COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT | JANUARY 2018
VOL. 6 | NO. 1
having a say about the salton sea Residents insist on taking part in decisions about the dying lake’s future— despite significant obstacles PAGE 14 BY MARTIN XAVI MACIAS
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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
The issue of the Coachella Valley Independent you’re holding in your hands officially kicks off our sixth year of honest, ethical local journalism ’round these parts. Our first five years have been incredible in many ways. While the Independent has its imperfections and limitations—as do all publications—it has become a part of the fiber of the Coachella Valley, through (so far) 54 print editions and more than 4,200 stories posted at CVIndependent.com. We’ve won two national journalism awards, honored hundreds of businesses and organizations via Editor/Publisher four Best of Coachella Valley readers’ polls, and raised many thousands of dollars for local causes through benefit concerts and Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week—which, by Jimmy Boegle the way, is celebrating its second edition this month. (See the program in the Assistant Editor middle of this issue.) Brian Blueskye However … as a member of the media, these five years have been difficult. If you’d have told me when we launched Advertising sales the Independent that we’d be soldiering on Robyn Tanzer after the closures of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Boston Phoenix, the Baltimore City Paper, the Philadelphia City Paper, Las coveR and feature design Vegas CityLife and several other venerable Mark Duebner Design alternative newspapers, I’d be stunned. If you’d have told me back then we’d still be Contributors publishing a successful print edition after Stephen Berger, Max Cannon, Kevin The Village Voice and the Houston Press went online-only, I’d be shocked. If you told me Carlow, Julie Cart, Cory Courtney, in late 2012/early 2013 the Independent Charles Drabkin, Katie Finn, Kevin would enter 2018 with a future more Fitzgerald, Bill Frost, Bonnie Gilgallon, secure than that of the LA Weekly, the OC Bob Grimm, Michael Grimm, Dwight Weekly, the Washington City Paper and the Nashville Scene, I’d probably cry. Hendricks, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, And if you’d have told me I’d be Brane Jevric, Keith Knight, Martin Xavi publishing a newspaper at a time when Macias, Brett Newton, Dan Perkins, the president of the United States actually Guillermo Prieto, Anita Rufus, Jen referred to the media as the enemy of Sorenson, Robert Victor, Baynard the American people, I’d tell you that was simply not possible. Woods Yet as we publish Issue No. 1 of Vol. 6, this is where we are. The Coachella Valley Independent print I say all of this to make a plea I’ve made edition is published every month. All many times before in this space: Please, content is ©2017-2018 and may not please support honest, ethical local media, here and wherever else you may go. We be published or reprinted in any form need reader and advertiser support (plus without the written permission of the readers supporting our advertisers) now publisher. The Independent is available more than ever if we’re going to continue free of charge throughout the Coachella to shine a mirror on our local communities. Valley, limited to one copy per reader. Please. As for us here at the Independent, find more information at CVIndependent. Additional copies may be purchased com/Supporters. for $1 by calling (760) 904-4208. The With that exhortation, I welcome you Independent may be distributed only by to the January 2018 print edition of the the Independent’s authorized distributors. Coachella Valley Independent. As always, thank you for reading. The Independent is a proud member and/or supporter of —Jimmy Boegle, email@example.com the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, CalMatters, 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.
Correction: Due to a production mistake, the Best of Coachella Valley winner listed in the Best Italian category in the December 2017 print version was incorrect. Ristorante Mamma Gina was voted by Independent readers as the best Italian restaurant. We sincerely apologize for the error. CVIndependent.com
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COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 5
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS D
BY ANITA RUFUS
on Cilluffo found his calling in his native Michigan. “It wasn’t business or accounting, which is what I was supposed to be good at,” he says. “It was when I did an interpretive reading from The Godfather and got an ‘A’. When you do something really well, you just know. It was so rewarding—that feeling of gratification out of communicating a character, the passion of that character. I knew I wanted to share my talent.” The actor and director comes from St. Clair Shores, near Detroit. He has been in the Coachella Valley for the past eight years. “It was the weather,” he says. “I was tired of shoveling snow and wanted to get to a warmer place.” Cilluffo and his long-time partner, Tom Hipp, live in Palm Desert. Born into an Italian-Catholic family as worried about you son, but you turned out OK.’” the middle child—with an older brother and So what took Cilluffo into acting and theater? younger sister—Cilluffo calls himself “a late “When I was in elementary school, my mom bloomer.” said I was a born actor. I believed her. I was “I was supposed to be the intellectual; I doing flower-arrangement classes for a local got all A grades,” he says. “My brother was youth theater, and they told me I just had to try supposed to be the artsy one; he got the dance out for Jesus Christ Superstar. I had never had and accordion lessons. But growing up, we were any training, but they told me they just knew I all exposed to theater, dance and music.” could do it. Cilluffo grew up with his grandparents just “I lucked out, and then learned everything I around the block. needed to know from the elders at the Grosse “That saved me,” he says. “They always just Pointe Theatre just outside Detroit—set design, loved me and showed me lots of attention. acting, directing, even studying improv and When I was about 8 to 10 years old, I was comedy with a teacher from Second City in selling vegetables from their garden.” Chicago. I loved it all. After three years at Wayne State University, “I ended up being with the theater for 40 Cilluffo dropped out. “I had started working years, and won awards for acting, set design in a flower shop when I was 15. I was making and directing. I also began doing commercials good money in the floral industry. I was a and got a (Screen Actors Guild) card. But I pretty good businessman, and I was creative followed my mom’s advice and didn’t want to and inventive.” ever depend on it for a living. I stayed in the Cilluffo came out as gay in his mid-20s. “It flower-shop business for 30 years.” was considered a mortal sin, you know. My Cilluffo has worked locally with Desert mom was crushed, but she got over it. I think Theatreworks, Dezart Performs and my father knew before I did. He used to say, ‘I Script2Stage2Screen, among other companies. “I usually do comedies, and I’ve won some local awards, but I was really proud to be honored for playing a serious bad guy in To Kill a Mockingbird,” he said. Cilluffo’s next project is The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife with Desert Ensemble Theatre Company, coming in April. When I asked about his most memorable moment in theater, Cilluffo’s eyes lit up. “One of the most beautiful sets I ever built was a cottage by a lake. We had artificial tree trunks, a dock with a sand beach, vines, lots of fall leaves we had collected, and a false perspective. I love making magic on a stage.” As a director, Cilluffo’s philosophy is to help actors see a character through the character’s eyes—and then see that character through Don Cilluffo: “I love making magic on a stage.” their own eyes. I’ve worked with Cilluffo on a
Meet Don Cilluffo, a local actor/ director with an impressive resume
couple of presentations, and he spends a lot of time explaining the character’s motivation. “It’s easy to see a vision, but much harder to communicate it and make it true,” he said. “… It was 15 years before I began to direct, after workshops and classes. You have to be able to communicate and make it true for the audience. When I work with actors, if they put out their best, I can’t ask for more. If you get 95 percent of your vision, that’s a big success!” If money weren’t an issue, what would Cilluffo do? “I’d love to produce a movie and be the star—but not direct it. It’s too hard to direct yourself. As an actor, I may feel the emotion, but I can’t know if I’m giving out what’s needed for the viewer to feel it.” Don Cilluffo was fortunate to be affiliated with a strong, influential regional theater for so many years. His advice for locals aspiring
