Coachella Valley IndependentJune 2024

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Mailing address: 31855 Date Palm Drive, No. 3-263 Cathedral City, CA 92234 (760) 904-4208


Jimmy Boegle

staff writerS

Haleemon Anderson

Kevin Fitzgerald

coveR and feature design

Dennis Wodzisz


Melissa Daniels, Charles Drabkin, Katie Finn, Bill Frost, Bonnie Gilgallon, Bob Grimm, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, Clay Jones, Matt Jones, Matt King, Keith Knight, Cat Makino, Brett Newton, Greg Niemann, Dan Perkins, Theresa Sama, Jen Sorenson, Robert Victor

The Coachella Valley Independent print edition is published every month. All content is ©2024 and may not be published or reprinted in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The Independent is available free of charge throughout the Coachella Valley, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased for $5 by calling (760) 904-4208. The Independent may be distributed only by the Independent’s authorized distributors.

The Independent is a proud member and/ or supporter of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, CalMatters, DAP Health, the Local Independent Online News Publishers, the Desert Business Association, and the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert.


Much of the time, our beautiful Coachella Valley doesn’t seem very unified.

We’re all neighbors, living in the same area—yet our nine cities often feel very much separate. Some of my Palm Springs friends make jokes about needing passports to venture east into other valley cities. Some of my east valley friends look at me quizzically when I mention something happening near my home in Palm Springs or elsewhere in the west valley.

This is one reason why the Coachella Valley Independent exists. When we started this newspaper almost a dozen years ago, we specifically made our focus valley-wide, because we really are all in this together. We largely face the same issues; we share many of our political representatives; and we go to many of the same places for entertainment, no matter what part of the valley we call home.

Nonetheless, we often feel separate. But on occasion, something brings us together—happily, if temporarily. Last year around this time, it was, of all things, hockey, when the Coachella Valley Firebirds went all the way to game 7 of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup finals, in the team’s first year of existence. (This may be on the verge of happening again, as the Firebirds had, as of this writing, reached the Western Conference Finals this year—in other words, they’re one of the final four teams.)

This year, it’s a performer—the amazing Abi Carter.

On the off chance you’ve been living on Mars, and you just returned, let me fill you in: Abi Carter, of Indio, is this year’s American Idol winner, following in the footsteps of greats like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood (as well as other singers who didn’t make it quite as big). I was at Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge in Palm Springs on Sunday, May 19, when Ryan Seacrest declared her the winner on national TV; I’m guessing it’s never been louder at Eight4Nine that it was when everyone cheered at the announcement.

Abi Carter is not only an amazing local talent; she’s a great representation of how our nine valley cities really are one community. She’s an Indio native. In Palm Desert, she participated in the McCallum Theatre’s Open Call competition multiple times. She was a frequent performer at Palm Springs VillageFest. She attended La Quinta High School (briefly; otherwise, she was homeschooled).

She’s truly a citizen of the Coachella Valley, all of it … and now she’s a champion. Our champion.

Welcome to the June 2024 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent. As always, send me a note if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. —Jimmy Boegle

Abi Carter on the American Idol grand finale. Photo via Disney/Eric McCandless
JUNE 2024 COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 3 CV 140 N. Indian Canyon Drive • Palm Springs, CA 92262 Plan Your Visit!


Avoid the heat by finding beautiful and cooler hikes at higher elevations

Hiking in the desert heat is no joke

It is dangerous! It can be life-threatening! No matter how experienced you are at hiking, you need to be smart and prepare properly to hike in the desert heat.

If you plan to hike in the desert from June through September, avoid being on the trails during the hottest time of the day. The desert heats up fast; generally, you want to be out early and off the trail by 9 or 10 a.m. Wear sunscreen; a brimmed hat to protect your face, ears and neck; and clothing that’s lighter in color, lightweight, loose-fitting and breathable (preferably UPF-rated). It’s also a good idea to wear a wet bandana or cooling towel around your neck. Always take more water than you should need—at least one liter per hour—and always be feet—but much of Toro Peak is on private property, with only a portion on public land. Don’t go beyond the locked gate without proper permission from the Santa Rosa Indian

prepared for the unexpected. Have a plan, and always tell someone where you’re going. In addition, don’t forget the 10 Essentials for Desert Hiking as suggested by Friends of the Desert Mountains; learn more at www.

The Palm Springs Fire Department has already made some heat-related rescues this year. They recently rescued a hiker suffering from symptoms of heat exhaustion while hiking with a lack of water on the Museum Trail around noon. They recommend that hikers take extra precautions when hiking in and around the city during high temperatures.

The PSFD points out how important it is to know the signs of heat-related emergencies, such as headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea and disorientation. If you experience any of these symptoms, turn back or call for help. Don’t hesitate to call 911. Take a fully charged cell phone/GPS device. Knowing these important tips can save your life! KESQ News Channel 3 has a “First Alert” app, and it’s free; you’ll find it in the Apple and Google app stores. You can stay up to date with the latest weather conditions.

Many people prefer to skip hiking in the desert heat and instead travel a short distance to hike on cooler trails. Fortunately, the Coachella Valley is surrounded by tall mountain ranges with some of the most scenic trails and wilderness areas in Southern California—and temperatures can be up to 30 degrees cooler.

The San Bernardino Mountains to the north are the highest and most rugged mountain range in Southern California, with San Gorgonio Mountain, the highest peak in Southern California, towering at 11,503 feet above sea level. Rising abruptly from the west, directly above Palm Springs, is the San Jacinto Mountains. Mount San Jacinto is the secondhighest peak in Southern California, at 10,834 feet. About 22 miles south of Palm Springs, just south and southeast of Highway 74 and on the northeast side of Anza-Borrego’s Upper Coyote Canyon, are the Santa Rosa Mountains. The highest peak there is Toro Peak at 8,716

Meanwhile, Mount San Jacinto State Park has announced that the Skyline Route Trail (aka Cactus to the Clouds) has reopened. The warmer weather has melted a considerable amount of the snow on the trail, allowing State Parks to safely reopen the route to hikers. They warn that if you plan on taking the long hike from Palm Springs to Long Valley, remember to carefully plan out your route and understand that this is a treacherous journey. Be sure to pack warm clothes; bring plenty of food and water; and have an emergency plan. This trail is not for the faint-hearted and requires a high level of fitness and stamina.

Thanks to our surrounding mountain ranges, there are many, many more trails an hour to 90 minutes away. Many of these trails provide shade, cooler temperatures and so much more.

One of my favorite scenic go-to trails for a great day hike to escape the desert heat is the Pacific Crest Trail Section B, located north of Highway 74. It’s a half-mile east of the junction with Highway 371, at Paradise Valley Café in Garner Valley. There’s a small dirt parking area at the trailhead. Many other trails intersect with this one, as it runs along the Desert Divide. The moderately easy six-mile stretch along this trail is absolutely stunning as you traverse through magnificent manzanitas among beautiful flora before reaching an exquisitely exposed rock area. You will hear the wind passing through the Jeffrey pines as birds sing, while scents of manzanita blooms loom in the air. It is serene and a wonderful place to bring some snacks or a picnic lunch and make a day of it—but always remember to pack in and pack out! My goal is to make it 12 miles to the Cedar Springs Trail—and then one mile farther to Cedar Springs.

I recently hiked a little more than four miles of the Cedar Springs Trail, out and

back. It begins just off Morris Ranch Road, a four-mile drive north of Highway 74, east of Lake Hemet and west of Garner Valley. This is a most unique and scenic trail that travels through private property, so be respectful, and follow signage; close gates; and stay on the trail. It’s an easy three-mile trail that begins at 5,760 feet. It’s mostly rocky with a mix of fallen acorns along the path for the first mile or so. After going through a couple of gates at about 3/4 of a mile, you enter a cow pasture. Then the trail goes through a beautiful meadow where you can take a break at one of the few picnic tables and hang out underneath some massive oak trees before going through a fern basin and, finally, hitting the rock trail of switchbacks at around mile 2. This trail meanders along a running spring that you cross over a few times. Just before the switchbacks, you can see where

the underground spring begins. It’s so cool! (You’ll find links to short videos with this column at After you hit the switchbacks, you are surrounded by yucca plants and their beautiful blooms this time of the year. At around 6,000 feet, you can catch a glimpse of Lake Hemet off in the distance. This was my turn-around point—but I do plan to go back and make it to Cedar Springs, which should be another 1 1/2 miles from this point. Although these trails are at a higher elevation and offer a fair amount of shade, you still need to bring the trail essentials and enough water, and you should wear proper trail shoes and attire, including a brimmed hat; be sure to use sunscreen. An adventure pass is required to be displayed in vehicles, see information at passes-permits/recreation.

Have fun—but be safe! See you on the trails!

A Jeffrey pine along the Pacific Crest Trail north of Highway 74. Theresa Sama



We need to elect candidates who will protect, not slash, Medicaid and Medi-Cal

In California, we know that high-quality and affordable health care is a right, not a privilege, for everyone in America. Yet Republicans from Washington, D.C., to Sacramento are waging war on our health care by seeking broad and devastating cuts to Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) that would raise costs and rip away coverage from millions of Americans. In California, Medi-Cal helps families stay healthy and financially secure. Medi-Cal and Medicaid expansion have kept hospitals open and ensured that residents have places to get the care they need.

Around 85 million people, including 15.3 million in California, receive care through Medicaid.

Medicaid enrollment has increased by 52 percent nationally since 2013, and the program has proven time and time again to save lives, keep rural hospitals open, broaden access to needed care and help reduce health disparities. However, this vital program remains under attack by Republicans. In March, the Republican Study Committee proposed cutting Medicaid spending by trillions of dollars over the next decade. Republicans like Rep. Ken Calvert support efforts to radically restructure Medicaid and impose work-reporting requirements designed to throw people off their coverage. Since two-thirds of families who count on Medicaid include people who already work, and the vast majority of others are caregivers, students or people physically unable to work, this Republican move is clearly about reducing Medicaid enrollment, not about promoting work. Rep. Calvert has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would end Medicaid expansion and leave millions without health care coverage.

At the same time, GOP leaders in 10 states have also failed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, blocking 1.6 million people from affordable coverage. During his presidency, Donald Trump allowed states to kick people off Medicaid through work-reporting requirements. Now he has promised to follow through on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which would end Medicaid expansion and throw the entire health care system into chaos.

These drastic Republican measures to slash funding and impose onerous paperwork requirements would rip coverage from tens of millions of children, seniors and people with disabilities. Millions of Californians could lose access to their doctor, and would be without coverage if they got sick or injured.

people. Since taking office, President Biden has defended Medicaid from GOP attacks, offered incentives to states to expand Medicaid, reduced the paperwork required to maintain Medicaid coverage, expanded coverage for postpartum women, and lowered premiums for people who buy insurance on their own, leading to a record 21 million Americans enrolling. In California, we face serious health care challenges. Kicking hundreds of thousands— or even millions—of Californians off of their health insurance is the wrong approach. We need investments in our mental-health care infrastructure and services, better support for those who need addiction treatment, and more access to care.

California is the fifth-largest economy in the world; no one should have to risk their lives because they can’t afford the care they need. Democrats want to build on the progress of the Affordable Care Act and the Inflation Reduction Act by making affordable health care a reality for everyone, while Republicans want to go backward. The contrast between these two visions could not be clearer. Let’s continue to fight to expand access to coverage, lower health care costs, and protect Medicaid for years to come.

Christy Holstege is a member of the Palm Springs City Council and is a candidate for state Assembly District 47.

When people have access to health insurance, they are able to receive the care they need and are likely to have better health outcomes. President Biden and Democrats in Congress have been champions for lowering health care costs, helping more people become insured, and improving care for the American Christy Holstege.

Call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation and get acquainted with an independent, Fee-Only financial planning & investment management firm located here in the Coachella Valley.

Allow us to show you the benefits that result from a financial plan tailored to helping you achieve your goals.



The La Quinta home on Cameo Palms Drive that Claudia and Matt Synder purchased in 2022 was supposed to be their “dream home in paradise.”

Then they learned that the Dupont Estate, across the street, has a city permit to host up to three large events per year. During those events, the Snyders say, the noise can be unbearable. Claudia cited a beach-volleyball star’s event as one example.

“It was a three-day celebrity wedding … starting early in the morning, with many attendees, a steady flow of people coming,” she said. “Matt and I were trying to watch a movie on Saturday evening and heard cheering, an emcee on his microphone throughout the evening, loud music

blasting—and finally, at 10 p.m., we called the police.”

On the afternoon of March 1, Claudia Snyder said, she’d had enough. She decided, from her driveway, to protest the noise from a 200-person wedding party at the Dupont Estate. The police were called. Snyder was using a bullhorn, but turned it off when asked by a deputy, she said.

According to Sgt. Wenndy Brito-Gonzales, of the Riverside County’s Sheriff’s Office: “When deputies arrived, they learned a large, city-approved event was being held at the location. A neighbor, later identified as 49-year-old Claudia Snyder, initiated a protest at the event. Snyder’s behavior escalated to a point where other affected neighbors signed a private person’s arrest warrant for the loud and unreasonable noise she was creating.”

The Sheriff’s Office claims Snyder kicked one of the deputies, and she was subsequently arrested for obstructing/resisting a police officer, and making loud and unreasonable noise.

“I was in shock and don’t even remember kicking the officer,” Claudia told the Independent. “I was terrified and screamed for my husband.”

Matt Snyder explained: “I was down the street when I heard Claudia’s blood-curdling screams. I seriously wanted to cry and ran over there. I saw a sheriff’s SUV speeding off, and there was no more Claudia on the driveway. The sheriff gave me a number to bail her out.”

He paid the bail bond, set at $10,000. Claudia Snyder said she has never been in trouble with the law. She spent the majority of her career working as a C-suite executive assistant at Fortune 100 firms in the Los Angeles area, she said. She claims the stress of living near the Dupont Estate has taken a toll on her health. In January 2023, Snyder suffered a pulmonary embolism she attributed to stress, and in April 2023, she was hospitalized following a suicide attempt, she said.

“I was in utter despair. I felt utterly alone, because I never anticipated the gaslighting and cover-ups,” she said. “I never saw it coming. No one would listen to me. I started to self-medi-

cate, and felt really tired, felt that no one was listening.”

She is not alone in her opposition to the events being held at the Dupont Estate. Both Snyder and her neighbor, Melissa Labayog, said they have repeatedly provided evidence showing that the Dupont Estate regularly exceeds the licensed number of events, but there has been no action taken by the city.

On March 1, the date of Snyder’s arrest, Labayog was charged with disturbing the peace.

“I was protesting, sitting on my roof, against the Dupont Estate. The officers asked me to come down, and I fell,” Labayog said, adding that she suffered from concussion syndrome after the fall.

