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I’ll be honest: As I write this column on this issue’s deadline day, I am exhausted. November has been one hell of a month here at the Coachella Valley Independent. Here are a few highlights: • We were again fortunate enough to have a booth at the Greater Palm Springs Pride festival, this year on Nov. 2 and 3. During the twoday fest, we gave out 500 magnetic chip clips with the Independent’s logo, as well as many hundreds of newspapers. Thanks to all of you who stopped by and shared a kind word or three. Also, a personal thank you to Kevin Fitzgerald and Matt King, who helped me out at the booth. • The following weekend, the Independent hosted the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s annual Publishers’ Retreat at the Colony Editor/Publisher Palms Hotel. Our group of publishers—from Jimmy Boegle newspapers in locales ranging from Santa Barbara to Milwaukee, and from Boston staff writer to Little Rock—gathered for two days to Kevin Fitzgerald discuss the media landscape, share ideas, and commiserate over great meals and a cocktail or two. Thanks to all of my fellow coveR and feature design publishers who came to Palm Springs; to all Beth Allen of the wonderful people at the Colony Palms; to Willie Rhine and Lucy Kent at Eight4Nine Contributors Restaurant and Lounge, which hosted our Beth Allen, Max Cannon, Kevin Carlow, Friday happy hour; and to our friends at Jeffrey Clarkson, Katie Finn, Bill Frost, Palm Springs Speaks, who provided tickets to Bonnie Gilgallon, Bob Grimm, Michael Robert Reich’s speech. • Finally … we put together this Best Grimm, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, Matt of Coachella Valley issue that you’re now Jones, Andy Lara, Matt King, Keith holding in your hands. While I could thank Knight, Brett Newton, Dan Perkins, many, many people who helped us produce Guillermo Prieto, Anita Rufus, Jen this fun and informative issue, I have limited Sorenson, Robert Victor space here, so I’ll limit my expressions of gratitude to just two. The Coachella Valley Independent print First: Beth Allen, our fantastic graphic designer, is the true Best of Coachella Valley edition is published every month. MVP. Not only did she design this year’s All content is ©2019 and may not be excellent Best of Coachella Valley logo; she published or reprinted in any form laid out the entire BOCV package (which without the written permission of the is NOT easy, given the number of moving publisher. The Independent is available parts), and she even designed a few latefree of charge throughout the Coachella arriving advertisements. Heck, she wrote Valley, limited to one copy per reader. three of our staff picks, too. Thanks, Beth; we couldn’t have done this issue without Additional copies may be purchased you. Literally. for $5 by calling (760) 904-4208. The Second: We also couldn’t do this issue Independent may be distributed only by without you, our amazingly astute and the Independent’s authorized distributors. community-minded readers. Thank you for taking the time to head to CVIndependent. The Independent is a proud member and/or supporter com and vote in the two rounds of balloting; of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, I know it can be daunting to face down CalMatters, Get Tested Coachella Valley, the Local Independent Online News Publishers, the Desert a slate of almost 130 categories. But you Business Association, the LGBT Community Center of did—and the result is, by far, the valley’s the Desert, and the Desert Ad Fed. best “Best Of” slate of winners and finalists. Your support is why, as the Independent enters its eighth full year of existence, we do what we do. Welcome to the December 2019 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent. Happy holidays, and as always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at the email address below. —Jimmy Boegle jboegle@cvindependent.com Mailing address: 31855 Date Palm Drive, No. 3-263 Cathedral City, CA 92234 (760) 904-4208 www.cvindependent.com




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ulie Hirsh says she doesn’t understand why people would want to know her life story—but she’s underselling herself: From a career as a fitness trainer to her current work for Jewish Family Services of the Desert, the Indio resident has taken a fascinating route to where she is now. “I was born in Berkeley, and my parents owned a toy store,” says Hirsh, now 55. “It was fun and unique—no plastic, all hand-made toys from around the world. They sold it when I was 10, and we moved to upstate New York, where they were from, into an old Victorian house on 200 acres. My folks fixed it up. … My uncle lived up there, and although we had visited him in the summertime, my folks had forgotten how cold it was in the winter.” The family moved back to Northern California, specifically Sonoma County. Hirsh received her bachelor’s degree at “My dad was an entrepreneur, and kind of a UC Santa Cruz in community studies, with genius,” says Hirsh. “He would get bored very an emphasis on social change and activism. easily, so anything he did, it was full speed “Actually, as far as the activism, although I was ahead. For example, he was interested in raised in the Berkeley area, and I remember gardening, so he got a horticulture degree. But the riots (in the 1960s), I was too young to the toy store was still in his blood. He decided have participated,” Hirsh said. “I was into to make cute, whimsical wrapping paper with physical fitness, at the time when aerobics was toy images, and he created posters; we had the thing, and I fell in love with it. thousands around the house all the time. “I was living at home, and my mom said Then he got into woodworking and carving. that if I got a job, I could move out, so I Any hobby had the possibility of becoming a business. My father’s message to me was to put started looking. As a starving student, I got my dreams to work. Whatever I had an interest paid to work out, and then became a fitness professional for 27 years. After that, I went in, I shouldn’t let it be out of reach. into physical therapy as an aide for about “My mom became an international folknine years.” dancing teacher and created her own career Hirsh felt she was working too much; she at a junior college in Santa Rosa. Her message decided she wanted a normal job and to enjoy to me was to never give up on doing what I life with her husband, Robert, now of 21 years. wanted to do. She taught me about tenacity.” “We were always talking about doing this or that and ‘when we retire,’ so we moved to the desert in 2009,” she says. “We’d had a timeshare here for a couple of years, and had experienced how hot it is in the summertime. In 2009, we decided to look at houses, just for fun.” As was the case for so many of us who settled in the Coachella Valley, that’s all it took. “My first job was with Agua Caliente, and then I moved on to the Desert Recreation District,” Hirsh says. “I was doing fitness as a personal trainer as well as teaching classes. I’m still focused on being fit; I work out every day, but now, it’s just for me. My husband, who works for the Desert Recreation District, is an avid pickleball fan.” In 2012, Hirsh joined the staff of Jewish Family Service of the Desert, a nondenominational agency founded on the Jewish principle of “healing the world,” wherever in the world one may be. JFS has served social-service needs of the valley for almost 40 years, providing mental-health counseling, food assistance, support groups, services specifically focused on seniors, and youth programs targeted toward at-risk children. Hirsh oversees community outreach. “I do presentations so people can know who The Hirsh family: Gab, Yanet, Julie and Robert.

Meet Julie Hirsh, a role-model parent, animal-lover and nonprofit-outreach expert

we are, and I oversee the volunteers, including recruitment and training,” she says. “We drive people to medical appointments, have a ‘friendly visitors’ program for those who are isolated, and we provide social activities for holocaust survivors.” Hirsh also describes herself as an animallover, with four cats “and a few strays who live outside,” she laughs. Turning serious, she says: “I’m committed to helping make shelters no-kill and finding safe places for animals who need homes.” Hirsh had a child before she married. “I didn’t let my parents know I was pregnant until I was about six months in, because I knew it wouldn’t go over well. Something in me said, ‘You’re going to be a parent,’ and not because I don’t support choice, but because that was my choice.” Her child, Gab, is now 29. As Hirsh describes it: “Gab doesn’t identify as only female. I was the one who opened the conversation with Gab about identity. I had a feeling by the time Gab was in the fourth-grade that it didn’t feel like

Gab was in the right body. Gab came out as gay while in college, and now Gab and Yanet have been together for a while, living in Long Beach. “Robert is accepting and loving, no matter what. He just rolled with the punches. I’ve learned about pronouns. It’s not necessary to say ‘he’ and ‘she.’ It’s ‘they’ and ‘them.’” What advice would Hirsh give to her own young self? “Be a good person. Treat and respect others as equals and individuals. Take the time to make informed decisions. And accept your child, no matter who they feel they are, or how they are comfortable identifying themselves.” If anyone ever had a story to tell, one that could make a difference to others, it’s Julie Hirsh. Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal.” Her show That’s Life airs weekdays on iHubradio, while The Lovable Liberal airs from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays. Email her at Anita@ LovableLiberal.com. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday at CVIndependent.com.







by kevin fitzgerald

earlier this fall, the Environmental Working Group—a self-described nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, based in Washington, D.C.—released a report titled, “Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Detected in Drinking Water Supplies Across California.” The lead paragraph in that report states, “Drinking water sources for 74 community water systems serving 7.5 million Californians are contaminated with the highly toxic fluorinated chemicals called PFAS, according to an Environmental Working Group review of the latest state data.” We reviewed the report, which found that the water supplies managed by both the Desert Water Agency (serving most of the western end of the Coachella Valley) and the one-time nationwide sampling for PFAS, Coachella Valley Water District (serving and this year, as the state moves toward a large portion of the central and eastern establishing its own health advisory levels for valley) tested positive for some levels of PFAS chemical compounds. In the case of the DWA, the two PFAS compounds covered by the EPA’s advisory. EWG’s list shows not the current the test results referenced a maximum PFAS level of contamination in customers’ tap test result of 70.2 ppt (parts per trillion), but water, but rather the extent of contamination in one well only. One CVWD well returned a in drinking water sources identified since reading of 5.2 ppt. 2013. Maximum detection levels reported to The report, with the alarmist headline, the California State Water Resources Control gained a fair amount of media coverage. Board and the EPA are a snapshot of what was However, reading beyond the headline, we in the water when it was tested, not necessarily found this: “The water systems conducted the what is coming out of taps now.” tests between 2013, when the EPA ordered


A report by an environmentalwatchdog group proves it’s important to read beyond the alarming headlines

That’s a relief. Or is it? Why the alarmist headline? “We heard about the EWG report … but they do this every year,” said Ashley Metzger, outreach and conservation manager at the DWA, in a phone interview. “Some of the standards that they include on their site are actual real federal and state standards (for allowable contaminant levels in drinking water). Other standards that they include are ones that they make up. So we’re always kind of leery and looking out for it to make sure that (their reports are) appropriate and fact-based, and if they used their own standard, they’re clear about it. It can be pretty misleading to folks.” What did Metzger have to say about that DWA well reading cited in the report? “I know that we had an issue with one of our samples at Well 26, where it was registering a read,” Metzger said. “In two following tests, we were ‘non-detect.’ There’s a provision in the sampling guidance from the (California State Water Resources Control Board) Division of Drinking Water that indicates if you take two additional samples that don’t show the presence of the chemical, then they’ll disregard the original sample.” Metzger added: “When you’re talking parts per trillion, that’s very, very, very minute traces—and you’re talking about a very ubiquitous substance. You know, those (chemicals) are present in a lot of different materials that we come into contact with on a daily basis, (like) food wrap, the insides of paper cups sometimes, Teflon pans, Scotchgard repellents, clothing, cosmetics, sunscreen and all sorts of stuff. So samples can sometimes be contaminated. … We don’t know exactly what went wrong (in this case), if it was a false positive or what. We do feel secure that the follow-up results are helpful. We not only did those two follow-ups on that well, but also we did a second … sampling that showed ‘nondetect’ at that well.” Katie Evans, the director of

communications and conservation for the CVWD, pointed out that the EWG is an advocacy group. “When you’re advocating for a cause, what you want to do is bring attention to that cause—and so that’s what they have done … and very well, it seems.” Evans said the CVWD’s water supplies are safe—and that testing proves it. “We’re testing for all those PFOS and PFOA chemicals according to our state regulatory requirements,” Evans said. “The state has come out recently with new testing requirements for those specific issues, and so we’ve been testing against those—but we haven’t had a problem. We haven’t exceeded, and so we haven’t had to treat for anything. But if there was, in the event that we exceeded any contaminant level, then we would look at treating the water to bring it into drinking-water standards.” DWA said the state’s testing requirements have forced water agencies to be proactive. “We’re not waiting for anything,” she said. “Basically, we have orders from the state of California to conduct this testing, because of the fact that we are close to the airport—and we’ve done the testing. We’re doing testing. We have written documentation from them.” Evans said the CVWD is constantly testing its water supplies. “I want to assure people that the drinking water is safe. In our view, the definition of the word ‘safe’ is that it meets all the drinking water standards, both state and federal. CVWD collects water samples every day, 365 days a year. “It seems that the discussion the EWG wants to have is whether the levels need to be changed, and that’s fine. They’re advocating for that. But CVWD provides drinking water that meets all federal and state standards, and the drinking water is safe. Water quality is a huge, huge priority over here. It’s what we do. We provide drinking water, and it’s not lost on us that the public counts on us to provide them with a safe supply.”



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want to share some aspects about our long-term well-being, holiday celebra�ons and alcohol “cheer” this December. Last November, I met supermodel Elle McPherson. She spoke at a Laser University Training Workshop I a�ended, where she shared her inspira�on for her WelleCo Corpora�on. A�er turning 50, Elle realized that what worked for her health in her 20s was no longer working. She summarized, “I’ve learned that wellness is accomplished by what you put into your body.” As I wrote down her company’s “mission,” I added, next to the word “what,” the word “who.” I’ve met a large number of people who are happy about “who” they’ve let into their lives; many others who are not happy about “who” they’ve had in their lives. A chapter in Malcolm Gladwell’s insigh�ul new book, Talking to Strangers, inves�gates what can happen when we to drink too much in high-risk environments. Results can include losing our ability to make long-term choices; the ability to choose at all; and our short-term memory of events. He summarizes these complicated situa�ons with a quote from Emily Yoffe: “The real feminist message (for both men and women) should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you dras�cally increase the chances that you will a�ract the kind of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the vic�m; that’s trying to prevent more vic�ms.” (How to Talk to Strangers, Pages 223-224) I want all of your holiday “cheers” to be without regrets. Here are some Secrets to help you accomplish that goal: Holiday Secret No. 1: Choose to not over-consume alcohol at your celebra�ons. Holiday Secret No. 2: Choose a designated driver you know has your best interest at heart. Holiday Secret No. 3: Keep your good friends close and “along for the ride.” I hope you enjoy this holiday season, and it provides you with human warmth and cheerfulness without any regrets. Elle McPherson and Shonda Chase.

You can email your individual ques�ons to Shonda Chase FNP or Allan Y. Wu MD, Revive’s cosme�c surgeon, at info@revivecenter.com.







by Kevin Fitzgerald

he Desert Ability Center aims to take the “dis” out of disability. That’s how founder and executive director Judy May sometimes describes her personal crusade to help individuals with disabilities living in the Coachella Valley. Many are struggling to put their lives back together—and when she or other DAC team members come into contact with a person whose life is being defined by limitations imposed through trauma or genetics, they set about infusing those lives with new meaning by drawing them into the world of adaptive sports. What are adaptive sports? Put simply, they’re sports modified in a way so people with disabilities can participate. “For me, it’s (a matter of asking a person with a disability), ‘What sport would you like to try?’ for 14 years, pointed out other obstacles that And then we have to figure out how to adapt persons with disabilities have to overcome to that sport,” said Michael Rosenkrantz, DAC’s play adaptive sports. director of program development. “The biggest thing holding (potential When that connection is made, the renewed participants) back is the cost of equipment. interpersonal engagement and physical Most families can’t afford it,” May said. “The exercise brought about via an adaptivewheelchairs run around $2,000, and the cycles sports program is often nothing short of run around $2,500. So, as an organization, transformative. we raise money and help get cycles for kids. “I had a brain-injured young woman from Besides equipment, the other thing that holds high school go up the rock wall at (one of our a lot of (kids) back is that they’re not exposed adaptive) sports festivals,” May said during or included. They’re fearful, and their parents a recent interview during a DAC wheelchairare fearful. … That’s what the festival is about.” tennis clinic, held at the JW Marriott Desert The festival she’s referring to is DAC’s Springs Tennis Club in Palm Desert. “She was Eighth Annual Ability Festival, taking place pretty newly injured, but she came out. And Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Palm Desert Civic when she came off that rock wall, they got her Center Park. on video for TV saying, ‘I can do anything!’ “In order to reach the entire community, With her limited speech, she said, ‘I can do we started this festival with five sports,” May anything!’ “It’s powerful stuff. It really is powerful stuff.” said. “Now, we bring in Paralympian coaches from out of the area that do rock-climbing Rosenkrantz has had a hand in developing and rowing and all the Paralympic-level wheelchair basketball and other adaptive-sports sports. They all have a disability, and they all programs since 2009, in such diverse locales as have wonderful histories in their sports. For India, Nepal, North Carolina and Arizona. “Imagine you’ve had an accident in a car, and instance, Angela Madsen comes in and teaches rowing. She’s a spinal-cord-injured veteran, and you’ve become an amputee. That’s depressing, she holds at least six Guinness World Records right?” Rosenkrantz said. “So, the first step for rowing. She’s training for a solo row from is just getting people out of the house, and Long Beach to Honolulu. So, these are the then sports are very much an entry point into kinds of coaches who come, on their own time, leading a full life. The kids learn all sorts of life skills that they take with them forever. Getting and volunteer to teach these sports and let people to see the opportunities and then to get kids see, ‘If I can do this, you can do it.’ “It’s an event for every age and any them to participate—that’s the key. disability. There will be archery, golf, “What Judy has really done in the Coachella 15 recreational games, bocce, baseball, Valley is develop all of these opportunities. wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, Now the next step is creating a lot more rock climbing, wheelchair skate boarding and awareness. We know that there’s an older sitting volleyball. So, all told, we should have population here, and with that come people close to 30 events—partly Paralympic, and with disabilities. But (the challenge is) just partly recreational. Any kid who comes can getting into the various communities where be adapted (to a sport). I don’t think we’ve there are people with disabilities, so that they ever had a child or adult come who couldn’t know about us, and that we have all of these be adapted. We’re hoping to set up some sports that they might like to try, and then competitions and get some games going where getting them to participate. Transportation they’re keeping score. here in Coachella Valley (can be) a huge issue.” May added: “We’ve got a lot of May, who formerly taught deaf students CVIndependent.com

