COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT | NOVEMBER 2019
VOL. 7 | NO. 11
Meet two iconic members of the Coachella Valley music scene—who are also members of the valley’s LGBTQ community.
SEE BACK COVER FOR DETAILS
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 3
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
I’ll never forget June 26, 2015—the day that gay marriage became legal across the entire United States, thanks to a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision. It’s a day I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, and the sheer joy felt as everyone gathered in downtown Palm Springs to rally and celebrate was, in a word, glorious. We’ve come so far, most of us thought. Now, not even 4 1/2 years later, the mood of many of the people who gathered to celebrate in Palm Springs that night is decidedly different. Today, the mood is somber. And fearful. This mood has almost everything to do with actions taken by the Trump administration, which has been downright awful to and Editor/Publisher for the LGBTQ community. For starters: Jimmy Boegle The U.S. Supreme Court is currently debating whether it should be legal for staff writer employers to fire employees based on Kevin Fitzgerald their sexuality and/or trans status. Let me restate that slightly differently: The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2019, is currently coveR and feature design debating whether it should be legal Beth Allen for employers to discriminate against employees on a basis that has nothing Contributors to do with job performance. The Trump Max Cannon, Kevin Carlow, Katie Finn, administration, for the record, thinks it Bill Frost, Bonnie Gilgallon, Bob Grimm, should be legal for employers to engage in Michael Grimm, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, such discrimination. Of course, that’s not the only matter Andy Lara, Matt King, Paul Koudounaris, involving rights that is now up in the air Keith Knight, Brett Newton, Dan Perkins, under the Trump administration. Trans Guillermo Prieto, L.A. Rowell, Anita men and women are now banned from Rufus, Jen Sorenson, Robert Victor joining the military. Abortion rights are under attack nationwide—and it’s possible the U.S. Supreme Court could wind up The Coachella Valley Independent print deliberating the issue, even though Roe edition is published every month. v. Wade has been supposedly settled law All content is ©2019 and may not be for 46 years. Even gay marriage could get published or reprinted in any form relitigated, if the Trump administration without the written permission of the gets its way. All of this is why, when the LGBTQ publisher. The Independent is available free of charge throughout the Coachella community gathers to celebrate Greater Palm Springs Pride, the usually celebratory Valley, limited to one copy per reader. mood will be tinged with a bit of sorrow. Additional copies may be purchased Of anger. Of fear. for $5 by calling (760) 904-4208. The Fortunately, there are a lot of reasons— Independent may be distributed only by local reasons especially—to justify the the Independent’s authorized distributors. aforementioned celebratory mood at Pride. You can read about two of those reasons The Independent is a proud member and/or supporter in our special Pride cover package this of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, month. Turn to Page 16 to read about two CalMatters, Get Tested Coachella Valley, the Local fantastic LGBTQ locals who are working Independent Online News Publishers, the Desert to improve and expand our local music Business Association, the LGBT Community Center of scene: Brad Guth, the openly gay owner of the Desert, and the Desert Ad Fed. The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert, a former (and current, sort of) metal bar; and DJ Sugarfree, aka Noemi Rodriguez, one of the valley’s top DJs, who is taking steps to improve and diversify the local underground music scene. Welcome to the November 2019 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent. Thanks for reading, as always, and contact me if you have questions or comments at the email address below. —Jimmy Boegle, email@example.com Mailing address: 31855 Date Palm Drive, No. 3-263 Cathedral City, CA 92234 (760) 904-4208 www.cvindependent.com
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 5
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS S
BY ANITA RUFUS
he is an accomplished actress, teacher, wife and mother—a woman who makes a difference in the community. Jane Fessier, 68, was born and raised in San Rafael in Northern California. “I’m a perfect combination of my parents,” she says. “My mother was witty and an observer of life. She was the one person I could go to, always so loving and patient.” Fessier’s father was the ultimate salesman—a real estate broker and storyteller with an aggressive nature. “He could always fill up a room; everybody wanted to be around him,” Fessier says. “But he was somewhat impatient. I work on that constantly.” to really feel it.” Her parents moved to the Coachella Valley Once in the desert, Fessier tried out for when her father got involved in the mobilesome local theater roles. During the 1980s, home business—and he encouraged her to she worked in Palm Springs productions of follow. Death of a Salesman, Oliver and Man of La “I was in my mid-20s and had been doing Mancha, appearing opposite veteran actor shows in the San Francisco area, but I wasn’t Nehemiah Persoff. making much money,” Fessier says. “I had “When I was doing Man of La Mancha, the worked with my dad before, and he said, ‘You director told me I had done fine in rehearsals, have to come down here. The market is upscale, but that each time, I had done the same and there’s lots of money to be made.’ I lived performance,” Fessier says. “Persoff was waiting with them in a mobile home. I remember the for me onstage, and I was to sing the song highlight of my day was coming home and about what was happening after my character seeing what my mom had made for dinner! I had been raped. The director told me to close wanted to make enough money working with my eyes—and then he slapped me, literally my father so I could go back to the Bay Area.” knocking me against the wall. Then he told me Fessier was often named the most-humorous to go out there and sing it. And it worked. I was student by her classmates. totally in the moment.” While the move worked, “I could be goofy and silly,” she laughs. Fessier says she was outraged the director After learning to play the cello, her mother resorted to violence to motivate her—and encouraged her to study theater. While that at that time, she did not feel empowered attending community college, Fessier was enough to object. exposed to Stanislavski’s “method” style of Fessier’s plans to return to the Bay Area fell acting—a way of getting into the motivation of by the wayside when she met the man who a character to develop a realistic portrayal. would become her husband—Bruce Fessier, who “I remember once I was told to think about recently retired as the arts and entertainment something that I felt bad about, so I thought writer for the The Desert Sun. about how I had once hurt somebody, and I “In 1983, the director of Man of La started crying,” Fessier says. “I realized you have Mancha ushered me into a room where Bruce interviewed me,” she says. He later reviewed the show. “I hoped I’d be good—I never wanted to be an actress who wasn’t good. Well, when the review came out, it was a rave! Then Bruce called and asked me out to a party with Kirk and Michael Douglas. I said, ‘I’ll let you know.’ My mom said, ‘Are you crazy?!’ Six weeks later, we were sharing an apartment.” After 35 years of marriage, Jane acknowledges that Bruce is the local star. “Being married to Bruce, I find I’m standing next to him when he’s the one people want to interact with, so I can either be very shy— or the life of the party, without feeling any pressure,” she says. “I joke about how my father married me off, and then he and my Jane Fessier in Hats Off to American Entertainment, mother went back north.” a children’s show that she directed and starred in back in 1993. After their two sons came along—Clay, now
Meet Jane Fessier—wife, mother and teacher of the next generation of theater professionals
31, and Parker, 29—Fessier began teaching youngsters. “I had done some shows in the Bay Area with kids, and I enjoyed it,” she says. “Bruce is a great writer, and I directed and starred in one of his musical revues before the kids were even in kindergarten.” Fessier worked with the CVRep Conservatory for six years. “I built an incredible program, and I’m so proud of it,” she says. “Unfortunately, I was somewhat shocked, even insulted, when they decided to shake up their pay structure, but the truth is that I had outgrown the program by then. I’m so excited about starting to work now with the Musical Theatre University at Rancho Mirage High School, where I’ll be working with third- to eighth-graders through the Palm Springs Unified School District. The MTU students are being prepared to pursue a career in musical theater, and some of them will go straight to Broadway. The program is that good! “When David Green (the founder and executive/artistic director of MTU) called me
and asked if I would consider becoming part of their family, I didn’t have to hesitate for a moment before saying yes,” Fessier says. Fessier projects a calm, warm, open personality. She and her husband are clearly in love and have built a family anyone could envy. “We both know we’re very lucky,” she says, “and we don’t take anything for granted. We respect each other. We’re very close with our sons as well. Parker is an entrepreneur in San Diego, a real math whiz. Clay is a successful animator in Los Angeles. He has a girlfriend of five years.” Fessier laughs. “I honestly wish they’d get married so I can be a grandparent. I want a grandchild while I can still hold one! I have to say, this is the best time of my life—right now.” Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal.” Her show That’s Life airs weekdays on iHubradio, while The Lovable Liberal airs from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays. Email her at Anita@LovableLiberal. com. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday at CVIndependent.com.
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CANNABIS CONCERNS C
by kevin fitzgerald
asey Bahr, the owner of Revive Wellness Center, Spa and Salon, was notified by his landlord last year that his business would have to vacate the spaces Revive had occupied for 15 years. Why? A new cannabis dispensary and lounge was moving into the same building—and that meant Revive would need to leave its home at 353 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Bahr had four weeks to find a new location capable of housing the multi-faceted operation he and his team had built since 2003. “We had about four weeks to vacate, and during that time, it took us every minute to go through all the things that had accumulated, to clean things out and get ready to vacate,” Bahr Also, the financial income from that business said. “According to California law, you cannot disappeared.” have a medical practice in the same contiguous What did the city of Palm Springs do to help space as a salon or a spa. Since we had three out Revive? separate areas (at 353 S. Palm Canyon), we “They were absent—completely absent, were able to have the two separate businesses. and there were no discussions with us, as But (when we were searching for a new the current tenants, regarding the new pot location), there wasn’t a suitable space to business,” said Bahr, who moved Revive’s accommodate both businesses in proximity to medical practice to Kaptur Plaza at 650 E. each other—so we just had to close the salonTahquitz Canyon Way. “I don’t know that spa, because we had to maintain the patient it’s really their purview to worry about that; care from the medical practice.” they just kind of let the chips fall where they That closure meant a loss of income for may. But from what I’ve heard, they weren’t Bahr—and a loss of jobs for his employees. considering the impact on (existing) businesses “All of our roughly 12 employees (on the when they took an interest in promoting spa and salon side) had to find other places pot businesses in the city of Palm Springs. to work, and a lot of them had been with us Everywhere they allow those places to exist, for a number of years,” Bahr said. “It was a big the impact on the businesses continues today.” financial loss to us. We bought the business Veronica Goedhart is the director of the for $320,000 in 2003, and we had done about Palm Springs Department of Special Program $100,000 worth of improvements in that Compliance, which oversees cannabis-related facility. We had to leave it all. The furnishings, businesses in the city. She said the city has had the cabinetry and the flooring can’t be taken to make multiple changes to its regulations as with you. So, from an asset point of view, it the new legal-marijuana business has developed. was close to a half-million dollars that we lost.
Marijuana has moved into downtown Palm Springs—and some neighboring businesses are suffering as a result
“There’s an evolution going on at the state and federal level, as the (industry) is so young and in its infancy,” Goedhart said. “It’s constantly evolving and changing. We saw three sets of state regulations before the final regulations were introduced. We have to make adjustments to make sure that all of our laws are in symmetry with what the state has. There are potentially more changes to come at the federal level, too.” Amid all the changes, Goedhart said she has made a concerted outreach effort on the city’s behalf. “We are working with our ONE-PS (coalition of Palm Springs neighborhood groups), and I’ve spoken with them directly,” she said. “Also, I’ve spoken to the (Main Street) Palm Springs merchant association with regard to the impact of the cannabis businesses on our community. We’ve been increasing our communication with them and listening to them and considering their feedback. I think that before that communication was taking place, (there was a) fear of the unknown. But they seem to be very receptive to the communication, and they are very receptive to the changes that will be coming forward with planning and with, potentially, a ‘green zone’ where we can direct cannabis cultivation to eliminate it from being so close to the city.” However, with several marijuana businesses open in downtown Palm Springs—and more coming—some neighboring businesses have indeed been having issues, especially regarding odor. I visited a number of shops situated adjacent to the Coachella Valley Green Dragon dispensary, in the former Revive building at 353 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Most of the people in the businesses (other than, of course, Revive) near Coachella Valley Green Dragon—a dispensary which will soon also include a lounge—said the cannabis business has had no noticeable negative impact on them. Meanwhile, up the street at the recently opened Harvest House of Cannabis dispensary at 312 N. Palm Canyon Drive, staff at some of the surrounding stores and offices expressed uneasiness—and the smell of marijuana was definitely noticeable inside one of them. Most of the staff members and business owners did not want to speak for attribution, but said the odor was worst in the mornings and would dissipate as the day went along. Others commented that the odor was present sometimes on the sidewalk out front. The most positive response came from Scott Jones, vice president of Imagine It! Media, who went
Harvest House of Cannabis recently opened at 312 N. Palm Canyon Drive—and some neighboring businesses say odor is an issue. KEVIN FITZGERALD
on record to say, “Harvest HOC has been a good neighbor—so far.” When people at nearby businesses were asked if the city had been in touch with them regarding the arrival of Harvest HOC, I was told emphatically that there had been no communication at all. Also, it was pointed out that if an entrepreneur wants to sell alcohol—even just beer and wine—a sign must be posted on the front door or window of the business for 30 days, as per California’s Alcoholic Beverage Control organization. For cannabis, that is not required. Goedhart conceded that the city has learned some lessons as cannabis businesses have moved into downtown Palm Springs. “One thing we hadn’t realized was that with the (cannabis) businesses going into existing buildings, we had to make sure that they were taking precautions for odor control,” Goedhart said. “We had to make sure that all of our businesses are operating with plans that ensure there is no odor impact on the surrounding areas. We’re going to be introducing some new laws with regard to odor-control violations, and we’ll be implementing penalties for businesses that aren’t compliant. We’re actively working to ensure that any problems that could arise are addressed even before they happen. We’re working really hard with our community, and we’re working with our cannabis-business owners who are actually very responsive, very open and very helpful.” Bahr, however, expressed concern about other existing downtown business owners as more marijuana businesses move in. “It cost us a lot—and it sounds like there are other businesses that are experiencing the same result as we did,” he said. “It costs a lot to set up a building.”
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 7
BIRDIES AND BOGIES A
by kevin fitzgerald
while back, local media went crazy over Braden Bernaldo, a 14-year-old Palm Desert High School sophomore. In July, the golf prodigy was selected as one of just 78 youth members, boys and girls, of the nationwide First Tee organization to play in the annual Juniors Competition—and that meant Bernaldo was going to head to the 2019 Pure Insurance Championship. The tournament is a regular tour stop on the PGA Champions senior schedule. Each of the junior golfers, as they’re known, would be paired in competition with one of the senior PGA pros for three rounds of play. “One early morning late in this past July, we had to wake up at 4 a.m.,” Bernaldo said when Poppy Hills on Friday, and a 66 at the parthe Independent sat down with him recently 72 Pebble Beach course on Saturday. He and at the First Tee of the Coachella Valley’s Armour survived the cut easily, and were in a headquarters in Palm Desert. The reason: tie for sixth place heading into the final round The announcement of the junior participants on Sunday, at Pebble Beach. was being made on Morning Drive, the show Alas, on Sunday, the wheels came off—and that airs on the Golf Channel from 7 to 9 a.m. they wound up in 23rd place. What went wrong? Eastern time. “I don’t know,” Bernaldo said thoughtfully. How did Bernaldo react when his name was “I guess it was a combination of our mistakes announced? not fitting in the right spots. Since it was best “I was standing there in shock,” Bernaldo ball, he would have a couple of blow-up holes, said. “I couldn’t move. It was unbelievable and I would, too. … It was bad. He didn’t knowing that I was going to attend a oncemake any birdies in the final round, whereas I in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was very made four. But all those bogies that he made grateful. My parents, on the other hand, were and I made, they covered up all those birdies, jumping and, like, screaming and waking up and we shot over par.” That final round score the rest of my siblings.” was 73, sliding Bernaldo into 23rd—last So Bernaldo headed off to the legendary among the junior players who made the cut. Poppy Hills Golf Club and Pebble Beach Golf But golf—and life, some would say—are Links courses in Northern California for the not all about finishing in first with a trophy tournament, which took place Sept. 27-29. in hand. Proponents of the First Tee program And how did things go? believe that maxim to be true. The goal is to At first … they went really well for Braden imbue each of the talented youngsters with and his pro partner, Tommy Armour III. an appreciation of, and the tools to practice, After the initial two rounds, Bernaldo had the organization’s nine core values: honesty, distinguished himself by shooting a 65 at
Palm Desert’s Braden Bernaldo, 14, looks back at a golf experience of a lifetime
integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. Bernaldo said those valuable character traits came in handy during his weekend at Pebble Beach. “Having it be a struggle out there, and barely playing the courses (before), took perseverance,” he said. “And respect (came into play), having to fill in your divots, or placing the flag on the fringe so it doesn’t ruin the greens. All sorts of things just went together. Communication was a part of going there, and building new relationships with people. To this day, us juniors still are in contact with each other and hold group chats. It’s really awesome. I also made other relationships with adults I met up there, and I’m keeping in contact with them through email.” What are the best memories he has taken away from the experience? “In the final round, (it was) hole 17, obviously the most iconic par-3,” Bernaldo said. “The pin was on the left side of the green, and the wind was blowing into us. I
just took a knock-down 5 iron, hit it within 6 feet (of the pin), and made birdie, fortunately. “Things went downhill on 18, but … ,” he added with a laugh. The off-course events impressed him as well. “The evening activities that they set up for the juniors were unbelievable experiences,” he said. “Especially the pairings-reveal with all of the professionals and their family members there. We got to interact with them and other juniors, and that was amazing.” Bernaldo said he’s anxious to get back out on a course, since he has been laboring hard to catch up on school work since his return from Pebble Beach. He high hopes for the Palm Desert High School golf team this upcoming season, which begins in February. “From the team aspect, the whole goal for us was building our relationships between each other. In previous years, (the team members) just weren’t strong with each other, connection-wise,” Bernaldo said. “But we were, and I believe that’s why we had many successes last year.”