Labayog shares a property line with the Dupont Estate. “I have videos with dates and times showing that they have anywhere from five to 10 events per year, with numbers of people exceeding their … limits,” she said.

City of La Quinta spokesperson Marcie Graham confirmed that the Dupont Estate’s permit allows for one to three events per year. Regarding the size of the events, Graham said via email: “The number is determined per the event information they give us. They have to come in 30 days prior to their next event and submit the information. From there, we will determine the size at that point. … So, for example, if they come in and say they have a wedding, then we will go through all the information and let them know how many people they can have at that wedding.”

Labayog has plead not guilty to the misdemeanor charge. “I will go to jail for a year before pleading guilty,” she said. “I taught American government for six years, and was a reporter covering public protests, and (I am) fully aware of protected speech. This special-event permit program has placed those who object to it at risk of false imprisonment, charges and financial losses.”

She and Snyder claim that La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans enjoys a close relationship with the Daniels family, who owns the Dupont Estate. Both Evans and the city declined to comment for this story, saying the arrest of

Battles over a La Quinta estate’s events lead to animosity, arrests and accusations of city favoritism

Synder is not a city matter.

Labayong appeared on NBC Palm Springs’ The Roggin Report on Feb. 21. She mentioned that there would be a protest on March 1 regarding the event at the Dupont Estate—and it was during that protest that she and Snyder were charged.

“Commercial events in residential neighborhoods make no sense … especially when there is no city oversight … and the mayor is favoring the property next to me,” Labayong told the Independent; she made similar statements on The Roggin Report. “Since 2016, I have brought up my concerns regarding SREP (special residential event permit) violations by the Dupont Estate and have been dismissed, ignored and relentlessly harassed with taxpayer resources. (My appearance on The Roggin Report) was my desperate attempt to let Mayor Evans and La Quinta voters know that her special-events program has destroyed my property value and infringed on my right to quiet enjoyment.”

The city declined to comment on The Roggin Report, but sent an email to the TV station

regarding emails sent by Synder. It read, in part: “To the extent the resident has made unfounded allegations against the city and its elected officials and staff, the city categorically refutes and denies them. The city and its staff have continuously addressed and responded to the resident’s inquiries since late 2022, including inquiries regarding the use of the Dupont Estate for special event purposes.”

Dupont Estate owner Lynne Daniels has accused Snyder of violence, and in December 2022 was granted a restraining order against her. Daniels has also demanded that Snyder pay her restitution for a loss of earnings, and damages caused by stress-related health issues. Snyder denied ever being violent toward Daniels. Daniels declined to comment to the Independent.

Meanwhile, the Snyders said they intend to sell their house and move away. They said they are making prospective purchasers aware of the situation regarding the Dupont Estate—a courtesy which was not extended to them, they said.

Claudia and Matt Snyder with their dogs, Penny and Benji.


IOne of the valley’s newest little free libraries honors a pioneering architect

n the Twin Palms Neighborhood of Palm Springs, resident bibliophiles proudly unveiled their first Little Free Library on May 14—and its location isn’t the only selling point.

The library is designed to mimic the butterfly roof, one of the most iconic and recognizable designs in the valley. It pays homage to the late William Krisel, a pioneering architect known for by Haleemon anderson

designing homes adorned with slanting rooflines. Krisel designed numerous homes in the Coachella Valley.

Carol Munro chairs the advisory board of the Twin Palms Neighborhood Organization. Munro explained why the group wanted the little library to reflect Krisel’s influence.

“It’s a significant architectural neighborhood,” she said. “This little structure, it’s in keeping with the styles of our homes. It has the butterfly roof. It’s probably two feet by eight by 18 inches. I mean, it’s fairly good-sized.”

Munro moved to Palm Springs from Seattle, and she wondered where to find little libraries here. “There were lots of them, all over in Seattle,” she said.

She saw four or five when she lived in the Racquet Club Neighborhood, and several more around Palm Springs, but was surprised people didn’t know what they were, or how to use them.

“I mean, the questions you get,” she said. “‘Oh, how does it work? Is it open all the time? Do I have to bring (books) back? Do I have to pay?’”

If you see an overgrown birdhouse on a stand on a sidewalk, it’s likely a little free library. “You can take a book or donate books. Bring them back, or don’t bring them back; the whole idea is just a little book exchange,” Munro said.

This simple concept—stop by a book-sharing box, and take a book or leave one—has grown into a global phenomenon. According to, Little Free Library is a nonprofit that started in 2009 in St. Paul, Minn. Today, the organization lists 175,000 registered libraries in 121 countries, and has a library-location app available in iOS and Android.

On the site, you can buy a DIY kit or accessories including personalized signage and book collections to start a library. Instructions to build your own can be found in numerous places online. The cost, including mounting materials and stand, generally runs from $300 to $500.

The trend is growing locally. The Palm Desert Library recently announced it would open five self-service little libraries at local parks, as part of an effort to keep the community engaged while the main library is closed for renovations, as it transitions from county to city management. Palm Desert will also dispatch a bookmobile to provide traditional borrowing services throughout the city.

The Little Free Library map lists several dozen libraries spread throughout the valley. In one Cathedral City spot, two little library boxes are nestled among clay rabbits, whimsical statuary and a reading bench; a sign-in book is included. The boxes, draped with flowers and shells, feature interior lighting.

The LFL national organization touts the “unique, personal touch” that individuals bring to their libraries, and the “understanding that real people are sharing their favorite books with their community; little libraries have been called ‘mini-town squares.’”

In the case of the Twin Palms Neighborhood, the new little library reflects the uniqueness of its location. Evelyn Yardley runs neighborhood

tours for Modernism Week; the tours are one of the signature features of the 10-day festival. She said the Krisel-themed mini library is an extension of other ways in which the community has honored the design luminary.

“Twin Palms, they actually have a William Krisel exhibit that they bring out during Modernism,” said Yardley. “They have this unbelievable exhibit that they put up at the Ocotillo Lodge. It’s wonderful, and people get to learn the history of that area and what William Krisel brought to this community as far as development is concerned.”

The city re-named a street after Krisel in 2016. Yardley said the idea to mimic a Krisel design element for the free library was unique.

“When they first came (to discuss the idea with the Modernism Week committee), we said, ‘Wow, what a cute, great idea,’” Yardley said. “But what I loved is, this was giving back to a community where the homeowners could benefit. We said, ‘That’s Twin Palms thinking outside the box.’”

Munro said working with Yardley helped

the neighborhood make connections to bring the project to fruition. Modernism Week funds scholarships at the College of the Desert Department of Architecture/Environmental Design, so it made sense to enlist faculty and students there to help design, construct and install the structure.

The neighborhood financed the little library with funds raised from its Modernism Week tours. “Taking some of the proceeds of the tours and investing in this is a way to add an amenity to the neighborhood,” said Munro. “It’s nice for them to see … where the money goes back into the neighborhoods.”

Twin Palms will no doubt highlight its Krisel-themed Little Free Library on neighborhood tours next year, as Modernism Week celebrates its 25th anniversary. In the meantime, locals can come by to grab or leave a book—or simply to enjoy the pleasures of good design.

Haleemon Anderson is a California Local News Fellow. She can be reached at handerson@

The rear of the new Twin Palms Neighborhood little free library, which honors architect William Krisel. Haleemon Anderson


After the 2020 U.S. Census, the Coachella Valley was split into two congressional districts. Rep. Raul Ruiz, a Democrat who had previously represented the entire area, was put in the new District 25, which includes Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indio and Coachella, as well as all of Imperial County, and the rest of Riverside County to the east. In the 2022 election, Ruiz easily defeated his Republican opponent Brian Hawkins, receiving 57.4 percent of the vote.

This year, as Ruiz seeks his seventh term in Congress, he has a new Republican challenger. Ian Weeks is an investment adviser who has not previously held elected office. A California native,

Weeks was raised in the Temecula Valley and now lives in Hemet with his wife and two children. He graduated with an associate’s degree from Mount San Jacinto College in 2007, and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Redlands in 2009. A self-proclaimed avid outdoorsman, Weeks includes being a worship leader and a musician as additional experience. Ruiz was raised in the city of Coachella, and now lives in Indio with his wife and twin daughters. Ruiz obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1994, and went on to earn his medical degree and three graduate-level degrees at Harvard University between 1995 and 2007. After his college years, and before his first political campaign, Ruiz worked at Eisenhower Medical Center as an emergency-room doctor. In 2010, he founded the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative. He became senior associate dean at the School of Medicine at University of California, Riverside, in 2011.

According to the Federal Election Commission website, as of March 31, Weeks had $9,316.20 in available funds, after spending $69,450.79 thus far on his 2024 campaign. Ruiz had $1,997,709.47 available, having spent $1,136,315.31 to date.

The Independent recently spoke with both candidates, and asked each of them the same slate of six questions, on a range of topics including the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument, the development of the region’s lithium industry, the proliferation of industrial-scale renewable energy projects, constituents’ health care needs, and the status of the Salton Sea.

We have space in print for their responses to two of the questions; the entire sixquestion Q&A can be read at CVIndependent. com. The responses have been edited only for clarity and style.

Dr. Raul Ruiz

What are the two most pressing issues facing the constituents in District 25, and

how do you plan to address them if you’re re-elected?

Thank you for asking that question. The two most concerning issues for me and my constituents are one, the rising cost of living. There has been some improvement over the last several months, but we all know that the costs are still higher than what they were prepandemic. The reason why the costs are high is because one, the pandemic, and two, because of Russia’s war on Ukraine, that has devastated our supply chains, and devastated grain and other produce exports from Russia and Ukraine. That has led to increasing costs.

In order to have the right treatment, you need the right diagnosis. With that diagnosis, the treatment is going to be to spur our domestic manufacturing of critical supplies, as well as food production, in order to decrease the cost of those products. We’re pursuing that specifically in the district by using monies from the CHIPS and Science Act, that would strategically stimulate strategic industries, like critical mineral extraction with battery manufacturing to bolster electric vehicles, and batteries for grid backup, that will help reduce costs for that. In other districts, chips and semiconductors’ manufacturing helps to reduce the cost of electronics that we rely on, and so forth. So, those are examples of how these great pieces of legislation are helping us work toward increasing supply, in order to decrease the cost here domestically.

The other thing is that the Inflation Reduction Act, that we already passed, capped out-of-pocket medication costs at $2,000 per year (for Medicare Part D recipients, starting in 2025). It capped the cost of insulin (for Medicare recipients) at $35 a month—and we have one of the higher incidences of diabetes in our district. This is going to be a big relief for tens of thousands of patients in our district. Also, for the first time ever, it allowed Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceuticals (companies), which will reduce the price of medications for everyday Americans. Included in that bill, of course, were rebates that incentivize the use of more

We asked Rep. Raul Ruiz and challenger Ian Weeks about their priorities, and their thoughts on the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument

efficient household appliances to reduce energy costs, and to conserve energy more efficiently. So that’s one, and we’re working day in and day out to help everyday Americans with the cost of living, both strategically and aggressively.

The second is border security. There is an urgent need to pass bipartisan legislation that will secure our borders and provide economic prosperity for American families by stabilizing our workforce through comprehensive immigration reform, increasing work visas to address our workforce shortage crisis, and giving a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and farmworkers. Also, we need to invest in technology at the border to detect guns and drugs, in particular fentanyl, and invest in Border Patrol agents to help them combat coyotes involved in illegal smuggling and human trafficking. Resources are needed for the judges and lawyers who are processing the cases of asylum-seeking and economic refugees in order to expedite decisions on individuals who will stay and who meet the criteria, or who must leave the country who don’t meet the criteria based on American laws.

In addition to that, we need to address the root cause of migration by working with Latin American countries, which I have been a part of. During this last Congress, I worked with the administration to build support in Mexico, as well as Costa Rica and other countries, to develop opportunities for migrants to first stay in their home country by giving them hope, and investing through the private sector, in job

development and education in those countries. The migrants are coming from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and other Central American countries, but we need to help thirdparty countries process migrant claims in those countries, as well as give the migrants opportunities for safety, refuge and jobs in those countries. So, that’s a comprehensive approach that will secure our borders, and lead to American family prosperity, as opposed to the current Republican plan of separating families and children from their mothers, and inducing emotional trauma to intimidate people from coming to the United States, which was just cruel. Then they built an ineffective, expensive border wall that, as we’ve have seen, has been easily traversed, and they’ve suggested shutting down immigration entirely, which would worsen our workforce crisis. So, there are very clear distinctions in terms of the pathways that each party wants to take to resolve the border management.

What’s your position on the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument?

I’m very excited about this monument, because I’m helping lead the charge to designate over 620,000 acres of desert land as a national monument. This effort has a broad coalition of strong support, which is unique in its scope, and includes the conservationist community, tribal leaders and the renewable-energy companies, as well as the Southern California Edison utility and others that perhaps traditionally have not been publicly supportive

Rep. Raul Ruiz and Ian Weeks.

of national monuments in the past.

The reason why this is so important for so many in the community, especially our veterans, is because, while it preserves significant sacred, cultural sites for tribes and helps tribes co-manage (them) with the Bureau of Land Management … it also protects endangered plants and animals. It increases visitation and access for local residents that will help foster our tourism economy which the Coachella Valley relies on, and it will increase health and wellness, especially mental health by enjoying the outdoors and being active. Now, it does all that while also keeping the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan intact that allows for even further renewable energy development in the area. I introduced the Chuckwalla National Monument (Establishment) and Joshua Tree National Park Expansion Act, and I’m leading the coalition to advocate for President Biden to use the Antiquities Act route to expedite this effort.

Ian Weeks

What are the two most pressing issues facing the constituents in District 25, and how do you plan to address them if you’re re-elected?

So this is an unconventional answer, but the most pressing issue facing constituents in our district is social. It’s the attack on traditional values, and I think the vast majority of our constituents, well over the 50% mark, hold traditional views about family and parental rights. Particularly in California, those are aggressively under attack, but certainly under the Biden administration and during Raul Ruiz’s incumbency, there’s been a heavy attack on these things. I don’t think it’s the role of government to cram ideology down the throats of the constituents. But the reality is that there are real social movements that are very aggressively against the values held by, I think, a majority of our constituents. I think that they need a representative voice that’s going to push back on that.

The second issue is everyday costs. That’s going to be inflation, energy and the bills in the grocery store. Those are the two most pressing issues. Certainly, the border is incredibly important. But the reality is, I think the vast majority of folks are really struggling to pay their bills over the last 3 1/2 years. The way I intend to handle those issues is, again, on the social front. It’s not about passing a bunch of laws. It’s really about saying that the government needs to stay out of the business of the private citizens. Leave them alone. Allow them to raise their children the way they want to, and as it pertains to what’s happening in schools, simply teach kids to read, write and do basic math. Our education system is failing to do that right now. So the ideological stuff needs to be out, unless and

until our education system can prove that they can actually succeed at their core competency. So again, my prescription for that is not a bunch of laws that I want to pass. It’s taking a leadership role. We’re elected as representatives. That doesn’t mean we need to go pass a bunch of laws; it means that we need to stand up and be the voice of our constituents, and our constituents do not like the radical ideology that’s being pushed, so I will advocate for them.