The Desert Ability Center makes the lives of the Coachella Valley’s disabled residents better via adaptive sports

Nationally ranked wheelchair tennis player Tom Ayala goes for a shot during a Desert Ability Center clinic supervised by Jim Leupold. KEVIN FITZGERALD

developmentally disabled kids, and we provide activities that they can do. I’m adding a component called ‘The Adaptive Sports Experience,’ because part of the movement that everybody’s doing across the United States is, ‘Let’s play together.’ I’m disabled; you’re not, but we can still play together.” One of the goals of DAC’s year-round programs is to normalize the adaptive-sports experience in whatever ways possible. May likes to expose able-bodied student athletes to the unique adaptive-sports challenges firsthand. “I bring in about 100 high school athletes, and I split them up into teams, and they go play their sport, but it’s the adaptive version,” she said. “If you’re a basketball player, then you’re going to play wheelchair basketball. If you’re a tennis player, you’re going to play wheelchair tennis.” Rosenkrantz, who recently joined the DAC team after moving to the Coachella Valley from North Carolina, said recognizing the very real abilities of the DAC program participants is an integral part of motivating, inspiring and creating confidence. “We know there are a number of athletes out there (in our valley who we want to reach),” Rosenkrantz said. “I think it’s really important that we refer to (our participants) as athletes. They may be in a wheelchair, or they may be an amputee, but they’re athletes—and that’s really key. “OK, so it’s a balance sport, and you may have to use a wheelchair, because you have spina bifida. Big deal. The chair becomes part of your body. That’s all it is. The guy who has had a stroke and wants to play golf can still play golf, right? You just have to adapt things.”

Tom Ayala is a nationally ranked competitive wheelchair-tennis player who was paralyzed in a car accident more than 20 years ago; he attends the DAC wheelchair-tennis clinics regularly. “Getting involved with DAC is probably the most positive thing (I’ve done),” Ayala said. “We’ve got the Ability Festival coming up, and I’ll be coaching the tennis. I love being involved in the program itself, because it promotes wellbeing and healthiness. You know, we just look for something to make us happy in life, and something to look forward to. We have sports to keep us busy, because we go through a lot of down times. So, if we have this stuff to keep us busy, that’s where we want to go. And I love teaching now. That’s what I do.” With many achievements behind them, May and Rosenkrantz said DAC has a lot more work to do. “We know that at least 10 percent of the total population has some sort of disability, whether it’s cognitive or physical,” Rosenkrantz said. “So, we’re just scratching the surface right now. We know there are a lot more (people we can help).” May said she’d love to see the Coachella Valley become a haven for adaptive sports. “Our end game is to bring competitions to the desert,” May said. “In the middle of the winter when people in the snowy states can’t go outside and do adaptive sports, who wouldn’t want to come here and (participate) in a tennis tournament? So, that’s a definite possibility.” For more information, visit desertabilitycenter. org. DAC is in need of volunteers to help with this year’s Ability Festival and the year-round clinics; if interested, email michael@daccv.com.



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by kevin fitzgerald

he auditorium at the UC Riverside’s Palm Desert Center was filled with more than 150 attendees when Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez spoke at the Adult Justice System Symposium on Oct. 30. Perez talked about the innovative programs and services now utilized by the Riverside County Probation Department to help citizens re-integrate into their communities after being released from prison—and he spoke passionately about why the issue is important to him. He elaborated on those reasons in a subsequent phone interview. “I’m very proud of the fact that I grew up in Coachella, and that I grew up (the child of) immigrant farm workers who did everything that they could to support their children,” Perez said. Perez organized the event in conjunction “But the 1980s and ’90s in the city of Coachella with the Riverside County Probation were tough. It was crazy. La Eme (the Mexican Department to familiarize residents and mafia in the United States) and the local gangs organizations with community-based ran the city and ran the community. So many programs geared toward rehabilitation, with people were pressured to become a member the intention of preventing the need to of La Eme, or of a gang, and if you did not, re-incarcerate those convicted of crimes. then unfortunately, maybe something would Riverside County Interim Chief Probation happen to you. Officer Ron Miller II spoke about his desire “I was just very lucky. I was just very, very to engage the community in a recent phone lucky. So that’s why (this issue) is deep for me. interview. It’s not only about folks who were very close “You know it’s interesting: Historically, to me, but also even family members. I’ve got probation has not been a ‘sexy’ department family members to this day who are in prison.”

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Riverside County is making new efforts to keep people convicted of felonies from returning to prison

to cover,” Miller said. “For many years, we primarily did pre-sentencing reports on people who had been convicted and were awaiting sentencing. The pre-sentence report would give some background information to the court to (help them) determine an appropriate sentence. … As money in the adult world (of probation services) continued to dry up, the responsiveness to adults on probation was fairly limited.” Then, in 2009, Senate Bill 678 became law. “SB 678 had to do with giving funds for evidence-based practices to be developed,” Miller said. “That infusion of money into the system really allowed probation to start going from a slow-walk to a run: It allowed us to get into case-plan development, and really look at the treatment needs of adult clients and the factors that led them to a place where they were arrested. Then, we could come up with strategies to address those treatment needs. “For us, the two words you hear a lot of are ‘previous trauma’ or ‘drama’ (that may explain) what’s gone on in this person’s life, and next: How do we get this person back to being happy, healthy, whole and functioning in our communities?” Two years later, the state passed Assembly Bill 109, which started a process known as “realignment”: People convicted of less-serious felonies were diverted from the state prison system and instead sent to county jails. “For all the negativity that came out of (the passage of that bill),” Miller said, “it really did push additional money into our portion of the criminal-justice system that allowed us to become more effective in reaching the adult population and creating change opportunities for them. You’ll hear a lot from law enforcement about the challenges that AB 109 has presented. But from our perspective, these were people who were coming out of prison anyway, and instead of going to parole for supervision, they now went to probation for supervision—and (at the county level), this is our community. We know the resources that are available, so we’re probably the bestsituated agency to provide the level of support toward community integration. “A guy’s coming out of prison after having served, say, five years: That’s five years out of the loop. They don’t have a bank account. They don’t have a place to stay. They don’t have a job. They get $200 exit money, and then you’re popping them back into the community. Where’s the support for success? We’re probably the best agency to try to bridge this person, from where he was (in jail or prison) to

Riverside County Interim Chief Probation Officer Ron Miller II: “How do we get this person back to being happy, healthy, whole and functioning in our communities?” KEVIN FITZGERALD

getting him back on his feet and functioning back in the community.” Have these efforts decreased the recidivism rate? Miller said he believes they have. “Of the main categories we look at in the field of probation, one of those is the formal probation client. That’s somebody who has been arrested, gone to court and has been sentenced to probation locally,” he said. “We have about 9,000 of those clients currently in Riverside County. Among that group, about 26 percent will recidivate (within three years), which means that about 74 percent successfully complete without a new violation. That’s the number that we focus on, the successful completions. “Then we have the AB 109 population of about 3,000 clients, and they come in two groups. One is the group that is arrested, goes to court and is sentenced to (state) prison, but then they serve their sentence locally at a county jail. … Then we also have the group that is sentenced to prison; they go to prison; and then when they’re released, because they were there for a non-violent, non-sexual, nonserious offense, they come to probation for supervision. On average, about 43 percent of those clients recidivate.” That apparent decrease in the recidivism rate was part of the story Perez wanted to tell at the symposium. “Quite frankly, I was impressed by the amount of people (who attended), but regardless, that’s not the point,” Perez said. “Did they gain something from it? Are there changes that should be made to our system? And do they feel they have a voice in the system? This (symposium) is our first attempt, and this is my passion.”






Early in the month, Venus dances Planets and Bright Stars in Evening Mid-Twilight with Saturn; later in the month, it For December, 2019 with34the moon Thisrendezvouses sky chart is drawn for latitude degrees north,


but may be used in southern U.S. and northern Mexico. N

By Robert Victor

enus becomes ever more prominent in the evening, while Jupiter, and then Saturn, sink into the southwest twilight glow in December. Mars, slowly brightening, appears in the southeast morning sky, with bright Mercury below it in the first half of the month. Do not miss Venus and Saturn within 5 degrees Dec. 7-14, with their closest pairing 1.8 degrees apart on Dec. 10; and the spectacular Venus-moon conjunction on Dec. 28. Three planets span 18 degrees in the southwest at dusk in early December. On Dec. 1, find Venus, magnitude -3.9, with Jupiter, magnitude -1.8, just 8 degrees to the lower right, and Saturn, magnitude +0.6, 11 degrees to Venus’ upper left. Venus is now on the far side of its orbit, with its light taking 12 minutes to reach us, compared to the sun’s eight minutes. Light reflected from Jupiter and Saturn takes 51 and 90 minutes, provide a convenient opportunity for families respectively, to travel to Earth on Dec. 1. to enjoy the night sky, and this year, the planets As stars appear at dusk, find the Summer provide much to see. In the southwest, the Triangle of Vega, Altair and Deneb dropping brightest planet, Venus, is easy to spot by half downward from high in the west; Fomalhaut, an hour after sunset. In early December, find mouth of the Southern Fish, crossing through bright Jupiter to Venus’ lower right, and Saturn south; Capella, the mother goat star, ascending to Venus’ upper left. In December’s first week, in the northeast; and Aldebaran, eye of Jupiter and Saturn are 18 degrees apart, with Taurus, climbing in the east-northeast to east. brilliant Venus between them, while the waxing In twilight before month’s end, Orion’s bright moon moves farther from the planets nightly. stars Rigel and Betelgeuse, and his three-star Each evening in early December, Venus moves belt midway between them, appear in the east, farther from Jupiter and closer to Saturn. On followed by Gemini’s twin stars, Castor and Dec. 2, foreground Venus appears nearly midway Pollux, rising farther north along the horizon. between the distant giants. On Dec. 3, the moon Note the first-magnitude star Aldebaran, eye reaches first-quarter phase, when it appears halfof Taurus, low in the east at dusk on Dec. 1. full. On the evenings of Dec. 10 and 11, Venus Visualize: As Earth passes between Aldebaran will pass less than 2 degrees to the lower left and sun, the star is at opposition and up all night. of Saturn. Find Jupiter 17 degrees to the lower The evolution of Earth and other planets around right of the Venus-Saturn pair on Dec. 10. the sun is counterclockwise, from the viewpoint By then, the moon, shifting its place of an observer above the north side of our solar eastward by an average of 13 degrees per day system. So Earth on Dec. 1 is moving directly against background stars, has moved into the away from a point 90 degrees east of the sun and constellation Taurus, the Bull. On Tuesday, Dec. 90 degrees west of Aldebaran; that’s 2 degrees 10, note the first-magnitude star Aldebaran, eye west of the third-magnitude star Lambda in of the Bull and follower of the Pleiades, to the Aquarius, in the southern sky at nightfall. lower left of the moon. On the next evening, We’re leaving Jupiter and Saturn behind. find Aldebaran to the upper right of the full Earth’s faster revolution around the sun will moon. Follow the moon several more evenings cause Jupiter to pass behind the sun on Dec. after Dec. 11—if you’re OK with staying up later. 27, and Saturn to do so on Jan. 13. During this Alternately, early risers can shift their month, before these solar conjunctions, when moon-watching time to mornings, one hour will you last spot Jupiter low in the southwest before sunrise. At that time on Dec. 11, the at dusk? When will you last see Saturn? moon and Aldebaran are within 3 degrees In morning sky, on Dec. 2, Earth is heading and about to set in the west-northwest, while toward Leo, 10 degrees east of Regulus. Speedy Orion is setting in west, and Sirius, the Mercury, a few days past greatest elongation brightest star, is low in the west-southwest. on Nov. 28, is leaving us behind and heading Mercury, just risen in the east-southeast, is in toward superior conjunction on the far side of the head of Scorpius on the morning of Dec. the sun, on Jan. 10. When will you last see 11, while the moon is just above the head of Mercury before then? Mars begins December Taurus—opposite to Scorpius in the zodiac, at faint magnitude +1.7. We’re gaining on the the belt of constellations where the sun, moon red planet, so watch it brighten until its closest and planets are always found. Look in the approach and opposition in October 2020, when it southeast for faint Mars, 18 degrees to the will gleam at magnitude -2.6. upper right of Mercury on Dec. 11, and for a The earliest sunsets of the year in December first magnitude star, Spica, nearly 21 degrees



December's evening sky chart. ROBERT D. MILLER


Aldebaran Betelgeuse Deneb



W Rigel Altair

Venus 29 15 22 8 Saturn 1 15 8 1


Evening mid-twilight occurs

to the upperwhen right Note that Mercury, SunofisMars. 9o below horizon. Dec. 1: afterstraight sunset. line. Mars and Spica are42inminutes a nearly 15:next 44 two " " " watch the Mornings the weeks, 31: 43 " " " waning moon pass several bright stars and planets in the zodiacal band: Pollux and Castor of Gemini on Dec. 14; Regulus, heart of Leo, on Dec. 17; Spica in Virgo on Dec. 20 and 21; Mars in Libra on Dec. 22 and 23; and Antares in Scorpius on Dec. 24. By then, Mercury has moved closer to the sun and may be too difficult to observe in bright twilight. The new moon is invisible as it passes the sun late on Christmas Day. At dusk on Dec. 27, the young crescent can be seen low in the southwest to the lower right of Venus. Whatever you plan for Saturday, Dec. 28, be sure to include time for views of the southwest sky at dusk! At sunset, Venus will be within 2 degrees above and slightly to the right of the moon. Can you spot Venus before sunset? By 40 minutes after sunset, the view of Venus just to


22 1 Jupiter

29 8

Stereographic Projection

the upper right of the moon be D. spectacular! Map bywill Robert Miller Check the website of the Astronomical Society of the Desert at www.astrorx.org, and come to our free evening star parties, offered monthly at two locations. Our primary, more accessible venue is the Visitor Center of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, on Highway 74, within four miles south of Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Our next session there will be on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. Sawmill Trailhead, our high-altitude site (elevation 4,000 feet), will next host a session on Saturday, Dec. 28, starting at dusk. Wishing you clear skies! Robert C. Victor was staff astronomer at Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. Now retired, he often collaborates in producing new issues of the Sky Calendar he originated in 1968, and enjoys providing sky watching opportunities for a variety of groups. CVIndependent.com




Adam Enrique Rodriguez

Urban Yoga

Runners up: 2. Shag 3. Sofia Enriquez 4. Chris Sanchez 5. Cristopher Cichocki

Runners up: 2. Bikram Yoga Plus 3. Yoga Center Palm Desert 4. Power Yoga Palm Springs 5. Yoga Central


Fantasy Lanes Bowling

Runners up: 2. Mary Pickford Is D’Place 3. Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center 4. Century Theatres at The River and XD 5. Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX

Runners up: 2. Palm Springs Lanes 3. Canyon Lanes at Morongo



TIE CODA Gallery Shag

Runners up: 3. Heather James Fine Art 4. Melissa Morgan Fine Art 5. Michael Weems Collection


McCallum Theatre

Runners up: 2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace 3. The Show at Agua Caliente 4. Fantasy Springs Special Events Center 5. The Hood Bar and Pizza


The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Runners up: 2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace 3. Fantasy Springs Rock Yard 4. Empire Polo Club 5. Rancho Mirage Amphitheater