to follow a similar path? “Find people who see your potential and are willing to work with you … then listen and learn from them.” Is retirement in Cilluffo’s future? “I don’t know what retirement really means, except it’s a time when you can do everything you want to do. I can’t see myself retiring. I’d be bored. In fact, I’ve recently taken up rediscovering the Italian foods my grandmother made.” His homemade olives are incredible! “And I‘d like to go to Sicily. I love the idea of being able to see my face in somebody else— and there, I’d get to see it in everybody!” 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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NEWS LEGALLY SPEAKING F
Palm Springs City Attorney Edward Kotkin answers questions about the budget, transparency and downtown redevelopment
By brane jevric
or the second time in six years, Palm Springs voters have agreed to open their pocketbooks a little wider. Measure D, voted in last November, and Measure J, approved in 2011, will bring in a total of about $20 million in tax dollars annually to the city. One problem: Millions from Measure J were given to John Wessman, the original developer of the downtown redevelopment project, and now the subject of numerous bribery indictments along with former Mayor Steve Pougnet. One question: Will the city seek reimbursements from Wessman if he is found guilty? Anticipating legal issues in the wake of the bribery scandal, which culminated in an FBI raid of City Hall, Palm Springs officials hired a new city attorney, Edward Kotkin, in April. While previous city attorneys were contractors, Kotkin was brought on as a city employee, at a salary of $206,088 a year plus benefits. Kotkin is a former Riverside County deputy district attorney who is expected to develop strategies to protect the city from potential legal troubles regarding the outcome of the Wessman-Pougnet criminal case. He came to the city with a fantastic reputation as a skilled attorney. Here’s an edited version of Kotkin’s answers to my questions, done via e-mail. If or when Wessman is convicted of the criminal charges, will you seek retribution from Wessman’s companies— in other words, seek to get our taxpayer money back? If there are convictions in the district attorney’s prosecution of Messrs. Pougnet, Wessman and (Richard) Meaney, those convictions will have civil legal ramifications that the City Council will consider and act upon in its discretion. The council will always act in the best interest of the city, its residents and businesses. The city has already initiated litigation aimed at protecting the city’s rights and remedies as to assets involved in transactions related to the criminal case, and will certainly continue to do so if and when the council determines that new litigation will advance the city’s interests. It seems the city’s finances are always supported by yet another tax measure, but how long (will this go on)—until the next measure, or until the city’s bankrupt? There is no potential whatsoever for future increases to the local sales tax. Only a certain amount of tax can be charged at the local level, and Measure D brings the percentage of tax passed through to local government to the maximum. The city has no current plans to consider or present the voters with any CVIndependent.com
additional taxes in the foreseeable future. The city manages its finances effectively, and does not foresee any potential for municipal bankruptcy. What are the city’s total annual expenditures, all funds included, and what are the annual revenues? The city’s adopted budget with respect to all funds reflects revenues of nearly $222 million, and expenditures of nearly $230 million. It is misleading and inappropriate to view or portray this data as reflecting “deficit” spending by the city. For example, revenues from past years are being applied this year, based upon the timing of projects. That creates an artificially high figure regarding expenditures. Airport customer facility charge revenue accumulated through many years of rental car fees is being spent this year on Phase 1 of a significant new airport car-rental facility. Revenues of approximately $2 million are dwarfed by project-related expenditures of $6.5 million. Further, the general fund anticipates a small surplus this year, and leaves a reserve of approximately 20 percent. I presume that you will not frame this revenue and expenditure data in a misleading or inappropriate manner. If you do so, it will compromise your relationship with my office irreparably. Would it (have been) possible to keep the city of Palm Springs financially afloat, (and residents safe), without Measure D? For how long? The city of Palm Springs handles its finances in a responsible manner at all times, and will always advance the interests of its residents, businesses and visitors to the greatest extent possible, within its means. Public safety will always be a top priority for the city. Your question presumes that there is an objectively quantifiable amount of funding that will make the city “safe,” and presumes that some level of public services translates to the city remaining
Palm Springs City Attorney Edward Kotkin.
“afloat.” The city rejects your question as based upon false presumptions. The city will always be safe, and always remain afloat. More resources at City Hall equate to better public safety and more city services. What are the city’s legal tools and remedies to recoup the taxpayers’ money if there is or was a developer’s default, such as a prolonged timeline in finishing the additional structures (in the downtown redevelopment plans)? The city declines to discuss legal strategies that may be employed to address any matter of city business. Doing so disadvantages the city in the event that those legal strategies must be employed. The city has made, and will continue to make, all decisions with respect to the evaluation and pursuit of the city’s legal rights and remedies, as they relate to the downtown project, in the best interest of the city’s residents and visitors. The city is proud of the West Elm building and store, and extremely excited about the … Kimpton Rowan hotel and related commercial locations. Your question contains a determination that the developer of the downtown project is in default. The city is the only party authorized to make that determination, and has not done so to date. The city’s budget is a complex financial package. How do you help ordinary but curious Palm Springs residents, who are not accountants, grasp where and how taxpayers’ money is spent and used? The city has implemented the OpenGov Portal (palmspringsca.opengov.com) to assist
residents and other interested parties secure access to very user-friendly data regarding the city’s finances. … The city adheres to Governmental Accounting Standards Board requirements and segregates funds accordingly. The city’s comprehensive annual financial report is independently audited for compliance with all GASB (requirements), and all other applicable federal and state requirements. The city claims transparency and that all of the information is out there on the site. Why, then, did the FBI raid City Hall in 2015 and seize certain records that resulted in indictments, if everything was in order? The 2015 FBI search and seizure and the prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office did not reflect systemic problems at City Hall. The allegations in this matter pertain to a single elected official, his relationship with developers, and certain specific transactions where the elected official is alleged to have violated conflict-of-interest laws. The city has provided full cooperation with law enforcement’s efforts to investigate and prosecute this matter, and also initiated civil litigation to protect city rights and remedies related to the prosecution. The city has been, and remains, transparent with respect to its dealings with the developer of the downtown project. When money is spent under the PFA, an independent fund control agent and a city-retained consultant for “on-call” facility construction owner representative services help ensure the proper expenditure of all public funds through separate escrows for private and public improvements.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 7
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NEWS FOCUS ON THE FANS E
New managers have brought music, food and low admission prices to the 2018 PGA CareerBuilder Challenge golf tourney
By kevin fitzgerald