Then, on the cost of living, it’s very simple. Most of inflation is driven by the fact that we print and spend way too much money. Raul Ruiz has been in Congress for 12 years. He’s been a party to really reckless spending. I’m a certified financial planner. I have a great skill set to bring to the table in terms of sound fiscal management. So, we fix the price at the pump, and we fix the prices at the grocery store, very simply. Stop printing and spending money like lunatics, and go back to the energy policy that we had 3 1/2 years ago, when gas was roughly 60% of the price that it is right now. So, it’s real ly just going back in time to what was working, and that’s what I’m going to advocate for.

What’s your position on the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument?

I’m always leery of a heightened level of government control over, really, the public’s asset. The land belongs to us. The reality is that most of the land is already owned by the government, so I’m a little suspicious of the idea of saying we need to sort of formalize it as a national monument. I’ve also been in contact with some veterans who do, basically, hobby mining on these lands, in particular on the section near Joshua Tree. They’re very, very concerned that their hobby-mining rights are going to be taken away in this process.

That being said, I’m an outdoorsman. I think God’s creation is a gift, and I think we need to be good stewards of it. So, I’m all for protecting the land. The thing I don’t really understand is that it’s already owned by the government. It’s Bureau of Land Management land; a lot of it, I think, is managed by the federal government in large part already. I know there are locals who are concerned about maybe overreach and more heavy-handed regulation that infringes on their right to enjoy public property. But again, that’s not going to be across the board. Of course, you know, we have access to national parks and things. But I don’t think that the benefits or the advantages of the proposal have been very well explained. I live in the district, and, again, I spend time out in the outdoors, and I don’t feel like anyone’s made a good case to me why this needs to happen. So, before we go and sort of formalize maybe an even higher level of federal control over a bunch of public land, I would say, “Let’s be cautious.” Let’s proceed with caution.


5 & 6: Melissa Errico

12: Glenn Rosenblum

13: Alysha Umphress

19: Leslie Tinnaro

20: Jason Graae

26: Philip Chaffin

27: Ken Page

Brent Barrett & Bernie Blanks

Deven Green & Handsome Ned

Broadway Barbara

David Burnham

& many more!


JUNE 2024
CVREP ORG | 760-296-2966


ITo save dozens of horses, Riverside County enlisted animal-rescue organizations to help

n late March, the Field Services Division at the Riverside County Department of Animal Services needed to undertake the biggest horse-seizure operation in its recent history.

But it couldn’t do it alone.

At least 60 horses and 40 dogs needed to be removed from two properties in the San Jacinto by Melissa Daniels

Valley as part of an ongoing cruelty investigation. Not only did the department need to deal with the dangers of rounding up untamed horses; the department didn’t have enough trailers or people to staff such an operation.

While the dogs could be kept at the San Jacinto Valley Animal Campus, there was nowhere near enough space to house dozens of horses who would need immediate care and training.

But thanks to a network of animal-rescue organizations in the Inland Empire and the desert, word traveled fast—and the equestrian community stepped up to help.

Britney Walusko, co-founder of the rescue group All Things Hooved, was a key coordinator in the operation to remove the horses in late March. She’d worked with the county Department of Animal Services before—but rounding up these particular horses was a bigger effort than anyone had anticipated.

“We went with one mindset, and when we got there, it was like, ‘Holy cow,’” she said. “This was more of a challenge than we expected, especially because the horses were all still in pasture together.”

Many horses would not allow themselves to be touched or handled. Half were stallions— meaning they were not fixed, and potentially aggressive toward other horses or humans. Many of the mares were pregnant or had foals that could be injured or killed.

But Walusko said that little by little, the horses were removed. All Things Hooved took in about 20 at the outset, while other rescues from across the Inland Empire and throughout the desert took in the rest. About a dozen landed at the county’s San Jacinto shelter. “It’s been an ordeal,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it alone.”

The sickest ones who needed medical care were removed first. Some potentially had to be euthanized, while others died before they could be rescued.

Many of the healthy horses—skinnier than you would see on a typical ranch—were brought to expert trainers. The goal is to get them halter-broke, meaning the horse will wear a headcollar that allows them to be handled, led and tied up.

The first step? Lots of carrots.

“None of these horses have been handled properly,” she said. “We’re trying to set them

up for success.”

Walusko said the rescue groups have been raising money to pay for training, which can cost about $1,100 a month, per horse. Medical costs can easily tally into the thousands, including castration costing $600 to $800 a horse. All Things Hooved has posted occasional updates and shout-outs on Facebook since the case went public, helping generate awareness and more donations. “Thankfully, we’re able to get some really incredible donors and sponsors to make this possible,” she said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to help.”

Money has not been the only challenge; the logistics of finding trainers and facilities that can foster the horses or eventually adopt them have been a huge task. Not every ranch or horse owner can handle an unbroken horse, let alone one needing medical care. Walusko said there were also efforts to keep mares and their babies together.

But there’s a payoff. One mare at Walukso’s property was being held for medical reasons, as she had injuries from stallions ramming into her. At first, no one could touch her. But within a few weeks, she came over to Walusko’s dad at the side of her coral and let him pet her. “I give the horses a lot of credit,” Walusko said. “We’ve all noticed that, and it’s been really amazing.”

Seized animals are deemed legally abandoned two weeks after they are confiscated if the owner does not step in and take certain remedial actions. By mid-April, the county announced that the animals would be ready for adoption. But those involved in the case caution that these horses should be adopted by experienced owners only, given the horses’ traumatic experiences and lack of training.

“All the horses we took in will eventually be available for adoption, but we’re just trying to do things the right way,” she said. “The best thing we could do to set them up for success is get them handleable.”

Lt. James Huffman, lieutenant of field services at the RCDAS, said the cruelty case was still under investigation (as of this writing), meaning exact details about where the horses were recovered from and the circumstances that led to the seizure are not yet a matter of public record. Huffman also declined to identify the volunteer groups involved in the oper-

ation, citing their safety as the case continues. But he said the aid was critical in overcoming multiple challenges. The division had six horse trailers to work with—enough for an ordinary case, but not this one.

Huffman also credited the efforts of the rescue groups to ensure the horses can become halter-broke and comfortable around humans.

“It’s great that people can put in the time and effort and energy and financial means that goes along with trying to turn a horse sound,” Huffman said. “There were multiple horses we looked at and went, ‘Nobody’s ever going to touch that horse.’ They were very, very wild.”

The department typically handles 10 to 12 seizures a year, Huffman said. It’s not unheard of for horses to be abandoned after someone moves off a property. Cruelty cases can often involve five or more horses. But a case of this

size, and an investigation this lengthy, are rare. Confiscating the horses required bringing in staff from multiple departments and regions to help.

“These types of operations do not happen without excellent investigative work, diligence and tenacity,” he said. “There were weeks of planning ahead of this operation.”

Walusko said that the operation has been a learning experience for all involved. The planning that went into confiscating the horses, finding them safe foster care and ultimately lining up adoptions is consuming work.

“As hard as this case has been, it has brought so many people together,” she said. “Between private adopters and rescues and animal control having relationships and all working together, it’s now to a place where almost all the horses have been placed.”

One of the horses rescued by All Things Hooved. Courtesy of Britney Walusko of All Things Hooved
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IIn the 1950s, a Tribal Council consisting entirely of women changed the destiny of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

In 1877, under President Rutherford B. Hayes, the government granted odd-numbered square-mile sections of what is now Palm Springs to the Southern Pacific Railroad, and the evenby greg niemann

t fell upon a Tribal Council consisting entirely of women to change the financial and economic destiny of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians—and the resort community of Palm Springs.

numbered parcels to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, thus creating a checkerboard pattern that still exists.

Non-Indigenous settlers, using legal tactics, often attempted to take land away from the Agua Caliente, and through the years, the tribe lost much of their control over their property; there was no protection for them to maintain the parcels allotted to them. New leadership was needed to assure a strong future and to preserve the customs of the past—and the future of the Agua Caliente was assured when several women stepped up to the plate.

In 1952, tribal member Vyola J. Ortner was a small-business owner living in Downey, Calif. She was born on Section 14, in what is now downtown Palm Springs, and found herself answering the call of duty as she joined the Tribal Council for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, and soon became vice chair. By 1954, Ortner was the council’s chair—and all of the other members were women: LaVerne Saubel, Eileen Miguel, Gloria Gillette and Elizabeth Pete-Monk. It was believed to be the first all-women tribal council in the United States. It was remarkable, in part because in historic Cahuilla culture, all political and religious roles were held by men. To quote Harry C. James in The Cahuilla Indians (1960), “It is curious that today women play such important roles in the various tribal councils and business committees.”

Vyola J. Ortner was a visionary leader whose dedication and political acumen helped pave the way for greater self-sufficiency and economic prosperity for the tribe. She played a pivotal role in securing 99-year land leases for tribal lands. These leases provided stability and economic opportunities for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, ensuring the tribe could benefit from sustainable land use and development.

LaVerne Saubel was the vice chairman, and she played a crucial role in advocating for the tribe’s rights and interests. She was part of the historic power shift that led to the first all-women Tribal Business Committee. She also advocated for a constitution and bylaws for the tribe. Saubel was the mother of the late Chairman Richard M. Milanovich, who led the tribe from 1984 until his death in 2012, and was the grandmother of current Chairman

Reid D. Milanovich.

Elizabeth Pete-Monk’s commitment to preserving tribal heritage and securing longterm leases laid the groundwork for a brighter future. She advocated for the constitution and bylaws for the tribe, ensuring effective governance and stability.

Gloria Gillette brought a unique perspective and leadership style to the table. She was dedicated to tribal issues and her community’s welfare. In addition, she was also instrumental in promoting gender equality and representation within tribal leadership.

Eileen Miguel served as the secretary of the all-women council. Her administrative skills and leadership were invaluable, and her patience and persistence helped secure the long-term leases.

To date, Agua Caliente tribal allottees lease more land for residential development than

any other tribe in the country. According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are nearly 20,000 Native American-leased properties in the greater Palm Springs area. The all-women council also brokered the building of the $2 million Palm Springs Spa Hotel, which for decades was at the site of the hot springs in downtown Palm Springs. The new Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza, including The Spa at Séc-he and the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, are now on the site.

In 2012, Ortner put her experience in leading the Tribal Council into a book, You Can’t Eat Dirt (Fan Palm Research Project, Palm Springs, 2012). You Can’t Eat Dirt is accompanied by photographs and rare documents, and is supplemented with an essay on Ortner’s political work by Diana C. du Pont. According to the book’s description: “Part autobiography and part biography, the book explains how (Ortner) led the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in its struggle for political independence and economic development. … Committed to progressive change, Ortner maneuvered through local, state, and federal arenas, creating new business opportunities

that forever benefited the tribe and played a key role in the development of Palm Springs. Her pioneering work enabled all tribes in the U.S. to shape their own economic futures.” The all-female Tribal Council may have become historic because of their gender, but their accomplishments to improve their tribe far overshadowed that uniqueness.

Today’s five-member Agua Caliente Tribal Council includes three women: Vice Chairman Candance Patencio Anderson, SecretaryTreasurer Savana R. Saubel, and Member Virginia Siva-Gillespie, in addition to Chairman Reid D. Milanovich and Member John R. Preckwinkle III.

Sources for this article include The Cahuilla Indians by Harry C. James (Westernlore Press, 1960); Mukat’s People: The Cahuilla Indians of Southern California by Lowell John Bean (University of California Press, 1972); You Can’t Eat Dirt by Vyola J. Ortner and Diana C. du Pont (Fan Palm Research Project, 2012); and Me Yah Whae: The Magazine of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Fall/Winter 2023 (Desert Publications).

The 1956 Tribal Council: LaVerne Saubel, Elizabeth Pete-Monk, Gloria Gillette, Vyola Ortner and Eileen Miguel. Photo courtesy of the Palm Springs Historical Society


June mornings feature a striking lineup of solar system bodies.

On June 1, a 30 percent crescent moon sits midway between two first-magnitude planets, Saturn in the southeast, to the moon’s upper right, and Mars in the east, to the moon’s lower left. The best view is 1 to 1 1/2 hours before sunrise, before the brightening dawn interferes. The waning moon passes close to four planets in a span of six days: Saturn on May 31, Mars on June 2, and a close Mercury-Jupiter pair on June 5. But to see Mercury or Jupiter in early June, you’ll need binoculars and an unobstructed view toward the east-northeast horizon during bright twilight, closer to sunrise

On the morning of June 3, the 12 percent crescent moon will appear 9° to the lower left of Mars;

on June 4, the 5 percent moon will be 22° to Mars’ lower left. On the latter morning, wait a bit, and aim your binoculars very low in bright twilight, 14° to the moon’s lower left, and try for emerging Jupiter, with departing Mercury just one-sixth of a degree to its lower left. You’ll need perfect skies! Jupiter gets higher each morning, and will become easy to see with the unaided eye later this month. Mercury is heading toward superior conjunction beyond the sun on June 14, and will emerge into the evening sky in June’s final week.

On June 5, again using binoculars in twilight, look 36° to the lower left of Mars for the rising of a very thin, old 1 percent moon, only about 24 hours before new. If you spot this crescent, describe it and note the times you first and last observe it for future reference. (The new moon occurs the next day at 5:38 a.m.) Also on June 5, can you spot Jupiter and Mercury, rising nearly 2° apart, 4° to the moon’s lower right?

In dark, moonless skies two to three hours before sunrise from June 3-16, get fine views of the Milky Way, with its Cygnus Star Cloud— made up of stars of our own spiral arm ahead of us in our revolution around the galactic center—overhead inside the summer triangle of Vega, Altair and Deneb. By June 21, the moon, nearing full, returns to the morning sky, setting in the southwest during twilight. An impressive lineup of the moon, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter spans 162° that morning, nearly from horizon to the opposite horizon. For the rest of June and into July, Jupiter is immersed in a beautiful star field in Taurus, below the Pleiades and above Aldebaran and the Hyades. Mars will pass through the same field, overtaking Jupiter by mid-August.

On the morning of June 27, the moon will appear closely west of Saturn, occulting the planet in the daytime, after sunrise. In late June, as viewed through a telescope, Saturn’s rings appear only 2° from edge-on, an unusual aspect. On July 1-3, a waning crescent moon sweeps past Mars, the Pleiades, Jupiter,

Aldebaran and the Hyades.