ELECT SCOTT MYER to Palm Springs City Council, District 1. Civil Rights Attorney Scott Myer has represented the LGBTQ com m unity for 3 decades including civil rights, discrim ination, harassm ent, retaliation & wrongful term ination cases. Scott Myer has represented only the VICTIMS, and unlike others, has NOT represented the harassers, perpetrators or discriminators, nor the businesses, companies and managers that do nothing to stop it. Further, Scott Myer does NOT work for a law firm representing these corporate malfeasors & their managers, who defend against these LGBTQ victims, either.
Palm Desert High School sophomore Braden Bernaldo, in front of the First Tee course outside the organization’s Palm Desert headquarters. KEVIN FITZGERALD
Paid for by Scott Myer for Palm Springs City Council, District 1, 2019 – FPPC ID# 1417291. CVIndependent.com
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A FINAL RESTING PLACE P
by paul koudounaris
eople start to think about cemeteries this time of year—and the Coachella Valley has no lack of them, including the burial spots of numerous celebrities and other luminaries. Yet the most intriguing cemetery of all, where some of the desert’s most beloved denizens have been laid to rest, remains nary an afterthought to even longtime residents. This would be Haven for Pets on Dillon Road in Desert Hot Springs, one of the oldest continually operating pet cemeteries in California—and to this day, the only officially licensed animal graveyard in Riverside County. Pet cemeteries represent a curious subset among burial grounds. Many people know little to nothing about them, being more familiar with the fantasy horror version of them thanks to Stephen King. They are, in fact, a relatively new idea. sounding of taps or final military honors for But in 1881, a dog named Cherry died one of America’s great dogs. Other people in London. Since her favorite place to romp ruminated over this injustice, too. The desert was Hyde Park, the bereaved owners asked towns were becoming increasingly modern the keeper of the Victoria Gate, who lived and sophisticated, and certainly their residents in a small house inside the park grounds, if loved their pets no less than people in the big they could bury her in his lawn. He agreed. cities. Wasn’t it about time for a pet cemetery Other people whose pets had passed away in the Coachella Valley? approached him with similar requests, and he Building and caring for a pet cemetery continued to agree. It wasn’t long before there wouldn’t be easy, however, especially in the was a flourishing cemetery next to his cottage. challenging desert climate. But the idea When the gatekeeper’s lawn was full, wouldn’t die, and an anonymous donor even a much-larger burial ground for animals contributed $20,000 to the local Humane was opened an hour north of London in Society, with the stipulation that part of it Molesworth; soon after, one was founded in go toward founding a cemetery for animals. Paris. Others were opened in Germany and Finally, in 1961, it was decided to build one Holland. The United States didn’t lag far adjacent to Dogtown. behind, with the first public pet cemetery In the 1950s, Dogtown was a full-service, opening in Hartsdale, N.Y., in 1896. Americans first-class operation, owned by an Englishman embraced the idea, and over the next couple named Joe Dabbs, who had gotten his start of decades, similar burial sites popped up all as a veterinary assistant at a Beverly Hills along the East Coast. animal hospital and then made a name for It would be a couple of decades more before himself grooming celebrities’ dogs. The desert pet cemeteries made it to the West Coast, and offered him a similar clientele, and Dogtown the impetus for the local pet cemetery dates had a monopoly on well-heeled patrons from back to the death of a war hero in 1956: Fritz, Palm Springs, including Liberace and Louella a heavily muscled German shepherd, was born Parsons’ daughter, Harriet. in 1939. At the time, the country’s militaryDabbs sold Dogtown off to another pair of dog program will still in its nascent stages, so Beverly Hills transplants in 1959: Charles and when World War II broke out, promising dogs Jane Stewart, who had for 12 years attended like him were offered up by their families for to a similar high-end canine clientele while service. Fritz initially served as a sentry dog with the Coast Guard, but was later transferred operating Hollywood Kennels near Santa to the Army, where he put in a three-year stint. Monica Boulevard and Doheny Drive. Planning for the cemetery began: A 2 1/2 acre A natural leader among dogs, he provided parcel was laid out fronting the east side of new recruits an example to emulate in order Dillon Road, and the cemetery was named to teach them how to climb barricades and Haven for Pets, even though it is now more complete difficult jumps. commonly referred to as Pet Haven. By 1964, After the war, Fritz was retired to his family pets were being laid to rest; nearly 2,000 have in Palm Springs—with an honorable discharge been placed there since. and a certificate of faithful service. But when Anyone who has ever had a pet die—and the aches and pains of a long life finally this would be most Americans—knows the overcame the warrior at the age of 17, there pain involved in their passing. It involves was no place to bury him with due honors. not only grief, but also a feeling of failure, as Fritz was cremated, and the local newspaper the pet owner is left to watch helplessly as a noted with sadness how the lack of a local companion that gave its love unconditionally pet cemetery meant that there would be no CVIndependent.com
The history behind Desert Hot Springs’ pet cemetery, Haven for Pets
Liberty, Gerald Ford’s dog during his presidency, is buried at Haven for Pets. Paul Koudounaris
and from the innocence of its heart withers away—and there are no accepted rituals to mark the passing of an animal like there are with humans. This can make closure all the more difficult, but burial is in itself a form a ritual, a means by which grieving pet owners might find some measure of solace and a place to return to as a means of remembrance. People in the pet-cemetery business know this full well. They are dedicated to meeting this need, and the owners tend to be people whose hearts are filled with gold—and whose wallets are decidedly not, because no one has ever gotten rich off of animal funerals. Passed down through the Stewart family and now owned by Charles Jr., Haven for Pets is indeed not a profitable venture. It loses money as often as it makes it, and much of the upkeep is thanks to volunteers. But from the outset, the cemetery was as much of a public service as a business. Catering to a far more humble clientele than Dogtown’s salon, the going rate for burials in the early days was only $35, and wooden caskets were handmade on site and simple. (In fact, they still are, by Charles Jr.’s son.) But the presence of the hoi polloi didn’t put off the celebrities. Liberace placed six of his dogs here, under headstones that list their owner as “Lee,” a nickname common among his close friends. His fans sometimes come by to this day and leave flowers on the graves, or little totems related to their owner. Other prominent pet owners include Michael
Landon, who has a dog buried here, as does composer Jimmy Van Heusen, the winner of four Oscars for Best Song. But the most notable burial of all is a golden retriever by the name of Liberty, the companion of President Gerald Ford. Given to him by his daughter Susan as a puppy in 1974, Liberty remained the nation’s first pet for the duration of Ford’s presidency. By all accounts a loving and delightful dog, Liberty was popular with the Washington press corps and frequently photographed alongside the president. In addition, she made history on September 14, 1975, as the first dog to ever give birth in the White House. From her litter of nine puppies, one was kept by the president. Named Misty, she is buried alongside her mother. Liberty’s grave gives Haven for Pets a rare honor: The only other first pet in a publicly accessible pet cemetery is Richard Nixon’s dog Checkers at Bideawee Pet Memorial Park on Long Island. Let us not forget about cats, because one of America’s most heroic felines rests here as well. Samantha was a stray black kitten who walked into a Vallejo, Calif., apartment building in 1971. One of the families living there took her in—a good thing, as it turned out: Five years later, a fire broke out in the middle of the night. Fast asleep, the 44 human residents were unaware, but vigilant Samantha smelled the smoke. She started mewing wildly to wake up her own family, and then ran out into the
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 9
hall and howled until she had woken up the entire building. Everyone escaped, and she was awarded a medal for heroism from the American Humane Society. Her family later settled in Rancho Mirage, and she was buried here when she passed in 1982. But death is ruthlessly democratic, and walking through the rows of stones, the high and mighty are no more prominent than the humble pets alongside them. In fact, it is often the latter who stand out, since an animal does not need fame or distinction to earn a human’s love. “The most perfect best friend.” “Always loving, always there.” “There will never be another like you.” “You were my only friend.” “You gave everything and asked for nothing.” “More dearly loved than life itself.” Nowadays, the grounds often seem in disrepair, although probably they always
did, even at the outset. It’s the desert, after all. But visitors who see the cemetery as ramshackle are looking with their eyes instead of their hearts, because the latter cannot help but find the true beauty of this hallowed ground—found in the love that is expressed here. That love is why local residents more than a half-century ago were so determined that there be a pet cemetery here—and why it is still here today. Paul Koudounaris has a doctorate in art history and is the author of three award-winning books about the visual culture of death. In addition, he researches and publishes on the history of domestic animals. His forthcoming book, A Cat’s Tale (MacMillan/Holt, 2020) will be a feline history narrated by his cat Baba, with whom lives in Yucca Valley.
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CANDIDATE Q&A O
by kevin fitzgerald
n Tuesday, Nov. 5, Palm Springs residents living in the newly drawn Districts 1, 2 and 3 will head to the polls to elect three City Council members. These elections are the first step in the city’s transition from at-large to district-based representation, to comply with the California Voting Rights Act. The changeover will be complete after the November 2020 election of council members in Districts 4 and 5. Another change: The city will no longer have a directly elected mayor; instead, Palm Springs will join most other valley cities in designating a councilmember as mayor for a year on a rotating basis. The Independent recently spoke to the three candidates running for the new District 2 seat: Dennis Woods, Peter Maietta and Adrian Alcantar. can maintain that housing (solution) by helping The Independent also reached out to the three to get them rent subsidies, or get them work. candidates running for the new District 3 seat. Those programs are working, but we need to Both incumbent Geoff Kors and challenger give them a boost. Michael J. Dilger spoke with us at length, What’s really fantastic to hear is that there’s while candidate Alan Pettit declined to be a $10 million grant in the pipeline from the interviewed. state to Palm Springs to deal with (this issue). Here are their answers—edited for style, We don’t know what strings may be attached clarity and, in some cases, length—presented in the order in which the candidates will appear on to that money if the governor approves it, but I would like to see us graduate people from the ballot. To read all of the questions and the shelters to homes. I would love to see us set complete answers, visit CVIndependent.com. up kind of a “one-stop shop” where you can get all your services in one place: You can get a District 2 Candidate Dennis shower; you can talk to social-services people; Woods, Land-Use and you can get some counseling if you need it for Transportation Planner/Palm an addiction problem. Springs Planning Commission I completely support the work of the Chair, 59 current City Council, and they have set up a What do you believe is the single most subcommittee that is trying to get all the socialimportant and immediate issue facing the service agencies to coordinate and collaborate. city of Palm Springs? When they come together in a room, and they There’s actually more than one priority facing share thoughts and resources, I think that is the city at this point, but an immediate issue an absolute positive, and I would continue to facing the city is that of homelessness, because support that type of collaboration. I think it’s an humanitarian issue as well as (a challenge for) our brand as a city. Since homelessness was the topic of our I think we have right around 200 homeless second question, would you like to talk (persons) in Palm Springs. The programs that about your next-most-important issue? we have are working effectively, but we need The next important issue is affordable housing. to graduate people out of a shelter and into We have a very nice stock of market-rate permanent housing. The city has been very housing being built, and we have an existing effective in setting up a shelter to get the stock as well. For many, the price point of homeless out of the heat and into a safe place these homes is cost-prohibitive if they have a to sleep in the evenings. Then in the daytime, moderate to low income. I think what we really we, along with the Well in the Desert, have need to do is to focus on trying to provide established cooling centers. Also, through the a mix of housing for people of all economic Well and others, there are a variety of places backgrounds to live in. I don’t think that we’ve around town where (one) can get a meal. I think had an apartment complex (plan) come through all of those are positive things. Another positive the city during the almost two years that I’ve thing is that at the cooling center, there are been on the Planning Commission. There’s a people from Martha’s Village and Kitchen who need for apartment complexes in this city. provide wrap-around services and try to figure There are two low-income housing projects in out why a person is homeless—whether they the pipeline now that are actually both (located) have hit hard economic times, or if they have in my district, which is interesting. As part of psychological issues or have addiction issues. I a settlement agreement, (the city) got a parcel think those services are important to provide behind Home Depot, off of Gene Autry, that so that if we get someone into housing, they might provide great potential, when combined CVIndependent.com
We talk with Palm Springs City Council District 2 candidates Dennis Woods, Peter Maietta and Adrian Alcantar; and District 3 candidates Michael J. Dilger and Geoff Kors
Palm Springs City Council District 2 candidates Dennis Woods, Peter Maietta and Adrian Alcantar.
with the $10 million from the state, to do some housing as well as the (homeless services and shelter) center that I talked about earlier. So, I think my second issue would be to provide more affordable housing to the people of Palm Springs. It’s really going to take a multi-pronged, multifaceted approach and a huge amount of collaboration to build this type of housing. What’s your idea of the perfect night out in Palm Springs? There are many perfect nights out in Palm Springs. (Laughs.) For me, a perfect evening would be to start off with beverages at the very nice midcentury home of a friend. You kind of all group there. From there, you go to one of our fine restaurants and do some nice “al fresco” dining. After the dining, as a gay man, I would head over to do a little dancing on Arenas, or some singing at one of the bars that does videosinging, and then call it an evening. I think that would be a perfect evening in Palm Springs. Now, another perfect evening would be taking a beautiful night hike under the starry skies with some friends. A good place to do that would be going up Tramway Road, where it’s easy to see the roadway at night and not stumble. You can enjoy the lights of the city and the stars since you’re away from the light pollution.
