday I think about existentialism. I think we are entering an age of realization where people are becoming more aware of the actuality of the universe — a heightened awareness — people are becoming more in tuned with their reality,” Briana mused. “Art is all emotion and acting. Art in general is perception. I’m an incredibly spiritual person. I submerge myself with nature,” Briana added. Overall, Briana defines beauty as, “I find beauty in flaws. We are all flawed beauty.” The best quality she sees in herself is: “Strength.” But what Briana Skye wants most out of life is, “to be able to love and be loved,” she confides. On embracing being a woman, Briana succinctly says: “Being a powerful creature — confidence.” ARTIST / MODEL / WANDERLUST/ FELINE/ MYSTIC MORTAL: BRIANA SKYE HOMETOWN: PALM SPRINGS, CA INSTAGRAM: XXBRIANASKYE COACHELLA MAGAZINE 91
ALEX CALLEGO PS COMIC CON CO-FOUNDER Photographed at DESERT OASIS COMICS 92 COACHELLA 73-241 HWY 111,MAGAZINE SUITE 4B, PALM DESERT, CA
PALM SPRINGS COMIC CON
Born and raised in the Coachella Valley, Alex Callego has been organizing events, bands, DJs, Hip-Hop acts, and public charities for the last 15 years. Now his most ambitious project to date is: The Palm Springs Comic Con Kickstarter campaign. “I’ve been kicking around this idea since 2011,” Alex said. But the encouragement from a close friend was the tipping point, “I was talking to Jason Dibler, the general manager at the Ace Hotel — he knew I was going to the Comic Con in San Diego, the granddaddy of them all — and he said, ‘you should bring the Comic Con to Palm Springs’ — he motivated me. At first, I thought, I could never do that, but I started kicking the idea around. Just living here in the desert — I knew it was something needed.” The idea developed gradually: Alex has been an avid comic book reader and attending comic cons for 17 years. What he appreciates most about comic cons is, “the camaraderie, connecting with some of the artists — sometimes you can have an amazing discussion with artists — it gives you a deeper appreciation for what they are doing. I compare it to fans meeting their favorite bands — I’ve been able to meet some of my heroes.” The proposal to bring the Palm Springs Comic Con to the desert can also be credited to the emerging art and culture scene, and the success of current mainstays such as the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Add to the mix a growing discontent from youth living in the desert who feel there is a lack of things to do. Yet Alex remains optimistic because more local art and music shows across the valley are steadily popping up. Alex Callego points out the desert has an advantage to create something from nothing here, “because there is
no precedent, we don’t have set up systems, you can create your own — isn’t that what everyone wants — to be their own boss? — now we have more tools to get the message out there.” Although the Coachella Valley is continually experiencing an evolution, Alex acknowledges, “there’s a lot more to do than when I was a teenager, but there’s still needs more work to do, more all ages shows.” Alex also points to a shift in higher education, “that was the trend before, if you were a creative type person, you would finish high school and then there was nothing to do. So, you would leave the desert. Now more artists are going to college, coming back and making good on their talents.” Alex envisions the Palm Springs Comic Con will, “bring something to the desert that’s good for the youth and families and bridge the gap between artists and fans. There’s a big gamer demographic, cosplay is a huge part of it — there’s appreciation for both cultures. It’s a chance to see your favorite comic book character come to life.” The Palm Springs Comic Con: Kickstarter campaign is projected to launch in March 2015 and Alex expects the first annual Palm Springs Comic Con to mark its debut in December 2015. “If you truly believe in what you’re doing and passionate about it, you will find a way to get it out there.” EVENT: PALM SPRINGS COMIC CON FOUNDER: ALEX CALLEGO HOMETOWN: PALM SPRINGS, CA WEB: PSCOMICCON.COM
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| CALENDAR FEB
MODERNISM WEEK Celebrating 10 Years FEBRUARY 12-22
Cool, iconic, exciting, 11-day celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture, art, fashion and culture in Palm Springs, CA.