Jupiter appeared in solar conjunction on the far side of the sun on May 18. As a consequence of Earth’s faster orbital motion around the sun, Jupiter is emerging into the morning sky. Both inner planets pass superior conjunction on the far side of the sun this month—Venus on June 4, and Mercury on June 14. Since they orbit faster than Earth, they’ll emerge into the evening sky. At this conjunction, Mercury also happens to be at the perihelion of its orbit, so it will be very bright and will move very swiftly into visibility. With binoculars, very clear skies, and an unobstructed view of the west-northwest horizon, it’ll be possible to start seeing Mercury within a week after its conjunction, and with unaided eye before the month’s end. Venus is more leisurely, moving only 7° out from the sun by June 30, while setting only 30 minutes after sunset. The decreasing angle of the ecliptic (planetary pathway) relative to the horizon at dusk as summer progresses will slow Venus’ climb out of the bright twilight glow. But the improving geometry and Venus’ larger orbit, extending up to 47° from the sun, will make the cloud-covered planet a spectacular “evening star” later this year and into March 2025. The summer solstice on June 20 gives us the highest midday sun and the northernmost sunrise and sunset of the year. Combined with the moon’s orbit near its maximum inclination to Earth’s equator in 2024-25, a thin crescent moon at dusk on June 7 sets unusually far north. (A hyper-thin crescent moon, only about 15 hours after new, and within 8.5° of the sun, might be caught with binoculars in early twilight on the evening of June 6.) The full moon at dusk on June 21 rises unusually far south, several degrees more so than the sun’s annual extremes. Between those dates, watch the moon pass these bright zodiacal stars in the evening sky: Pollux in Gemini on June 8; Regulus in Leo on June 11; Spica in Virgo on June 15 and 16; and Antares in Scorpius on June 19. Note Pollux and Castor, 4.5° apart,

Planets and Bright Stars in Evening Mid-Twilight

For June, 2024

This sky chart is drawn for latitude 34 degrees north, but may be used in southern U.S. and northern Mexico.

The month brings bright planets, nice views of the Milky Way and the summer solstice

Evening mid-twilight occurs when the Sun is 9° below the horizon. June 1: 46 minutes after sunset. 15: 47 " " " 30: 46 " " "

mark the top of the “spring arch,” still entirely visible in the west to northwest in early June. From left to right, its stars are Procyon, Pollux, Castor and Capella. Other bright stars at dusk are Arcturus, crossing high in the south, and the Summer Triangle of Vega, Deneb and Altair, rising in the northeast to east.

In June’s final week, watch the changing configuration of the “Twin” stars Pollux and Castor with Mercury. On June 23, Mercury is 10° below the twins, forming an isosceles triangle. On June 28, Mercury passes 4.7° (the minimum distance) south, to the lower left, of Pollux. On June 30, Mercury is 6.3° to the left of Pollux, in a straight line with twins.

Throughout the summer of 2024, the three bright outer planets put on a nice show in the predawn sky. Folks averse to waking up early to planet-gaze, take heart! Earth will overtake Saturn in September, Jupiter in December, and Mars in January 2025. Those dates mark

when those planets will be at their closest and brightest—and thereafter, we’ll look back into the wake of Spaceship Earth to see them in the evening sky, joining Venus.

The Astronomical Society of the Desert will host a star party on Saturday, June 8, at Sawmill Trailhead, a site in the Santa Rosa Mountains at elevation 4,000 feet. For dates and times of other star parties, and maps and directions, visit

The Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar is available by subscription from www. For $12 per year, subscribers receive quarterly mailings, each containing three monthly issues.

Robert Victor originated the Abrams Planetarium monthly Sky Calendar in October 1968 and still helps produce an occasional issue. He enjoys being outdoors sharing the beauty of the night sky and other wonders of nature.

Stereographic Projection Map by Robert D. Miller
N S E W 29
Capella Procyon
Pollux Castor Regulus
Vega Altair
June's evening sky chart.


and Stagecoach dominate the valley’s musical landscape, with the old-school charm of Palm Springs and the excitement of a rejuvenated Indio also playing significant roles.

But the Coachella Valley is also home to an increasingly large scene of likeminded individuals who support both counterculture and alternative brands of music. This may make you think of spiked jewelry and colored hair—but actually, the most common traits are a sense of community and a love for all things relating to the early 2000s era of emo music and hard rock.

The scene has begun to grow thanks to various “emo night” events hosted throughout the desert. Emo nights are dance parties where DJs play songs from the heavy-rock titans associated with the emo genre of the early ’00s. Alternative music fans—some of whom were alive during this era, and some of whom were not—gather at these events and other themed nights, signaling a rise in the alt-music lifestyle among both desert-dwellers and music fans around the United States.

to people.”

Vic Alva, who puts on the Let’s Get Sad Party series at Bart Lounge and other venues around Southern California, said people in the desert have learned more about this era of music through his themed nights.

“It’s amazing. It definitely brings people together,” Alva said. “People come for nostalgia. Even if you’re not familiar with some of the songs that we play, you’re going to like them regardless, and some people are going to take out their phones or ask their friends, ‘Who is this? I’ve never heard this one before.’ I think it’s resonating pretty well with everybody. … I’m positive that they leave happy.”

Petracca and his fellow Emo Nite founder, Morgan Freed, have performed at venues around the country, including a spot at Coachella in 2022. Petracca said he revels in the rise of alternative music heads.

that has really helped with the longevity of our events, and the acceptance or popularity of the genre now 10 years into throwing these parties.”

Another factor in the growth of the counterculture scene is an emphasis on acceptance. There is a lack of judgment, and a goal of fostering a community of people who uplift each other in the face of increasing hate.

“I’m as inclusive as I can be, and I’m getting the crowd into it,” Alva said. “I’m not out there just to DJ, but I’m up there to put on a show. It’s like if I had a guitar in my hand, I’d be pointing out to the crowd. I used to do the same thing when I was in bands, so it just carried over to what I do now. I bring people onstage or point and sing with them and or at them, and throw some balloons.”

Petracca said Emo Nite has helped the scene grow through community involvement.

“We have 10 parties a weekend going on across the country, and it’s been really important for us to work with individuals who represent the brand well, and understand what we’re trying to do,” Petracca said. “Everybody who works with us is first and foremost a fan, and most of them don’t have any experience DJing. They’re not promoters; they’re strictly doing this because they care about it the same way that we care about it. That’s really important to building a largescale community. … The first few years of throwing these events across the country, Morgan and I would personally fly around and do these shows, and it was awesome. We’d find people who were upfront headbanging at the DJ booth and connect with those people after the shows, and then we’d have them back and teach them how to use the (equipment). … Slowly but surely, we’ve built these little Fight Club-esque communities across the country. I think it all comes down to choosing the right representatives who understand the value and the importance of making a safe space for people.”

Alva said the vibes at Let’s Get Sad are similar to the mood you’d find at friendly get-togethers.

“Before emo nights and stuff like that popped up, me and my friends would gather at each other’s houses and either play guitar or play music out of the stereo and just listen to these bands that we grew up with, and sing along to these bands as the night went on,” Alva said. “For me, it’s like a big party with my friends sitting in the living room, just having fun.”

Onelocal counterculture subscriber is Sage Lopez, who both attends and photographs events put on by the alt crowd; you can check out his work at During a recent phone interview, Lopez said the scene is

“There’s definitely the pull of nostalgia to it,” said T.J. Petracca, the co-founder of Los Angeles-based Emo Nite, which produces events across the country, including local venues like Pretty Faces and Pappy and Harriet’s. “(The ’00s were) the first time that fans were able to really connect with each other digitally around music. I think that’s why you have so many different-sounding bands getting lumped together— like 3OH!3 and Taking Back Sunday are two very differentsounding bands, but you could book them on a show together, and nobody would bat an eye. I think a lot of that came out of the original way that this music was popularized through sharing it with each other online, through downloading it off of LimeWire, and connecting with people on MySpace, and then in real life at shows. A lot of people hold it very close to their heart, and that is why so many people are so protective of the genre and the word (“emo”), because it just means a lot

“We started throwing these parties in 2014, when emo really wasn’t cool,” Petracca said. “It was having a moment where it was looked down upon. I feel like we’ve tried not to lean too much into basing it purely on nostalgia or wanting people to step back in time, and instead focused on trying to make our party the coolest party that people would want to go to in 2024. I think

Taking Back Sunday performs at Coachella 2024. Credit: Ashley Osborn/Goldenvoice


truly alternative, because it provides events different from mainstream offerings like Coachella.

“If you look at the history of punk, it’s always rebelling against the conformity of the standard norms,” said Lopez. “I wouldn’t say the norm here really is Coachella, but (the alternative scene) is an option against Coachella. … It creates more lively outlets than just having people to go to these corporate things.”

That said, Goldenvoice has shown a desire to include the alt/emo scene at Coachella. Emo Night was there in 2022, and this year, Taking Back Sunday performed at the fest. The band, from the early 2000s, is considered part of the alternative Y2K scene, and their music is frequently played at emo nights. During an onsite interview with guitarist and co-lead vocalist John Nolan, he said he was pleasantly surprised to be playing at a variety festival.

“The general feeling of playing the show felt pretty similar to anything else, but it is cool to be in a festival with a wide variety of bands and artists, and not doing something that’s pigeonholed into the emo genre,” Nolan said.

Nolan said he was worried at first about the crowds the band could encounter at an influencer-heavy festival like Coachella.

“I did have a little bit of a concern that it might be the kind of audience that, even if they were into it, would kind of just stand with their arms folded and just watch silently. I could have seen that being the case—but luckily it wasn’t,” Nolan said. “I was actually kind of surprised how many sing-alongs there were, and there were pockets of mosh pits and things. It actually ended up feeling more like one of our regular shows than I expected.”

Nostalgia is important to many fans of Y2K hard rock, something Nolan said he witnesses regularly.

“Sometimes when we’re playing live, and I see people singing along, I’m just blown away by it,” Nolan said. “… (Our music from back then) really resonated in a way that still means something to them. Something else that I don’t really understand, and I’m really grateful for, is people discovering the band at different points over the last 15 years. A lot of times, they might gravitate toward those older songs, but they might also come in on the fourth or fifth album, and that’s their entry point, and then those (older) songs really resonate with them.”

Nolan said Taking Back Sunday takes this all into consideration when creating setlists.

that represent the entire catalog from the beginning to now, and then the newest songs. Hopefully we blend that all together in a way that works well for people.”

Lopez said nostalgia plays a big part in the local scene.

“We choose to listen to a certain type of music that is still nostalgic and hits home in very different ways,” Lopez said. “We all have different meanings toward every different song, and it’s been really nice seeing all the other people who are like-minded. … It’s been wonderful to see, because it also helps me as a person to be more sure of who I want to be.”

Lopez said he’s happy the local alternative scene has been growing, through both emo-night events and backyard punk and metal shows.

“Creating the spots where people can come together and talk about all these other ideas is the start of it,” Lopez said. “When you go into these scenes, you feel free to talk to anybody, and you’ll surprise yourself with what people share in common.

… When it’s our free time, we get to express ourselves how we want to, and we do so through Y2K, emo, grunge and all the genres of rock that they offer.”

Upcoming Local Emo/ Alt/Counterculture Events

• Creatures of the Night (alt drag): At 9:30 p.m., every Wednesday, at Bart Lounge, 67555 E Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City; www.

• Luna Negra Goth Nights (music and DJs): At 8 p.m., Saturdays, June 8, June 22, July 6 and July 20 at Bart Lounge; and Friday, June 28 and July 26, at The Tiny Pony, 57205 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Yucca Valley; watch for more info on events coming to Palm Springs and Indio

• Let’s Get Sad Party: At 9 p.m., Saturday, June 1, and Friday, July 5, at Bart Lounge;

• Realms of Death, Price of Life, Bronca, Covenant Eyes (touring and local hardcore/ metal bands): On Monday, June 3, at The Lab in Indio;

• Promotive, He Films the Clouds, Shark Fin, Wisemansay, I Lay in Static (local hardcore/metal bands): At 6 p.m., Thursday, June 6, at Music House Indio, 82777 Miles Ave.; musichouseindio

“There are some older songs that we don’t play very often or hardly at all—but we really only do that with not-verypopular songs,” Nolan said. “If it’s something that we know people really love and want to hear, we always will consider that over being like, ‘I don’t feel like playing that today.’ We always try to balance the whole thing out with the ones that we know everyone’s going to be there for, and then the ones

Lopez believes that in 2024, the connections and opportunities for self-expression offered by the alternative scene are especially important.

“We live in a time where people are becoming a little bit more individualistic, and they’re yearning for that connectivity of community,” Lopez said. “The pioneers of this genre were just generally doing themselves and expressing themselves, and other people found that as an outlet, and they started going along with it and creating something out of it.”

• Emo Nite: At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at Pretty Faces Nightclub, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs;

• Hot Stuff Booking shows: Watch for updated info

Emo Nite parties take place around the country—including a June 15 event at Pretty Faces Nightclub in Palm Springs. Emo Nite founders T.J. Petracca and Morgan Freed started throwing Emo Nite parties in 2014. They performed at Coachella in 2022.



The California Indian Nations College (CINC) will celebrate several milestones this fall, as it approaches its seventh year of providing higher education programs with a focus on indigenous culture.

According to college president Celeste Townsend, CINC has hired its first full-time faculty member, a former student and doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. Townsend, who is herself a doctoral candidate, was recently elevated to president, after serving

an extended term as interim president.

CINC was deemed eligible to apply for candidacy by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The college is preparing for a site visit by the ACCJC during the academic year, Townsend said.

Enrollment is also up at the school.

Offering classes both online and in person, on the College of the Desert campus, has helped make CINC more accessible, Townsend said.

“I have (students) from Sherman Indian High School,” which is in Riverside, she said.

“I have students who are local, then some are in Los Angeles, Big Bear—they come from all over. The year before last, we had a group of students from Sherman who had traveled from Mississippi to get their high school diploma, and they were taking concurrent enrollment classes (at CINC). … One student enrolled from North Carolina and eventually made her way to become an employee. She handles grants and fundraising.

Townsend has been with CINC since its inception. She is an enrolled citizen of the Guidutikad numu Fort Bidwell Indian Community in Northern California and a descendent of the Shoshone-Paiute tribe of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Owyhee, Nev.

Along with founder Theresa Mike, Townsend helped develop the charter for the college in 2017, with the vision of a two-year accredited college focused on Indigenous culture and Native American language and values. Since its first class in 2018, the college has exceeded projected enrollment every year.

“When we began in 2017, we didn’t know how the demand would take place,” Townsend said. “We anticipated about 200 students (by) the time of accreditation in 2027. We were over 160 this spring, so we anticipated 200 this summer, which puts us far ahead of schedule.”