District 2 Candidate Peter Maietta, Businessman, 51
What do you believe is the single most important and immediate issue facing the city of Palm Springs? That’s an easy one for me to answer: I believe it is affordable housing. One reason why I feel that way is because I live in a workingclass district which I’ve been canvassing since April. What I hear primarily here in District 2 is that many people are struggling to make ends meet and just to stay in their homes. For them to look forward to continuing to live and work in Palm Springs is difficult. As you know, housing prices are higher here in Palm
Springs, and they’re actually much higher than what working-class people can afford. Fundamentally, I think we need to get in front of this now, and to do what we need to build more affordable housing family units. I know there will be one (affordable-housing development) going up in our district, and the Community Housing Opportunities Corporation is doing it. They’re in process of securing funding, but it’s fully approved. It’s actually quite in keeping with the architectural style of the area. It’s the nicest affordable development that I’ve ever come across. There’s a nice play area for children and a dog run. It’s great, and it’s actually geared toward one-bedroom and three-bedroom units, so for families or singles or couples. That will be the first (such development) that’s gone up here in 10 years, and I think that they should be spread throughout the city. We need to do our part to make sure (this option) is available to a lot of people, but in every district, not just concentrated in one. Also, I’m definitely in favor of having all developers, building anywhere in the city, allot a certain percentage of new construction that they’re working on solely toward affordablehousing units. If a developer is unable or unwilling to do that, then I would like to see a cash (payment) received by the city that’s equal to the projected cost of building those affordable units in that particular development. That money can go into a general fund, so that more affordable housing can be developed throughout the entire city equally. Right now, Palm Springs is behind where it needs to be in addressing this issue. What grade would you give the city of Palm Springs regarding its response to date to the homelessness problem? What has the city done well, and what future actions and policies would you support? I would have to say that the city of Palm Springs is a shining example of what can be
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CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS done for homelessness. In conjunction with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments and the Desert Healthcare District (DHCD), Palm Springs, along with most of the Coachella Valley, is moving toward a “housing first” model. “Housing first” is an approach (to alleviating homelessness) by quickly and successfully connecting individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness to permanent housing. There can be no preconditions or barriers, like being sober or requiring any other treatment or services, set for (anyone) as participation requirements. There’s no one cause for homelessness, and there’s no one cure for it, but by giving people shelter and access to whatever services they need, it can help end the cycle of homelessness for at least the one individual. And it will help integrate them back into society. So, you’re ending homelessness one person at a time. It’s far more likely that cycle can be broken for someone if they are already living somewhere, and they have services wrapped around them. If there is no “housing first” approach, and people are just treated for an addiction or (rescued from) domestic violence, and if they are not housed and helped, then they just wind up back out on the streets. So, I think the city has a really good plan in this instance. The city is waiting to get $10 million from the state to go toward this problem. The DHCD has given $1 million, too. I believe that Palm Springs has put up a certain amount of money (for this issue) as well. So, there’s a good solid, strong plan. What’s your idea of the perfect night out in Palm Springs? You do know that I’m running for public office, and I haven’t had a carefree, fun night out in Palm Springs in months. (Laughs.) But I am looking forward to one. I’d start off by having dinner at one of the fabulous Mexican restaurants that we have here, because it’s my favorite kind of food. I’d have a margarita and then probably something deliciously unhealthy to eat. Then, to counteract that, I’d take a long walk, visit our local shops and just talk to people along the way.
District 2 Candidate Adrian Alcantar, Salon and Day Spa Owner, 37
What do you believe is the single most important and immediate issue facing the city of Palm Springs? In all honesty, it could be any one of a magnitude of issues, but I think we really need to focus on our (city’s) deficit. As a business owner, I’ve sat in on a City Council meeting where the city approved a two-year projected budget with a deficit of roughly $215,000. If I operated a business and approved a budget with a deficit, I wouldn’t be in business. That’s the bottom line. I look at pension liabilities, bonds
that are out on the convention center, and the mounting infrastructure improvements that need to be made on city-owned property, and it concerns me. With the new arena that is going to be built—I believe that it is inevitable—we have an opportunity right now to change the dynamic of the way the city does business. I really believe that (the arena) could be a new revenue stream for the city of Palm Springs that could positively impact the reduction of debt. Now, with the pension liability, I think we have about $192 million (accrued to date), and it’s continuously growing. Then you look at the additional lifetime medical benefits for city employees, and that’s another $100 million. And then there are the bonds that are out on the convention center and the airport. We just approved, I think, somewhere between $30-$50 million for a bond for the airport reconstruction of the baggage-claim area. And you look at police overtime, fire overtime, city staff pay— and it just continues to snowball. What grade would you give the city of Palm Springs regarding its response to date to the homelessness problem? What has the city done well, and what future actions and policies would you support? I would give the city of Palm Springs an “F.” I want to explain that this comes after the city of Palm Springs vacated a number of individuals from Sunrise Park. They removed these individuals and then moved a mobile command center into Sunrise Park to combat the mounting heroin and drug-related issues that were occurring. They have deemed this to be a public-safety and health issue. I commend them on their efforts, and I want to be very clear when I say that I value what they’re doing to take back the park and allow it to be a space that’s free for everyone. However—and this is where the grade comes into play—my big concern was that there were not any leaders of (nonprofit) communities, or leaders from the county, or leaders from other resources that are available to these (homeless) individuals, available at the time of vacating them. The night after (the city’s action), the Street Life Project went in to do a meal service, which they offer on a regular basis. It was published that there’s a temporary stop to that service, because the police department has placed a ban on feeding the homeless. Now, this is not humane. I also sat in a City Council meeting, and I listened to Chief Bryan Reyes—and I’m going to quote him on this—say that “homelessness is not a crime.” He said that in public testimony at that council meeting. But what we have done is criminalize individuals who want to help combat the crisis. They want to help by providing food or other services, and I think it’s wrong (to criminalize their service). We haven’t developed a plan, and we are
SECRETS TO SLOWER AGING—PART II
By Shonda Chase, FNP Nurse Practitioner, Co-owner, Artistic Director and Advanced Aesethetic Injector at Revive Wellness Centers in Palm Springs and Torrance, and Medweight, Lasers and Wellness Center in Irvine
ast month, I shared what most of our pa�ents’ goals for aging are. These characteris�cs include feeling more conﬁdent, looking 10 years younger, and looking more genuine and authen�c. One of our most important goals for our pa�ents is for them to become partners with us for their appearance goals. Wellness is an important part of that partnership. Here are two secrets on the wellness side to help everyone slow their aging. Partnership Secret No 1: Eat Less Sugar—I wish sugar-based foods didn’t taste so good. But what most people don’t know is that many categories of food end up becoming sugar-based during diges�on. Here some popular categories, besides desserts, that end up as sugar: • All grains • Fruits outside of their natural ripening season • Starchy foods • Alcohol (I know … sigh) Partnership Secret No. 2: Eat More Avocados—You may know that avocados are a super-food, but do you know why? The more collagen we can produce, the more youthful our appearance can be. Here are three of the many beneﬁts of ea�ng as many avocados as possible: • Avocados contain calcium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins A, Bs, C, E and K. These compounds increase hyaluronic acid produc�on and make our skin so�er. They also reduce inﬂamma�on from our environment and life’s stressors. • The healthy lipids in avocados help convert vitamins A, C and E— both in avocados and other foods—toward increasing our collagen and elas�n. Avocado’s lipids make these vitamins’ absorp�on 12 �mes more eﬀec�ve than not having avocados in our diet. • Avocado’s lipids keep our skin more supple and less irritated. Who knew avocado toast in the morning or at lunch, and guacamole at dinner, could be so important to our health and appearance? Next month, I’ll share the beneﬁts of ﬁber and some medical-grade topical products. Un�l then, keep the secrets.
You can email your individual ques�ons to Shonda Chase FNP or Allan Y. Wu MD, Revive’s cosme�c surgeon, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
continued on next page CVIndependent.com
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Candidate Q&A continued from Page 11 jumping through these strategic moves, but there is no public plan in place, and that’s what concerns me the most. Look at cities like Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. All of them have plans that are in place. Boston is a great example. They have leaders of the (nonprofit) communities come together at the table, because these are stakeholders in the community. In 2015, they realized they had an issue, and by working together, they instituted a plan with the city itself. (Palm Springs City Manager) David Ready is on record saying that homelessness in the city is not our issue, that it’s a county issue. And that’s wrong. It is everybody’s issue. It is a humanitarian issue. I will stand behind that (statement) 100 percent. Now, we need to come together as a working community to combat the crisis that is in front of us that we deal with on a daily basis. What’s your idea of the perfect night out in Palm Springs? For me, since I’ve lived close to downtown in the Movie Colony for years, and I’ve owned a business downtown for the last five years, I can literally walk into a restaurant and have a great meal, then go catch a movie and finish it off with some ice cream. During the winter months, it’s great, and it’s always the best to do just that.
District 3 Candidate Michael J. Dilger, Gig Worker (Formerly Ran for New York City Mayor and Congress; Also Running for U.S. President), 46
What do you believe is the single most important and immediate issue facing the city of Palm Springs? There are three things that I think need to be addressed: the security issues of Palm Springs, the “quality of life”—which includes the homelessness (situation) and the unfunded liabilities which amount to more than $300 million—and I’d like to include medicine and science. But for brevity, if I had to pick out the single most important issue facing Palm Springs, it would probably be the “quality of life”/security. If you look at current trends across the United States, we live in a very polarized political environment that has cascading effects such as police officers being shot, citizens (being) antagonistic toward the police, and you see it manifested in other areas, too, because it’s like a trickle-down effect. So, it’s quality of life. “Quality of life” is the single most important issue facing Palm Springs. And, under “quality of life” come security, homelessness and economic viability. These are very complex issues. I know you want an answer that will just reduce it down to one thing, but I can’t do that, because they’re all intertwined. But, if you’re asking me what would I do CVIndependent.com
CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS first if I’m elected to office, in the first 90 days, there are certain things I’d like to do. I believe in getting off on the right footing, and being very strong out there and doing a lot of things right away. So I’d like to talk to the police. As we move forward and evolve in the United States, we’re going to need new policing standards, because the old tactics are not going to work as effectively. Palm Springs is not a sleepy community any more. The big cities are growing larger, and policing in New York City now is not the same policing we had back in the 1970s. That wouldn’t be effective today, and what we’re doing right now is not going to be effective 10 years from now. The same goes for Palm Springs. So if you ask me what I would do in my first 90 days, I’d like to address a lot of key issues, like to talk to the police department and introduce new methodologies of policing. Then, I’d like to address the power structure of our community. You have underground power lines and above ground power lines, and yet you have entire blocks that are dark sometimes at around midnight. Now I know that some of these are planned outages, but a lot are unplanned, like when we have inclement weather, and for various other reasons, entire blocks just lose power. That’s not healthy during the summer; it’s not healthy really any time, and it’s just a very bad environment to have that. So I’ll work with the governor on that within my first 90 days. In the first 90 days, I think another important issue is security and the “quality of life,” and I’ll get the ball rolling on all these things. I talked to a security guard at Rite Aid in the Palm Canyon area, and he said there was a beauty store robbed. One (recent) Sunday at 11:30 a.m., two people came in; then they brought another guy in, and they all had guns, or two had guns or whatever the story is, and you can’t have that stuff. These are all things that I would address actually within the first 30 days, 60 days. I know how you get the ball rolling. And the most important thing is giving people safe (surroundings). What grade would you give the city of Palm Springs regarding its response to date to the homelessness problem? What has the city done well, and what future actions and policies would you support? The city of Palm Springs sprayed for mosquitoes over the summer time, and I think they’re continuing. It was around 2, 3, 4 a.m. in the morning, and I saw the helicopters. I deliver food. I’m a gig worker, so I was out then. I saw the helicopters, but I didn’t exactly know what they were doing. But then when I read about it in the paper, I thought, “Oh geez … they’re spraying.” So I’ve got to ask the question, “Did anyone get the homeless off the street before they sprayed?” … Regardless of whether or not they say the spray is innocuous, it’s not
innocuous. I looked up the chemicals. It’s not innocuous, you know. Anyway, that’s another story. But if the homeless weren’t removed off the streets prior to spraying, then I give Palm Springs a total “F”; even an “F”-minus. Come on. What’s your idea of the perfect night out in Palm Springs? The perfect night out … you know, whatever I do in life, I always seem to work a lot. I did have a date, though. I had a date about six months ago with this woman who was from Amsterdam. So, what did we do? We went to Ruby’s and had milkshakes and burgers, and afterward, we went to Starbucks. So, that seemed like a nice night out for me. I’m pretty simple.
District 3 Candidate Geoff Kors, Palm Springs City Council Member/Mayor Pro Tem, 58
What do you believe is the single most important and immediate issue facing the city of Palm Springs? The No. 1 issue facing Palm Springs is to ensure that we continue our economic growth, so that we can provide a high level of services to our residents, and address homelessness, the issue of affordable housing, infrastructure repairs and other matters that all take resources. Given CalPERS losing 40 percent of the pension money that local governments have paid in, we need to continue to build our reserves, as we’ve done over the last four years, and (continue to build) our economy, so that we can honor our pensions and our other obligations while continuing to move our city forward. Any specific thoughts on how you’d like to see the city maintain or generate more revenues? Our budget has grown substantially since the recession; I created and the council adopted a pension-reserve fund so that we could start putting money away to pay for future pension costs instead of having to make cuts to pay them. We have close to $40 million in reserves, more than double from when I was elected four years ago, and we have engaged in a number of programs to continue to pump our business community and spur economic development. I started a bimonthly meeting of a new Economic Development and Business Retention Subcommittee which I co-chair with Councilmember (Christy) Holstege. We have launched a number of new economic-incentive programs in order to keep our economy moving, and we’ve also created our “Uniquely Palm Springs” program to promote our local small businesses in Palm Springs, so that those will continue to fuel our economy and create jobs. What grade would you give the city of Palm Springs regarding its response to date to the homelessness problem? What has the
Palm Springs City Council District 3 candidates Michael Dilger and Geoff Kors.
city done well, and what future actions and policies would you support? I’ve served as the co-chair of the homelessness task force for the last four years, and part of that time, the city wasn’t doing very much other than contributing some funding to Roy’s, the homeless shelter that the county closed down three years ago. Homelessness, poverty and mental health are all issues that are the responsibility of the county under state law, and not cities. The county is the entity with a social-service department, and (it’s) the entity up until now that has received all the funding for investment purposes. Over the last three years, the city and the subcommittee I co-chaired have decided that given the lack of funding from the county, we needed to step up and fill that void. So, we’ve hired now two homelessness and health crisis teams that are on the ground seven days a week. We’ve put something into a number of programs, including the housing-first program; (we’ve) transitioned 200 residents into housing. And recently, Councilmember Holstege and I led an effort to work with Assembly member Chad Mayes to lobby legislative leadership and Gov. Newsom for direct funding to Palm Springs. The result was that we’ll be receiving $10 million to help address homelessness in Palm Springs. We’re the only city other than the largest 14 cities in the state to be receiving money. What’s your idea of the perfect night out in Palm Springs? For me, I think the perfect night out would be to make dinner on the barbecue and sit outside under the stars with my husband, James, and my dog, Dash, and have some quiet alone time in paradise. Being on council and having so many events that we all do, the thought of having a totally relaxing night and cooking outside is great. That’s not to say that there aren’t wonderful restaurants, and attractions, and theater, and other events to go to in Palm Springs. We have so many of them, and I enjoy doing (those things). But the perfect night would really be to just be outside—at this time of year, it’s just so beautiful out—enjoy the stars and spend time with the two beings that I love.
