COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT | MARCH 2017
VOL. 5 | NO. 3
ART AND THE COMMUNITY
The La Quinta Arts Festival and Desert X show off the Coachella Valley's amazing creative individuals PAGE 14
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A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR Mailing address: 31855 Date Palm Drive, No. 3-263 Cathedral City, CA 92234 (760) 904-4208 www.cvindependent.com
Editor/Publisher Jimmy Boegle Assistant Editor Brian Blueskye cover/Cover Story design Mark Duebner Design Contributors Gustavo Arellano, Nicole Borgenicht, Max Cannon, Kevin Carlow, Cory Courtney, Kevin Fitzgerald, Bill Frost, Bonnie Gilgallon, Bob Grimm, Dwight Hendricks, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, Brane Jevric, Steve Kelly, Keith Knight, Erin Peters, Dan Perkins, Sean Planck, Guillermo Prieto, Anita Rufus, Elizabeth Shogren, Jen Sorenson, Christine Soto, Robert Victor, Baynard Woods The Coachella Valley Independent print edition is published every month. All content is ©2017 and may not be published or reprinted in any form without the written permission of the publisher.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 $1 by calling (760) 904-4208. The Independent may be distributed only by the Independent’s authorized distributors.
The Independent is a proud member and/or supporter of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, Get Tested Coachella Valley, the Local Independent Online News Publishers, the Desert Business Association, the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, and the Desert Ad Fed.
As I write this, it’s Thursday, Feb. 16. (Yeah, we’re sending this issue to press a little earlier than normal, because February is a short month, and we have a narrow window with our printer.) Today has been, to say the least, a completely bonkers news day. On a local level, Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin announced he’s filing corruption charges against former Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet and developers John Wessman and Richard Meaney. According to Hestrin, Pougnet took in $375,000 in bribes. All of a sudden, the status of Palm Springs’ big downtown redevelopment project is very much up in the air. Meanwhile, on the national level, the president just held a press conference during which he sounded completely unhinged—a term I do not use lightly. He claimed he inherited a mess from the previous administration. He said his administration was a “fine-tuned machine.” He viciously attacked the press for reporting on various leaks from his administration. He called reports that his campaign advisers were in contact with Russia “fake news.” The New York Times, which is generally rather restrained, put it this way: “The session was marked by an extraordinarily raw and angry defense the likes of which has never been seen in a modern White House. At times abrupt, often rambling, characteristically boastful yet seemingly pained at the portrayals of him, Mr. Trump seemed intent on reproducing the energy and excitement of his campaign after a month of grinding governance. He returned repeatedly to his contest with Hillary Clinton and at one point plaintively pleaded for understanding.” Holy shit. This brings us to this March 2017 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent. While the news on the Palm Springs corruption charges broke too close to deadline for us to cover them in any meaningful way— watch for that later—we do have two features in our expanded news section about the mess that is the 45th president’s administration. Meanwhile, for the second straight month, we’re featuring art—in a big way—on our cover. Why would we do this two months in a row? Well, this month’s subjects—the La Quinta Arts Festival, and the brand-new Desert X—are fantastic. Just for starters, did you know the La Quinta Arts Foundation has given out $1.23 million in scholarships to local young artists over the years? Wow. Read more on Page 14. Welcome to the March 2017 print edition of the Coachella Valley Independent. As always, thanks for reading. Drop me a line at the email address below if you have any questions or comments. —Jimmy Boegle, email@example.com on the cover: "128 Triangles and their Demonstration" by Claudia Comte, 2016, COLLINS PARK, ART BASEL MIAMI. Photo by Raphael Fanelli.
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BOTOX SECRETS FOR DEPRESSION AND SCROTOX By Shonda Chase, RN Co-owner and aesthetic director of Revive Wellness Centers Palm Springs and the South Bay area of Los Angeles
Revive’s Secrets share how we can improve our appearance and keep ourselves looking naturally younger. Last month’s Secrets revealed eﬀec�ve, non-surgical op�ons for neck rejuvena�on, including Botox to reduce the appearance of platysmal neck-bands. This month, we reveal two more secret uses for Botox.
March 2-5, 2017
Depression Botox can help some people experiencing mild to moderate depression. How is this possible? Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink about how we can change our ﬁrst impressions about others. He shares how it takes daily eﬀort, for some weeks, to re-train our unconscious self-protec�on mechanism with new perspec�ves. Researchers and psychiatrists think Botox, which helps us look younger and happier, can re-train our ﬁrst impressions about ourselves every �me we look in a mirror. When we look happier, and our stress lines are lessened, we give ourselves another opportunity to feel less anxious, sad and depressed. About 50 percent of pa�ents report improvements in their depression a�er adding Botox to their therapy regimen. Scrotox Contrary to popular opinion, Botox scrotum injec�ons are more about relaxing men’s scrotums than smoothing them. Men’s scrotums usually drop during puberty, and that is the adult norm. Steroid use, gene�cs, prescrip�on drugs, changing testosterone levels and other factors can cause scrotums to li� and �ghten. Scrotox can help scrotums drop to a more natural posi�on. Numbing cream is usually applied 15 minutes prior to the injec�ons so pa�ents just feel a li�le pinch, or no pinch at all. Everyone is diﬀerent, but Botox can last anywhere from 3-12 months in diﬀerent loca�ons. Costs can range from $600 to $3,000, depending on how much Botox is required. Men report being sa�sﬁed with their results and, more importantly, o�en repeat their treatment or plan on ge�ng re-treated when their Scrotox wears oﬀ. Look for next month’s Secrets about the good, the bad and the ugly of dermal ﬁllers. Un�l then, keep the secrets.
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 5
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS O
BY ANITA RUFUS
ccasionally, you meet someone who seems to have been destined to do the work they do— someone who not only is good at their job, but who also loves doing it. Dierdre Wieringa—better known as Dee—is one of those people. Wieringa, 60, a Palm Desert resident for the past seven years, serves as administrator/executive director of Caleo Bay Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, a residence facility in La Quinta dedicated to serving those coping with a form of dementia. Built in 2013, Caleo Bay is designed to provide comfort and security to those who can no longer be cared for by family or who can no longer live independently. It includes 24/7 nursing staff, motion sensors in each room to ensure no guest is left on their own, and specialized training for staff to deliver “patient-centered care” with attention to building relationships with clients. “The layout is designed to provide a sense and then I became executive director,” she of security and continuity,” says Wieringa, “so says. “Eventually, I was offered the chance to that no guest ever feels disoriented. As they manage the desert facility of Segovia, a high-end move freely about, they find continuity in living independent and assisted-living country club rooms, dining rooms and activity rooms no environment. So, Ben and I came to the desert matter which corridor they’re in. They never feel in 2009.” like they’re lost.” Wieringa also served as executive director Each guest room has a collage of pictures and administrator at Stonewall Gardens posted outside the door, including a current Assisted Living in Palm Springs before moving photo, and pictures from their past supplied by into her current position at Caleo Bay. family and friends. “We strive to find the lighter side of “Guests can find themselves in the pictures Alzheimer’s,” says Wieringa. “Our staff training as they often see themselves, somewhere in the includes teaching how changes can cause past,” says Wieringa. “It’s also a great way for us frustration or turmoil in people who need to recognize who they are and what their past a sense of stability and continuity. People history is, so we can better relate to them on with dementia often act out or lash out with any given day.” agitation when they get confused or are faced The facility also has display cases with with the unknown. There are communication artifacts from past decades—from World War skills, like diversion, that can really make a II memorabilia to wedding mementos to an difference to those whose short-term memory is old typewriter—because these are things with so fleeting. You have to live in their reality and which those with memory issues can relate. realize that every day is different.” Wieringa was born in Johannesburg, South Caleo Bay also utilizes volunteers from church Africa. She met Ben, her husband of 30 years, groups and students, as well as animal therapy, and had three children before moving to the music and dance. Wieringa is also involved United States in 1996. in other volunteer activities on her own: She “We wanted a better life for ourselves and our runs a Parkinson’s disease support group and family,” she recalls. “Ben was offered a chance to participates in the Dementia-Friendly Café work here, so we decided to make the move.” (which I help organize), held monthly for the Wieringa’s educational background was in past two years. public relations. Her first job was in property There are several different types of senior acquisition. Then she did paralegal work before living facilities: independent living; assistedopting to be a stay-at-home mom while her living, where guests need some help with daily sons and daughter grew up. Once in San Diego, activities; and memory-care facilities dedicated Dee, whose daughter had just gotten married, to supporting those in various stages of “wanted to be out there doing things.” dementia-related illness. A senior living facility was being built nearby. “The problem,” says Wieringa, “is that people It was an unfamiliar concept to her—she aren’t prepared for the cost of long-term care. doesn’t remember any such approach to senior Medicare doesn’t cover it, and even skilled living in South Africa—but she asked if they nursing facilities limit how many Medicaid had any jobs available. beds are set aside. Families always ask, ‘What “They hired me as the assisted-living director, happens when Mom or Dad runs out of money?’
Meet Dee Wieringa, a caregiver who truly loves her work
There is no good answer. Unless the younger generation invests in long-term care insurance (which often include caps on expenditures), especially with dementia diagnoses rapidly increasing, and people living so much longer, the baby boomers and millennials are going to be faced with an impossible situation. “Families often are the only recourse, and they don’t realize that … many caregivers die before the person they’re caring for. Plus, there are so many dysfunctional families or people with nobody to care for them.” With a high-stress job, what keeps Wieringa going? “You can’t teach passion. I love my job. It just makes me feel good to know I’m really helping others and making a difference. There are a lot of lonely old people out there with no one to turn to. One person can make a difference. Working with dementia is hard, but a moment of making people feel good about
themselves makes me feel as if what I do was meant to be.” How many of us can truly say that? Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays at noon on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Email her at Anita@ LovableLiberal.com. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday at CVIndependent.com.
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ASK A MEXICAN!
Wouldn’t the people in some parts of Mexico want their states to become part of the U.S.?
BY GUSTAVO ARELLANO
EAR MEXICAN: My parents were born in Mexico. I was born in Dallas, Texas. This makes me a first-generation American, right? So, if my best friend’s dad was born in Mexico, and her mother is a Chicana born in the United States, does this make her a firstgeneration American or a second-generation American? Just Curious DEAR POCHA: In the eyes of the current attorney general, both you and your friend are Mexicans. ¡Trucha!
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DEAR MEXICAN: When do you think Baja California and other locations in the madre-land with lots of American expatriates will become U.S. territories, or better yet, states? I would be very eager to live in a beautiful coastal area surrounded by people with nice cars and the world’s most powerful military to back them up. I think the Mexicans would, too. Americano-Mexicano DEAR GABACHO: Be careful what you wish for. If the United States and Mexico ever went to war, snowbirds like yourself would be the first people targeted by Mexicans. Don’t believe me? Ask the Chinese during the Mexican Revolution. You’d better make plans to move to Costa Rica, Nicaragua or whatever other Latin American country gabacho retirees like to set up colonies in nowadays where they refuse to learn Spanish besides “gringo,” “cerveza” and “Soy americano.” DEAR MEXICAN: Why do Mexican women, who are basically good drivers, turn into morons when they turn into the Walmart parking lot? Also, here in New Mexico, you get the guys who sneer at you, pull into traffic in front of you at the last possible second, and then slow down to 15 miles an hour. I’ve never seen this anywhere else. Are they Mexicans or just those “I am Espanish!” assholes showing off their inferiority complex? Califa Motorhead DEAR POCHO: With all due respect, EVERYONE turns into a moron at the
Walmart parking lot—hell, at Walmart, period. However, I surprised while researching your pregunta when I learned how relatively few Mexis shop there. A 2014 study by Kantar Retail found only about 10 percent of Walmart shoppers were Latinos (read: mostly Mexican), with raza preferring Dollar General and Family Dollar stores, by far. I guess it makes sense: Mexicans prefer swap meets and yard sales when looking for low prices. But the stats are incomplete: In a graphic, Kantar excluded New Mexico. They gave no reason, but I know the answer, which also answers your queja about slow-driving men: The Land of Enchantment is where all preconceived notions about Mexicans go to claim they’re pure-blooded Spaniards going back to Cabeza de Vaca—but definitely not related to Estevanico! DEAR MEXICAN: What is the deal with Mexicans and their fear of U.S. banks? A recent home invasion netted robbers $2,000 that the Mexicans who lived there were using for their next house payment. When I mentioned this to a Mexicana friend, she told me she was once robbed of the $15,000 she was keeping at her apartment for a house payment. Doesn’t word reach the wabs from their relatives in El Norte that U.S. bank accounts are insured to $100,000? Huero in the Barrio DEAR GABACHO: Ask Washington Mutual. Catch the Mexican every Wednesday at CVIndependent.com. Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 7
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NO DEATH WITH DIGNITY
While Desert Regional, JFK Memorial are starting to support the End of Life Option Act, Eisenhower Medical Center keeps saying ‘no’
BY KEVIN FITZGERALD
ov. Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act in October 2015, and the law went into effect on June 9, 2016. But for many Coachella Valley residents who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a prognosis of less than six months to live, the end-of-life option remains out of grasp—that is, unless they switch health providers. Trust me, I know: I helped my mother-in-law through the end-of-life process last year. (See “Annette’s Story,” January 2017.) No statistics are available yet regarding the number of Coachella Valley patients who have obtained prescriptions for life-ending medications since the law took effect; the initial annual report required by the law will not be issued until later this year. But according to patient, doctor and advocate feedback, the refusal of some major health-care providers in our valley to support the new law has been keeping those how they are addressing the needs of their numbers down. Eisenhower Medical Center patients,” he said. “Sometimes, one side of the (EMC), with facilities located across the valley, hospital is not communicating with the other and both Desert Regional Medical Center in side, and then the patient doesn’t receive the Palm Springs and JFK Memorial Hospital in correct information. But we try to follow up Indio (the latter two owned by Tenet Health, a with health-care systems to see what their company based in Dallas) have been refusing questions might be if they have any, and also assistance to terminally ill patients. to find out what their official policy is. If a However, this picture improved in midhealth-care system doesn’t have a written February, when Tenet Health informed policy, then they are automatically considered Compassion and Choices—a national a supportive health-care system.” nonprofit “medical aid in dying” advocacy While Tenet is taking steps toward assisting organization—that the company had patients with the law, EMC is apparently not. established a “regulatory compliance policy to I contacted Lee Rice, the media coordinator define the scope of permitted participation, and public relations specialist at EMC, to documentation and notification requirements talk with an appropriate representative for Tenet entities” in California. regarding the End of Life Option Act. After Compassion and Choices California director several days, Rice replied that no interview Matt Whitaker welcomed the news. could be arranged. He did, however, forward “Tenet confirmed that their physicians to me an official statement, which read, in are indeed allowed to participate in the (End part: “Eisenhower Medical Center carefully of Life Option) act,” Whitaker wrote the reviewed and discussed the requirements Independent in an email. of the End of Life Option Act and elected Curiously, the written policy just delivered the option under the act not to participate by Tenet was dated June 7, 2016. What could in the process. … Eisenhower will provide have caused the eight-month communication information about the End of Life Option delay? Act upon request and supports each patient’s “The good news is that they (Tenet) are right to make decisions about care, including going to allow individuals to have access the choice to accept or reject treatments that to medical aid in dying,” said Joe Barnes, might be available.” the Compassion and Choices California Compassion and Choices’ Whitaker outreach manager, during a recent phone expressed disappointment with EMC’s stance. interview. “It sounds like they are probably “We would characterize Tenet’s policy still having challenges about whether or not as supportive, but not Eisenhower’s,” to allow people who are being treated in Whitaker said. “The line that (Eisenhower their hospitals to be able to be in a private representatives) keep using is that their hospital room surrounded by loved ones and physicians are free to do this on their own ingest the medication to end their pain and time. That’s the framing they use to say that suffering.” they’re not limiting access for patients in the Barnes said many health-care organizations area: ‘We (EMC) are only limiting it during are still figuring out the logistics of dealing the time that they’re employed by us.’ But with the new law. the way that health care has consolidated, “It seems some health-care systems are EMC has 40-something clinics that have still working out the internal mechanics of affiliated with them in the area, so there are CVIndependent.com
not a lot of sole practitioners out there— and for folks who work in a hospital or an outpatient clinic, they don’t really have the ability to do things on their own time. They don’t have their own medical-records system. Oftentimes, their malpractice insurance is through their employer. They don’t have the physical facilities available to care for these patients. So (EMC) is kind of a broken record when they just keep pushing back, saying, ‘Well, the doctors can do it on their own time.’ That’s not what’s needed. Patients who are being seen by doctors at these clinics need to be able to receive this treatment during the course of their care.” In an effort to influence EMC’s stance, Compassion and Choices supporters and other valley residents are planning a rally at 11 a.m., Thursday, March 2, in front of the main Eisenhower Medical Center campus in Rancho Mirage. “Ever since Eisenhower Medical Center announced that it wasn’t going to allow
people to have access to medical aid in dying, there’s been an increase in the requests for presentations to community groups and organizations across the area,” Barnes said. “The question always comes up as to what the community can do, because that’s (one of the) the flagship hospitals in the area. “We have thousands of people who are supportive of medical aid in dying in that area. They helped us pass the law in the first place by reaching out to their local legislators and holding events to educate fellow community members to the importance of medical aid in dying. So, the natural next step is that the folks want to have a rally in front of the hospital. Many of the people who will be at the rally are also donors to the Eisenhower (Medical Center) Foundation. They’re kind of scratching their heads, because they live in the community and donate to the hospital but can’t get access to medical aid in dying, and they really don’t understand it.”