Palm Springs Art Museum

Runners up: 2. McCallum Theatre 3. Desert Rose Playhouse 4. CREATE Center for the Arts 5. Coachella Valley Symphony


Giselle Woo and The Night Owls Runners up: 2. TIE The Flusters Ocho Ojos 4. Avenida Music 5. Captain Ghost


DJ Galaxy

Runners up: 2. Alf Alpha 3. Alex Harrington 4. DJ Baz/Barry Martin 5. DJ Mr. D/Joe De Hoyos


Jesika von Rabbit

Runners up: 2. Giselle Woo 3. Doug Van Sant 4. Courtney Chambers 5. Krystofer Do


Century La Quinta and XD

Palm Springs Art Museum



Runners up: 2. TIE Palm Springs Air Museum Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert 4. Coachella Valley History Museum


Palm Canyon Theatre

Runners up: 2. Coachella Valley Repertory 3. Desert Rose Playhouse 4. Desert Theatreworks 5. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company 6. Dezart Performs


TIE Desert AIDS Project Palm Springs Animal Shelter

Runners up: 3. Boys and Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley 4. Coachella Valley Rescue Mission 5. Shelter From the Storm


EOS Fitness

Runners up: 2. 24 Hour Fitness 3. World Gym 4. In-Shape


Skitzo Kitty

Runners up: 2. Not So Innocent 3. Gear Leather and Fetish 4. Mischief Cards and Gifts


Exotic Car Service

Runners up: 2. A.G. Auto Care 3. Kennard’s Automotive 4. TIE Cam Stone’s Automotive Singh’s Automotive Repair


Quick Quack Car Wash Runners up: 2. Elephant Car Wash 3. Executive Car Wash 4. Airport Quick Car Wash 5. Desert 100 Percent Hand Car Wash


Moller’s Garden Center

Runners up: 2. Moorten Botanical Garden 3. Vintage Nursery 4. Lotus Garden Center 5. Bob Williams Nursery 6. Sky Nursery


Bones-N-Scones Runners up: 2. Petco 3. PetSmart 4. Pet Oasis 5. PoshPetCare



Celebration Party 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18 Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

At Best Nightclub winner Copa Nightclub 244 E. Amado Road Free and open to the public 21 and older




Palm Springs Pride

Runners up: 2. Concert for Autism 3. McCallum Theatre Annual Gala 4. Red Dress/Dress Red (LGBT Community Center of the Desert) 5. Evening Under the Stars (AAP-Food Samaritans) 6. Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (Desert AIDS Project)


Augustine Casino

Runners up: 2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Rancho Mirage 3. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa Palm Springs (Spa Resort Casino) 4. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino 5. Spotlight 29



KESQ News Channel 3

Runners up: 2. KMIR Channel 6/NBC Palm Springs 3. CBS Local 2


Bryan Gallo, KMIR Channel 6/ NBC Palm Springs Runners up: 2. K  aren Devine, KESQ News Channel 3 3. Patrick Evans, CBS Local 2 4. B  rooke Beare, KESQ News Channel 3 5. Jeff Stahl, KESQ News Channel 3


KGAY 106.5

Runners up: 2. 93.7 KCLB 3. Jammin’ 99.5 4. Mix 100.5 5. 107.3 Mod FM


Captain Ghost, Into the Grave If you’re looking for an album to listen to while driving very fast, look no further than Into the Grave. Captain Ghost exploded onto the music scene this year—and very quickly made a name for itself, with lyrics of love and politics being screamed out in a desperate cry over firework-style guitar riffs and tight, crunchy bass and drum lines. If you get a chance to see Captain Ghost live, take note: It is fun to see people’s reactions to the group, as mustachioed leader Brad Burton towers over his bandmates, almost Joey Ramone-esque, and his sweet stage banter offers a direct contrast to his emphatic cries. After the band began performing, it began to win more and more hearts with each show—while anticipation grew for the release of Captain Ghost’s debut album, which is a hard-hitting 35 minutes of rock. Tracks like “Raise the Flag,” “Behold the Press” and “Last Day” are sure to make any music fan a Captain Ghost fanatic. —Matt King


CVRep Playhouse in Cathedral City I’ve been fortunate enough to occasionally attend theatrical productions in the Coachella Valley for seven years now, and I’m shocked—in a good way—at how much the theater scene has absolutely flourished during that timeframe. Dezart Performs is wowing audiences with top-notch performances in its home at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club—a home the company is quickly outgrowing. Dezart’s fellow Woman’s Club tenant, Desert Ensemble Theatre Company, is continuously mounting edgy productions of brand-new shows; Desert Theatreworks has helped revitalize the Indio Performing Arts Center with a steady slate of varied productions; and the LGBT-focused Desert Rose Playhouse continues to raise the figurative bar with seemingly every play. (Its summer production of Ruthless! was one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, period.) However, this all pales in comparison to what Coachella Valley Repertory has pulled off: Raising millions of dollars to turn the old IMAX theater in Cathedral City into a Broadway-caliber, state-of-the-art playhouse. It is, in a word, stunning. Founder Ron Celona—along with his staff, board and volunteers—have changed the game for Coachella Valley theater with the CVRep Playhouse. It’s proof that while the Coachella Valley as a whole may still be a “small town,” our theater scene is worthy of a big city. —Jimmy Boegle




Bradley Ryan, Mix 100.5

Escape Room Palm Springs

Runners up: 2. John Taylor, KGAY 106.5 3. Bill Feingold, KNews 94.3 FM/104.7 4. Don Wardell, 107.3 Mod FM

Runners up: 2. Get Air Trampoline Park 3. Glitch Palm Springs 4. Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym



Palm Springs Vinyl Records and Collectibles Runners up: 2. Record Alley 3. Guitar Center 4. Music Heals


Desert Oasis Comics Runners up: 2. Game Stop 3. Comic Asylum


Ace Hotel and Swim Club Runners up: 2. The Saguaro Palm Springs 3. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino 4. Renaissance Palm Springs 5. Kimpton Rowan

Joy of Life Wellness Center Runners up: 2. The Leaf El Paseo 3. Atomic Budz 4. Palm Springs Safe Access 5. Mother Earth’s Farmacy


Dr. Maria Gopez

Runners up: 2. Dr. Bruce Ferguson 3. Gennady “Henry” Nosovitsky, PA 4. Dr. David Morris 5. Dr. Michael Jardula





Milauskas Eye Institute

Walter Clark

Runners up: 2. Dr. David Esquibel (Desert Vision) 3. Dr. Greg Evans (Evans Eyecare) 4. Dr. Wallace Goldban (Desert Ophthalmology) 5. Dr. John K. Schofield

Runners up: 2. Barbara Barrett 3. Christopher Heritage 4. Brad Faber 5. Michael Knighten


Dr. Scott Shepherd (Palm Springs Dentistry) Runners up: 2. Hospitality Dental and Orthodontics 3. Dr. Frank Hernandez (Hernandez Dental) 4. Dr. Gerald Chang 5. Vineyard Family Dental Office


Dr. Mark Sofonio

Runners up: 2. Dr. Timothy Jochen 3. Dr. Scott Aaronson 4. Dr. Bruce Chisholm



Comfort Air

Runners up: 2. Timo’s Air Conditioning and Heating 3. Esser Air Conditioning and Heating 4. General Air Conditioning 5. Simmons Air




Jaime Jimenez

Runners up: 2. Ryann McMillon 3. Brian Guzman 4. Brandon Wertz



Dr. Gina Davis

Runners up: 2. Dr. Jim Cox 3. Dr. Susan Brennan 4. Dr. Navid Nazemi 5. Dr. Stephen Krupey


Bob’s Crystal Cave at the Sky Village Swap Meet A tiny enclave in the middle of Yucca Valley’s seven-acre Saturday-and-Sunday swap meet (7028 Theatre Road), Bob’s Crystal Cave is an anomaly amidst junk and vintage vendors, stained-glass art and desert cactus gardens. What is it, exactly? Well, it’s a Flintstones-esque building created from chicken wire and spray foam—and its puffy porthole-pocked exterior unveils a walk of wonderment. A short wander through the spray-foam-packed hall reveals locked doors (what lurks behind them?) and small windows here and there. You can peek into a whimsical miniature world of tiny trees; and mosaics of glass, mirror and precious stone. Water flows throughout into pools of lazily swimming goldfish. Sadly, creator Bob Carr died in January of this year. But his legacy lives on through his serene creation, one that can make even the biggest curmudgeon crack a smile. Bob’s Crystal Cave is so cool that it’s written about in “the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders,” Atlas Obscura. —Beth Allen


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TIE Barbara Carpenter Paul Zapala Runners up: 3. Shann Carr 4. Paula LaBellarti 5. Jason Allen


Rep. Raul Ruiz

Runners up: 2. Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors 3. Sheriff Chad Bianco 4. Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia 5. Palm Desert City Councilman Sabby Jonathan


Trina Turk

Runners up: 2. R&R Menswear 3. Wil Stiles 4. Kimbals 5. Division



Runners up: 2. Angel View 3. Goodwill 4. Plato’s Closet


Mathis Brothers


Runners up: 2. Revivals 3. H3K Design 4. Mor Furniture for Less 5. Bob’s Discount Furniture


Interstellar Comic Books and Collectibles Music nerds and comic nerds can unite under one roof at Interstellar Comics. In the heart of Palm Springs, on Tahquitz Canyon Drive just off Indian Canyon Drive, sits this colorful comic-book shop. Whether you’re in search of a vintage find, or are excited about a new issue, you can find both on the shelves at Interstellar. You can even come in to play various card games, such as Magic the Gathering, with your friends. But on occasion, when the sun sets over the strip, you can hear local bands reverberating within the walls of the shop. Interstellar has been host to a few shows over the year, once every couple months or so—and I couldn’t think of a better place to perform or watch a show. During these shows, local artists also sell their art inside the multifaceted space. In other words: If you catch a show at Interstellar, you are celebrating all that the local art scene has to offer, in one place, at the same time. —Matt King

72996 El Paseo, Palm

(Comer of Highway 111, Monte




Thank you for again voting CODA GALLERY Best Art Gallery



Love and Fun Energy DJ Galaxy, a regular at the valley’s LGBT Venues, is voted Best Local DJ By Matt King

D 73400 El Paseo Palm Desert, CA 92260 codagallery.com • 760.346.4661 Representing contemporary artists since 1987


J Galaxy—aka Vincent Corrales—is a ubiquitous name at clubs and events all over the Coachella Valley, and he has performed at pride events all over the United States. How ubiquitous? He doesn’t just have one residency … he has four: in Palm Springs at Wang’s in the Desert, Oscar’s and All Worlds Resort, and in Cathedral City at The Roost Lounge. Oh, and he does the lunch-hour mix several times a week on KGAY 106.5. During any given performance, you can dance the night away to his unique set of today’s hits, throwback jams and custom DJ Galaxy remixes. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the readers of the Independent have voted for DJ Galaxy as the Best Local DJ in our annual Best of Coachella Valley poll. I recently talked to Corrales about his history as a DJ, and what it means to be voted Best DJ. “I’ve been DJing for about DJ Galaxy, aka Vincent Corrales. Bill Swindle 29 years,” Corrales said. “I have As for his DJ name, the choice was simple a lot of music in my family. My for Corrales. brother was actually a DJ when I was a kid, “I’ve always been interested in space and and I started learning from him when I was astrology, so when someone asked me for my 13. Then I began playing in bars and a lot of DJ name, I just thought ‘Galaxy’! So I became places around Palm Springs when I was 16. I played a lot in the Coachella Valley, and would DJ Galaxy,” he said. Often included with his DJ name is DJ sometimes go spin in New York, Miami and Galaxy’s motto: “Peace, Pride, Love.” Las Vegas. I do some tours from time to time “The music I spin revolves around those as well.” three words,” Corrales said. “My goal DJing is not the only thing Corrales excels musically is bringing love and fun energy at; you may have heard his voice on the radio, to all the places I play at. I don’t play any or seen one of the products of his production negative or offensive music.” company. He aims to have people leave violence at “I currently have my own radio show the door, and have a good time on the dance on 106.5 KGAY, which is on Mondays, floor. His creation of safe spaces and the Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s the Noontime usage of his platform to fight for equal rights Retro Lunch Show that runs from noon to are among the reasons DJ Galaxy has gained 1 p.m.,” Corrales said. “I also run a videosuch a broad following of fans. production company called VJC Productions, “Thank you for all the support and which I’ve had since 1993. I do a lot of video continued love that I get at each event I production, graphic design and nightclub spin at!” Corrales said. “I’m very honored to consulting for stage and sound design. That’s get this award and ask for your continued my side job, and I DJ five nights a week. I try support!” to make it my main job.”




Misty’s Consignments

Runners up: 2. Sunny Dunes Antiques Mall 3. The Estate Sale Co. 4. Victoria’s Attic


Tiffany and Co.

Runners up: 2. El Paseo Jewelers 3. Leeds and Son 4. The Fine Jewelry Bar


J. Russell! The Salon

Runners up: 2. Heads Up Hair Designs 3. 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon 4. Turquoise Salon 5. Dishwater Blonde Salon


Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente

Runners up: 2. Spa at the Ritz Carlton 3. Spa La Quinta at the La Quinta Resort 4. T he Spa at Desert Springs (JW Marriott) 5. A  gua Serena Spa at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells


Massage Envy

Runners up: 2. Studio M Salon and Spa 3. Bliss Chakra Spa


My Little Flower Shop Runners up: 2. Indio Florist 3. Jensen’s Foods 4. Cathedral City Floral Designs 5. Vaso Bello Celebrations


Ramen Musashi We’ve often posited in these pages that the Coachella Valley is about five years behind the big cities regarding the arrival of food and drink trends—and such is the case when it comes to ramen. This time last year, if I wanted reliably good ramen in the Coachella Valley, I had nowhere to go, at least that I knew of. However, today, I have at least one regularly available option: Hooray for Ramen Musashi, located at 44491 Town Center Way, in Palm Desert. This little restaurant was opened earlier this year by the good folks who also operate Musashi Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar, which has been around since 1996. In other words, Ramen Musashi is run by restaurateurs who know what they’re doing—and this is proven by every bowl of original Musashi tonkatsu that comes out of the kitchen. Here’s what I wrote about the Musashi tonkotsu a few months back: “The ramen was revelatory. All of the ingredients were perfect. The pork was tender and delicious; the egg was a creamy delight. The garlic chips and onion did not overwhelm, and the noodles were just right. But for me, ramen is all about the broth—and this tonkotsu broth was stellar. It was packed with umami, seasoned masterfully and soooooo delicious.” Damn. My mouth’s watering just thinking about it. —Jimmy Boegle

Thank you for voting me Best Real Estate Agent!