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 15
Don’t miss this month’s transit of Mercury Planets and Brightthe Stars in Evening Mid-Twilight you’ll across face of the sun—because For November, 2019 wait to see it again Thishave sky chartais 30-year drawn for latitude 34 degrees north, but may be used in southern U.S. and northern Mexico. N
By Robert Victor
he sky’s highlights in November include Mars and Spica forming a colorful pair before dawn on Nov. 10. Mercury crosses the sun Nov. 11 to join Spica and Mars a week later. Venus and Jupiter form a brilliant pair at dusk Nov. 23-24. The moon passes three bright evening planets Nov. 27-29. Our evening twilight chart for November shows Venus higher each evening at the same stage of twilight, while Jupiter and Saturn, dragged westward along with the starry background, appear lower. The panel of illustrations below from the Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar highlights the resulting spectacular gatherings of Nov. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 10 involving these planets. Planets at dusk: Begin looking low in the southwest about a half-hour after sunset to catch the two brightest planets, Venus (magnitude -3.9), Mercury transits across the face of the sun and Jupiter (-1.9, only one-sixth as bright). on Nov. 11. The disk of Mercury is tiny, only 10 They are 20 degrees apart on Nov. 4; 10 degrees arcseconds across, little more than 1/200th of apart on Nov. 14; and within 5 degrees, fitting the sun’s diameter. Use a telescope magnifying within a binocular field, Nov. 19-28. Don’t miss 50x to 100x with a solar filter securely installed this spectacular pair at its closest, 1.5 degrees over its front end, or use equipment to project an apart, on Nov. 23 and 24. image of the sun on a white screen or paper 1-2 Saturn, of magnitude +0.6, one-tenth as feet from the eyepiece. Mercury will appear as bright as Jupiter, is 22 degrees to the upper left a tiny black dot already near the center of the of Jupiter on Nov. 1; 19 degrees to the upper solar disk at 7:20 a.m., just more than an hour left of the Venus-Jupiter pair on Nov. 24; and after sunrise in the Coachella Valley. The leading 12 degrees to the upper left of Venus on Nov. edge of Mercury’s disk reaches the edge of the 30. Venus will pass 1.8 degrees from Saturn on sun near 10:03 a.m.; egress from the solar disk Dec. 10; by then, Jupiter will be almost gone. is complete 1.7 minutes later. The next transit The first, young crescent moon of a new cycle of Mercury visible in U.S. won’t be until May 7, appears within 6 degrees to the lower right of 2049, so you might want to catch this one! Jupiter on Nov. 27. Don’t miss the crescent In the days after the transit, Mercury rises moon within 3 degrees to the upper left of before sunrise, but is in a thin crescent phase, Venus on Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, and even too faint to be seen for several mornings. closer to Saturn on the next evening. Mercury brightens quickly, reaching magnitude Mornings: About one hour before sunrise, +0.7 by Nov. 19, within 12 degrees to the lower enjoy dim red Mars (magnitude +1.8) and blue left of Mars, and -0.1 by Nov. 22, within 10 Spica (+1.0), low in the east-southeast within degrees to the lower left of Mars. Once Mercury a five-degree binocular field Nov. 4-16. They’ll emerges from the solar glare, follow the striking appear closest on Nov. 10, as Mars passes 2.8 lineup of Spica, Mars and Mercury. Watch the degrees north (to the upper left) of Spica. The waning, old crescent moon slide downward past next two Mars-Spica pairings, in 2021 and Spica, Mars and Mercury, in order, Nov. 23-25, 2023, will be lost in the glare of the sun. Their while Mercury pauses 9.5 degrees to Mars’ lower ©ABRAMS PLANETARIUM Use this scale to measure angular distances between next visible pairing left. On Nov. 28, only 17 days after its transit, Planetarium business office: after this one: They’ll be 2.2 objects on diagrams below. SKY CALENDAR (517) 355-4676 degrees apart on Sept. 13, 2025. Mercury shines at magnitude -0.6 and20°stands at http://twitter.com/AbramsSkyNotes 0° 10° An aid to enjoying the changing sky http://abramsplanetarium.org/
Sunday, Nov 24, 2019 one hour after sunset
SAGITTARIUS Moon near
Wednesday, Mar 18, 2020 one hour before sunrise
Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019 45 minutes after sunset
Thursday, Nov 28, 2019 one hour after sunset
Friday, Mar 20, 2020 one hour before sunrise
Jupiter Mars Saturn
Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020 one hour before sunrise
John S. French, Robert C. Victor ISSN 0733-6314
Rare gathering of Moon and three bright outer planets within 9°.
Most compact gathering of three bright outer planets.
$12.00 per year, starting anytime, from Sky Calendar, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University, 755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824 or online at abramsplanetarium.org/skycalendar/
November's evening sky chart. ROBERT D. MILLER
Arcturus Deneb Vega
Evening mid-twilight occurs
o greatest elongation, from the sun. when Sun 20 is 9degrees below horizon. Nov. 1: 41 minutes after sunset. The morning twilight chart for November, 15: 42 " shows " "Spica and Mars at CVIndependent.com, 30: 42 " " " getting higher daily, while Mercury ascends to its highest position before month’s end. The panel of Sky Calendar illustrations also shows Mars passing Jupiter and Saturn in late March 2020, after the giant planets have emerged from behind the sun to join Mars in the morning sky. For a summary of planetary visibility in 201920, visit www.abramsplanetarium.org/msta. Check the website of the Astronomical Society of the Desert at www.astrorx.org and come to our free evening star parties offered monthly at two locations. Our primary, moreaccessible venue is the Visitor Center of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument (on Highway 74, within 4 miles south of Highway 111 in Palm Desert). Our next session there will be on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 6-9 p.m. Sawmill Trailhead, our high-
Saturn 8 15 22
Mercury Venus 1 1 Jupiter 8 8 15 22 29 15 29 22 Antares
altitude site (elevationMap 4,000 feet), will next by Robert D. Miller host sessions on Saturday, Nov. 23, starting at dusk. At various locations, some members will host observing sessions for special events, including the transit of Mercury and gatherings of planets. These might be announced on short notice, so periodically check the link to Impromptu Star Party Dates. You can also pre-register for one of the stargazing parties offered several times each month at the Rancho Mirage Library Observatory by visiting www. ranchomiragelibrary.org/observatory.html. Click on Stargazing Parties, then sign up for their eNewsletter to receive registration information. Wishing you clear skies! Robert C. Victor was a staff astronomer at Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing sky watching opportunities for a variety of groups in the Coachella Valley. CVIndependent.com
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Underground DJ Sugarfree’s goal—expanding the Coachella Valley’s dance-music interests and desires
Sugarfree is one of the valley’s top DJs—a regular at Bart Lounge and Chill Bar Palm Springs. Over the years, she’s played at virtually every club in the valley. However, DJ Sugarfree—her given name is Noemi Rodriguez—wants more. Specifically, she wants to take things underground. With friends and fellow female DJs Femme A and Aylex Song, the queer DJ from Indio is trying to provide the desert with an authentic rave experience—and the group is planning an underground electronic event that recalls the spirit of the famous “desert raves,” which Sugarfree and others would organize off Dillon Road in Indio around this decade’s start. But creating a scene is easier said than done. “Nowadays, most people listen to mainstream EDM music, and only care about events with big popular names on the lineup,” Rodriguez said. “Many people’s music listening is limited to what’s on the radio. They will drive out of town to go to a big rave, but they are uninterested in local underground events.” However, things are beginning to change. Sugarfree said she has noticed an increase in local appreciation for electronic music thanks to Coachella pre/post-parties and Splash House—but that appreciation is removed from the authentic/original rave experience, and it doesn’t compare to the current popularity of underground electronic music in Los Angeles. Sugarfree theorized that people in the desert today are conditioned to experience dance music at events that are limited by space and time—such as parties at clubs. “When people go to a bar, the party is over at 2 a.m., but oftentimes, people aren’t ready to go home,” she said. “Raves, on the other hand, are supposed to go until the sun comes up. Going to a rave used to mean you were staying out until 6 a.m. At clubs and venues, the party has to end—and we want to create an event where it doesn’t have to.” CVIndependent.com
Sugarfree—a nickname long ago given to her by raver friends, because she abstains from sugar due to her diabetic condition— also wants to change the conception of what it means to be a DJ. “A lot of people think being a DJ is just like being a jukebox,” she said with a laugh. “But that’s not true, because a real DJ will take the listener on a journey. The DJ will blend songs together so that multiple songs seem like one song which happens to be hours long. The goal is to take the listener on a memorable journey and make her feel good.” When you combine the magic of a DJ with the right setting, the experience can be moving. For Sugarfree, creating the perfect sonic adventure starts with asking the promoter what he or she is looking for. “I like to know ahead of time what they’re expecting, and then I try to find songs that have similar BPMs (beats per minute), have similar melodies or styles, and are in the same key,” Rodriguez said. “This is how you get the songs to flow smoothly. How the songs are going to sound sequenced together is very important.” Sugarfree started working with turntables in 2006, the year after she graduated from high school, but she was curating listening experiences for people as far back as middle school. “Everybody would come to me to make them mix CDs,” Rodriguez said, again with a laugh. “I was always talking about music, and I was into different kinds of music. I started making mix CDs, and I would take them to school and ask people to listen. After that, people started asking me to make CDs for them.” During her senior year in high school,
By ANDY LARA
DJ Sugarfree, aka Noemi Rodriguez. GENEVIEVE VERONICA
Sugarfree’s mother passed away rather suddenly from lupus complications and an encounter with an aggressive tuberculosis—a loss which still affects Sugarfree significantly. She struggled to complete her final year of high school, and though she did graduate, she was in a dark place. “It was the worst thing that ever happened to me,” she said. The opportunity to express herself via music saved Sugarfree. “After high school, I befriended a girl who had DJ equipment, and I started messing around with it, and it felt like I was born to do that,” she said. “I had always wanted to be a DJ.” Her DJ career began to blossom at a critical time in her life, and it created an opportunity for her to express herself and distract herself from her grief. It is no coincidence that many of the most-requested dance songs revolve around heartbreak, like Cher’s “Believe,” Alice DJ’s “Better Off Alone,” Haddaway’s “What Is Love?”, The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby,” and so on. Equipped with a cheap controller and CDs, Sugarfree learned how to DJ quickly, improving by talking to other DJs and listening to mixes. She soon acquired better equipment and started playing at friends’ parties in backyards; her first gig was at a quinceañera. As she became more wellknown, she moved on to clubs, where she
continues to perform frequently today. However, Rodriguez admits she’s become disenchanted by the demand to play just popular songs; she prefers music from the more-obscure electronic genres she was becoming acclimated with as her career progressed. Today, she enjoys playing techno, trance, tech house and progressive house— music that would be more welcome at an underground event. “I can’t really play trance music out here,” Rodriguez said. “Nobody really knows it, and nobody really likes it. I’ve tried to play it, and people don’t really feel it.” The sight of an empty dance floor is not a good feeling for a DJ. As a result, she generally succumbs to what the crowd wants. “When I first started, I did have hostile crowds. It feels like you’re not doing something right,” she said. “It made me not want to play what I was playing. (Later), I tried to please the crowd more and get them leaving happy. It’s important to leave the crowd wanting more.” Sugarfree said she and her fellow DJs are continuing to work on developing more underground events, although no plans have been finalized; follow her social media for updates. In the meantime, she’s continuing to enjoy her monthly Bart residency—and continuing to learn as well. “I’m still working on developing perfect pitch, and the ability to instantly tell what key a song is in,” Sugarfree said, laughing. For more information on DJ Sugarfree, visit www.facebook.com/9sugarfree9, or i_am_ sugarfree on Instagram.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 17
HOOD How Brad Guth, a proud gay man, bought the valley’s dive-metal bar—and turned it into a place where all are welcome
Coachella Valley is brimming with musical talent—yet it’s lacking when it comes to music venues. Thank goodness for The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert. Over the years, The Hood has transformed from a simple metal bar into … well, a metaland-everyone-else bar that is also one of the premier performance venues in the valley, with events being held every day. While countless local bands have gained popularity thanks to a boost from The Hood, the venue has also hosted numerous famous acts, such as surf-rock legend Dick Dale. In recent years, The Hood has also started hosting events such as a weekly Drag Queen Bingo night, and has become a regular participant in the Desert AIDS Project’s annual Dining Out for Life night. This fascinatingly vibrant mix is due in large part to its owner, Brad Guth—an out-and-proud gay man. “I grew up in a time when people were not as accepting and tolerant as they are today,” said Guth. “It was shameful to be different, especially with regard to sexual orientation. That was never discussed or taught in school. Nonetheless, I had a great time just being myself. I was always confident. For example, I was never too interested in being an athlete—so I became a male cheerleader, my high school’s first! And while I took a lot of heat for that, I had a blast, and my family fully supported it.” Guth told me a story about skipping the homecoming dance during his senior year of high school.
“I went to my first alternative club in West Hollywood instead,” Guth said. “It was a big club, frequented by many celebrities, and I was nervous as hell. I was working as a waiter at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, and I used to hear all of the other waiters talking about this place. When I arrived, there was a long line outside. I was so scared but forged ahead and entered. It was a Friday night, and disco was at its height. It was such an amazing and freeing experience. Everyone was just having fun, and no judgement. There were a number of celebrities there, many of whom I became friends with over the coming years, and they didn’t have to worry about being outed or followed by the paparazzi. “I lived the rest of my adult life that way, never forgetting that first experience. I was always me, never trying to hide anything. When I started my career in retail, where I spent the next 30 years, I had a supervisor who told me I would never succeed in a straight-male-dominated industry. To prove him wrong, I just worked harder and better and proved my abilities. To that end, I became the youngest buyer ever given the position at Bullock’s department store, now Macys. “I built the staff up from scratch. I negotiated all the leases, and we set up three websites that generated millions of dollars in sales. I traveled a lot, and had an East Coast office in Manhattan, and a West Coast office in Las Vegas. I alternated between the two for two-week periods. … (After) my grandchild was born, I bought a home here in the desert so I could come visit him every other weekend
By Matt king Brad Guth: “I grew up in a time when people were not as accepting and tolerant as they are today. It was shameful to be different, especially with regard to sexual orientation. That was never discussed or taught in school. Nonetheless, I had a great time just being myself.” KEVIN FITZGERALD
from my Vegas office. Two years later, I moved here full time.” Coming from a strong business background, it’s no surprise Guth was able to improve The Hood, which, when he purchased it, was nowhere near as neighborly as it is now. “The Hood was somewhere that I would go from time to time, because I saw a lot of opportunities to improve,” Guth said. “I’d go every day and sit on the back patio and think of new ideas to enlarge it and make things bigger and better. I looked at two other locations to purchase over a few months, one being Schmidy’s Tavern. The deciding factor was when I asked the landlord of Schmidy’s where they saw (the center where Schmidy’s was) in five years, and he said ‘exactly the same.’ That’s when I really set my sights on The Hood. “I knew that I could improve the environment and the service, and grow the business by creating a comfortable hangout spot. I basically wanted to create an environment where I would feel comfortable hanging out. It was also a much-different crowd back then. We wanted to keep that crowd by adding more events, and making the place a destination in Palm Desert. We also wanted to attract new people with the expansion of the patio and cosmetic changes.” Those changes didn’t all happen at once. “We achieved everything over time,” Guth said. “My first weekend, we opened the backpatio bar and added new furniture, and that became the place to be. It’s a fun hangout place, and it’s one of the best patios for our type of venue in the valley. While we did these
changes outside, we started adding events … seven nights a week. Each event is geared to different types of clientele so that we could provide a lifestyle environment. “When people visit The Hood, I want them to feel like they’re visiting my house. It’s important that people feel really comfortable and safe.” The Hood’s weekly schedule has something for virtually everyone. “We added a game night on Monday that’s geared toward younger people,” he said. “Tuesdays, we added Drag Queen Bingo and all-day, all-night happy hour. It was a scary proposition, but it has become very big. We added an open mic to our beer-pong nights on Wednesdays, which has been a huge success. That attracts people from all walks of life— poets, singers, songwriters and comedians. People come in from around the valley and even different states. That and beer pong really bring in a younger crowd. “We kept doing Karaoke Thursdays, which is always fun, and many people look forward to it. Fridays and Saturdays are always either bands or DJs. It used to be primarily metal bands, but we’ve successfully introduced different genres of music: cumbia, metal, soft rock, hard rock, etc. We try to mix it up and not have every weekend be the same. Sundays are comedy nights, which started a year ago and have been really successful. We’ve booked some really famous comedians like Pauly Shore and Jamie Kennedy.” I asked Guth what obstacles he faces running such an active venue. continued on next page CVIndependent.com
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“I feel totally pampered (I got a haircut, beard trim, hair color, manicure and pedicure, and facial). Everyone is great at what they do and they are sincerely nice people. It is as if I just came from a mini vacation and I look better and younger! What is not to like? Great value for the money!” —Says Dana
continued from Page 17 “The entertainment is very timeconsuming,” Guth said. “People may not realize it, but it’s a lot of collecting fliers and posting them every single day, and adjusting to last-minute changes or cancellations. We try to book a month or two out and look at what our competition is doing to stay ahead. It’s a difficult process and sometimes very frustrating.” The Hood personally means a lot to me: It helped kickstart my career, as both a musician and a writer, because of the community fostered there. Guth said it’s this sense of community that keeps him going. “There have been some nights with bands that have been absolutely fantastic,” Guth said. “When Empty Seat won the first round of the CV Weekly competition (late last year), we immediately booked them. It was great to see new talent in the valley, and it’s been exciting seeing them grow to be very popular. It’s always good to know you were part of someone else’s success. There’s a concert for kids that we do in June, which many people don’t know that we do: There’s a music school that comes to The Hood and has their students perform in the afternoon hours. We’ve actually gone on to book those kids’ bands, like Silver Sky, who we just had a single-release party for. It’s really gratifying to be a part of growth like that.” The Hood stands as one of the most diverse
Brad Guth: “I think today, The Hood is likely the most-inclusive place to hang out, welcoming folks of all races, ages and sexual orientations, where everyone can come and hang out and feel welcome.” KEVIN FITZGERALD
and accepting places to be in the valley—and that is due to the leadership of Brad Guth. “I think today, The Hood is likely the mostinclusive place to hang out, welcoming folks of all races, ages and sexual orientations, where everyone can come and hang out and feel welcome.” said Guth. “I am super-proud of that accomplishment. It really was what I always set out to do.” The Hood Bar and Pizza is located at 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or visit facebook.com/HoodBarAndPizza.