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 9
DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS
The extreme right freaks out over Flynn’s resignation; the irony of McConnell’s use of Senate Rule 19
BY BAYNARD WOODS
he far, far right started freaking out when “lock her up”-chanting former Gen. Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser in the wake of revelations that he discussed loosening sanctions with a Russian ambassador while Obama was still president. Mike Cernovich, one of those DeploraBallers whom others on the far right sometimes like to call a cuck, started the hysteria almost immediately after the announcement, tweeting: “The coup is on, Flynn resigned. Bannon, Kellyanne, and Miller next on the chopping block.” A few minutes later, far, far right cop-worshipper John Cardillo also used the C word: “Flynn was the first casualty in Reince and the establishment’s palace coup.” He followed with a direct appeal to Trump: “You have traitors within. Do not let them conspire with the MSM to remove your circle of loyalists.” Cernovich agreed that Flynn’s resignation was a “HUGE win for fake news.” These guys are extremists, but they are smart In a Washington Post story that called enough to know the only strategy for Trump Sessions the “intellectual godfather” of is to deny reality and all other sources of truth. “Trump’s hard-line actions,” the director of a The corruption, impropriety and legally dubious conservative immigration think tank compared dealings of the regime seem so widespread that the Republican senator to a “guerrilla in the the admission that one thing is wrong could hinterlands preparing for the next hopeless lead quickly to the revelation that everything is assault on the government” who suddenly wrong. learns that “the capital has fallen.” Breitbart, meanwhile, was doing its best to With his dark suit, white hair and wrinkled ignore Flynn’s resignation, proving, perhaps, the white peach of a face, Sessions does not look like old conservative point about the inefficiency of he’s spent much time training in the jungle. government workers, not tweeting about it at He walks slowly to his seat. Sitting down, all until after 9:30 a.m. the next morning. State he bows his head. His eyes seem to be closed, news moves slow. as if praying. He brings the tips of his fingers It is premature to rejoice about any of this, together, facing upward, on his lap. because the Trump propaganda machine A few moments later, he takes out a silver has been wildly effective at erasing reality so object and holds it gingerly between the first far—and when Trump dumped Paul Manafort two fingers and thumbs of each hand, almost because of his Russian ties, the dirt just seemed as if unwrapping foil on a stick of gum. But to disappear. But the questions of, “What did it doesn’t seem to be gum—it’s impossible to the president know, and when?” may still prove tell what it is from the press gallery above the powerful in Washington, D.C. Senate floor—and he does not unwrap it; he just fingers it, his head bowed. THE INTELLECTUAL GODFATHER Then the vote is called. He puts away the Senators shuffle by the desk to cast their votes silver object. It is 50-50. on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary As expected, Vice President Mike Pence of education, chattering like kids returning confirms DeVos with a historic tie-breaking from summer break to find that everything vote. It is a huge blow to anyone who cares has changed. Somehow, even the victors seem about competency, public education or ethics in confused. None of them really expected the government. The Democrats spent the last 24 world to look like this. hours complaining about all of these issues, but Except, maybe, Sen. Jeff Sessions. He is that doesn’t matter now. They have no control. standing toward the front of the chambers, his The whole process demonstrated that the new hands behind his back, at ease. There is a grin regime can do as it wishes on the Hill. on his face. He has just cast what will be his final Across the room, Sen. Al Franken acts like he vote as senator—to confirm DeVos. is charging someone with a podium, making a Though he is not attorney general yet, clear reference to Melissa McCarthy’s Saturday he was instrumental in planning the flurry Night Live skit satirizing Sean Spicer, the of authoritarian executive orders marking president’s press secretary. Trump’s first weeks in office, including the Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham sit now-contested Muslim ban. Sessions wanted beside each other talking quietly, as if conspiring to go even harder, hoping for a “shock and awe” or gossiping. McCain says something and sucks approach, overwhelming the opposition with his bottom lip. Graham scans the room from left the dramatic pace of change. to right.
Mitch McConnell used a very old Senate rule to silence Elizabeth Warren. gage skidmore via flickr
Sessions gets up and looks around the room again before he heads toward the door. When he returns to the Senate later that day, Sessions is the nominee under consideration. He sits behind Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while Sen. Elizabeth Warren quotes the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who called Sessions a “disgrace to the Justice Department” during a 1986 confirmation hearing, when Sessions was denied a federal judgeship because of allegations of racism. Now Warren reads from a letter that Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., sent to the Senate during that same failed confirmation. “Mr. President, Mr. President,” McConnell interrupts, defending Sessions. “The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair. Senator Warren said, ‘Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.’ “I call the senator to order under the provisions of Rule 19,” McConnell says. The crazy thing about Rule 19, in this context, is that it was created in 1902, after Sen. “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman, a notorious white terrorist, beat up a colleague who had defected to the other side of a debate. Tillman founded a group called the Red Shirts, which terrorized African Americans as Reconstruction bled into Jim Crow. He was an early mentor of white supremacist Strom Thurmond, who, as the chair of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, was the guy who both smashed Sessions’ hopes of becoming a federal judge and the guy who kept King’s 1986 letter out of the Senate record. When Warren read the letter, she was correcting Thurmond’s 30-year-old error. So it is grimly fitting that McConnell, who
has learned to manipulate the Senate in order to grab control of the judiciary for his party, cites Rule 19 to defend Jeff Sessions, the old-school law-and-order white supremacist who stuck around long enough to make it mainstream again. During the exchange (in which McConnell now famously uttered the iconic sentences: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted”), Sessions picks his nose, rubbing it with a handkerchief, making sure he gets it all, blowing again. Nearly 24 hours later, McConnell uses the last few minutes of debate to offer a cornpone encomium to his departing colleague, calling Sessions a “true Southern gentleman,” like that’s an unquestionably good thing, eliding the difficult history connecting Sessions’ home state and the fight for civil rights. Later, Pence swears in Sessions, who cites a “dangerous permanent trend” of increasing crime and pledges to end “lawlessness.” Like Sessions, Trump regularly exaggerates the increase in violent crime. He uses the occasion of Sessions’ swearing in to sign three executive orders that further empower the vast police state, now overseen by Sessions. Neither man mentions the epidemic of African Americans shot and killed by police. “A new era of justice begins, and it begins right now,” Trump says. Democracy in Crisis is a joint project of alternative newspapers around the country, including the Coachella Valley Independent. Baynard Woods is editor at large at the Baltimore City Paper. His work has also appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Vox, Salon, McSweeney’s, Virginia Quarterly Review and other publications. CVIndependent.com
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 11
CLASSES ON LIFE BY BRIAN BLUESKYE
growing number of young students are eschewing college in favor of vocational or certification programs—and as part of that trend, a new facility in Desert Hot Springs is offering classes that help underprivileged and at-risk men and women take steps toward vocational certification. The slogan of Smooth Transition Inc., located at 13070 Palm Drive, is “Believe, Achieve, Receive.” During a recent phone interview with executive director Robin Goins, she talked about the history of Smooth Transition, which has moved into a space where an alternative high school used to be located near Stater Bros. “We’ve been in Desert Hot Springs providing services for about five years—but on a small scale,” Goins said. “We were working with the Department of Social Services. We started working with the (DHS) Family Resource Center, and facility in February, I was shown the new we grew into a small class space that was down radio-broadcasting studio that is being the road. run by Michelle Rizzio and her local radio “Last August, the mayor said they had this station, KDHS. I also peeked into some of space that was abandoned and suggested I go the classrooms, where teachers were offering look at it. The rest is history. The next thing I lessons in various programs. knew, we had an 8,000-square-foot school. It “We start with a basic life-skills class, doesn’t surprise me that nobody really knows which teaches financial literacy and how about it, because we haven’t really been out in to function on a day-to-day level,” Goins a big way until this past September.” said. “We have GED classes, and everything Goins started what would become Smooth else is all vocational-focused. We have Transition by teaching life-skills classes at a computer trainings and (classes on) how to library in Riverside. use Microsoft. We go as far as six-month “We were founded in 2009 after the housing certification programs and have the same market crashed,” she said. “Everybody was accreditation as a community college. We losing their homes, their jobs and everything offer certifications in radio broadcasting; we else. I’m a professor by trade, and I had about have a culinary program; we have the sewing $17,000 worth of seed money. I decided I arts; we have interior design, fashion design wanted to start training people who otherwise and merchandising. We have a new (program wouldn’t have the opportunity, because they where) we’re bringing in people to teach how financially don’t fit the model of continuing to install satellite dishes. We’re always looking education, which I don’t really believe works out for programs people can take to get them for everybody. … Even community college into the workforce.” doesn’t work for everyone; there are people Goins said education is currently undergoing who just learn differently. It started out with a shift in the United States—and that shift will a small life-skills class I taught, and grew and likely continue. grew and grew. I convinced the IRS that it was “I think the last recession showed us that an emergency state, which it was at the time, corporate America cannot be something that and we received our nonprofit status in three you aspire to, and that retirement (is not weeks. something) you should aspire to or expect; we “From there, we’ve been growing. We did a need to think of new ways to do things,” Goins lot of services in Riverside, but we’re finally said. “I see the return of small businesses and putting our footprint in Desert Hot Springs in people taking control over their destinies. I a big way.” also think that corporate America and other The age range of people who seek services organizations realized people coming out from Smooth Transition is quite wide. with degrees are not always the most-suitable “The youngest we’ve ever served is 16,” candidates.” Goins said. “We’ve had people in their late 70s Goins said the community in Desert Hot doing computer training at the Salvation Army. Springs has embraced Smooth Transition. I would say that the average is about 20 to “The community has been very supportive 40. Some are people just starting careers, and and excited,” she said. “You have people who others are people trying to start new careers don’t want to do anything with their lives, and new paths.” but then you have people who really do, but When I visited the Smooth Transition don’t have the resources. They don’t have
A vocational nonprofit in Desert Hot Springs has a large new home—and a lot of people to serve A peek inside a Smooth Transition classroom.
transportation; they don’t have support at home; they don’t have money, or whatever. We have people coming in every day who are really interested and excited.” Of course, the nonprofit faces obstacles as it grows. “The biggest challenge we have right now is funding,” Goins said. “We have people who don’t have money, and we know that going in.
We’re always trying to fundraise for tuition. … We will not be putting (people) in studentloan debt; I will not do that. I think that’s an atrocious thing to do. So we’re always looking for creative ways to keep our programming going.” For more information on Smooth Transition Inc., visit www.smoothtransitioninc.com.
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RISKS WITH RULES
Trump’s attack on government regulations could have some nasty consequences
BY ELIZABETH SHOGREN
ith the stroke of his pen, President Donald Trump on Jan. 30 unleashed the biggest assault ever made by a president on the government regulations that protect Americans and nature: In an executive order, he mandated that two existing regulations be eliminated for every new regulation issued—and he dictated that the costs of any new rule be offset by savings from the regulations that are repealed. Sitting in the Oval Office, surrounded by people he described as small business owners, Trump boasted: “This will be the largest ever cut by far in terms of regulation.” The president’s actions coincide with a legislative blitz by congressional Republicans to remake the basic system under which government regulates a whole slew of industries, from banks to auto manufacturing to mining and drilling companies. Environmental regulations and rules limiting pollution on public lands are among their prime targets. These rules, mostly mandated by Congress, are intended to safeguard people and natural University. resources like air, water and land. But many What makes the order potentially Republicans argue that regulations have gone unachievable is that most rules aren’t written too far, and prevent businesses from starting up at agencies’ discretion, but are mandated by and thriving. Congress or courts. Statutes drafted by Congress The president’s action, while monumental in and signed by presidents often direct agencies to scope, presents practical challenges. write regulations and set deadlines. If agencies “This is overthrowing the history of fail to do so, courts often step in and order them regulatory procedures that were initiated by to meet certain deadlines. Once implemented, a Ronald Reagan,” says Robert Stavins, professor rule is quite durable. of environmental economics at Harvard “An agency could not undo it unless a statute
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allowed that,” says William Buzbee, professor at Georgetown University Law Center. “Often, it will not allow it.” Even if a regulation is not protected by legislation, an agency cannot just simply strike it from its books. It must go through a lengthy new rulemaking process required by the Administrative Procedure Act to undo it, including seeking public comment. The agencies also must find justifications for undoing regulations that agencies already have analyzed thoroughly and justified as beneficial to the public. Buzbee says court challenges are likely. “They will probably meet with a lot of rejections,” Buzbee adds. The idea of streamlining regulations is not new. Since the 1970s, presidents, including Barack Obama, have directed agencies to review their rules and simplify or strike cumbersome or outdated ones. But Trump’s executive order goes further, reframing the way government looks at regulations. Presidents since Ronald Reagan have required that government weigh the cost and benefits of major rules. Reagan, for instance, decided to take lead out of gasoline because a rigorous analysis found that although it was costly for some refineries, the health benefits—such as reduction of blood lead levels in children—were far greater. Trump’s executive order, however, looks only at costs. It requires that in 2017, the total cost of regulations be “no greater than zero.” It responds to Republican objections that rules are expensive for business and overburden them with delays and red tape. Environmental regulations carry an especially heavy price tag. A 2011 study by Obama’s White House Office of Management and Budget found that major rules issued over 10 years by the Environmental Protection Agency cost $23 billion to $28 billion. At the time, that was more than the combined costs of regulations from the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Labor, Justice, Transportation, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development. But those same EPA rules had benefits to society that outweighed the costs by at least three times. For instance, President Obama’s 2011 rule to slash mercury and other toxic air
pollution from power plants was estimated to cost the electric power industry $9.6 billion— but the agency calculated that Americans would receive health benefits from the rule valued at three to nine times as much. Longtime regulators predict that the executive order will create chaos in agencies and stymie the important work agencies do. Margo Oge headed the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of transportation and air quality from 1994 to 2012. Under both Republican and Democratic presidents, her office issued scores of rules that cleaned up the exhaust from cars, trucks, trains, ships and other vehicles, significantly improving Americans’ health. She predicts the order, which she called “ridiculous,” will shut down that work. “It will be legally impossible to remove an existing regulation, because all the existing actions have been based on protecting public health and the environment,” Oge says. And if they can’t get rid of old rules, they can’t write new ones. “No new action will take place to protect public health, the environment or safety.” Courts won’t let agencies just sit on their hands, some experts say, creating a huge mess for the new cabinet. Trump’s own appointees may find it difficult to write new regulations. For example, Trump’s EPA head nominee Scott Pruitt says he’s “concerned about high blood (lead) levels in children.” He told a Senate committee in answers to written comments: “I will make issuing revisions to the Safe Drinking Water Act Lead and Copper Rule a priority.” The EPA has been reviewing the science and planning to revise its rule regarding lead and copper in drinking water. But under Trump’s two-for-one order, Pruitt may have to identify two existing rules to eliminate before he could move forward. “(Republicans’) only thought is: ‘We need less government, and this is how we’ll get it,’” says Holly Doremus, a professor at the UC Berkeley Law School. “They’ll find the job of governance requires regulations.” Elizabeth Shogren is a correspondent for High Country News (hcn.org), where this piece first appeared.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 13
MARCH ASTRONOMY T
Venus appears at both dawn and dusk someStars days, as the planets Planets andon Bright in Evening Mid-Twilight For March, continue their cosmic2017 dance This sky chart is drawn for latitude 34 degrees north, but may be used in southern U.S. and northern Mexico.