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Anarchy and Ink Tattoo

CV Link

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort

Runners up: 2. Bloodline Tattoo and Body Piercing 3. Blue Rose Tattoo 4. Adornment Piercing and Private Tattoo 5. Strata Tattoo Lab

Runners up: 2. Joshua Tree 3. Bear Creek Path (La Quinta) 4. Tahquitz Creek Loop

Runners up: 2. Ruth Hardy Park 3. La Quinta Civic Center Park 4. Demuth Park 5. Sunrise Park

Runners up 2. Desert Willow Golf Resort 3. Eagle Falls Golf Course 4. Classic Club Golf 5. Mission Lakes Country Club



Runners up: 2. Desert Vision Optometry 3. Ooh La La De Paris Eyewear 4. LensCrafters 5. One Price Optical



The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Runners up: 2. Sunnylands 3. TIE Moorten Botanical Garden Palm Desert Civic Center Park 5. Wellness Park at Ruth Hardy Park


Joshua Tree

Runners up: 2. Whitewater Preserve 3. M  ount San Jacinto State Park (Top of the Tram) 4. Palm Desert Civic Center Park 5. Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area



Big 5 Sporting Goods

Runners up: 2. Dick’s Sporting Goods 3. Yellow Mart 4. Nomad Ventures


Bump and Grind Trail

Palm Springs/Palm Desert Cyclery

Runners up: 2. Tahquitz Canyon Trail 3. M  ount San Jacinto State Park (Top of the Tram) 4. Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve 5. The Cross Trail Loop

Runners up: 2. Tri-A-Bike 3. Joel’s Bicycle Shop 4. BikeMan


Big 5 Sporting Goods

Runners up: 2. Dick’s Sporting Goods 3. Yellow Mart 4. Pete Carlson’s Golf and Tennis


Palm Desert Civic Center Park Runners up: 2. La Quinta Civic Center Park 3. Demuth Park 4. Ruth Hardy Park


Mr. G’s Toys and Expressions Runners up: 2. Target 3. Walmart 4. JadaBug’s Kids Boutique

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Ocho Ojos In all honesty, the only Spanish words I—a decidedly white guy—know are lyrics to Ocho Ojos songs. Following a last-minute booking at Coachella in 2017, and an album and EP release in 2018, the duo transformed into a quartet, with the band’s sound evolving into something that could be described as “psychedelic cumbia.” This has been a standout year for Ocho Ojos: The band was again on the Coachella schedule—when the poster was released, not as a last-minute addition. This prompted a frenzy for Ocho Ojos, as the group could seemingly be seen performing anywhere in the valley, and even in Los Angeles. The shows could range from 30 minutes to three hours, thanks to the band members’ ability to perform many popular Spanish tunes in addition their own catalog—all while keeping the crowd singing along and dancing the night away. When Sunday nights at Coachella came, the boys proceeded to close out the Sonora Stage in front of a packed tent. The energy was electric, and it was something only a band that truly represents the Coachella Valley could pull off. Don’t believe me? Then take it from Rolling Stone: “Ocho Ojos managed to make their performance feel like a grand family function of pure baile with all your primos and extended relatives in attendance.” The performances were listed by the publication’s writers as one of the 16 best things they saw. —Matt King

Lulu California Bistro

Shields Date Garden

Runners up: 2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge 3. Dash and a Handful 4. Lynn Hammond 5. Fusion Flair

Runners up: 2. Hadley’s 3. Great Shakes 4. Oasis Date Gardens 5. Windmill Market




Fantasy Lanes Bowling Alley

Runners up: 2. Old Navy 3. JadaBug’s Kids Boutique 4. Carter’s 5. The Children’s Place

Runners up: 2. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens 3. Get Air Trampoline Park 4. Chuck E. Cheese’s 5. Shakey’s Pizza


Chuck E. Cheese’s

Runners up: 2. Red Robin 3. Old Spaghetti Factory 4. Shakey’s Pizza 5. Billy Q’s


The Living Desert Zoo and Garden’s Runners up: 2. Boomers 3. Escape Room Palm Springs 4. Get Air Trampoline Park 5. Chuck E. Cheese’s


TIE Café 54 at Augustine Casino Lulu California Bistro Runners up: 3. Bongo Johnny’s 4. Kitchen 86 + Bar 5. Billy Q’s


Café 54 at Augustine Casino


Runners up: 2. Bongo Johnny’s 3. Keedy’s Fountain Grill 4. Rick’s Restaurant 5. John’s Restaurant

Runners up: 2. Jus Chillin’ 3. Tutti Frutti 4. Beach House


Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café

Sprouts Farmers Market Runners up: 2. Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods 3. Whole Foods 4. Nature’s Health Food and Cafe 5. Harvest Health Foods


Sherman’s Deli and Bakery Runners up: 2. TKB Bakery and Deli 3. Real Italian Deli 4. Manhattan in the Desert 5. Bristol Farms




Over the Rainbow

Runners up: 2. Nothing Bundt Cakes 3. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery 4. Pastry Swan Bakery 5. Jensen’s Foods


Sherman’s Deli and Bakery Runners up: 2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino 3. Nothing Bundt Cakes 4. Over the Rainbow 5. Billy Reed’s 6. Jensen’s Foods


Runners up: 2. TKB Bakery and Deli 3. Aspen Mills 4. Frankie’s Italian Bakery, Café and Supper Club 5. Carousel Bakery


Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Runners up: 2. Smoke Tree BBQ 3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse 4. Jackalope Ranch 5. Zobo and Meester’s


Café 54 at Augustine Casino Runners up: 2. Tyler’s Burgers 3. Smokin’ Burgers 4. Bongo Johnny’s 5. Tony’s Burgers


Native Foods Café

Runners up: 2. Lulu California Bistro 3. Bongo Johnny’s 4. Palm Greens Café 5. Grand Central Palm Springs



TKB Bakery and Deli

Runners up: 2. Brandini Toffee 3. Lappert’s Ice Cream 4. Coco Freeze 5. Kreem

Runners up: 2. The Sandwich Spot 3. Manhattan in the Desert 4. Bongo Johnny’s 5. The Lunchbox 6. Billy Q’s

Great Shakes






Runners up: 2. Gre Coffeehouse and Art Gallery 3. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf 4. IW Coffee 5. Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café


Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater The Joshua Tree Astronomy Arts Theater is an open-air theater located next to the Joshua Tree Lake RV and Campground, at 2601 Sunfair Road. What is it? Well, it’s a fencedin area with a large stage and screen—including plenty of nice, sloped outdoor-chair seating, with plenty of room to set up your own chairs or blankets. It’s a big, dark place—perfect for stargazing. Along the left side of the “theater” are various telescopes manned by gregarious members of the Southern California Desert Video Astronomers (www.scdva. org), who are happy to tour the constellations with anyone who wanders over. People of all ages can come to relax and learn tales of the cosmos. The group hosts regular events with cool themes like Friday the 13th’s “Spooky Superstitions: Lucky Stars and Moons of Doom,” or an amazing night of meteor showers at their peak. The JTAAT has also hosted movies (about aliens!) and the live tunes of local musician Clive Wright, who plays guitar along with “singing plants.” When you go, BYOB—food, beers, buds—or, in other words, pack a picnic! Don’t forget to bring a flashlight so you can find your way to the porta-potties in the parking lot. —Beth Allen



Bill’s Pizza

Fresh Juice Bar

Runners up: 2. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill 3. Blaze Pizza 4. Upper Crust Pizza 5. Billy Q’s

Runners up: 2. Jamba Juice 3. Koffi 4. Coco Freeze 5. Big Juice Bar



Buffalo Wild Wings

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

Runners up: 2. Wingstop 3. Bongo Johnny’s 4. Jackalope Ranch 5. Billy Q’s

Runners up: 2. Grand Palms Buffet at Agua Caliente 3. Fresh Grill Buffet at Fantast Springs 4. Emperor Buffet 5. Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo



Townie Bagels, Bakery and Café Runners up: 2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery 3. Panera Bread 4. Manhattan in the Desert 5. Bristol Farms CVIndependent.com


Runners up: 2. Joshua Tree Coffee Company 3. Coachella Valley Coffee Company


Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Runners up: 2. Koffi 3. Grand Central Palm Springs 4. Starbucks


Lulu California Bistro

Runners up: 2. Spencer’s Restaurant 3. POM California Cuisine at Fantasy Springs 4. Acqua California Bistro 5. Bellatrix at the Classic Club


TIE Café 54 at Augustine Casino Wilma and Frieda’s Runners up: 3. Elmer’s 4. Broken Yolk Café 5. Bongo Johnny’s 6. Spencer’s Restaurant


Café 54 at Augustine Casino Runners up: 2. Spencer’s Restaurant 3. The Tropicale 4. Lulu California Bistro 5. Bongo Johnny’s


P.F. Chang’s

Runners up: 2. JOY at Fantasy Springs 3. Palm Tree Palace 4. New Fortune Asian Cuisine 5. Soul of China


Carousel Bakery Carousel Bakery is an unassuming little gem, tucked away in a hidden corner of the airport-adjacent El Cielo Center (440 S. El Cielo Road), known mostly for its Spectrum storefront. Inside, friendly and hard-working owners Elizabeth and Alberto create all their baked masterpieces from scratch, with no pre-made anything. Yep: They actually cut up and cooked a real pumpkin to make that fresh pie in the case. The result is the best possible combination of professionally baked goods and homemade appeal. Along with a surprising variety of traditional bakery fare (pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, croissants, bagels, etc.), Carousel produces some delicious Latin specialties. Think sweet empanadas in an array of flavors ranging from apple to the more-exotic guava with cheese. And don’t miss their one-day-only offerings of Pan de Muerto for Day of the Dead, and Rosca de Reyes for Epiphany. Carousel serves tasty sandwiches that are enough of a reason to visit, but the real jewels here are the pastries. So the next time you’ve had to wait 45 minutes to return equipment at the Spectrum store, take the edge off with a baked treasure from Carousel. —Jeffrey Clarkson





Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse

Runners up: 2. Athena Gyro 3. Nina’s Greek Cuisine 4. Koutouki Greek Estiatorio 5. Yianni’s Taverna

Runners up: 2. Shabu Shabu Zen 3. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar 4. Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey 5. Taka Shin



Le Vallauris Restaurant

JOY at Fantasy Springs

Runners up: 2. French Corner Cafe 3. L’Atelier Café 4. Cuistot Restaurant 5. Si Bon

Runners up: 2. Maru Korean B.B.Q. and Grill 3. Umami Seoul 4. You Grill Korean BBQ


Dragon Sushi

Runners up: 2. India Oven 3. Sam’s Indian Food and Pizza

Runners up: 2. Misaki Sushi and Griill 3. Sandfish Sushi and Whiskey 4. Joyce’s Sushi 5. Taka Shin

Monsoon Indian Cuisine


Mario’s Italian Café Runners up: 2. Ristorante Mamma Gina 3. Johnny Costa’s Ristorante 4. Il Giardino 5. Il Corso



Fisherman’s Market and Grill Runners up: 2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino 3. Pacifica Seafood Restaurant 4. Mitch’s on El Paseo 5. Mariscoco's Culiacan


The California Avocado Fries at Grill-a-Burger The other day, I was driving down the road, when all of a sudden, a thought popped into my mind: “Damn, I could go for some avocado fries at Grill-aBurger right now.” Now, let me place this random thought in proper context: I had not been to Grill-a-Burger in about a year and a half. I haven’t had avocado fries of any sort since then. So, what in tarnation led me to have this thought at this time? Was it the result of some unknown stimuli? A signal from the mothership? I have no freaking idea. All I know is that ever since, I have not been able to get Grill-a-Burger’s avocado fries off my mind. These deliciously filling wedges have it all: Sweet. Savory. Smoothness. A Panko-breadcrumb crunch. Yum. If you like avocado to the slightest degree, you must try these. Get thee to 73091 Country Club Drive, in Palm Desert, pronto. —Jimmy Boegle CVIndependent.com




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Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

Runners up: 2. The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente 3. LG’s Prime Steakhouse 4. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar 5. Outback Steakhouse

Runners up: 2. Native Foods Café 3. Palm Greens Café 4. Luscious Lorraine’s 5. The Sandbox Kitchen


Spencer’s Restaurant

Thai Smile Palm Springs Runners up: 2. My Thai 3. Pepper’s Thai Cuisine 4. Thai House 5. Le Basil


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Pho Vu

Runners up: 2. 533 Viet Fusion 3. Rooster and the Pig 4. JOY at Fantasy Springs 5. Pho of the Desert


Runners up: 2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge 3. The Tropicale 4. Johannes 5. Jillian’s


The Tropicale

Runners up: 2. Spencer’s Restaurant 3. Jackalope Ranch 4. Bongo Johnny’s 5. Bellatrix at the Classic Club


Buttermilk Pie at Billy Reed’s As our press deadline for this issue approached, the heartbreaking news broke that Robbie Lemley, the co-owner of Billy Reed’s (at 1800 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs), had passed away at the age of 86. After the news broke, local social-media pages were flooded with remembrances and tributes, both to Lemley himself and the iconic restaurant he helped create. I didn’t know Lemley personally (although I am sure he greeted me a time or three during my visits to Billy Reed’s). However, I adore his work: Billy Reed’s is truly one of a kind. Billy Reed’s is the place where I celebrated my most recent birthday. It’s the place I recently took some close friends who just moved here for their first “official meal” as Palm Springs residents. And it’s the place that introduced me to what has become one of my favorite desserts: buttermilk pie. A piece of this pie looks simple, but its flavor is surprisingly complex. I don’t know exactly what the bakers at Billy Reed’s put in their version, but buttermilk pie, I’ve come to learn, typically includes a blend of buttermilk, eggs, butter, flour, lemon, vanilla and a whole lot of sugar. The resulting custard pie is pure decadence. Thank you, Mr. Lemley, for the special place you helped make. And thank you for broadening my dessert horizons just a little, too. —Jimmy Boegle




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iselle Woo grew up in Cathedral City in a family that listened almost exclusively to Latin music. “Latin music is pretty much all I was exposed to,” she said. “A lot of kids I know who are Mexican American and who grew up in the valley, their parents listened to the Rolling Stones and stuff like that. My parents didn’t listen to that stuff. It was strictly a lot of the cumbia bands and all the older Mexican big names. It wasn’t until I was a teenager when I first heard Sublime, and was like, ‘Whoa! That’s cool!’ “My parents listened to all Spanish music. I don’t regret any of it, though, and a lot of the reason I have what I have in me … is because of that. It’s music with a lot of meaning and heart.” Woo sings in both English and Spanish and often performs Latin music at “mainstream” venues. “Most of my experiences have been good, but not all of the time,” Woo said. “I’ve been singing in Spanish for a while. I’ve had ugly experiences that have made me really sad, like hearing comments like, ‘Are they going to sing something in English?’ I still, to this day, have this insecurity of whether it’s a good idea to sing in Spanish in certain places, and I’m always reminded by my good friends that I shouldn’t worry about that.

“People love me for what I do, and that’s what I do, and I shouldn’t ever feel that way. I’ve been pushing through the past few years and even (feel insecure) when I would perform with Machin’ and would see bands like Elektric Lucie, who are doing original Latin music. It’s nice to see people embracing their culture, even when it’s kind of intimidating in a way, because you want to be all-inclusive. I feel like it’s important to stay true to yourself and stick to it.” While she didn’t grow up in the east valley, Woo has a strong connection to that part of the Coachella Valley and its Latino traditions. “My family joined me, and we went to the (brandnew) Coachella Valley Food Truck Park in Coachella. I remember telling my parents, ‘I love this place,’” Woo said. “As soon as we make a left on Grapefruit Boulevard, I feel like I’m in Mexico. It’s been a long time since I went to Guadalajara, where my dad is from, but I volunteer my time for a church that’s located in Coachella and work one or two retreats a year. I spend a lot of time in Coachella for that. I love listening to all of the music out there, and that really gets my blood pumping. I feel like I’m at home, and I love the camaraderie of the community.”



Café 54 at Augustine Casino Runners up: 2. The Tropicale 3. Bongo Johnny’s 4. King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club 5. Paul Bar/Food


Las Casuelas Terraza Runners up: 2. Pueblo Viejo Grill 3. Tac/Quila 4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill 5. La Tablita CVIndependent.com

—Brian Blueskye, from the April 2019 issue

Rincon Norteño

Runners up: 2. Las Casuelas Terraza 3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill 4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill 5. Tac/Quila


Las Casuelas Terraza Runners up: 2. El Mirasol 3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill 4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill 5. Loco Charlie’s




Gadi’s Bar and Grill In a building at 56193 Twentynine Palms Highway that has been home to various restaurants since the 1960s, Gadi’s Bar and Grill (www.gadisbarandgrill.com) has now been around since 2014, when Gadi Okevi bought what was then a Yucca Valley rib joint. One side has a tiny bar with dining booths … but a short walk down a hallway will take you to an adjoining second barroom with a sound stage. Here’s where things get weird: Looming above the generic tables, chairs and tile floor is some wacked-out wavy woodwork that worms its way over the room. It was apparently created in the ’60s, and the wood-lined walls and ceiling don’t match anything else. Why the funky ceiling was built remains a mystery. Was it was done as a creative way to hide vents? Or to amplify acoustics? Who knows. Whatever the case may be, soundman Jason Maxfield always makes the room sound amazing. Gadi’s hosts an eclectic mix of live shows, from smaller local bands to occasional bigger acts, in genres including country, metal, old school punk or rock—Gadi doesn’t seem to have met a genre he doesn’t like. And thanks to Jason Maxfield, it all sounds amazing—whether or not that crazy ceiling is a help or a hinderance.

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Yard House

Runners up: 2. Burgers and Beer 3. Draughtsman 4. The Beer Hunter 5. Eureka!