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 19
CVI SPOTLIGHT: NOVEMBER 2019 ‘Mormon Boy’ Is Back: Steven Fales’ One-Man Show Makes a Home at Hotel Zozo
teven Fales has been doing his one-man show Confessions of a Mormon Boy for a long time—for 18 years, to be exact. After a 2001 Salt Lake City premiere and 10-week developmental run in Miami in 2003, Mormon Boy was a hit at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival, and enjoyed a four-month Off-Broadway run in 2006. Since then, it’s been performed all around the world—including South Africa this past summer. However, Fales and Confessions of a Mormon Boy have now created a home, of sorts, right here in Palm Springs: Fales will be performing the show every Tuesday night at The Club at Hotel Zoso through the end of January. This is the third Coachella Valley stint this year alone for Confessions of a Mormon Boy, following performances at the Desert Rose Playhouse and Oscar’s. I spoke to Fales during the show’s month-long stint at Oscar’s. “The desert is becoming home,” Fales told me in May. Fales invited me to check out a recent preview performance. The autobiographical show, using original direction by Tony Award-winner Jack Hofsiss, chronicles Fales’ life journey as a sixth-generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—who realizes early on that he’s gay. The show starts with a recording of Fales blaring out a song he made up as a child. “I just made up songs like this,” Fales tells the audience. “Mormons record everything.” Over the next 90 minutes, Fales takes us along with him on that journey—including a mission to Portugal and college at Brigham Young University, during which he joined the Young Ambassadors, a BYU song-and-dance group. It was as a Young Ambassador he had his first gay experience— something Fales promptly confessed to his bishop. The church encourages Fales to undergo reparative therapy—which, of course, only makes matters worse. Despite the fact that he’s attracted to men, Fales is encouraged to date women, and he eventually falls in love with a woman who just so happens to be the daughter of Carol Lynn Pearson, the author of Goodbye, I Love You— an autobiography about her marriage to a gay man who eventually died of AIDS. Even though Fales is honest with his girlfriend, Emily,
Steven Fales in Confessions of a Mormon Boy. Weston Hall
about his same-sex attraction, they get married and have two children.
“We were going to write a different story,” Fales tells the audience. Despite Fales’ best efforts to battle his homosexuality— including therapy costing $135 for a 45-minute session— Fales and Emily grow progressively unhappy. When Fales eventually confesses a series of sexual affairs to his wife, their marriage is over. So, too, is Fales’ life as a member of the church. For me—myself a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—the most moving part of the play comes when Fales recounts his experience in church court, which results in his excommunication. After this, the play’s tone changes considerably, becoming more frantic and more graphic (including Fales stripping down to his skivvies and simulated sex)—which, appropriately, mirrors what happens in Fales life: He moves to New York City, ostensibly to pursue his acting career. What actually follows is work as an escort, drug use and, as Fales puts it, six months of “my own personal Moulin Rouge.” There is no suspense, really, in Confessions of a Mormon Boy: We know Fales makes it through, because he’s standing right in front of us, 18 years after the concluding moments in the play, a show which Fales has tweaked over the years (including the addition of a reveal toward the end of the play I won’t give away here). However, Fales makes up for that lack of suspense by keeping the audience engaged through every minute of the show’s run time: There’s not a lull or a dull moment. There are funny moments, moving moments and appropriately awkward moments (as well as a handful of moments that could be refined or excised, such as more than one brag by Fales about his endowment size). But there is never a dull one. Steven Fales has been invited to perform Confessions of a Mormon Boy all over the country and the world for almost two decades for good reason: It’s a great show by a talented performer. Confessions of a Mormon Boy will be performed at 7:30 p.m., every Tuesday, through Jan. 28, at The Club at Hotel Zozo, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $24.95 to $99.95. For tickets or more information, visit mormonboyexperience.com. —Jimmy Boegle
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ARTS & CULTURE
FOR BARBARA AND JERRY W
By jimmy boegle
hen Barbara Keller passed away in April at the age of 75, her loss deeply rattled a number of local nonprofit organizations with which she was inextricably involved. One of those organizations was the Artists Council. The organization was just a few months into uncharted territory: After being a part of the Palm Springs Art Museum for five decades, the council had recently gained its independence. Tony Radcliffe, the former chair of the the museum to an independent organization. Artists Council board and the current exhibiJerry and her together have always catered a lot tion chair, said Barbara Keller was a big part of of our events and have been supportive of us all that transition. along.” “She always had an interest in artists,” Because of this long-term record of service to Radcliffe said. “She got involved with helping the Artists Council—going all the way back to the Artists Council and then she became a board when Barbara Keller was a docent at the Palm member (for the museum). She was the liaison Springs Art Museum—it was an easy decision to the Artists Council. for the organization to honor the Kellers during “When we would work with Barbara, she had the Artists Council’s annual exhibition. a great sense of how to get things done. She also Artists Council Exhibition 2019 will open with helped us learn how to raise funds, which we a limited-space reception on Thursday, Nov. hadn’t been particularly good at before. Near 7, and will be on display through Friday, Nov. the end of her life, she was there, working with 22, at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm (us) on a regular basis to help us transition from Desert. Radcliffe said that Barbara Keller’s
The newly independent Artists Council’s annual exhibition pays tribute to a couple who means so much to the organization
favorite flowers—sunflowers—are woven through the exhibit as a theme. The exhibit will feature 82 works, which were culled down from around 370 submissions by 152 Artists Council members. The jurors are Daniela Lieja Quintanar, a curator at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; and Phoebe Beasley, the only artist whose works have been awarded the Presidential Seal under two different U.S. presidents. All works will be for sale, with the proceeds split between the artist and the Artists Council. Radcliffe said the art in the exhibition is impressive. “I think we’re getting back to the way we did things a long time ago when we had some really high-quality jurors,” he said. As the Artists Council approaches its oneyear anniversary as an independent entity, Radcliffe said things are going well for the organization. The council’s inaugural exhibit, Metamorphosis, in the spring, was a success, and shortly after the Artists Council Exhibition 2019 closes, the council will hold its fifth annual exhibition at the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert campus. The council has already received its 501(c)(3) status—which is not an easy thing to do—and Radcliffe said he thinks the council is well on its way toward living up to the organization’s mission statement: “to present prestigious art programming that challenges and engages artists and the community while offering quality opportunities for education and
“Morning Light on Dillon Road” by Sunny Patton.
development.” This could not have been done without the work of the Kellers, said Artists Council Chair David Hatcher. “Transitioning to an independent nonprofit, after a 50-year affiliation with Palm Springs Art Museum, has been exciting and, at times, overwhelming,” he said, according to a news release. “To have had the support of Barbara and Jerry Keller, with their deep knowledge of our history, is an invaluable component to our future success. We cannot thank them enough.” Artists Council Exhibition 2019 will open with a limited-space reception from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, and will be on display through Friday, Nov. 22, at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 72567 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free. For more information, visit artistscouncil.com.
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 21
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The Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival offers a lot of fun—both in the sky and on the ground
By L.A. Rowell
ook … up in the sky! It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s a hot-air balloon—and you could be in it! The Sixth Annual Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon and Food Truck Festival will take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 22-24— and each year, event producer Fantasy Balloon Flights offers balloon rides for people who want to fly high in the sky. The festival offers plenty of food and family-friendly entertainment for those who want to stay on terra firma, too. Cindy and Steve Wilkinson have owned and operated Fantasy Balloon Flights since 1981. “We moved out to the desert about 40 years ago from L.A.,” Cindy Wilkinson said. “Steve had a good job with a delivery company out here, so we felt safe in the move—but what we didn’t know is they lay off a large percentage of employees after every Christmas. He was one of the ones who was let go. “A few months later, we were in a coffee shop when a man came in and asked for help. We had nothing better to do; in fact, we were looking through help-wanted ads, so we went and helped him. Turns out he ran a local hot air balloon company. Steve ended up working for this Texas man, and we learned a lot about balloons. The only problem was getting a pilot’s license in order to fly them. We ended up buying our own hot air balloon, so it would be easier and more convenient for Steve to get his license, which he did. We’ve been flying ever since.” The business is truly a family affair: Their son, Justin, has followed in his dad footsteps and is now a licensed commercial balloon pilot. His wife, Courteney, runs the company’s marketing department. “There are different tests to take for different crafts you fly,” Courteney said. “The training is all the same in regards to what you learn and the hours, but in the end, there are different licenses for commercial or private flying.” Justin said he believes he has the best job in the world. “I have been around hot air balloons my whole life, and they have taken me all over the world,” he said. “I received my private license at age 17 and my commercial rating by 18. I have been flying professionally for the last 15 years, giving tour rides in the Coachella Valley. The best part of the job is seeing the smiles on the faces of kids young and old when they see the 10-story balloon
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ride off the ground.” This family ethic carries over to everything the Wilkinsons work on, including the Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival. This year’s event will include morning and evening “balloon glows,” live music and children’s activities in the festival area in downtown Cathedral City. They’ve also added the Healthy Life Fest, which will include lots of vegan and healthy vendors, as well as speakers. On Sunday, Big League Dreams in Cathedral City will host a pancake breakfast— and there will be special-shaped balloons, including a bumble bee and love birds. “You don’t realize how big they are,” Cindy said about the special balloons. “I saw my first odd shaped balloon 15 years ago. It was the Energizer Bunny, and it seemed bigger than the Empire State Building. Standing right next to it was amazing!” For those of you who want to get into a balloon, Cindy said that’s not a problem: “We have tethered rides, and there will also be a competition for 20 of the pilots in the air, and some of those are open to the public.” All the fun also benefits a good cause: A portion of the proceeds will be donated to SEAthletes, which “engages the next generation to nurture the Salton Sea by connecting them to the water through paddle sports.” The Sixth Annual Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival and Food Truck Fiesta takes place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 22-24, at various venues. Admission to the festival, in downtown Cathedral City, is free. For more information, including a complete schedule and links to purchase tickets to events, visit www.hotairballoonfest.com.
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THE SUBSTANCE OF HORROR The Palm Springs Cultural Center presents scary double-features on Fridays throughout the fall
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By jimmy boegle
avid Graves is really passionate about horror films—so passionate, in fact, that he has convinced the Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center to present the Art of Darkness double-feature series most Friday nights through the end of the year. I had to ask Graves: Why so passionate about horror? “Well, I’m basically a very fearful person,” he said with a laugh. “My passion for horror films started very early, and it may be because that’s just a familiar space for me, but I find that (horror) sharpens all of your senses. … You know, fear is the oldest, deepest emotion that we have; it’s a lizard-brain thing. It was part of our survival. Watching horror movies is sort of the modern equivalent of cavemen setting around a fire telling each other spooky stories. … It’s a safe way to experience fear and (learn to) understand what you fear.” Graves spent much of his career in film production—he was the assistant costume designer on a little film you may have heard of called Titanic—and considers himself a “huge movie buff.” He said he’s dreamed of doing a horror-film series for years, and it came to fruition after he discussed it with Rick Seeley, a longtime friend. It turns out Seeley is the president of the board of the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Seeley loved the idea, as did Michael Green, the center’s executive director. Thus, Art of Darkness was born. “I feel like this is an element that’s missing in the cultural life here,” Graves said. “There are horror-film festivals everywhere all over the country and all over the world; on any given week, and you’ll find one somewhere. It was something that I wanted to bring to the community—and to deepen people’s understanding of what horror is.” Graves pointed out that horror isn’t just a genre—it’s an emotion. He said the Art of Darkness series goes beyond slasher films and explores horror at a deeper level. “Many films that aren’t, strictly speaking, horror films still have horrific elements and have various different moods on that spectrum,” he said. “The critical sphere has been taking horror films much more seriously over the last 20 years. This is great, but I want to bring some of this to the local audience and say, ‘Look deeper at these things. Look at the substance and what they are about instead of
Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
looking at the surface, and let go of the idea that a horror film equals a slasher film’— because it doesn’t.” I asked Graves why he decided to present the Art of Darkness series via double-features. “It’s a more interesting way to present these films thematically,” he said. “The whole idea was to present films that, on the surface, aren’t necessarily related, but that resonate with each other. … (On Nov. 1), we’re showing remakes of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing, which are interesting, because the original films from the ’50s were both products of post-war, Cold War paranoia. The fact that they were remade in the late ’70s and early ’80s … (gives them) different context in a different thematic background. One of the great things about horror films is that they really are a mirror of the time that they were born in.” Graves said he hopes the Art of Darkness series becomes a regular fall occurrence at the Cultural Center. “I’ve got at least three years’ worth of these pairings that I’ve plotted out,” he said. “I’ve been ruminating about this for years, and it was just a question of choosing what we wanted to launch it with.” The Art of Darkness series takes place most Fridays through the end of December at the Camelot Theatres at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets to the individual films, at 6 and 8 p.m., are $10; admission to both films costs $15. For tickets or more information, call 760-325-6565, or visit psculturalcenter.org.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 23
Mandy Patinkin in Concert: DIARIES
The Kingston Trio
with Adam Ben-David on piano
Sun, November 17, 3pm
Sat, November 16, 8pm
Classic Albums Live
Tom Petty’s “Damn The Torpedoes” Sat, November 23, 8pm
A Christmas Story Tue, November 26, 8pm Wed, November 27, 2pm & 8pm
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas By Chip Davis Fri, November 29, 3pm & 8pm
John Tesh Acoustic Christmas Sat, November 30, 8pm
Presented through the generosity of Milt & Areta McKenzie
The Beach Boys Holiday Harmonies & Hits Sun, December 1, 3pm & 7pm
Order tickets by phone
Rhythmic Circus Holiday Shuffle Mon, December 2, 7pm Presented through the generosity of Diane & Gerald Wendel
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FOOD & DRINK
What happens when a cicerone selects brews to share with a beer-wary sommelier?