very year as of late has seemingly brought about a major change to the CareerBuilder Challenge, the Coachella Valley’s annual PGA Tour event. The latest big change: In early September 2017, Lagardere Sports acquired complete operational control of the golf tournament. In some years, golf’s biggest names have not bothered to visit our backyard for the January event—even though the tournament’s lineage stretches back to the heyday of the Bob Hope Classic. This latest rendition does not even aspire to reclaim the star-studded glitz and glamour associated with its history. That’s what Jeff Sanders, the newly appointed executive director of the CareerBuilder Challenge (and the executive vice president of Lagardere Golf Sports events) said when I spoke with him recently about the tourney, currently played on three courses in La Quinta: the PGA West’s Stadium and Jack Nicklaus Tournament courses, as well as the La Quinta Country Club. “Forty-five years ago was the last time that Arnold Palmer won the Bob Hope Desert Classic,” Sanders said. “We’re going to honor Mr. Hope and Mr. Palmer forever. But we also need to change—and the change is our entertainment, golf-festival-event model. With all due respect, it’s time to change this thing up, make it different and make it fun. “In our business, if you get the question, ‘Who’s playing, Jeff? Who’s playing?’ Well, let’s see. Phil Mickelson is playing. And John Daly is playing. That’s crazy. That’s good. But the problem is that if that’s where it stops, then all you’ve got is a golf tournament. What I want to have is a tournament where the golf element is the centerpiece, and everything else around it makes it an event. That’s the difference—the food, the wine and these amazing green side pavilions on the 16th, 17th and 18th finishing holes of the PGA West Stadium Course where you can go in, have a drink and watch a little football on big-screen TVs all add value for the ticket-buyer. And then you can always look out the window and say, ‘Hey, there’s Phil Mickelson out there making a birdie on 17.’ You’ve got to make it more than golf.” This year, anyone who buys a $30 daily general-admission ticket (and most likely pays a $10 per-day parking fee) will get access to all of the best viewing stands and refreshment centers—and be treated like a VIP. “We want this event to be fun for everyone,” Sanders said, “and at the end of the day, we want to give back as much money as we can to local Coachella Valley charities. Our theme this year is ‘Golf Fore Kids,’ and so local children’s charities will be our donation recipients. And for us, success is judged by the size of our crowds. La Quinta is one of the best CVIndependent.com
destinations in the country for great weather and great activities in the winter months. There are plenty of people here in La Quinta and throughout the desert in January to have a big crowd at our tourney.” Another part of the Lagardere formula—and included in the price of admission—is music concerts. Huey Lewis and the News headline the show on Friday, Jan. 19, and the Goo Goo Dolls will do the same on Saturday, Jan. 20. Both shows are slated to begin at 4:30 p.m., right as the day’s golf play concludes. “This year up in Napa (at the Safeway Open tournament, which Lagardere manages as well), we had six nights of concerts, Monday through Saturday,” Sanders said. “The year before, we had only two shows. So here at the CareerBuilder, (in 2019), we’ll have more than two concerts—I can guarantee you that. Whether it’ll be three shows or six, I don’t know. … We’ll certainly add more music and other fun things each year.” Mike Taylor, a 45-year resident of the desert, is a golf enthusiast and former bartender at famed local establishments like Lord Fletcher’s in Rancho Mirage who served many of the film, music and political personalities who frequented the valley in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Taylor regaled us recently with a few tales of those halcyon days of the Bob Hope Classic. “One of my fondest memories was watching Jackie Gleason playing with Bob Hope,” Taylor said. “Gleason was wearing a sweater vest and tie. He was ‘dressed to the nines.’ The Saturday I saw them, it was on Bermuda Dunes, and Gleason didn’t play well. From what I understand, he had a massive hangover, because I also understand that he was a pretty handy drinker. He stayed at the Spa Hotel for the whole week, and because the celebrities who played in the ProAm didn’t get any money (from the organizers), he did run up a pretty good tab of around $10,000. I heard he said, ‘Give it to Bob Hope,’ when he checked out. But I think he was probably worth it, because
Hudson Swafford, the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge champ, is part of a 2018 field that includes Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and John Daly. KEVIN FITZGERALD/CVI FILE
there were enormous crowds when I was out there. I mean, you could hardly walk.” Even back then, the weekend wasn’t only about golf. “One of the fun things about the tournament experience at that time was that each night, after play ended, there’d be impromptu jam sessions at various hotels in the valley, and they’d be packed,” Taylor said. “You never knew who you’d run into having fun at one of those happenings. That was in the old days when the Hebert brothers were still playing on the PGA Tour … Jay and Lionel Hebert, and you had Jimmy Demaret from Texas. These were all fun-loving guys who liked to sing. But you could wind up seeing Arnold Palmer sing, and (Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop) Maury Wills playing the banjo and singing. There was Jack Lemmon playing the piano. It was just so much fun, like a Mardi Gras in the Desert.” Alas, those days are gone and never coming
back—and Sanders and his team aren’t focused on competing with the past or the PGA major championships. “This isn’t Augusta National, OK? It’s not the U.S. Open or the British Open,” Sanders said. “This is a regular PGA Tour event. It’s phenomenal golf, but it’s not one of the majors, which people flock to mostly just for the golf. And by the way, why would you make the weekend only about golf when you’re in La Quinta in January? It makes no sense. There’s so much more to do here. We’ll have fun activities around the grounds at PGA West. We’re going to create autograph opportunities for the kids, and the parents, too. The fan experience will be awesome.” The CareerBuilder Challenge takes place Wednesday, Jan. 17, through Sunday, Jan. 21. For more information, visit www. careerbuilderchallenge.com.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 9
BAFFLING BOOMS Mysterious and unexplained noises have
been startling residents of Desert Hot Springs
BY BRIAN BLUESKYE
f you live in Desert Hot Springs, you’ve probably heard the mysterious booms that usually happen during the night. It turns out that those of us who live in DHS are not alone: A quick Internet search turns up stories about and recordings of unexplained noises being heard around the world. Of course, it’s unknown whether what’s happening in Desert Hot Springs is related to these weird noises elsewhere. I’ve lived in Desert Hot Springs for a while, and anything that goes “boom,” night or day, typically becomes part of a game jokingly called “Fireworks or Gunshots?” However, these mysterious booms are unlike the typical noises heard in the night. The first time I heard one, it was late, and I was out on my back porch. It sounded as if a bomb had gone off, echoing throughout the entire city of Desert Hot Springs. Another one, a few nights later, was loud enough that I heard it over the music playing in my earbuds. It’s been a while since I’ve personally heard one, but other residents are still reporting them, often leading to discussions among the Desert Hot Springs Neighborhood Group on Facebook. People are demanding answers from Desert Hot Springs Chief of Police Dale Mondary. Unfortunately, Mondary doesn’t have any. “Most of (the booms) don’t get called into the police department at all,” Mondary said. “I just notice them on social media when I’m tagged in those posts.” Mondary said he has no idea what’s causing them. “We have not been able to pinpoint a specific area,” he said. “Honestly, part of it relates to our geographical location: We’re surrounded by a mountain range, and the sound reverberates. People will call and say, ‘I heard it right here,’ or they post on social media, ‘I heard it right here.’ Then across the town, someone will say, ‘No, I heard it from right here.’ So that’s obviously part of our problem. When we go and check these areas out, we find absolutely nothing—no signs of any explosives going off.” Has Mondary heard any of these booms himself? “I have not. Some of my officers have,” he said. “I talked to one of them one night who
was up in the southeast part of town and heard it and thought, ‘Ooh, I have to be real close to this, and I’m going to be able to find it!’ Someone else was on the west end of town and heard the same thing and thought it came from the west part of town. That’s just how confusing it is.” DHS residents have put forth a wide range of theories about the booms, ranging from UFOs to something involving the nearby San Andreas Fault, and from military operations to conspiracies straight out of the Alex Jones/ Infowars camp. I thought that perhaps it might involve methane gas escaping from the nearby landfill, but a friend of mine pointed out that such emissions would probably also include a great light show. Meanwhile, residents keep asking for Mondary to calm their fears by offering an explanation. “I have no idea what it is. I truly don’t,” Mondary said. “I can’t even speculate as to what I think it is. It can be any number of things.” Desert Hot Springs residents can take some solace in the fact that they’re not alone—and law enforcement officials and geographical experts in the other places where similar booms are being heard are just as stumped. The only consensus right now is: “Nobody knows.”