The accreditation process is lengthy and

The California Indian Nations College works toward becoming the state’s first stand-alone tribal college

arduous. In 2020, CINC staff completed online training in accreditation basics. In May 2023, the eligibility committee of the ACCJC granted CINC eligibility to apply for candidacy. Shawn Ragan, CINC’s vice president and chief operations officer, said candidacy indicates that an institute has demonstrated that it meets all of the commission’s eligibility requirements. Candidacy could be granted by fall 2025.

Candidacy will allow CINC to operate independently and become what Townsend and Mike first envisioned—a full tribal college with curriculum and degrees that address Native culture and history. Until candidacy is granted, courses are accredited through College of the Desert and will transfer to California State University and University of California schools, as well as many private institutions.

“Our host, College of the Desert, has been amazing. (They) have provided us in-kind classroom space, and we have in-kind office space with (the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert Center),” Townsend said. “The caveat is that we’ve outgrown both locations.”

The final step, full accreditation, can take two more years. Once accredited, CINC will become the first stand-alone, fully accredited tribal college in California. There are 37 tribal colleges and universities in the U.S., according to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

Ragan oversees academic student affairs and institutional effectiveness. He said CINC has already begun to tweak its curriculum to add more academic rigor in Native culture and history. “To make our classes ours, and not just the COD classes, we’ve added an additional student learning outcome focused on indigenizing the curriculum to address Native American issues,” Ragan said.

Comparable to an ethnic studies requirement, the Native American breadth requirement means students must complete at least six units that deal specifically with Native American issues, including Native American literature, language, art history or Indigenous dance.

CINC offers an associate of arts degree in liberal arts. Within the degree, students can choose an emphasis in art and humanities; business and technology; or social and

Tribal elders prepare to blanket CINC graduates at
a commencement ceremony. Photo courtesy of CINC
President Celeste Townsend presents Roseanne Rosenthal with the Distinguished Educator Award at the 2024 CINC Fire Gala Fundraiser on May 17. Haleemon Anderson

behavioral sciences.

To grant more AA degrees, CINC will need to offer more classes. Of course, that will take more funding and faculty. Ragan said candidacy and accreditation will allow CINC to get regular government funding like other accredited schools in California.

“Once we get candidacy, we’re eligible for federal funding as a tribal college, once we get recognized by the Bureau of Indian Education,” said Ragan.

CINC was started with a grant from the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. The college initially offered all classes free to students, since little state or federal financial aid was available. CINC students can access government aid as students of COD, but Ragan said the process of applying to both schools using two sets of applications is cumbersome.

When classes begin Aug. 26, Roseanne Rosenthal will return to CINC as the college’s first full-time faculty member. Coming back to CINC is a full circle moment for the selfdescribed high school dropout, who enrolled at CINC to complete courses toward a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies at UCR.

The Nonprofit SCENE June 2024

Get ready to step back in time with the Theresa A. Mike Scholarship Foundation’s highly anticipated fundraiser event! The “Totally ’80s Fashion Show, Sale and Dinner” is set to dazzle attendees on Saturday, June 29. Doors open at 5 p.m., with the show commencing at 6 p.m., at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa’s Cahuilla Ballroom, at 32250 Bob Hope Drive, in Rancho Mirage.

Rosenthal was in the first graduating class at CINC. The Ph.D. candidate said she never planned on teaching and initially pursued a career as a vocational nurse.

In the past 10 years, she has fast-tracked her education with a renewed purpose after years away from formal education. “I don’t have time for gap years,” she said.

She thought about pursuing a medical degree but realized that doctoral work could have a much wider impact. “I moved over to anthropology and critical medical anthropology, where I look at issues like mental health, or access to health care, (where I can) critically look at the systems and how they are functioning or not,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal, whose lineage is Chiricahua Apache/Tewa, said Native schools and educators play a vital role.

“I first learned about myself by going to UCR and learning from the Native faculty there,” said Rosenthal, who plans to have her students use oral history and interviews with elders to help connect with their heritage.

Teaching allows her to spread the history she has learned—and she admits she loved teaching from her first day in front of the classroom. The process made her realize that she had something to give back.

“It’s common in most Native Americans.… We go to school to go back to help our people,” Rosenthal said.

Learn more at

Haleemon Anderson is a California Local News Fellow. She can be reached at handerson@

Prepare to be transported to the era of iconic style and vibrant fashion with our high-energy runway display featuring the latest trends and designs from esteemed partners including JCPenney Palm Desert and White House Black Market El Paseo. The runway will come alive with a dazzling array of ’80s-inspired collections, ensuring a captivating evening. Due to popular demand, the crafted course dinner is back!

This family-friendly event promises fun for all ages, with exclusive shopping opportunities, exciting auction items generously donated by our sponsors, and experiences not to be missed. Proceeds from the event will directly benefit our scholarship program.

Leanna Thomas, vice president of the Theresa A. Mike Scholarship Foundation, expressed her excitement for this year’s event.

“We are thrilled to welcome you all back for another unforgettable fashion show fundraiser,” she said. “We invite you to join us for an evening filled with love and camaraderie.”

VIP tickets are $150 each, offering premier seating near the stage for an up-close view. Alternatively, regular tickets are $125 each, with the option to reserve a table of 10 for $1,250. All ticket tiers include access to the reception, dinner and fashion show.

The Theresa A. Mike Scholarship Foundation is a nonprofit organization that awards individual scholarships to full-time, enrolled tribal members of any tribe across the United States, and/or full-time non-native students from the Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basin. For ticket purchases, sponsorship inquiries or to make donations, visit www.

—Submitted on behalf of the nonprofit by Makeyli Marroquin.

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Every January, Palm Springs goes Hollywood for the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Every June, the team behind PSIFF puts on another festival that trades star power for empowering filmmakers.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest is back and celebrating its 30th anniversary. From June 18-24, more than 300 short films, made by filmmakers from all over the world, will be screened at the Regal Palm Springs. The ShortFest Forum, featuring industry panels and one-onones, will be hosted at the Renaissance Hotel in Palm Springs.

During a recent interview with Lili Rodriguez, the festival’s artistic director, she explained how

the fest got started 30 years ago.

“The January festival used to include some short films in the lineup, and in 1995, they decided to make a short film festival—and it’s grown quite a bit,” Rodriguez said. “I think in the beginning, the lineup included around 80 films, and this year, we’re going to have 309 short films at the festival. These are curated specifically just from submissions, so everything that we program at the festival came from a filmmaker who wanted to be a part of ShortFest.”

All of the shorts are screened in blocks, grouped by genre or theme.

“Within that block, usually we have from three to 10 short films, depending on the length of them,” Rodriguez said. “We try to keep the blocks within 90 minutes, just because they’re more comfortable that way. You can see an animated (film), and then a doc, and then a live action, all within the same program. You can buy a badge and go to all of them, as many programs that you’d like. … The general tickets (go on sale) on June 5.”

The biggest difference between ShortFest and PSIFF, besides the length of the films, is that the ShortFest is a lot more relaxed and casual.

“It’s a lot of films from up-and-coming filmmakers, and filmmakers who are working within the industry,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes it’s used as a calling card, so I would say it’s for people earlier in their careers, generally speaking. We do have some filmmakers who like to work with shorts … but the idea is that it’s mostly up-and-coming filmmakers. It’s a very casual festival, a very energetic festival, and filmmakers come to present their films from all over the world. … It’s the largest short-film-exclusive festival in North America, so it has a great reputation, and the festival has grown mostly from filmmaker word of mouth.”

Some consider ShortFest to be an educational, networking “filmmaker summer camp,” of sorts.

“It’s a really casual, relaxing, fun festival, where people are in the pool, and filmmakers

are talking to each other, watching movies or meeting local Palm Springs people,” Rodriguez said. “We’re screening at the Regal in Palm Springs, so we have one screening venue, and then one sort of festival hub, which is the host hotel, and that’s the Renaissance. That’s where we do the Forum, which (is) the educational part of ShortFest.”

Rodriguez said discussions about the films tend to be lively, in part because “there are no rules” when making a short film.

“When you don’t have a real definition as to what a short film can or should be, filmmakers can get as creative as possible,” Rodriguez said. “I think you can see and feel that from the audience who comes to ShortFest. There’s so much so much talent.”

Ahead of ShortFest’s 30th year, the Palm Springs International Film Society, the team behind both festivals, received a $25,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts.

“We can’t do any of this without the support of grants like the NEA, or without the support of our audience, and we can’t do this without the filmmakers wanting to submit their films,” Rodriguez said. “It all comes together. You really can’t do one without the other, so we’re so grateful to get support from wherever it comes—because we all need it.”

While this is the 30th anniversary ShortFest, Rodriguez and her team decided to keep the focus on newer films.

“It would be impossible to narrow down which are the five short films we want to represent the last 30 years,” she said. “We’re going have a big party … but we instead decided to just make it another great edition, and not take up any slots from filmmakers who are making really great films. Even with a sizable lineup, it’s pretty big compared to what other festivals can do. Not everything that we liked got in, so if we are eating up slots for something else, like a review of the last 30 years, it might take away from this great opportunity to give a ShortFest filmmaker a chance to get into the festival.”

The Forum aspect of ShortFest is the biggest

The Palm Springs International ShortFest, celebrating 30 years, prioritizes education and opportunity over glitz and glamour

way in which the festival aims to educate.

“Our panels are open to the public, and we have more filmmaker-specific things like the industry one-on-ones that aren’t open to the general public,” Rodriguez said. “Every year we do a ‘Meet the Curators’ panel where we have programmers from some of the major festivals, and people get to ask them questions.

… There are 309 films in the official selection lineup, but (regarding) the 6,300 films submitted to the festival that didn’t make the official selection, we extend an invitation (to filmmakers) to be a part of the video library that we have, and to attend the festival if they want to, with complimentary badges,

so they can go to movie screenings and the Forum. ShortFest falls, generally, under the educational umbrella of the organization, so having filmmakers in mind, we’re always trying to find ways to elevate them and give them more opportunities.”

The Palm Springs International ShortFest takes place from Tuesday, June 18, through Monday, June 24, at the Regal Palm Springs, 789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. The ShortFest Forum takes place at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel, 888 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way. For tickets and more information, visit shortfest-2024.

Smiles from attendees of a previous ShortFest.



After a year of membership drives, construction and planning, the new Hi-Desert Artists nonprofit is slated to open its new gallery during the next Yucca Valley Art Walk.

The space, a former vintage shop in Yucca Valley, is being operated by dozens of desert-based artists who took matters into their own hands after the closure of the Joshua Tree Art Gallery. The Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council voted to close down the gallery, also known as JTAG, about a year ago in order to focus its budget and resources on the annual Highway 62 art tours. Snake Jagger, a local painter who is serving as the marketing director for the new collective, said JTAG had been a longtime community fixture that offered artists a year-round place to show their

works. A group of artists, helmed by Ed Keesling, attempted to take over the lease; while their efforts were unsuccessful, the group decided to take its momentum elsewhere, leading to the creation of the Hi-Desert Artists (HDA)

“That was probably one of the best galleries for artists up here,” Jagger said about JTAG. “It was a nice little gallery, and we really loved that place in the art community.”

What has cropped up in the wake of JTAG’s closure is more than just a gallery. HDA operates as a nonprofit corporation with a membership structure that accommodates patrons and professional artists. Keesling serves as the group’s executive director, with Jagger, Robert Grajeda, Karen Skiba, Linda Shrader, DeAnna Valdez, Mindy Kittay and Holly Rae Wind rounding out the executive committee. The mission statement says the goal is to advocate accessibility to the arts, with the aim of hosting workshops, lessons and events in the new center.

So far, HDA has amassed 140 members. Those who are professional artists can sign up for $300 a year, giving them increased access and a variety of perks like free entry for invitational shows, and opportunities to have their work sold in exhibitions in the gallery’s shop.

Once the group had gotten its bearings, it was

time to find a place to call home. Fortunately, a rural area like the Morongo Basin only has so many commercial properties to comb through— and enough people had their ears to the ground on behalf of HDA to score a prime space.

The chosen spot had been recently vacated by Rt 62, an antique and vintage shop. The owners decided to shut down after about 20 years in business and move on to other ventures. But the high-visibility spot on the main highway—including a parking lot—became the perfect blank canvas.

To close the deal, though, HDA had to get creative. As a new organization with no tax status or grant support, it received a donation from a benefactor to purchase the building via a 501(c)(3) called Affordable Housing for Artists. That nonprofit is serving as an umbrella group and fiscal sponsor for HDA as it continues to ramp up, with HDA planning to become fully independent in a couple of years.

The deal closed in December, and HDA has been in rehab and renovate mode at its new space ever since. That included structural work like new plumbing and HVAC—plus tearing down and rebuilding walls to construct a gallery-friendly floor plan, and adding new lighting. Like any construction project, there were

Hi-Desert Artists, a new nonprofit, is opening a Yucca Valley space after the closure of a beloved gallery

delays and surprises. A 10-day work stoppage was required to obtain the proper permits. Contractors also discovered the roof needed replacing.

“We had to tear it all down and rebuild it, and it’s definitely a lot different than it was,” Jagger said.

The inaugural community-style show will feature 74 artists. There’s also a featured gallery space that will feature painter Paul Donaldson in its inaugural exhibit. Moving forward, HDA intends to host arts-oriented events and workshops, and open up to live performances in a spacious backyard event space. All professional members of the group will be required to staff the gallery for a few hours and can volunteer to teach classes.

Jagger said HDA wants the gallery become a hub for emerging artists looking to show their work. The visibility of being in a show can provide experience and foster new connections— in addition to the sweet and surprising high of knowing people are viewing your work.

“It’s going to be a meeting place,” Jagger said. “It’s going to be a great place for the community, and to come and learn and grow as an artist.”

Jagger has typically worked as a solo artist across his 45-year career, and he finds himself getting a new perspective as part of a collaboration. Getting a group of artists from disparate backgrounds to agree on a goal, a message and a plan of action is no small feat—one that requires board meetings, agendas, permitting processes and significant coordination. But the collective drive to make the gallery a reality was strong enough to get the effort under way— and create a new community in the process.

“We’ve been very excited, watching this thing come together,” he said.

Hi-Desert Artists will celebrate its grand opening at 5 p.m., Saturday, June 15, during the Third Saturday Yucca Valley Art Walk. Hi-Desert Artists is located at 55635 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Yucca Valley. For more information, visit www.

LGBTQ people are among the many subgroups of Americans
Scan here to Donate The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert provides food for 30,000+ people annually.
The Hi-Desert Artists executive committee and supporters: Snake Jagger, DeAnna Valdez, Mark Walsh, Ed Keesling, Karin Skiba, Robert Grajeda, Holly Wind, Cheyanne Sauter, Mindy Kittay and Linda Shrader.
experience high rates of food insecurity.* *The Williams Institute
known to



The long-running TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? popularized creative and goofy games where everything is made up on the spot—giving improv comedy worldwide attention.