By Katie finn
LOVE YOUR HAIR
know precious little about beer. Aside from some pedestrian lingo about lagers and IPAs and plebeian fermentation knowledge, I’m pretty clueless—and as someone who is an “expert” about wine, this is a sad and shameful fact. The truth is, when I was a kid, everyone around me drank Budweiser or Kokanee out of a can. When I got into college, Sam Adams was the height of beer-drinking sophistication; wanting to be a “cool kid,” I did my best to choke it down. But I justCountry didn’t understand what all the fuss was about: It Club and Cook Street was bitter and ashy and gave me cottonmouth—not exactly what I wanted Palm De sertin a nice, cold beverage. As time went on, and the craft-beer scene started to explode, I continued my efforts to drink “serious” beer and really did my damnedest to coriander seeds, dried orange peel and cloves. 760-340-5959 “get it” … but the more time passed, the worse There was this underlying scent of ripe bananas, the beer got. I really couldn’t figure out why a little pine resin, and licorice—and I loved www.jasondavidhairstudio.net beer stopped being refreshing and drinkable— the higher amount of carbonation. It’s a beer as if brewers were in some kind of arms race to that’s savory and spicy, and it made my taste see who could create the most-bitter, hoppiest, buds tingle, which is always fun. But after a few most-marijuana-tasting brew in the land. Or sips, I could sense my mouth was beginning to as the kids today say, “That beer is dank.” dry out. Oh god, it’s happening. Here comes the Nowadays, “dank” means good. If you’re like cottonmouth, and I’m only on beer one. I started me, and use terms like “nowadays” and refer to wondering if anyone would notice if I went and the next generation as “kids,” you might have got a Modelo out of the fridge. thought that “dank” referred to a stinky, moldy We tasted the Effective Dreams by cave. Nope. Apparently we’re hoping our beer Modern Times next. This beer is doubleis dank. dry-hopped, which terrified me. I could only So here I am, a sommelier in Southern assume that “double-dry-hopped” means California, where I find myself surrounded “skunky weed in a glass.” Before I smelled it, I by friends who are immersed in—and very had visions of this beer reminding me of a bad prominent figures in—the SoCal beer culture. high school party, and assumed it would taste I no longer want to be a beer dummy. To this like the day after. At first, all I could smell was end, Brett Newton—the desert’s pre-eminent sweaty armpits. Seriously, the beer was really cicerone and the beer-writer extraordinaire for stinky. But much to my surprise … I liked it. this newspaper—agreed to a little education I liked it in the same way I like South African exchange: I would select some wines for him wine that smells like mangy animals and Bandto taste, and he’d describe how he felt about Aids. I liked that it had layers of fresh and them; in return, he would choose a few beers bright citrus fruit that reminded me of a New for me to sip, and I’d offer my two cents. Zealand sauvignon blanc. Once I got past the Here’s how it went: We convened on a initial sweet-sweat stench, there were loads of Sunday at a friend’s house—with wine and flavors of pineapple and mango—and much to beer and plenty of greasy, alcohol-absorbing my pleasure, it was thirst-quenching and even foods in tow. a little juicy. It didn’t strip my palate with its The first beer I tasted is one of Brett’s double dry hops at all. My name is Katie, and I personal favorites when he wants something like double-dry-hopped beer! Who knew? easy-drinking and quaffable (although I’m Next up was the Rodenbach “Alexander” pretty sure he’s never used the word “quaffable”; sour from Flanders. To my knowledge, I’ve he’s too manly for that): the Allagash White never had a Flemish beer—but at the recent Belgian-style wheat beer. As soon as I stuck Craft Beer Weekend at the Ace Hotel, I did my nose in the glass, I loved the aromas of experience a few sours, and I really loved
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them. As an acid hound with wine, I find the tart, vibrant flavors of sour beers to be right up my alley. This particular beer is a red ale fermented with macerated cherries and aged in oak foudres (read: really big barrels)—and it’s quite possibly the most perfect beer for a wine-lover. Right away, I noticed the carbonation was light, and the bubbles were fine, like those in a Champagne, due to the process of bottle conditioning: The bubbles are created from trapped carbon dioxide, just like they are in a bottle of your favorite highend sparkling wine. I noticed pronounced aromas of bitter coffee and dark chocolate, and a touch of burnt milk. I’ve noticed that the initial aromas I get from these beers are a little … vomitous. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way (if it’s possible to not be pejorative while using the word “vomitous”). I’ve just realized that there is an introductory component on the nose of some of these beers that I need to get past before I can begin to appreciate the secondary flavors and aromas. At one point, Brett was describing the making of this beer as “gooey” and “stringy,” so I guess that solidifies my point. We moved on to a beer that I was incredibly excited about: The Bruery Terreux Bourgogne Noir 2017 is hardly a beer at all! This is what they call an American wild ale, fermented with pinot noir grape must (juice) and aged in French oak puncheons. Intentionally, there is zero carbonation, which not only makes it look like a full-fledged pinot noir; to my delight, it makes it smell like one, too. On the palate, it offered up more beer flavors, but the overall wine components took over, with cola and Bing cherries dominating. I tasted the telltale bitter-coffee component that I associate with ales, but it was neither dominating nor overpowering. This definitely wasn’t wine, but I would be hard-pressed to call it a beer, either. It was the most unusual and thought-provoking beverage I’ve had in a long time. Lastly, we tasted what I can only assume is the pinnacle of beer hedonism: a 2017 imperial stout called Black Tuesday from The Bruery. This bottle of brew comes in at a whopping 19.5 percent alcohol by volume. For a girl who relishes wine that comes in less than 13 percent ABV, this might as well be a glass of gasoline. Aged in bourbon barrels for 10 months, this beer resembles an oloroso sherry with its thick, burnt-caramel smell. There is a honey and hot-tar sensation on the palate, followed by a ton of Hershey’s milk chocolate.
Honestly, I couldn’t tell if I liked it … there is definitely a dessert wine quality to it. I couldn’t drink a whole glass of Black Tuesday, but much to my surprise, a few sips are unexpectedly pleasant. I don’t care for the heat from the high alcohol that resonates out of the glass, but the flavors are harmonious, layered and balanced. All in all, I have to give kudos to Brett, who curated a selection of beers that were perfect for a sommelier. I realized after this tasting that I had been painting some beers with a broad brush: I assumed that all IPAs and craft beers were plagued with a cannabis, pineresin, skunky taste—just like people assume all chardonnay is oaky, buttery and laden with cloying caramel. The education I received from Brett was priceless, and I don’t feel like such a beer dummy anymore. Thank you, Brett, for tolerating my absurd descriptions and patiently answering all my questions. I highly suggest you make your way to Coachella Valley Brewing and have a few pints with Brett. You might get drunk—but you’ll definitely learn something. Katie Finn is a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine with more than 15 years in the wine industry. She can be reached at email@example.com.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 25
FOOD & DRINK
CAESAR CERVISIA W
What happens when a sommelier selects wines to share with a wine-wary cicerone?
By brett newton
hen my wine counterpart in these pages, Katie Finn, suggested that we pull a beverage version of Trading Places—where she curated a list of wines for me to taste while I returned the favor with a list of beers—my first thought was, “I’m clearly the Eddie Murphy in this movie analogy, right?” And then I thought it would be a wonderful way for me—a wine-eschewing philistine who thinks beer is far more exciting—to expand my horizons and sample a wine list curated by a sommelier. After months of trying to coordinate my weird schedule with hers, we finally got together at the house of a mutual friend. We also invited some of our friends to help (and in my case, unload some of their awesome this one, out of the Finger Lakes in New York, beer cellars for the occasion)—and then we was that wines from this grape can be very proceeded to try to impress each other. pleasant—with oak, citrus, orange blossom When putting together my list for Katie, and another dry, acidic finish. I wanted to showcase one of beer’s greatest Sans Liege Groundwork Grenache Blanc: strengths: its diversity of styles and flavors. Paso Robles is no stranger to me, because of This is trickier than it may seem to those who Firestone Walker’s magnificent brewery and know how vast beer’s flavor spectrum can be. invitational festival that I attend every year. What I didn’t know is that she had the same But Paso Robles is primarily a wine region, thing in mind for me. even if I’ve successfully (and unconsciously) Trigger warning: What I’m about to do ignored any of its products until now. This with these descriptions might make wine had a floral, alcohol aroma up front with a connoisseurs cringe. I ask for your forgiveness warming, sweet vanilla finish. It was slightly in advance. acidic at the end. It was not my jam. Birichino Malvasia 2018 Bianca: This B Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir: is a white from Monterey County. Once I got Now to the color of wine I’ve enjoyed the over my usual reaction to white wine (“uh, most when I’ve experienced wine: red. This yeah ... smells like white wine!”), I started South African pinot had aromas and flavors of picking up on a mild spiced-pineapple aroma. oak and blackberry cheesecake, along with a Following that down the gullet (offended yet, slight smokiness, a dry finish and some tannic wine people?) were floral aromas like rose and astringency (a drying sensation on the palate). jasmine. What I really appreciated about the I can only imagine this would pair very well experience was the acidic, dry finish. I’m not a with a cheesecake, but I will defer to Mrs. Finn fan of sweeter wines or ciders; I always enjoy on that. the ones that jump off the palate and don’t Tommasi Rafael 2016 Valpolicella cloy in the aftertaste. The touch of warmth in Classico Superiore: As a side note, if beer the back of it all didn’t hurt, either. We were names ever get this protracted, I’m going to off to a decent start. switch professions. As for the wine: This was Forge Cellars 2015 Les Alliés Dry an Italian dark fruit bomb, with prunes, plums, Riesling: I know Riesling is a German grape a hint of cherries—and a dry finish. It’s almost that makes a white wine, but my knowledge as if she deliberately picked drier wines in essentially ends there. What I learned from anticipation of my aversion to sweet drinks.
Bodegas Atalaya Alaya Tierra 2015: This was the show-stopper for me and my friend Jose. I’ll just show you what I wrote down as I tasted it, verbatim: “Jammy nose. Blackberry and currant. But the first taste is sweet. Then wood. Then hugely herbal. Big sage flavor. Tobacco. I would almost guess this was not oak, but some more exotic Brazilian wood instead.” I was floored—and kind of sad—that no one had showed me a wine with this much character and range before now. Katie generously gave me the remainder of the bottle to take home—and you’d better believe I finished it. We also covered an “orange” wine, and I took notes regarding the reason it is called that. (It’s white wine, but the skins are kept in during fermentation, like with reds or rosés … but why have a beer guy explain this when you can head to CVIndependent.com and read Katie’s illuminating column on this subject in the archives?) Unfortunately, I apparently neglected to make any notes of the bottle that she opened. Hey, I was drinking
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wine AND beer. What do you want from me? Professionalism? My main takeaways from this experience were: If you ever get a chance to have a talented and thoughtful sommelier choose a wine flight for you, definitely step on board, even if you’re normally not a wine-drinker; and wine is not a restricted by its limited ingredients, as I mistakenly thought. The Alaya Tierra proved that to me, and I’ll be interested to see what more wine can accomplish as it strikes out into uncharted and nontraditional areas more and more. Who knows? One day, you may find me writing a wine column. But it won’t be this day. Thanks, Katie! Let’s do this again. Brett Newton is a certified cicerone (like a sommelier for beer) and homebrewer who has mostly lived in the Coachella Valley since 1988. He currently works at the Coachella Valley Brewing Co. taproom in Thousand Palms. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. award-winning
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FOOD & DRINK
ON COCKTAILS I
A tip o’ the hat to the herbs and botanicals that give flavor and character to your favorite drinks
BY kevin carlow
love this spooky time of year. Even though this is the November issue, it’s still Halloween in my heart: For me, Halloween starts sometime in late September and ends right before Thanksgiving. It’s a great time to get together with friends—or watch bad horror movies alone. However, my days of making suspicious punch bowls with black and red dye, candy skulls and gummy worms are over. On a somewhat related note, I did take a little jaunt to Salem, Mass., recently. Some of the shops are a little hokey and sell many of the same witch tchotchkes, but if you have an eye for “magic” ingredients, there are some places that are veritable medieval apothecaries. As a bar nerd, I, of course, recognized many of these herbs as being some of the very same plants that give my favorite spirits their flavor and character. Sitting on my shelf is a book called The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart, which I dove back into after my trip so I could touch up on some ingredients both familiar and obscure. So … let’s “double double, toil and trouble” ourselves with some booze alchemy. Angelica is a member of the same family as carrots, but also hemlock—so what better place to start? Its earthy-sweet flavor adds a bottom note to many gins, and also provides major flavor to medicinal-tasting bartender favorites such as fernet and chartreuse. It is long believed to have digestive properties—but don’t go hunting for it yourself in the woods, or you might end up with more than a tummy ache. Stewart suspects that the liqueur Strega (“witch” in Italian), known for its saffron content, has a good deal of angelica in it, and I would certainly agree. Speaking of saffron, it has many strange properties. Likely a mutant that was never meant to thrive, it is sterile and cannot reproduce by seed … spooky! It can only reproduce with human help, but we have given it that help, because it has been valued by us for millennia for its flavor and color. It has three sets of eight chromosomes, unlike us—
and almost everything else living on Earth, adding to the strangeness of this magical spice. It’s a key flavor in such things as Old Raj gin; there is a little hiding in Benedictine and many other monkish delights. It is a member of the iris family. Myrrh, valued for centuries and referenced in such works as the Bible and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, is an ancient incense resin often used in certain church fumigations, as well as fernet and other intense liqueurs. It has been added to wine since Roman times, and there is a good chance it is also in your favorite bitters. Stewart says myrrh wine was offered by the Romans to people being crucified. Gee, thanks! Also referenced in The Life of Brian, now that I think of it, but consumed much more often than myrrh these days, is juniper. This member of the cypress family has been used since ancient days for stomach, liver and kidney ailments. It contains many terpenes and other aromatic molecules, such as a-pinene and myrcene. Some of you may be familiar with the latter in the flavor of your favorite beers and cannabis products. It’s the most important, and only absolutely necessary, flavoring in gin. Oh, also it may have been referred to as “eye of newt” in classic potions. So sorry to all the blind newts out there, I guess; it was a misunderstanding. Speaking of bitters, the bottle on your
home bar with the paper label gets most of its intensity from the alpine plant gentian, and not from angostura bark; in fact, angostura may not even be an ingredient. Want a straight shot of gentian’s floral and earthy punch? Try the French favorite Suze, either on the rocks or with soda, and perhaps a slice of lemon. It’s also worth a try in a white negroni (although a traditional negroni has plenty of gentian in it, too): 1 1/4 ounces of your favorite gin 1 ounce of white vermouth (not dry vermouth, but its slightly sweeter sibling) 3/4 of an ounce of gentian liqueur, like Suze Stir; serve up with a twist of lemon. As for all of you who hate the flavor of licorice: I don’t fault you for that, but what you really don’t like is a substance called anethole. This isn’t just found in licorice, but also in ancient holy herbs such as fennel and hyssop. The maenads, the fierce wild-women followers of Dionysus, carried a staff called a thyrsus, made of a giant stalk of fennel, as they reveled in the wild places. Feel free to make one for your next bacchanalia … or just enjoy a nice pastis on a sunny desert afternoon, and taste the complex flavors. Mix your absinthe or pastis with some cold water and a little sugar to create the cloudy louche, of course. Speaking of absinthe, I think it’s only fair to end this tiny discussion of the botanical world with the notorious wormwood. Humans have been using this intense species of artemisia since the ancient Egyptians for its antimicrobial properties; it purportedly kills parasites, too. The Chinese were adding it to wine just as long ago—an early precursor to modern vermouth! By the way, that’s where
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Juniper is responsible for much of the flavor of gin.
we get the name for vermouth, another name for wormwood … it all comes full circle, no? It’s good for such spookily named cocktails as the Corpse Reviver No. 2 and Death in the Afternoon. As for Death in the Afternoon, I leave this one to your discretion: 1 ounce of absinthe 4 ounces of sparkling wine Start with the absinthe in a cocktail glass; slowly add the wine; consume; pray. I can say from personal experience: This one is a bit like a deal with the devil … Kevin Carlow is a bartender at Truss and Twine, and can be reached at CrypticCocktails@gmail.com.