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NATURE POLLUTES, TOO
Not only are California’s huge wildfires devastating the land; they’re also devastating the atmosphere
By julie cart, calmatters
eyond the devastation and personal tragedy of the fires that have ravaged California in recent months, another disaster looms: an alarming uptick in unhealthy air—and the sudden release of the carbon dioxide that drives climate change. As millions of acres burn in a cycle of longer and more-intense fire seasons, the extensive efforts of industry and regulators to protect the environment can be partly undone in one firestorm. In particular, as raging blazes pump more carbon into the atmosphere, state officials are grappling with the potential effect on California’s ability to adequately reduce greenhousegas emissions. The state’s environmental regulations are known to be stringent, but they have limits: They apply only to human-caused emissions. Pollution generated by wildfires is all outside the grasp of state law. “The kinds of fires we’re seeing now generate millions of tons of GHG emissions. This is significant,” said Dave Clegern, a spokesman for the state Air Resources Board, a regulatory body. In less than one week, for example, October’s wine-country fires discharged harmful emissions equal to that of every car, truck and big rig on the state’s roads in a year. The calculations from the subsequent fires in Southern California are not yet available, but given the duration and scope of the multiple blazes, they could well exceed that level. The greenhouse gases released when forests burn not only do immediate harm, discharging carbon dioxide and other planetwarming gases; they also continue to inflict damage long after the fires are put out. In a state where emissions from nearly every industry are tightly regulated, if wildfires were treated like other carbon emitters, Mother Nature would be castigated, fined and shut down. The air board estimates that between 2001 and 2010, wildfires generated approximately 120 million tons of carbon. But Clegern said a direct comparison with regulated emissions is difficult, in part because of limited monitoring data. “Nature doesn’t follow the rules very well,” said Jim Branham, executive officer at the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a state agency that has created a plan to better harness California’s forests in reducing carbon in the atmosphere. As is so often the case in environmental catastrophes, one thing leads to another, creating what Branham calls the double whammy: Burning trees not only release powerful pollutants known as black carbon; once a forest is gone, its prodigious ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it is lost, too. Scientists estimate that in severely CVIndependent.com
burned areas, only a fraction of a scorched tree’s emissions are released during the fire, perhaps as little as 15 percent. The bulk of greenhouse gases are released over months and years as the plant dies and decomposes. And if a burned-out forest is replaced by chaparral or brush, that landscape loses more than 90 percent of its capacity to take in and retain carbon, according to the conservancy. Severe fires have the capacity to inflict profound damage in a short span. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that the 2013 Rim Fire in central California spewed out the equivalent of the carbon-dioxide emissions from 3 million cars. That is a setback to the state’s effort to get cars off the road, another critical tool for reducing greenhouse gases. The role of wildfires as a major source of pollution was identified a decade ago, when a study conducted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research concluded that “a severe fire season lasting only one or two months can release as much carbon as the annual emissions from the entire transportation or energy sector of an individual state.” It’s a measure of the dramatic ramping up of fires in the West that today, a single fire can meet that threshold. The entire equation has been made worse by the state’s epidemic of tree death, caused by drought, disease and insect infestation. The U.S. Forest Service earlier this month updated its estimate of dead trees across California to 129 million. That loss alone could be a blow to the state’s vision of a lowcarbon future. “Dead trees don’t sequester carbon,” Branham said. Forests as carbon-chewers are part of the state’s strategy for cutting greenhousegas emissions significantly by 2020 and beyond—a goal that could be undermined by nature’s caprice. The air board will direct state agencies to determine more precisely how much carbon can be absorbed by California’s
Carbon pollution from fires is harmful long after the blazes are out. SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
variety of landscapes. Air quality, too, is subject to state, local and federal regulations. But those standards go out the window in large fires, when soot and ash blanketing entire regions can be seen from space. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, which sets air pollution standards nationally, has an “exceptional events” rule that exempts states from fines under certain extraordinary conditions. California has invoked the rule during wildfires at least once before, in 2008, for fires in the Sacramento area. The request was accepted, according to the air board. More recently, Sean Raffuse, an analyst at the Air Quality Research Center at the University of California at Davis, came up with the “back of the envelope” calculations for October’s Sonoma County fires. Raffuse said he used federal emissions inventories from fires and calculated that
five days of ashy spew from the northern California blazes equated to the annual air pollution from every vehicle in California. Those kinds of computations are seldom replicated, largely for lack of the necessary instruments present at fire sites. But things are changing: Researchers have been attempting to better understand the full range of environmental damage wrought by wildfires. One tool is drones that can be flown through smoke plumes to collect samples for analysis. “We don’t have the means to measure emissions from a wildfire like we do from a tailpipe,” Branham said. “We are lagging well behind in understanding and having hard data of the effects of these fires. And most of the data are chasing reality.” CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 11
ST E B D VOTE Gamble Place
Is there anything I should know before the solar workers get on my roof? Hopefully before anyone is on your roof, you have asked some good questions and seen proof as needed regarding the company’s licenses, insurance and training. Once there are people on your roof, it’s too late if something happens, and they don’t have adequate safety training, aren’t following guidelines (like being secured with harnesses) or aren’t carrying a Workman’s Comp policy. In order to save time and cut costs, some solar companies unfortunately skimp on things like this. Maybe they only have a General Contractor’s License instead of also carrying a solar one. Maybe they don’t take the OSHA safety policies and guidelines seriously. Or perhaps, even before that, their salespeople aren’t licensed by the Contractors State License Board, which does a thorough background check on each applicant. These are people you are letting into your home—you need to know they have been vetted.
Wow—what else should I know to ask? Before you even get to the part where you go over a proposal at the kitchen table—was there someone who knocked on your door to pressure you to set an appointment? These folks are required to have a “Peddler’s License” for each city in which they operate. When we checked recently, there was no solar company that had such a license in Cathedral City, for example, although we know residents there are having people knock on their doors on a regular basis. Even if you proceed with getting a proposal, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion on such a big purchase or long-term agreement. There’s a lot to consider … There are a lot of factors that go into a decision to go solar, but the reputation of the company and the diligence it takes with good business practices will help ensure that you end up with a well-designed, safe and money-saving solar installation on your roof.
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DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS I
We reviewed Trump’s tweets so you don’t have to
By baynard woods
got drunk recently and read all (as of then) 2,735 tweets that Donald Trump has written since the election, in the hopes that Trump’s Twitter feed—collected and searchable on trumptwitterarchive.com—might be a good way to get a sense of the horrors we’ve endured. Looking at the tweets was like reliving all of the unbelievable moments since the 2016 election in fast motion. It’s important not to forget that we used to not have to deal with the dread of waking up each morning to realize that Donald Trump is president, and scramble madly to check Twitter to make sure we’re not at war. A year ago, all of this was new to us. So here are 10 of Trump’s tweets, in chronological order, that capture something about the authoritarian nature of this presidency, or the insanity of our social media moment. I left off some obvious favorites (covfefe!) and tended to favor some earlier ones that prefigured later themes. They’re presented here verbatim, with no editing. 1. Nov 10, 2016 09:19:44 PM: Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair Even though it is from the period between the election and Inauguration Day, this tweet is in many ways the most representative tweet of the Trump presidency. It is only Trump’s fourth post-election tweet, but it captures the spirit of his feed: validate Trump + attack enemies + attack media = complain about affront to Trump. 2. Nov 19, 2016 08:56:30 AM: The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize! This tweet is about the VP-elect’s attendance of the hit play Hamilton, whose cast ended the performance with a short speech expressing the concern we all felt in those uncertain days while hoping “this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.” But Trump took this as an opportunity to remind us of the depths of his cynicism when he demanded a safe space for a powerful white man. Brandon Victor Dixon, who gave the speech, is black, and Trump has made a habit of demanding apologies from black people. This tweet barely made the list, just edging out Trump’s claim, also in November, that “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Both introduce autocratic themes we’ve seen develop over the year. 3. Feb 2, 2017 06:13:13 AM: If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS? Here, the president threatens the funds of CVIndependent.com
a major university in order to support Milo Yiannopoulos, the right-wing troll who had white supremacists line-edit his ghostwritten Breitbart stories, when his speech at Berkeley was being protested. Milo worked for Steve Bannon, who worked for Trump. 4. Feb 17, 2017 04:32:29 PM: The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @ NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK! This is at the top of the list of authoritarian tweets. It’s got it all. 5. Apr 11, 2017 07:03:43 AM: North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A. Foreign policy by tweet. This led to all of the little Rocketman stuff that almost started a nuclear war and ruined a perfectly good Elton John song. 6. Apr 23, 2017 10:44:59 AM: Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall. Walking back an impossible promise while making it look like you’re delivering—this is exactly how Trump ran (runs?) his businesses. 7. June 16, 2017 08:07:55 AM: I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt This reminds me of a line from an Oedipus play. Read it again with that in mind. Tragic. 8. Sep 30, 2017 06:26:16 AM: ...Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They…… Sep 30, 2017 06:29:47 AM: want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job. OK, this is two tweets. But he’s attacking the mayor of a devastated city and using racist stereotypes all in one. (He seemingly practiced for this after the London terrorist attack.)
