Coachella Valley Independent October 2023

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Charles Drabkin, Katie Finn, Bill Frost, Bonnie Gilgallon, Bob Grimm, ValerieJean (VJ) Hume, Clay Jones, Matt Jones, Matt King, Keith Knight, Kay Kudukis, Cat Makino, Brett Newton, Greg Niemann, Dan Perkins, Theresa Sama, Maria Sestito, Jen Sorenson, Robert Victor

The Coachella Valley Independent print edition is published every month. All content is ©2023 and may not be published or reprinted in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The Independent is available free of charge throughout the Coachella Valley, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased for $5 by calling (760) 904-4208. The Independent may be distributed only by the Independent’s authorized distributors.

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One of the biggest threats to our democracy/republic/whatever you want to call it is misinformation. Misinformation is responsible for millions of people believing the 2020 presidential election was stolen, even though there’s not a single speck of credible evidence that it was. Misinformation is the reason why vaccine hesitancy is leading to needless illness and death. It’s why some people don’t believe that human-caused climate change is a problem—despite near-unanimous scientific consensus. Social media has been one of the primary drivers of misinformation—and now that Elon Musk is in control of Twitter/X, matters are only getting worse.

For a prime example of this, let’s look to Las Vegas, and specifically a misinformation-caused mess involving the Las Vegas ReviewJournal newspaper. In a Sept. 18 piece headlined “Demonizing journalists to spread disinformation is dangerous and undemocratic,” executive editor Glenn Cook explained what happened.

Here are the facts: On Aug. 14, a speeding car struck and killed a bicyclist named Andreas Probst, a 64-year-old retired police chief. The car was stolen by two teens—and that they purposely ran down Probst, with one of them filming a video of the murder. As Cook writes, “It’s a snuff film.” The 17-year-old driver was charged with murder; the Review-Journal wrote about the video and the murder charge on Aug. 31, when these awful details came to light.

Glenn explains where misinformation comes into the story: “But somehow, someone who watched the video … found one of the Review-Journal’s first reports on Probst’s killing—the Aug. 18 obituary that identified Probst as the victim—and made the false assumption that the story was reported after the video was discovered and after the driver was charged with murder. A social media post was created, accusing the Review-Journal of deliberately characterizing the murder of a retired lawman as a ‘bike crash,’ words from the obituary’s headline. As the post quickly circulated through the feeds and groups of like-minded media bashers, the narrative worsened. Assumptions were made about the race of the two people in the car. We were far-left, anti-cop, anti-white liars. And a whole lot of other things I can’t write here. Of course, we didn’t know about the video at the time this particular story was written. Neither did police. But untold thousands of angry readers didn’t want the facts to get in the way of this frenzy.”

One of the people who didn’t want to let the facts get in the way of the frenzy? Elon Musk.

“At 3:08 a.m. Sunday (Sept. 17),” Cook wrote, “(Musk) retweeted a screen grab from the Review-Journal app with the misunderstood story, and wrote, ‘An innocent man was murdered in cold blood while riding his bicycle. The killers joked about it on social media. Yet, where is the media outrage? Now you begin to understand the lie.’”

That tweet, by the way, is still up as of this writing. It has 72.4 million views.

Sabrina Schnur, the reporter who wrote the original story, as well as other ReviewJournal staffers, have since been inundated with vitriol. Cook wrote that social-media users “filled Twitter/X with comments and tags that ranged from anti-Semitic to death wishes for (Schnur) and her dog. She had more than 700 notifications of malevolence as of Sunday, and they’re still coming.”

Elon Musk and many of the others who spread this misinformation and fanned the figurative flames should be ashamed. But they’re not.

It’s crucial that all of us make sure that the information we’re sharing—be it in conversations, via social media, or anywhere else—is accurate, from a reliable source.

Because not only does misinformation deceive; it could wind up getting someone innocent killed.


Voting is now under way in the Coachella Valley Independent’s 10th annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll!

Voting in this readers’ poll, to determine the best of the valley’s best, is taking place over two rounds:

• The First Round (nomination round) of voting ended Friday, Sept. 8. This round consisted of fill-inthe-blank voting.

• The top three to six vote-getters in each category have now moved on to the Final Round of voting, which will take place at from through Sunday, Oct. 22.

• The winners and other results will be announced at on Monday, Nov. 27; on News Channel 3 the week of Nov. 27; and in the special Best of Coachella Valley section in the Independent’s December 2023 print edition.




Ordinary is not a word you’d use to describe award-winning journalist Maggie Downs—not unless you put “extra” in front of it.

I can’t tell you all the reasons why, but I can tell you an awful lot about the girl who has written for The New York Times, flown via helicopter with a team to deliver a donated organ, and penned a memoir called Braver Than You Think: Around the World on the Trip of My (Mother’s) Lifetime. It’s a love letter, and a story of courage, on many levels. And it’s all beautifully wrapped up in some wild and crazy adventures.

Born in Macon, Ga., Downs is an Air Force brat, but before her first memory was formed, Dad was transferred to the great state of Ohio, the birthplace of eight presidents and Drew Carey. She

has a brother and a sister, each more than 10 years older than she, so after age 7, she was basically an only child.

Little Maggie Downs was into the “girl investigative reporter” genre, devouring all the Harriet the Spy books. Harriet, you may recall, always carried a notebook and pencil with her. Grown-up Maggie Downs does the same, but at home, she recently “graduated” from longhand to an old 1980s word processor. That’s her idea of compromising with technology.

She tells me and my recorder that the only time she uses a recording device is when the interviewee might be a little sus—like the time she interviewed Larry Flynt, but that “turned out to be the most memorable interview I’ve ever conducted.”

I find myself wishing I could ditch the recorder and just take notes like Brenda Starr or Maggie Downs, but it’s really hard. Plus, even I can’t read my handwriting anymore.

ask what she does to combat her fears.

“It is about embracing optimism,” she tells me. Back when she was in college, working on her degree in magazine journalism, she got the awful news that Mom had been diagnosed, at the age of 56, with Alzheimer’s. Instead of pursuing her dream as a travel writer, or writing for a big magazine, upon graduation, Downs took a job with a local newspaper.

After a few cocktails at a late-night party, Downs said yes to something that would change her life. As she stood on the tarp at the sky-diving academy ruing that tipsy decision, she decided she’d just go through with it. Then she saw him, and said, “I’ll jump with anyone

Awarded Best AC Repair Company

The family wasn’t rich. There was Dad’s military career, and Mom got work that was mostly labor-intensive. After a long day, mother and daughter would visit faraway places in the glossy pages of the National Geographic. “Someday,” Mom would softly say. By most societal standards, writers are considered to be a little bit quirky, or a lot quirky, but we wear it proudly like a badge, so joke’s on you. And Downs has worn hers from a young age. When other little girls were fashioning clothes for their Barbies, Downs was “making magazines for my Cabbage Patch dolls or writing little books (for them).”

When her Cabbage Patch days were over, she joined the color guard, the school newspaper and drama club, while also performing in local theater. As a senior, she was voted most dramatic. When asked, she’s not sure if it was for her acting or just in general. “Maybe both,” she says with a wry smile.

We’re meeting (too) early, because Downs is dropping her 9-year-old son off at school. We have a sobering moment discussing parenting in a world increasingly filled with danger, and I

but that guy,” pointing to the one who “looked like he was crazy, like he just stepped out of a Mountain Dew ad.”

Of course she married him. But that will happen much later. Just in case you’re wondering: She did jump—and then she jumped 300 more times.

By 2005, Downs was in need of a change. As the paper’s police reporter, she started her day in the afternoon. “I would call all the different police departments and go to the courthouse and see what was going on. But then if there was a shooting or a body dredged from the river, I would go. It became too depressing.”

Downs acknowledges that reporting is an important job, and her award-winning journalism shows she did it well. But she’d always thought she’d write for, say, Rolling Stone—not cover the morgue. So when she saw a lifestyles opening at The Desert Sun, with Skydive Perris not too far away, she jumped.

In 2008, something that never happens happened. Years ago, she’d signed up to be a donor on the bone-marrow registry. “The odds of matching with a stranger are like winning the lottery,” she tells me. That’s the year when

Downs won that lottery, happily donating her bone marrow to a stranger.

Two years later, when Mom barely knew who her daughter was, Downs was spending too much time lingering on memory lane, lost in the days when Mom gazed at photos and said. “Someday.” Those flashbacks came with a profound revelation: “I’m doing the same thing she did—I’m putting off my life.” She quit the newspaper, and just as suddenly was flooded with the terrible anticipation of losing her mother, grieving her all too soon.

So … this badass took off on a one-year journey to all the places Mom only visited on glossy pages. Lest you think she stayed in fivestar hotels, she had a scant $10,000 to last the year. It was all she had. She volunteered and picked up odd work as she roamed the pages of the National Geographic on foot.

But you know what the National Geographic didn’t have? Ever? People getting attacked by monkeys in a rainforest in Bolivia.

Yeah, that happened.

Seriously, read the book.

Learn more at

Maggie Downs is an author, a skydiver, a world traveler and an all-around badass
Maggie Downs. Lance Gerber


When most people think of desert hiking, they don’t think about waterfalls—but all the rainfall has created some exceptional waterfalls late into the year.

The most spectacular nearby gems are both located in the San Bernardino National Forest, an hour to 1 1/2 hour drive from the Coachella Valley—and they’re definitely worth the drive and adventure.

One of my favorite waterfalls makes for a perfect day trip: Big Falls is considered by some to be the “king of SoCal waterfalls” for good reason. It’s the tallest year-round waterfall in Southern California, and at a height of 500 feet, it’s one of the largest in the state.

The trail is located at Forest Falls. It’s very easy and mostly flat—less than one mile long,

with an elevation gain of only 112 feet to reach the lowest tier, which is about 20 feet tall. Once you are on the trail, it takes 30 minutes or less to get to the waterfall. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. Restrooms are available at the parking lot, but be warned—it often smells pretty rank around the restrooms.

This enormous waterfall has five tiers, with the larger tiers are at the top. The fall is so huge that you can see the top tier as you’re driving to the parking lot after passing El Mexicano Restaurant and the Elkhorn General Store; buy your day pass here for $5, or display your SoCal Adventure Pass. There’s both free and paid parking; the free parking is on the left, available if you get there early enough or happen to luck out with good parking karma.

After hiking along the creek, as you approach the base of the falls, you will see the next tier—and everything all the way up to the second-highest tier of the falls. You may experience many small waterfalls along the short hike to the base of Big Falls. As for the main attraction, I have never seen it without a good amount of flowing water year-round. It’s so amazing—truly majestic!

The second-largest waterfall in Southern California, and another favorite of mine, is Bonita Falls. Located at Lytle Creek (exit Interstate 15 at Sierra Avenue, and follow Lytle Creek Road), the hike to Bonita Falls is about 1.5 miles (3 miles round trip), with an elevation gain of only 334 feet. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. It’s a fairly easy hike if you’re OK with rock-hopping (aka maneuvering through beds of big rocks) most of the way, as there really is no trail. You can begin this hike at the Bonita Ranch Campground (restrooms are available), which charges $10 for parking. You can also park along the road at the pull-off area on the left side as you enter, just before Hidden Acres— but you must display a SoCal Adventure Pass. Continue down the shaded stream, and you’ll pick up the trail on the left. Stay left,

following the mountain upward to the falls. As you make your way across the canyon, known as South Fork Lytle Creek, just follow the (unfortunately) graffitied rocks.

Once you head into the scenic forest, the environment rapidly transitions into a beautiful green paradise, where you will get your first glimpse of the stunning falls. It has been said that if you arrive at the falls between noon and 2 p.m., Bonita Falls will glisten more beautifully than any other waterfall in Southern California. It has more water year-round than most waterfalls. It, unfortunately, probably has more graffiti around than any other waterfalls, too, but if you focus on the waterfall itself, the beauty and serenity is beyond measure.

There are actually two additional waterfall tiers directly above Bonita Falls that most people don’t know about, because you can’t see them from the base of the falls. All three tiers of Bonita Falls measure 495 feet, according to CA Hiking Adventures ( I strongly recommend against climbing up to the top two tiers—because one small mistake can cost you your life. I can vouch for this: I was lucky enough to only break my wrist during a fall as I was coming down after scrambling up to the top two tiers. There should probably be warning signs posted.

If you’re looking for waterfall hikes in the Coachella Valley, please be advised that one of the most popular spots, Whitewater Preserve, remained closed due to storm damage (as of this writing). Tahquitz Canyon and the Indian Canyons are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sept. 30; they will then be open daily through July 4. Both Tahquitz Canyon and the Indian Canyons, on tribal land managed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, charge a modest entry fee.

In closing, here are a few tips for visiting waterfalls:

• Like most trails and everything else, weekends are usually when you’ll find the

most people, so plan to arrive early (by 7 a.m.) to beat the crowds.

• In general, spring and early summer are the best times to visit any waterfalls, but it really depends on the amount of rainfall. Therefore, timing may vary.

• Remember to bring water. Just because you’re hiking in a cooler climate and around water doesn’t mean that you won’t need plenty of drinking water.

• Always pack out your trash to help keep these beautiful areas clean.

The abundance of rain has made nearby waterfall hikes even more spectacular
The upper tiers of Forest Falls. Theresa Sama


The United States Census Bureau has set the nationwide poverty level for a family with two children at $29,678 in annual household income. In 2021, the bureau estimated that some 7,000 Indio households—roughly 16% of the city’s families—were living below the poverty level.

In the neighboring city of Coachella, the bureau estimated that some 5,000 households—or roughly one-third of the city’s families—existed below the poverty level.

It is this environment, where economic hardship exacerbates personal stress, that prompted the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine and the Joslyn Center to team up to provide

counseling outreach to low-income, oftenuninsured residents of the eastern Coachella Valley.

It’s a collaboration between two organizations that have long served valley residents in need. Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine has since 2010 operated the only no-cost health care center in the Coachella Valley, in Indio. Since the early 1980s, the Joslyn Center has been “leading the way by enhancing the quality of life for older adults,” according to the organization’s vision statement.

“Our patients were saying … the reasons for their anxiety and depression were stemming from the issues they were dealing with on a daily basis—and that came back to money and credit,” said Doug Morin, the executive director of Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine, during a recent interview. “How do they get out of the apartment or neighborhood that they don’t feel safe in if they don’t qualify to meet the credit requirements for the new apartment on the other side of town?

“We realized that what we needed were some very short-term, problem-focused, goalfocused therapies or strategies. You can’t get a good job because you don’t have a high school diploma … so what can you do about that? Maybe a good plan is to go to adult school and get your GED. It’s not going to happen overnight … but when you’re at the end of that, the next time you go to apply for a job, you can say that you do have a high school diploma.”

Morin said he and his all-volunteer team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals learned a lot of lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Within a matter of days, we changed our model from in-person patient visits to communicating with patients over the telephone,” Morin said. “But more than that, we wanted to do something to see how our patients were doing emotionally. How was their emotional health? What things besides a new prescription did they need? How were they dealing with the children being at home? How

were they dealing with depression? If they lost their jobs, how were they dealing with that? Were they aware of the various resources? One of the things that we had our social worker do immediately was start contacting every one of our patients. … In an informal survey, we asked our patients, ‘In the last six weeks, have you experienced avoiding or cancelling some sort of social outing because of anxiety or depression?’ More than half of our patients answered yes to that question. We assumed that was because of COVID-19, … and to a degree, that was true. But when we really started drilling down, patients were saying (the problem) was their general mental health— behavioral health and emotional issues that they were feeling even before COVID. COVID just compounded everything they were already feeling.”

Meanwhile, the Joslyn Center has been hiring bilingual counselors to interface with Spanishspeaking residents, and has established working relationships with east valley organizations that could offer a physical location where counselors and patients could meet.

“When we were looking at expansion, we met with several people in the east valley,” said Jack Newby, the executive director of the Joslyn Center, in a recent interview. “They were telling us that there really was an acute need (for counseling) in the community.

I’ve known Doug Morin at the Volunteers in Medicine for quite a while. We were looking at some other potential sites, and then a light bulb went on over my head, and it said, ‘Call Doug!’”

Newby said Morin was receptive to the idea; the next step was to figure out the logistics.