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FOOD & DRINK INDY ENDORSEMENT This month, we’re ignoring the diet— and having coconut cake and pizza! By Jimmy Boegle
WHAT The creamy coconut cake WHERE John Henry’s Café, 1785 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way HOW MUCH $8.50 CONTACT 760-327-7667; johnhenryscafe.com WHY The ice cream pushes it over the top. The website for John Henry’s Café calls the restaurant “the best kept secret in the desert”—and even though the place has been around for more than 30 years, and is consistently busy, there paradoxically may be some truth to that statement: I drive by John Henry’s no less than several times per week, but for some reason, it’s one of those places that doesn’t come to mind regularly when I am considering a nice night out. On my part, this is a shame: John Henry’s is a fantastic place for good food, top service, great cocktails and an old-school Palm Springs vibe. On a recent visit, we couldn’t get a seat on the lovely patio, so we sat inside. My chop-chop salad ($7.95) and veal scaloppini, marsala-style ($23.95), were both delicious. However, none of those dishes wound up being the highlight of the night—and in fact, we almost didn’t order what became that highlight. Toward the end of the meal, someone mentioned how amazing the creamy coconut cake was, and we debated whether to order a piece for the table to split. Most of my companions decided against it, but my friend Brad and I were curious, so we decided—after originally telling our server we weren’t having dessert—to get a piece and have a couple of bites; I’d then take the rest to go. The cake was perfect—soft, perfectly sweet (but not too sweet) and delicious. However, the coconut-pineapple ice cream was what made the dish truly special: It was one of the tastiest ice creams I’ve ever had. I was pretty stuffed after the salad and the veal, but the ice cream was so fantastic that I didn’t want to stop devouring it. This cake helps show why John Henry’s is consistently busy—even if the restaurant does, in some ways, remain a “secret.”
WHAT The New York supreme pizza WHERE Palermo’s New York Pizza, 400 S. El Cielo Road, No. C, Palm Springs HOW MUCH $24.99 for the extra large (16inch), as shown CONTACT 760-416-1138; www. palermosnypizza.com WHY The delicious, pliable, strong thin crust. As deadline approaches for the print edition of this fine newspaper, I usually order a huge pizza. It’s not the healthiest thing, but it’s convenient and time-saving: Whenever I get hungry, I can grab a slice or two out of the fridge and chow down as I work. I have my usual go-to pizza places, but this month, I decided to try somewhere different: Palermo’s New York Pizza. I have seen people rave about the place on the social-media sites, but I’d never been there before. So as deadline approached, I went online to the Palermo’s website and ordered what seemed like the logical pie, given the pizzeria’s full name—the New York supreme pizza. Well, now I have what will become another usual go-to pizza place. There was nothing on top of this huge pizza that made it stand out: The ample toppings were all good, and the sauce was decent, but nothing made me jump up and down. What did have me (figuratively) hopping was what was on the other side of the pizza—the crust. Much is made of the strong pliability of good thin-crust New York pizza: The crust should be sturdy enough to support all of the yumminess on top, yet flexible enough for on-the-go folding and devouring. However, the crust at many so-called “New York-style” pizza places fails on at least one of these criteria. Palermo’s pizza does not: It passes the twoprong test with flying colors. It’s delicious, too—elevating the pizza from “pretty good” to “I think I want to order another one.” CVIndependent.com
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SANCTUARY PALM SPRINGS THROWS A ‘HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR’ AT SPENCER’S One of the valley’s most amazing nonprofits also happens to throw one of the valley’s most festive holiday parties—at one of the valley’s most revered restaurants. Sanctuary Palm Springs—a transitional home for former LGBTQ foster youth, 18 to 21, who have aged out of the system—will be throwing its Holiday Spectacular fundraiser from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Bougainvillea Room at Spencer’s Restaurant, at 701 W. Baristo Road, in Palm Springs. We’ll now quote from the news release, because it explains the goings-on as well, if not better, than we could: “The $95 ticket price includes cocktails, lavish hors d’oeuvres, and a not-so-silent auction co-hosted by the effervescent Dottie and Maude of Les Dames du Soleil, plus a special performance by Broadway’s David Burnham. David is an award-winning actor and singer last seen on Broadway in the mega-hit musical, Wicked. The event will be hosted by actor and comedian Alec Mapa.” The event was formerly known as Holiday Socks, because it involved filling holiday stockings with presents for the youth living at Sanctuary. “With a goal of raising funds to help support the entire program, the ‘socks’ part of its name seemed less relevant, so we’ve evolved and renamed it Holiday Spectacular, which is more fitting,” said Rob Woronoff, Sanctuary’s executive director, in the aforementioned news release. For tickets or more information, visit sanctuarypalmsprings.org (click on “Support Us” for tickets), or call 760-766-3500.
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THE OWNERS OF WALLY’S DESERT TURTLE TO RETIRE AT THE END OF THE SEASON At the very least, management change is coming to Wally’s Desert Turtle, one of the desert’s preeminent fine-dining restaurants, located at 71775 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage: Owners Michael and Nicole Botello have announced they’re going to retire at the end of the tourist season. Wally’s—which was opened by Michael’s father, Wally Botello, in 1978—has been managed by Michael and Nicole since 1982. What does this mean for the future of Wally’s? We reached out to the restaurant and asked whether it would close or continue on under new management. The response: “That is to be determined. What we know at this time is that the Botellos are retiring.” Watch this space and www.facebook.com/wallysturtle for more information. IN BRIEF New to 73850 Highway 111, in Palm Desert: Grindhouse Burgers. The joint’s Facebook page promises a unique, never-frozen burger blend, along with brews and TVs with sports on. And what’s this about sweet-potato tots? And homemade brown sugar maple cake? Call 760-404-0300, or visit facebook. com/grindhouseburgersurge for more details. … Brew in LQ, one of the east valley’s best beer festivals, returns on Saturday, Nov. 2. More than a dozen breweries will be on hand, along with food, live music, games and more. It takes place at the One Eleven La Quinta Center, at 78950 Highway 111, in La Quinta, and advance tickets cost $25, or are two for $30, plus fees; designated drivers get in for $10, and imbibers will pay $10 more at the door. Get tickets to the rain-or-shine, 21-and-older event, as well as more info, at www.playinlaquinta.com/brew. … Even though the big event isn’t until March 27-29, 2020, tickets are now on sale for the annual Palm Desert Food and Wine festival. Admission to the grand tastings starts at $100. Head on over to www.palmdesertfoodandwine.com. … Even though this is a project by friends of the Independent, we don’t know a lot about it—but we’re intrigued. It’s called the Palm Springs Oyster Society, and the description on the Instagram page simply reads: “Oysters and caviar. DM us to RSVP for our next event November 10th.” Wanna know more? Get thee to that Instagram page (www.instagram.com/psoystersociety), and send a DM! … New to the Cathedral Canyon Golf Club, at 68311 Paseo Real, in Cathedral City: Jax Bar + Dining. It’s operated by Jack Srebnik, the owner of The Slice in Rancho Mirage, and Maracas Mexican Cantina in Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs. Expect California cuisine, live music on the weekends, and other fun; visit www.facebook.com/JAXBarDining for more. … Newish at 66121 Pierson Blvd., in Desert Hot Springs: Delicias Mexican Cuisine. The owners promise “authentic Mexican food from Mexico City.” Sounds yummy! Head to www.facebook.com/DeliciasMexicanCuisine for more. … One of our favorite local chefs has landed at one of our favorite special-occasion restaurants. Jennifer Town, formerly of the Purple Room and Melvyn’s, is now the executive chef at the Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms Hotel, at 572 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Curious about what she’s up to? Watch www.facebook.com/PurplePalmRestaurant.
32 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT
32 33 37 37
the venue reporT: john tesh, tower of power—and a lot more! Israel Pinedo juggles AP classes and the release of his debut album the lucky 13: Meet the frontwoman of the Night Owls the lucky 13: Meet the guitarist for Emergency Alert System
NOVEMBER 2019 By matt king
SYNERGIZING THE VALLEY
The annual Synergy Music and Arts Festival offers a platform to creative locals
36 Ocho Ojos perform at the 2018 Synergy Fest.
The Venue REPORT
It is now officially fall in the Coachella Valley, which means the weather’s getting colder— and the entertainment is getting hotter. Here are some November events worth noting. The illustrious McCallum Theatre features some premium entertainment this month. Rock icon Melissa Etheridge, known for hits “Ain’t It Heavy” and “Bring Me Some Water,” takes the stage at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14. The Oscar and Grammy winner is touring in support of her most recent album, The Medicine Show. Tickets are $85 to $105, and are very nearly sold out. As we inch closer to the holidays, the arrival of A Christmas Story: The Musical will be most welcome. The songwriters behind Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land have transformed the cult-classic film into a stage show that “will shoot yer eye out, kid!” Catch it at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 26; and 2 and 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 27. Tickets are $65 to $125. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30, piano wizard John Tesh will grace the McCallum stage. After selling 8 million records over his career, Tesh is coming to Palm Desert on his “Acoustic Christmas” tour, which will get you in the right mood for the upcoming holiday season. Tickets are $35 to $75. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www. mccallumtheatre.com. Fantasy Springs is featuring one of the biggest norteño groups in the world at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, as Los Tigres del Norte brings hits from a 30-plus-year career to Indio for a night of música y baile! Fresh off the Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison live album and concurrent Netflix special, you can enjoy what Billboard calls “the most influential regional Mexican group.” Tickets are $49 to $99. Coming to the Fantasy Springs stage at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, is legendary crooner Paul Anka. While Anka will play the hits from his career, such as his 1959 classic “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” this Anka Sings Sinatra: His Songs, My Songs, My Way tour continued on Page 35
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 33
INSIDE THE ARCADE
Israel Pinedo juggles AP classes and SoundCloud popularity as he releases his debut album
By MATT KING
hen the sun goes down on the Coachella Valley, hard-working musicians come out and put on shows wherever there’s a power outlet—including many backyards. Yes, an entire scene is living and breathing in the backyards of homes all across the valley—and in my years of frequenting backyard shows, I’ve never come across a group as animated as Israel’s Arcade. “This is my solo project. It’s me getting out what’s inside of me,” said Israel Pinedo, the frontman of Israel’s Arcade. And his emotions are surely getting out, as his first single, “12 Regrets,” goes from dreamy staccato guitar lines to synth-driven punk in a matter of seconds, with crooning vocals à la Morrissey or Marilyn Manson: “What is this? / It’s a joke / It’s my life / Without you.” Follow up single “Wimp” keeps the same punk formula—yet cranks it to 11, as an indie-meets-punk backing track supports Pinedo’s groans of, “I know I never cared / My lonely heart was never shared / To have a good day that was rare / And now I sing my soulless prayer.” “I come from a family of musicians,” Pinedo said. “My dad plays the drums; my uncle plays guitar; my grandma plays the harmonica; and my mom sings. They always had a band when I was growing up, so I was always around backyard shows. But my first band was actually with Joe Boomer from local band Instigator. I was in the fifth-grade; he was in the sixthgrade, and it was just drums and guitar. We did the talent show at school, and they really liked us, so we played all of the assemblies.” When Pinedo went to middle school, he began attending the Academy of Musical Performance Camp. Israel Pinedo. Yosselin Ramirez was curious to hear more about his recording “I went to AMP Camp for three years; I process, which includes his debut EP, which even played Stagecoach with them,” Pinedo was slated to be released on Oct. 31. said. “AMP did a lot for me, honestly. It really “AMP is where I met Will Sturgeon, who pushed me to start writing music for myself— produced the album,” Pinedo said. “I was lyrics that meant a lot to me.” writing and performing songs with AMP, and Thanks to the modern era, Pinedo went Will really liked them and offered to record to SoundCloud to share his music with the them. We started recording in 2016-2017, and world—and he achieved a significant degree of we’ve just been making sure everything can popularity largely thanks to one track. sound as perfect as possible. It’s been ready, “There’s a song I wrote called ‘Obsessions but since the process took so long, I didn’t of a Romantic,’” Pinedo said. “I wrote that want to force anything out. It’s going to be a song because I saw a trend of corny, loveyself-titled EP to give the people a little taste of dovey songs on SoundCloud getting a lot of what’s to come.” attention. They’re all super-simple songs with Pinedo is making all this happen while still super-simple riffs, so I thought that I could being a 17-year-old high school student. do that—but add more. I was being cocky, “It’s hard to juggle music and four A.P. but now the song is at over 60,000 listens, classes at the same time,” Pinedo said. “Being which is fucking crazy, but I kind of knew the leader of the band, people look toward me it would happen. I really wanted to use it to and ask what the plan is for performance days gain traction for my other songs, stuff I care and such. … Sometimes, I have to bail to read about making.” some passages or type an essay. If I had it my It did indeed bring traction: “12 Regrets” way, I’d be doing music all the time.” is sitting at 42,500 listens as of this writing. I CVIndependent.com
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The Venue REPORT continued from page 32
Los Tigres del Norte
also features Anka’s tribute to the Chairman of the Board. Even at 78, Anka still can woo with that trademark voice. Tickets are $59 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www. fantasyspringsresort.com. Spotlight 29’s most-intriguing November event is the All Star Jam, presented by Auen Foundation. Have you ever wondered what would happen if members from hit groups such as The Romantics, Journey, Chicago and Kansas all got together under one roof for the ultimate jam session? With all proceeds going to Martha’s Village, it’d be a shame for you to not to go and find out. The show is at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, and tickets are $75 to $95. You must be 21 or older to attend. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760775-5566; www.spotlight29.com. Agua Caliente turns up the heat this month, as funk pioneers Tower of Power (alongside openers Average White Band) arrive at The Show at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, to celebrate their 50th anniversary by performing songs that are guaranteed to “funkifize, energize and provide the soundtrack for new American movements of love, peace, soul power, mind power and people power to rise!” In 1973, the group asked “What Is Hip?”, so go find the answer. Tickets are $46 to $170. A few weeks later, the irreplaceable and recognizable voice of legendary soul singer Smokey Robinson will come to Rancho Mirage. Witness the Motown leader live, at 79 years young, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23. Tickets are $95 to $125. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www. hotwatercasino.com. Morongo will host the multi-talented Wayne Brady, from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and, more recently, Let’s Make a Deal. Go see his comedy and singing skills in full effect at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Tickets are $45 to $55. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www. morongocasinoresort.com.
Pappy and Harriet’s November lineup features top-notch acts of seemingly every kind. At 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1, enjoy the desert’s own Jesika von Rabbit, with support acts Landroid and Popstar Nima, on a night that promises to invigorate. Tickets are $20. The following weekend, catch two legends who rocked the ’70s. Cherie Currie (The Runaways) and Brie Darling (Fanny) have teamed up and plan to take Pappy’s back four decades with hits from their catalogs, along with some of their favorite songs. The show is at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, and tickets are $20. Pappy’s will close out the month with the genre-melding Meat Puppets, with supporting act Particle Kid (a son of Willie Nelson), at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30. Thanks to Meat Puppets tracks dabbling in country, punk and alternative rock, fans won’t want to miss out on these ’80s icons who inspired the likes of Kurt Cobain. (Two tracks on Nirvana’s Unplugged album are Meat Puppets covers!) Tickets are $25 and may already be sold out. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com. Toucans is hosting some festive events this month. From 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, check out the second annual Pride in the Parking Lot event. Admission is free, but space is limited, so head to the website below to reserve space, as legendary DJ Chi Chi LaRue and other music acts will perform all day long. The following weekend, famous lesbian standup comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer, with special guest Ebony Toliver, will bring the laughs at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Tickets are $25. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; www. reactionshows.com. At the Date Shed, reggae all-stars Fortunate Youth will return to Indio at 8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 14. The group is fresh off single “Young and Innocent” with Half Pint, so come down, get up, stand up and boogie to some reggae rock. Tickets are $20. The Date
Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.facebook.com/dateshed. The Purple Room in Palm Springs features some top acts this month. Vocal and cello duo Branden and James will be bringing their brand of classical/soul music to the stage at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 23. They are on their “All You Need Is Love” tour, and will fill the night with a wide array of hits from Nat King Cole to music from Rent. Tickets are $35 to $40. Also gracing the Purple Room’s stage is musical treasure Marilyn Maye. At age 91, there’s nothing she can’t do. She’s most famous for her record number of appearances on The Tonight Show—76! Ella Fitzgerald once called her “the greatest white female singer in the world.” See her perform
at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30. Tickets are $70 to $90. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www. purpleroompalmsprings.com. The Ace Hotel and Swim Club promises a night of laughter for the ages at 9 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 6, when the weekly Belly Flop comedy night features Neil Hamburger, Maggie Maye and Robert Dayton. Iconic comedian Neil Hamburger has opened for Tenacious D, Tim and Eric, and Faith No More, and tells some of the worst jokes you will ever hear (in a good way). Tickets are free; you just need to RSVP. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-3259900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.