By Robert Victor
his month’s selection of happenings includes the last evening and first morning appearances of Venus; the year’s most favorable apparition of Mercury; early evening moonrises; simultaneous views of planets low above opposite horizons (Mars-Jupiter and MercuryJupiter in the evening, with Venus-Jupiter in the morning); and a bright, far southern star, Canopus, reaching its high point very low over our southern mountains. Venus is still very prominent in the evening sky as this month opens, setting in a dark sky 2 1/2 hours after sunset on March 1. By March 17, Venus sets just one hour after sunset, and by March 21, Venus drops below the horizon barely half an hour after sunset. By that date, Venus is already rising ahead of the sun, and it’s possible to observe it at both dusk and dawn for a few days. Through a telescope or even 7-power binoculars, the planet in the south-southeast to south. Look also for displays a crescent—best observed in daytime, Altair and Deneb, completing the Summer or in bright twilight. Triangle with Vega. Find twinkling reddish Our evening sky chart plots daily positions of Antares to the west and south of Saturn. the brightest objects in the sky at mid-twilight, On March 1, the 15 percent crescent moon when the sun is 9 degrees below the horizon, appears well to the upper left of Venus and a few about 40 minutes after sunset. As March degrees left of Mars. The moon climbs much begins, the most prominent objects, in order of higher each evening, and on Saturday, March brightness, are Venus in the west; Sirius in the 4, the nearly half-lit moon will occult, or cover, south-southeast; Canopus very low, just east of the bright star Aldebaran, with a disappearance due south; Capella just north of overhead; and behind the moon’s leading dark edge slated for Rigel in the south. As March runs its course, 7:12 p.m., and reappearance for 8:30 p.m. Venus descends the near side of her orbit and The moon continues to march eastward, drops below the western horizon, but not before passing between Procyon and the Gemini twins, Mercury climbs into view on the far side of Pollux and Castor, by March 7, and getting his orbit. For a few evenings, both planets are past Regulus, heart of Leo, by the evening of visible. They appear closest to each other on March 10. On Saturday evening, March 11, the March 18, with emerging Mercury passing 8.5 almost-full moon rises at 5:14 p.m., still before degrees south (to the lower left) of departing sunset, which occurs at 5:51 p.m. Remember to Venus. In the eastern sky just before month’s set your clocks one hour ahead, and you won’t end, bright Jupiter rises a few degrees south be surprised by Sunday’s later sunset at 6:52 of due east, while golden Arcturus rises in the p.m., and moonrise (just past full) at 7:13 p.m. east-northeast. After moonrise on Wednesday, March 15, look Sirius and Capella mark extreme south and for bright Jupiter nearby, with Spica just a few north vertices of the huge “Winter Hexagon,” degrees to the lower right. with Betelgeuse and Orion’s belt inside. The With daylight saving time shifting our belt points the way to Sirius, and in the opposite sunrises an hour later, predawn sky-watching direction, to Aldebaran. Preceding the Hex becomes more attractive. Look an hour before across the sky in March is faint Mars, itself sunrise on March 14 and 15 for the waning preceded by Venus or Mercury, or both planets gibbous moon with Jupiter nearby, in the for a few days starting in midmonth. The trailing southwest to west-southwest. Spica is to Pollux-Procyon side reaches due south at midJupiter’s lower left. On the weekend of March twilight at the end of March. Following them is 18-19, find reddish twinkling Antares near the Regulus, heart of Leo, Still farther east, we find moon in the southern sky, with brighter, steady Jupiter and Arcturus rising into view. Saturn to their left. On Monday morning, March In morning twilight: Jupiter, in the southwest 20, the moon, just over half full, will appear to west-southwest as dawn brightens, ranks first closely to the upper left of Saturn. in brightness, until Venus emerges north of east See Venus at both dawn and dusk for a few late in the month. Before the sky brightens too days! Around March 20, start trying to observe much, note Spica 4-6 degrees to the lower left Venus rising before the sun, even though it’s still of Jupiter. The most prominent stars are golden also visible in the evening, setting after sunset. Arcturus high in the west-southwest to west, Binoculars will reveal Venus as a large, thin far to the upper right of the Jupiter-Spica duo, crescent, as little as 1 percent illuminated on and blue-white Vega, very high in the northeast. March 23-26. Next in brightness is steady yellow Saturn, On March 25, at 6:22 a.m., about 20 minutes
March's evening sky chart. ROBERT D. MILLER
8 29 22 1 Mars 15 Venus 8 1
15 22 Mercury
Betelgeuse Procyon Rigel Sirius
Evening occurs before sunrise, findmid-twilight the thin (8 percent) old when12 Sun is 9O below crescent moon degrees up inhorizon. the eastMar. 1: 40 minutes after sunset. southeast. Locate farther left 15: Venus 39 " 32" degrees " and 10 degrees31: lower, north of 40 or " 10" degrees " east and only 2 degrees up. This is the day Venus appears at inferior conjunction, an unusually wide 8.3 degrees north of the sun and 1 percent illuminated. On Friday, March 26, at 6:21 a.m., find the 3 percent crescent moon 12 degrees south of east and 4 degrees up. The young lunar crescent first appears in the evening on Tuesday, March 28, around 7:29 p.m., nearly due west, just 5 degrees up and a few degrees to the lower left of bright Mercury. The next evening, March 29, look for the 5 percent crescent moon 40 minutes after sunset, 15 degrees up and to the upper left of Mercury. As twilight deepens, look for dim Mars about 10 degrees above the moon and a little right. By Thursday evening, March 30, the moon will climb to the upper left of Mars. Watch for
Projection Jupiter rising 7 degreesStereographic south of east just more by Robert Miller than half an hour afterMap sunset. Can D. you observe the three evening planets, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, simultaneously? The Astronomical Society of the Desert will host the next in our series of monthly star parties on Saturday, March 4, from 6 to 9 p.m., and on Saturday, April 1, from 7 to 10 p.m. They are held at the Visitor Center of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, on Highway 74, within 4 miles south of Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Check www.astrorx.org. The next high-altitude star party at Sawmill Trailhead will be held Saturday, March 25. Also, check the link to our “Impromptu Star Parties,” which could be announced on short notice at any time.
Robert C. Victor was a staff astronomer at Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children. CVIndependent.com
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The theme of the 35th Annual La Quinta Arts Festival is Make a Splash! The official poster art for the festival is Signe and Genna Grushovenko’s painting Defying Gravity, which was derived from vintage photographs and celebrates the La Quinta Arts Festival’s success and memories made over the years.
Both the La Quinta Arts Foundation and its La Quinta Arts Festival are celebrating 35 years in 2017. While the festival—taking place Thursday, March 2, through Sunday, March 5, at the La Quinta Civic Center Campus—is very well-known, the mission behind the festival is not so well-known. Part of the mission of the La Quinta Arts Foundation has always been supporting local visual artists looking to continue their educations—and the LQAF has done so in a big, big way. “The visual arts scholarship program began in 1984, a few years after the festival began, and to date, the scholarship program has awarded $1.23 million to 376 individual students pursuing higher education in the arts,” said LQAF President and CEO Christi Salamone. “We have students in school as film administrators and educators, (as well as in) studio art, craft, architecture, curatorial practice, fashion design, photojournalism and every visual-art-related field.” Recent scholarship recipients include Sofia Enriquez, Kaho Akiya, Jake Hill and Katrina Hahn, just to name a few. (Interested students should visit LQAF.com for more information; the scholarship deadline for this year is Friday, March 24.) Salamone said at this critical time, when arts-based education is being cut from schools, the arts are as important as ever. “We all know that statistics show exposure to the arts and instruction in the arts promotes critical thinking, and I think when you look at any kind of innovation and the ability to think creatively, it really will be the future of how we problem-solve, and how we express ourselves,” Salamone said. “The arts are critical and need to remain in schools.” The list of artists who have benefited from the scholarship program is rather impressive, including Armando Lerma, artist and owner of the Date Farmers studio in Coachella; and multifaceted visual artist Cristopher Cichocki. “There have been so many successful students in the valley who have benefited from our visual arts scholarship—people such as Phillip K. Smith III. One of our first scholarship recipients was Bert Bitanga; he received the scholarship from 1988 to 1991, and he is now the head of the architecture and environmental design program at College of the Desert.” Some of these aforementioned artists, including Lerma and Smith, are participating in the site-specific Desert Exhibition of Art, aka Desert X; see the accompanying story. Salamone said the La Quinta Arts Foundation is honoring its scholarship recipients during this year’s festival as part of its 35th anniversary celebration. “We are spotlighting a lot of the former scholarship students throughout the festival and highlighting many of their accomplishments,” she said. “They’re doing great things within our community and around the world. We’re paying homage to them. “What people don’t realize is that by attending the festival, purchasing art, buying tickets and buying food and drink, they’re ensuring future generations of creative endeavors that will enrich our lives.” Salamone talked about some of the more interesting artists taking part in this year’s festival. “We have Chris Sanchez, a local artist who is going to be doing an installation,” Salamone said. “We have Marnie Navarro; she’s going to be in the Splash Lounge doing some sound and performance installations. … Brittany North has led a group of seniors from the Coachella Senior Center, and they’ve created this yarn-bomb installation.” All of the aforementioned artists are LQAF scholars, by the way. Salamone said she’s proud the La Quinta Arts Festival has such a remarkable reputation throughout the country. “There are 4,500 major arts festivals throughout the nation,” she said. “The La Quinta Arts Festival is consistently ranked among the Top 5 in the nation by all ranking sources. When you consider that we’re always the top-ranked show west of the Rockies—and the only show in California ranked in the Top 10 consistently—and ranked No. 1 in 2014 and 2015, and that the art sales have totaled $47 million throughout the tenure of the festival, that’s pretty remarkable.” Not so coincidentally, the Coachella Valley art scene has continued to grow since the LQAF has been around. “I think there’s always been a thriving art community in the valley,” Salamone said. “Our founders knew that the desert’s natural beauty could provide inspiration for artists and artistic pursuits. They thought it would be a haven for artists to come and create—and that’s why they started the foundation.”
The La Quinta Arts Festival takes place Thursday, March 2, through Sunday, March 5, at the La Quinta Civic Center Campus, 78495 Calle Tampico, in La Quinta. Tickets are $17 for a one-day pass, or $22 for a multi-day pass. For information or to purchase tickets, visit www.lqaf.com.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 15
Phillip K. Smith, III; The Circle of Land and Sky; Palm Desert; mirror polished stainless steel; 165’ diameter x 10’ high (rendering)
The Coachella Valley is home to many arts festivals—but the new Desert X is unlike any arts event ever done here before. Desert X, short for the Desert Exhibition of Art, is a site-specific contemporary art exhibition, spread out throughout the Coachella Valley, from Feb. 25 through April 30. Artists contributing installations include Date Farmers’ owner Armando Lerma, Doug Aitken, Norma Jeane and many others. The president of the Desert X board of directors is Susan Davis, the editorial director at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands. “It’s a valley-wide exhibition. A curator put together a list of artists who we invited to the desert to choose sites that specifically resonated in them,” Davis said. “They created works specific to those sites. There will be about 15 installations. One of them is up in Whitewater, and the farthest (east) are in Indio and Coachella. We will also have pieces in Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage as well. The pieces will be available to view for free for anyone who wants to visit or happens upon them.” The Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs will serve as the Desert X headquarters. “People will be able to get maps and get information, and we’ll be offering bus tours on Saturdays and Sundays,” Davis said. Davis touted the wide reach of Desert X’s participants. “These are all artists with international reputations who are in major museums throughout the world,” she said. “It’s very exciting. We’re working with a number of local cultural organizations who have become our program partners. We have the Palm Springs Art Museum. Sunnylands is going to host one of the pieces. (Local student film festival) Digicom has a number of students in the local schools who are using these pieces to create documentary films, and we’re working with Modernism Week. The parallel projects are projects that have been selected through a series of criteria and include things up in the High Desert as well as an exhibition at the Marks Center for the Arts at College of the Desert.” Davis offered hints about what people can expect at the installations. “In the case of the project that’s out in Palm Desert in Adams Park, Claudia Comte chose that location and created a piece that echoes the landscape,” Davis said. “The shape of the wall is from her standpoint and echoes the mountains and the landscape.