“(This new program) is for CVVIM patients as well as clients who our counselors bring in through their own outreach,” Newby said. “We’re all very excited that this is able to move forward.”

According to Newby, the counseling sessions are provided at no cost to the patients, and are designed for adults age 50 and older, although younger patients can be treated as well. Each patient can receive up to 12 sessions, at least to start.

“If they have an additional issue that comes up, or they want to talk to the therapist again, they are welcome to come back,” Newby said. “We just want to make sure that it doesn’t become a co-dependent relationship. We want people to receive benefit from their therapy and be able to move on with their lives, and overcome the problems that they are experiencing.”

Newby said the program has already begun.

“We’re starting out slow,” Newby said. “We’ve set aside hours to see if we are able to fill up the spaces. As that expands, we will work on expanding the number of hours available. … All the counselors who we use are master’s degree counselors in either marriage and family therapy or clinical social work, and they are all supervised once a week by a licensed clinical social worker. That way, (the counselors) can earn their hours towards licensure. That’s another part of this program that we’re very proud of: We are able to help our counselors get their hours in, get licensed and go out into the community as full-fledged therapists.”

Morin said he sees the program as just the start of expanded behavioral and mental health services at the CVVIM facility in Indio.

“Over time, we’ll bring this in as a program, and we’ll have our own staff providing the

behavioral and mental health services,” Morin said. “I like what we’re calling (this program) with Joslyn Center. Instead of ‘therapies,’ we’re calling them ‘strategies,’ because it takes away some of the stigma of the word ‘therapy.’ Many of our patients grow up in a culture and an environment where they can’t afford health insurance, let alone behavioral health insurance. … You keep those things in the family, or you speak about them to your priest, or somebody at the church—but you don’t go outside and share those sorts of things with other individuals … mostly it’s because this was a luxury that they couldn’t afford. ‘Pay for somebody to help you solve your problems? Are you nuts? Get out of bed. Go out and do your job. Come home, and hopefully you did a little bit better today than you did the day before.’

“So this is a natural evolution for us. Our board felt there was a real need for emotional health, behavioral health, mental health—whatever you want to call it—to be part of primary health care. It’s not separate. We can’t look at an individual and treat their physical health without looking at their mental health.”

For more information, call Kristina Banda with Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine at 760342-4414, or Alex Garcia with the Joslyn Center at 760-340-3220, ext. 117.

Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine and the Joslyn Center team up to offer mental and behavioral health care to east valley residents
Yarely Tamayo, the Joslyn Center’s primary mental and behavioral health counselor, works with Jack Newby, executive director of the center. Tamayo will be working with east valley patients at the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine facility in Indio.

Albert Frey’s 1931 Aluminaire House and Its Influence on American Modernism

October 21 | 1–2 p.m. | Palm Springs Convention Center

In anticipation of the Palm Springs Art Museum’s permanent installation of the Aluminaire House, architect Leo Marmol will explore the impact this structure had on American Modernism design.

Modernism Show Preview Party

October 20 | 6–8 p.m. | Palm Springs Convention Center

October 19-22

Our October Festival features more than 50 events

Choose from Six Unique Bus Tours

Daily Tours October 19-22 | Various Times

Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tour

Legendary Palm Springs Commercial Architecture Bus Tour

The Homes That Define Palm Springs Bus Tour

Charles Phoenix Super Duper Double Decker Bus Tour Twilight Bus Tour

Bella da Ball’s Celebrity Homes Bus Tour

Lizzy & The Triggerman

Tickets and Information Interested

October 21 | 7:30–9:30 p.m. | Annenberg Theater

in volunteering? Visit to register.
Jake Holt Photography Jake Holt Photography Sponsors as of September 20, 2023
Courtesy Lizzy & The Triggerman Palm Springs Art Museum Media
Sponsors Civic Presenting Sponsor

1st Annual Desert WineFest

here’s a new “Barbershop” in town—and while patrons won’t be able to order up a shave and haircut, they will find a support group aimed at increasing health and wellness among Black men in the Coachella Valley.

“Barbershop: A Black Men’s Space for Honest Talk About Sexual Wellness” kicks off Tuesday, Oct. 10, in Palm Springs, with discussions also set for Tuesday, Nov. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 12. The goal of the forum-style discussion group is to provide a safe space for Black men to gather and talk—in the same way that barber shops are traditionally spaces for male-only conversations. Tim Vincent, president of Brothers of the Desert, co-founded “Barbershop.” He said

participants will find a welcoming space where they can let their hair down and discuss any topic that’s important to them.

The founders of “Barbershop” envision an inclusive gathering of Black men having “open and honest conversation” around sexual wellness topics ranging from dating and

“We really want to break down some of the isolation that Black gay men feel here in the Coachella Valley,” said Vincent.

Brothers of the Desert collaborated with Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivors Syndrome) Palm Springs to bring Barbershop to fruition.

Jax Kelly, president of LKAPS, knew the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) was offering grants for discussion groups that support Black men aging with HIV. “Barbershop” is being funded by a $10,000 grant from the organization.

Partnering with Brothers of the Desert was “a slam dunk,” Kelly said. Both are local nonprofits with established community advocacy in the valley. LKAPS is a social group that supports HIV/AIDS survivors, while Brothers is a Black-led gay men’s philanthropic organization.

“(‘Barbershop’) really fits into the legacy that Brothers of the Desert has created in the Coachella Valley,” Kelly said. “They’ve been a very important part of raising issues that are important to Black gay men about health and wellness in the desert, so this is just a natural extension for them as well.”

Brothers of the Desert currently has 75 members. With “Barbershop,” Vincent thinks the group can connect with others who understand the challenges of being a Black person living in the Coachella Valley.

“It’s never been done before—a (local) group that is specific and focused on Black men,” said Vincent. “So it’s time.”

The first “Barbershop” meeting will be facilitated by Stuart Huggins, Food Bank manager with the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, and Will Dean, the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation’s director

of communications. While they’ll help shape the discussion, Vincent said ideas and topics will also be generated by the men attending the group.

Kelly said he has high hopes that “Barbershop” attendance will expand beyond the current membership of LKAPS and Brothers of the Desert. He said he’d be happy to start with 10-15 participants and watch it grow.

“This is another opportunity to bring support to the Black community at large,” said Kelly. “Not only are Black people taking care of each other, but these are viable groups bringing support services for Black people.”

Supporting Black health and wellness is an ongoing mission, said Vincent. “It’s one of the reasons we started Brothers of the Desert, so we could be visible and have access to support that was really run by us.”

The gatherings are free to attend, but an RSVP is required. Interested men can RSVP and receive location information by emailing

The ‘Barbershop’ series provides
a safe place for
men to talk about sexual wellness and more BREAKING DOWN ISOLATION
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Tim Vincent, president of Brothers of the Desert, and Jax Kelly, president of Let’s Kick ASS Palm Springs, co-founded “Barbershop.” Mahaneela
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On my first day of work in Napa, I was unimpressed by the seemingly dead grass that greeted me as I drove into the office. It hadn’t rained in a long time, and the hills looked brown.

It ended up raining on that first day—and the rest of the week. By the weekend, those brown hills were emerald green.

“Wow, it looks like The Shire,” I thought. The grass wasn’t dead after all! It was just in some drought-stricken dormant state, waiting for nature to take its course and reveal its true beauty. By summer, when the green was gone, I realized the hills had turned gold—they were never brown.

When I headed south for Palm Springs in 2020, I expected brown. You know, a stereotypical

desert—cacti, dirt, tumbleweeds. I knew almost nothing about the Coachella Valley, just as I knew almost nothing about the Golden State before moving here eight years ago.

To my surprise, there were plenty of trees, shrubs and grasses to behold here. Of course, where there are golf courses, there must be grass … right?

Now that I’ve been here for a few years, I’ve learned that in September and October, much of the grass is scalped, and new grass seed is planted on top of the old grass, which otherwise goes dormant or (eek!) turns brown. It’s called “overseeding,” and it’s commonplace here. Even the little patch of grass in front of the place I’m renting is subject to it.

Gold grass isn’t appreciated or even accepted here like it seemed to be in the Bay Area. Here, there is an insistence on green, green, green That’s why the Desert Water Agency is urging residents and businesses to “skip overseeding and allow your grass to go gold for the winter.”

Overseeding “is pervasive in the Coachella Valley—and it takes a lot of water,” wrote Ashley Metzger, with the Desert Water Agency, which manages water in the western Coachella Valley. By skipping overseeding, we can conserve water and save money on both seeds

and maintenance. It may also help those of us with allergies to grass pollen and dust, which gets kicked up during the scalping process.

“If the only time a grass gets foot traffic is when your landscaper mows it, it’s time to consider replacing it with something less thirsty,” wrote Metzger.

Earlier this year, Melissa Daniels wrote about the different rebates available to homeowners served by the Desert Water Agency who want to swap out their lawns for turf, rocks or desertscape. The Coachella Valley Water District, Indio Water Authority, Mission Springs Water District and Myoma Dunes Water Company offer similar programs.

But the onus isn’t just on homeowners. As we know, a lot of overseeding is happening on golf courses and in gated communities.

“Without green grass, courses are afraid golfers and tourists won’t want to (be) on or near the course at all,” wrote The Desert Sun’s Larry Bohannan in 2015. Since then, “more than 160 acres of turf, or the equivalent of nearly two average golf courses, have been removed at desert courses,” Bohannan reported last year.

I’m not attacking the golf industry—or even grass. Many Southern California golf

courses have been adapting new technology to make irrigation more efficient, and 51% of golf course superintendents in the Southwest reported reducing areas that needed irrigation, according to a report presented at the Southern California Golf & Water Summit last year. That said, as the golf industry starts to attract more diverse and younger players, the likelihood of players caring about conservation, climate change and sustainable business practices is also going to increase.

“Younger generations in the U.S. are especially likely to express an interest in addressing climate change—and to say they have personally taken some kind of action to do so,” according to a 2021 Pew Research Center report.

Another benefit to letting more grass turn gold and having more desertscape: Courses could stay open in September and October, which could mean more revenue.

If only we could adjust our expectations

about the grass. Where does this desire for green grass come from, anyway?

One answer: It’s a status symbol. Our culture’s devotion to sprawling lawns is a legacy that hails from England, according to John Fleck, director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico. Fleck told CNN last year that it was indeed the high cost of maintenance that made lawns a status of wealth in 17th century England.

“That idea of lawns as a demonstration of status really became embedded in gardening culture in this country with British colonialism, so it sort of traveled west with us and took all that labor in,” Fleck said.

Translation: If you can afford to keep your grass green when it is 120 degrees outside, and there’s not a drop of rain in sight, you must have money. Your lawn is green, and so is the inside of your wallet.

You know what symbolizes wealth even more than the American dollar? Gold.

Instead of overseeding grass, can we adopt a ‘golden’ state of mind?


The mountain makes Palm Springs … well, Palm Springs.

It protects the Coachella Valley from coastal dampness, fog and westerly winds. It’s a natural barrier between climates unlike any other in the United States.

Mount San Jacinto, at 10,834 feet, is not close to being California’s highest peak. It’s not even the highest peak nearby; San Gorgonio Mountain, to the immediate north across the pass, is a bit higher at 11,499 feet—but “Old Grayback” is not nearly as imposing, as its rounded summit almost gets lost among the southern San Bernardino Mountains. Mount San Jacinto has drawn the attention of visitors for centuries. Indigenous tribes

considered it sacred, and today’s travelers along Interstate 10 have a hard time taking their eyes off the dramatic peak. It is the most swiftly rising peak of any in the United States, rising vertically from Palm Springs’ elevation of 452 feet—almost two miles straight up. Mount Whitney (at 14,505 feet) and other Sierra Nevada peaks rise from a valley floor of around 5,000 feet.

J. Smeaton Chase opens his fine 1920 book Our Araby with this sentence: “Mount San Jacinto stands isolated and conspicuous, like another Shasta, at the southern end of the great Sierra which forms the backbone of California. … This desert face of San Jacinto offers to the view a mountain wall unparalleled for its conjunction of height and verticality—in effect a vast precipice of ten thousand feet.”

To the bands of Cahuilla who inhabited the area in and around Mount San Jacinto, the mountain was a sacred place—which became home to the evil, powerful demon Tahquitz. Mukat (Mo-cot), the legendary creator of the Cahuilla, created Tahquitz (Ta-co-wits), appointed him the first puul (shaman) and bestowed many supernatural powers upon him, expecting that he would use them for good. But Tahquitz violated Mukat’s laws and used his powers for evil; he was banished to a cave high up on Tahquitz Peak in the San Jacinto Mountains.

There are many legends about the power of Tahquitz. It is said he craved human flesh and beautiful women. People who disappeared on the mountain were reputed to have been carried off by Tahquitz to his lair—and then eaten. The Tahquitz legends went beyond the Cahuilla tribe and were known by almost every Indigenous person in Southern California.

According to Cahuilla Chief Francisco Patencio, who published much of his band’s oral history in 1943:

The man Tahquitz (Ta co wits) was a man of great power. He was one of the first created by Mukat. But he did not do any good. He never tried to cure anybody, or do any good for anyone.

So he did not have any friends among his people, and he knew that he did not deserve any. He went on up to one of the Moreno Hills and practiced flying over to the next one. This he did until he became powerful enough to fly. He became a very bad spirit. He lives in the world and makes his home in the Tahquitz (San Jacinto) mountains. He speaks through the lightning and thunder, and is seen everywhere. He kills the people, also the spirits of the people. He kills the animals as well as the people. Causes the wrecks of trains and automobiles, and delights in everything that makes people trouble.

The Cahuilla people lived on both sides of the sacred mountain, and many of those bands, primarily those on the more easily accessible western slopes, ventured into the mountains for the bountiful deer and other game, as well as acorns and piñon nuts.

Indigenous people called San Jacinto Mountain i a kitch, meaning “smooth cliffs,” referring to the rocky cliffs on the peaks. In contrast, they called the rounded dome of San Gorgonio Mountain to the north queri kitch, meaning “bald.”

The first known white men to spot the San Jacinto peak were Capt. Juan Bautista de Anza and his party of 34 who crossed the desert in 1774, opening up a route to coastal California. While they missed Palm Springs— skirting the Santa Rosas on the south side at Borrego Valley and Coyote Canyon to the west of the mountains—they could hardly miss the dramatic peak. The group descended into the present San Jacinto Valley, as Anza wrote in his diary, “keeping on our right a high, snow-covered mountain.” Anza himself is reputed to have named the peak ‘San Jacinto’ after Saint Hyacinth, a Silesian nobleman who later became a Dominican missionary noted for his intelligence and devout piety (1185-1257).

White men began activity on Mount San Jacinto by the mid-19th century. Lumber was being cut; cattle and sheep were grazing in the meadows; and roads were being created farther and farther up the mountainside. Yielding to pressure, President Grover

Cleveland signed a bill creating the San Jacinto Forest Preserve on Feb. 22, 1897.

From the air, Mount San Jacinto looks like a sharp molar, with the lower peaks of Tahquitz Peak and Apache Peak (oddly named, since there were no Apaches in the area) giving way to verdant valleys, turbulent streams and bright green meadows, rising past Marion Mountain and through Round Valley to the mountain’s craggy summit.

The view from the top is sublime. To the south, one can see the Santa Rosas turning purple on their long march to the Mexican border; to the west, views extend across the entire San Jacinto Valley to the Santa Ana Mountains of Orange County; and to the north, Old Grayback and the other San Bernardino Mountains are viewed across the San Gorgonio Pass.

Arguably, the most impressive sight is straight down into the San Gorgonio Pass, where one can see the town of Cabazon, Interstate 10 and the railroad tracks—tiny, looking like toys. One can visualize the dynamics of the narrow pass, where the hot desert air collides with moist, cooler temperatures, creating one of the most effective wind funnels in the world.

To the east, across the vast Colorado

Desert with its fertile square sections of land, is the Salton Sea; closer in, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley communities offer squares of greenery amid a light brown desert.

Many times, from Palm Springs, one can see clouds near the mountain’s summit, evidence that the weather on the “other side” is overcast, rainy and about 30 degrees cooler. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway’s steel cables reflect the sunlight every now and then.