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SYNERGIZING THE VALLEY The annual Synergy Music and Arts Festival offers a platform to creative locals
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By MATT KING
or years, the Synergy Music and Arts Festival—or, as everyone calls it, Synergy Fest—has been a day when the community gathers to enjoy bands, check out some art, and become immersed in all that the valley’s talent has to offer. This year’s eighth-annual Synergy Fest will take place on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Dateland Park in Coachella. Gabby Armenta, the director of Synergy Fest, said the festival has always been focused on building community. “Synergy Fest started with an idea of wanting to bring more art and more music to the city of Coachella,” Armenta said. “There wasn’t really much of that back then, around 2007. The founders of Culturas Music and Arts (the organization that produces Synergy Fest) decided to gather our friends and family and see what we could do. It started off with the idea of painting a mural that is located on Shady Lane in front of Dateland Park, which is where we have the festival.” If you haven’t seen this mural yet, you really should check it out. It’s 1,000-plus feet of art that shines a light on the culture of our valley. “The first year was to showcase the mural, which depicts some of the pivotal events in Chicano history here in the United States, as well as in the Mexican culture. That’s how that Higher Heights performs at last year’s Synergy Fest. started off,” Armenta said. “We knew a lot the festival come and ask us, and we are very of graffiti artists who lived around the area, thankful that they all want to donate their and we decided to set up a platform for them. time.” There’s always a really bad misconception This year’s lineup features some of the best about graffiti, as a lot of people see it as music the valley has to offer, including local vandalism. But we saw how much talent these Latin-rock legends Giselle Woo and the Night people have—it’s an art!” Owls, up-and-coming metal prodigies E.A.S, While that first festival was focused on the and reggae masters Unity Frenzy, along with a mural, Armenta and her team had discovered mix of other local acts. a formula that worked to benefit the While the 2019 Synergy Fest lineup community—so they continued hosting the represents a high point in the history of the event at Dateland Park, with more music and festival, Armenta has her sights set even art each year. higher. “Music and arts are treated equally,” “Ever since joining Culturas and becoming Armenta said. “Synergy is all about setting up the director of Synergy, my goal has been a platform for local artists, whether that be to have a stipend for everybody,” Armenta a photographer, a painter, a dancer, an actor, said. “We try to at least throw in a little gas etc. We treat everyone equally and try to shed money or something. We value people’s light on the arts as a whole—all artists and work—and our goal is to one day have a really musicians.” big headliner that can bring in more of a pool The Synergy Fest has indeed become a for the other artists and vendors. We want to platform for local artists and musicians to make everyone happy and bring in even more show what they can do. people.” “We usually send a call-out to artists, and whoever wants to participate can just sign The Synergy Music and Arts Festival will take up,” Armenta said. “Every year, we get people place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. who approach us. We try to have a mix, and 9, at Dateland Park, 51805 Shady Lane, in try to choose a diverse amount of different Coachella. Admission to the all-ages event is free. genres, but other than that, we really don’t For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ seek out top bands. We’ve been very lucky to synergyartsfest. have everyone who’s wanted to be a part of
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Fernando Gabriel. brian blueskye
Meet the frontwoman of the Night Owls and the guitarist for E.A.S.—both performing at Synergy Fest By matt king
Giselle Woo. bryanna evaro
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? (Former local surf-punk band) Las Feas. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Kanye West. What’s your favorite music venue? The Date Shed. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “Smoke ’em if you got ’em, cuz it’s going down,” LP, “Lost on You.”
NAME Giselle Woo GROUP Giselle Woo and the Night Owls MORE INFO It’s always exciting to see a talented local musician work his or her way up the ladder of success—and from being able to drop a two-hour set on any night of the week to playing at Goldenvoice’s Chella event with norteño icons Los Tucanes de Tijuana, there’s nothing that Giselle Woo can’t do. You can catch her “woo”-ing the audiences on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Synergy Fest. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ GiselleWooandTheNightOwls.
What band or artist changed your life? Brandi Carlile. She brought tears to my eyes, which showed me the depth of this career path. When you can spark an emotion like that, it showed me that people CAN find their purpose. She gave me hope. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? Natalia Lafourcade: “Would you like to sing a song with me?” What song would you like played at your funeral? “Azul” by me.
What was the first concert you attended? The Up in Smoke Tour, (a hip-hop tour headlined by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg), in 2000.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Natalia Lafourcade, Musas, and Coldplay, Parachutes.
What was the first album you owned? Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill. It was a cassette.
What song should everyone listen to right now? “Para Que Sufrir” by Natalia Lafourcade.
What bands are you listening to right now? Los Choclok and Natalia Lafourcade.
NAME Fernando Gabriel GROUP Emergency Alert System MORE INFO Attendees of The Hood Bar and Pizza’s Open Mic have watched some intriguing new faces over the last few months: The members of Emergency Alert System have been setting the stage on fire with their combination of metal and punk, which they call “munk.” While the majority of the members are still in high school, their originality and stage presence shine bright.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? One thing I am thankful for is the ability to adapt and evolve with the times. There really isn’t anything I “don’t get,” even if it’s something different than what I believe is amazing or I’m used to.
Catch EAS at Synergy Fest in Coachella on Saturday, Nov. 9. The band’s guitarist is Fernando Gabriel.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Katy Perry. Please don’t bully me.
What was the first concert you attended? Silvio Rodriguez at El Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. I was 6 at the time, and I loved it!
What’s your favorite music venue? It’s a tie between El Auditorio Nacional and El Palacio de Bellas Artes, both in Mexico City. My passion and love for music was born in those two places.
What was the first album you owned? The first album I ever owned was Killing Is My Business … and Business Is Good! by Megadeth. My mom gifted it to me for my birthday, and I was blown away! That man Dave is a BEAST! What bands are you listening to right now? Megadeth, Black Flag, Mötley Crüe, Jimi Hendrix, At the Gates, Agent Orange, Dead Kennedys, Cream, Korn, Municipal Waste, Mayhem, Enforcer, Black Label Society, Kyuss … the list goes on and on, but I don’t want to bore anyone. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Here in the east valley, most people love corridos. To be honest, I find them really annoying, especially the lyrics; they are just so silly and dumb. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? I’d love to see Megadeth live back when they did the Rust in Peace tour in ’91. Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson and Nick Menza were the best lineup Megadeth ever had. Fight me.
What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? The chorus for “A Love Unreal” by Black Label Society. That song means a lot to me, and it always reminds me of someone special. What band or artist changed your life? Django Reinhardt and Tony Iommi. They taught me that, no matter what happens, never give up on your dreams. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? To Josh Homme: “Are you the one-inch man?” What song would you like played at your funeral? “A Song for the Dead” by Queens of the Stone Age. Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Rust in Peace by Megadeth. Thrash at its finest! What song should everyone listen to right now? “Undying Evil” by Enforcer. It’s really bad-ass.
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OPINION SAVAGE LOVE
SLUTS IN LOVE
I’ve cheated on every partner; so has my girlfriend— and we don’t trust each other; what should we do?
BY DAN SAVAGE
am a guy in my 40s, handsome, more financially successful than most, and a classic sexual scoundrel—I cheated on my ex-wife and every girlfriend I’ve ever had. I’m currently dating a woman in her 20s. We are both each other’s ideal type. She has as scandalous of a past as I do, but has “accomplished” more in a shorter time. We met via a hookup app. Then we had another meeting. And another one. We enjoyed each other’s company from the moment we met, and the sex was great. (We share a few not-easy-to-match kinks.) Most of her stuff is now at my house. We’ve had many deep dives into our respective pasts. We cringe now at how we met and why we’ve hooked up with so many random people. Here’s the issue: After 12 months together, with too many breakups to count, we have no idea how to move forward. We cannot establish trust. We are in love, and everything’s great … so long as we have our eyeballs on each other. Once out of direct sight, we both turn into possessive assholes. So many phones have been stolen and thrown away, I can’t count. How do two sluts find peace? Can’t Part Over Sex You’ve cheated on everyone you’ve ever been with, and your girlfriend has presumably cheated on everyone she’s ever been with. (That’s what you meant by “she has as scandalous of a past as I do,” right?) But instead of embracing the cheats and sluts you both know yourselves to be, and thanking your fucky stars for bringing you together, CPOS, you felt obligated to disavow your past behaviors—some
of which sound legitimately terrible—and slutshame yourselves and each other. And for what? You are still the people you were before you started theatrically cringing about how you met. She doesn’t trust you not to cheat on her, and I don’t see why she should. You don’t trust her not to cheat on you, and I don’t see why you should. So why promise not to cheat? Why waste time and emotional energy policing each other for evidence of what you both know to be true? You’re going to cheat on each other. That you can trust in. So instead of making promises you can’t keep and then having meltdowns and stealing each other’s phones and breaking up and getting back together, CPOS, make a promise you can keep—not to be faithful, but to be considerate. And discreet. Promise not to do anything that makes her feel like she isn’t your top priority, even if you do fuck around occasionally, and ask her to make the same promise
We’re Doing Business with PRIDE in the Coachella Valley. Our 250 members support equality – and they support you! See what our members have to offer at desertbusiness.org CVIndependent.com
I am in love with a happily married woman. I was the “other man” almost 20 years ago, before she was married but when she was living with the man she’s with now. We fell madly in love, but we didn’t end up together. In the intervening years, we both married and had children. We’ve reconnected a couple of times over the years, and it became a sexual relationship again. Here’s the tricky part: My then-wife was an undocumented immigrant. My marriage was unhappy, but for my child’s sake, I couldn’t leave my wife, for fear of his mother getting deported. This year, she got her green card, and we divorced. Then I reconnected with my ex again. We desperately want to get married, but she is scared to end her marriage. She’s in a relatively happy marriage, and divorce will be a bombshell. She worries about the shock and destabilizing effect on her children, who are still young. She fears that nothing short of admitting she’s in love with someone else could end her otherwisehappy marriage, but admitting that she’s been unfaithful will make co-parenting impossibly hard going forward. We agonize over this situation but can’t bear the thought of not being together. We understand that pain will have to happen, but we just don’t know what the best course of action is. Pensive And Incredibly Nervous If you two can’t wait until her kids are a little older before you marry, PAIN, then there’s no way to avoid the most painful possible version of this shitshow. But your girlfriend’s husband deserves the whole truth right out of the gate—even at the risk of complicating their co-parenting arrangements in the short run. Letting her soon-to-be-ex-husband twist in the wind wondering why his decent, loving, seemingly stable marriage suddenly collapsed would just be cruel—and pointlessly so, as he will inevitably learn the truth. You two don’t plan to marry in secret, right? This means her soon-to-be-ex and their kids are going to find out about you, the new husband and stepfather, at some point in the very near future. The whole truth, all at once. Don’t draw it out. Inflicting pain on the installment plan won’t assuage your guilt. I’m married to a loving, handsome man. For the first several years of our relationship, we had amazing sex. At some point after moving in together, my interest in having sex with him decreased significantly. This has been a pattern in every long-term relationship I’ve ever had: Living together seems to diminish my attraction to my partner, which is hugely problematic when I am in a
long-term monogamous relationship. The second problem is that my kink needs are not being met. My husband is aware of my kinks and is GGG in theory, but he lacks the skill to deliver what I’m interested in. Before I met my husband, I spent many years as a member of a very active kink scene in a big city. I miss the friendships and experiences I had when I was able to share my kinks. Unfortunately, in addition to living in a place without access to these kinds of events and workshops, my husband is monogamous without compromise. He is unwilling to co-top me alongside another Dominant partner and unwilling to let me bottom for others solo, regardless of whether sex is involved. Within the past several years, this frustration has led me to seek out the occasional experience with others, which is always discovered. My sex drive seems intact when I fantasize about hot, rough scenes with other people, but I experience very little desire for my husband. I’m at a loss. Is it even possible to find a compromise? Sex Alacrity Diminished Knowing what you do about yourself—your attraction to a partner craters after moving in together; you have a powerful need to explore your kinks with casual play partners—you shouldn’t be cohabitating and/or making monogamous commitments. But you are, and you have, SAD—so what now? There’s no middle ground between an uncompromisingly monogamous marriage and the kind of freedom to explore your kinks that you need to feel fulfilled, partnered or not. But your husband caught you fucking around—or kinking around—and has presumably forgiven you, seeing as you aren’t e-mailing during your divorce proceedings. So perhaps if given a choice between letting you and losing you, SAD, he would let you. And who knows? If all your longterm relationships have been monogamous, and they all resulted in the end of rough and adventurous sex with new partners, well, perhaps that’s what is cratering your desire for committed partners—the limitation, not the cohabitation. And who knows? If you were free to fuck around with other people—if your husband didn’t symbolize the end of sexy adventures—maybe you’d still want to fuck him. But if he does give you the freedom to fuck around, and you still don’t want to fuck him, SAD, do your husband a favor, and leave him. Catch Savage Love every Wednesday at CVIndependent.com; email@example.com; @ fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.
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OPINION COMICS & JONESIN’ CROSSWORD
“Letter Imperfect”—I’ll try to spell it out. By Matt Jones
question) 43 The Godfather first name 44 Something ___ 45 Actor Penn of Sunnyside 46 “Wild Thing” band, with “The” 50 Outer jigsaw puzzle piece 52 “You’re pulling ___!” 54 Sets as a goal 58 Have a wide panoramic view (or, Country distances?) 62 “Swell” 63 Arm bone 64 “Watch out” (or, Boded disaster) 66 Salad bar veggie 67 PBS chef Bastianich 68 “___ not know that!” 69 “Smooth Operator” singer 70 “Oh jeez!” 71 Full of streaks
Across 1 Mgr.’s helper 5 Bendy joint 10 Spongy toy brand 14 The Avengers villain 15 Word before firma or cotta 16 Wall mirror shape 17 Skill at noticing things (or, Item of interest) 19 Prefix with sol and stat 20 Out on the waves 21 Bad day at bat (or, One more than two) 23 British writer Ben known for his books of Miscellany 25 Chimney passages 26 500 maker 28 Find the secret code to get out, e.g. 31 Fifth of a series 34 Elite Eight org. 36 Divide by tearing Down 38 “Here, don’t get locked 1 Jennifer Garner spy out” (or, Unlocking series
2 Cinematic intro? 3 Smidge 4 Grow bored with 5 One of les quatre saisons 6 Blade Runner 2049 actor Jared 7 Garden State actor/ director Zach 8 Camden Yards athlete 9 Bewhiskered beast 10 Two-by-two vessel 11 In any case 12 Very uncommon 13 Mass of floating ice 18 Purpose of some apps with profiles 22 Investigator, informally 24 Food popular on Tuesdays 27 Body image? 29 Look at the answers 30 “Orinoco Flow” singer 31 Rugged wheels 32 “Get rid ___!” 33 Tolkien trilogy, to fans 35 “All in favor” answer 37 Cable modem alternative 39 Hotel posting
40 Supportive cheer 41 Meat-testing org. 42 Singer/songwriter Spektor 47 Place with a membership, often 48 In a slick-talking manner 49 Smartphone shot? 51 Food Network notable 53 Crystal-lined stone 55 Toksvig currently of The Great British Bake Off 56 Skipped the restaurant 57 “Hot” rum drink 58 2016 World Series champions 59 “Under the Bridge” bassist 60 Having no depth, in brief 61 Mumbai titles 65 When doubled, a guitar effect © 2019 Matt Jones Find the answers in the “About” section of CVIndependent.com!
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advance tickets $ 40 at the door $ 50
Access from 1 pm to 5 pm. Includes event glassware while supplies last plus 8 four ounce tastings.
MUST BE 21 OR OVER TO ENTER FESTIVAL
vip tickets $ 75 Special entrance and early access from 12 noon to 1 PM, includes event glassware, beer pairings, refreshments and RARE KEG TASTINGS by Babeâ€™s Brewery, 12 tasting tickets; Limited availability!
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The Cone Zone COOL FUN!
The November 2019 issue of the Coachella Valley's alternative news source.