The Premier Art Fair of the Southwest Region returns to the Palm Springs Convention Center. palmspringsfineartfair.com
LAnCV 2 FEBRUARY 1—MARCH 7
ARTIST RECEPTION FEB. 14
(Art pictured by Gegam Kacherian)
NATIVE FILM FEST
EAST VALLEY REP MARCH 13
“Desert Dreams” will be presented as part of Desertscapes 2015 7pm. FREE coachellavalleyartcenter.org
Indian Wells Tennis Garden 78-200 Miles Avenue Indian Wells, CA 92210 bnpparibasopen.com
“THE HERE AND NOW” A SOLO EXHIBITION BY KAS INFINITE MARCH 14-APRIL 22 Opening reception Saturday, March 14th 6:00pm - 9:00pm at
The Coachella Valley Art Sene
THE MONGOLIAN EASTER BUNNY BY KENNY IRWIN MARCH 14-APRIL 13 GALLERY 446 444 S Indian Canyon Dr Palm Springs, CA gallery446.com
94 COACHELLA MAGAZINE
BNP PARIBAS OPEN MARCH 9-22
Camelot Theatres 2300 E Baristo Rd Palm Springs CA 92262 accmuseum.org/ Cultural-Events
Empire Polo Club. RWBfest.com
RYTHEM WINE & BREWS EXPERIENCE FEBRUARY 27-28 Live music, wine and beer tasting at one of the most beautiful venues in Coachella Valley,
Contemporary artists working in Los Angeles hosted by the Coachella Valley Art Center.
PALM SPRINGS FINE ART FAIR FEBRUARY 13—15
FASHION WEEK EL PASEO MARCH 21—28 FOOD+WINE FESTIVAL MARCH 27—29 Larkspur Ln & El Paseo Palm Desert CA 92260
ART + CULTURAL EVENTS
AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL MARCH 26-30
This year’s annual event celebrates Indio’s 85th anniversary. Live entertaiment, quilt making, wood carving and more. FREE EVENT.
222 S. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs
Coachella Valley History Museum
THE INDIAN WELLS ARTS FESTIVAL APRIL 3-5, 2015
Indian Wells Tennis Garden 78-200 Miles Avenue Indian Wells, CA 92210
COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC and ARTS FESTIVAL APRIL 10-12 weekend 1 APRIL 17-19 weekend 2
The Largest Gay Dance Music Festival in the World. DJs, live performances, pool parties and more. jeffreysanker.com
STAGECOACH APRIL 24-26 California’s Country Music Festival. Empire Polo Grounds Indio, CA stagecoachfestival.com
Empire Polo Grounds Indio, CA coachella.com
WHITE PARTY Palm Springs APRIL 24-27
THE DINAH: CLUB SKIRTS Celebrating 25th Anniversay APRIL 4-6 Headliner’s include Meghan Trainor and Christina Perri in Palm Springs, CA thedinah.com
HERITAGE FESTIVAL MARCH 28
PALM SPRINGS PHOTO FESTIVAL 10th Anniversary APRIL 26-MAY 1
222 S. Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs, CA
AVA LUNA (BROOKLYN, NY) SAFETY NET THE FLUSTERS MAY 13 The Coachella Valley Art Scene
68571 East Palm Canyon Dr. Cathedral City, CA 92234 thecvartscene.com
13th ANNUAL SPRING JOSHUA TREE MUSIC FESTIVAL MAY 14-17 Experience the great outdoors amongst fellow music lovers. joshuatreemusicfestival.com
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| DISCOVER ART
SUNNYLANDS CENTER & GARDENS Tours, art exhibitions, gardens, film, café, shop Thur-Sun 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (closed July & August) Free admission and parking
PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM (760) 322-4800 101 North Museum Drive Palm Springs, CA 92262 psmuseum.org
(760) 202-2222 37977 Bob Hope Drive Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 sunnylands.org
COACHELLA VALLEY HISTORY MUSEUM
AGUA CALIENTE CULTURAL MUSEUM
(760) 778-1079 219 S Palm Canyon Drive Palm Springs, CA 92262 accmuseum.org
82616 Miles Avenue Indio, CA 92201 cvhm.org
MARKS ART CENTER (760) 776-7278 43-500 Monterey Avenue Palm Desert, CA 92260 marksartcenter.com
CRISÀLIDA The Crisàlida Community Arts Project is an initiative of the McCallum Theater to celebrate, facilitate, inspire, create, and chronicle organic, meaningful and relevant cultural experiences.
THE COACHELLA VALLEY ART SCENE
(760) 409-6445 Gallery / Office Address: 68571 East Palm Canyon Dr. Cathedral City, CA 92234
RAICES CULTURA 1494 Sixth Street Coachella, CA 92236 Raicesdelvalle.org Facebook: Raices Cultura
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COACHELLA VALLEY ART CENTER The Coachella Valley Art Center (CVAC) is an innovative non-profit facility for the arts, providing artists of all levels access to art space were they can cultivate growth and exposure.