Coachella Valley Brewing Co. Runners up: 2. La Quinta Brewing Co. 3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse 4. Desert Beer Company


The Hood Bar and Pizza

Runners up: 2. Neil’s Lounge 3. The Beer Hunter 4. Henry’s Sports Bar and Grill 5. Bart Lounge


TRIO Restaurant

Runners up: 2. The Tropicale 3. Tonga Hut 4. Workshop Kitchen + Bar 5. Seymour’s


Paul Bar/Food

Runners up: 2. Seymour’s 3. Truss and Twine 4. Libation Room 5. Del Rey at the Villa Royale



Runners up: 2. Toucan’s Tiki Lounge 3. Blackbook 4. Chill Bar Palm Springs 5. The Roost 6. Streetbar

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La Quinta Cliffhouse

The Beer Hunter

Runners up: 2. Lulu California Bistro 3. The Tropicale 4. TIE Il Corso Kitchen 86 + Bar

Runners up: 2. Big Rock Pub 3. AMP Sports Lounge 4. Revel Public House 5. Billy Q’s 6. Henry’s Sports Bar and Grill



The Hood Bar and Pizza

Zin American Bistro

Runners up: 2. Tool Shed 3. Neil’s Lounge 4. Desert Fox 5. Club 5

Runners up: 2. V Wine Lounge 3. TIE Dead or Alive Twelve Cocktails Above at Fantasy Springs 5. La Fe Wine Bar


Las Casuelas Terraza

2. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill 3. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill 4. El Mirasol 5. Tac/Quila


The Tropicale

Runners up: 2. Lulu California Bistro 3. Bongo Johnny’s 4. TIE Del Rey at the Villa Royale Zin American Bistro


Copa Palm Springs

Runners up: 2. Hunters 3. Chill Bar Palm Springs 4. Toucan’s Tiki Lounge 5. Bart Lounge


Total Wine and More

Runners up: 2. BevMo! 3. Desert Wine Shop on 111 4. Bouschet 5. Larry’s Wine and Spirits


The Tropicale

Runners up: 2. Paul Bar/Food 3. TRIO Restaurant 4. Stacy’s Palm Springs 5. Del Rey at the Villa Royale



Waitress Fri, December 6, 8pm Sat, December 7, 2pm & 8pm Sun, December 8, 2pm & 7:30pm Dec. 6 - Presented through the generosity of Jerry & Sarah Mathews

The Colors of Christmas Starring Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams, Ben Vereen and Jody Watley Fri, December 13, 8pm

The Storm Large Holiday Ordeal

Voctave Mon, December 16, 7pm

Sat, December 14, 8pm

Presented through the generosity of Harold & Maudella Green

Presented through the generosity of Barbara Arnstein

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2019 Jonathan Butler, Melissa Manchester, Michael Lington with Special Guest Chris Walker Wed, December 18, 8pm

Derina Harvey Band Tue, January 14, 8pm

Presented through the generosity of Wayne & Rachelle Prim

Jimmy Buffet’s

The Piano Guys Fri, January 17, 8pm Sat, January 18, 2pm & 8pm Jan. 17 - Presented through the generosity of Dan & Brooke Koehler

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Escape to Margaritaville Thu-Sun, January 30- February 2 Presented through the generosity of Jan. 30 - Steve & Darlene Beneto Jan. 31, 8pm - Frank & Mary Ann Xavier Feb. 1, 8pm - Barbara Arnstein & Ken Rosemeyer, Jo Ann & Alan Horwitz and Linda & Manny Rider

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Brett Klein | Wil Stiles and Molly Bondhus | John Bingle Thompson | Fiona Foyston Featuring Broadway Star Davis Gaines

Co-chairs: Terri Ketover, Anne Sheffer, Tom Truhe December 1, 2019 • Palm Springs Cultural Center Cocktail Reception & Awards Show • $40 General | $75 Preferred | $150 VIP everydayheroes19.eventbrite.com CVIndependent.com

Thank you to our sponsors: Contempo Lending, The Desert Sun, Gilead Sciences, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, KESQ, LULU California Bistro, MOMENTOUS Events, Diageo, John Paschal Photography, Palm Springs Cultural Center OUR COMMUNITY IN ACTION




CVI SPOTLIGHT: DECEMBER 2019 Show Tunes Gone Silly: CVRep Brings Back ‘Twisted Broadway’


f your holiday schedule is not yet completely packed, take note: Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre is bringing back its popular Twisted Broadway fundraiser. What makes these revues of show tunes twisted? According to the press release, Twister Broadway “will feature a lineup of talented Broadway artists performing songs that were originally written for the opposite gender, as well as songs they always wanted to sing, but couldn’t, because they would be miscast.” “We did it two years ago,” said Ron Celona, CVRep’s founding artistic director. “We wanted to see how people would react to it, and people had so much fun. It was a great, different way of raising money compared to the thousands of other fundraisers out there for different nonprofit organizations. So we decided to do it again this year, and in our new venue. For the first time, it will be under our own roof. “And this time, we’re doing two shows: One at 4 p.m., and one at 7:30 p.m. In between the two shows, there will be receptions that come with each ticket.” The funds raised will not only help CVRep continue to put on professional Equity theatrical productions; it’ll help CVRep as it expands its education programs via the CVRep Conservatory. “We built a school,” Celona said, proudly. “Adjacent to our new theater was a Mexican restaurant. We own the whole property, so we spent the last year and a half gutting the restaurant, and building a two-room schoolhouse, basically, with a soundproof wall in between the two classrooms. We opened our first semester in the new school (a couple of months ago), and we had 80 students for that first semester, which I think is pretty damn good. Also, we’re going to have a holiday semester, and then we’ll open our winter/spring semester. My goal is to double the attendance in those winter/ spring classes.” CVRep is offering a wide range of courses, beginning with “Broadway Babies” for ages 4-7; acting for ages 8-10 and 11-14; “Stage Combat/Sword-Fighting” for daring high school students; and adult classes including “The Art of Auditioning With Monologues,” “Voice and Movement for the Actor” and improv classes. “We get a lot of middle-aged to senior citizens in these

Perry Ojeda, Sal Mistretta and Jeffrey Landman in a scene from the 2017 production of Twisted Broadway.

adult classes,” Celona said. “Also included in our educational programming is our outreach program. We have teaching artists who are out teaching in the schools. Right now, they’re at Cathedral City High School. So, we go there instead of them coming to us. “Lastly, another project we have is a comedy and improv

festival that will be happening at the end of May 2020. People will apply to be a part of that from all over the country.” Back to Twisted Broadway: Celona said he borrowed the idea from Broadway itself. “The concept, which has been done in New York for years, (comes from a revue) called Broadway Backwards, and that is an annual fundraiser for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fund. I got the title, Twisted Broadway, from a show done by a company in Australia that uses the same concept. I thought that was a much more fun title. “But, ultimately, some of these concepts by other companies are just gender-bending. I thought that could become boring, so I’ve expanded the concept, and I’m including parodies of favorite show tunes, and that’s a lot of fun. There will be some group numbers that will be parodies, and then I have an individual artist, Robert Yacko, who’s going to be doing two parodies: on Sondheim, and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Then, in the arena of gender-bending, (we’ll have) a moment that comes from a wonderful show called Side Show. There are two sisters … conjoined twins who are attached at the hip, and the whole musical is about them. We’re going to have a man and a woman attached, so it’s just twisting it and making it different and, hopefully, funny. The most important part here is that all of the songs are comical.” Celona said Julie Garnyé, who had been listed as appearing in the show, had to pull out of the production due to a conflict. “I’ve replaced her with Alyssa Simmons, who’s currently doing Frozen at Disney,” Celona said. “(She joins) Jeffrey Landman, who is doing Frozen as well. They’ll be playing the twins in Side Show. Since they already know each other, that will help the chemistry.” Other performers slated to appear include Randy Brenner, Erica Hanrahan, Loren Freeman, Sal Mistretta, Perry Ojeda and Kristen Towers Rowles. Twisted Broadway, a fundraiser for the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, will take place at 4 and 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12, at the CVRep Playhouse, 68510 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City. Tickets are $150 to $300, and include receptions between the two shows. For tickets or more information, 760-296-2966, or visit www.cvrep.org. —Kevin Fitzgerald

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a new american play by

Michael McKeever

Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services throws a big party to raise both awareness and much-needed funds


directed by

Darin Anthony


PEARL McMANUS THEATER in the Palm Springs Woman’s Club

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By Jimmy Boegle

n Dec. 7, the folks with Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services will transform the Pacific Hangar of the Palm Springs Air Museum into a “winter wonderland.” The goals: Raise money for the organization’s vital services—and have one heck of a good time while doing so. CVSAS’ Inaugural Winter Wonderland Gala will feature hosted drinks from Tito’s Vodka— drinks with other spirits will be available for purchase—and food from the chef at the Arrive Hotel. Entertainment will include music by Lisa and the Gents. “Our goal is to keep all our services free of charge,” said Winette Brenner, the program director at CVSAS. “We usually do minifundraisers and stuff. … We do free events; we just had our Anti Human-Trafficking Conference, and we’ve made that free, because we want to educate the public. But at some point, we had to do something to have a bigger fundraiser, so we can continue to do those free services.” The event is being held on Dec. 7—which is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, marking the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941—and the event is being held in the Air Museum’s Pacific Hangar, which includes exhibits and items from the war in the Pacific during World War II. Therefore, CVSAS is honoring all veterans during the event, and offering them free admission, as well as $50 guest tickets. “We reached out to the Riverside County Education Academy, and their students are going to come and do a salute in honor of Pearl Harbor Day. We’re very excited about that,” Brenner said. While the event is happening in December, it’s also happening in Palm Springs, where we really don’t have “winter.” So I had to ask: How will the Air Museum be transformed into a “winter wonderland” of sorts? “One of our sponsors is Enchanted Memories, and they are going to be giving us a winter-wonderland feeling with decorations and with balloon displays and snow effects,” Brenner said. “We’ll have a picture booth, and we’re going to have a wonderful dessert table. The hangar is going to be open, and it’ll be in the evening—so hopefully, we can have kind of a winter feeling.” The larger-scale fundraiser is just the latest move by CVSAS to have more of a public presence. The organization operates the local

Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services will transform the Pacific Hangar of the Palm Springs Air Museum for its Inaugural Winter Wonderland Gala. PALM SPRINGS AIR MUSEUM

portion of a national 24-hour hotline (800656-4673) for victims of sexual assault and human trafficking, and offers counseling, advocacy, referrals and other help to both victims and their families. CVSAS is working hard to spread the word about its services, and raise awareness. “We are talking to anyone who will listen. It’s just so important,” Brenner said. “We’re trying to really educate our community and spread the word about what’s going on in our backyards and in our surroundings. We want to educate parents. It’s important that parents are educated and know what’s going on, so they can protect their children and look for red-flag warning signs as well. “That also goes with school educators. … This affects all ages. Unfortunately, sexual assault, human trafficking and domestic violence—at this point, it has no color. It has no age. It can affect all of us.” The Inaugural Winter Wonderland Gala, a fundraiser for Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services, will take place at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, in Palm Springs. Tickets start at $100; veterans are admitted for free, with $50 guest tickets. For tickets or more information, call 760-568-9071, or visit www.eventbrite. com/e/inaugural-winter-wonderland-galatickets-76283055673.




A HOLIDAY ZOO By Kevin fitzgerald


or the 27th year in a row, the unique WildLights holiday extravaganza at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert will be one of Santa’s favorite stops in the Coachella Valley—so much so that plans call for him to visit the animal and environment conservatory on 16 separate nights from Nov. 26 through Dec. 28. A visit with Santa is just one of the varied experiences being offered at the 2019 edition of the zoo’s key annual fundraising event. A sparking “Visitors will be able to see African wild tunnel of lights synchronized to holiday tunes, dogs, cheetahs, bighorn sheep, the giraffe life-sized desert-animal lanterns, and more and zebras as they stroll the park under the than 1 million lights await visitors. lights,” Scott said. “Being able to see these “There are a variety of activities that happen animals at night adds an interesting element during WildLights on a nightly basis,” said Erin to anybody’s visit. Also, animal encounters will Scott, the senior manager for brand, marketing happen nightly between 6:30 and 8 p.m. in our and public relations for The Living Desert. amphitheater. A rotating variety of our animal “Guests can visit with Santa. They can also just ambassadors will be available to guests at these wander through the light displays around the times. Guests will be able to get up close and zoo. New this year is what we’re calling ‘The meet some of our desert (animal) residents, Dazzling Gift.’ It’s a 15-foot-by-15-foot light get some good photo opportunities, and learn installation that will be on Africa’s Savannah about these special animals. Also, there will be Landing. It’s a really big installation.” three ‘(zoo)keeper chats’ held throughout each For an additional fee, visitors can ride the evening: one at the African wild dog (station), Polar Express on a magical train ride through one at the cheetah, and one at the warthog.” Gecko Gulch with falling “snow.” Guests can The funds generated by WildLights ticket ride a carousel—specially decked out for the sales provide a lot of the financial support The holidays—and make s’mores. Living Desert needs for park operations, as “We expect about 35,000 guests to enjoy well as education and conservation programs. WildLights this year,” Scott said. “WildLights “On an education-program level, The is just an amazing community tradition. It’s Living Desert welcomes about 40,000 school a great way to get into the holiday spirit. We children each year through school field trips,” have local residents and members who come Scott said. “We partner with local schools and year after year, as well as visiting guests. It’s organizations for community outreach as well. a great way to spend time with family and We welcome guests of all ages to learn about friends, and get into the holiday spirit. and appreciate The Living Desert, as well as all “The Living Desert is a magical place. And, the deserts of the world. We want to educate when you add the glow of holiday lights, it our guests about why deserts are important, becomes even more magical. It’s just a great and just how special deserts really are.” holiday tradition.” What exactly does it take to stage a The Living Desert is a zoo, of course—and production of this scale every holiday season? visitors will get to enjoy the presence of “It’s really a team effort,” Scott said. “The animals that come out at night. setup begins in September and continues until


The Living Desert brings the nighttime cheer with WildLights we’re ready for the opening in late November. There’s internal staff and external teams involved. So, it’s definitely a team effort from all sides.” WildLights gives visitors a chance to see The Living Desert in a new light. “There are so many activities around the zoo, and it’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy the beauty of the desert, and offer valuable support to The Living Desert at the same time,” Scott said.

WildLights opens with a members’ only event on Tuesday, Nov. 26, and is open to all from 6 to 9 p.m. on select nights through Dec. 28 at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, at 47900 Portola Ave., in Palm Desert. Admission is $14; $12 for members; and $10 for children ages 3-12. For tickets and more information, including a complete schedule of WildLights nights, visit www. livingdesert.org/events-and-tours/signatureevents/wildlights.