“Another artist, Jeffrey Gibson, whose piece is going to be in the sculpture garden at the (Palm Springs) Art Museum, was inspired by the windmills. He went through a process where he wanted his piece on the wind farms, but as it evolved, he realized that it would better speak to being in Palm Springs, because he’s a Native American and was very interested in the confluence in Palm Springs of Native Americans, the LGBT community and the alternative energy history. All of the artists have created pieces for those places specific to the ideas that resonated in them and influenced them.” Davis said she had the idea for Desert X after attending biennials and big festivals in other cities. “The purpose is to show off a city or an area as a cultural destination, and to highlight contemporary art simultaneously,” she said. “… After Hurricane Katrina, they had an exhibition every three years to bring people back to New Orleans to show that the city was growing back after the flood, and that it was a vibrant community. It was bringing people back, which was good for the economy and showcased contemporary art. “I’ve been living in the valley for about seven years, and my background and my passion is contemporary art. … Contemporary art exhibitions could fill a vacuum here in the valley. (Visitors) come for a number of things, but not contemporary art. They certainly don’t come for art at all. I thought this would also shine a spotlight on the Palm Springs Art Museum and also shine a light on the cultural richness here in the Coachella Valley.” Davis said she’s excited about the potential that Desert X has to show off the Coachella Valley to visitors and locals alike, using Comte’s work at Palm Desert’s Adams Park as an example. “It’s a way for all of us who live here to see the desert through the lens of contemporary art,” she said. “From my standpoint, the exhibition has already been successful, because people have already interacted with Claudia Comte’s work and started asking questions: ‘Is it political?’ ‘Is it a mirage?’ ‘What’s it doing here?’ ‘Is it staying here?’ ‘This should be permanent.’ It starts a conversation, and that’s one thing. “The second thing is there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who don’t have a clue where Adams Park is. It shines a light on a beautiful part of Palm Desert for its residents and the people in the Coachella Valley.” Desert X takes place from Saturday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, April 30, with installations across the Coachella Valley. For more information, visit www.desertx.org. CVIndependent.com
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CVI SPOTLIGHT: MARCH 2017 A ‘Spectrum’ of Contemporary Art
A photo of the 2016 Spectrum Indian Wells art show.
n estimated 450,000 people attend March’s BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament … so what do the other 434,000 people do when the tournament has narrowed down to action in just Stadium 1? One possible answer: They head over to the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort and Spa for the second annual Spectrum Indian Wells Art Show, taking place Thursday, March 16, through Sunday, March 19. Lisa Ashinoff is just one of the many artists participating in the juried contemporary arts show. The Virginia Beach, Va., resident studied art at Bard College and Florida International University. Why is she taking part in an art show so far away from home? “My body of work is a good fit out there,” she said. Actually, her work—paintings and drawings of cityscapes and dreamscapes— has been shown in Palm Springs before,
which should come as no surprise, since she describes her work as “a mixture of modern and a midcentury modern.” She said growing up in a Norman Jaffe-designed house influenced her work, which has hints of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture as well. Ashinoff’s precise lines come from a system she has honed over the years. She recently displayed her work at one of Spectrum Indian Wells’ sister shows in Miami, and she said she’s looking forward to having her work back in the desert. “It allows me to show my work to get more exposure, because I have pretty large paintings,” she said. “The gallery hasn’t been able to show as many big pieces as I like, so it allows me to take (to the show) the big pieces I like.” Ashinoff’s paintings can indeed be big—as large as 73 inches by 92 inches. “They’re bold when they’re larger,” she said. “The color and the style of them are
more effective on a larger scale. They just lend themselves to being a little larger than normal. I think it’s easier to paint a larger painting than it is to paint a smaller painting.” The international list of galleries and artists confirmed as participants in Spectrum Indian Wells is quite impressive. For example, Renssen Art Gallery, from the Netherlands, will show works in the figurative tradition. Renssen is an avid admirer of Pablo Picasso, and adds a bit of abstraction—with vibrant and subdued colors—to his works. Also confirmed is Canadian James Patterson, a sculptor whose work includes a piece that was commissioned by and recently installed at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning/Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Almost any type of artwork one can imagine—painting, photography,
glassworks, sculptures and more—will be on display at the show. Spectrum Indian Wells is one of six annual art shows put on by the Redwood Media Group, including Artexpo New York, which is billed as the largest fineart trade show. Spectrum Indian Wells takes place at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort and Spa, 44400 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells. The opening-night preview, from 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday, March 16, is a benefit for the Desert AIDS Project; tickets are $50 in advance, or $60 at the door. One-day passes for the rest of the show are $20 in advance, or $30 at the event; three-day passes are $25 online, or $35 at the event, with discounts for students and seniors. Children 15 and younger are admitted for free. For tickets or more information, visit spectrum-indianwells.com. —Dwight Hendricks
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 17
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ART HONORING HISTORY
Marconi Calindas shows his series honoring the Delano Grape Strike at his eponymous gallery By NICOLE BORGENICHT
arconi Calindas shows the works of many different artists in his gallery, but for now, he’s shining the spotlight on some of his own colorful work. Calindas is excited to share Welga (Huelga): A Tribute to the Great Grape Strike with the desert art scene. The works, featuring beautiful, vibrant colors typical of Calindas’ original home in the Philippines, were originally shown in Northern California. “It was showcased at the EastSide Cultural Center in Oakland during the 50th anniversary of the strike,” Calindas said. ”The exhibition ran for at least a month in the center, and then the organizers brought it with them to other venues in Northern California.” Calindas—whose list of art exhibitions and awards is beyond impressive—said he was honored to be chosen to create works representing the historic 1965 strike of Filipino grape-pickers. He explained how he came to create the Welga series. (“Welga” is the Tagalog word for strike, while “huelga” is the Spanish word.) “An organization led by a Filipino professor for Asian American studies from UC Davis (Robyn Rodriguez) knew about my success as a Filipino artist in San Francisco and invited me to participate in their commemoration of the Delano Grape Strike,” Calindas said. As a Filipino immigrant himself, Calindas said he felt a personal connection to the history of the strike. Marconi’s expressive and colorful pieces are made from acrylic and ink on canvas, as well as mixed media such as papier-mâché masks. One of the most striking works in the show is
“Faces of Difference” (below), which features nine brightly colored masks—seemingly the same in every way but their vibrant colors. “This is generally a depiction of my take on people of different colors trying to make a stand and a mark in this country and the world,” he said. “We are different but still the same.” “A Plant at a Time” (above) depicts a hand placing a plant in the green ground. “To harvest a better future, we need to plant good deeds and visions one day at a time,” he said about the work. Galleria Marconi is an upbeat place with positive vibes and spirited art. Calindas considers his gallery a place of social relevance and commentary. “I grew up in the Philippines and was part of this progressive visual and theater group, Teatro Umalohokan, back in my university years, and being part of the group has molded me to be the artist that I am right now,” he said. “(I want) to convey messages about what’s going on around our community. For me, as an art ambassador, we should also be ambassadors for peace, equality and the change we need for a better life.” On March 1—during the Backstreet Art District’s First Wednesday Art Walk from 6 to 9 p.m.—Calindas will present a special one-night showing of the works of students participating in local nonprofit arts organization Tools for Tomorrow. “Kids’ artworks will be mounted on our walls for a night of showcase and celebration for these kids’ talents,” he said. Welga (Huelga): A Tribute to the Great Grape Strike is on display through Friday, March 31, at Galleria Marconi Palm Springs, 2668 S. Cherokee Way, in Palm Springs. For more information, call 415-418-9546, or visit www. galleriamarconips.com.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // GDG1 MARCH 2017
MARCH 2017 GDG 1 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT
#ILoveGayPalm Springs Because…
Alfie Pettit, aka Arial Trampway, says “#ILoveGayPalmSprings because…” By Nicholas Snow
March in the Palm Springs Oasis
“The Queens!” That’s Alfie Pettit’s immediate response when asked to complete the phrase, #ILoveGayPalmSprings because…
By Brad Fuhr, e-publisher, GayDesertGuide.LGBT
Ce Ce Peniston
The proverbial “in like a lion and out like a lamb” describing the month of March certainly doesn’t apply to the Greater Palm Springs area this year. We just got word that Ce Ce Peniston and Black Box will raise the Palm Springs temperature at Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend on Friday, March 31st. It will cap off a month of full on frontal fun and frivolity in the desert.
AKA Arial Trampway, Alfie is a humanitarian and entertainer (he’s behind and headlining the new DRG BRNCH, Sundays, at the Hard Rock Hotel), and has had multiple brushes with film, television, and pop stars. In fact, “Alfie’s of Hollywood” became a trusted source for photographs, autographs, memorabilia and anecdotes. Alfie was himself featured on nationally syndicated television shows including Leeza Gibbons, American Journal, Hard Copy, CNBC Money, as well as international TV appearances in Italy and Japan.
One of the most social and liberating LGBT charity events of the season is the LGBT Center’s Red Dress/Dress Red Party. It’s such a gas to see friends and newcomers alike wearing outrageous garb for one night. Our thrift stores sell out of red-anything quickly, so if you’re planning to go it is best to plan your outfit well in advance. We’ll be there and invite you to hashtag #ILoveGayPalmSprings in their photos. You’ll see them on our Instagram page @GayDesertGuide and on the website.
About “The Queens!”, Alfie adds, “We have the most concentrated queen-per-capita coverage and it shows. If you want drag, baby, we got it. Virtually any day, any time of day, you can find a local show with amazing performances by local and imported drag queens and kings.”
On the other end of the fashionista spectrum is Palm Springs Life Fashion Week on El Paseo. Opening Night features Milan’s award-winning men’s fashion designer Christopher Bates, America’s luxury women’s sportswear designer Adam Lippes, and international red-carpet designer Mikael D on Saturday, March 18. The Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival happens the following weekend – March 24-26. The event features two days of Grand Tastings, featuring delectable morsels from more than 40 restaurants, created by renowned chefs from all across California and the country. More than 60 premium wines and champagnes will be offered as well.
He continues, “As a queen myself, the opportunities are boundless. I’ve been blessed enough to don my heels for numerous performances, promotions, and charities throughout the years here. …Most queens here are extremely involved in local charities. It’s a place of pride for us. And I promise you, you’re not going to find a more supportive community of drag queens anywhere. We know we are all in it together.” “Arial” has raised money for countless charities, including Desert AIDS Project, Angel View and Animal Samaritans. Alfie works closely with ACS, helping support their Desert Spirit Awards. Arial was the show opener for Carnival Cabaret, and could be seen jetting around on his Segway promoting the show during Palm Springs’ Gay Pride Parade and other local events. Thank you, Alfie, for keeping the glamour factor high and pocketbooks open!
The month is teeming with great theatre and concerts. From an intimate evening with big band legend Stanley Paul for AAP to the Desert Winds Freedom Band, there’s music for everyone’s tastes. Dezart Performs’live radio theatre “On the Air” is one of my favorites and features Peter Marshall and Mariette Hartley this year. The McCallum is in full swing as is the Annenberg. We at GayDesertGuide.LGBT have been helping Cathedral City build its LGBT Days and are happy to help make it happen again this year on the weekend of March 24-26. Leslie Jordan is set to be a part of the Bed Race on Saturday and Martha Wash headlines Saturday afternoon after the parade. Jordan will perform at the Mary Pickford that evening. Our complete Events channel on GayDesertGuide is the place to search for events by category or view This Weekend, next week or any date you’re looking for something to do.
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // GDG 2
Getting Around The Valley By Brad Fuhr, publisher, GayDesertGuide.com There are a number of easy ways to get around the Palm Springs area, whether you’re heading downtown for some shopping, to the Riviera Hotel or to the famed Purple Room for a drink and a show. Greater Palm Springs (not to mention the entire Coachella Valley) is pretty compact, so between shuttles, taxis, mobile app-based car services, public transportation, and bike rentals, you’ve got plenty of options for getting from A to B in PS.
Your Map & Guide to palM SprinGS
Walk If you’re a Fitbit enthusiast, grab a Palm Springs Official Visitors Guide and a bottle of water, slip on some comfortable shoes and hit the ground walking. Downtown Palm Springs is easy to navigate, especially along Indian and Palm Canyon Drives, where you’ll find plenty of options for dining and shopping. You’ll enjoy the scenery (the nature variety as well as the human one) so much more if you leave your vehicle behind and cruise the streets on foot. (Just don’t forget the water!)
Bike During cooler months, the primarily flat layout of Palm Springs makes for good cycling — and many of the streets have designated bike lanes. There are a number of bicycle rental facilities around town, like Bike Palm Springs and Pedego Electric Bikes.
Drive If you want to explore other parts of the Coachella Valley, you’ll need some wheels. Palm Canyon Drive runs north and south through Palm Springs and will take you through the heart of the city’s bustling uptown and downtown areas. Keep heading south, and you’ll find yourself on Highway 111, which goes east and west along the mountain side and will take you to Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and the other desert communities.
Pedego Electric Bikes
The Steakhouse at the Spa Resort Casino
LGBT Community Center of the Desert
Bongo Johnny's Patio Bar & Grille
Johannes Palm Springs
Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym
LuLu California Bistro
Escape Room Palm Springs
Pinocchio in the Desert
CCBC Cathedral City
Hoo Doo Patio Restaurant & Bar
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Palm Springs Air Museum
Architecture and Design Center
Palm Springs Art Museum
Wang’s In the Desert
Palm Springs Convention Center
Spa Resort Casino
Bike Palm Springs
Manhattan in the Desert Rio Azul Mexican Bar & Grill
The Palm Springs BUZZ is a free trolley operates Thursdays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Traveling in a loop along Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon (from near Toucans to Purple Room), BUZZ reaches one of its 30 stops every 15 minutes, providing a fast, easy, hassle-free way for visitors and locals to get around.
Nightlife (See our Happy Hour Finder online) 32
Chill Bar/Scorpion Room
Watercress Vietnamese Bistro
There are several reliable cab companies operating in the Coachella Valley, such as American Cab (760-300-0000) and Yellow Cab(760-340-8294).
Reservior, The Draughtsman
The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel
Oscar's Cafe & Bar
Purple Room Supper Club
SpurLine Video Bar
Zin American Bistro
Bontá Cathedral City
Toucan’s Tiki Lounge
Trunks Cathedral City
My Little Flower Shop
Mobile App-Based Car Services Have an Uber or Lyft account? Both companies service the greater Palm Springs area and there are usually plenty of drivers nearby to come get you, especially during peak hours.
Public Transportation The SunLine bus system has an extensive network and can get you almost anywhere in the Coachella Valley via their 14 routes and one commuter link. Going through downtown? Hop on the green line (No. 24). For routes, fares, and hours of operation, call 760-343-3456. Adults aged ride for $1.00, and transfers are only 25¢. Just be aware that the buses don’t run 24-7, so if you’re planning on staying out late, check the schedule to make sure you’ll get a return trip or plan a backup ride. Regardless of how you get around Palm Springs or the Coachella Valley, you’re sure to appreciate the desert’s beauty and unique charm. Put GayDesertGuide. com on your mobile phone’s home screen just like an App, so you’re always just a click or two away from anything you need to know!