The mountain is mentioned as “lofty pinnacles above, which seem to pierce the sky” by Helen Hunt Jackson in her ageless 1884 novel, Ramona. She was not alone in speaking of the mountain with such superlatives. George Wharton James, Charles Francis Saunders and the aforementioned J. Smeaton Chase are among the many early white settlers to speak reverently about the mountain.

Sources for this article include Our Araby, by J. Smeaton Chase (Star-News Publishing, Pasadena, 1920); Stories and Legends of the Palm Springs Indians, by Chief Francisco Patencio (Times Mirror, Los Angeles, 1943); and Ramona, by Helen Hunt Jackson (1884).

Mount San Jacinto, viewed as sacred by Indigenous tribes, has long spawned legends and captured imaginations
Mount San Jacinto rises nearly two miles from the desert floor. Greg Niemann


October provides sky watchers the moon in conjunction with the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter; good chances to spot those planets with the unaided eye in the daytime just after sunrise; and a major solar eclipse on Saturday, Oct. 14, when the moon is in transition from morning skies to the evening.

Look daily one hour before sunrise, and watch the moon wane from full, low in the west on Sept. 29, to a thin crescent, low in the east, on Oct. 13. In Aries in the western sky on Sunday morning, Oct. 1, the waning gibbous 94 percent moon is nearly halfway from horizon to overhead, with bright Jupiter 9° to its upper left. Venus, even brighter, is behind you in Leo, and nearly 30° up in the east. Note the 1.4-magnitude star Regulus, heart of Leo, 7° to Venus’ lower left.

In October, Venus gleams at magnitude -4.7 to -4.4, slightly faded from its peak in mid-September. This month, Venus changes in phase and apparent size, from 37% full and 32” (arcseconds) across on the 1st, fattened to 54% but shrunk to 22” across on the 31st. This month, Venus climbs to its greatest altitude in the morning twilight sky. It is four to six times as bright as Jupiter, which shines at magnitude -2.8 to -2.9.

On October mornings an hour before sunrise, the positions of stars in the sky—but not those of the moon and the planets—are the same as they’ll be on March evenings about an hour after sunset. Find Sirius, the brightest star, but not as bright as Venus or Jupiter, flashing vigorously in the southern sky, on a line formed by extending the belt of Orion toward the southeast. Find Aldebaran and the Pleiades by extending Orion’s belt in the opposite direction.

In the morning sky, you can also view Mercury in brightening twilight to the lower left of Venus, by 30° on Oct. 1, increasing 1° per day to 37° on Oct. 8. Mercury passes superior conjunction on the far side of the sun on Oct. 19-20.

Continuing its eastward journey through the zodiac constellations at a rate averaging 13° per day, the moon on Oct. 3 is 79% full in Taurus, within 4° to the upper left of the Pleiades cluster, and 11° right of Aldebaran, eye of the Bull.

On Oct. 6, nearing last quarter phase (90° or a quarter-circle west of the sun), the 51% moon is 9-11° west of the “Twin” stars, Castor and Pollux. On Oct. 7, the moon is now a crescent at 41%, 2-7° below the Twins.

On Sunday, Oct. 8, look a little earlier, 1 1/2 hours before sunrise, and use binoculars to see the Beehive star cluster in Cancer, within 4° to the lower right of the 32% crescent moon. An hour before sunrise on Oct. 9, Regulus and Venus appear closest together this morning, 2.3° apart, and are within 13° to the lower right of the 23% moon.

On Tuesday Oct. 10, an hour before sunrise, see the 16% crescent moon in the east with its

darker side illuminated by earthshine. Venus, within 6° to the moon’s lower right, itself shows a crescent, 43% illuminated and nearly 29” across. Regulus is 2.4° to the upper left of Venus.

On Friday the 13th, one hour before sunrise, the moon isn’t in view yet, so we’ll wait until about 40 minutes before sunup to catch the 1 percent crescent just 3-4° above the horizon and 4° south of east, and 34° to the lower left of Venus. The sun is below the horizon, within 13° to the moon’s lower left.

Saturday, Oct. 14—it’s solar eclipse day!

From Palm Springs, the solar eclipse begins at 8:08 a.m., as the moon’s disk begins to encroach upon the sun’s, slightly to the left of the very top of the sun’s disk. The sun is then in the east-southeast, 15° up. The moon gradually covers more of the sun’s disk until 9:26 a.m., when the moon will cover 80 percent of the sun’s diameter (the magnitude of the eclipse) and 73 percent of the area of the solar disk (called the obscuration). The sun will then be 35° south of east, and 29° above the horizon. The eclipse will conclude at 10:53 a.m., when the moon’s disk will depart from the lower left edge of the sun’s disk, at the 7 o’clock position if you imagine the solar disk to be a clock face.

During all stages of this eclipse, just as before and after when the sun is fully visible, it is important to look at the sun only with suitable eye protection.

After the Oct. 14 solar eclipse, the moon sets too soon after sunset on Oct. 15 to be seen easily. Your first good chance to see the waxing crescent moon after new, if you have an unobstructed view, will come on Monday, Oct. 16. About 40 minutes after sunset, look for the 6% young crescent 4° up in the west-southwest.

On Oct. 17 and 18, look for the red supergiant star Antares, heart of Scorpius, near the moon: 7° to the moon’s upper left on the 17th, and 6° to the moon’s lower right on the 18th.

On Oct. 19, one hour after sunset, the southernmost moon, 28% full, is in the southwest to



Planets and Bright Stars in Evening Mid-Twilight For October, 2023

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

Evening mid-twilight occurs when the Sun is 9° below the horizon. Oct.1: 39 minutes after sunset. 15: 39 " " " 31: 41 " " "

south-southeast, just to the west of the Teapot asterism in Sagittarius, the Archer. On the next evening, the 38% moon is near the handle of the Teapot.

On Oct. 21, the moon is nearing first quarter phase, 90 degrees or one quarter-circle east of the setting sun.On Monday, Oct. 23, one hour after sunset, the 72% moon is in the south-southeast, with Saturn nearly 6° to its upper left. On Oct. 24, Saturn appears 10-11° to upper right of the 82% moon.

On Oct. 28, the full moon is low, north of east an hour after sunset, with bright Jupiter within 3° to its lower left. Closest approach of Jupiter and the moon tonight occurs at 9:43 p.m. in Palm Springs. On Sunday morning, Oct. 29, find the moon and Jupiter low in the west, with Jupiter 4° to the lower left of the moon. The moon will rise later each evening, farther north each time until Nov. 1. By Oct. 31, the

moon will rise after twilight ends.

For illustrations of many of these events consider subscribing to the Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar, at skycalendar.

The Astronomical Society of the Desert will host a star party on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Sawmill Trailhead, a site in the Santa Rosa Mountains at elevation 4,000 feet; and on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. For dates and times of these and other star parties, and maps and directions to the two sites, visit

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

Stereographic Projection Map by Robert D. Miller
N S E W 22 29 Jupiter 1 8 15 22 29 Saturn Capella Arcturus Antares Vega Altair Deneb Fomalhaut October's evening sky chart. ROBERT D. MILLER NEWS
Oct. 14, is solar
day—but make sure you observe safely

Riverside County shuttered the San Jacinto shelter in July 2020 due to budget cuts, leaving the other three county shelters—in Thousand Palms, Blythe and Jurupa Valley— to pick up the slack.

On Sunday, Aug. 20, Hilary moved the conditions at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus from challenging to impossible: For almost two weeks, the shelter was unable to open due to heavy flooding at the intersection where Bob Hope Drive becomes Rio del Sol at Varner Road, which cut off all vehicle access to the shelter.

“If we get any more significant water at that corner of Bob Hope and Rio del Sol, I don’t know what’s going to happen to us,” said Jackie Schart, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services operations chief, to the Independent Flooding in the area is nothing new—but the chaos caused during the recent storm was new.

“I’ve worked for the county for 17 years, and

I worked out here in Coachella Valley early in my career,” Schart said. “Before that area of Bob Hope was developed, we always had significant flooding at the corner of Varner and Rio del Sol. When they developed that area with the hotel, Starbucks, McDonald’s and all that, I assumed that a big part of the (construction) of that infrastructure was to take care of all of that flooding we had previously. It never lasted more than two or three days, but anytime there was rain, there’d be standing water in that intersection.”

The county’s Emergency Management Department didn’t get the required equipment and manpower to that location to restore vehicle access until Sept. 1—some 12 days later.

“The EMD was able to clear enough water that there was one lane passable on both sides, so they allowed the road to open, and that was good news,” Schart said. “... It’s been quite an adventure.”

The current priority for the Coachella Valley Animal Campus’ staff and volunteers is to decrease, as swiftly as possible, the overpopulation of the facility, which worsened due to the chaotic storm environment. The shelter normally houses 100 or so dogs at any given time, but immediately after Hilary blew away, there were at least 150 dogs.

“So we have about 50 more than usual,” Schart said. “For the last two years, we’ve been trending a little bit high, (because we’ve received) more large dogs. It seems that our desert communities readily adopt the small-breed dogs, so we’ve been having more challenges with the large breeds. Unfortunately for us, they take up a lot of space.

“That’s why we’re really trying to get to the owners. These dogs didn’t just appear.

Somebody is looking for them. So we’re really, really urging owners not to be afraid of fees, because we’ve had some very generous donors and larger organizations that have donated toward paying redemption fees. We don’t want anybody to fear that getting their pet back would be too expensive.”

During the time the shelter was cut off from the community, Schart and her team held two off-site “pop-up” events in Palm Desert at the former Venus de Fido salon building. The first was an adoption event; the second was a wellness event where pet owners could bring their pets for inoculations and other healthcare support.

“We were donated briefly a building in Palm Desert (courtesy of the property’s owner, Linda Biggi),” Schart said. “At the adoption event, we did a total of 10 adoptions, which was less than a normal Saturday— but considering that we’d been trapped on our island for a whole week, 10 adoptions was huge! And there were people lining up outside of the wellness clinic at 8 a.m., and the event didn’t start until 10 a.m. That certainly shows that there’s both a need in our community and a want. We have great pet owners, and they just need some help with services, so we were happy we were able to provide that.”

Schart reiterated that people who lost their pets need to come to the shelter.

“Of course, we’re also encouraging adopters to come back and see us,” she said. “We really, really need the community’s help with adoptions and with redemptions right now.”

Even though the Coachella Valley Animal Campus is a county-run operation, Schart explained that they still need donations of money and items to do everything they need to do.

“The (operating) budget is handled by the county,” Schart said. “Where the donors really help is with private funding for targeted (project) goals. … We had some very generous donations of these fun splash pads that we put out in the play yard and are safe for dogs. It’s a big wet area where they can be outside and not burn their feet. Things like that are harder for us to buy out of our county budget. For instance, we’re trying to build a new play yard (with a shade structure) on the Coachella Valley campus, because we only have one play yard there. Any of the monetary donations that we have will go toward this shade structure, which, unfortunately, is quite a bit more expensive than I thought. We’ve been looking at Bagdouma Park (in Coachella) and some of the other parks that have those fabulous shade sails, and we’re working on some quotes. … We have to have more shade for our animals outside, and for our volunteers to be happy in the desert in the summer.”

Staffers are also looking to make life better for the cats at the shelter.

“We have a generous donor who has donated some funds for enrichment for cats,” she said. “We’re looking at ways to do something fun for the kitties. The dogs like the outdoor splash pad, but the cats would not. We’re looking at catenrichment activities that we can do inside, and maybe create some larger spaces for them in indoor playroom-type areas.”

To donate, go to rcdas. org and click the “donate now” button.

Schart said the shelter is always in need of linens, too.

“The items that we always accept graciously are any kind of towels or blankets,” Schart said.

“That’s something we can never have too many of, because a lot of times, the dogs will play with them exuberantly, and sometimes, those items are not making it into the washing-machine area. I just don’t want the public to forget that any of those laundry items are huge for us always. … We never have enough towels, sheets or pillow cases. Anything like that is so

As Tropical Storm Hilary approached, the Riverside County Department of Animal Services’ Thousand Palms shelter was overpopulated with lost and abandoned pets.
“ We’re really trying to get to the owners. These dogs didn’t just appear. Somebody is looking for them. So we’re really, really urging owners not to be afraid of fees. ”
– Jackie Schart Riverside County Department of Animal Services Operations Chief
A Riverside County Animal Services staff member shows a shelter cat some love. Photo courtesy of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services

helpful for us.”

Of course, residents can also volunteer their time and energy to help the animals and the staff at the RCASD shelters; if interested, apply at Schart said they’re working to make it as easy as possible for people to volunteer, including virtual orientation sessions and at-home opportunities.

“That has really helped a lot of our desert constituents who might be seniors or seasonal,” Schart said. “We have a volunteer coordinator at our campus who makes contact (with volunteers), and if needed, we can even do pick-ups and drop-offs for volunteers who don’t drive but still want to come spend a day with the animals. … Some folks volunteer, but they don’t come to the shelter. Some of them are making cat toys, or they’re making dog beds, or they’re just collecting (items) from

their communities. They make a huge impact, because we’re able to pick up those items and use them for our pet residents.”

Regarding the overpopulation problem, some help is on the way: The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted in June to resume funding for the San Jacinto shelter.

“Currently we’re hiring for that campus, and we’re training those new employees here at our Coachella Valley campus,” Schart said. “Tentatively, we’re hoping to re-open sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving this year. That’s going to relieve a big burden for us in the desert, because a lot of dogs come to us currently from unincorporated Anza or up on the mountain in Idyllwild or Mountain Center.”

For more information, visit

Riverside County Department of Animal Services by the Numbers

January-August 2023













A staff member helps prepare for an off-campus pet-adoption event in Palm Desert during the Coachella Valley Animal Campus’ recent closure due to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Hilary. Photo courtesy of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services Source: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

The Nonprofit SCENE

October 2023


Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my followers to go on to Galilee, and they will see me there.” —Matthew 28:10

Thirteen years ago, those words prompted Gloria Gomez to start the Galilee Center in Mecca. She had just quit her job and was, in her own words, “scared, diabetic, unemployed, no income, and getting older.” She said she asked herself, “Where is Galilee?”—and soon knew

A brighter future is taking shape within the Coachella Valley for women in crisis, as construction of new the Anne Silverstein Campus for Mama’s House is moving toward an end-of-the- year completion.

Whether pregnant or with an infant or small children, the women who come to Mama’s House have no place to go— and no means of support. As the only residential home and the only program of its kind in Southern California and beyond, Mama’s House is providing hope to these vulnerable women, thus impacting families, communities and generations to come.

“Our residents are becoming the individuals they were created to be,” said Jan Lupia, founder and executive director of Mama’s House. “Since opening our first residential home 10 years ago, we have been able to provide the necessary services, programs and tools for these women to achieve many accomplishments for themselves and the children they are raising.”

The new Anne Silverstein Campus for Mama’s House will encompass a total of five casitas, in addition to a 4,200-square-foot home, providing a spacious 38-bed campus. Including the first Mama’s House home with 10 beds, this campus when completed will be a collection of beautiful homes to serve 48 women and their children.

ORR Builders will soon start the topping out phase, encompassing the electrical, plumbing, low-voltage wiring, air conditioning and duct work. Shortly after that phase, ORR will complete the wrapping process, which is getting ready for the plaster finish.

As Brian Orr comments, “There is such a definite need in our community and beyond for the Mama’s House program, because this nonprofit is definitely changing lives for the better. The significant part of this is what Jan Lupia has done with the ministry of Mama’s House, which is a real plus.”

—Submitted on behalf of Mama’s House by Madeline Zuckerman.

she had to help the “poorest of the poor.”

Starting with $5 of her own money and a donation of $1,000, she and co-founder Claudia Castorena fed people in a shady spot in a Thermal parking lot.

“We thought the first time, only a few people would show up, but 100 came,” Gomez said.

Word spread, and donations kept coming in. In 2013, Galilee was gifted a dilapidated building in Mecca, which was renovated thanks to donations which “kept growing, because God wanted me to serve my brothers and sisters wherever they come from,” Gomez said.

Faith has always been a large part of Gomez’s life, she said. She was born in a small town in Mexico and lived in a mud house, but she always remembered her father giving to others.

“I don’t know where he got it, but every Christmas, he gave all the children peanuts and candy,” Gomez said.

She came to the United States with her farm-working family when she was 7 years old. First, they went to Texas, then Indio.