9. Nov 29, 2017 07:16:21 AM: Wow, Matt Lauer was just fired from NBC for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” But when will the top executives at NBC & Comcast be fired for putting out so much Fake News. Check out Andy Lack’s past! The complete cynicism of the entire administration becomes painfully clear here. Remember how tough Lauer was on Clinton as he bro-ed it up with Trump during the election? And remember the 16 allegations of sexual harassment against Trump? Yeah. He still went there. 10. Dec 2, 2017 12:14:13 PM: I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!* This one has an asterisk beside it because when it seemed like it could be an admission that Trump obstructed justice in the
investigation of Flynn, Trump lawyer John Dowd claimed that he actually wrote the tweet. Bonus retweet: I couldn’t not include this, because it’s Trump retweeting Laura Ingraham responding to a story I wrote: The New York Times opinion page tweeted: Nov 20, 2017 9:38 PM: Charles Manson wasn’t the inevitable outgrowth of the Sixties. If anything, he was a harbinger of today’s far right. Ingraham quoted that and wrote: Nov 21, 2017 8:37 PM “Far right”? You mean “right so far,” as in @realDonaldTrump has been right so far abt how to kick the economy into high gear. And Trump retweeted it, somehow both proving my point and completing the circle of my year. Baynard Woods is a reporter for the Real News Network and the founder of Democracy in Crisis, a project of alternative newspapers across the country. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @baynardwoods.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 13
The second full moon of the month brings
Planets and Bright Stars in Evening Mid-Twilight with itFor an January, excellent2018 total lunar eclipse
This sky chart is drawn for latitude 34 degrees north, but may be used in southern U.S. and northern Mexico. N
By Robert Victor
n January 2018, mornings are when most of the action takes place. The predawn sky hosts as many as four planets, including close pairings—Mars-Jupiter on Jan. 4-9, and MercurySaturn on Jan. 11-14. Also: January has two full moons! Follow the waning moon mornings in first half of month, and watch it pass the four planets—Mars-Jupiter on Jan. 11, and Mercury-Saturn on Jan. 14 and 15. Finally, don’t miss the total lunar eclipse on Jan. 31! Evenings offer no naked-eye planets, but they do offer a waxing moon Jan. 17-30, and an uncommonly large number of bright stars with the appearance of Sirius, the brilliant “Dog Star” in the east-southeast. Our New Year starts out with a “Supermoon,” point in the sky, 16 degrees south of overhead. the closest of 2018. As seen from Palm Springs, Notice how short your shadow is. By midnight, the full moon on Jan. 1 rises as the sun sets, at the star Spica in Virgo is 12 degrees up in the 4:49 p.m. A few minutes later, look for the huge east-southeast. You can use the curved handle disk of the moon resting on the horizon in the of the Big Dipper to locate Arcturus and Spica. east-northeast. The moon will be up all night, At 2:51 a.m., the moon will just begin to setting at 7:17 a.m. on Jan. 2, some 26 minutes enter the penumbra, or outermost, lightest part after sunrise. of Earth’s shadow. At that time, with the moon’s Despite the full moon of Jan. 1 being the disk just outside the shadow, the moon appears closest of the year, it is not the brightest. at peak brilliance, because it’s closest to being Brightest-moon honors for 2018 go to the next directly opposite to the sun without being in full moon, on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. shadow. The outer portion of the penumbra is 31. That moon’s greatest brilliance will occur not detectable, and so duskiness at the moon’s just before the eclipse, when the moon is just eastern (upper left) edge won’t be noted for outside of Earth’s shadow and reflecting the perhaps another half hour. greatest amount of light our way. During the At 3:48 a.m., the moon begins to enter total eclipse itself, we’ll also experience the the umbra, or dark central core of the Earth’s faintest full moon of the year, cut off from shadow. The moon will then be nearly due west, direct sunlight by the Earth’s shadow. 35 degrees up. Within a few minutes, a dark, Here is your guide to the “blue” moon (the noticeably curved circular edge of Earth’s shadow second full moon of a calendar month, by one will project on the eastern (upper left) portion definition) and total lunar eclipse, on the night of the moon. At first, the shadow appears very of Tuesday, Jan. 30, and Wednesday, Jan. 31. dark, in contrast with the rest of the moon’s (Find an expanded version at CVIndependent. disk, still illuminated by partial sunlight. com). Keep in mind that because of the By 4:19 a.m., Earth’s shadow reaches halfway mountains surrounding the Coachella Valley, across the moon’s disk. As more of the moon is rising times may be later and setting times may immersed within the umbra, colors within the be earlier than the “ideal” times listed here. shadow become noticeable, from sunlight which From many locations in the valley, the later has passed through Earth’s atmosphere. stages of the lunar eclipse might be hidden Total eclipse begins at 4:52 a.m., when the behind mountains to the west. moon becomes completely immersed within On Tuesday, Jan. 30, from Palm Springs, the umbra. At that time, the moon will be just moonrise occurs at 4:37 p.m., with sunset north of due west, and 22 degrees up. The view at 5:16 p.m. As twilight deepens, the entire will be stunning some 10 minutes earlier, while Winter Hexagon becomes visible. Astronomical a narrowing bright crescent of sunlight still twilight ends at 6:41 p.m., and the sky in this illuminates the west-southwest (lower) edge of brightly moonlit night will get no darker until the moon. the eclipse gets underway. As twilight ends, Astronomical twilight begins at 5:18 a.m., note Pollux 15 degrees above and a little to when the sun is 18 degrees below the eastern the left of the moon, and his twin, Castor, horizon. If you’re in a dark place, this is the 4.5 degrees to the upper left of Pollux. By 7:30 best time for viewing the Milky Way. Deepest p.m., the star Regulus, heart of Leo, is 10 eclipse occurs at 5:30 a.m., when the moon will degrees up, just north of east, and 24 degrees be 10 degrees north of due west and just 14 to the lower left of the moon. degrees above the horizon. As morning twilight At 11:45 p.m., the moon reaches its high continues to brighten, the totally eclipsed moon
January's evening sky chart. ROBERT D. MILLER
Capella Deneb Procyon Betelgeuse
Evening mid-twilight occurs
might fade when into invisibility. Sun is 9o below horizon. Jan. ends 1: 43 minutes sunset. Total eclipse at 6:08after a.m., when the 15:degrees 43 " north " "of west, and just moon will be 15 31: 41 " " " 7 degrees up. Jupiter will then be almost due south, 39 degrees up. Even if the totally eclipsed moon had previously faded into twilight, the moon partially emerged from Earth’s shadow may become visible again before it finally sets. In theory, someone on a high peak near Palm Springs would be able to view the sun and a partially eclipsed moon, simultaneously on opposite horizons, at 6:46 a.m. If you miss the total lunar eclipse on Jan. 31, another will be visible from the Coachella Valley in just less than a year—during evening hours. On Friday, Jan. 5, I will present a summary of the coming year’s sky events. The talk will be held at the Portola Community Center, 45480 Portola Ave., in Palm Desert. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments, and the talk begins at 7 p.m.