Symbol Keys Grocery Store Hospital / Urgent Care Pharmacy Post Office Tennis Visitor Center
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Geras Toussant Gallery
Revive Salon & Day Spa
Antique Galleries of Palm Springs
MARCH 3 2017 GDG \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT
2017 COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENTMARCH // GDG3
Indian Canyon Dr
N Palm Canyon Dr
Gene Autry Trail
70 71 3 1 53 38
35 12 39 42 51 33
Downtown Palm Springs
19 Kirk Douglas Way
El Cielo Rd
E Palm Canyon Dr
66 Via Soledad
La Verne Way
59 63 62 11
E Via Escuela
Racquet Club Rd San Rafael Dr
Indian Canyon Dr 69 20 68 N Palm Canyon Dr
S Palm Canyon Dr
Grenfall Rd Warm Sands
San Lorenzo Rd
S Sunrise Way
N Sunrise Way
Tahquitz Canyon Way
Map courtesy of HunKa Concepts
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2017 COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENTMARCH // GDG 4
214 E. Arenas Road, Palm Springs (760) 866-1905
2017 “Save the Date” Coachella Valley Events
Bongo Johnny’s Patio Bar & Grille is one of the best neighborhood restaurants in Palm Springs. Located in the middle of the Arenas area, Bongo Johnny’s is fun and relaxing with GREAT food. The menu is fresh, but it’s not just about breakfast and lunch, we’ve got dinner too. Come dine with us inside, or out on the patio, and experience a mini vacation with crave-able food, signature cocktails, and stellar service. Get Fresh!
Mar. 6-19 BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament Mar. 8-April 2 Coachella Valleys Repertory’s “Disgraced” Mar. 11 LGBT Center’s Red Dress/Dress Red Party Mar. 17-April 2 Dinner At My Place benefiting D.A.P. Mar. 18-19 California Desert Chorale “We’ve Got Ritmo” Mar. 18-25 Fashion Week on El Paseo in Palm Desert Mar. 24-26 Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival Mar. 24-26 Cathedral City’s LGBT Days Mar. 25 Palm Springs Art Museum Gala Mar. 26 Desert Winds “Music and the World of Sound” Mar. 29-Apr. 2 Club Skirts Presents The Dinah, Palm Springs Apr. 1 The Living Desert’s Brew at the Zoo Apr. 2 L-Fund 3rd Annual Gumbo Gala
@ Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs New weekly Drag Brunch is the brainchild of Alfie Pettit springing from his love of all things Rock and Glam. Seating at 11 AM. $35 includes bottomless Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and Bellinis. Call 760-325-9676 or book on Open Table.
Gay Wine Weekend
We’ve moved to JULY so you can celebrate PRIDE & join us Out In The Vineyard! It’s a weekend of Wine & Celebration with new winemaker dinners, winery tours and events. Visit GayWineWeekend.com
Apr. 8 Palm Springs Pride Pet Parade Apr. 9 19th Annual Opera in the Park Apr. 14-16 Coachella Music Festival –Weekend #1 Apr. 21-23 Coachella Music Festival –Weekend #2 Apr. 22-23 PSGMC “Palm Springs Pops” Concert
#ILoveGayPalmSprings @Destination PSP! 170 N. Palm Canyon Dr. Now available at DestinationPSP - new #ILoveGayPalmSprings merchandise. From t-shirts to coffee mugs, a credit card/cash holder for your mobile phone in every color of the rainbow and a unique wine tote (to keep the white wine cold and the red wine cool).
Apr. 27-30 Blatino Oasis Apr. 27 Desert AIDS Project’s Dining Out for Life Apr. 28-30 Stagecoach Music Festival May 5-8 Jeffery Sanker’s White Party Weekend May 6 AAP’s Evening Under the Stars May 12-14 Palm Springs Hot Rodeo May 19 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast at PSCC Nov. 3-5 Palm Springs Pride 2017
Visit DestinationPSP in downtown Palm Springs.
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 19
The TEN Tenors 20th Anniversary World Tour - The Power of TEN Tue, February 28, 8pm Wed, March 1, 2pm & 8pm Thu & Fri, March 2 & 3, 8pm Sat, March 4, 2pm & 8pm Sun, March 5, 2pm
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Tue, March 7, 7pm
Presented through the generosity of Harold Matzner and Helene Galen
Suzanne Somers... Direct from Las Vegas
The Irish Rovers
Sat, March 11, 8pm
Fri, March 10, 8pm
Presented through the generosity Helene Galen and Harold Matzner
Chicago John Cleese
Fri, March 17, 8pm Sat, March 18, 2pm & 8pm Sun, March 19, 2pm & 7pm
Sun, March 12, 3pm & 7pm
Presented through the generosity of Robert and Sharlene Britz Mona Golabek in
The Pianist of Willesden Lane Based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek and Lee Cohen Adapted and directed by Hershey Felder Tue & Wed, March 21 & 22, 8pm
Presented through the generosity of Hal and Diane Gershowitz and The Waring International Piano Competition through individual board members
Order tickets by phone
Max Raabe & Palast Orchester Thu, March 30, 8pm
Presented through the generosity of Patrick and Edeltraud McCarthy
73000 FRED WARING DRIVE, PALM DESERT â€¢ BOX OFFICE HOURS: MONDAY-FRIDAY, 9:00am-5:00pm
Follow us CVIndependent.com
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EYE OF THE ARTISTS
Izen Miller Gallery opens on El Paseo with a ‘Multiplicity’ of works
By NICOLE BORGENICHT
eanna Izen Miller opened her brandnew gallery in Palm Desert in February. She’s brought decades of experience and art knowledge to the new Izen Miller Gallery on El Paseo. Miller has been an art dealer for 37 years; she opened her first gallery in Venice, Calif., and had a stint at The River in Rancho Mirage. The new Palm Desert gallery features artists from all over the United States—some of whom she has represented for three decades—as well as six local contemporary artists she recently added to her list. The new Izen Miller Gallery’s first exhibition is called Multiplicity: The Eye of the Artists, and includes works by the artists Miller represents. It will be on display through Sunday, March 26. Miller expressed excitement about both her new El Paseo location and the local artist community. “After moving here four years ago … I met several artists from the Coachella Valley, who I am beginning to develop a relationship with,”
she said. “When I opened my gallery, I had met so many artists—and I know how important it is to show local artists. I selected the artists whose art I felt works with the direction my gallery is going in.” Two Coachella Valley artists are highlighted in Multiplicity: Ruth Gonzales and Barry Orleans. With explosive color, Barry Orleans expresses cheerful tones through abstract imagery, while Ruth Gonzales paints shapes beneath and throughout compositional fields that seem to awaken emotion. “Barry is an emerging artist, and Ruth is mid-career,” Miller said. “Their color, light, form and sensibility work with my gallery and the image I want to portray.” Barry Orleans’ bold and luminous colors can brighten anyone’s day, and bring out a smile. The self-taught artist notes that his paintings are about “movement, color and space.” Miller said Orleans focuses on the paint itself as his subject. “His brushless application of paint creates the sensation of color, texture and motion. His canvases become about the action in the art.” Ruth Gonzales’ paintings have influences from Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt’s light, and Rufino Tamayo’s color and form. Gonzales was born in Mexico and began as a figurative painter; her knowledge of structure and technique is easily spotted in her current abstract work. She has lived in the desert since 1990, and her art has been in many galleries and sold internationally. One of Gonzales’ themes is how human temperament interacts with and is influenced by nature. While making her mixed-media paintings, she at times incorporates marble dust and sand with raw pigment oils. In this way, her art brings the viewer closer to nature, and also to the universal spirit of humankind. Miller said viewers can be “transformed” by Gonzales’ work. “The work is not about expressionism, impressionism or minimalism, but an abstract thought, somewhere in between,” Miller said. “But it is very tangible.” Multiplicity: The Eye of the Artists will be on display at Izen Miller Gallery, 73740 El Paseo, in Palm Desert, through Sunday, March 26. For more information, call 760-898-0223, or visit izenmillergallery.com. “Flight of the Mumble Bees” by Ruth Gonzales (cropped).
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 21
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22 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT
FOOD & DRINK
FREsh gRound . handcRaFtEd
BEER GODDESS Thanks to new hops and techniques, beers made with fruit are attracting newbies and hard-core craft fans By Erin Peters
T 73-399 El Paseo, #103 . Palm Desert, CA 92260 . (760) 346-4372 . Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Sun: 11am-5pm
here was a time not too long ago when I cringed at the sight of a raspberry wheat or berry blonde beer. I thought these beers were too dainty, too affected—and frankly, not worth my money. However, I’ve changed my tune in recent years—and I am not alone. Let’s look at just one beer category, flavored IPAs, for evidence. In 2015, sales of “tropicalflavored” IPA increased by 250 percent, according information presented to the Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia in May 2016. According to market-research firm Mintel, in 2010, 15 percent of new beers introduced were flavored. In 2015, 27 percent of beers to come onto the market were flavored. But fruit has not been relegated to just IPAs. Brewers are also infusing pale ales, saisons and even stouts with fruit from the farm— grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes and so on. Take San Diego brewer Ballast Point’s Pineapple Sculpin, for example. Since Ballast Point’s purchase by Constellation, this beer and its relatives—Habanero Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin, introduced in 2014—are more widely available. This is a very good thing. Some of these juicy new beers have come about thanks to experimental hops with aromatic qualities, which pair better with fruits. Brewers are also developing styles that are better able to carry the fruit flavors. As fruit beers have gotten better, they’ve not only won over some hard-core beer-drinkers like me; they’ve brought more non-traditional beerdrinkers into the craft-beer world. Take New Belgium’s Citradelic Tangerine IPA, launched in January 2016, as another example of a popular, widely available fruitforward beer. The sweet, tangy orange character intertwines nicely with the hops— including Citra, citrusy Mandarina Bavaria, tropical Azzaca and fruity Galaxy hops. On top of all this, the brewers add tangerine-infused orange peel to the brew. Coachella Valley Brewing Co. is the local brewer that’s been using fruits in its beers the most. CVB’s Chris Anderson is not only an award-winning brewer; he knows his way around a kitchen. He served as executive chef at Moose’s Tooth and Café Europa in
Anchorage, and headed culinary operations for the Tatitlek Corporation for seven years. “I’ve seen more and more brewers using locally grown fruits, and fruits indigenous to their local areas,” Anderson said. “Fruit beer is certainly becoming more popular. It used to be said that it was a ‘chick beer.’ At CVB, we sell a ton of fruit beers and fruited sours to men.” Anderson said he’s definitely seen fruit beers bring newbies into the craft-beer world. “Customers are continually looking for variety; brand loyalty is a thing of the past,” Anderson said. “Fruit beers are in the footbridge realm for many non-craft-beer people. These folks might find a banana hefeweizen or passion-fruit farmhouse ale more inviting than a fresh double IPA.” Hopped-up IPAs often work well with fruit additions, thanks to complementary hops like the lemony Sorachi Ace and the grapefruithinted Cascade—but it’s not just IPAs that Anderson likes when it comes to fruit. “I think just about any beer can work fruited as long as it marries and doesn’t conflict,” he said. Of course, there is an art to brewing and noting the citrus qualities within hops. Yes, fruit is good, and fruit in beer can be awesome— but adding too much or not understanding thresholds or blending could lead to an awful brew. No fruit, however delicious, can turn an ordinary beer into something super-tasty. But when you start with a great beer, fruit can make it even better—creating perfect sippers for warmer days.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 23
SAVE THE DATE
Thursday, April 27, 2017 CVIndependent.com
24 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT
FOOD & DRINK
WELL RED W
An interview with Vince Calcagno, co-owner of Joey Palm Springs
By christine soto
hen you think of good wine, what comes to mind? A sit-down restaurant? A white tablecloth? A fancy bottle pulled from a cellar for a special occasion? This is an outdated way of thinking: More and more, good wine isn’t limited to just high-end places or special occasions. For example, someone may not expect fine wine from a place well known for its coffee—but at Joey Palm Springs, you’ll get just that. Vince Calcagno and Joe Lucero are partners in life and in business at Joey, which opened a little more than a year ago on Palm Canyon Drive. Calcagno spent more than 20 years as the owner/operator of Zuni Café in San Francisco, so he knows a thing or two about running a restaurant. At Joey, he does whatever needs to be done, including, on occasion, washing the dishes. One of his other responsibilities is curating the wine list. Zuni Café has an expansive wine list and a sommelier, both of which helped Calcagno develop a love of wine. He brings this ethos to Joey’s more-casual bistro style. Although there are just six wines on the list, there is a little something for everybody—and you won’t find the usual affordable brand names, but instead offerings like a white Côtes du Rhône (which should please any chardonnaydrinker). Calcagno and I sat down one morning
at Joey and sipped not wine, but coffee— although I did taste the aforementioned white Côtes du Rhône! What was your first wine love? I was a waiter at the Hayes Street Grill from 1979 to 1981. Chalone Chardonnay! When I would have a hard night, my boss, Dick Sander, the owner, would pour me a glass, and I would sigh and say, ”Nectar!”
What’s exciting about wine to you now? I will always love delicious French wines, like Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc. I love blends. Since we live in the desert, (I love) rose all summer long. Italian whites. Your desert island wine? I mostly drink whites, so any white Tablas Creek, and Chablis. Favorite Food Pairing? Hmm … a Zuni chicken, although I make it differently now, with tarragon and a splash of sherry at the end. Then a great pinot noir … yum! What are you drinking now? I was having a Manhattan with Buffalo Trace and Carpano Antica, but I have a bottle of Clicquot rose staring at me. What do you love about the desert? Well, the weather, first of all. After living in
JASON DAVID HAIR STUDIO
LOVE YOUR HAIR Country Club and Cook Street Palm De sert
760-340-5959 www.jasondavidhairstudio.net Vince Calcagno
the cold city of SF for so many years, it is fun to be in a warm place, where everyone seems so supportive. It is conducive to my “older” lifestyle. Your favorite places to go in the desert? I love Lyons. Tropicale, because it is always fun. Seymour’s, of course. Spencer’s for breakfast, and, oh … Dead or Alive. Palm Springs native Christine Soto is a co-owner of Dead or Alive wine bar in Palm Springs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 25
FOOD & DRINK
ON COCKTAILS I
In a nostalgic mood, our intrepid drinker checks out three old-school Palm Springs bars
By kevin carlow
was feeling a bit nostalgic. Perhaps it was due to a post-holiday malaise; maybe I was simply succumbing to the general trend in popular culture. Whatever the cause, I began reminiscing on my first experiences drinking in public places: a smoky blues club, Chinese restaurant lounges, fancy dinners out with family, etc. While I was unable to locate a smoky blues club here in the Coachella Valley (send me suggestions!), I did visit two analogues of the other places to see how they matched up with my first memories of drinking. I had never been to Melvyn’s before, but I felt like I had: So many people have told me about the place that I had a pretty good mental picture before walking in for the first time—and that picture was pretty spot-on. It was busy for a weekday (judging by the comments of the regulars surrounding me), but I managed to snag a prime barstool. I 7, or whenever the spirit moves him.” A minute usually can; it’s kind of my superpower. or two later, the tinkling of ivory floated out Surrounded by pictures of faces of celebrities from the corner. I guess the spirit was moving living and deceased, I settled in and made him—as it was beginning to move me. friends with a couple of Canadian teetotalers I got a dry martini … what else am I going next to me. They said they came here all the to put on a napkin featuring Frank Sinatra’s time, and were wondering if I was here to see face? I ordered Bombay gin—craft gin’s not an it before the new ownership possibly changes option here. Shaken lightly, giant olives, hardly things (which is a big concern among regulars). any vermouth … yeah, this is not the way you’d The bartender, Michael, was working the get it at my bar, but there are eras to cocktails, whole restaurant alone. I got anxiety just and they need to be acknowledged. For a place watching him, but he kept his cool. The maître from this era, the tinkling of chip ice against the d’ made the rounds and knew the guests by thin walls of a three-part shaker was a sound of name. I asked the maître d’ what time the music success. I’m sure even Dale DeGroff was shaking started, and he pointed at the piano player: “At plenty of gin martinis once upon a time. (That said, if you work at any place built in the last 20 years, and you shake my gin martini … well, let’s not go there.) Cold gin, a shrimp cocktail, piano music, Old Blue Eyes regarding me warmly from his paper prison … how much more old Palm Springs does it get? The bartender suggested a Maker’s Mark This IS your father’s martini, compliments Manhattan next, as though he were reading my of Melvyn’s. LINA ABASCAL, mind; this drink was a mainstay of my early-toWWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/LINALOVESIT mid-20s. Just like the ones I drank back then, it was also shaken and light on vermouth, with nary a bitters bottle in sight. I didn’t come here for a Death and Co. Manhattan; I came for the kind my dad made at his bar—and I got it. (Again, bartenders: Don’t you dare do this if your clientele is younger than 75, on average.)