“I was bullied at school because of the way I talked and dressed,” she said.

Today the nonprofit provides meals, clothing, shelter and financial assistance for rent, utilities and basic needs, mostly to farmworkers, low-income families, seniors and the homeless in Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton City, Thermal and other Coachella Valley communities. They also help asylumseekers, who stay in a hotel before traveling to their final destination.

The center had set a $4 million fundraising goal for its expansion project—and that goal was met in late August thanks to a $1 million grant from the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. (Galilee Center had previously received another $500,000 from the county for the project.) The money will cover construction costs for a 6,000-squarefoot building, doubling the center’s size and allowing it to host twice as many overnight stays, in two separate dormitory-style rooms for male and female clients. The new building will also have a multi-purpose community room. The new addition was needed, as demand has outgrown the current building’s


The Galilee Center recently served as an evacuation center for people displaced when flooding caused a breach in the Lawson dump retaining wall, releasing toxic chemicals into several mobile home parks.

Since the pandemic, the Galilee Center has become even more vital, stepping up when the community needed assistance the most, responding to emergency needs such as providing access to clean water, and keeping its doors open to the North Shore community through power outages.

“Having the Galilee Center in the Mecca community over the past 10 years has been a resource to the entire region, especially the farmworker community,” says Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “The Galilee Center is a resource that never existed before. The level of services our residents have, and the ability to quickly mobilize and provide a safe haven in emergencies, is due to having this vital partnership between Riverside County and the Galilee Center in place. Expanding the Galilee Center will strengthen our community infrastructure in the eastern Coachella Valley and bring great benefit and resources to our community.”

operations at the Galilee Center, explained, based on her own experiences, how the center helps others. She came to the U.S. at the age of 3 with her farmworker father; he later became a gardener, with her mother owning a housekeeping business.

“My parents sacrificed everything so we would have a better life,” she said. “They left their country and family in Mexico to give us (siblings) more opportunities. … Recently, my dad told me about everything he went through with his older brother and father working in the fields. The money they made went to Mexico to pay for their mortgage, food and gas. The Galilee is here for our community and farmworkers. It makes sure our members of our community have what they need and can function on a daily basis, and give them what others take for granted. Everyone deserves respect.”

During the expansion work, the 66 workers at the Galilee Center will continue offering services to the needy, providing canned food, fresh produce, clothing, blankets, jackets, backpacks, infant supplies, senior services, shelter for farmworkers and more. The center has seen a significant increase in demand for infant and senior services in recent months.

Gomez sums up the work of the Galilee Center in another faith-based quotation, reminding everyone that our duty is “to love your neighbor as yourself, regardless who they are, and where they are coming from. They are all human beings.”

For more information, visit

The Galilee Center gave backpacks containing school supplies to more than 880 children in late August, thanks to financial assistance from the Bighorn Golf Club, the Cultivating Inland Empire Latino Opportunity Fund and private donations.
The Galilee Center plans to double in size to meet the ever-growing need for services in the eastern Coachella Valley



Evening Under the Stars is back.

The fundraising event, produced by AAP-Food Samaritans, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Oct. 14. It will mark the return of what had been one of the most popular annual celebrations of the Coachella Valley high season since its inception in 1993. The festivities, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m., will take place at the Old Las Palmas home

(formerly known as “Houston South”) of Brad Lampley and Rigo Lomeli and will feature a special appearance Lily Tomlin.

In a recent interview with the Independent, Mark Anton, the CEO and executive director of AAP-FS, described what attendees can look forward to enjoying that night.

“Obviously, cocktails and food are in order,” Anton said. “They’ll all be catered by Willie (Rhine) at Eight4Nine. We’ll have music performances, and we’re giving community awards to folks who are important and significant in our community. … It’s a beautiful setting with lots of green rolling lawns. We’ve got a great DJ, a small live auction—and the grooviest thing to me is that we’re taking ourselves back to where we started. That’s why we’re calling it ‘Back to Our Roots.’”

Anton professed no knowledge of how Tomlin would participate in this October’s revelry.

“She’s just going to lend her voice of support,” Anton said. “Her face graces our website, and has for many years. If you know Lily, she’s incredibly quick-witted, fun and funny, and very smart. I think it’ll be a surprise.”

The recipients of this year’s Community Impact Award are Lori and Aubrey Serfling, and Nelda Linsk, all of whom have been longtime supporters of AAP-FS.

Anton explained how circumstances, including COVID-19, forced a re-thinking of how the event is staged.

“In 2017 and 2018 and those years before,” Anton said, “(the event costs) were very reasonable, because we could get catering for $125 per person, and the venue was not nearly as expensive. For catering, the real issue was trying to find staff who could serve that many people when it was in the old format as a sit-down dinner. They would have to truck people in from L.A., so trying to do an event for 1,200-1,400 people was just insurmountable. It just wasn’t in the cards any more to spend the kind of money that event would cost today.”

The goal of the event has always been to increase the visibility of AAP-FS, and to

AAP-Food Samaritans’ popular annual fundraiser returns after a three-year hiatus

within 25 miles of Palm Springs. A quick check of distances shows that, for instance, residents of Coachella, Mecca and Thermal cannot qualify, because they live 29 miles or more from Palm Springs.

help raise the funds needed for staff and volunteers to fulfill their organization’s mission of alleviating food insecurity and improving the quality of life for low-income people living with chronic illnesses in Palm Springs and surrounding communities.

“Our fingers are crossed, and our goal is to raise $150,000,” Anton said. “I think it’s an achievable goal. … With great sponsors like Hot Purple Energy, Eisenhower Health and the Grace Helen Spearman Foundation and other really great people behind us, I think we’re going to have a really wonderful event and make some good money for our clients, which is what we need to do.”

The signature food-lifeline program managed by AAP-FS begins with their purchase of food vouchers, which are then delivered, either in-person or via mail, to wellscreened clients in the Coachella Valley.

“We purchase the vouchers from Stater Bros. at a 5% discount,” Anton said. “We buy a $150 gift card for $142.50. We used to have our clients come to the office and (pick up their cards) in-person, and there was a lot of camaraderie amongst them, because most of them don’t have families or a big Rolodex of friends. But when COVID started, we actually started sending them in the mail. Clients can use them for anything they want except alcohol, pet products or tobacco products. The Friends of the Palm Springs Animal Shelter gives us pet food for those clients who have cats and/or dogs, or what have you. Right now, that pet food is delivered by our volunteers to the clients’ homes. But we haven’t re-started the in-person delivery (of vouchers), because COVID is still looming, and many of our clients are living with compromised health, so we want to make it easy for them. A lot of them do have caregivers who will go shopping for them, so it works out really well.”

In order to receive food vouchers, clients have to meet a rigorous list of requirements involving their place of residence, lifestyle habits and degree of financial need. One localresidency requirement displayed under the “program guidelines” on the AAP-FS website stipulates that any potential client must live

“We’re flexible,” Anton said, “but part of our problem is that someday, we will go back to delivering vouchers in-person. Our logic for initiating (that requirement) many, many years ago was that it doesn’t make sense for people to drive out to Coachella and to spend all that money on gas. Quite frankly, a lot of it is because we’re stewards of our donors’ money, so we try to concentrate on serving the people in the community and not having to worry about someone from the city of Riverside or Orange trying to sneak in and qualify. It was just a control (mechanism) to try to really serve those who are nearby and in need. The organization started out only serving those who were HIV-positive or living with AIDS. But we’re always willing to listen to people’s needs that are transparent. Rules are meant to be stretched at times, when need be. We’re not 100% rigid on that.”

Anton credited the organization’s volunteers for providing the critical support that allows the AAP-FS auxiliary food service to function—and he said they can always use more help.

“We have all kinds of volunteer roles from clerical stuff in our office, to sending invitations, to making phone calls to clients to check on their well-being,” Anton said. “At events we always need greeters. Since there’s only one and a half of us (on staff)— that’s myself and my assistant Craig, who’s fantastic—we always need volunteers.”

According to Anton, tickets have been selling well.

“We’re capping attendance at 350 people, and we’re almost there,” Anton said.

Evening Under the Stars will take place at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at the home of Brad Lampley and Rigo Lomeli. Tickets are $200, and the address will be provided upon purchase. For tickets or more information, call 760-325-8481, or visit

Lily Tomlin will be the special guest at Evening Under the Stars.





Featuring Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis, and Joel Murray

Fri, November 17, 8pm

Sat, November 18, 8pm

18 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT OCTOBER 2023 CV Order tickets by phone 760 -3 40 -2 787 Order online ONLY at 73000 FRED WARING DRIVE, PALM DESERT • BOX OFFICE HOURS: MONDAY- FRIDAY, 9:00am -5:00pm Follow us Demetri Martin
Joke Machine
October 14, 8pm Presented through the generosity of Deanna Daneri Drew Lynch
October 28, 8pm
Theatre and City of Rancho Mirage Present The Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience
Theatre and
Present Emo Orchestra
Hawthorne Heights
Theatre Education Presents Palm Desert
Sun, November 5, 2pm &
Thu, November 9, 7pm McCallum
the Artists of Today, Nurturing the Artists of Tomorrow!
November 11, 7pm Featuring
Pre-Professional Companies
Sun, November 12, 4pm Featuring
Live Anyway?
Ruben & Clay
Years – One Night
American Tour
Presented through the generosity of Cary Lowe & Allan Ames
Tue, November 14, 7pm



As castmates in 2022, Gary Powers and James Owens spent hours fielding dreams and comparing notes.

“We were doing the show Mid-Century Moderns,” said Powers. “Sitting in the dressing room many nights, we talked about how we just couldn’t understand why Palm Springs wasn’t a bigger (theater) town with all the talent that’s out here.”

After three decades of working in shows from Boston to Broadway, Powers knew he’d never shake the theater bug. In James Owens, he found a kindred spirit who had worked on nearly every stage in town, both in front of the house and in back. Their ideas jelled—and they agreed

they wanted to have a big impact in the region. The Revolution Stage Company was born. After a fundraiser on Thursday, Sept. 28, featuring The Dreamboats (as well as a full bar and an ice cream station), the first full production to grace the Revolution stage, fittingly enough, will be Mid-Century Moderns, beginning an eight-week run on Friday, Oct. 6. The jukebox musical, written by Mark Christopher, debuted at the Desert Rose Playhouse in April 2022, and moved to Oscar’s Palm Springs earlier this year. It is set in 1960s Palm Springs and features songs by ’60s favorites Lesley Gore, Tom Jones, Petula Clark and others.

Owens and Powers described a dizzying year that saw their vision move from conception to opening-night jitters. Powers took over the lease of former Desert Rose Playhouse, at 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—a space that previously housed Zelda’s Nightclub—last December. He renovated the 150seat space and planned a full fall season, often with shows overlapping. On the ambitious schedule is a coming-out, coming-of-age, oneman musical written by and starring Powers; a world premiere ensemble piece exploring homelessness in song; and an adaptation of the holiday perennial A Christmas Carol.

“Pulling the trigger and planning this started back in spring this year,” said Owens. “Obviously, it’s exciting. It’s going to be nice to see the fruits of your labor, because it’s been a lot of work—a lot of time working in the summer in this building, without AC, literally sweating, just to get this place ready.”

Powers and Owens share the title of co-producing partner. With more than 50 years of experience between them, they believe they can elevate theater in Palm Springs, and avoid some of the struggles many companies have experienced post-pandemic.

“We’re just going to use all these techniques that I’ve been around for the past 35 years,” said Powers.

Revolution is also slated to offer day-time classes in theater crafts.

“We’ll teach playwriting,” said Powers, who has been writing for 30 years and can boast three full musicals and three full plays under his authorship. “We’re going to teach acting, and we’re going to teach people how to be better audition actors.”

Cabaret shows are also on the boards.

“We’re opening up what we call the Rise Up Cabaret, where performers from around the country come here and perform. It can be a place for local people to come and sing when shows are not up and running,” Powers said.

Powers wants live theater going “five, six, seven nights a week, (with) two different shows running in time,” he said.

Owens mentioned legendary vacation enclaves synonymous with theater. “Destination cities like P-town (Provincetown, Mass.) and Fire Island, they have this atmosphere where you spend a day at the beach; you go to dinner; and then you go see a show. Gary and I want to build that into the community in Palm Springs.”

Key to cultivating that culture will be growing the audience, Owens said. “There’s a big community here of people who want to see good theater, but there are also vacationers and visitors looking for something to do on the weekends.”

Powers hopes to find creative ways to market the shows, perhaps partnering with the city to install a ticketing kiosk for the various theaters around town, and offering same-day discounts.

Powers has big plans to go international in 2024: Revolution has partnered with a British company to take their productions across the pond. “We’re doing similar kinds of work, so they’ll have a stage in California that’s close to Los Angeles, and we’ll have a stage in London,” he said.

Ultimately, Owens and Powers say they’re inspired to add to the theater culture right here in Palm Springs. “There’s so much talent here, so much creativity,” said Powers. “We’re really excited about collaboration and about developing new work.”

Powers hopes Revolution will be a place for writers and directors to get their original works seen.

“One of the problems with playwrights out here in Palm Springs is there’s no real place to get your work (produced),” said Powers. “And I thought, not only for myself, but all my friends who are also aspiring playwrights, let’s give them an opportunity.”

A festival of short, all-original works is planned for January. For next season, Powers has his sights set on an international fringe festival with performers coming to Revolution from all over the world.

The local community seems to be responding to the call. “When we tell people what we’re doing,” said Powers, “they’re like, ‘Oh my god, Palm Springs really needs this.’

We’ve assembled just an incredible team right now, people who are dedicated to making this one of the best theaters not only in the Coachella Valley, but in Southern California and, yes, in the country.”

It’s an ambitious vision. But Powers, who spent 15 years on Broadway, takes his cues from some of the greats whose paths he crossed, like Carol Channing, Robert Morris, Vanessa Redgrave and John Kander (of Cabaret fame).

“If you do really good work in this space, and the shows are engaging and make people think, people are going to keep showing up and coming back,” Powers said.

For more information, visit www.

OCTOBER 2023 COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 19 CV Subscribe to the Oasis Insiders Newsletter or visit our Day-By Day Events Calendar GayDesertGuide.LGBT Oct 26–29 PS Leather Pride Oct 28 DAP Health Equity Walk 2023 Oct 29 Palm Springs Halloween on Arenas Nov 3–5 Palm Springs Pride
Gary Powers and James Owens create the Revolution Stage Company in the former Desert Rose Playhouse/Zelda’s space
James Owens and Gary Powers are the co-producing partners of the new Revolution Stage Company.

Are You Ready for Desert WineFest?


WineFest heads to Omni Resorts Rancho Las Palmas Oct. 28 and 29 for two days of premium wine tasting, as well as a chance to savor tasty bites made by local chefs, shopping fabulous boutiques, and supporting the Desert Cancer Foundation, all while mixing and mingling on the amazing golf course at the resort.

The one-of-a-kind Desert WineFest is a true celebration of all things wine, with specially curated wines, showcasing producers from around the globe. It tees up for the first time ever on the 5th fairway and 5th and 6th greens on one of the Omni’s bnine-hole executive courses. The relaxed outdoor space provides a picturesque backdrop for guests to balance fun, exploration and wine education, with great artisan boutiques, live music, VIP chef appearances, food trucks, games and more. Beer and cider lovers need not fret, as there will also be specialty craft brews and other libation tastings on tap during the two-day fest.

Festgoers will experience the best of the new season at the Omni, with illustrious winemakers and winery owners from both Old and New World wine regions on-hand to discuss the different varietals and vintages available for tasting—anticipated to be well over 250 participating labels. With so many wine options and activities available, Desert WineFest CEO Scherr Lillico recommends making a fun “staycation” vibe for the weekend.

“We’ve envisioned creating a new wine-centric event in the desert for a few years, and I’m thrilled to see it come to reality,” Lillico said. “We have had an outpouring of support to-date from the community, our partner wineries, lifestyle exhibitors and sponsors, including KESQ and the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort, the city of Rancho Mirage, and Defender, plus our incredible partner charity, Desert Cancer Foundation. We look forward to introducing residents and visitors of Rancho Mirage and the Coachella Valley to hundreds of new wines, while they stroll this beautiful property and enjoy a relaxing and educational afternoon—or two!”