(760) 799-4364 coachellavalleyartcenter.org
340 N Palm Canyon Dr Palm Springs, California barwastaken.com
ART BAR is a regular gathering of artists (and those who appreciate them) which highlights the work of a creative professional in a social setting.
| DISCOVER CAMELOT THEATRES
VINTAGE THE FINE ART OF DESGN
Mon thru Fri 11am-7pm Seasonal Hours. Open Monday - Saturday 11 - 5
2300 E. Baristo Rd Palm Springs, CA 92262 camelottheatres.com
(760) 565-7388 73717 Highway 111 Palm Desert, California thefineartofdesign.com
STREETWEAR THE END A shop & gallery featuring vintage and new artisan work, ranging from clothing, jewelry, textile/fiber art to paintings and home decor.
ALWAYS WATCHING P.O. Box 7086 La Quinta Ca, 92248 alwayswatching.bigcartel.com Instagram: @awcollective
55872 29 Palms Hwy Yucca Valley, CA 92284 Instagram @theendyuccavalley
World-class keepers of the light, expressing our message through superior goods.
ALLER DE L'AVANT luxury street wear mkt.com/AllerdeLavantco instagram.com/allerdelavant
BEAUTY+STYLE TIFFANY WELCH Hair & Makeup (760) 808-9906 beautyybytiffany.com Cosmetologist/Barber/MUA
PALM SPRINGS VINYL RECORDS AND COLLECTIBLES
(760) 778-2636 220 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262
specialty hair | hair extensions | airbrush | body paint | weddings
BRITTANY NICOLE Makeup Artist (760) 464-6870 firstname.lastname@example.org instagram: brittany_nicole_mua
PalmSpringsVinylRecords.com DESERT OASIS COMICS
Open Tuesdays thru Saturday. New Comics arrive every Wednesday.
(760) 799-6938 73-241 Hwy 111, Suite 4B Palm Desert CA 92260 desertoasiscomics.com
READ BROWN HAIR SALON 1063 N Palm Canyon Dr. Palm Springs, CA 92262 ReadBrownHairSalon.com
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year one 2013-14 1) Dani Meza â€” artist spotlight featured in Coachella Magazine in October, 2013 2) Always Watching at the Seven|Six Trade Show premiere, hosted by Omar Czar on December 2013 3) Palm Springs Pride celebration, November 2014 4) La Roux performs at Renaissance Indian Wells, October, 2014 5) Alf Alpha DJs at Fashion Week El Paeo, March 2014
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6) CIVX at the AMFM Fest opening night reception 7) The Yip Yops perform at the 111 Music Festival, Nov. 1st 8) LED Pool Party at Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs 9) Moby performs at Spash House pool+music festival at Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, June 2014 10) Palm Springs International ShortFest awards night at Camelot Theatres, June, 2014
19 Photo of Coachella Astronaut by DANNY OWENS all other photos by LUNAFORA
11) Poetic Kinetics introduces “Escape Velocity” a large-scale roving kinetic sculpture (aka Coachella Astronaut) at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, April 2014 12) Treem Heffner stands in front of his work “Miracles of Mars” at The Coachella Valley Art Scene exhibit “Roots.” 13) Angelina Christina solo art exhibit at Gallery 446 14) Coachella Walls welcoming reception for artist SEGO 15) Dimitri Halkidis, Armen Ra, Amanda Lepore and Rob Lebow attend artist reception for 'GOEGEOUS'
16) Michael Costello showcases his collection at Fashion Week El Paseo, March 2014 17) Gloria Franz introduces Machin' at the 2nd Annual Día de Los Muertos Celebration at Coachella Valley History Museum, Novemeber 1st, 2014 18) Angela Mazzanti, Miss Palm Trees & Tattoos winner with Sullen Angel Bernadette Macias, July 2014 19) Hair & Makeup by Tiffany Welch at Fashion Week El Paseo, March 2014
COACHELLA MAGAZINE 99
Welcome to the premier issue of Coachella Magazine: celebrating the arts and culture of Coachella Valley, California. Each issue will featur...
Published on Mar 13, 2015
Welcome to the premier issue of Coachella Magazine: celebrating the arts and culture of Coachella Valley, California. Each issue will featur...