All and all, it was a lovely journey back to an era that we will never see again, since modern restaurant philosophy has changed so much— and so irreversibly.
o … there’s craft tiki; there’s tiki; and there is what I grew up drinking at the (long-gone) Aloha and other lounges that once peppered the Northeast: a sort of tiki/AmericanChinese chimera with sour mix galore, and with loose interpretations of recipes by Trader Vic and Donn Beach (the creator of Don the Beachcomber), along with lots of greasy pork and noodles to sop up the booze. Oh, and ID checks were lenient, too. It was heaven. Luckily for me, some pockets of California held on to tiki in its more-or-less-original form. I’d heard that Tonga Hut, with a location in Palm Springs, was one of those places. I went to investigate. First of all, it totally looks the part, aside from a balcony overlooking Palm Canyon Drive, but that’s a nice touch my Aloha could never have had. Everything was just as I imagined. I ordered a mai tai, which was made according to the Trader Vic recipe. (With all due respect to Donn Beach, I prefer the Trader Vic recipe, too—mostly because it’s way less complicated.) It was tasty and citrus-forward, with plenty of rum and a backbone of orange liqueur and almond—thankfully nothing like the pineapplejuice-and-rum versions of my youth! They had crab rangoons and beef teriyaki, and these dishes were actually much lighter-tasting and way less greasy than what I grew up eating (although I am not sure how I feel about that). Next, I had bartender Josh make me a painkiller, one of those rarely seen tiki concoctions which was actually trademarked by Pusser’s Rum. It is a tasty mix of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, coconut cream and a garnish of nutmeg. Because glassware is crucial to proper tiki, Josh even served it in
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a classic Pusser’s enameled metal mug. If you haven’t had one of these, give it a try: The ample nutmeg may seem a little odd at first, but once you get used to it, it really makes the drink feel festive. It has the DNA of a piña colada, but ends up tasting very different; the orange juice and nutmeg offer it a unique flavor. Tonga Hut is definitely a good spot for those seeking a classic tiki fix, or for those who are just trying to scratch that itch for nostalgia.
ostalgia cured, I went back to work. I felt like I left the Bloody Mary debate a little unresolved last month, so I set about trying the drink at various places around town, despite my aversion to it in general. I felt it was my duty to know where the best one was; call it a sense of journalistic integrity, if you’d like. I had been hearing over the last few months that Sparrows Lodge was a nice place to grab lunch, so when a friend called me up on a sunny afternoon, we decided to give it a go. I had been to Sparrows once before, for an evening event, so I already knew the environment is unreal: You literally cannot take a bad picture here. I have tried. I ordered the Bloody Mary, knowing it could make or break my experience. It was wonderful, light and almost refreshing, with a sensible garnish of pickled okra. There seemed to be chili oil floating on top; I tasted mustard seeds and citrus. The vinegar was bright but not overpowering, with no congealed horseradish chunks in sight. While I would not have a second one in succession, I was impressed—so impressed that I am calling it the best one in town (that I have had so far). So … goodbye to nostalgia (and to Bloody Marys); it is time to explore new ground, though it has been a fun trip down memory lane. Kevin Carlow is a bartender at Seymour’s/Mr. Lyons and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We savor a new Greek restaurant in Palm Desert, and enjoy life at a Palm Springs classic By Jimmy Boegle
WHAT The lamb kofta burger WHERE Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine, 72695 Highway 111, No. A6, Palm Desert HOW MUCH $11 CONTACT 760-340-2020; www.facebook.com/ evzinrestaurant WHY The meat was just perfect. My friend Jeffrey was effusive in his praise. “Steven H. and I went to this new Greek place in PD,” he told me via Facebook. “WONDERFUL service was over the top … and they gave you all sorts of yummies before you even order.” Good Greek food? Wonderful service? Yummies before you order? I’m there, dude. Well, I was there a week later, at least, when I met Jeffrey at Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine for lunch. Evzin is located in that warren of strip-mall buildings located between Highway 111 and the western genesis of El Paseo, and while it’s sort of difficult to find, it’s worth the effort. Jeffrey and I were greeted gleefully by the owner, who remembered Jeffrey from his previous visit, and we got the last unoccupied table in the small room. Sure enough, before we ordered, complimentary yummies began arriving—including a taste of the soup of the day, as well as pita bread with various sauces. Yummies, indeed. The “soft opening” lunch menu on my visit included various salads and appetizers, pita sandwiches and four “mains.” It was one of the “mains” that caught my eye: the lamb kofta burger with Manchego cheese, harissa tahini, herb yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion, along with hand-cut fries. Given all the flavors present in that description—the spices in the kofta, the herb yogurt sauce, the tahini—I was expecting a flavor bomb. However, that’s not what I received—and I don’t mean that as a criticism. There was indeed a lot of flavor, but it was all subtle. What really made the burger fantastic was the lamb meat: It was juicy yet firm, and utterly delicious. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this brand-new restaurant does for dinner. After all, we can all use more yummies in our life, can’t we?
WHAT The seared scallops and smoked pork belly WHERE The Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms Hotel, 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs HOW MUCH $30 CONTACT 760-969-1818; www. colonypalmshotel.com/dining WHY It’s elegantly delicious. It’s a Thursday night. It’s been seemingly forever since my friend Darrell and I have caught up, so we make plans to grab a drink and perhaps a small bite at one of our favorite haunts: the Purple Palm Restaurant, poolside at the Colony Palms Hotel. We order drinks from the amazing bartender. We chat. We peruse the menu. I see the words “seared scallops and smoked pork belly” in the entrée section. Hmm. I am not going to be having a smallbite here; this is going to be a full-blown meal. Pork belly is one of those foods I can rarely resist—even though I oftentimes wind up disappointed by what appears on my plate. When pork belly is prepared right, it’s orgasmic, but too often, it’s overcooked, rendering it gummy and greasy and just sort of bleh. Well, the pork belly that appears on my plate at the Purple Palm is a prime example of why I can rarely resist pork belly: It’s divine. It’s cooked perfectly, and winds up being a splendid, salty companion to the pillowy scallops. The parsnip puree and chanterelle mushrooms bring even more depth to the party, and when I am finished, I feel a hint of sadness that this near-perfect meal has come to an end. Unless I order another, that is. Hmm … nah. Neither budget nor calorie count will allow that. So instead, Darrell and I order another round, and continue to catch up, as we enjoy the amazing Palm Springs “winter” weather. Life can be truly grand sometimes, can’t it?
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 27
Restaurant NEWS BITES By Jimmy Boegle NEW: CHOP HOUSE AT JACKALOPE RANCH I must confess: Before I walked into the new Chop House for a media preview dinner on Jan. 31, I thought the move by Lee Morcus and his Kaiser Restaurant Group to re-open the steakhouse inside of Jackalope Ranch was a gimmick. I am a big fan of the Chop House. If memory serves, the first meal I ever ate in the Coachella Valley was at the old Palm Desert Chop House (which is now a Kaiser Grille), and I had many special meals at the downtown Palm Springs Chop House before it closed last year. I was sad to see the Chop House go, and I feared Morcus and co. were simply taking a room inside the sprawling, 660-seat Jackalope Ranch; calling it “Chop House”; throwing some old Chop House items on the menu; and calling it a day. Boy, was I wrong. Not only did Morcus revamp and bring back the full Chop House menu; he completely renovated one of the spaces inside the Jackalope Ranch complex, and created a new, dedicated kitchen specifically for the Chop House. He’s treating the restaurants as separate entities: A special occasion here or there aside, diners can only get the Chop House menu in the Chop House area, and can only get the Jackalope Ranch menu in the other areas. I liked what I saw and tasted. The ahi tuna tartare ($16) was amazingly fresh, and the heirloom tomato and buratta salad ($12) was excellent. Unfortunately, I had to leave early due to other commitments, so I didn’t get to sample any of the main courses, like the 36-ounce Tomahawk rib chop for two ($98, with two sides). Morcus is clearly taking the new Chop House seriously. He spoke at great length about all of the work he and his team have put into the new space, and talked passionately about the quality of meat he serves—aged at least 28 days, and never pre-sliced. He also hinted at future plans for the Jackalope Ranch complex: He mentioned the possibility of a separate microbrewery/restaurant concept taking over a third kitchen in the building, and noted that Indio could perhaps use a hotel on some of the adjacent vacant land. The Chop House at Jackalope Ranch is located at 80400 Highway 111, in Indio. For more information, call 760-342-1999, or visit www.thejackaloperanch.com/chop-house. IN BRIEF Do you have your tickets yet for the Palm Desert Food and Wine festival? If not, now is the time: The foodie-dream weekend takes place Friday, March 24, through Sunday, March 26. Chefs’ demonstrations, wine dinners and other special events are on the schedule, along with the Grand Tasting main event. Grand Tasting tickets start at $100. Get them and more info at www. palmdesertfoodandwine.com. … If you have not yet tried the new menu at the Village Pub, at 266 S. Palm Canyon Drive, in downtown Palm Springs, do so. PR goddess Chris Martelo invited me to lunch there one recent weekday, and I was impressed by chef George Gonzalez’s food. The menu offers entrées from locales world-round, and my mouth now waters whenever I think of the fantastic gorgonzola, chicken and pear salad. Mere bar food, this ain’t. Visit palmspringsvillagepub.com for more info. … The downtown Palm Springs Pho Vu is no more. The restaurant, at 285 S. Palm Canyon Drive, has changed ownership and is now called Fuzion Five Vietnamese and Lao Cuisine. We’ll share more details after we check the place out; in the meantime, visit www.facebook.com/fuzionfive. … Congratulations to La Quinta Brewing Co., which nabbed two medals in the Best of Craft Beer Awards in Bend, Ore.: a gold for the Heatwave Amber Ale, and a silver for the Tan Line Brown Ale. … Congratulations are also in order for two beloved local restaurants which are among Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. for 2017: Rancho Mirage’s Shabu Shabu Zen and Sake Bar came in at No. 78, while Indio’s TKB Bakery and Deli is No. 5. Amazing! … Happy Sushi Ro Ba Ta, at 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs, has seen a change in focus in recent years—and now, it has a different name, too. Kaikou highlights ramen and poke in addition to sushi offerings; more info at www.facebook.com/KaikouRamenPokeSushi. ... Speaking of sushi: You can now get more of it in Desert Hot Springs, thanks to the debut of Best Sushi and Grill. It’s located at 13525 Palm Drive, No. 3. Visit www.bestsushigrill.com for a menu and more info. … At long last, the relocated Bernie’s Lounge and Supper Club is open, at 69830 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage. More info at bernies.club. … After closing rather suddenly back in September due to the death of the owner, Morongo Valley’s Willie Boys appears to be on the path toward reopening: The restaurant’s Facebook page says the restaurant is hiring for all positions. More info at www.facebook.com/willieboyssaloon.
Welcome to Johannes Restaurant.
Willkommen im Johannes Restaurant.