The website of the Astronomical Society Map by Robert D. Miller of the Desert at www.astrorx.org has a listing of our evening star parties at two locations. The primary, more accessible location is at the visitor center of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument (on Highway 74, within four miles south of Highway 111, in Palm Desert). A session is scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. Sawmill Trailhead, our high-altitude site (4,000 feet), will have a star party starting at dusk on Saturday, Jan. 13. Star parties can be cancelled in poor observing weather. See also the link to “Impromptu Star Parties.” Wishing you clear skies! Robert C. Victor was a staff astronomer at Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing sky watching opportunities for a variety of groups in the Coachella Valley. CVIndependent.com
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s a child, Ignacio Ochoa would jump into a car and make the trek from his home in Coachella down to the Salton Sea with his cousins. They’d sit on the playa, looking out across the vast lake and watching birds dive into the water. The waters then teemed with activity. “We would cup our hands in the water and see literally hundreds of tadpoles,” Ochoa said. “Then, it seemed like the next year, it was all so different.” Over time, Ochoa noticed conditions at the lake deteriorating rapidly. He’d return each time and find the playa increasingly covered in trash and dead fish. The air became harder to breathe. Crowds dwindled, and birds showed up in vastly smaller numbers. Eventually, his family’s trips to the sea stopped altogether. He felt as though he was losing a connection to the lake—forever. The future of the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake by surface area, remains uncertain. Water transfers at the lake have disrupted the area’s wetlands—indispensable stopovers for migratory birds from across the hemisphere. According to the Audubon Society, a national organization that promotes policies that protect birds and the environments in which they live, more than 400 species of birds have been documented at the Salton Sea. As water recedes, more of the playa is exposed, kicking up toxic dust in an area where air is already choked from agriculture production. The dust contains tiny particles that can trigger asthma and aggravate existing heart conditions in older adults. The state recently rolled out its 10-year Salton Sea Management Program. The $383 million plan focuses on wetland restoration, which ostensibly will help suppress dust. However, issues regarding the Salton Sea go beyond science and the environment. Local advocates want state leaders to see this as an equity and social-justice issue, too. The lake sits between Riverside and Imperial Counties. More than 20 percent of children in Imperial County are diagnosed with asthma, versus just 8 percent nationally, according to a 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ochoa reclaimed his connection to the Salton Sea by returning to organize community members to participate in advocacy campaigns in support of the lake. He works with young people who come from working-class families that are dealing with asthma and cardiovascular disease—health issues tied directly to conditions at the lake, according to the same CDCP report. The population in the area is predominantly Mexican and Mexican American, according to 2015 Census figures. Ochoa said the area’s high levels of poverty and unemployment—and the area’s majority communities of color—represent factors that lead to a lack of power in the state. Some media reports paint residents simply as victims, with no way to affect their future. “There is people power, too,” he said. “If you help mobilize people and provide them with access to information, that is a force to be reckoned with.” CVIndependent.com
Youth organizers Cristian Garza, Alex Portillo and Ruben Garza remain hopeful and active regarding conservation and restoration efforts at the Salton Sea.
esidents have seen decades of political promises turn into stagnation, even as one estimate claims the cost of continued inaction could reach $37 billion in public health costs over the next 30 years. Ruben Garza and Cristian Garza, two brothers from Mecca who became youth-environmental advocates, represent a generation of Coachella Valley youth who remain hopeful in spite of all the stories about a looming crisis. For years, health risks prevented the Garza family from returning to the Salton Sea. Cristian developed asthma and eventually suffered a collapsed lung that doctors attributed to years of exposure to the polluted air. Even with the risk of aggravating his lungs, he still goes to the lake to speak to residents about ways in which they, too, can become advocates. “What will I do if I have family members who develop asthma?” he said. “I have the ability to do something about this issue now.” Alex Portillo, another youth organizer from Mecca, said undocumented residents who want to get involved face extra risks due to the presence of Border Patrol agents in the region. She said a checkpoint set up near the south end of the lake often deters her peers from going to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge for volunteer cleanup days. During an interfaith advocacy event at North Shore Yacht Club on Dec. 2, some residents quickly left after it was announced that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were spotted in the vicinity. Frank Ruiz, a wildlife conservationist with the Audubon Society, which organized the event, said the fear of deportation or detention is palpable in the area. He said it’s difficult to inspire people to care for the birds and wetlands when there is a risk that you may not see your family the next day.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 15
SEVEN SECRETS TO GREAT AESTHETIC MEDICINE
By Shonda Chase, FNP Co-owner, Artistic Director and Advanced Injector at Revive Wellness Centers in Palm Springs and Torrance; and Medweight, Lasers and Wellness Center in Irvine
Frank Ruiz (right), the Salton Sea director for Audubon Society California, speaks at a community advocacy event at the North Shore Yacht Club about the need to focus activism on human health.
“A community that lives in fear is not going to come to events,” he said. “We have to care about their issues. It should concern us if this will truly be a community collaboration to restore the sea.” Ruiz said restoration and conservation are the main focuses for statewide advocacy groups like Audubon, but the main driver must be protecting human health—which means empathizing with communities from across political and racial spectrums. Ruiz said he uses “El Salton Sea” as a way to acknowledge diverse languages, cultures and connections to the lake. It also helps him connect with Latino residents who may not know about the health risks tied to the lake. “Groups and individuals who work together on this issue come from (different) backgrounds, often with differing opinions on best solutions,” he said. “But we can always find the common denominator, which is human health.” Ruiz said Latino residents don’t see conservation as a priority—but that’s not because they don’t care. He said many communities don’t have access to resources for information. That’s why he partnered with Spanish-language media company Univision to produce a series of public-service announcements about the lake. In one segment, the announcer asks, “Did you know your health issues could be tied to conditions at the Salton Sea?” Ruiz is also finding ways for residents to feel a sense of ownership over restoration plans and designs. He said some residents don’t see the value of building wetlands, which they think of as swamps. “There must be local incentives—benefits that make people feel their input is valued,” he said. “Why not make enticing designs that bring economic incentives for locals?” Ruiz, who has lived in the area for almost a decade, is also a local police chaplain. He identifies as Native American, through his Yaqui heritage; the Yaqui are from the Mexican state of Sonora and the Southwestern United States. He said this part of his identity helps him connect with other Native American groups, such as the local Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians. Raymond Torres from the Torres-Martinez tribe said disagreements between various interest groups were common in the past. However, the focus on protecting human health in the region resonates with him. Torres said he wants the ancestral history of Native Americans acknowledged in restoration work. A portion of their land was submerged when the Salton Sea was accidentally created early last century—and that land remains covered. For the current generation, Ruiz said, he is opening pathways for educational research and restorative projects. He said he cautions the next generation from seeing the relationship with the Salton Sea only as “utilitarian” and not one of harmony. “We tend to see nature as something that exists away from home,” he said. “Nature is part of us; it’s our home.”
his month, I want to share seven secrets about how to assess whether your appearance and aesthe�c health are in great hands with your aesthe�c medical providers. Every oﬃce has to say that they’re “good” at what they do—but is their “good” really “good enough” for you? Medical aesthe�cs is a team sport, and you’re an important part of the team. Your decisions assist the en�re team to improve the quality of your life and your happiness. Secret No. 1: Look at the prac��oner’s working space. The oﬃce where prac��oners spend a quarter of their lives can tell you a lot. Is it well-designed and unclu�ered? Is it easy for you to be there? Great aesthe�c medicine requires an ar�s�c eye, and those ar�s�c values will carry over into their oﬃce environment. Secret No. 2: Look at how the prac��oner’s staﬀ treats you. Great providers hire staﬀ members who also care about how your results increase your happiness. Secret No. 3: What else does the prac�ce do for you? Do they get to know you? Do they take pictures before they treat you? Great providers know that you will improve. Before and a�er photos are important to record your progress. Secret No. 4: Does the provider create a plan with you? This requires them taking the �me to get to know you and what you want to accomplish. A long-term plan is an important part of aesthe�cs being a team sport. Secret No. 5: Does the provider take �me for your treatment(s)? Nothing that is rushed will provide the great results you deserve. Precision is a component of greatness in medical aesthe�cs, and that takes �me. For example, I can’t do a great job with ﬁller and Botox injec�ons in less than 30 minutes. I have to spend 45-60 minutes so everything is injected perfectly. Great results take �me. Secret No. 6: Does the prac�ce help you protect and improve the results of your treatment? Using restora�ve products every day is another way you become a produc�ve member of the team between your visits. The products great providers want you to use will help protect you and restore your youth as much as possible. Secret No. 7: Are the prices they charge too low? Great prac��oners have spent years improving their skills, and they know what they need to charge to keep their prac�ce in the black and con�nue to provide great medical treatments for you. Pa�ents tell me every day that they don’t get the same results at the lower-priced prac�ces that they get with me. Low prices always means the prac�ce is trying to learn how do things on pa�ents. Let them learn on others—not you. When all of these seven secrets are ac�ve in a prac�ce, you can have more assurance that you’re in great hands.
Read the en�re ar�cle at www.revivecenter.com/blog.
You can email your individual ques�ons to Shonda Chase NP or Allan Wu MD, Revive’s cosme�c surgeon, at email@example.com.