Various cast members are now doing their own touring shows, mixing Whose Line games with other improv staples. For example, Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood have teamed up to present Asking for Trouble, during which they invite the audience into their world of spontaneous comedy mayhem. They are set to perform at Agua Caliente in Palm Springs on Saturday, June 22. During a recent phone interview with Colin Mochrie, he explained why he teamed up with Brad Sherwood.

“Mostly pity, I guess,” Mochrie joked. “We’ve known each other for over 30 years, so we’re good friends, and we built up a relationship that way. Onstage, the more you work with someone, the more you get to know them and get into their rhythms. Especially with just the two of us, you have to trust the person you’re with; otherwise, you’re totally by yourself, which is never good.”

While he’s been working with Sherwood for three decades, Mochrie said they’re still learning about each other—and improv in general.

“We’re constantly still trying to figure out what we can do with it,” Mochrie said. “I truly think the surface is just kind of being scratched. We’re having totally improvised plays; there’s improvised Dungeons and Dragons. People are playing with the format and playing with the art form, and there’s always something new to find out and new to learn.”

Mochrie himself has been involved with improvised Dungeons and Dragons, during which people act out the events of a D&D game.

“It’s been a lot of fun—and I knew absolutely nothing about D&D,” Mochrie said. “I would get my characteristics. I was a neutral cleric with a bunch of numbers and stuff, and I just kept trying to fly, because I figured that would be a thing. And the dungeon master just said, ‘No, you can jump a foot.’ … It makes it fun for the audience, because they could absolutely tell I have no idea what’s going on. Everybody else was accomplished D&D players, so they had their characters, and they knew all the little buzzwords that got the inside laughs, and I just had to rely on charm.”

Whose Line began in Great Britain in 1988, arrived in the United States in 1998, and was revived by The CW after a five-plus year absence in 2013; new episodes have been airing ever since. In late 2022, Mochrie tweeted: “Hey everyone. Hope you are enjoying the current season of Whose Line. In January, we shoot our final season. Thank you all for the support over the years.” The U.S. version’s 20th season finished airing earlier this year—but Mochrie told me the show is not dead yet.

“I really should learn never to say anything at any point,” he said. “The last taping we had was treated as the last taping, and we all had our little speeches, and we said goodbye. A couple of months ago, we got a call saying, ‘Oh, there’s going to be another season,’ because they had so much stuff left over from last year when we filmed that they can make another season out of it. So there is another season, but we don’t actually have to work, which is nice. I wish that would happen more often, where they would just come up with stuff, pay us, and we didn’t have to actually go anywhere and do something.”

Mochrie said he greatly values the friendships he made on Whose Line.

“Ryan Stiles, we grew up together, so I’ve known him for over 40 years, but everybody else became friends through that show,” Mochrie said. “What I loved about it was it wasn’t grueling by any stretch of the imagination. It was two weekends out of the year … so we never got on each other’s nerves. It was just always fun, and it was a concentrated visit where we could do our show, be crazy, go out for dinner afterwards, have a couple of drinks, and then we’re off to our separate lives, so that was lovely. Whose Line, obviously, is always going to be a major part of my life, because it gave us all careers. It got us in the public eye; it allowed us to tour everywhere. Without that show, I can’t even imagine where I’d be right now. It’s frightening and sobering to think about.”

Mochrie said he believes that improv can be an important element of human life.

“Just the basic act of learning how to improvise is such a powerful life tool,” he said. “People always say, ‘How do you do it? It just seems so difficult,’ and it really is the simplest thing. … You listen to people, and you accept their ideas, and that is it. When I’ve taught workshops, that has been the hardest thing to get across to people, to sort of let go of your ego a bit, and if someone comes up with a great idea, it doesn’t matter if you have the greatest idea in the world—you didn’t get it out first, so save it for later. You learn how to listen;

‘Whose Line’ alums Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood bring improv fun to Palm Springs

you learn how to work with people; you learn empathy—and then the games are just fun.”

He said improv also helps people learn to embrace failure.

“Failure is such a dirty word to everyone— and improv is kind of built on failure,” Mochrie said. “… You also learn so much when you fall flat on your face. You learn how to get out of these situations. You learn how to go, ‘Oh, that sucked all the energy out of the theater; it was the worst thing anyone will ever see—and, hey, we’re still alive, and now we’re going to do another one, and hopefully, that will be better.’

Obviously you don’t have to go into this as a career, but it really is a good thing to have in your life utility belt.”

Mochrie said he prefers to constantly keep honing his improv skills, from continuing to work with Brad Sherwood to performing improv alongside a hypnotist.

“It’s a muscle that gets flabby incredibly quickly, and I always try to work with people I’ve never worked with before in an improv setting, because I find that also gets me back to having to listen,” he said. “Working with

the Whose Line guys, even though we’re improvising, I can kind of tell where we’re going to go in a scene, and I don’t have that with these people. I do another tour with a hypnotist where he hypnotizes audience members, and I improvise with them, and that’s been really good for me as an improviser, because I truly have no idea what these people are going to do or say, so it really keeps me on my toes and keeps me sharp.

“I’m always trying to do something that I haven’t done before, that’s outside of my comfort zone, just because I think to get comfortable in improv can be very dangerous. You can get really sloppy, and maybe start repeating stuff you’ve done before. I find for me, it works best when I’m totally outside of my comfort zone—and just truly trying to survive.”

Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 22, at the Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Palm Springs, 401 E. Amado Road. Tickets remaining as of this writing are $100. For more information, visit

Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood.



t has become somewhat of a tradition for me to check in on the local breweries and see where they are in their development. In years past, I have found a mixture of disappointment and

Las Palmas Brewing is the place I tell people to go most often. I do this because I love their beer; I love how they go about the business of their brewery; and I feel guilty for not being able to make it there as often as I’d like. I spoke with Hector, who was a really nice guy and an actual fan of craft beer, while I sipped on their pilsner, which was crisp with notes of grass and maybe a little

Country Club and Cook Street Palm De sert


craft-beer scene; it’s simply about passionate people coming together to make it happen. Go to Las Palmas now, and support the great things they do, please.

Now for the first conflict-of-interest disclosure: I am currently employed as a bartender at Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewery, where the beer is solid, for the most part, with the Palm Springs IPA being the best it’s ever been. The tap lineup has been saddled with a lot of similar beers in the past year—I dare you to blindly try the light lager, rice lager and blonde side by side, and pick out which is which—but there have been some real winners, like the “golden ale” (really

an English-style strong ale) we brewed for Rancho Mirage’s 50th anniversary, and a New Zealand-hopped pale ale. As always, the food is excellent. Yeah, I know I work there, and you can take what I say with a grain of salt, but if you knew me, you’d know I don’t pull punches when it comes to beer—and Babe’s is not employing me to write this column, after all.

Onward to Desert Beer Company, where I always run into people I know, like Devon Sanchez, the owner and my former manager at Coachella Valley Brewing Company, and cellarman Justin Young, whom I also know from CVB. I tried a flight and had similar results to my last visit. The Devonator triple IPA was pretty solid and drank much easier than the 10.5% alcohol by volume; the Brewjitsu rice lager had a really nice, pillowy head and a soft mouthfeel. The Ron de Arroz rice ale had a slightly dessert-like quality thanks to the cinnamon, nutmeg, clove

Our beer scribe’s sort-of annual look around the local craft-beer scene

and vanilla, without being too sweet. Not everything was a big winner, but nothing was undrinkable in the least.

Thanks to the aforementioned Justin (who helps out in the brewhouse at CVB from time to time), I was able to try what I would have otherwise completely omitted from these pages: beer from Coachella Valley Brewing Company. I worked there and departed on not-good terms, but again, this has no bearing on what I think about the beer, and I’ve never had anything but good interactions with head brewer Eric Beaton, who seems like a genuinely humble, nice guy.

With that preamble out of the way, the two beers I tried were solid. The Three C’s IPA was a take on an older West Coast IPA, but with much less bitterness, and it was pretty good. The Boots With the Brrrr Cold Double IPA was smooth, but there was not a ton of aroma or flavor from the hops used. I detected some slight fruity notes (a little peach), but nothing to blow you away. Yes, I am biased, but I miss the days of Chris Anderson at the helm, brewing beers with personality and tons of flavors smacking you in the palate.

Finally, I checked out actual big boys of the desert: La Quinta Brewing Co. I have no preamble this time, other than to say there’s been another change in brewers recently. I went to the brewery location in Palm Desert and tried a flight with a few core beers in it, to get a full lay of the land. The Poolside Blonde was greatly improved over my previous encounters. It had a cracker-like malt flavor that was somewhat pilsner-esque, but slightly sweet, dry and crisp—a very good start. 5

O’Bock Somewhere resembled a porter more than a malty German lager. Sundaze Summer IPA was a session IPA with some peach and mango flavors; it was crisp and very light, but it had a decent amount of flavor for a style that has all but been forgotten. The Even Par has been a staple for LQ for years, so I felt obligated to try it. One whiff, and I knew I wasn’t drinking more than one sip due to the prominent plastic-tasting phenols; I apologized and asked for another beer in its place. The Heatwave Amber Ale had a lot of bubblegum and banana wafting out of the glass where there definitely shouldn’t be. On a positive note, the brewery taproom is a really nice place to go and have some nice pub fare to eat while enjoying some of their beers, or brews from the guest taps that are curated reasonably well.

I’ll briefly mention Luchador Brewing here—briefly, because my last visit was like my others: The food is good, but the beers are mediocre and/or flawed, and I didn’t drink half of my flight. I suspect the seltzer slushies are still the best beverages there, and I’m sad that time has not yet helped their beer program develop.

All in all, there is still plenty of room for improvement overall, and I continue to hope that a passionate craft-beer fanbase develops here to push the beer scene along. But for now, we are where we are—and there’s no sense in denying it.

Brett Newton is a certified cicerone (like a sommelier for beer) and homebrewer who has mostly lived in the Coachella Valley since 1988. He can be reached at

Las Palmas Brewing is the place our beer scribe tells people to go most often. Photo via Las Palmas’ Facebook page



’m not entirely sure where spring went, but I know one thing for sure: Summer is upon us. When the thermometer starts reading triple digits, that’s when us locals start planning, or

While my brain was in fantasy vacation mode, I started to think about all the conversations I have throughout the year with my customers who tell me that they can no longer drink wine, in one way or another. Sometimes the wine they have given up is strictly from California. Other times, they think the problem is sulfites (a huge fallacy), or wines high in alcohol. In some cases, it’s a ban

Does wine affect you differently when you’re on vacation? There’s a reason for that—and it’s not the wine

moderate exercise can counteract the effects of alcohol, and a trip to Europe guarantees you’re going to get some cardio time.

to France was the last time I drank wine and didn’t feel crappy!” The rationale explained to me, time and time again, by my wine-loving, traveling customers, is that the wine we drink in other countries is somehow different that the wine we’re consuming here. The idea is that the wine imported to the United States is doctored up with additives, chemicals or some kind of voodoo witchcraft poison that doesn’t exist in the wines served in their homeland. “Give this crap to the Americans! They’ll drink anything! (Insert evil hand-wringing and maniacal laugh.) Bwahaha!”

I read an article on this very topic in the fabulous Somm Journal publication written by a wine colleague, Erik Segelbaum. He touched on this very issue and shed some thoughtprovoking and eye-opening light on the real culprit behind some of these symptoms.

First things first: As Erik points out so eloquently, it would be an impossible

different ways, one for those chemical-loving Americans, and a clean, preservative-free one for everyone else. Just imagine a winery that is producing thousands and thousands of cases of wine every year, trying to keep track of which batch of grapes goes to which wine, and which barrels have the other wine, and doggone it, where in the hell is that bag of yucky crap we need to add to the wine going to the States?

That just doesn’t happen.

So why is it that we can drink more (or at least the same amount) of wine when we travel and not feel the same kind of hangover we do when we’re at home? Cuz we know it isn’t the wine’s fault!

I started thinking about my last trip to Italy. It occurred to me that when we go on vacation, especially a vacation to Europe, it’s not really a relaxing vacation, because, let’s face it, even though Rome wasn’t built in a day, we’re pretty hell-bent on seeing the entirety of it in one. When we travel abroad, we’re doing something most of us do rarely when we’re home … walk. And I mean a pedometer-crashing level of walking. Studies have shown that even

Wine for breakfast? Sure! That’ll be metabolized quickly, because it’s only 9:30 a.m., and I’ve already clocked three miles. Wine for lunch? Of course! I mean, we are sitting in a vineyard relaxing, but only after we toured the entire 300-acre property on foot, including the winery, caves and the 500 steps down to the cellar. Wine for dinner? Well, what else am I going to drink with this handmade pasta, covered in a homemade Bolognese sauce made from tomatoes grown right over there, and topped with cheese that they made and aged in that cellar? And what happens after dinner? You’re gonna walk, walk, walk, all the way back to your hotel. All that unintended exercise reduces the likelihood that you’ll wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a train.

And what about that homemade pasta and sauce? Or those light-as-air, flaky croissants and artisanal cheeses? It’s not surprising

that the quality of food available in Europe is superior to what we find here at home. The fact is that additives in food are strictly governed in the European Union, and in many cases, they are simply not allowed. Take the dyes, oils, refined sugars and 16-syllable words otherwise only found in chemistry textbooks out of our daily diet, and suddenly the ethanol in wine becomes the most-toxic thing you’ve consumed. That’s a-OK with me!

Lastly, I’ll point out that, yes, it’s true that a lot of wines that are produced in France and Italy have moderate alcohol levels. And yes, lower levels of alcohol are less likely to give you a hangover. But the real take-away I’ve discovered is that the dynamic duo of diet and exercise can help us embrace the wines we love all over again … with or without a trip to Europe.

Katie Finn is a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine with two decades in the wine industry. She can be reached at katiefinnwine@

HAIR STUDIO LOVE YOUR HAIR Country Club and Cook Street Palm De sert 760-340-5959
Opens June 28!

the 3 Restaurants Unlimited Flavors


We have a wonderful appetizer in Palm Springs, and a splendid sandwich in Palm Desert

WHAT Pork belly bao buns

WHERE Amala, at the Palm Springs Surf Club, 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs HOW MUCH $19

CONTACT 760-205-3620; palmspringssurfclub. com/restaurants

WHY The tastiness and the potential. Amala, the main restaurant at the Palm Springs Surf Club, has the potential to become a truly special place.

The décor is sleek and modern. The patio is amazing, with views of the waterpark— and the mountains behind it all. The food we had on our dinner visit was impressive, for the most part; we especially loved the appetizers we ordered: the pork belly bao buns, and the chicharron esquite ($16).