If you think you’re allergic to sulfites in wine … well, you’re probably not



By Katie finn


have a love-hate relationship with pouring at wine-tasting events. On one hand, there is nothing in the world that I love more than having a platform and a captive audience with whom I get to share my passion and enthusiasm for wine. I get a thrill seeing the expression on a person’s face when they try a wine for the first time—and they love it. They didn’t even know something like this existed, and now they can’t get enough of it. I, in turn, get to “geek out,” filling their head with a ton of useless information about theStreet history of the Country Club and Cook grape, how it’s cultivated, and the wars, political upset and economic this little vine Palm Dedevastation sert had to endure. I have goosebumps as I write. I live for this perpetuated. She said that because we are 760-340-5959 stuff. a label-conscious society, perhaps when we On the other hand, I have to constantly suffer an unpleasant side effect from a glass www.jasondavidhairstudio.net attempt to debunk certain wine myths that of wine, we look at the label to see what could people cling to for dear life. (“No, those fans be the cause. Well, the only “ingredient” listed you’ve seen in the vineyards are not there to on a bottle of wine is a notification that it cool down the workers.”) For the last decade contains sulfites—so, naturally, sulfites must or so, the No. 1 piece of misinformation I be the thing causing the headache/sneezing/ encounter more than any other involves “wine loss of consciousness etc. This sounds very allergies.” I am inundated with stories about plausible to me. how “certain wines” affect people’s sinuses and The fact is, there are more sulfites in a glass bowels, and cause rashes, hives, migraines … of orange juice than there are in an entire you name it. And the primary supposed culprit bottle of wine. Bacon, onions and garlic, is sulfites. pickles, jams and jellies, cookies and potato Ahh yes, sulfites. It’s never long before chips—I could go on and on and on—all have someone at a tasting informs me that they can notable amounts of sulfites present. If you are only drink French wine, because there aren’t one of the truly unfortunate people to suffer sulfites in French wine. This is sometimes from a sulfite sensitivity—the Food and Drug followed by more misinformation—that there Administration claims about 1 percent of you aren’t any sulfites in Italian wine, either, but are—this shocking revelation did not come to they just didn’t care for Italian wines as much. you last Saturday night because you downed a On occasion, I’ll feel feisty (and well-rested) glass of California cab. You’ve probably known enough to challenge this ridiculousness. But it for a long, long time. the truth is … most folks don’t want to hear So, why do people think these European it. They have convinced themselves that, countries are somehow sulfite-exempt? I have somehow, what they are experiencing is an a few theories, but the most obvious is that affliction to the most common preservative in most French and Italian wines do not have the the world. high alcohol content or the amount of color A wine representative I know—wellextraction that California wines have. Why versed in organic and natural wines—shed would color be a factor? Well, this leads me to some interesting light on why she thinks the allergy part of the equation. Most white this negative idea of sulfites is continually wine is removed from the skins immediately

after pressing the juice out, whereas red wine gets its color from the skins. When these grapes are brought in for crushing, they are covered with wild yeast and various “floaties” in the air that settle on the grapes. Those “floaties” are histamine triggers, and the longer the juice sits in contact with the skins in order to obtain that inky-dark glass of wine you crave, the more time it’s stewed with all those allergy-triggering elements. Nature … it’s a bitch. So the next time you read a label and are concerned with the “sulfites added” line, please keep a few things in mind: Just like the government requires companies to let you know that alcohol consumption is bad for pregnant women and might impair your ability to operate heavy machinery, it also requires winemakers to let you know that sulfites are present in wine, even if in an almost undetectable amount—10 parts per million, to be exact. Here’s the real kicker: Sulfites happen naturally! They are a perfectly normal byproduct of all alcoholic fermentation. The addition of sulfur dioxide to wine happens for the same reason it’s put into anything else— to prevent bacterial growth, browning and oxidation. Ironically, if you truly want to avoid sulfites, you should drink red, because there are often more sulfites added to white wine in an attempt to prevent browning and oxidation. There are also wines on the market now that are labeled sans soufre, which literally means without sulfites. But … this is declaring that additional sulfites haven’t been added, not that the wine is completely without sulfur dioxide. Now, I’m not a doctor. I shouldn’t go around diagnosing people and their wine aliments … but I do anyway. So here is my unprofessional opinion: The rash, headache, sore muscles and stuffy nose are probably caused by



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histamines, alcohol content or tannin. Tannin is the astringent, mouth-drying element in wine, which can also produce allergy-like symptoms—but again, if you have a sensitivity to tannin, you knew it the first time you ate chocolate, or had soy sauce, or drank an overly steeped cup o’ tea. The irony is that I can relate to wine allergies: Yes, I suffer from a histamine reaction to wine. Stuffy head, sinus pressure— the whole shebang. I simply take a Claritin, and call it a day. Now, let’s drink to your health … literally. Katie Finn is a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine with more than 15 years in the wine industry. She can be reached at katiefinnwine@gmail.com. award-winning

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The holidays are a perfect time to enjoy sours … and egg nog, too!

BY kevin carlow

the cocktail as with the previous sours, but skip the bitters, or use Peychaud’s instead of Angostura for a more complementary flavor and color. Of course, let us not forget the famous sour of South America, the pisco sour. Although I have had Peruvians livid at me for saying so, according to cocktail historian David Wondrich, the pisco sour has its origin with American expatriates in the late 1800s. American bars would serve up their sours using readily available local spirit pisco (a grape brandy) instead of whiskey or American brandy. You can simply sub in pisco for whiskey and use the same formula, but many bartenders favor a mix of lemon and lime— including this bartender. Experiment, and find your favorite preparation. Angostura is a must for this one. Of course, we can’t forget the New Orleans version of a sour, known today as a “Ramos Gin Fizz.” This classic “eye-opener” also includes seltzer and cream, and is poured into a small fizz or juice glass. I am sharing the original recipe from Ramos himself, slightly paraphrased, although modern versions vary.

s there any cocktail more iconic than a classic sour? Well, maybe … but does any cocktail look cooler in a photo? There is a special elegance to the sour, served up in a long-stemmed coupe, laced with bitters on the frothy, creamy head. The great thing is: Sours aren’t even particularly hard to make. With a little practice, the home bartender can quickly become an expert. Obviously, since raw eggs are involved, you need to make sure you’re comfortable with potential health risks before you begin. Now that the lawyers are satisfied, here are some sour-style drinks that will bring a little classic elegance to any holiday soirée. Before we begin, it’s a good idea to clarify how eggs got into cocktails in the first place. Yes, the luscious texture is the reason we still put them in, of course, but as big of a reason is that when this all started, distillation wasn’t the science it is today. If you were lucky, the distiller knew how to remove the head and tail from the batch (or cared to), and all the methanol and other bad stuff that can come with them. (That means the first and last of the distillate, in case you’re not a complete booze nerd.) The spirits would also contain a lot of congeners, the ride-along molecules that allow spirits to have flavor … both welcome and not-so-welcome flavors. People figured out that certain things, when added to the spirits, would bind to many of these “off” flavors, and the removal of the curdled protein (often eggs or milk) would clarify the remaining spirits. Alternately, they would leave the milk or eggs in the drink if it was meant for immediate consumption— creating the basis for milk punches and sours. So let’s make some drinks for immediate consumption, shall we? Let’s start with the whiskey sour, that classic American drink that has been spread all over the world. Brandy sours were originally more popular, and egg white was an optional but popular ingredient. As is still the case today, the sour could be more sweet than sour, but every bartender has a different opinion on

that. The great Jerry Thomas favored a very sweet sour, for instance. Feel free to make up your own mind on that: 2 ounces of rye or bourbon whiskey 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice 3/4 to 1 ounce of simple syrup 1 egg white Separate the egg, and add it to the cocktail tin; check for quality and stray yolk bits. Add the remaining ingredients; shake without ice for about 10 seconds, using both hands to secure the shaker from exploding all over the place! (Trust me: It still happens to me on occasion when I get cocky.) Then add ice, and continue shaking until the tin gets icy. Double-strain into a coupe, and dash the foam with bitters, using a toothpick to create a pattern of your liking. A sour can be made with gin as well; just substitute and proceed as above. For a more colorful cocktail, try a Clover Club:

1 tablespoon of superfine sugar 3 or 4 drops of orange flower water Juice from half a lime Juice from half a lemon 1 1/2 oz of Old Tom gin 1 egg white Half a glass of crushed ice About 2 tablespoons of whole milk or cream About an ounce of seltzer water

2 ounces of gin 1 ounce of lemon 1 ounce of raspberry syrup 1 egg white

This should all go into the shaker and be shaken for about a minute—carefully, so the shaker doesn’t pop open; double-strain into a fizz glass. Many bartenders make it a two-stage

Prepare the syrup by smashing raspberries into plain simple syrup, and strain. Prepare



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Frothy yumminess in the form of a whiskey sour. KEVIN CARLOW

shake, dry-shaking (no ice) everything but the cream and seltzer, before adding the cream and shaking it with some ice, and then straining into a chilled tall glass with seltzer pre-added. Try it both ways, and see what you favor. Since it’s the holiday season, I would be remiss to not mention that classic milk and egg punch, egg nog. There are as many ways to make this as there are bartenders, but I tend to use about four eggs, separated. I beat about a quarter-cup of sugar into the yolks until they lighten, then two cups of bourbon; one cup of Jamaican rum; and two or three cups of whole milk. Whisk the whites until they become stiff peaks, and fold them into the mixture. Let this chill in the refrigerator for as long as you can resist; top with nutmeg in each glass to order. And watch out on behalf of your grandma … there are reindeer on the loose this time of year! Kevin Carlow is a bartender at Truss and Twine, and can be reached at CrypticCocktails@gmail.com.


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By brett newton

he influx of clueless drivers with Washington-state license plates indicates we are nearing the tourist season here in the desert. (Side note to those drivers: If you miss a turn, that’s your problem and no one else’s. Take the loss, and find a safe place to turn around.) Seeing as I work at a brewery taproom, this column is a somewhat selfish endeavor: It’s a brewery-goers’ guide to taproom etiquette. This isn’t coming from an angry place—at least not totally. I would like to arm the consumer with useful advice that could enhance the experience without much effort. Let’s jump right in: • “Is (NAME OF BEER) good?” or, personally don’t mind this question much alternately, “What’s good?” I happen to (although, to repeat—if it’s not on the board, be honest to the point of being too blunt it’s not available), but I do find it amusing sometimes, but this question is weird: I work when people get indignant that the taproom for the brewery. What do you think I am I work at doesn’t have these things. Who’s going to say to this? I will often sarcastically surprised when they go to a brewery that we respond with, “No, they’re all bad, in fact,” only have beer? The answer, sadly, is a nonbefore trying to ascertain what the customer’s zero number. If licensing were simpler, we preferences are. Do yourself a favor, and might actually serve those other things, too. ask for a sample. Most places will be happy Can you tell this is getting cathartic for me? to give you a splash so you can decide for • Wearing cologne/perfume/heavy yourself. Don’t be afraid to set it aside and scents. This might be the rudest thing you ask for a sample of something else if you can do when visiting any place where you didn’t enjoy it. are drinking or eating. A large part of our • “What’s new?” Despite my massive olfactory experience is determined by our intellect and faultless memory, I can’t noses. We all have different thresholds for remember the last time you visited the different aromas, but bathing in patchouli brewery. Please feel free to do that work (which is ALWAYS gross, incidentally) is for me, and I will be glad to help you out just rude when you’re in a confined space accordingly. attempting to enjoy craft beer. Some of those • “What’s the hoppiest beer you have?” perfume scents can crawl up one’s nose and I dedicated a whole column to IBUs heavily affect one’s taste experience. You (international bitterness units) and why would be equally vexed by someone smoking they’re IBUseless to the consumer. (Get or vaping nearby while you were trying to it? I’ve been waiting to use that one.) The enjoy beer. Trust me: The people around you “hoppiest beer” question is loaded and not will appreciate the lack of perfume in general easy to answer. Hoppiness can include flavor, if you dial it back, or get rid of it all together. bitterness and/or aroma. Do you want an (I personally think most perfumes smell like old-school West Coast hop bomb with a bitter what the Nutrimatic Drinks Dispenser in underbelly, or do you want a double-dryDouglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the hopped, super-fragrant hazy IPA that has a Galaxy would spit out if asked to produce a much more restrained bitter finish? Huge perfume.) This goes doubly for body odor. imperial stouts are often very hoppy, but This should go without saying, but your that’s not the first thing you take away when commitment to not wearing deodorant tasting one. I’ll do my best here, but I need should not be anyone else’s problem. And you to meet me halfway if you want your patchouli doesn’t cover that up, either (and its needs properly fulfilled. association with body odor probably turned • “(Looks at the beer list, which does not me sour on that scent to begin with). include a particular style.) Do you have • Dirty growlers: Most breweries offer to-go (that particular style)?” This is pretty selfcontainers of various sizes, called growlers, explanatory: If it ain’t on the board, it ain’t that can be filled and refilled with beer. I can’t available. At my taproom, there are 20 beers believe I need to say this … but you should on tap. Is that not enough? Instead, tell clean them when you’re done. Yes. That might me what you like, and I will help you find be the most absurdly obvious thing I’ve ever something similar. Also: If you have a sight written. Beer left sitting in a container can issue, feel free to let your beertender know, quickly become a robust environment for and we’ll happily be your eyes. bacteria and mold. We do clean and sanitize • “Do you have wine/cider/etc.?” I the growlers we’re about to fill, as it’s in the CVIndependent.com

Going to a brewery taproom? Here are some things to keep in mind

brewery’s best interest to not give out tainted beer, but if I see mold, I’m sending that growler back empty. There is no way I’m going to chance infecting a sanitized beer line with that. This isn’t a labor-intensive process: All you need to do is give a growler a very good rinse with water when you have finished the beer, and either wash it out with scentless dish soap, or stick it in the dishwasher for a simple hot rinse, before letting it dry out completely. I used to have a half-joking, halfmorbid curiosity for the scents that could emanate from growlers, but I have since been cured of that. Leaving a dirty growler in a car in the desert summer heat makes it less of a container for beer and more of a small microbiome.

While some might view this list as snobbery, much of this is just common sense. Taproom employees should be able to guide the uninitiated beer-drinker to a pleasant experience, although I understand that not all breweries are created equal. It would be helpful to keep these things in mind so that you can have knowledge at your disposal— and enjoy your time at any taproom as fully as possible. Brett Newton is a certified cicerone (like a sommelier for beer) and homebrewer who has mostly lived in the Coachella Valley since 1988. He currently works at the Coachella Valley Brewing Co. taproom in Thousand Palms. He can be reached at caesarcervisia@gmail.com.




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FOOD & DRINK INDY ENDORSEMENT We’re again ignoring the diet—and devouring a cinnamon pastry and a juicy burger By Jimmy Boegle

WHAT The disco WHERE Bake’d Cakes and Pan Dulce, 27800 Landau Blvd., Cathedral City HOW MUCH $1.59 CONTACT 760-656-0176 WHY It’s caramelized, cinnamon-y goodness. When I perused the trays upon trays of baked goods at Bake’d Cakes and Pan Dulce, one particular pastry immediately caught my eye: It looked like a cinnamon roll had been flattened by a steamroller. The resulting disc was the size of a large plate. “What is that?” I asked the pleasant and helpful young woman. “That’s a disco,” she said— Spanish for disk. I got the disco and several other goodies to take home and sample. The aforementioned other goodies—including a brownie and a couple of pastries—were very good. The disco was a revelation. I will now try to describe the flavor: Imagine a really good cinnamon roll—one with lots of delicious cinnamon—but give it the texture of a crispy cookie. There’s no white glaze like a cinnamon roll would have, but there’s a lot of sugar that’s been caramelized, giving the pastry a thin, clear, almost-candy-like coating. It’s certainly big enough so share … but you probably won’t want to. It’s big. It’s fragile. It’s so freaking good. As a result of this fantastic festive Frisbee, Bake’d will probably become a regular destination for me—my waistline be damned. The little family-owned bakery with a decidedly Mexican flair opened back in August, and the place was empty when I was there. Granted, I was there at 6:30 p.m. on a weeknight in November, which is not exactly business prime time for a bakery, and I am hoping that’s why I was the only customer— because this place deserves customers, and a lot of them. So, go. Get a disco—and revel in the cinnamon-y, sugary goodness. CVIndependent.com

WHAT The double burger WHERE The Heyday; various locations, including Palm Springs VillageFest on Thursday nights, and The Alibi Palm Springs (369 N. Palm Canyon Drive) on Friday and Saturday nights HOW MUCH $15 (including chips) plus fees via Doordash CONTACT 714-328-3825; theheyday.co WHY It’s a juicy, perfectly prepared burger. I had my first burger from The Heyday at Palm Springs Pride. Several friends of mine had told me I must try the burgers from this pop-up burger joint after getting them at Palm Springs VillageFest, so when hunger struck, and it just so happened that the Independent’s booth was right next to The Heyday, I considered that a sign from the universe. The hubby and I each ordered a double— featuring two Harris Ranch beef patties, shredded lettuce, American cheese and caramelized onions. Well, the burgers were splendid: juicy, flavorful and filling, despite their not-huge size. After the madness of Palm Springs Pride had ended, I decided I needed (and, well, wanted) to give The Heyday’s burgers another try, to see if they were oh-so-good on a second devouring. I intended to head to The Alibi on a Friday night to get one after seeing a play … but I was exhausted, so I went home and decided to instead order a burger via Doordash, which can be done when The Heyday is set up at The Alibi on Fridays and Saturdays. I balked at the price—$15 (more than the $12 we paid at Pride) plus delivery fees and tip—but I went ahead with the purchase anyway … and I am happy to report that the burger that arrived at my door was just as delicious as the burger I eagerly scarfed down at Pride. Was it worth $15 plus all the fees? No. Was it worth $12 in person at the popup? Yeah … The Heyday’s burgers are that good.