Experience Award-winning, Modern European Cuisine from Creative Chef Johannes Bacher Voted “Best Chefs America” Voted “Best Continental Restaurant” 2013, 2015 & 2016 Voted “Best Martini” 2016 by Palm Springs Life Readers
Open for Dinner at 5 pm / Closed Mondays Private Dining • Available for Groups • Special Events Become a Fan on Facebook www.facebook.com/JohannesRestaurant
196 S. INDIAN CANYON DRIVE, PALM SPRINGS, CA 92262
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29 31 31 32
Going strong after 40 years, Duran Duran comes to The Show George Thorogood heads to Morongo to play a sold-out show A legendary album by Unida may finally get a proper release The lucky 13: meet the founder of a local label, a beloved bar-back
Brian Wilson celebrates the 50th anniversary of ‘Pet Sounds’ by performing it live
MARCH 2017 By Brian Blueskye
The Blueskye REPORT
TAKAHIRO KYONO VIA FLICKR
Coachella and Stagecoach are just around the figurative corner—but March is bringing local music fans a lot of amazing shows to tide them over. The McCallum Theatre’s fantastic season just gets better: The theater is dark just two days in March. At 8 p.m., Monday, March 6, you can experience Benny Goodman’s legendary 1938 concert with the Salute to Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall. This all-star tribute features some of today’s most talented jazz musicians. Tickets are $37 to $77. And now for something completely different: At 3 and 7 p.m., Sunday, March 12, John Cleese of Monty Python fame will be appearing. The comedy legend will be telling stories from his autobiography, which also covers some of his best work, such as Life of Brian, The Holy Grail and A Fish Called Wanda. Tickets are $57 to $97. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 31, Art Garfunkel will be performing. In 2014, I attended his performance at Fantasy Springs and enjoyed his mix of poetry, solo songs and well-known Simon and Garfunkel hits. Tickets are $47 to $77. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www. mccallumtheatre.com. If you thought Fantasy Springs Resort Casino’s February lineup was great, the events in March are just as spectacular. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 4, singer-songwriter Paul Anka will be performing. “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” “My Way,” and “(You’re) Having My Baby” are just a few of the Canadian crooner’s hits. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 24, Saturday Night Live alumnus Dana Carvey will take the stage. Carvey is also wellknown for the sketch-turned-film Wayne’s World and a handful of other comedy movies. Party on, Garth! Tickets are $39 to $59. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 25, you’ll be happy to know that former Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers will be returning to the Coachella Valley. Rodgers was also part of Free, as well as The Firm, and performed with the surviving members of Queen. Tickets are $49 to $79. At 8 continued on Page 30
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Going strong after 40 years, Duran Duran comes to The Show for two performances
By Brian Blueskye
ven though Duran Duran began in 1978 and was one of the most popular new wave bands of the 1980s, the band’s current music still sounds cutting-edge. Duran Duran will be returning to the Coachella Valley to perform at The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa on Friday, March 17, and Saturday, March 18. During a recent phone interview with bassist John Taylor, he explained what has kept Duran Duran going. “I guess it’s some kind of tenacity,” Taylor said. “It’s some kind of belief in the group ethos. I left for a few years, so I can’t take responsibility for it. Fortunately, Nick (Rhodes) and Simon (Le Bon) didn’t; otherwise, there wouldn’t have been anything to go back to a few years later when I wanted to come back. You have to have a pretty strong belief in this group thing, am I right?” In 2015, Duran Duran released Paper Gods, which became the band’s first Top 10 album in the United States since 1993. The group worked with artists such as Mr. Hudson, Nile Rodgers, Janelle Monáe, Lindsay Lohan, former Red opened up to collaborations, and we let a lot Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante of energy in. I think that’s the key: Left to and others. Taylor explained what made the our own devices, it’s almost impossible to album a hit. grow. There comes a point where you just “It’s quite tricky, actually, because you do can’t change anymore. Even if one or two make a lot of missteps along the way,” he members of the band are really focused on the said. “You have one ear on your past and your present, maybe there are a couple who aren’t. heritage, and you have one ear on the street Fortunately, you’re saved by an audience that and what’s happening now. You have to make isn’t exclusively interested in how you are something that kind of walks down the center adapting to the current times. of that. More often, we kind of got it wrong, “Some people actually value staying but I’d say we’ve gotten it right recently. Mark together, whatever the weather. We’ve become Ronson was there for us again (as a producer). like a family microcosm and a soap opera. The Mr. Hudson was great, and we got to have action of staying together, no matter what, Janelle Monáe come in for a song. We really gains us something. It’s not all about the new Duran Duran
music. There’s also something about how we handle our legacy and the grace we muster.” Taylor mentioned the recent Grammy Awards show. “I was watching the Grammys, and I was like, ‘Fuck this shit!’” he said. “But I wanted to be part of the conversation. I find the contemporary conversation interesting. It’s different than the conversation that was going on when I was 18—way different. But I love the conversation, and I want to be in it. I don’t want to be on the shelf watching from a distance. I was thinking, ‘How do we get in the conversation?’ You want to be able to feel like you’re contributing to the culture of today.” I mentioned how many musicians, from metal to rap, have cited Duran Duran as an influence, and I quoted Moby, who said about Duran Duran in 2003: “They were cursed by what we can call ‘The Bee Gees curse,’ which is: ‘Write amazing songs, sell tons of records, and consequently incur the wrath or disinterest of the rock-obsessed critical establishment.’” “We just have our own story. If you don’t hang on to who you are, then who are you?” Taylor said regarding Moby’s quote. “I can always take a look at somebody else’s career and say, ‘I wish that was me right now.’ For
many years, I would do that, but I kind of feel curious about us right now, and where we go next, and I don’t know where that’s going to be. What’s there? We had a nice cycle around the Paper Gods album. I feel proud of that album, but now where do we go? Again, you have to fucking dig deep, and it’s easy sometimes looking sideways at people who are on their first or second album and what they are. … We are still in a unique position, and we can still handle ourselves in a unique way that is expressive and inspirational.” Duran Duran was huge on MTV in its early days. Taylor talked about what he thought was Duran Duran’s best music video. “‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ was just like a fucking explosion,” he said. “I was watching a BBC documentary about post-punk, and they had all these artists like Joy Division and Gang of Four, and it was great music. But there was a monochrome quality to everything. Then, suddenly, ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ was on there. They were using it as a way to show how we moved off the path of purity, but to me, it was like an explosion. It was extraordinary. For a three-minutelong pop presentation, there had never been anything quite like it before. I think that’s pretty groovy. I also think ‘The Chauffeur’ is one of the sexiest videos we ever made.” Taylor said the band is playing better live now than it has in years. “I went out to Desert Trip, and I saw the Stones. I hadn’t seen them in 15 years,” he said. “The last time I saw them was after Bill Wyman had just left. What I loved was they were way better this time! I didn’t think that was possible. As naive as that sounds, I just assumed it was a steady decline, and the older you get, you get lamer. I saw Stevie Wonder this past summer, and he was way better than when I saw him in London 20 years ago. That’s exciting to me—and I know we’re playing better. We’re a better band on this Paper Gods cycle than we were 10 years ago, or even on the reunion tour. I know how well we’re playing.” Duran Duran will perform at 7 p.m., Friday, March 17, and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 18, at The Show at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, in Rancho Mirage. Tickets are $135 to $185. For tickets or more information, call 888-999-1995, or visit www. hotwatercasino.com. CVIndependent.com
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The Blueskye REPORT continued from Page 28
p.m., Friday, March 31, smooth-jazz superstar Kenny G will break out the sax. Kenny has sold 45 million records, and if you’ve ever been in a dentist’s chair to have a root canal, you’ve heard Kenny G. Tickets are $29 to $59. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www. fantasyspringsresort.com. Agua Caliente has a packed March. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 3, Southern-rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd will be performing. After losing three members in a plane crash in 1977—including original frontman Ronnie Van Sant—Skynyrd kept going and found new life when Van Sant’s brother, Johnny, took over on lead vocals. Sadly, the band has continued to tragically lose original members, and guitarist Gary Rossington is now the only one left. However, the band is still fantastic and puts on a great show. Tickets are $96 to $126. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 24 and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 25, country great Alan Jackson will take the stage. Jackson has had a string of hits, and he’ll always be remembered for his post-Sept. 11 song, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” Tickets are $130 to $160. At 7 p.m., Monday, March 27, Placido Domingo will be performing with the L.A. Opera Orchestra. Domingo has made more than 200 recordings, and is one of the world’s most popular opera tenors. Tickets are $65 to $400. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com. It’s a trend: Spotlight 29’s March is also filled with great shows! At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 11, heaven help us all, because Michael Bolton is back. Wasn’t he just here? Anyway, tickets are $56 to $86. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 18, country singer Martina McBride will perform. She’s had six No. 1 hits and has sold more than 18 million records. Last year, she released her 13th studio album, Reckless. Tickets are $99 to $139. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 25, get ready to dance, because Kool and the Gang will be stopping by. After 45 years in the business and 70 million records sold, they are still fantastic. At one of my former workplaces, we had a saying: It wasn’t “That’s cool”; it was “That’s Kool and the Gang!” Tickets are $45 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 31, country singer-songwriter and actor Dwight Yoakam will be coming back to the Coachella Valley. I admit: I’m a big fan. You must listen to his Dwight Sings Buck, his tribute album to the late Buck Owens. Tickets are $55 to $75. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760775-5566; www.spotlight29.com. While Morongo Casino Resort Spa’s lineup is not as insanely good as those at the other local casinos, it sure isn’t bad. At 10 p.m., Saturday, March 4, P.O.D. will be stopping by. P.O.D. was one of the first Christian-metal bands to receive CVIndependent.com
ONE OF THE GREATEST Al Jardine, Blondie Chaplin join Brian Wilson to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘Pet Sounds’
significant acclaim. The video for “Rock the Party” went to No. 1 on MTV’s Total Request Live back in 1999, and the band toured as part of OzzFest in 2000 and in 2002. After the success peaked, the group went back to making music for a more conservative Christian crowd. I don’t know what Jesus would say about playing a show at a casino, but rock on! Tickets are $20. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www. morongocasinoresort.com. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some fine shows leading up to the craziness of April. At 9 p.m., Saturday, March 4, queen of the high desert Jesika Von Rabbit will be performing; also on the bill are the Yip Yops. Von Rabbit, chosen as the Best Local Musician by Independent readers, has enjoyed more widespread success recently thanks to her new single, “Going Down,” being played on KCRW. Tickets are $15. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 10, pop-punk band Joyce Manor will be performing. The Epitaph Records band has become quite popular after the 2014 record Never Hungover Again became a hit. A new album, Cody, dropped in late 2016. Tickets are $15. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real will be returning to Pappy and Harriet’s. The entire band backed Neil Young on a recent tour, which included both weekends of Desert Trip. Lukas and his brother, Micah, are Willie Nelson’s sons; do you need any other reason to go to this show? With or without Neil Young (and who knows when he’ll show up?), Lukas and the boys are great. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www. pappyandharriets.com. Meanwhile, in Indio, The Date Shed has a couple of events on the slate. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 11, Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band Righteous and the Wicked will be performing. I’m not a big fan of tribute bands, but they can be fun sometimes—and any band willing to take on the Chili Peppers songbook must be pretty cool. Tickets are $10 to $15. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 31, Date Shed regulars Fortunate Youth will be back. Tickets are $20 to $35. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.
By Brian Blueskye
hen the Beach Boys released Pet Sounds in May 1966, neither the band’s fans nor the music world in general were ready. Brian Wilson, the band’s frontman and main songwriter, will be performing the album in its entirety on Saturday, March 18, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. Pet Sounds today is considered one of the greatest rock albums ever made, and a significant milestone in psychedelic music. For the Beach Boys, a group that had previously written songs about fun, surfing, the beach and the California lifestyle, Pet Sounds was both a departure and a turning point. Brian Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown while on a plane during the band’s 1964 tour; after that, he opted not to tour with the band. While the band performed in Japan, Wilson began recording the album with session players, most of which were part of the legendary Wrecking Crew, including bassist Carol Kaye, country singer Glen Campbell on guitar, drummer Jim Gordon and others. “They were all great musicians,” Wilson said during a recent phone interview. “They read the manuscript, and it just worked perfectly. (Their record an album such as participation) was very beneficial.” Pet Sounds today thanks Wilson is a notoriously tough interview, and to digital production he gave me brief replies to all of my questions techniques, it wouldn’t during a recent phone chat. be as authentic. Pet Sounds was unlike anything ever recorded. The album that was Wilson used real dogs to contribute some of the supposed to follow Pet sound effects; the rhythm section used Coca-Cola Sounds, titled Smile, was cans and orange juice jugs as instruments; and interrupted and later some of the musicians—the bass players, for shelved due to Wilson’s Brian example—each played in different keys. mental illness. The Wilson Wilson explained the most difficult aspect of Beach Boys released the recording of Pet Sounds. a stripped-down version of the album, Smiley “The roughest part was doing the vocals,” he Smile, in 1967; Wilson eventually went back and said. “We had to keep concentrating on it until it finished Smile in 2004. Could Wilson do the was perfect.” same touring for Smile as he’s currently doing for When the rest of the Beach Boys—Carl Pet Sounds? Wilson, Dennis Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce “We don’t know yet. We were thinking about Johnston and Al Jardine—returned home to it, but we don’t know for sure yet,” he said. record their vocals for the album, they were not Over the past year, Wilson has been on tour prepared for the change in direction. with Al Jardine and former Beach Boys guitarist “They really had to reach for those notes,” Blondie Chaplin, performing the album in its Wilson said. entirety for its 50th anniversary. He’s calling The album’s initial reception in the United these shows the final performances of the album States was lukewarm. It peaked at No. 10 on in its entirety. the Billboard albums chart, and initially sold just The late Carl Wilson said the Beach Boys had 500,000 copies. But in the United Kingdom, the turned down offers to perform the album in its album shot to No. 2 on the charts, stayed in the entirety because it was too complex, and that Top 10 for six months and was the strongestBrian Wilson couldn’t sing the original parts selling album in the final quarter of 1966. of the album. However, Brian Wilson said that Later, the album eventually went gold and then performing the album isn’t difficult for him. platinum. “It’s not difficult, but it’s very cumbersome. Wilson said Capitol Records executives were You have to keep trying until you get it just not initially fans of the album. right,” he said. “They didn’t like it, and they thought it was too advanced,” Wilson said. “A couple weeks later, Brian Wilson will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, they said, ‘OK, we’ll release it.’ So they released March 18, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 it. We knew we were onto something great, so we Indio Springs Parkway, in Indio. Tickets are $49 to just kept writing and writing.” $89. For tickets or more information, call 760-342Wilson said that while it might be possible to 5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 31
STILL BAD TO THE BONE
A STONER-ROCK STORY
A legendary album by Unida may finally get a proper release one day soon
George Thorogood and the Destroyers head to Morongo to play a sold-out show
By Brian Blueskye
uring the late ’70s and ’80s, while new wave was taking over the radio, George Thorogood found success by melding Chicago blues with rock ’n’ roll. Thorogood, turning 67 on Feb. 24, is still rocking today. He puts on one a hell of a show and will be performing a sold-out concert at Morongo Casino Resort Spa on Friday, March 3. During a recent phone interview, Thorogood said he already knew what he wanted to do with his life as he grew up in Wilmington, Del. “When I first played as a young boy in school, I was in a band, and we played a birthday party for one of my sisters,” Thorogood said. “That was pretty much my first gig. From that day, I knew what I was going to do for a living. I had been thinking about it for months before that. It wasn’t a hobby or something I was just trying to get out of my system: I knew what I wanted to do.” George Thorogood and the Destroyers released their first album in 1977 and quickly had a hit with a cover of John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” The group’s second album, Move It on Over, released in 1978, had no original material, and found success with covers of Hank Williams’ “Move It on Over” and Bo establishments have closed their doors—and Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” Thorogood credits classic-rock radio for keeping In 1981, he and the Destroyers opened for his audience thriving. the Rolling Stones. “My perspective is that 75 to 80 percent of “I thought it was overdue, to tell you the the people who come to my shows are people truth,” Thorogood said. “I had seen other bands coming to see a classic-rock act,” he said. “We’re work with the Stones, and I had grown up in on classic-rock radio, and that’s where we’ve an era when Bill Graham used to put on shows, been for the past 20 to 30 years, maybe even and the bands were compatible with each other. longer. There are a few other people who say, Quicksilver Messenger Service would work with ‘They used to be a blues band,’ or, ‘George is a the Grateful Dead; the Paul Butterfield Blues blues man.’ But they come to see us because Band would work with the Allman Brothers. I we’re a rock band. Blues acts aren’t selling out thought we cut our teeth on blues such as Bo Madison Square Garden, and that’s just the way Diddley and Chuck Berry, so we should we on it is. Aerosmith does.” the bill. But the whole world had changed at that There’s a new album in the works—a solo time. People didn’t book gigs because of that; album just featuring Thorogood. they would book gigs because they could fill the “I think there might be one or two electric arenas. They would put Guns N’ Roses and ZZ songs on it, but I think it’s pretty much acoustic Top with the Rolling Stones to fill stadiums. I stuff, and it’s me alone,” he said. “There will be wasn’t aware of that at the time; I thought our a lot of new material, but I might cover a few credentials were right for the gig, because we tunes. You have to understand that there were listened to the same music they did. They tried songs I played alone before I had a band, so I’m us out one night in Philadelphia, and it worked.” going backwards to go forwards. There are tunes In 1982, he and the Destroyers put out Bad that I did in my very brief career as a solo artist, to the Bone, which included fewer covers than for what that’s worth.” previous albums. Of course, the song “Bad to the Bone” was a huge hit. Does Thorogood ever get George Thorogood and the Destroyers will perform tired of playing it? at 9 p.m., Friday, March 3, at Morongo Casino “Never,” he replied. “These songs, whether we Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon. wrote them or not, we thought of them as songs The show was listed as sold out as of our press an audience would go for. Everybody wants a deadline. For more information, call 800-252-4499, song they’re going to play for the rest of their or visit www.morongocasinoresort.com. life, because that’s how you make a living. Where would B.B. King be without ‘The Thrill is Gone’? You think Jerry Lee Lewis would stop playing ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’? You select material because you want it to be popular. It’s George secondary whether or not I like it.” Thorogood The blues genre is in trouble—some people say it’s dying, and many well-known blues
By Brian Blueskye
n 2001, stoner-rock group Unida recorded an album for Rick Rubin’s American Recordings. That album, For the Working Man, has become legendary: It was never formally released, due to various legal issues. It’s been said that the band sold CD-R copies at some shows, and that a rough-cut version was sent out on accident by the band’s management. I recently saw a posting in a Facebook group by someone selling a version of the album on eBay. I alerted guitarist Arthur Seay—who hastily responded to the post, which was soon taken down. Unida consists of John Garcia (formerly of Kyuss), Arthur Seay (House of Broken Promises and ApeShit), Miguel Cancino and Owen Seay. During a recent interview with Arthur Seay in Palm Desert, he told me the story about the album. “Do you want the long version, or the short-as-possible version?” Seay asked with a laugh. “What happened was Rick Rubin signed us, and we recorded at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles. We did the record, but what we didn’t know when we signed is that Rick Rubin does four-year-long deals. “His company, American Recordings, was Unida signed with Sony/Columbia Records. Rick Rubin owns American Recordings, but Sony was the machine doing all the work at the time. Sony/ Columbia loved us at the time and thought we did great shit. They wanted to build their rock; Alice in Chains was the only other big rock band (on the label), but that was when they were kaput (and wanted to build a rock presence). “When we were done with our record, Rick Rubin’s deal was up, and he could have signed with them again, or he could go somewhere else. Seay said he hopes the album will see a proper He was pissed off at Sony about something. He release, possibly as soon as this year. made a deal to go back to Island/Def Jam, which “It was actually supposed to come out last was a 6-to-8-month-long deal, and another 6 to year, but due to our schedules, we pushed it 8 months of, ‘Well, what the fuck is going on?’ back to this year. It just depends on everyone’s All this crazy shit was happening, and we had it schedules,” Seay said. “All the other guys want in our contract where we could get out, because to do it, and I’ve had meetings with the label. they weren’t meeting deadlines. We used that They went in the vault and found the record to get out of our deal … but we didn’t get the after a period in time where they couldn’t find record. We had other labels that wanted to buy it. It’s all there. It’s pretty much just everybody’s it, and it cost $350,000 to record it. George schedules coinciding where we can have the Drakoulias, who worked with Tom Petty and focus and do it right. I have new House of the Black Crowes, produced it, and Rick Rubin Broken Promises, Death in Pretty Wrapping executive-produced it.” and ApeShit records coming out. John is doing Seay, who has been a judge during recent another solo record … but I definitely want to local-music showcases, has been known to give get that Unida record out. It’s been a thorn in bands not only criticism, but lessons in how the our sides forever. It’ll be a mainstream, majorbusiness works. He said musicians often have label push, which will help all our other projects. similar issues to the ones Unida faced. It’s going to be new to a lot of people, and it “It’s one of those things that happens stands up today as it did then. The music is as every day in the music business,” Seay said. cool now as it was then.” “It happened to 10 other bands on the label, Seay said he has high hopes for For the and a lot of those bands got totally fucked and Working Man. couldn’t even get out of the deal to do anything “I hope people buy it; we make money; and else. Island/Def Jam didn’t have any rock bands we tour our fucking asses off,” Seay said. “We’d at the time and didn’t really give a shit. It’s why like to get it out and figure it out from there. you need to pay attention to the business, and We’d like for it to do well, and tour. I just want that’s why I preach that to other people coming to get it out for it to see the light of day. If it up in the business.” grows legs, and we do a lot more, awesome.” CVIndependent.com
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LUCKY 13 Get to know the founder of a local label and a beloved bar-back By Brian Blueskye
NAME Ryan “Red” Everling MORE INFO Shurp Town Records is both a local music label and a new-and-used record-seller, thanks to the Shurp Town Record Swaps at various events throughout the Coachella Valley. The founder of Shurp Town Records, Ryan “Red” Everling, was recently named the music director of the Desert Hot Springs radio station KDHS. For more information, visit www. facebook.com/ShurpTownRecords. What was the first concert you attended? Coheed and Cambria, Underoath and 3 at Soma San Diego. I was 14 years old. What was the first album you owned? My mom bought me Blink-182’s live album The Mark, Tom and Travis Show. My dad heard it and threw it in the Dumpster.