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Images from the Best of Coachella Valley 2017-2018 Awards Show and Party
An enthusiastic and community-minded crowd packed The Hood Bar and Pizza—the choice of Independent readers as the valley’s Best Dive Bar—on Friday, Dec. 15, for the Best of Coachella Valley 2017-2018 Awards Show and Party. Hosted by Jimmy Boegle and Brian Blueskye of the Independent, the awards portion featured a couple dozen winners coming onstage and thanking readers for voting them as the valley’s best—but only after Boegle emphasized the importance of supporting honest, ethical local media. Following the awards, The Flusters—voted Best Local Band two out of the last three years—capped a busy week by performing to an enthusiastic crowd. After The Flusters’ set, DJ Tommy Locust spun before the after-party launched with the spooky organ tunes of Herbert; he was followed to the stage by Sunday Funeral and Black Water Gospel. Here are a few photos from the event, by Independent contributor Kevin Fitzgerald; view more at CVIndependent.com. Congratulations to all of the winners! Olivia Pierattoni, from Best Italian Restaurant Ristorante Mamma Gina, poses with Brian Blueskye (left) and Jimmy Boegle (right).
Jef Bauer, the general manager of Augustine Casino, accepts Augustine’s haul of four awards, from Jimmy Boegle. CVIndependent.com
The Flusters accept their awards, including the Best Local Band prize—for the second time in three years—before turning in a fantastic set.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 17
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Voted MOST F UN
NONPROFIT EVENT, two years in a rowâ€¦
CENTER For more information, please visit our website at www.thecenterps.org
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 19
CVI SPOTLIGHT: JANUARY 2018 Putting It All Together for the Southwest Arts Festival
f you resolved to support small businesses, local art and local newspapers in the new year—and you most definitely should have—you can help fulfill those first two resolutions by attending the annual Southwest Arts Festival, coming to the Empire Polo Club Jan. 25-28. Richard Curtner (curtnerart.com) is one of the local artists who will be featured at the Southwest Arts Festival. How does he describe what he does? “I call it word-collage art,” he said. “It’s collages created by using hundreds of cutouts of written texts, which form a visual image that can be read and seen.” He uses donated magazines in his work. “I am not creating any papers; I use what I find—whatever text and colors to make up the images,” Curtner said. “People have given me magazines for years. Many people would rather give them to me to make a piece out of them than have them end up in a landfill. I am happy to be able to give them another life. My wife keeps telling me, ‘No more.’” How does Curtner know what to look for as he’s flipping through a donated magazine? “I have been doing this medium for over 18 years,” he explained. “When I look at a magazine, I see things very differently than other people see.” Curtner came from an artistic family; his mother and grandmother painted, and he started out using oils. “I really wanted something that was unique, something that was different,” he said. “I always liked the literary arts. That was my way to combine the two together. … I realized that no one at the shows and galleries had been doing anything quite like this.” I asked how Curtner keeps his art fresh. “I
usually just work on one piece at a time,” he said. “I start with an idea or theme, and then I search for the materials. I am constantly looking for colors and words, and then I file them away. It’s my palette. I have a filing system I use to keep organized. “Lately, I am doing more cityscapes. It gives me an excuse to travel and visit other cities to take photos.” Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Curtner and his wife moved to the Coachella Valley 15 years ago due to the better affordability. “The weather is perfect during the winters, and I try to do as many shows during the summers as I can,” he said. “The valley shows are during the time of year when the weather is awesome. I personally like the fact I can be at home at night with my wife and two children. I can take the family out to the show, and sometimes I can have my son help me set up before the show.” Curtner said he’s a big fan of the Southwest Arts Festival. “Southwest is one the top shows in the country,” he said. “I have been involved with this festival for 12 years consecutively now. I started to go to it as a patron. I really liked the variety of all the different kinds of artwork. I have consistently done well there every year—in fact, I have done better and better each year. I have my collectors who come to this show, because they know I will be there. I wouldn’t be able to keep coming on back if I didn’t get the support, and that’s a big deal. “The best way to see art is to see it in person. You have to go to a show to really see it. It’s never the same if you see it online as when you see it in person. In person, you can
see the text and work that goes into creating it. It takes 40 to 50 hours to assemble a piece, and that doesn’t include the searching time— and that just doesn’t translate to (looking at my works on) the computer.” The 32nd Annual Southwest Arts Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, through Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Empire Polo
“Open Book” (cropped) by Richard Curtner.
Club, 81800 Avenue 51, in Indio. Admission for all four days is $15; children 5 and younger are admitted for free. For tickets or more information, visit www.discoverindio.com/southwestarts-festival. —Dwight Hendricks
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ARTS & CULTURE
DESERT TRANSCENDENTALIST By stephen berger
ark your calendars: The seventh annual Cathedral City Home Tour of Artists’ and Historic Homes will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 11. The event, sponsored by the Agnes Pelton Society, this year will show off five historic artists’ homes in the Cathedral City Cove. The centerpiece of this year’s home tour is the low, rambling cinderblock structure on F Street in Cathedral City Cove, designed and built by Agnes Pelton in 1939. Pelton (1881-1961) came to the desert for isolation and to live a more spiritual life. At the time, the area was considered remote, and she lived and worked in the house for 20 years. During that time, she produced paintings that sought to capture a visual representation of the meaning of life. Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986). In fact, the Financial hardships forced her to sell her two women share some striking similarities. beloved home and studio in 1960. She died six Both Pelton and O’Keeffe studied painting months later in a small cottage on C Street. with Arthur Wesley Dow in New York. They Pelton is celebrated for her exquisite “plein were both inspired by nature, but each took air” desert landscapes featuring the Coachella that inspiration beyond classic landscape Valley, as well as her important abstract painting. Their work was exhibited in the masterworks. The landscapes paid the bills (at seminal New York City Armory Show of least until the end), but her abstracts revealed 1913 that introduced Picasso, Duchamp her soul. and Kandinsky to America. Both of them She is invariably compared to contemporary visited Southwestern deserts at the
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The annual Cathedral City artists’ home tour honors a great who didn’t get the acclaim she deserved during her lifetime
invitation of Mabel Dodge Luhan, legendary patron of the arts in Taos, N.M. They both produced evocative paintings of their desert environments. However, there are important differences between the artists. O’Keeffe’s move to New Mexico launched her into fame, while Pelton’s choice to settle in what would become Cathedral City relegated her to obscurity. O’Keeffe sought to force a new vision of reality on viewers with her overscale and highly erotic paintings of flowers, while Pelton’s abstract work focused on the spiritual. “She was ahead of her time in her conception of spirituality, life’s purpose, and the visual representation of it all,” Pelton scholar Nancy Strow Sheley once told Palm Springs Life. Pelton believed in astrology and numerology, and she practiced a type of fire yoga called Agni. Her transcendental paintings are full of dream landscapes, glowing shapes and feathery fountains of light. Pelton is quoted as saying, “Life is really all light, you know.” The Phoenix Museum of Art is currently organizing a retrospective of her work. The
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A historic photo of Agnes Pelton’s studio.
first major exhibit of her paintings in 23 years, Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist, will include works from 1910 to 1961. Approximately 40 to 45 of her paintings will be borrowed from private collections, museums and galleries for the exhibition, which is slated to open at the Palm Springs Art Museum in the spring of 2019 before touring the country, including a stop at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. The home tour will also include a home on Chuperosa Lane, adjacent to the Pelton home and studio. Along its walls are murals that have been created by desert artists. One of them depicts 10 of the artists who lived, painted and taught in the thriving art colony of Cathedral City from the 1930s to the 1950s. Live music will be provided throughout the day by students and neighborhood musicians. Local desert artists will display their works under canopies, and dance and spoken-word performances are planned. Tickets are $20; children younger than 12 are admitted for free. For tickets or more information, call 760-459-3564, or visit agnespeltonsociety.com.
PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // C1
January 19-27, 2018
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PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
71680 Highway 111 #F Rancho Mirage 760-779-5000 shabu-shabu-zen.com Offering the Sakura Cherry Blossom with sake mixed with blood orange soda and topped with a mint leaf, for $9! Other Craft Cocktail Week drinks will also be available!