Restaurant NEWS BITES By matt king and Jimmy Boegle THE GOAL OF THE SECOND DESERT VEGFEST: SHARING INFO ABOUT VEGANISM WITH THE COACHELLA VALLEY Bryan Lopez is passionate about the vegan lifestyle—so passionate, in fact, that he produced a whole festival focused on vegan food back in the spring. Just six months later, Lopez is back with the sequel: The second Desert VegFest—a whole day of food, music and guest speakers—will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus. “I went vegan two years ago, and I have a lot of friends ask what I eat,” Lopez said. “‘What do you eat? Grass?’ I get poked at a lot, because a majority of people don’t understand it—so I thought that it would be a good idea to bring a lot of food into the valley that people can taste to try to disprove many people’s misconceptions. Vegan food is good, but a lot of people don’t know that.” To Lopez’s knowledge, Desert VegFest is the only vegan-centered festival in the Coachella Valley. “There are a lot of vegan festivals throughout the U.S., and I tried to use their formula to do mine,” Lopez said. “For the most part, I did what they are doing—but I plan to do different things in the future now that I know what I’m doing and am more confident with myself.” While Lopez pulled off a great festival in the spring, he learned a lot of lessons—some the hard way. “There were a lot of last-minute expenses,” Lopez said. “There was a big tent that we had for the artists, but we found out we couldn’t stake it down into the ground because of the piping, so I had to pay out-of-pocket for some cement blocks. “The night before the festival, our generator got stolen. That was also expensive, but it also delayed the music by an hour and a half. … It was definitely a trial-and-error experience, and I know I’m going to be better (this time).” The May event hosted some 2,000 people celebrating the vegan lifestyle by chowing down on food from various vendors. “I’m hoping that a lot of people get to try the food, because the way to people’s hearts and minds is through food,” he said. “You can show people facts and statistics about going vegan, but the truth is that it’s all about the taste of the food. If I could get some people to consider going vegan just by trying the food, then that would be great.” The second Desert VegFest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus, at 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive. Tickets are $3 online, or a buck more at the door. For tickets or more info, visit www.desertvegfest.com. IN BRIEF Sing along: “It’s the most yummiest time of the year!” To translate: It’s time for the 28th annual Indio International Tamale Festival! It all goes down on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, in downtown Indio. Admission is free (but alas, the tamales are not). Expect a food-truck park, a farmers’ market, entertainment, beer gardens and all sorts of family-friendly fun. Get more details at www.tamalefestival.net. … Now open: Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, at 73040 El Paseo, in Palm Desert. The high-end seafood restaurant is owned by the same company that runs The Capital Grille; learn more at www.eddiev.com. … The second annual Golden Grapes Wine Festival will take over the Commune at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. This joint production of the Ace and the Palm Springs Wine Festival will feature more than 50 winemakers “who are part of a radical shift in the wine industry in the Golden State.” Ooh! Tickets are $85; $99 gets you a VIP ticket, which comes with a free bottle of wine and admission to the soiree an hour early. Get those tix at www.acehotel. com. … Coming soon to 13104 Palm Drive, in Desert Hot Springs: Taste of India. That’s all we know for now; watch this space for more info when we get more info. … New to 461 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs: Las Palmas Brewery. The microbrewery and natural wine bar is the latest feather in the growing cap that is the Coachella Valley beer scene. (Apologies for that terrible analogy.) Visit www.facebook.com/laspalmasbrewing to learn more. ... Coming soon to Palm Springs, at 170 E. Palm Canyon Drive, next to Kreem: Gabino’s Creperie. Watch www.facebook.com/gabinoscreperie for updates. CVIndependent.com



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Freddy Jimenez works with the east valley community in mind Mikayla Fazzone’s ‘Stronger Than Me’ Raises Awareness the lucky 13: Meet the frontman of instigator the lucky 13: Meet the decon legend now known as herbert



Black Mountain brings 15 years of genre shifts to Pappy and Harriet’s


The Venue REPORT DECEMBER 2019 By matt king

Adam Lambert

The holiday season is here! It’s December in the Coachella Valley—which means venues are hosting a whole lot of events that’ll put you in the holiday spirit. Here’s but a sampling of the offerings local venues have in December. The glorious McCallum Theatre has a packed schedule of shows that’ll get you in the Christmas mood. On Sunday, Dec. 1, at 3 and 7 p.m., come experience one of the greatest musical groups ever: The Beach Boys. While the group is famous for surfing hits and the visionary masterpiece Pet Sounds, the band is coming to Palm Desert on the “Holiday, Harmonies and Hits” tour; expect songs spanning the Boys’ entire career, as well as some holiday greats. Tickets are $68 to $118. This is the giving season, so it makes sense that the McCallum is hosting its 2019 McCallum Theatre Annual Gala, featuring legendary singer Seal. Proceeds from the gala help fund theater operations and artseducation programs across the valley. It takes place at 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5. Tickets are $100 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www. mccallumtheatre.com. Fantasy Springs’ lineup this month has shows for lovers of all sorts of different genres. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, Old Dominion— with opener Ryan Hurd—will bring its “Make It Sweet” tour into town. Grab your cowboy hat and boots, and go square-dance the night away to the critically acclaimed country stylings! Tickets are $49 to $129. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, witness the Peanuts gang come to life at A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage. Enjoy holiday cheer with Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and more! Tickets are $39 to $69. Fresh off of Queen’s summer tour, where he again did an excellent job of filling the late Freddie Mercury’s shoes, Adam Lambert comes to Indio at 8 p.m., Friday, continued on Page 44 CVIndependent.com





t’s 8 p.m., and Freddy Jimenez is taking a break from working on a project for local artist Cristopher Cichocki to practice playing drums—before checking Instagram regarding details for his next project. At the age of 28, Jimenez is finally the self-sustaining artist he set out to become. The path was not easy, but his dedication to technique, artistry and community has sustained him and made him into a driving force in everything he does. for, like, two to three years.” Jimenez is a simple guy: He wears plain Today, Jimenez operates full-time out of a black clothes; he has short hair and no visible studio in downtown Indio, which celebrated tattoos; he doesn’t drink or smoke. Thanks its grand opening in March 2018. It’s adjacent to his passion for art and love of community, to the Indio Performing Arts Center, the city’s Jimenez has managed to create a name for artistic center; down the street from iconic himself by producing both high-quality art Mexican-food restaurant Rincon Norteño; and and events, collaborating with numerous local a hop, skip and a jump from Club 5, Indio’s artists, musicians and designers along the way. newest community-minded dive bar. His company, Blue Hill Studios, is a Jimenez comes from a musical background. homegrown operation, started out of his He’s played music his entire life; his first parents’ house in Coachella. His parents instrument was the flute, then the trumpet, supported his desire to print shirts, but they followed by bass guitar. His uncle and dad initially didn’t see it as more than a hobby— played music, and so did his brother, playing in because they didn’t really understand the work a local cover band doing romanticas—a genre of that goes into producing shirts. However, Spanish adult-contemporary love songs. they’d soon learn. “Seeing my family play music was my first “The screen-print dryers I was using inspiration, but I started going to local house were too powerful for my parents’ house. I shows in sixth- or seventh-grade with my could have blown out the fuses. I had to get friends Joseph and Michael Torres,” Jimenez generators for the dryers,” Jimenez said with said. “We would go to death-metal shows, a laugh. “The process was so loud, too. I don’t which inspired me to play guitar. My brother know why my neighbors never said anything had a drum set, though, and that’s how I

Freddy Jimenez. George Marrufo



Artist, printer and musician Freddy Jimenez, of Blue Hill Studios, works with the east valley community in mind

picked up the drums. From there, I started bands here and there, but it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started a band called A Curious Case, which was an indiedance band. That band lasted two years; then I started Tribesmen.” Behind the drum kit with Tribesmen—an instrumental, post-rock band—Jimenez has played many shows in the Coachella Valley and beyond, including the Tachevah festival in Palm Springs. The late ’00s—as he was graduating high school and shortly thereafter—were a particularly creative time for Jimenez, as he started both doing shows and doing screenprinting. He started screen-printing using a small Yudu machine, but his practice expanded once he got a full-sized manual screen press. However, it wasn’t easy. “It was so much harder to use the press, learning to make screens; I kind of underestimated it,” Jimenez said. “I was going to sell the press, but the guy I bought it from, Sam Orozco, told me not to sell it. He had moved out of town (which was why he sold the press); he promised to come down to teach me how to work it. But he died a week later, and he never showed me.” Jimenez kept the press out of respect for Orozco and his wishes, and committed himself to mastering it. He learned mostly through trial and error. “I fucked up a shit ton of shirts. Prints, too,” he said. Today, however, Jimenez knows what he’s doing, and he has steady work, thanks to a good reputation, mostly through word of mouth. He’s printed shirts for many local businesses and organizations, including Fresh Juice Bar, Palm Springs CrossFit, Raices Cultura and Cactus Tattoo, among others. He’s also made items for local bands such as Pathos, Plastic Ruby and Black Market Jazz, as well as his frequent collaborator, the Coachella-based artist and illustrator ANTA. Learning how to produce serigraph prints, the hand-made prints made popular by Andy Warhol and Shepard Fairey, proved to be his most challenging yet most rewarding artistic pursuit. “Printing serigraphs is different from a shirt. It’s a lot harder. It takes up so much time,” Jimenez said. “Everything must be aligned perfectly. That’s why nobody really does this kind of print. It’s also expensive, but it does result in a certain quality and unique effects that cannot be achieved with digital prints.” Jimenez endures, however, in part because

of his love for the eastern Coachella Valley and the local artistic community. He employs the serigraph technique to produce instantly recognizable show posters for the music events he produces. The name Blue Hill Studios came to him one day as he was driving home. “Blue Hill signifies the east valley to me. As the sun was setting one day, I looked at the mountains, and they looked blue to me,” he said. “I immediately thought Blue Hill Studios would be a great name for my production company.” Jimenez has ambitions to also create a full recording studio and record label, along with the printing studio. Jimenez said he has engineered recording sessions with many local bands, including Ocho Ojos, CIVX, Kayves, and Venus and the Traps. However, the printing aspect has taken off much faster, though Jimenez is still collecting gear and improving his recording techniques. Collaborating with other artists and having the means to make products is the most rewarding part of Jimenez’s work, he said. “All my friends are artists and are really supportive,” he said. “That’s the reason I keep doing this. They give me work to do. I’m lucky to be part of this scene. Blue Hill also gets a lot of respect, because what we do is seen as more of a craft.” In a sense, Blue Hill Studios is sort of a miniature, local equivalent of Warhol’s Factory. Jimenez has collaborated with many wellknown artists, including Armando Lerma/ The Date Farmers, Albert Reyes, Cat Cult, and Tommii Lim, among others. In his early days as a printer, Jimenez admits that he tried to rush jobs and move quickly between orders. Now that he is more successful, he takes things slower, and he gets to be more selective about the jobs he takes on. His next step would be to perhaps hire an employee. “But I don’t want to get too commercial. I don’t want to be just another print shop,” he said. “Taking my time and putting out good work is always the most important thing for me.” Immediately after our interview, Jimenez went back to playing the drums and working on shirts. When you’re your own boss, the work doesn’t stop … unless you want it to. Blue Hill Studios is located at 45130 Smurr St., No. 6, in Indio. For more information, call 760501-8766; visit www.bluehillprintstudios.com; or check out @bluehillstudios on Instagram.







Black Mountain brings 15 years of genre shifts to Pappy and Harriet’s

Mikayla Fazzone’s single ‘Stronger Than Me’ raises awareness of human trafficking



anadian rock-band Black Mountain is on its 15th lap around the sun—and each year has seemingly been different for the group. The members have constantly explored different genres—including hard rock and long psychedelic jams—and founders Amber Webber and Joshua Wells are no longer with group. Still, the band plays on, releasing its fifth album, Destroyer, in May of this year. Black Mountain will perform at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Friday, Dec. 6. The band got a taste of the high desert earlier in May when it played at a famous desert-rock festival. “We recently played at Stoned and Dusted, and thought it was a beautiful zone,” said keyboardplayer and founding member Jeremy Schmidt. has traveled into and through many different “We’ve never played at Pappy and Harriet’s, so genres, from the alternative/stoner-rock grooves we’re excited for the debut.” of the debut self-titled LP, or the long space-rock Black Mountain recently performed at the jams from the album IV. Levitation festival in Austin, Texas. “Our tastes don’t adhere to any one genre,” “I wouldn’t want to just do festivals, and I Schmidt said. “We don’t deliberately try to move wouldn’t want to just do club shows. I like the around to different genres; we just assimilate variety,” Schmidt said. “Festivals can be a little different things since we’re drawn to such hectic in terms of the scheduling, and you don’t different things. But it always ends up sounding have as much time and attention that you’re like Black Mountain somehow. Whatever sticks used to when setting up. Often, it is a bit of a to the wall after we throw everything in the pot mad rush to get everything set up and then get sounds like Black Mountain in some way.” everything off stage. That part’s not fun, but Destroyer takes the Black Mountain sound otherwise, I enjoy them. It’s cool to get to go see and puts it in the speakers of a car during your a bunch of other bands—but it sucks when you first road trip—literally: The car-centric album playing at the same time as one of your favorite revolves around frontman and founder Stephen bands. That has happened before. Or if you McBean’s first time behind the wheel, after he arrive at the festival, and someone you really waited 40 years to get his driver’s license. There want to see is playing on a day that you are not is something for everyone to enjoy on the LP, going to be there. That has happened before; it’s as McBean and Schmidt take the genres they’ve kind of frustrating.” loved throughout their careers—and make Black Mountain’s name has been on many, things a little heavier. Standout tracks include many bills over the last decade and a half—and “High Rise” for the headbangers, and “FD’72” that name is pretty badass. for the fans of David Bowie. “There’s not really any great story behind it,” All of Black Mountain’s records include Schmidt said. “There are a few stories out there wonderful album art. Schmidt shared some about how we came up with the name, and we insights about Destroyer’s cover, which depicts a just kind of left those floating around. I mean, gigantic speaker towering over an ocean front, there are a few places called Black Mountain, with a rock formation in the background. but it was just an obvious name that for some “I’ve done the art for all the albums,” Schmidt reason hadn’t been used yet. We haven’t really said. “With the artwork, I try to think of the thought too much about the story behind the record in some abstract way. That one was kind name, because when you’ve been toiling under of quick, as I thought that both images went that name for many years, you kind of forget.” well together, and the stormy scene goes well Over the years, Black Mountain’s music with the name of the album. I didn’t want to use something that was obviously connotating destruction, but something that had the same energy as that, like a stormy aura.”

Black Mountain. olivia jaffe

Black Mountain will perform with Ryley Walker at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $20. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.



hen the Big Rock Pub organized a songwriting competition to benefit Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services, many local musicians went all out to create and showcase a song that would raise awareness about the terrors of sexual assault and human trafficking. There were some beautiful and heart-wrenching songs—yet it was a performance by 16-yearold Mikayla Fazzone that won over the judges and audience. Her song “Stronger Than Me” is a rallying cry for a group of broken individuals to fight back—and it was set to be released on Thursday, Nov. 28, via the various streaming services, like Spotify, iTunes, etc. raising awareness for human trafficking, I “Music has always been in my life. I’ve knew I had to do it! (I thought), ‘It’s a great always loved doing it,” Fazzone told me. “The opportunity to help people. It’s going to be a first instance of my love for music came when great experience, and I’m going to be able to I was a toddler, and my parents took me to meet a lot of people. If I win, I’d be able to go Old Town San Diego. They bought me this out and become an advocate for the people little toy purple guitar, and then happened to who really need it.’” lose me in the crowd. They finally found me One of the perks of winning the onstage playing with a mariachi band. It’s just competition was having the song recorded something I’ve always loved the art of.” by Will Sturgeon in “The Sturdio.” Fazzone Fazzone is currently a part of the Academy already knew Sturgeon from AMP, and he of Musical Performance, which is helping helped “Stronger Than Me” reach its full transform her from a student of music into a potential. rock star. “Recording is such a cool thing,” Fazzone “In ninth-grade, I went to AMP’s Summer said. “Most of my songs are just me and my Showcase, and walked away depressed, guitar, so when I got to hear all the musical thinking that I could never be as good as layers I think of in my head come to life in the these kids,” Fazzone said. “It inspired me speakers, it was just incredible!” to start getting better over the rest of the summer, and I went on to audition for AMP in the fall. I made it in and haven’t looked back since. It’s is a great program for getting introduced to the music scene. You get to meet a lot of very important people in the local industry—like Will Sturgeon, Abie Perkins and Courtney Chambers, to name a few. AMP is great for leadership skills and musicianship skills, and shows you how to work with other people, along with giving you live performance experience—all in one!” Fazzone sets herself apart from many other artists in our scene with her desire to use music primarily as a helping hand to anyone who might need it. Her lyrics exude inspiration and empathy for her listeners. “Whenever one of my friends is going through a hard time, I write songs for them, and they turn into cool songs that I enjoy playing,” Fazzone said. “Helping people has always been at the core of my music. I write songs not just for me, but for specific audiences. People always tell bands that a certain song saved their lives, and I’d love to be able to have that effect on people. “When I heard about the competition Mikayla Fazzone. Laura Hunt Little CVIndependent.com