Both of these plates showed there’s some definite talent in the kitchen. The buns—while pricey at more than $6 each—were delicious, with the gochujang-glazed meat topped with kimchi, greens and a perfect yuzu aioli. The buns edged out the chicharron esquite as our favorite, although that dish was also endorsement-worthy, with pieces of fried pork skin covered in sweet corn, cotija cheese and “cilantro gel.” Yum.

But even with the views and the tasty food, we left Amala with mixed feelings, at best. Despite the efforts of our charming, apologetic and overworked server, front-of-the-house problems tarnished our dinner. It took an agonizingly long time for us to get our cocktails; one member of our party didn’t get his until just before the entrées arrived. Water glasses were left empty, and the whole experience took way longer than it should have.

These problems weren’t a result of Amala being busy; in fact, the restaurant was quite dead. One possible reason: After our visit, when we discussed Amala with some of our friends, they expressed surprise that the restaurant was open. The much-publicized closures of the wave pool have left some with the impression that the whole Surf Club is closed—and it’s definitely not.

If the folks at Amala can fix their front-ofhouse issues and advertise their existence, it could become truly great. But it’s definitely not there yet.

WHAT “Evan’s Special”

WHERE The Lunch Spot, 74868 Joni Drive, Palm Desert

HOW MUCH $13.75 (shown with soup, $5.95) CONTACT 442-334-7171; thelunchspotpd

WHY It’s a fantastic sandwich.

More than seven years ago, I visited a charming little lunch place tucked into an industrial part of Palm Desert dominated by body shops and auto mechanics. It was called The Lunch Box, and I enjoyed my visit.

I didn’t realize until recently, however, that The Lunch Box apparently closed during the devastating times of 2020. That’s the bad news. The good:

New owners took over the space and opened another sandwich place, called The Lunch Spot. Since I’d not yet visited The Lunch Spot, I headed there one recent weekday. They’re clearly doing something right, as the place was packed. (Granted, the space is tiny, but there was a steady stream of both dine-in and to-go customers while I was there.) While in line, I perused the menu— which includes 20 or so sandwich offerings, both hot (including paninis) and cold, as well as a handful of salads and a daily soup—and selected the No. 2, “Evan’s Special,” with roast beef, pickles, tomatoes, spinach, red onion, cheddar and a garlic aioli, on sourdough bread. I also decided to try a cup of that day’s soup, which was chicken tortilla.

I sat at the only open table, and after a short wait, my name was called. The sandwich I retrieved from the counter looked delicious, cut in half and presented to show off the ample ingredients. Upon my first bite, I was instantly happy. I had some concerns that the garlic aioli could overwhelm—other than the pickles and onions, the ingredients were all fairly mild in flavor—but it served as a perfect complement. I was hungry, and the yummy sandwich was quickly devoured. The soup was pretty darned good, too.

If you’re anywhere near the Cook Street and Hovley Lane/Fred Waring Drive area of Palm Desert, and you’re craving a fantastic sandwich, The Lunch Spot is a perfect choice.

Proudly Supporting and Serving Our Community 760-320-1501 760-325-8490 760-202-4499

Restaurant NEWS BITES


Summer is basically here—but that does not mean culinary things are slowing down much. There are plenty of food-focused events and new offerings to help us enjoy the valley—and beat the heat while eating and drinking well.

The Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market is making its usual move indoors to the Palm Springs Pavilion, 401 S. Pavilion Way, in Palm Springs. The final outdoor market is on Saturday, May 25, with the indoor market opening after two weekends off, on Saturday, June 15. The Palm Desert market is expected to close for good on Sunday, May 26, although I hear that a new location in the eastern part of the valley is being discussed. Check back here and watch for the latest information.

The 91st Annual Palm Springs Firefighters Fish Fry returns to Ruth Hardy Park, 742 E. Tamarisk Road, from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, June 1. For just $10, get fried rainbow trout, a hot dog or a hamburger with sides and a soda. Cold adult beverages and homemade baked goods will also be available for purchase. Line dance and listen to country music to complete the evening’s fun. Check out the Facebook events page ( for more information.

Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week returns from Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 9. This is an opportunity to dine out and try something new! During the 10 days, participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus and special offers. Find participating restaurants and see the deals they are offering at

Get ready for a hot culinary summer with the Summer Eats Pass. Here is how it works: On or after Monday, June 10, go to, and save the free pass on your mobile device to redeem offers at participating restaurants. When you check in, you will be entered to win a $50 gift card. Visit Greater Palm Springs will donate $1 to FIND Food Bank for every check-in!

The Big Gay BBQ returns to Arenas Road in Palm Springs for the second year, from 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8. This free event features music, games and activities, with barbecue from Uncle D’s Smoke House and Holy Smoke BBQ available for purchase. You can splurge and get access to the VIP area for $125, with catering by Eight4Nine and cocktails included. Check out events/1089828168773935 for details.

The popular Culinary & Cocktails series at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa, at 74855 Country Club Drive, in Palm Desert, returns on select Saturdays through August. Classes focus on unique topics and cocktails; June’s lineup includes “Tuscan Night” (June 8) and a “Cake Decorating & Bubbles Class” (June 22). Prices start at $129 per person. For a complete schedule, visit, and click on “Dine at Desert Springs.”

The Equality Wine and Food Fest returns for the second year, from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 29. This event features wines produced by LGBTQ+, BIPOC and/or women-led companies, as well as local chefs, live entertainment and educational experiences, The Grand Ballroom of Margaritaville Resort, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, is where it all happens. Presale tickets start at $95 plus fees. Find out more and purchase your tickets at


A new Venezuelan restaurant has opened in Palm Springs, at 186 S. Sunrise Way; Pastelisto’s serves empanadas, arepas and patacones—sandwiches between two plantains with beef, pork or chicken, as well as cheese and cabbage salad! You may be familiar with the food from either Palm Springs VillageFest or the College of the Desert Street Fair. Learn more at … The Palm Springs International Airport’s food-related renovations are beginning to show. The new restaurant in the Agua Caliente Concourse, Nine Cities Craft, offers locally brewed beers, Coachella Valley Coffee, cocktails and food inspired by the desert landscape. You can now go to the airport even if you aren’t flying out using the new Stay and Play pass; get yours here … The Shops at Palm Desert mall now includes a new fusion restaurant highlighting American, Peruvian and Mediterranean cuisine. Volcanic Fusion Kitchen, at 72840 Highway 111, features rotisserie chicken, ribs, empanadas, kebabs and other delights from around the world. Learn more at volcanicfusionkitchen. com. … Shake Shack is coming to one of the storefronts at 73199 El Paseo, in Palm Desert. People love the burgers and crinkle-cut fries! An opening date has not been announced yet, but they’re hiring. Watch … Almost a year after taking over ownership of 533 Viet Fusion, at 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, No. 625, in Palm Springs, owner Brenda Jimenez tells me they have finally gotten their full liquor license! Find out more at … Lay’ Vince, at 540 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, has closed. Chef Jon Merchain has moved to 83233 Indio Blvd., in Indio, inside Supreme Caffeine. He continues serving his delicious biscuits and gravy, and other treats. He tells me that a new Italian deli is slated to go into the old Lay’ Vince Space, although no opening date has been set. If you have a hot tip or news to share, contact me at

Tickets $35 • (760) 322-0179 • Cabaret at the Pearl is generously sponsored by Mary Ann McLaughlin.



Thanks to new venues like The Lab and promoters like Hot Stuff Booking, there are now local hardcore shows almost every week, with wildly energetic bands and youthful crowds mosh-pitting while supporting the arts.

One of the newest additions to the rising tide of Coachella Valley hardcore is KILLFLOOR, a band that pours desert-rat pride into their hard-hitting brand of hardcore punk and heavy metal,

known as beatdown. KILLFLOOR features Jack Harris on vocals, Macoy Crabtree on guitar, Michael Barsoumian on guitar, Sean McCune on drums and Christian Romero on bass. Their debut EP, 760 DEMONSTRATION, was released May 24 and features Coachella Valley shoutouts, ferocious drumming, fiery downtuned riffs and powerful vocal performances.

During a recent Zoom interview with Harris, Crabtree and McCune, they reflected on the large amount of support they’ve received since debuting as a band in February.

“We definitely have momentum coming up in this desert,” Crabtree said. “… I’ve been going out to Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and the (Inland Empire) forever, just trying to catch hardcore beatdown shows. and I wanted to bring something out here that we could listen to—and the momentum and the hype is real right now. Everyone’s loving it.”

KILLFLOOR tears down the house during every live performance. Harris paces back and forth menacingly, enticing the crowd with his lyrics and screams, while other members fire through their two-minute punk jams with force and emotion—and the mosh pits never stop.This adoration from the local scene added some pressure when it came to record their songs in the studio.

“Obviously there was some stress (over whether) we can live up to the hype of people waiting for our music,” Harris said. “We really just took how we wanted everything to sound and sat in the studio and thought about which of these lyrics would make these kids be superstoked to scream and sing up onstage with me: ‘What’s the most relatable thing?’”

760 DEMONSTRATION features many lyrical moments that embrace the tenacity of hardcore. “STEP INTO MY WORLD” repeats the line, “Step into the pit,” and “FAKE” points the finger at hypocrites and phonies with the chorus, “You’re so fake.” “BITCH MADE” is a favorite among local crowds because of the opening line: “You’re just a bitch made!” Harris said all of the lyrics stem “100% from real events.”

“All that stuff is about someone or something that I deal with in my life or have dealt with in the past, especially with ‘Fake,’”

he said. “I’ve dealt with a lot of fake people and still continue to do so, and that’s one thing that makes me super-angry, because I try to be a 100% real person as much as I can. It just really bothers me when people put on this fake face and say whatever they think you want to hear and shit. With ‘Bitch Made,’ that song is inspired by some people I’m not very fond of.”

Pouring anger into the lyrical and compositional aspects of the songs helps both the members of KILLFLOOR and the audiences work through their troubles.

“It’s a good outlet for the kids listening to it, and us making it,” Crabtree said. “It’s a good way to get out the anger. When you hop in the pit, and you could relate to those lyrics in that song, you just let that shit out. You don’t take it out on anybody; you just let it out in that pit, and that’s what I like about it.”

Just because KILLFLOOR’s music is angry doesn’t mean it is full of hatred. While Harris’ lyrics and the brutality of the instrumentation could be viewed as violent, the reality is that it is rooted in dealing with frustration.

“A big theme when it comes to hardcore music is letting out your frustration in, I believe, a healthy way. … All that stuff, a lot of the time, has to do with wanting shit to be right and not wanting it to be wrong,” McCune said. “There are a lot of people in the world who are wrong about shit and do wrong shit. I don’t know if I speak for everybody when I say this, but it’s almost like justice in our way to write those situations into real life and speak about some shit that we think is fucked up, and make it into a piece of art.”

There’s also a sense of pain behind KILLFLOOR’s lyrics

“I know that a lot of people in the scene have gone through a lot of pain, and that’s one thing that I tried to relate to as much as possible,” Harris said. “Not all of our songs are about, ‘Fuck you,’ and, ‘You’re this.’ I’m also writing about some real shit that I’ve been through as well—stuff that I’m sure some other people can relate to also.”

Naming their EP 760 DEMONSTRATION was important to the group of guys, all of whom have intense pride in being from the Coachella Valley.

KILLFLOOR’s brutal beatdown punk spreads a message of Coachella Valley pride

“We’re out here trying to have that pride for where we live and have that honor from where we’re from,” Harris said. “This is our first EP, so we’re just trying to rep where we’re from, and the title being 760 DEMONSTRATION just adds to it. We really wanted to keep that the Coachella Valley is where we’re from, and this is how we’re going to do shit.”

Harris argues that the most important aspect of the desert’s heavy music scene is love.

“Even though a lot of our songs are angry, I want people to know that hardcore and the scene is based around a lot of love—and we feel a lot of love,” Harris said. “We just want people to know that they’re accepted, and whoever the hell they are, they can come to our show. It doesn’t matter who you are, what color, race, nothing—you are 100% accepted. We love everybody, and even though our shit sounds angry, we don’t really be hating on nobody.”

McCune expressed gratitude toward the local hardcore fans who show up to shows.

“We’re always grateful to those people, and that’s why it’s so important that we rep that 760, because there are people who give a fuck

about this place,” he said. “When I grew up, a lot of people didn’t give a fuck about being here and didn’t really care about being here, and everybody wants to leave. To put the counterculture out there and be like, ‘Hey, we love our music scene; we love living here. This is our fucking city; this is our area,’ is a huge thing to me, because I’ve always loved living here. I feel like it’s now becoming a lot cooler to do that, so to be a part of that movement of people who are just like, ‘Fuck yeah, let’s rep where we’re from,’ is a really cool and important thing to us.”

Added Crabtree: “This desert has so much opportunity. It’s like a gem hidden in the middle of nowhere, and people just don’t see that. People don’t know what they have until they lose it, so when people leave the desert, they don’t know how valuable it is until they’re out of it. I think we have a very valuable thing going here. A lot of fresh opportunities and new things are coming, and I’m just superexcited to see the future.”

For more information, visit killfloorhc.




AThe Hood Bar relaunches its Open Mic Night by bringing back Michael Anthony as the host

The Venue REPORT

June 2024

performer’s path to success, fame or personal fulfillment has to start somewhere—and for many, the first experience with an in-person performance comes at an open mic.

One local open mic that has helped many creatives begin their journey, myself included, is the open mic at The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert. Pre-pandemic, the bar’s open-mic nights attracted a variety of local talent; the performers could test material in front of a decent crowd,

and leave the bar with a few connections and potential gigs. While the open mic did return in recent years, it quietly went away—but The Hood is bringing back its open mic, and is planning to have it every Wednesday night, starting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 5, with the return of former host Michael Anthony.

During a recent phone interview, Michael Anthony explained the status of The Hood’s open mic in recent years.

“There was a patch of bad rep for it at one point,” Anthony said. “From my knowledge about that, whoever the host was wasn’t being consistent as far as hosting. … I hosted open mic back in the day, and it was never like that, and I had a really good share of musicians and comedy stars. I had to let it go, and … it got taken over by mostly comedy, and there weren’t any musicians coming out. … Just recently, I talked to Brad (Guth, owner of The Hood), and we had to narrow down and talk

about the negatives that came from the last open mic, and what can we do about turning those negatives back into positives and such.”

Anthony hosted The Hood’s open mic in 2019, and created a welcoming environment. Desert greats would do surprise pop-ins; seasoned regulars would impress week after week; and new, young rockers would debut.

“All kinds of different people would come,” Anthony said. “Once in a while, I’d get a poet slammer, or hip-hop artists, and stuff like that, which I loved. I loved the diversity of how many people were coming.”