Desert WineFest features two tiers of ticket options: general admission and VIP Garden on the Terrace. General admission includes entry and a commemorative souvenir cup to taste with and keep, as well as unlimited tastings, water provided by Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino, coffee and the overall fest experience, including a chance to check out the newest Defender by Land Rover.

The VIP Garden on the Terrace is an extra special experience capped at just 400 guests, and which will have the added bonus features of small bite tasting menu items curated by chef Daniel Villanueva of Daniel’s Table Cathedral City, with farm-to-table bites, as well as chef Simon Warren, executive chef at the Rancho Las Palmas, along with tastings from boutique and premium wineries. There are also Designated Driver tickets available.

Fest hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Carpooling, ride sharing services, or public transportation is highly recommended. Tickets are available at Tickets will be available at the door, subject to capacity.

• General Admission (at the gate): $100; includes entry to the fest, a commemorative souvenir cup to keep, unlimited wine and craft brew tastings, water, coffee, and the overall fest experience.

• VIP Garden (at the gate): $140, provides all that GA does, PLUS tasting wines from over a dozen gem boutique wineries, which are defined as producing less than 2,500 cases of wine each year; higher end wines, appetizers, samplings, and some seating. As a result, only 400 all-cccess tickets are available per day, so purchase early. On Saturday only, you also have the ability to enter the Fest one hour early (at 12 p.m.). There’s no early Entry Sunday.

• Designated drivers are encouraged, and get to join their friends and enjoy all the amenities of the day for only $25 (does not include any alcohol tastings).

The legal bits: 1) Must be 21 years of age to be on the premises. (Sorry, no infants either—ABC rules.) 2. Absolutely no pets. Certified service animals allowed. 3. Wineries/Breweries reserve the right to limit consumption.

To learn more, or to purchase tickets at early bird reduced rates, please visit




Ah, Halloween. People get creative with spooky décor. There are the costumes … and who doesn’t love candy?

But aside from visiting pop-up Spirit Halloween stores, options for family-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday in the Coachella Valley are sparse. Well, the team behind the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival is out to change that.

Making its debut this year is the Riverside County Scare and Pumpkin Festival, a community celebration of all things Halloween and Day of the Dead, happening at the Riverside County Fairgrounds Fullenwider Auditorium every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 29 through

October, as well as Monday, Oct. 30, and Tuesday, Oct. 31. There will be a pumpkin patch, a haunted maze experience, food, drinks, entertainment and more for all ages to explore. Tickets start at $8 to $10, or $5 for kids 12 and younger.

“Part of our deal with the county is that we want to make the fairgrounds open to the community year-round, and we want to do that in a meaningful way,” said events manager Chris Pickering during a recent phone interview. “One of the things that makes the fairgrounds unique is everything we do is a reflection of the community. During the Fair and Date festival, we have competitive exhibits where we celebrate the very best of the community. We’re the world’s largest ‘mom’s refrigerator’ with artwork; we put young dancing groups up on one of our largest stages. The Scare and Pumpkin Fest will be no different.”

One of the community-centered experiences at the Scare and Pumpkin Fest will be the Ofrenda, an altar that is a traditional aspect of Día de los Muertos.

“People will be able to bring offerings and pictures of their departed loved ones and contribute to that, where it will (grow) over the course of the month,” said Pickering. “It will be a reflection of the community by the time it’s done.”

Pickering said his team worked hard to create an affordable and worthwhile experience.

“Whenever we were looking at our pricing model, we were always looking at: What does that look like for a family to afford?” he said. “We want it to be achievable for people to come out and celebrate, and to be able to do so a few times. Once people get inside and see what we’ve built, they’re going to want to come back. … The other factor we want to consider is, last year, when we had outdoor events in October, the weather wasn’t particularly cooperative. This year, we’re starting small, and we’re keeping the fest entirely inside the Fullenwider Auditorium. It’s 33,000 square

feet, so we have a lot of space to do that.”

Having the event completely indoors offers various positives. Pickering said that when his team asked community members what they would most like as part of the festival, the answer was “resoundingly, a pumpkin patch.”

“When we talked to the pumpkin growers, they told us last year that our temperature was too high and the weather was too inclement to have an outdoor pumpkin patch,” Pickering said. “I would have loved to put it on the lawn in front of our beautiful Arabian Nightsthemed stage, but it’s still going to be in the 90s, so it’s too hot for the pumpkins, so indoors we go. Being inside creates some really unique opportunities for us to control the time of day, if you will—and create that eternal Halloween nighttime atmosphere indoors.”

However, being inside means crowd counts have to be strictly managed.

“Normally, when we do concert events in the Fullenwider, we’re able to have 3,000 people, but the way we’re building out the building façades and all the interactive elements of it, our capacity is at 2,000 people,” he said. … “Toward the end of the event, the last two weeks, the carnival that we use during fair time, Butler Amusements, is going to come down and bring three rides. We’ll have the Eagle 16 Ferris wheel, the giant slide and the Mardi Gras funhouse added to everything that we’re doing indoors, so we’ll take up a little bit of space out in Lot 2 and be able to increase our capacity.”

If scares are more your thing, then you’re in luck: The Carnival Carnivore Haunted House will be located inside the Fullenwider, providing a scary maze experience. It’s recommended for attendees 16 years old-plus, and admission requires a separate ticket.

“I’ve seen some really brave 8-year-olds, and I’ve seen some really scared 30-year-olds,” Pickering said. “There is a recommendation for the haunt that is ages 16-plus, because it is not a kid-friendly hunt. The whole Plaza Fantazma (pumpkin-patch town) experience inside the Fullenwider is family-friendly. We’ve

actually set it up so that the haunt element is in the lobby and the back areas of the Fullenwider, so it’s separated from the main area with permanent walls that are always part of that building. It’s going to muffle the screams. … We’ve set it up where we have the indoor bar area, too, so when you come out with your group, you can kind of sit and digest everything who just went through.”

Pickering said the event will also feature LGBTQ+ programming.

“We were really excited to have worked with a group called Out at the Fair during our Fair and Date Festival this year,” he said. “They work with a dozen or so fairs across the country to do family-friendly pride, LGBTQ+ programming. The fair is a reflection of the community, and sometimes the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t always feel welcome coming to fairs with the traditional view of what a fair is, so we were excited that everything went so well this year. They’re excited to come back next year, but we’re actually going to be hosting their very first non-fair event on Friday, Oct. 13, called Out at the Scare. … (We’re) opening our doors yearround so that this can be their community

celebration and gathering place as well.”

Pickering said he hopes the event defies expectations.

“When you say ‘pumpkin patch at a fairgrounds,’ I don’t think anyone had in mind what we put forward with our concept art,” Pickering said. “There’s really so much to this heavily, heavily themed experience, and we brought our first contractor on in May to help develop this. … We’re working with cultural consultants, and we have professional altarista involved with the ofrenda, to make sure that we’re providing an authentic experience that is reflective of our local community. This is year one of the event, and we’re definitely planning on having it come back year after year after year.”

The Riverside County Scare and Pumpkin Festival will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from Friday, Sept. 29, through October, as well as Monday, Oct. 30, and Tuesday, Oct. 31, at the Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, in Indio. Tickets start at $8 to $10, or $5 for kids 12 and younger. For tickets or more information, call 760-863-8247, or visit

The inaugural Riverside County Scare and Pumpkin Festival celebrates Halloween and Día de los Muertos
Concept art showing the Riverside County Scare and Pumpkin Festival’s Plaza Fantazma.



If you don’t know who comedian/host Jeff Foxworthy is … you’re probably not a redneck. Through his famous redneck jokes; his Blue Collar Comedy Tour collaborations with Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and Ron White; and his time hosting Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Jeff Foxworthy has captivated fans worldwide by sharing his brand of observational, family-focused comedy—all through his thick Georgia accent. He is the best-selling comedy recording artist in history, and has been performing clean throughout his career. Foxworthy is bringing his standup show to Spotlight 29 on Saturday, Oct. 21.

During a recent phone interview, Foxworthy explained how his touring schedule in 2023 is

much, much different than it was when his kids were young.

“I would lease a plane, and I would fly home every night, no matter where my show was, unless I was on the West Coast,” Foxworthy said. “I would fly home every single night and get in at 1 or 2 in the morning, and I’d get up at 6 and take them to school. I’d go pick them up from school, and then I’d go get on a plane and fly out and do another show—for about 12 years. In fact, not long ago, I said to my wife, ‘When did I sleep?’ But it gave me 100 more days a year with my kids. Once they grew up, I’m like, ‘This is expensive,’ so I started flying Delta again, and so that’s what I do most of the time.

“If I’m going to the West Coast, I’ll try to do two or three stops in a row, and then come home. It’s more relaxed, and it’s a little easier on the body and the wallet than it used to be.”

While Foxworthy isn’t touring as much, that doesn’t mean that his love for standup is wavering in any way.

“I’m really enjoying this season of life, and I still really enjoy what I do,” Foxworthy said. “Sometimes people say, ‘When are you gonna retire?’ And I’m like, ‘Crap, I still love doing it; I just don’t love doing it at the pace I did it 20 years ago.’ Now my joke is: You’re paying me to get on a plane and sleep in a hotel room? I’ll do the show for free! Still, every night when those lights go down, and that light hits the floor, I’m like, ‘I’ve got the best job in the whole world.’

“I maybe do 50 shows a year now. When I first started, I think the first eight years in a row, I did at least 500 shows a year. … It was almost like the Malcolm Gladwell thing: You’ve got to do something 10,000 times to get really good at it, so that was kind of my approach.”

The pandemic helped Foxworthy realize the value of family time, he said.

“I enjoy my grandkids and my dog,” Foxworthy said. “I kind of learned that during COVID. I think the longest I’d ever been without doing a show was a couple of weeks—two or three weeks when my kids were

born. Then all the sudden, COVID hit, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is what it’s like to sleep in your own bed on a Saturday, or to eat dinner with your wife.’ After touring came back, I just kind of said, ‘You know what? I don’t want to stop doing it, but I’m not going to do it every weekend.’ I spread it out a little bit and savor it, and it’s worked out nice.”

During 40-plus years of writing and performing, Foxworthy has endured many moments of fatigue and burn out. Foxworthy preaches: “You can’t write when you’re exhausted … but it’s also something you can’t force.”

“Kenny Rogers said to me one time that the best careers in entertainment are like a lava lamp. You heat up for a little bit, and then you kind of cool down, and then you come back, and you heat up again, and then you cool down,” Foxworthy said. “What he meant by that was when you hit those hotspots, it’s exhausting; you can’t sustain at that level. I had that in the beginning with the ‘you might be a redneck’ stuff and then doing The Tonight Show and Vegas and stuff, and then it cooled off a little bit, and then we came back with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and it heated back up for several years, and then it cooled off a little bit. Then I was doing Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

“For me, I think I’ve always remained interested in standup, because I’ve gotten to do other things that kind of satisfy that urge or that curiosity. There’s just something about standing there and making people laugh—it just makes you feel so good. Or somebody coming back after a show and going, ‘Oh my god, I can’t remember the last time I laughed that much.’ We all need it. It’s that reprieve from whatever our particular struggle in life is. It’s that little reprieve where we set it down for just a second. Music is the same way.”

Foxworthy has said in other interviews that music and comedy have interesting parallels. He said they have some definite differences, too.

“Once you write something that’s a hit, you’re going to be playing that all night, every night, for the rest of your life,” Foxworthy said.

“I’m sure Chubby Checker got sick of singing

‘The Twist,’ but that’s what people wanted to hear when they saw Chubby Checker. As a comic, it kind of doesn’t work that way. You’re always expected to have new material, so you can never rest being a comic. You’ve almost always got to be writing.

“Kind of the only downside of being a comedian is you’re on the road by yourself. I think with a band, there are probably some real good things about having buddies around you—and there are probably some bad things, like getting sick of them. With Blue Collar, I was like, ‘Well, this is fun. I’m not out by myself; I’m hanging out. Instead of going to lunch by myself. I’m going with my friends.’ Comedy is very freeing, and I’m sure musicians feel like this. Back in the mid-’90s when I was doing a sitcom, it was frustrating to me, because I would read the script, and I would be thinking, ‘This is not funny.’ The beauty of being a comic is, sink or swim, live or die with it, you’re saying what you want to say, which is really cool.”

Foxworthy shared his thoughts on the SAGAFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes, which were still ongoing as of this writing.

“It’s very hard to try to get anything done

right now,” Foxworthy said. “I had a couple of things I was writing on, and that stopped, and then I’ve had a couple of pitch ideas for shows, but people are like, ‘Well, we don’t know how long before we’ll be back in production.’ I’ll be glad when it’s resolved. … Writing, in any form, is not necessarily fun, and it’s never easy, but there’s a big satisfaction in it when you grind through it, and you get something that you’re proud of or that you like. Whether it’s a movie or a TV show or standup, none of it goes without good writing, so I think they deserve to be compensated for that.

“We don’t write because we love to write; we write because we have to write. For me, starting the process every time, it’s not fun. It’s that dreaded, blank page, but then once you get into it, you’re like, ‘Oh, my god, I know how to do this.’ Then when you get something, you’re so glad that you committed to it and put in the work.”

Jeff Foxworthy will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, at Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, in Coachella. Tickets are $35 to $120. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-5566, or visit

Jeff Foxworthy brings an everlasting adoration for standup comedy to Spotlight 29
Jeff Foxworthy.



Standup comedy can include more than just normal “jokes.” It can also include art, or music, or simple humorous sentences.

Demetri Martin’s act has all of this. After writing for The Late Show With Conan O’Brien and appearing on The Daily Show, he had a short-lived sketch-comedy show, Important Things With Demetri Martin. He’ll perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at the McCallum Theatre. During a recent phone interview, Martin discussed how Important Things helped him develop a niche fanbase.

“It ended up being a weird experience for me, because at the time, it felt so high stakes, and

I put so much work into it,” Martin said. “It was like a kamikaze mission just to get everything done, learning sort of on the job and everything—and then the show ended, and that was it. It just sort of vanished. That was before, obviously, the world we live in now. There’s so much content, and there was a lot then, but so much more now. … At the time, if I had known that it doesn’t really matter, I probably still would have worked really hard on it, but I might not have taken some of it so seriously—to be like, ‘Oh, god, this is so important.’ Now most people not only have never heard of it, but you can’t even find it.”

Martin said he struggled to get the show more attention.

“At the time, I fought really hard to get clips on YouTube and try to promote it,” said Martin. “It was very clippable and all that stuff, but Viacom got in a big fight with YouTube or their parent company, whatever it was, so they would take down anything. There was no chance to promote it beyond Comedy Central’s crappy website, so I sort of knew it was doomed in a lot of ways. I think what was kind of ironic was, by the time the show got canceled, I was starting to figure it out. I was like, ‘All right, I think I know how to do this now,’ and then they were like, ‘Yeah, show’s done.’”

Martin is visiting the Coachella Valley as he prepares for a new Netflix comedy special. He said will be part one of a trilogy that’s interlinked narratively.

“I’m hoping (they’ll be released) over the course of about two years; we’ll see how the release dates work out,” Martin said. “… Even though each one will stand on its own, they’re also linked together, which is kind of cool. It’s definitely all still based mostly in jokes, but there are some personal stories in it, and then there is a larger story that connects all three. It’s a personal story, but it’s almost like sci-fi. It’s very different and weird, and I think it’s its own thing. I haven’t seen anybody do this sort of thing yet, so I feel excited that I might be in a slightly new area here to try to do this

linking thing.”

In other interviews, Martin described his time writing for Late Night as a “quarter life crisis.” Since Martin turned 50 this year, I was curious what his midlife crisis was or is.

“(My quarter-life crisis) got me on this path, and then I was like, ‘All right, I think I feel like I’m going the right way for me,’ and now I’m 50, and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m pretty far down a certain road,’” Martin said. “The challenge has changed, because there’s less natural newness to things. … It feels like you’ve got to not get too stuck in certain ruts, unless you’re comfy doing that, then fine. For me, I’m trying to mix it up and challenge myself in different ways, and just not just do the same sorts of things.”

Martin said he has completed his midlife crisis.