The Venue REPORT continued from page 41 Dec. 20. Come enjoy an evening of Lambert’s pop hits—and perhaps some Queen covers. Tickets are $59 to $99. Legendary soul and gospel singer Dionne Warwick will bring her “A Holiday Celebration” tour to town at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 21. The night will be filled with holiday and pop classics, and will feature Warwick’s signature voice backed by a 14-piece string section. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www. fantasyspringsresort.com. Spotlight 29 is featuring a few fun events in December. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, The Dan Band will bring comedic interpretations of pop songs and hilarious stage banter to the Spotlight Showroom stage. This is the band


featured at the end of The Hangover. Tickets are $20 to $30. Also coming to Spotlight: Femmes of Rock, rock violinists who cover your favorite classic-rock tunes, from AC/DC to ZZ Top. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, come find out what your favorite classic-rock song would sound like played by four violin-istas! Tickets are $25 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com. Agua Caliente will host legendary recording artist Chris Isaak at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13. Best known for his song “Wicked Game”—one of the most covered songs in music—Isaak is bringing his rockabilly sound to Rancho Mirage for an entertaining night of songs. Tickets are $50 to $275. Agua Caliente Resort

Joel Kim Booster

Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www. hotwatercasino.com. Morongo Casino is showcasing a festive lineup of music and comedy acts throughout December. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, The Charlie Daniels Band is coming to Cabazon looking for a soul to steal. Country, Southern rock, and badass solos and beards—what more could you ask for? Tickets are $49. If you’re looking to laugh until you cry, come to Morongo on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 or 10 p.m., to witness one of the funniest comics of our time, Gabriel Iglesias. With numerous of specials, and his own series on Netflix, Iglesias is at the top of his game. Tickets are $69, and were close to selling out at press time. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www. morongocasinoresort.com. Pappy and Harriet’s features a plethora of bands to warm you up during cold Pioneertown nights this month. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, psych-punk outfit KOLARS will grace the Pappy’s stage. Considering the band’s ability to combine vastly different genres into one live set, the show will have something for everyone. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 28, The Evangenitals will return to Pappy’s for a night of alt-country and fun! The show is free, so why not go and enjoy it? Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com. Toucan’s Tiki Bar and Cabaret Lounge is hosting a couple of December events. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, Joel Kim Booster will come to Palm Springs for a night of comedy. He has written for shows such as Big Mouth, and has had specials on Comedy Central. Tickets are $25. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13, Frenchie Davis brings her Soulful for the Holidays show to the desert. Davis has done both Broadway and the televised singing-

competition shows during her career, so it’s safe to say: She can sing. Tickets are $35 to $45. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-4167584; www.reactionshows.com. The Purple Room promises to keep you entertained this month. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6, Levi Kreis brings his annual Home for the Holidays show to the Purple Room. Go watch as Kreis infuses gospel, country, rockabilly, jazz and Christmas hits into one show. Tickets are $40 to $45. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, Scot Bruce returns to the Purple Room to become Elvis for the Elvis: Blue Suede Christmas show. If you weren’t around during Elvis’ day, or even if you were, go see the next best thing! Tickets are $30 to $35. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27, Palm Springs JUMP! will pay tribute to some of the best artists who lived and performed in Palm Springs. This event will feature tunes from Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and others. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www. purpleroompalmsprings.com. The Ace is home to a lot of fantastic December happenings. From Friday, Dec. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 22, experience a weekend of comedy, music, movies and more at the Old St. Shtick festival. A plethora of comedians will be featured, such as Guy Branum, Billy Wayne Davis, Chris Estrada and others. Admission is free on Friday; tickets are $15 the other nights. At 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 26, gather for a night of tales at Campfire Stories With Desert Oracle’s Ken Layne. He was the subject of our September cover story. This is a perfect time to warm up by the fire and hear conspiracy theories regarding the monsters that surround our desert. The event is free! Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www. acehotel.com/palmsprings.






LUCKY 13 This month, meet a young frontman and a desert-rock icon

By matt king; photos by brian blueskye NAME Mark Wadlund GROUP Instigator MORE INFO Few bands in the Coachella Valley can match the power and intensity of Instigator. The band’s hard-hitting thrash sound and eccentric stage presence often lead to epic music performances that may just rob you of your hearing for a few hours. At the helm of Instigator is Mark Wadlund, whose electrifying lead lines and powerful vocal chords contribute to a mature sound, even though the group’s average age is 19. For more information, visit facebook.com/instigatorofficial or @ Instigatorband on Instagram. What was the first concert you attended? AC/DC at Coachella when I was 15. I waited four hours to see them front row! What was the first album you owned? Rust in Peace by Megadeth. Still the best album I own. What bands are you listening to right now? I’ve got some Misfits, Def Leppard (the old, good stuff lol), Faith No More, and Extreme, among others. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? People being in the trend of fashion and looks over raw musical talent and performance. Drop the fucking look, and hone your craft. This would literally make the world a better place to enjoy (with) creative freedom and expression. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Pantera, hands down. I would give my legs to resurrect Dimebag and Vinnie Paul … just not my arms. HA HA HA HA! What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Jaxon Fischer (Instigator rhythm guitar). I listen to various amounts of old school rap: Dr. Dre, NWA, Snoop Dogg, etc. What’s your favorite music venue? It depends: Locally or everywhere? Playing or watching? Generally, I’d say The Date Shed.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “I look around, my room is filled with candles. Each one a story, but they end the same,” “The Mission,” Queensrÿche. What band or artist changed your life? Megadeth. I heard “Holy Wars ... The Punishment Due” when I was about 14 or 15, and I didn’t really know that it was possible to play guitar like that. I knew about guitar solos from Van Halen, but the riffs! The riffs of that song changed my life.

one of the pioneers of the desert music scene. In recent years, Lienau has emerged wearing a mask and carnival attire, seated behind an organ, and using an electronic voice-changer. This act is known as Herbert, who performs hits of the past such as “House of the Rising Sun” or “Grim Grinning Ghosts”—in a very weird fashion. Learn more and download his new album at herbsorgan.com. What was the first concert you attended? Technically, War at Angel Stadium in Palm Springs, in 1976. I went with my friend and his parents. His dad was the assistant city manager of Palm Springs, so that’s why I got to go. My first concert that I bought tickets for was Cheap Trick at the Swing Auditorium (in San Bernardino in) December 1979. It was also my first time seeing someone simultaneously smoke pot and set hair on fire! What was the first album you owned? Elton John’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. I bought it with my own money when it came out (age 10) at the record store at the Palm Springs Mall. Great album—my all-time-favorite album cover. What bands are you listening to right now? I’ve always been all over the map. Currently, I listen to a lot of novelty records like Spike Jones, Mercyful Fate, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? I would ask Dave Mustaine how to resurrect the metal scene for the entire world. The world needs metal; the world needs a hero.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Ninety-nine percent of all of the bands that have been on Saturday Night Live for the past 10 years. Those “bands/artists” are trying to be so cool, but to me, just come across as being weak and lazy. Bring back the days of Devo, The B-52s, and The Specials. Hear that, Lorne Michaels?!

What song would you like played at your funeral? “Sea of Red,” Judas Priest.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Easy ... The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Peace Sells … but Who’s Buying? by Megadeth. I know I talk about Megadeth a lot, but this band changed/built my entire life.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Insane Clown Posse’s The Great Milenko.

What’s your favorite music venue? Probably the Hollywood Bowl or Greek Theatre. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “Notes and Chords Mean Nothing to Me,” Redd Kross. What band or artist changed your life? Black Flag. I heard “Nervous Breakdown” on Rodney on the Roq (KROQ) in 1979. I was 14, and that music really connected with how I was feeling as an early teen. I was lucky to see them many times and almost played a gig with them once. They were the real deal, and made me want to play in a punk band. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? I’d ask Mark Mothersbaugh: “Are we not men?” What song would you like played at your funeral? “Oops! ... I Did It Again.” Ha! Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Electric Ladyland, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. What song should everyone listen to right now? Every song on Infest the Rat’s Nest by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. That album kicks ass!

What song should everyone listen to right now? “The Laugh,” by Armored Saint. Outstanding song, outstanding musicianship, outstanding message. NAME Herb Lienau GROUPS Decon, Herbert MORE INFO Herb Lienau is one of the desert’s greats. His punk band Decon, with members of Kyuss and Unsound, only lived for a year in its initial incarnation, but is still noted as CVIndependent.com







’m a 40-something gay male professor at a small college. I try hard not to get attracted to students, and I usually succeed. But it’s tough to resist temptation when you’re surrounded by hot, smart, fun, horny young guys in a rural area with not many other options. Over the past several years, I’ve ended up having sex with several students. None of them were students I was currently teaching or likely to teach, and two had graduated. I’m not actually violating college policy, which only bans faculty from getting involved with students they’re currently teaching. I haven’t ever done anything on campus or made the first move—and when one of them starts trying to hit on me, I’ve usually mustered the willpower to ignore him. On rare occasions when I’ve ended up letting my cock do the thinking, I’ve treated my younger partners with kindness and respect, and I have observed your campsite rule. All of these younger guys solemnly swore to keep our extracurricular activities secret, but still, word might leak out, and I don’t want to become known on campus as one of “those” professors. Most important, I don’t want my queer male students— many of whom look to me for mentorship—to think I’m grooming them for sex after I’m no longer teaching them, and I don’t want my female and straight-male students to feel like second-class citizens. On the other hand, I’m a sex-positive person who believes that happy, consensual banging has its own intrinsic value. I tend to be attracted to younger guys, and I think part of the attraction is that they’re less jaded about sex and more excited. Fucking them feels less transactional than the typical hi-bang-jizzwipe-bye Grindr hookup that seems to be the norm with gay guys in their 30s and older. I’m struggling with how I should feel about

these off-campus romps. We’re all adults, and we’re not breaking any rules. Obviously, the behavior is professionally risky for me. But is it immoral? Professor Horn-Dog Can we please not describe one adult subtly and perhaps unintentionally telegraphing their attraction to another adult as “grooming”? That term refers to adult sexual predators insinuating themselves into the lives of minors, slowly gaining their trust and the trust of their family members, so they can abuse them sexually. It means something very specific, PHD, and we shouldn’t confuse or cheapen its meaning by applying it to your behavior—which, while not criminal or immoral, is incredibly stupid. Yes, these relationships are permissible, in the sense that the school where you teach permits them. They aren’t against the rules; those young

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Am a 40-something college professor who has had sex with students I’m not teaching; is this immoral?

men were all consenting adults; and you’re honoring the campsite rule. (Leave them in better shape than you found them.) But this is an advice column, PHD, and you’re not asking me what’s permissible, but what’s advisable. And what you’re doing is crazy inadvisable for all the reasons you cite: the risk of promising and hot gay-male students misinterpreting your interest in them as sexual; your straight students feeling like they may not be getting the full benefit of your attention; and your mediocre and nothot gay-male students—sorry, your mediocre and not conventionally attractive gay male students—interpreting their failing grades as sexual rejection. I, too, am a sex-positive person who believes in happy, consensual banging, and I don’t think what you’re doing is immoral. But it is incredibly reckless at this particular moment on any American college campus. Power and consent are minefields that students, professors and administrators are tiptoeing through, PHD, but you’re humping your way across them. Becoming known on campus as one of “those” professors— because you are one of those professors—could wind up being the least of your problems. What if your college revises its rules while you’re balls-deep in a student? What if you have a falling-out with a student you banged, and he files a complaint? What if you want to move to a different school that has different rules? Finally, PHD, it’s fine to be attracted to younger guys. But if all your experiences with guys in their 30s have been dispiriting and transactional, well, it sounds like you were the common denominator in a lot of meh sexual encounters. Speaking from experience, I can say that plenty of guys over 30 are excited about sex and good at it. If every guy over 30 that you’ve been with has been underwhelming, well, it’s possible they were picking up on your lack of enthusiasm/attraction—and reflecting back. I’m a 33-year-old woman in a nine-year LTR with another woman. Our relationship hasn’t been great in the intimacy department for a long time. We’ve talked it to death, with no real significant change. I started talking to a woman online a few states over who is married and in a similar situation with her husband. Things are great between us, but neither of us envisions a future where we would leave our partner. My partner is chronically ill, and I support her financially; my online GF and her husband have young children. I’m wondering if you know anything about sustainability in a relationship with someone online. I’ll admit that sometimes it’s torture to not be able to be with her in real life. But then there’s the question

of our significant others. Is it OK to keep this secret if things are good otherwise? Making It Last Forever Your significant others aren’t questions, MILF; they’re people—and you don’t intend to leave your person, and your online girlfriend doesn’t intend to leave hers. So if you want to spare your chronically ill partner the anxiety of worrying you might leave her for this other person, then you’ll keep the online GF a secret. But you need to ask yourself—and your online GF needs to ask herself—if this online relationship/ emotional affair is making you a better, more contented, and more emotionally available partner to your IRL partner. If it’s making you a better partner to the person you’re actually/ technically/physically with, then great. But if it’s a distraction that’s causing you to neglect or resent your IRL partner, MILF, then you’ll have to end it. If it’s harming your IRL relationship, and you don’t end it, then you’re engaging in shitty, dishonest, slo-mo sabotage. As for the sustainability of online relationships: There are people out there who’ve maintained online connections— intense friendships, romantic and/or sexual relationships—for as long as people have been able to get online. Sometimes online relationships run their course and come to an end, just like offline relationships and sometimes the online platforms they began on. But offline or on, MILF, there are always challenges and never guarantees. I’m one of your straight male readers. I’ve been seeing a professional Dom for the last year, with my wife’s OK, and it’s been very good for our marriage. I thought I could “give up” bondage when we got married, and then I found myself feeling resentful of my wife, even though it was a choice I made freely. This outlet—a wonderful pro that I see just for bondage, not for sex—solved our problem and even improved our sex life. I’m writing to say thank you. I don’t think we would have been able to discuss this calmly if we hadn’t been listeners of the Savage Lovecast. And, yes, I’ve told my wife if there’s ever anything she wants that I can’t do for her, she only has to ask. Grateful Reader In Nevada Thanks for the sweet note, GRIN! Read Savage Love every Wednesday at CVIndependent.com; mail@savagelove.net; @ fakedansavage; ITMFA.org.




“I Strain”—each has three 1950s in a row. 38 The Jeffersons actress By Matt Jones Gibbs 39 It’s multifaceted Across 40 German camera 1 Sporty British car, for company short 43 Activity involving a 4 Pharmacy bottle few windmills, maybe 8 Military helicopter 46 Brent who played 14 Prosecutor’s need Data 16 Yokels 48 Vast expanse 17 Drawn-out lyric 49 Badminton divider in “The 12 Days of 50 Mediation asset Christmas” 51 “You’ve got mail” ISP 19 Fairly matched 54 Strands in a crime lab 20 Bathroom floor 56 Rice-Eccles Stadium furnishings footballer 21 Rockstar Games title, 57 Pointed file to fans 59 Online post caption 22 Chinese general on with someone menus pointing upward 24 Gp. that’s supposed to 63 Come through be green 68 Embedded, as tiles 26 Monarch who gives 69 Diner sandwich an annual Christmas 70 Ear affliction speech, briefly 71 Crafter’s website 27 Captain Underpants 72 Part of GPS creator Pilkey 30 Drag Down 32 Shakes awake 1 Boss, in Barcelona 34 Panel game show 2 Tel ___, Israel dating back to the 3 Yield

4 Relax, with “out” 5 Question for an indecisive housecat 6 “Defending our rights” org. 7 Pigeon’s perching place 8 Atlas Shrugged writer Rand 9 Average score 10 Fish on a sushi menu 11 Cold medicine target 12 Thwart completely 13 Classic French work by Montaigne (which inspired a literary form) 15 Body shop challenge 18 Clairvoyant’s claim 23 Miss ___ (2016 Jessica Chastain political thriller) 25 Multi-episode story 26 Bogart’s role in The Caine Mutiny 27 Low-lit 28 Selma director DuVernay 29 Very thin pasta 31 “Alejandro” singer, casually 33 The Orchid Thief author Susan

35 Brief flash 36 Game with 81 different cards 37 Grounded birds 41 The Cavs, on scoreboards 42 Naval direction 44 Retirement nest egg 45 “See me after class” writers? 46 Artist’s workroom 47 Inventor’s acquisition 52 Rinkmaster Bobby 53 The L in PSL 55 ___ Heart Mother (Pink Floyd album) 58 Securely closed 60 Works the garden 61 Casually 62 They flew at Mach 2 64 “Can ___ least think it over?” 65 Edward ___ (Victoria’s successor) 66 Mag wheels? 67 Part of LGBTQIA+ © 2019 Matt Jones Find the answers in the “About” section of CVIndependent.com!




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Coachella Valley Independent December 2019  

The December 2019 issue of the Coachella Valley's alternative news source.

Coachella Valley Independent December 2019  

The December 2019 issue of the Coachella Valley's alternative news source.