Anthony left the desert for a while, but recently returned.

“As I came back to the desert, like a lot of us do every once in a while, you wander around and try to find what your calling is around here,” he said. “I put my guitar down for a little too long, and put the microphone down for a little too long. … It’s time to blow the dust off.”

Anthony hopes that his return to The Hood will revitalize the welcoming atmosphere that thrived in 2019.

“(Open mics are) important to me, and it’s important to, I think, almost everyone who lives locally around here, if they’re old talent, or new talent,” Anthony said. “Maybe it’s a couple of weeks where old talent is just playing for a while—people who’ve been here for a while—and it brings out the newer talent. … We all know that in this desert, there’s a big music scene out here, and we just somewhat stopped the heartbeat for a little bit, so now we’re trying to just electric-charge it.”

Pre-pandemic, The Hood was a hotspot for live music, featuring local bands almost every weekend in front of a packed house. While metal nights and the occasional show take The Hood’s stage now, it’s not the same. As the bar’s open-mic night returns, there is hope that The Hood will return to its old ways.

“One of the things about The Hood is that new faces come consistently over there,” Anthony said. “Somehow, that bar … it just pops up.”

Anthony, a musician himself, values the importance of open mics to musicians of any caliber.

“You could be big, small, young or old, any kind of color or whatever—and anybody can get on that stage for five minutes,” he said. “The deeper look into that is: Don’t be afraid to come up here, because someone’s grandma just got up a second ago, and if you think you can’t out-class that lady, go try it out. I want people to learn not to be afraid of a microphone. I hope it teaches them to be inspired and get things moving back again in the desert. Hopefully I can start a little blazing trail of other open mics popping up nearby, and stuff like more musical events, and more things for people to start on their own, too.”

Anthony said he welcomes all kinds of performers.

“It’s anything you want—covers, poetic stuff, comedy or whichever,” Anthony said. “I’d like to have more musicians come out for sure, because I know that was a little bit of (what was missing), and that’s what the main goal is—to bring out more musicians, for sure.”

Open Mic Night will take place every Wednesday at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Signups start at 7 p.m., and performances start at 8 p.m. For more information, visit mike.s.payan.

Happy June! Summer is here, as is some HOT entertainment. Here’s a serving of what the Coachella Valley has to offer this month.

Acrisure Arena features four musical moments! At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 1, tender singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan will celebrate three decades of her album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy during a night of emotional and lyrical jams. Tickets start at $24. R&B and dance-pop icon Janet Jackson, alongside hip-hop opener Nelly, will perform an evening of ’90s and ’00s hits, at 8 p.m., Tuesday, June 4. Tickets start at $50. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 7, dance the night away to a double dose of rock en Español when the co-headlining tour of Caifanes and Café Tacvba heads to town. Tickets start at $47. Re-live the ’80s in a unique way with Matute, a Mexican group that pays tribute to the decade through both song selection and style, at 8 p.m., Sunday, June 23. Tickets start at $39. Acrisure Arena, 75702 Varner Road, Palm Desert; 888-695-8778; www.

Catch music, comedy and more at the McCallum Theatre before the summer hiatus. If you couldn’t get tickets to the Eras Tour, pay tribute to music’s hottest star with Tribute to Taylor Swift, happening at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 1. Tickets start at $33. At 3 p.m., Monday, June 10, experience TAIKOPROJECT, featuring a performance filled with Japanese culture and unique instruments like taiko drums and bamboo flutes. Tickets are $15. At 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, Let Love Be Your Guide is a musical experience featuring the complex and varied folk-jazz of Dan Zanes, Claudia Zanes and Tyree Austin. Tickets are $15. At 3 p.m., Friday, June 14, see The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures, a unique stage show that mixes a story with musical moments from classic composers. Tickets are $15. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-

Michael Anthony. Brian Blueskye
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We’re Doing Business with PRIDE

The Venue REPORT

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Coachella Valley.

Fantasy Springs features a few song-filled evenings. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 1, Australian Pink Floyd returns to Indio to perform Pink Floyd classics faithfully … while adding some Australian flair, such as inflatable kangaroos. Tickets start at $39. Genre-crossing rocker Grace Potter is set to perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 29. Tickets start at $39. Experience the pop, rock, polka, cumbia and folk mix of legendary Mexican group Intocable at 8 p.m., Sunday, June 30. Tickets start at $49. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.

Spotlight 29’s June offerings include comedy, tributes and a music legend. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 1, comedian, talk-show host and podcaster Bill Maher brings his political standup to Coachella. Tickets start at $45. Pay tribute to Mexican musical and cultural icon Selena with Selena The Show, starring Karla Perez, at 8 p.m., Friday, June 14. Tickets start at $10. At 8 p.m., Friday, June 21, Voyage pays tribute to ’70s rock stars Journey. Tickets start at $20. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 22, classicrock hit maker and garage-rock hero Todd Rundgren will visit the valley. Tickets start at $25. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566;

Morongo Casino is hosting various music genres and a well-known comedian. At 5 p.m., Sunday, June 2, Fred Cheng, winner of Hong Kong singing competition Voice of the Stars, will perform. Tickets start at $68. At 9 p.m., Friday, June 14, Mexican norteño-sax band Conjunto Primavera heads to Cabazon. Resale tickets started at $197 as of this writing. Grammy Award-winning rock band Switchfoot will perform in the high desert at 9 p.m., Friday, June 21. Tickets start at $49. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 22, actor, writer, producer and standup comic Deon Cole will bring the laughs to town. Tickets start at $39. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800252-4499;

Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage features a busy June! At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 1, musical force Marisela, known as the “Latin Madonna,” will perform an evening of romantic music. Tickets start at $75. At 8 p.m., Saturday, June 8, Motown and funk stars The Commodores will celebrate multiple decades of hits. Tickets start at $30. Pink Floyd tribute act Brit Floyd is pulling out all the stops to honor the 30th anniversary of Floyd’s epic The Division Bell tour, and will do so at The Show at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 15. Tickets start at $25. At 7 p.m., Friday, June 21, witness a unique pairing of rock music icons when Daryl Hall and Elvis Costello are the co-headliners. Tickets start at $100. The “ultimate Beatles tribute,” The Fab Four, is slated to perform a

career-spanning set of the band’s best tunes at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 22. Tickets start at $25. Enjoy an evening of dance galore with Bravo 2024, presented by Dance Dimensions, at 5 p.m., Sunday, June 23. Tickets start at $22. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-9991995;

Agua Caliente in Palm Springs features residency events and comedy. Desert Blues Revival Wednesdays begin with a departure for Pride Month: The Big Happy Comedy Tour, a night of LGBTQ+ comedy (June 5). The month continues with lyrical pop rock gems from Chris Thayer (June 12), high energy blues from Juke Joint Preachers (June 19) and Mexican groove and swing from Tremloco (June 26). Shows are at 7 p.m., and tickets start from $7.99 to $15, available at eventspalmsprings. com. Carousel Thursdays feature Brazilian jazz from Caro Pierotto (June 6), swing and dance from Cosmo Alleycats (June 13), jazz with a French twist from Strada Swing (June 20) and a percussion war by Big Beat Drum Battle featuring Andy Fraga and friends (June 27) Shows take place at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $15, available at For the comedy: Actor and standup comedian Billy Gardell will perform an intimate and hilarious set inside the Cascade Lounge at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 8. Tickets start at $40. Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs, 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 888-999-1995; www.

Here are just a few highlights from Pappy and Harriet’s stacked June lineup. At 7 p.m., Saturday, June 1, modern post-punk group Yard Act returns to the desert after performing at Coachella in 2022. Tickets are $31. Hard rock and traditional Mexican music combine when Metalachi heads to Pioneertown at 9 p.m., Thursday, June 6. Tickets are $20. Legendary rapper of Outkast, André 3000 will celebrate his solo jazz record over three nights at Pappy’s—at 7 p.m., Friday, June 7, through Sunday, June 9. Tickets are $90. At 9 p.m., Sunday, June 16, dreamy French-pop duo Pearl and the Oysters will perform. Tickets are $20 in advance. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, June 29, enjoy the explosive funk of Ghost-Note at the Pioneertown Palace. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-228-2222;

Oscar’s in Palm Springs is hosting a special event amidst residency shows. At 7 p.m., Thursday, June 6, Dale Bozzio, from ’80s new wave band Missing Persons, will appear for a live interview. Tickets start at $39.95. Tickets include dinner reservations two hours before showtime. Oscar’s Palm Springs, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 760-325-1188;

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LUCKY 13 the

Get to know a local garage-rock singer, and a 24-yearold jazz great—with three Grammy Awards to her


NAME Nick Spalding

GROUP Beverly Bomber

MORE INFO A new musical project emerged in the desert this year—a mix of fuzzedout garage rock and pop. Beverly Bomber crafts unique and catchy pop melodies, then drenches them in fuzz, reverb and punk energy. Nick Spalding and Emmita Johnson have only been releasing music under the Beverly Bomber name since early this year, but they have already found a home in a washy groove filled with fuzzy pop. For more information, visit www.instagram. com/beverlybomber. Spalding, the lead singer and guitarist, is the latest to take The Lucky 13

What was the first concert you attended?

My first concert was the Backstreet Boys, live in Indianapolis, in 2000. I was 9 years old, and like most people, I aspired to be a member of a boy band.

What was the first album you owned?

My very first album was Middle of Nowhere by Hanson, another boy band. (No surprises here.) This was in 1997. My first rock album was Reinventing Axl Rose by Against Me! This was in 2002.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I’m currently cycling between Shannon and the

Clams, The Spaceshits, Dirty Fences, Upchuck, and Snooper.

What artist, genre, or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Reggaeton. The songs sound the same. The singers sound bored.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Ramones, duh! (In ’77 or ’78.)

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

When I think guilty pleasure, I think Top 40 pop. I want to say Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey, but I am not ashamed of liking these artists. I don’t dislike things because of their popularity anymore. I like pop music. I write pop music!

What’s your favorite music venue?

Pappy and Harriet’s, the outdoor stage.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“This world, it owes you nothing,” from “Nothing” by The Groovie Ghoulies.

What band or artist changed your life?

The Mummies! In case the reader isn’t familiar with The Mummies, they are ’90s Bay Area garage-rock legends—not to be mistaken with Here Come the Mummies. I think this band single-handedly redirected my life’s entire trajectory. In middle school, I listened to pop punk.

In high school, I listened to emo. When I was 19, a friend turned me on to The Mummies, and all of a sudden, I only wanted to party and play rock ’n’ roll. For many years, that’s exactly what I did!

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’d ask Robert Johnson if he really met the devil down at the crossroads.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Good question. It would have to be a tear-jerking folk song, either “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver, or “I’ll Be Here in the Morning” by Townes Van Zandt. I hope that someone would slip in a track like “Hell” from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard for some comedic relief.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Static Age by Misfits.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Go listen to “Pleasant Place” by Beverly Bomber! It’s my wife’s favorite track off of our recently released debut, The Lungs EP.

NAME Samara Joy

MORE INFO At the age of 24, jazz singer Samara Joy already has three Grammy Awards to her credit; earlier this year, she nabbed the Grammy for Best Jazz Performance for her song “Tight.” Joy will close out the extended 2023-2024 McCallum Theatre season at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 15; tickets start at $63. For more information, visit

What was the first concert you attended?

Aretha Franklin at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center!

What was the first album you owned?

George Benson, Give Me the Night

What bands are you listening to right now?

Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, the Duke

Ellington Orchestra, and the Brian Lynch Big Band.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Drake.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Stevie Wonder live!

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Disney music.

What’s your favorite music venue?

SFJazz Center.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Now it seems the flame has gone away too soon. We will sing your song, though it’s not the same. Will a spark like yours ever burn again?” These are lyrics I wrote to Barry Harris’ “Now and Then.”

What band or artist changed your life? Betty Carter taught me how to be fearless and creative musically.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? I’d ask Duke Ellington what he thinks of the music scene as it relates to jazz today.

What song would you like played at your funeral? “Chelsea Bridge.”

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Dedication!, Duke Pearson.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Leontyne Price, “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore.”

It’s easy. Repair drips and leaks. A leak as small as the tip of a pen can waste more than 200 gallons per day. LiveWaterWise EVERY DROP COUNTS!


“Gather Round, Everyone”—a special event. By Matt Jones

Across 1. Mil. officers

6. Razor guy

11. Really quiet, on sheet music

14. Photoshop creator

15. Damages

16. Before, poetically

17. Friends character with a namesake hairstyle

19. Actor Pace

20. Pompousness

21. Co-founder of the Pittsburgh Penguins (with state senator Jack McGregor)

23. “___ Kleine Nachtmusik”

25. Burpee unit?

26. ___ Field (Mets ballpark)

27. 1976 best-seller that opens in The Gambia

29. “Straight, No Chaser” jazz pianist Thelonious

31. English actor who played Tywin Lannister on “Game of Thrones”

38. High points

41. 1984 superstate

42. Mess of a room

43. Nephrologist played by Hugh Laurie

46. Honeycomb locale

47. Mystik Dan, for one

51. Grocery store area

53. Discover rival

57. Critical hosp. department

58. Saturday Night Live alum (2000-2001) who was also on Mr. Show and Arrested Development

60. Course estimate

61. Prefix with raptor

62. Description of the five theme answers?

65. Flying fox, actually

66. Nebraska’s largest city

67. Actor Rami

68. Shady

69. Clearance events

70. Detroit soul singer Payne Down

1. Professional path

2. Barber’s “___ for Strings”

3. ___ Mountains (Appalachian range)

4. “Frankly,” in texts

5. Look at

6. “Golly!”

7. A la ___

8. Rocky character Apollo

9. NAFTA part, briefly

10. Ari Melber’s network

11. Some exercise bikes

12. Area in a crime drama

13. Cheat at cards, in a way

18. Stacks of wax

22. L as in “NATO”?

24. “... and so forth”

28. “Get outta here!”

30. It may have a fob

32. Crossworder’s dir.

33. Wrestler ___ Mysterio

34. “Well ___-di-frickin’dah!”

35. Music for Airports musician Brian

36. Char ___ (Cantonese-style

barbecued pork)

37. Morse code symbol

38. “It’s so annoying!”

39. Like the earliest life forms

40. What storm levels may indicate

44. Machinery part

45. Many, many millennia

48. Small wave

49. Climbed

50. Cry of epiphany

52. Misbakes like this one

53. Like some videos

54. Nip it ___ bud

55. Tofu beans

56. Surrealist sculptor Jean

58. Apple co-founder Steve

59. One of the Berenstain Bears

63. “Unbelievable” group of 1991

64. Rower’s paddle

© 2024 Matt Jones

Find the answers in the “About” section at!

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