“There was an interesting coincidence of the pandemic hitting right when I was in my midlife crisis stuff,” Martin said. “It was a global crisis, so I got to just sort of ride that wave while my little midlife thing happened at the same time. I’m coming out of both of them at the same time, so that’s good timing. I’m working on all kinds of different new stuff. I’m still trying to write books, and think I’m going to do my first art show in the spring, which I’m excited about.”

Art and cartoons have long been parts of Martin’s comedy. His sketches often illustrate his stories or provide visual gags for his thoughts. The art show that Martin is working on will feature “paintings that are funny.”

“It would be like going to a comedy show, but it just takes place on the walls, and there’s no words, and I don’t have to be there,” Martin said. “If it were to work, I’d love to be able to have it be seen in different countries where people don’t speak English … to see how much comedic ideas translate or travel that are just about basic conditions, situations or human nature. It’s kind of like one-liners, but even more reductive. How economical can I make a joke?”

Martin’s media-varied style took years to

fully develop. When he first started doing comedy, his approach was more fast-paced and centered on traditional jokes, he said.

“I would just tell as many (jokes) as I could in the six minutes or 10 minutes that I got onstage,” Martin said. “I was carrying notebooks around a lot, which I hadn’t before I was a comic, and that led me naturally into drawing more, which I had done as a kid. When I started drawing, I was thinking immediately that there could be overlap here.”

New York’s experimental comedy scene helped Martin develop his signature style.

“Back then, there was more of a clear line between what they would call ‘club comedians’ and ‘alternative comedians,’” Martin said. “The club comics were doing, in retrospect, much more of an ’80s style of standup comedy—not necessarily in the topics or the content, but more in the form, which is microphone, stool, brick wall and that sort of thing. These other rooms that were in the backs of bars and music clubs and small weird venues, those were a little bit more experimental. People were doing different kinds of things with music and props and visuals. … In that context, I was

like, ‘Let me try some of these drawings onstage,’ and then I was trying stuff with music. … By the time I was headlining and doing longer shows on the road, some of those things became really useful as ways to break up an 80- or 90-minute show, so that it wasn’t just 120 jokes in a row. There were endpoints, like little breaths in the run of the show, so you could reset and then go into another section.”

Martin said he’s come to realize that doing creative things just for the experience of doing them is “worth it.”

“You don’t have to use it or apply it or monetize it or any of that stuff. It feels good,” he said. “It’s almost like a vitamin or something, and it does make me feel a little more balanced or involved in things, in a good way. And it’s not passive; it’s active, and there’s something really nice about it for your brain, I think.”

Demetri Martin will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Tickets are $35 to $85. For tickets or more information, call 760340-2787, or visit

Demetri Martin talks about experimentation, creativity and taking chances ahead of his McCallum Theatre show
Demetri Martin.


#1 Regional Hospital plus quality awards in 20 specialties.

On behalf of Eisenhower Medical Center, we say thank you. To U.S. News & World Report, for the honor and recognition. To our care teams, for their drive and dedication. And to all of you in our wonderful community who choose us for their care. Besides being ranked as the Inland Empire’s Best Regional Hospital and ranked as the 12th Best Hospital in California, we were recognized for high quality care in the following categories:

• Aortic Valve Surgery

• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

• Colon Cancer Surgery

• Diabetes

• Geriatrics

• Heart Attack

• Heart Bypass Surgery

• Heart Failure

• Hip Fracture

• Hip Replacement

• Kidney Failure

• Knee Replacement

• Leukemia, Lymphoma & Myeloma

• Lung Cancer Surgery

• Neurology & Neurosurgery

• Orthopedics

• Pneumonia

• Prostate Cancer Surgery

• Spinal Fusion

• Stroke

In the coming year, we pledge to keep doing our best to be the best, delivering compassionate, high-quality, leading edge care to the Coachella Valley. Thank you, one and all. You are, and always will be, our inspiration to reach new heights.

Learn more about our accreditations and recognitions at





received a call at the wine shop the other day from someone looking for a particular bottle

Country Club and Cook Street

Palm De sert

I field these types of requests all the time. Someone goes to dinner, or to a friend’s house, where they are introduced to a wine. They fall in love; they want to get their hands on some. If it’s a wine with which I’m not already familiar, I diligently do my homework to see if I can find out who sells it, how much it is, and if it’s available. Not to brag, but my sleuthing skills are


in a cool-climate location in Nevada to make

After a quick search, I found the wine in question, and it’s made here in California. In fact, right on the Ultraviolet website, it

vintage, which is abbreviated on the label as NV. Of course! It made perfect sense, and I could empathize with the thought that the capitalized letters “NV” could, and should, mean the state of Nevada.

This got me thinking about all the other nomenclature on wine labels that is confusing, cryptic and even perhaps a bit misleading. So here is your guide to decoding wine labels, and the important information to look for—and the garbledy-goop to ignore.

Ultraviolet cabernet sauvignon, and it’s made here in California by a super-talented winemaker named Samantha Sheehan. Was she making a sparkling wine in Nevada? It seemed odd, but who knows? After all, Gruet Winery makes delicious bubbles in New Mexico, and I’ve had several wines from Arizona. Maybe Samantha found an ideal spot

Manchester Ridge vineyard, in the AVA region known as ‘islands in the sky’ located 2,000 feet above Anderson Valley, CA and 400 feet above the fog line.”

So why did this person think the wine was from Nevada? I spent the day pondering this until I finally had an “ah-ha!” moment.

Non-vintage. The sparkling wine was a non-

We’ve obviously covered the abbreviation for non-vintage, but did you know that term can be applied to still wines as well as sparkling? That’s right! Also, there are several very prominent wines on the market that are called “multi-vintage.” This means the grapes that went into that wine came from a blend of several different years. Most of the time, there won’t be anything to indicate the wine is from several vintages except for the omission of a year on the label. These blends are often labeled with a “lot number” or “barrel series number” to differentiate one bottling from the next.

While we’re on the topic of vintages, it’s also worth noting that even if a vintage year is printed on the label, only 85% of the grapes that went into that wine need to come from that harvest year. Fascinating, right?

Because winemaking isn’t an exact science, there are several other “facts” on a wine label that have some wiggle room.

For instance, the alcohol content, or ABV— alcohol by volume—can vary plus or minus by at least 1%. So that bottle of red wine that says it’s 14.8% ABV can actually be up to 15.8%. Whoa! Better pace yourself. If the wine is less than 14% alcohol, there can be a swing of up to 1.5%. Now, it should be said that this isn’t because the winemaker is trying to deceive you. The lack of accuracy comes from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, otherwise known as the TTB. This government entity regulates what is allowed on a wine label, what is mandatory, and what is forbidden. (As for the forbidden: no foul language; no naked ladies; and no stealing someone else’s name.) They require the labels to be submitted for approval in advance, and if we know anything about the government, it’s that nothing happens quickly. This is why many wines say they’re 14.5% ABV— it’s a fairly safe bet that the wine will fall somewhere between 13.5% and 15.5%.

Did you know that here in California, when the name of the grape is printed on the label,

only 75% of that grape needs to be in that wine? A quarter of that wine can be from any other grape, and they don’t have to tell you. Any wine below that 75% threshold is labeled as a table wine, a blend, or simply a red or white wine. That’s a little loosey-goosey, if you ask me. Things get a little stricter when the label indicates a specific area, like Napa Valley, Sonoma Coast or Sta. Rita Hills, for example— then the requirement jumps to 85%. If a single vineyard is printed, a whopping 95% must come from that one vineyard site.

While the alcohol content and the region are mandatory pieces of information on the wine label, there are some optional tidbits that occasionally get thrown on there for “flair”—terms like “reserve,” “special selection” or “proprietor’s select” mean absolutely nothing legally. A winery’s “grand reserve” offering doesn’t technically have to be any different than their Tuesday-night-with-pizza swill. That’s not to say the wines with these special designations aren’t, in fact, superior to their often-less-expensive counterparts. At any reputable and ethical winery, they most certainly are. Often, these higher-tier wines come from better vineyard sites, are aged in finer oak barrels, and are made in much smaller quantities. It’s just important to note that unlike the wines from Spain and Italy—where the term “reserve” requires a longer time being aged, minimum alcohol levels, and a certain amount of fruit a vineyard can produce—these terms here don’t carry any regulated significance.

Now go forth, my educated wine-lovers, and decode that label like a pro!

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

Some information on a wine label has value; some is just there for flair




This year has caused a bit more wear and tear on my body, mind and soul than normal. Add in the heat and a feeling of staleness about my work, and I was desperate to get away. I originally planned to escape to Northern California, but due to an unforeseeable circumstance,

Country Club and Cook Street Palm De sert

Not to say that San Diego is at all a last resort. It’s one of my top choices as a destination for getting out of town, period. Since the pandemic, I’ve had a tendency to avoid plans to leave town, and instead stay as close to home as possible. But as I drove down to my vacation rental near the


the latter was a fruity and dank twist on an

My first stop was Burgeon at the Arbor, Burgeon Beer Company’s bistro in Little Italy. As I’ve stated in past columns, I adore their beer, and the small but excellent food menu at The Arbor makes it an easy choice for a meal. I could almost smell the sea air as I ordered half-pints (please, local breweries, bars and taprooms—offer half pours, for the love of Odin!) of a one-off West Coast pilsner, Twin Fin, and a special version of their Treevana IPA with Trainwreck terpenes added for flavor and aroma. (Yes, the terpenes are from cannabis; no, they do not contain THC). The former was a great accompaniment to the Korean-style fried-chicken sandwich, and

across Little Italy to Bottlecraft and their excellent tap-and-bottle collection for more half-pours. This time it was Lizard Jim from Green Cheek; a New Zealand-hopped pale ale from Oregon’s pFriem Family Brewers; and a small pour of a very big and rich barrel-aged imperial stout with licorice and cinnamon from Fremont Brewing. All were excellent, and the last one was so decadent that I bought a bottle I could share with my friends.

Out of curiosity and for science, I then walked across the street for a nightcap at Ballast Point‘s taproom. I ordered a beer that I used to love before the changing of ownership (twice!), Grunion Pale Ale. It was nothing like I remember it being, sadly, but wasn’t at all bad.

The next day, after a delicious and nostalgic lunch and a nap (shout out to Bronx Pizza in

Hillcrest for their authentic New York-style pizza and calzones), I decided to have dinner and a beer at North Park Beer Co. Inside their taproom, Mastiff Kitchen specializes in sausage, and they do it well. I had a smoked Andouille sausage, and it went perfectly with my Munich-style Helles lager. (German beer + pork is one of the easiest pairings of all time.) My friend James joined me for an after-work pint, and we walked across the street to Bottlecraft’s North Park location to get beer to take to his house, where I joined him and his girlfriend, Meg, to meet more friends via the Discord app to watch a terrible movie, Meg 2: The Trench (no relation to James’ girlfriend). I cannot recommend the movie, but I can recommend the company, the Burgeon Treevana IPA, and the Enegren smoked lager I enjoyed.

My hosts retired early, so I decided to walk down the block and try Black Plague Brewing. I started with what I figured is a make-orbreak beer for any brewery—a lager. The Oracle of Time Czech-style pils was very good. This immediately made me perk up and scan the menu for more. Half-pours make this a viable strategy—you can cover more of the tap with less inebriation and fewer calories. Since their first lager was good, why not a second? The Prince of Bavaria Oktoberfest lager was even better—a malty beer that was dry and crisp to help balance each sip out. There is a great pleasure in finding a gem of a brewery you hadn’t paid much attention to— especially when their beer is available locally.

I was lucky enough to have my trip coincide with North Park Beer Co.’s seventh anniversary party. They invited many breweries across the country to bring at least one keg of whatever they wished. It was crowded, but I was lucky enough to find a spot at the bar, where very busy bartenders were kind enough to come by and refill my taster glass with whatever I wanted. The highlights were Cellarmaker’s Mo’ Simcoe IPA (they make this beer with varying hops, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of those variants); all of North Park’s anniversary beers (a hoppy pilsner, an IPA, and an incredible barrel-aged imperial stout with pistachios and vanilla, the latter being my favorite of the event); Russian River‘s barrelaged peach lambic-style sour ale; Quebecbased Messorem’s imperial stout that tasted of incredibly rich chocolate; and, the surprise of the day, Alvarado Street‘s Fuzzy Navel sour ale that tasted like (you guessed it!) a fuzzy navel cocktail.

A week in San Diego for me simply contains too much to recount in these confines. Join me next month, where I get into a special invitation to a cidery whose creations I reviewed last month—and to see if I ever make it home from one of my favorite places on the planet.

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

Another year, another journey through the beer heaven that is San Diego
North Park Beer Co. just celebrated its seventh anniversary. Brett Newton

Reservations recommended. Call 760-779-5000

Open Thursday through Tuesday

71680 Highway 111 #F, Rancho Mirage (Next to Hilton Garden Inn)


On this month’s menu: stunning nigiri and amazing birria


WHAT Snow crab nigiri

WHERE Nobu Indian Wells, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 78200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells

HOW MUCH $10 per piece; two-piece minimum CONTACT 760-200-8185;

WHY It’s so fresh and tasty.

If someone would have told me, when I moved here more than a decade ago, that it would one day be possible for someone to eat at Nobu before attending a professional hockey game—without leaving the valley—I’d have suspected serious mental illness on the part of the speaker. But it’s indeed possible, because our little Coachella Valley is growing up, as evidenced by the presence of Acrisure Arena and a Nobu restaurant yearround.

I have not yet been to a Firebirds game yet—it’s on the must-do list for the team’s upcoming season—and I only recently visited the local Nobu for the first time, even though the restaurant has been open full-time since February, and during the BNP Paribas Open since 2014. While my recent visit was my first, it certainly won’t be my last—although I’ll need to save up come cash between each visit, because Nobu ain’t cheap.

I’ve long been a fan of Nobu restaurants, not because of the fanciness, but because every single piece of fish and seafood I’ve had during my visits has been stellar—and such was the case during our recent Indian Wells visit. Among all of the amazing nigiri, the snow crab was the standout.

Crab has a sweet, salty, subtle flavor, and in far too many dishes, that flavor is overshadowed or even muted by other ingredients. This is why I prefer to eat crab on its own—and the snow crab nigiri at Nobu was some of the freshest, most delicious crab I’ve ever had.

Yes, $10 for one bite of food (albeit a large bite) is a lot. But trust me: That snow crab is worth it.

WHAT Birria taco

WHERE Elvira’s Taqueria, 69115 Ramon Road, #F3, Cathedral City

HOW MUCH $2.50

CONTACT; 760-321-0030

WHY It’s so satisfying.

Before I visit new-to-me restaurants, I often do some research. I check the restaurant’s website; I peruse review websites (ignoring the ratings and looking for helpful comments); and so on.

Elvira’s Taqueria doesn’t have a website (at least that I could find), but I did learn some things from the restaurant’s social media, and I noticed something interesting on the review sites: A whole lot of people raved about the birria.

Birria is meat that’s marinated and then stewed. If it’s done right, the meat is tender, juicy and packed with flavor—and I can confirm that Elvira’s Taqueria does beef birria right.

We ordered a fair amount of food at Elvira’s in addition to the birria taco—including a shrimp cocktail ($12.50), a shrimp burrito ($11.99) and a “burrito-quesa” (a cheesetopped burrito, $12.50)—and it was all enjoyable, especially the shrimp burrito. They use fried shrimp in the burrito; at first, this surprised me, but the more I ate, the more I liked it.

But the reason I’ll be returning to Elvira’s is that messy, juicy little taco. It was the first thing I ate, and it’s the item my mind keeps returning to whenever I think of that meal. The meat was so flavorful—you can tell a lot of love and care went into preparing it—and as much as I liked the rest of our food, I wish I’d have ordered less of it, and more of those birria tacos.

We really enjoyed our meal at Elvira’s. The atmosphere is bright and vibrant; the fastcasual service is quick and friendly. I’ll be back soon … and I’ll be ordering a whole bunch of birria tacos.


Restaurant NEWS BITES


Spring is generally considered “festival season” in the Coachella Valley—but are October and November now “food and wine festival season”?

As reported last month, we have two new wine festivals coming, and now we have word of the Agua Caliente Food Truck Festival, taking place at the casino at 68960 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City, from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7. Multiple food trucks will join music by The Moontones; admission is free. Visit to learn more.