What bands are you listening to right now? Slipping Into Darkness, Facelift, Terror Cult, Not Normal, Nein Lives, Ritual Rastrero, Vivo Muerto, Pathos, The Kathys, Venus and the Traps, Blue Diamond’s Grand Mercury, The CMFs, Fever Dog, Killjoi, Nicolas Lara, Black Dineros, Humor Me, Cakes and Brains, DieSineGration, Indecent Exposure, Sleeze Fix, Calico Wonderstone, Drop Mob, Del Pueblo, and Brain Vat. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? I don’t understand trap music. I love hip-hop, but I don’t find lyrical creativity with these artists. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Rudimentary Peni circa ’81. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? I don’t really feel guilty about it, but I’d have to say old-school country music like Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley and Woody Guthrie. What’s your favorite music venue? The Glass House in Pomona, without question. So many good memories. I saw Black Lips there
once, lost both shoes in the mosh pit and found a brand-new pair, my size, right outside. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm,” George Michael, “Careless Whisper.” What band or artist changed your life? How? I’d have to say Bright Eyes. I discovered them when I was 13, and they opened my eyes to independent music and record labels. Saddle Creek made me want to start my own label. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? I would ask Roky Erickson about the wildest time he ever had on tour. What song would you like played at your funeral? Velvet Underground, “Pale Blue Eyes.” Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Velvet Underground, Loaded. What song should everyone listen to right now? Facelift, “Welcome to America.” NAME Elexia Volz MORE INFO The Hood Bar and Pizza, arguably the valley’s top local-music venue, has some talented people behind the bar—and beyond, including bar-back Elexia Volz. Volz is always walking around with a smile, offering people drink refills, delivering food and making sure all guests are well taken care of. What was the first concert you attended? Thrice! It was at Coachella. It was stupid-early in the day, and there was hardly even a crowd, but I was in heaven. I didn’t know they were playing. I was invited by a friend, and when we got there, I could hear them in the distance, and my first reaction was, “Oh, cool, someone is blasting Thrice!” Of course, my friend was like, “No! They’re actually playing main stage,” and then I remember running straight to the stage. I will never forget that show. What was the first album you owned? Green Day’s Dookie. It was totally my mom’s, but the moment I got my own CD player, that disc didn’t leave my room. What bands are you listening to right now? A Kiss Could Be Deadly and Murkocet. They’re definitely different types of music, but I have them stuck on a loop. I got to witness Murkocet live recently, and I ended up jumping out of the mosh pit just to watch and listen. They blew my mind!
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? I’ve never enjoyed Mariah Carey. I think she sounds like she’s giving birth, and someone thought it sounded like music. But who am I to judge? What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Protest the Hero. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Lady Gaga. What’s your favorite music venue? The Gorge in George, Wash. I went and saw the Dave Matthews Band. It was a three-day concert, and the experience was life-changing. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “Shitty music just ain’t worth making, smiles and thank-yous just ain’t worth faking, some assholes’ hands ain’t worth shaking, and if it isn’t broken, we need to break it,” “Dunsel,” Protest the Hero. What band or artist changed your life? How? Eminem. I realized a human could also be a dictionary, and he made me pay attention to lyrics. He opened up a brand-new world of music for me. I remember how excited I would get just to be able to sing “Without Me” word for word. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? I’d ask Brody Dalle of The Distillers: “Can I borrow/wear that?” What song would you like played at your funeral? “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? The Dillinger Escape Plan, One of Us Is the Killer. What song should everyone listen to right now? Vince Staples, “Norf Norf,” just so you can drink your coffee, put on some gangster rap and have a great day!
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 33
OPINION COMICS & JONESIN’ CROSSWORD
Across 1 Baker’s buy 6 Group of periods 9 Pet sounds? 13 Threepio’s mate 14 McDonald’s Corporation mogul Ray 15 “Dog Barking at the Moon” painter Joan 16 Maintain the same speed as 18 Tree of Knowledge garden 19 Converse with the locals in Rome, e.g. 21 NBC show since ’75 24 Lilly of pharmaceuticals 25 Undersized 26 Size in a portrait package 28 It keeps going during the Olympics 31 “You’re not ___, are you?” 32 Guy with a lot of food issues? 33 “Chandelier” singer 36 What regular exercise helps maintain 40 Layer of lawn
41 Mid-sized jazz combo 42 Blue material 43 Clunky footwear 44 Home of Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” 46 Muhammad Ali’s boxing daughter 49 Soundless communication syst. 50 U.K. tabloid, with The 51 “Hmmm ... I’m thinking ...” 56 Contends 57 What each of the entries with circles reveals 61 To be in France 62 Lago contents 63 Country divided since 1948 64 Hair band of the 1980s 65 He played Clubber Lang in “Rocky III” 66 Gift on the seventh day of Christmas Down 1 Chatter away 2 Poet’s palindrome 3 Brunched, say 4 Absorbs, with “up” 5 Unbelievable cover?
6 CHiPs co-star Estrada 7 Bread at an Indian restaurant 8 Eight, to Ernst 9 Audrey Tautou’s quirky title role of 2001 10 Chamillionaire hit that doesn’t actually have “Dirty” in the title 11 Lose one’s mind 12 Cher’s partner 14 The Bridge on the River ___ 17 Hit with a barrage 20 Concede 21 Exchanges 22 Cheesy chip flavor 23 Bridges of film 27 “Stacks of wax” 28 Cabinet contents 29 Departed 30 Entourage agent Gold 32 Werewolf’s tooth 33 Long haulers 34 Onetime Trooper and Rodeo maker 35 John who was Gomez Addams 37 Acquired relative 38 Dove noise 39 Abbr. stamped on a bad check
43 Place for supplies, sometimes 44 “Back in the ___” (Beatles song) 45 The gold in Goldschlager, e.g. 46 What “-phile” means 47 Curly-tailed canine 48 Like xenon, as gases go 49 On the ocean 52 Taken star Neeson 53 Caltech grad, perhaps 54 Letter-shaped bolt link 55 Site with the tagline: “Discover the expert in you” 58 Glass on the radio 59 “Steal My Sunshine” band 60 ___ Boot (1981 war film) ©2017 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@ jonesincrosswords.com) Find the answers in the “About” section of CVIndependent.com!
34 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT
CANNABIS IN THE CV STATES’ RIGHTS!
Despite the confirmation of Jeff Sessions, the feds may still leave legal weed alone
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BY SEAN PLANCK
eff Sessions has been confirmed as the attorney general along party lines, with no Republicans opposing his appointment and only one Democrat in favor. While this understandably makes the cannabis industry a little jittery, thanks to the prospect of the resumption of federal enforcement efforts, there may be some cause for cautious optimism—at least that’s the message put forth in a statement released by the nation’s largest cannabis policy group, the Marijuana Policy Project. “We remain cautiously optimistic that the Trump administration will refrain from interfering in state marijuana laws,” said the Feb. 9 statement. “When asked about his plans for marijuana enforcement, Attorney General Sessions said he ‘echo(es)’ the position taken by Loretta Lynch during her confirmation hearings. He repeatedly acknowledged the scarcity of enforcement resources, and he said he would ensure they are used as effectively as possible to stop illicit drugs from being trafficked into the country. “President Trump has consistently said that states should be able to determine their own marijuana laws, and his spokesperson made it clear that the attorney general will be implementing the Trump agenda. We are hopeful that Mr. Sessions will follow the president’s lead and respect states’ rights on marijuana policy. “A strong and growing majority of Americans think marijuana should be made legal, and an even stronger majority think(s) the federal government should respect state marijuana laws. Eight states have adopted laws that regulate and tax marijuana for adult use, and 28 states now have laws that regulate marijuana for medical use. It would be shocking if the Trump administration attempted to steamroll the citizens and governments in these states to enforce an increasingly unpopular federal policy.” The MPP’s view seems to be somewhat optimistic. Sessions’ distaste for legalization is well-documented, and when asked about enforcing the federal ban in states that have legalized weed, he’s said it is not his place to choose which laws to enforce, before adding: “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule. It is not much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.” Many took this as an indication that federal enforcement could resume in the absence of action by Congress. However, parts of his oral testimony did indicate that a lack of resources might keep federal enforcement of pot laws in check, and he avoided committing to enforcement in states where marijuana is legal. On the same day as Sessions’ confirmation, Orange County-area Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher reintroduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, H.R. 975. First
introduced in April 2013, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act exempts individuals and entities acting in compliance with state marijuana laws from certain provisions of the Controlled Substances Act. This is the third time Rohrabacher has introduced the bill. “I happen to believe that the federal government shouldn’t be locking up anyone for making a decision on what he or she should privately consume, whether that person is rich or poor, and we should never be giving people the excuse, especially federal authorities, that they have a right to stop people or intrude into their lives in order to prevent them and prevent others from smoking a weed, consuming something they personally want to consume,” Rohrabacher said during his speech introducing the bill. A solid Trump supporter and devout state’s rights advocate, Rohrabacher added: “My bill would then make sure that federal law is aligned with the states’ (laws), and the people in those states’ desires, so that the residents and businesses wouldn’t have to worry about federal prosecution. For those few states that have thus far maintained a policy of strict prohibition, my bill would change nothing. I think that this is a reasonable compromise that places the primary responsibility of police powers back in the states and the local communities that are most directly affected.” Not surprisingly, the MPP supports the bill. “Nine out of 10 Americans now live in states that have rejected federal marijuana prohibition by adopting some sort of marijuana policy reform,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This legislation would ease the tension between state and federal laws to ensure these state-level reforms are successful. It would also help states address the public health and safety priorities shared by state and federal authorities.” The last time the bill was introduced in 2015, it received neither a hearing nor a vote, so it’s
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 35
MARCH 2017 Orange County Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is a staunch conservative and a Trump supporter—but he is a friend to legal weed. GAGE SKIDMORE
still a big maybe in a GOP-controlled Congress. Therefore, legal-weed proponents have much to fear—and are not taking “maybe” for an answer. Washington, one of the first states to legalize adult recreational use of cannabis, is leading the resistance against federal interference. State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, a Seattle Democrat, has been involved with shaping Washington state’s cannabis policy since legalization in 2012. “It is extremely difficult for anyone to pretend we can predict what the Trump administration is going to do,” Carlyle told The News Tribune in Tacoma. Washington is preparing for the worst with a bill that would prevent local officials from cooperating with the feds in enforcement of marijuana laws that contradict state law. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he would do anything he can to sway White House opinion in favor of at least allowing states to continue down their own paths without federal interference. “I think it would be a really big mistake for them to pick this fight, and I hope it will not occur,” Inslee said in that aforementioned article in The News Tribune. CANNABIS SPROUTS IN COACHELLA Del-Gro, the city of Coachella’s first commercial cannabis-cultivation facility, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 9. The facility rents turn-key grow spaces to growers, and will provide cannabis-business support including extract production, financial services, consulting, lab testing and onsite distribution. “Opening the first cultivation operation in Coachella is an incredible opportunity for us and our partner cultivators,” said Ben Levine, founder and CEO of Del-Gro, in a news release. “We forecast that our operation will ultimately bring in over $100 million in annual revenue for us and the independent growers we work with. But greater than that, we’re thrilled that the residents of Coachella have trusted us to be industry trailblazers in their city.” All available spaces have been rented, and Del-Gro will be open for business later this year on the property that used to be the home Ajax Auto Wrecking. Del-Gro estimates the facility could produce $3 million in annual tax revenue for the city of Coachella. CVIndependent.com
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