The next day, Sunday, Oct. 8, you can enjoy Filipino culture at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road, via the new Coachella Valley Filipino Festival, with film screenings, food vendors and cultural performances taking place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find out more at

From 3 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, Taste of On the Mark returns to Palm Springs’ Museum Way. Attendees can try some of the store’s favorite beer, food and wine products. The ticket price of $70-$95 includes a tasting glass and unlimited samples of the various drinks and food. Get tickets at


A while back, we reported that Umami Seoul, at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Cathedral City, was getting a concept update as the owning family’s daughter took over the restaurant. The space is now BeeCh Please (BeeCh is a portmanteau of beer and chicken), featuring Korean fried chicken, Korean-style ramen and, you guessed it, beer! Sadly, during opening week, the building was tagged with racist graffiti—so this family-run business needs our support! See the full menu at

We previously reported that Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill, at 350 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, was being sold to Waldo Cesoni, owner of Backstreet Bistro and Waldo’s Ristorante in Palm Desert. That deal fell through—and the original owners, with two new business partners, reopened the restaurant on Aug. 31. Find out more at

The Palm Springs Farmers’ Market is slated to return to the Palm Springs Cultural Center (2300 E. Baristo Road) on Saturday, Sept. 30, while the Palm Desert market will reopen Sunday, Oct. 1, at Entrada del Paseo, at Highway 111 and El Paseo, next to the Chamber of Commerce. The market has also announced that their popular Market Match program, which doubles CalFresh and EBT dollars, is matching up to $20 through 2023.


Better Ice Cream, formerly in the Indio Mall, has moved to 42250 Jackson St., Suite 102. You can’t help but have a good time with more than 30 ice cream flavors, snacks and signature drinks; … Jackalope Ranch, at 80400 Highway 111, in Indio, reopened Sept. 14 under new ownership after being closed for almost three years due to the pandemic and a major remodeling. They source meats and produce locally whenever possible; … New to Indio, serving seafood, burgers and Mexican food: Dino Restaurant, at 82231 Indio Blvd. … And new to Palm Desert: Mega Café, at 78375 Varner Road, with diner fare like sandwiches, burgers, soup, etc. These two places don’t have much of an online presence beyond Yelp … Santorini Gyro, the local Greek chain with two locations in Palm Springs and one in Cathedral City, is planning a fourth location in Rancho Mirage, by the Country Club Café at Monterey Avenue and Country Club Drive. There was no information on the website or social media as of this writing, but there’s a sign up at the space. … The first fully operational mobile food facility in Palm Springs, which meets all the newest City Council regulations, is set to launch, with its primary location at Demuth Park. Palm Springs Charcuterie will offer charcuterie boxes, sandwiches, snacks and select non-alcoholic beverages. See the menu and watch for updates at … Carousel Baker, at 440 S. El Cielo Road, Suite 14, has taken over the space formerly occupied by Nicolino’s, just steps from their former location. They now serve a wider variety of pastries and have a dining area where you can enjoy burgers, sandwiches and breakfast. You’re missing out if you have not tried their pecan sticky bun; … Broken Yolk Café is returning to Palm Springs in the space that was previously Brickworks, at 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Hopefully they will be reactivating the Facebook page soon at … Del Rey at Villa Royale, at 1620 S. Indian Canyon, in Palm Springs, has reopened with a refreshed décor, poolside lunch, an expanded menu and a prix fixe five-course paella night! For more information, visit … Maleza at the Drift Hotel, at 284 S. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, and the Palm Springs Art Museum have announced a partnership: Museum members enjoy 10% off the total food bill. On Thursday nights from 7 to 10 p.m., Maleza will celebrate Palm Springs Village Fest by offering specials, including discounted margaritas and a half-dozen oysters for $12; … New: Zadie Café, at 400 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way inside the Hilton Palm Springs, offers a modern twist on Mediterranean comfort food. Think chicken schnitzel sandwiches and challah grilled cheese; … The former MidMod Café space, at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive, will soon become Crudo Cervicheria (Trend alert: Here’s another portmanteau, in this case cerveza and ceviche.) Look for a mid-October opening, and a focus on Northern Mexican dishes with an emphasis on fresh seafood and beer; … TRIO, the 14-year-old stalwart of the Palm Springs dining scene at 707 N. Palm Canyon Drive, has remodeled and now has a focus on sharable plates, with executive chef Jeremy Loomis adding his spin to the California-inspired menu. The restaurant’s updated interior includes light gray walls, warm wood and contemporary lighting fixtures; Got a hot tip? Let me know:

3 Restaurants Unlimited Flavors Proudly Supporting and Serving Our Community 760-320-1501 760-325-8490 760-202-4499

Events 2023

Oct 5-8 Joshua Tree Fall Music Festival

Oct 6 Singing with the Desert Stars

Oct 6-31 Riverside County Scare & Pumpkin Festival, Indio

Oct 7 Pride Under the Pines, Idyllwild

Oct 7 One Night Out: Bollywood PSUSD Foundation

Oct 7 R.E.A.F. House Party PS : Margarita Madness

Oct 7 Sand Stars and Guitara: Ty Herndon

Oct 11 Out On The Walk/LGBTQ Archives Project

Oct 13–14 Pride On the Page

Oct 13-15 Casual Concours 2023: Tikis & Tbirds

Oct 14 Paint El Paseo Pink 2023

Oct 19–22 Modernism Week - October

Oct 20 Center Stage Gala 2023

Oct 26–29 PS Leather Pride

Oct 28

Oct 29

DAP Health Equity Walk 2023

Palm Springs Halloween on Arenas

Nov 3–5 Palm Springs Pride

Subscribe to the Oasis Insiders Newsletter or visit our Day-By Day Events Calendar GayDesertGuide.LGBT DATE
COMPASS ROSE F I N A NC I A L P L A N N I N G Call us today to schedule a complimentary consultation and get acquainted with an independent, Fee-Only financial planning & investment management firm located here in the Coachella Valley. Allow us to show you the benefits that result from a financial plan tailored to helping you achieve your goals. A FINANCIAL PLANNING & INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT FIRM DESERT BUSINESS ASSOCIATION’S 2019 BUSINESS OF THE YEAR Your Fiduciary Advisor COMPASS ROSE FINANCIAL PLANNING 760-322-5200 • 333 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 112-A • Palm Springs, CA 92262



Over the past 16 years, Josh Heinz has combined music and charity into a series of events that are always some of the local music scene’s yearly highlights.

The Concert for Autism is back, again raising funds for the Desert Autism Foundation, with four events spanning dates, locations and genres. On Friday, Sept. 29, the kickoff event will occur at the Big Rock Pub; Sunday, Oct. 8, is the Acoustic Afternoon for Autism at Coachella

Valley Brewing Co.; Saturday, Oct. 14, is the lead-up event at The Hood Bar and Pizza; and Saturday, Oct. 21, is the main event at the Tack Room Tavern.

Some 35 artists are set to share their musical talents across the four events, including Fatso Jetson, Instigator, Analog Lab and Derek Jordan Gregg, to name just a few. (Full disclosure: I will be performing at the Oct. 21 show with Empty Seat.)

Shortly after Heinz announced this year’s dates and headliners, he shared some news about the revival of one of his old musical projects.

“I’m happy to announce the return of the band that started the benefit 16 years ago— playing with the original lineup for the first time in 18 years,” Heinz wrote on Facebook.

“DUFREIGN will reunite for this year’s 16th annual Concert for Autism main event (on) Saturday Oct. 21.”

During a recent phone interview, Heinz talked about how the band helped start the Concert for Autism.

“Dufreign had played a few other benefit concerts, so I thought, ‘We’ll just do one night, and whatever money we come up with, we’ll give to an organization that helps kids with autism,” Heinz said. “The rest of the guys were down with that, and that’s how the benefit started.”

The band broke up later that year.

“It wasn’t a nasty breakup, but we kind of felt, at that time in our lives, we’d gone as far as we were going to go creatively,” Heinz said. “We were like, ‘We don’t want to end up being angry at each other, so let’s just go ahead and wrap it up right now.’ That was fine; it was all amicable, and then, of course, Blasting Echo started a few months after that. That started with Jeff Fortson and Armando Flores, and they both have boys on the autism spectrum, and they were like, ‘Hey, man, we’re the autism dad band; we have to keep doing the benefit.’”

Heinz explained how the members of Dufreign found their way back to each other.

“Nathan Marchi, the drummer, who lives in Oregon now, we’d occasionally talk, and he’d be like, ‘One of these days, we’ve got to do a reunion,’” Heinz said. “Greg Lesnjak was our

original guitar player, and Dufreign started because Greg saw me at a showcase that (nowCV Weekly publisher) Tracy Dietlin did where I played just acoustic. Greg came up and was like, ‘Hey, I really like what you’re doing; is that stuff aimed at being in a band?’ And I was like, ‘Heck, yes.’ Greg introduced me to Nathan. … Greg was only in the band for nine or 10 months, and then he left, so then it was just me, Nathan and Dave Virginia, the bassist. … Nathan calls me last year and says, ‘Hey, Greg has moved back into the desert, and we’ve been talking for a while, rekindling our friendship, and we want to approach you with serious consideration for Dufreign doing a reunion.’”

Heinz said he was originally conflicted about featuring Dufreign at the benefit. The Concert for Autism’s usual 35- to 45-minute set times differ drastically from Dufreign’s old set length of 90 minutes, and Heinz was hesitant to feature both of his bands at the main event. Then, fate intervened.

“Joe Wallace, the bass player from Blasting Echo, he and his wife are celebrating 25 years, and their anniversary falls in October, and they’re going to Europe for three weeks—so Blasting Echo couldn’t play the main event,” Heinz said. “When I learned that in the springtime of this year, I went to the Dufreign guys and said, ‘I would totally entertain Dufreign doing the main event if you guys are serious about it.’

“Greg and I have been practicing just together … since probably about April. Dave lives in Orange County, so it’s not too much of a stretch for him, but Nathan has to plan, because he’s driving all the way from Oregon. He came over in June, and we had our first practice in 18 years with the original lineup. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t have been embarrassed if people had seen it.”

Last year’s Concert for Autism featured a return to the Tack Room Tavern after the pandemic drastically altered the event in 2020 and 2021.

“Julie, who manages the Tack Room, she’s just great, and her staff is great,” Heinz said.

“I meet with her a couple of times before the event; we go over what we need, and it’s always there, and if it’s not there, they make

it happen. … It’s just such a great venue, and of course, it’s all covered now, which is even better if there is rain or something. It’s just so perfect where we can have the two stages, and we can have the silent auction tables there against the wall, and it gives enough distance … so that if people don’t want to be blasted by the main stage, they can sit on the patio and still have a conversation. It’s worked so well for us, and last year was perfect.”

The raffle and silent auction is returning yet again, and Heinz shared some of the highlights.

“I just got a 12-string guitar today from Guitar Center,” Heinz said. “With the silent auction, the things that really generate money are things like hotel staycations or golfing or things like that. Indian Wells Golf Club just set us up with a round. We’ve got wine tasting from Kempe Wines, photography from Rebecca Kirkpatrick, tickets to the tram and tickets to The Living Desert. … The JW Marriott is sending us some stuff; the Renaissance Esmerelda is giving a staycation; (the) BNP (Paribas Open) is going to give us some tickets, which is great. Mission Hills Country Club is going to get us some golf. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

This year’s events are somewhat broken up by genre. Friday, Sept. 29’s kickoff event features some fantastic blues rock bands; Sunday, Oct. 8’s Acoustic Afternoon for Autism is all about softer acoustic jams with singer/ songwriters. Saturday, Oct. 14’s lead-up event hosts more hard rock and metal; and

Saturday, Oct. 21’s main event is a mixed bag of Coachella Valley music offerings.

“There are some bands that really want to play the main show, and I’m like, ‘I kind of have a formula here,’” Heinz said. “‘It would actually be better for the event as a whole if you played this show.’ Then there are some bands and acoustic artists that are like, ‘Hey, we actually can’t play the 21st; can we do another one?’”

Heinz said he’s grateful that the local music community helps the event run smoothly.

“The valley is so chock full of people who I can call directly and switch a band out if needed,” said Heinz. “If somebody drops at the last minute, I can always find somebody else. I don’t ever get the sense that somebody is upset, like, ‘You just called me because somebody dropped out.’ They’re always just super-nice and very happy to be part of it. I’m very grateful for that.”

The Concert for Autism’s kickoff event will take place at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 29, at the Big Rock Pub, 79940 Westward Ho Drive, in Indio. The Acoustic Afternoon for Autism will take place at 12:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 8, at Coachella Valley Brewing Co., 30640 Gunther St., in Thousand Palms. The lead-up event will take place at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. The main event will take place at 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, at The Tack Room Tavern, 81800 Avenue 51, in Indio. A donation is requested at the events. For more information, visit

The Concert for Autism is back for four events that raise money for the Desert Autism Foundation
Empty Seat performs at last year’s Concert for Autism.
TICKETS ON SALE NOW DEZARTPERFORMS.ORG • (760) 322-0176 Opens October 20!
THE THANKSGIVING PLAY is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. | Dezart Performs is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit.



There’s a big band onstage cranking out classic, swinging rock ’n’ roll, complete with a horn section and backup singers. The man behind the microphone has a gravelly, deep, strange singing voice. There are nuts scattered across the bar. You’re at a Harry Katz and the Pistachios concert. Mixing old blues with modern lyrics, Harry Katz and the Pistachios are a 21st century big band.

Songs range from Rolling Stones rock (“Rest of the World”) to low-down groove (“Fish Wall”) and finger-snapping jazz (“Homeless Baby Girl”). Katz’s unique vocal delivery is almost Tom Waits-esque and provides a unique twist to many of the genres and sounds the band explores. Learn more at

Harry Katz and the Pistachios are set to perform as part of the Desert Blues Revival series at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25, at Agua Caliente Palm Springs.

“I’m really, really influenced by the blues,” Katz said during a recent phone interview. “Old-school stuff like Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King are huge inspirations for me. There’s the BB King album Live at the Regal, and he’s also played with a big 10-piece band, so that was a big inspiration.”

The Pistachios are a formidable music force, featuring two vocalists plus a piano, saxophone, trombone, lead guitar, bass and drums. You should see their Jam in the Van performance for two reasons: their great performance, and to learn how all those people fit in that van.

“I’ve played in a lot of smaller bands … but there was a point where I just had to make the decision that it was time to have a big band, and just kind of had to jump off that cliff,” Katz said. “… In 2018, we were doing more sixor seven-piece, and then it has grown to, like, nine or 10 over time.”

Learning how to share a stage with so many people was a tricky task—as was learning how to craft songs to fit for every member.

“You can’t overplay when you have that many members; you’ve really got to share the stage,” Katz said. “I think getting a cohesive unit together that can share the stage and give each other that space, that takes a little time to build up to, for sure. I love what I call the economy of sound, where people are fitting in and are not just like, ‘This is your solo; this is my solo section’—but within one meter, one count, who’s filling in where to build up a sound all together?”

In recent shows, the band has significantly raised the amount of crowd interaction, thanks to one of their more popular songs, “OH YES!”

“The roots of it started with a song I wrote to

Harry Katz and the Pistachios meld modern blues and a unique stage show

warm up really cold crowds, where people would actually yell, ‘No!’” Katz said. “We would have a song where I would ask people if they wanted to do something with me, and then they would say, ‘No!’ and that really just livened up the room, because even people who are not feeling it love the idea of just saying no to you. That was where we built this idea of really getting a lot of crowd participation. ‘OH YES!’ kind of sprang out of that. It’s a love song that asks for consent, and we’re kind of including the audience in that. We also put out pistachios at the bar, and we have signs, and we have some dance contests. We try to keep things as involved as possible. We also do a bit of a puppet show.”

Katz’s voice can’t really be described, but I’ll try: It’s powerful, gruff and guttural.

“I started out playing in punk bands and then dropped out of school and hitchhiked out to California,” Katz said. “I would busk, and I had to learn to play guitar on a four-string guitar. I would sing and yell over the street noise. A few years later, I started bringing that to the stage. I wanted to figure out a way to translate that energy onto the stage, using the microphone very much like a tool, and kind of figuring out how to have my voice cut through in the same way that I worked so hard to have it cut through traffic.”

While the music may not be explicitly punk, Katz said: “I think that we’re still pretty punk, definitely in the attitude and the lyrics.”

The band’s first album, Scared of Romance, was released in late 2022, and solidified their rock and blues sound. As Harry Katz and the Pistachios move forward, exploration is on the brain.

“Our first album is very curated to be in all of these rock ’n’ roll elements, and as we move forward, I want to develop the sound more and go into more sophisticated and less genre-based realms, and just really focus on songwriting,” Katz said. “I love having all the different tools and sounds to play with in a live setting, to keep it really organic and lively. I’m not a huge fan of backing tracks. I understand the necessity for them for a lot of people, but it’s not really my bread and butter, so being able to do things where I have a piano player and I have horns to fill in these sounds really

means a lot to me.”

While some may peg the band as a novelty act thanks to the signs and puppets, the music exudes meaningful lyrics.

“One of my big inspirations is Ray Charles, and his song ‘Bye Bye Love’ is such a happysounding song with real heartbreaking lyrics,” Katz said. “I love that experience of seeing a band live and just feeling the exuberance and having a great time—and then taking that music home and listening to it and hearing a deeper level. There’s layers to it. We try to tackle contemporary and serious issues. Our song ‘Homeless Baby Girl’ is about our housing crisis, but it’s wrapped as a love song dropped into this old-school classic swinging kind of rock ’n’ roll song. If you get deeper, it’s talking about some serious, serious issues.”

The band’s entertaining performances have allowed them to land opening spots for other one-of-a-kind acts, such as Tom Kenny and the Hi-Seas, a 12-piece rock and soul band led by the voice actor for SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Kyle Gass Band, led by Kyle Gass of

“We found this really fun niche that we’ve fallen into, and it was crazy how much of the audience was shared between Tom Kenny and Kyle Gass,” Katz said. “Both Tom and Kyle close out the bar—they’re there until the very last person leaves, so I look up to them in that way, and they’re really great performers and really, really fun. Some of the best shows we’ve done were when we opened for Tom at (Los Angeles music venue) Zebulon to a sold-out house. … It’s a really cool world, and we’ve definitely found this really interesting—I don’t want to call it ‘novelty,’ but it’s a little bit borderline on that. People are really open to the fun and performance when they’re coming to see folks like that.”

Harry Katz and the Pistachios will perform at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Cascade Lounge at the Agua Caliente Palm Springs, 401 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets start at $10. For tickets, visit desert-blues-revival-1154849.

Tenacious D. Harry Katz and the Pistachios.

Oct & Nov

The Venue REPORT

OCTOber 2023

actor and America’s Got Talent alum Drew Lynch heads to Palm Desert. Tickets start at $35. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.







Sass, sex and songs –One of the desert’s most popular performers

Drew Lynch

Boo! It’s October, and the scariest thing in the Coachella Valley is the prospect of deciding between all sorts of fantastic events!

Metal-lovers will descend upon the desert in droves for Power Trip, Friday, Oct. 6, through Sunday, Oct. 8. If you haven’t already heard, the festival features metal and rock titans Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Metallica and Tool. Tickets start at $599. Empire Polo Club, 81800 Avenue 51, Indio;

Acrisure Arena has sports, music and comedy! At 3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 1, enjoy some NHL Preseason action on the desert ice when the Arizona Coyotes face the Anaheim Ducks. Tickets start at $34. Sting, bassist and signature voice of ’80s rockers The Police, will bring his My Songs tour to town at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5. Tickets start at $75.50. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, former Genesis frontman and legendary solo singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel will visit Palm Desert. Tickets start at $61. Enjoy some NBA Preseason fun when the Los Angeles Lakers play the Phoenix Suns at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19. Tickets start at $125. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, comedian, actor, entertainer and icon Adam Sandler visits the 760. Tickets start at $69.50. Regional Mexican outfit Marca MP’s show at Acrisure will occur at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28. Remaining tickets start at $38. Acrisure Arena, 75702 Varner Road, Palm Desert; 888-695-8778; www.

The McCallum Theatre is back in action, and has one show that is not sold out and not already covered elsewhere in this issue: At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, comedian,

Fantasy Springs offers a varied bag of great music. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, the voice behind rock staples like “Barracuda” and “Crazy on You,” Ann Wilson (of Heart), will perform with Tripsitter. Tickets start at $49. Catch a K-pop evening with the duo of Lyn and Tei, happening at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7. Tickets start at $39. At 8 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15, Luis Angel “El Flaco” will grace the Fantasy Springs stage. Tickets start at $49. Experience a night of rock with guitarist and vocalist Daryl Hall (featuring special guest Todd Rundgren) at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28. Tickets start at $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000;

Spotlight 29 features two nights of Spanish music. At 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 1, let Sin Bandera take you away with their Mexican romantic ballads. Tickets start at $59. The king of Norteño music, Ramón Ayala, returns to the Coachella Valley yet again at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20. Tickets start at $45. You must be 21 or older to attend Spotlight 29 shows. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760775-5566;

Morongo Casino has music, comedy and more! At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7, comedian and actor Gary Owen will pay a visit. Tickets start at $59. Up for a night of dancing to Mexican Banda icons? Well, Banda Machos will be performing at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20. Tickets start at $39. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, R&B and soul singer Brian McKnight will perform selections from two-plus decades of hits. Tickets start at $49. Hong Kong actress, singer and model Adia Chan heads to Cabazon at 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22. Tickets start at $78. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-2524499;

Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage features all sorts of entertainment. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, get in the Halloween spirit with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a live shadowcast performance of the classic movie, with actor Barry Bostwick hosting. Tickets start at $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13, enjoy a set from electro-pop outfit Berlin.

continued on page 36

Jazz legend sings the music of Holiday, Vaughn, Ellington.
Swinging to the music of the
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The Venue REPORT

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Tickets start at $20. After multiple No. 1 hits and 30 million albums sold, vocalist Richard Marx heads to Rancho Mirage at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14. Tickets start at $25. 1980s post-punkers The Cult head to Agua at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21 Tickets start at $30. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 27, one of the most recognized Latin musicians worldwide, Julieta Venegas, will perform a night of beautiful compositions. Tickets start at $65. The Cahuilla Ballroom speaker series continues with actor Henry Winkler, who you know as Fonzie from Happy Days. Tickets start at $35. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28, country music artist Jake Owen will perform at The Show. Tickets start at $55. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.

Agua Caliente in Palm Springs is bringing in music and comedy galore! Desert Blues Revival Wednesdays showcase the classic blues and modern mix of Tommy Peacock (Oct. 4), award-winning singer/ songwriter/guitarist and cellist Jennifer Corday (Oct. 11) and a musical kick off to fall Modernism Week with the 16 singers behind A Cabbello (Oct. 18). Shows are at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $10, available at Jazzville Thursdays feature the genre-shifting six-piece Acoustic Asylum (Oct. 5), the jazz pop and swing of Crystal Lewis (Oct. 12), a mix of jazz and Bacharach pop from Lynda Kay (Oct. 19) and the hot jazz swagger of Dave Damiani and the No Vacancy Orchestra (Oct. 26). Shows take place at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $15, available at jazzvillepalmsprings. com. Caliente Comedy Fridays offer laughs from Ari Mannis (Oct. 6), Emily Catalano (Oct. 13) and Kevin Mac (Oct. 27). Shows are at 8 p.m., and tickets start at $19.99, available at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs, 401 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 888-999-1995; www.

Pappy and Harriet’s hosts many sold-out shows in October, so get tickets for these while you still can! At 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 15, ’90s alternative rockers Everclear will make the desert trek. Tickets start at $41. Although they were only initially active for three years in the late ’70s, UK punk band The Adverts have gained a cult following and are headed for Pappy’s at 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19. Tickets start at $25. At 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, The Bright Light Social Hour will showcase psychedelic rock inside the Pioneertown Palace. Tickets start at $18. The son of late songwriting legend John Prine, Tommy Prine, will perform a set of his singer/songwriter jams at 9 p.m., Monday, Oct. 23. Tickets start at $15. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, comedic country artist Hannah Dasher is set to perform. Tickets start at $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-228-2222; www.

Oscar’s in Palm Springs is bringing in new events and entertainment. At 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 5, acclaimed recording artists and Madonna’s famed backup singers Niki Haris and Donna De Lory will team up for a night of song. Tickets start at $49.95. A new residency is popping up named Echoes at Oscar’s, a specialeffects seance led by TikTok and YouTube sensation Andre Armenante. You can catch the show at multiple times every Friday in October, as well as on Tuesday, Oct. 31

Tickets start at $74.95. At 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20, Talent executive, writer, producer and author Brian Seth Hurst returns to music for a special night in Palm Springs. Tickets start at $34.95. Multi-instrumentalist Gunhild Carling is set to perform at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21. Tickets start at $39.95. Oscar’s Palm Springs, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs; 760-325-1188;

The Purple Room is featuring yet more fantastic two-date stints. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 13 and 14, Black Market Trust will perform hits from Sinatra, the Rat Pack and more! Tickets are $35 to $40. Comedy duo Lee Squared, who imagine how Liberace and Peggy Lee would navigate today’s world, are returning for a two night stay, at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and Oct. 21. Tickets are $40. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27 and 28, Emmy winner and Broadway favorite Liz Callaway will visit Palm Springs. Tickets start at $55. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.

Hannah Dasher
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LUCKY 13 the

Get to better know a blues-rock legend, and the owner of one of the valley’s most beautiful voices

to see perform live more than a few times. I was honored to have written the liner notes for the recently released L.A. Forum live set.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

ABBA, though I don’t really feel guilty about enjoying perfect pop music. Can’t leave without including The Modernaires, The Pied Pipers and The Mills Brothers. My former neighbor Hoagy Carmichael still gets the recurrent spin.

What’s your favorite music venue?

NAME Janine Rivera

GROUPS Las Tías, Giselle Woo and the Night Owls

MORE INFO Janine Rivera has one of the Coachella Valley’s most beautiful voices—and is one of the valley’s most elegant performers. Rivera expresses intense emotion in all of her performances, whether it’s an emphatic rock show with Giselle Woo and the Night Owls, or she’s doing some lovely bolero and ranchera serenading in Las Tías, her duo with Woo. She’ll be performing on Sunday, Oct. 8, with Las Tías at the Joshua Tree Music Festival. For more information, visit For more on Las Tías, visit

What was the first concert you attended?

The first concert I ever attended was right in my backyard, Coachella 2005. Coldplay headlined on Saturday, and Nine Inch Nails headlined on Sunday night. It was the first time I watched my favorite band in high school, Rilo Kiley.

What was the first album you owned?

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

The TikTok genre, lol. The “super” pop music. I just can’t get into it. It sounds too “computerized” for me, almost like old-school video game music.

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

Buena Vista Social Club or Celia Cruz with the Sonora Matancera. That would be AMAZING.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Listening to Mexican boy bands like Reik and Camila. Their love songs just pull my heart strings.

What’s your favorite music venue?

At the moment, it would have to be The Ford in L.A. Every seat is a great seat there. It’s a cute, small outdoor theater. If you haven’t been, do yourself a favor, and GO!

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


MORE INFO What hasn’t already been said about the legendary blues rocker from ZZ Top? With rippin’ guitar solos and gravely, powerful vocals—not to mention that badass beard— Billy Gibbons and ZZ Top have been crafting blues-driven rock staples for more than 50 years. After selling more than 30 million records, the band continues to tour every year, including frequent stops in the desert. The next local stop: at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21. For more information, visit

What was the first concert you attended? Elvis Presley! My mom took my sister and me to see the performance when I was probably 6 or 7 years old, and life was never the same after that.

What was the first album you owned?

I’m Jimmy Reed. Still have it in rotation.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Stepmother from Australia. Spoon—they like us; we like them. Not a band but a great player: Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Opera. I dig the costumes and sets, but I’m not able to wrap my head around the fact that everything is sung full-bore.

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

Jimi Hendrix Experience, which I, in fact, got

Antone’s in Austin, where we put on our annual Jungle Show between Christmas and New Year’s with Mike Flanigin, Chris “Whipper” Layton, Jimmie Vaughan, Sue Foley and yours truly.

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

“I got a black cat bone / I got a mojo, too / I got the Johnny Concheroo / I’m gonna mess with you,” Muddy Waters, “Hoochie Coochie Man.”

What band or artist changed your life?

B.B. King. My dad took me to a recording session with B.B., and his band came in for a session when I was 10 or 11. Right there and then, I knew what I wanted to do. No, make that what I had to do.

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

Robert Johnson: “How much did the devil pay you?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Tumbling Dice,” The Rolling Stones. “You got to roll me.”

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

Bobby Bland, Two Steps From the Blues.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Going Down” by Freddie King. You can’t lose with those Texas blues!

Christina Aguilera’s self-titled album. It had the hits “Genie in a Bottle,” “Come on Over (All I Want Is You),” “What a Girl Wants” … you get the picture. I’d pop that CD into my CD player and sing my little heart out, ha ha.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Thee Sacred Souls have been my go to for quite some time. They bring that old soul feel with a new twist. I highly recommend them. Orion Sun is another artist I’ve been listening to a lot lately. I love her voice and the production of her music.

I have music playing in my head all day, every day! This is a hard one. It depends on what I listen to that day. I can hear a word, and it’ll trigger a line from a song, and that can get stuck in my head all day. Lately I’ve been singing “cuando vuelva a tu lado.” I suppose that line has been stuck in my head lately.

What band or artist changed your life?

As an adult, La Santa Cecilia has changed the way I approach/listen to music. (Lead singer) La Marisoul is a Chicana, Mexican American like me. She has a big voice and interprets music so beautifully. They write their own music and cover a lot of songs that I grew up listening to—reminds me of home and my childhood. They have a rock, blues, love ballad feel to them.

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

I’d sit down with Juan Gabriel, el divo de México. I’d pick his brain about his songwriting/composing process. He was and will always be one of the greats.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Cucurrucucu Paloma.” It would have to be played with a mariachi and sung by my partner Giselle.

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

Coldplay, Parachutes. Life-altering album! Just gets me in my “feels.”

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Alma Mia” interpreted by Natalia Lafourcade.

NAME Billy Gibbons


“Back to the Beginning”—two by two, to the start.

By Matt Jones


1. “Bye now!”

5. Barber’s tool

10. Union underminer

14. Business higher-up

15. Give the slip

16. Saved GPS setting, usually

17. On the verge of

18. Gripped tightly

19. Natural soother

20. [Mystery Clue 1]

23. Partner of “neither”

24. Spacy character in the main Derry Girls group

25. [Mystery Clue 2]

31. Actress Hayek

33. Nullifies

34. ___-Caps (Nestle candy)

35. Big events on Wall St.

36. Tears apart

37. Velvet Underground


38. Litter peep

39. “Beetle Bailey” boss

40. 3x4 box, e.g.

41. [Mystery Clue 3]

44. One of the Gulf States

45. Kill Bill actress Thurman

46. [Mystery Clue 4]

53. Bowl-shaped skillets

54. Passé

55. Mystical presence

56. Steve of the Guardians of the Galaxy series

57. Synchronously

58. Bird sacred to ancient Egyptians

59. House member

60. One of the Gulf States

61. Heron’s residence

1. Minister (to)

2. Pink slip giver

3. Word before work or spirit

4. Initial offerings,


5. Amp effect

6. Athletic footwear brand

7. Silent screen star Pitts

8. Reverential poems

9. Northern California attraction

10. “Want me to demonstrate?”

11. Measure for some dress shirts

12. Singer Tori

13. Apiary dweller

21. What Italians call their capital

22. Messes up

25. Place for an all-day roast, maybe

26. Blatant

27. Vowel sound in “phone” but not “gone”

28. Raul Castro’s predecessor

29. ___ Upon a Time in Hollywood

30. Lunch time, often

31. Actor Liu of the MCU

32. Sci-fi planet


36. Reason to save

37. Words after “Oh jeez”

39. Train for a bout

Smallest U.S. coin

Kept occupied

Out of the blue

___ de Chão (Brazilian steakhouse chain) 47. Peacefulness

Supercollider collider

“Father of Modern Philosophy” Descartes

50. Cartoonist Goldberg 51. Dwarf planet named for a goddess 52. Part of SSE 53. ___-Dryl (storebrand allergy medication)

© 2023 Matt Jones

Find the answers in the “About” section at!

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