Drag Bingo every Tuesday Live music every Friday and Saturday Great drinks and food everyday 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert • (760) 636-5220 www.facebook.com/HoodBarAndPizza CVIndependent.com
Welcome to the Second Annual Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week
n November 2016, the Independent produced the first Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week. The inaugural event was an unqualified success, as restaurants and bars all across the Coachella Valley celebrated the art of the craft cocktail with special drinks. At our first Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Championship, TRIO Restaurant’s Sherman Chan bested four amazing competitors to take home the top prize. And our beneficiaries—the Desert AIDS Project and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert—received several thousand dollars from our participants and sponsors. This year, for the second annual Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week, we decided to change things up a little bit. The biggest change: We moved the week from November to January to take advantage of the height of season. The other big change: Last year, we limited participating bars and restaurants to a $9 charge for their special drinks. This year, we removed that restriction, allowing participants to use even higherquality (read: more expensive) ingredients. However, all the good parts of the first Craft Cocktail Week remain: All Craft Cocktail Week participants are again required to agree that they would “promote safe and responsible alcohol
consumption throughout the week by offering special nonalcoholic drinks, encouraging designated drivers and the use of taxis/ride-share services, and doing all (they) can to make sure customers are enjoying Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week responsibly.” Again this year, at least $2 from every special cocktail offered during Craft Cocktail Week at participating bars and restaurants will be split between our two amazing beneficiaries, which work to make sure ALL of our valley’s residents never go hungry: The LGBT Community of the Desert’s Community Food Bank, and the Desert AIDS Project Food Pantry. In these pages, you’ll find information on what this year’s Craft Cocktail Week participants are offering—and what they’re giving back. You’ll also find details on the week’s big cocktail championship, again taking place Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms Hotel—and yes, Sherman will be there to defend her title. I recommend checking out our website for updates, late-joining participants and information as it develops: PSCraftCocktails.com. Join us from Jan. 19-27 at these amazing bars and restaurants to celebrate the art of the craft cocktail. Enjoy. —Jimmy Boegle, firstname.lastname@example.org
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PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
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PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
Participating Bars and Restaurants Acqua California Bistro Offering the Acqua Blue, a drink with vodka infused with blueberries, Meyer lemon and rhubarb; it’s finished with agave and a Meyer lemon sweet and sour, for $9.99! $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 71800 Highway 111; Rancho Mirage; 760-862-9800. Dead or Alive Offering a cocktail to be announced—most likely “some sort of sparkling wine/vermouth/sherry thing”—for a price to be determined. $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 150 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-864-7193. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge Offering The Eight4Nine, with Crater Lake vodka, chilled Mionetto prosecco, limoncello and Mandarin Napoleon, muddled with fresh strawberry, for $12! $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 849 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-8490. Giuseppes Palm Springs Offering the Ginger Gold Rush, with Domaine de canton French ginger liqueur, Bulleit bourbon and fresh lemon; it’s served in a martini glass and topped with maraschino cherries, for $11! $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-537-1890. CVIndependent.com
The Hood Bar and Pizza Offering The Hood Winter Punch, a delicious blend of brandy, triple sec, coconut rum, pineapple juice and grenadine, for $7! $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220. Lulu California Bistro Offering the Smokey Old Fashioned (pictured on the cover), with Bulleit bourbon, smoked brown simple syrup, housemade orange bitters, orange and cherries, with candied bacon for garnish, for $10.49! $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 200 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760327-5858. Maracas Mexican Cantina and Grill Offering the Chamoy Margarita, featuring Cazadores tequila blended with muddled tamarindo, fresh mango, agave nectar, lime juice and a splash of chamoy sauce, served in a 16-ounce glass rimmed with chili, and served with a chamoy candied straw, for $13.50! $3 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-9654; and 72775 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage; 760-321-1001. Moxie Palm Springs Offering the I Left My Fashion in Manhattan, an ode to the two Messiahs of the cocktail world, the old fashioned and the Manhattan, featuring a mezcal reposado by Yuu
PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
Baal, for $11! Moxie Palm Springs will also be revealing a “Craft Cocktail Menu,” featuring a wide array of unique and spirit-driven cocktails that aim to please and surprise every palate. $2 per featured drink donated to our beneficiaries. 262 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760318-9900.
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TRIO KNOWS CRAFTED COCKTAILS Award-Winning Mixologists • Finest Ingredients The Valley’s Coldest Martinis
Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms Offering the Midnight Oil, with Maker’s Mark, cherry liquor, honey syrup, lemon juice, Chartreuse wash and a lemon garnish, served in a coupe glass, for $10! $5 per featured drink donated to our beneficiaries. 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-969-1818. Shabu Shabu Zen and Sake Bar Offering the Sakura Cherry Blossom, with sake mixed with blood orange soda and topped with a mint leaf, for $9. Other drinks to be added for the week; watch PSCraftCocktails. com for updates! $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 71680 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-779-5000.
707 North Palm Canyon www.TrioPalmSprings.com
TRIO Restaurant Offering the Rye of the Tiger, with Basil Hayden’s dark rye, apricot Roussillon, lemon juice, honey syrup, basil leaves, Peychaud’s bitters and an orange peel garnish, for a price to be announced! $2 per drink donated to our beneficiaries. 707 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-864-8746. CVIndependent.com
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PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
The Big Event
Our featured cocktail for Cocktail Week: I Left My Fashion in Manhattan
This cocktail is an ode to two Messiah’s of the cocktail world—the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan. Featuring a mezcal reposado by Yuu Baal, it pays respect to the foundations set forth by what many consider the original cocktail—but is not confined to its recipe, introducing Palm Springs to the possibilities when you mix tried-and true tradition ... with a little Moxie. • Rooftop bar • Craft cocktails • Fantastic Food • Happy hour 4-7 p.m. wed-sun 262 S. Palm Canyon Drive Downtown Palm Springs 760-318-9900 moxiepalmsprings.com CVIndependent.com
The Second Annual Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Championship TRIO’s Sherman Chan will defend her title against some of the valley’s other top bartenders and mixologists at the Second Annual Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Championship! Tickets are $40 in advance at PSCraftCocktails.com; includes tastes of the drinks and samples of THC-infused soda, courtesy of Sprig. Tickets are $45 at the door if any remain; 21 and older event. 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, poolside at the Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms Hotel, 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs.
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PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
Our Beneficiaries LGBT Community Center of the Desert's Community Food Bank
Open in Palm Desert at 73850 Highway 111!
The Community Food Bank @ The Center is a flagship initiative that provides nutritional assistance for those in need. The Community Food Bank @ The Center provides food assistance to all qualified individuals without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, religion, political persuasion, national origin, disability and/or covered veteran status. Every Thursday evening, the Center hosts a clean, safe and accessible Food Bank that provides FREE groceries for up to 275 households each week. Since 2008, The Community Food Bank @ the Center has been providing fresh produce, baked goods, meat, canned goods, dairy and more to low-income Riverside County residents in need of food assistance. The distribution of food happens at 610 S. Belardo Road.
Offering Chicago style pizza in two locations! Plus: •Pastas •Chicago hot dogs •Italian beef sandwiches •Salads •Craft Beer and Wine
Palm Springs location: 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive • 760-537-1890
Desert AIDS Project Food Depot
The Desert AIDS Project believes “food is medicine,” because a healthy diet, along with medication and doctor visits, is an important part of staying healthy while living with HIV. That’s why DAP operates its onsite Morris and Lila Linsky food depot, which provides both bags of groceries as well as food vouchers to fill the gap between what clients need and what clients can afford. CVIndependent.com
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PALM SPRINGS CRAFT COCKTAIL WEEK JANUARY 2018
PALM SPRINGS’ ORIGINAL SPEAKEASY
A HIDDEN OASIS WITH CRAFT COCKTAILS THAT PAY HOMAGE TO THE REBEL SPIRIT OF THE RESTAURANT’S BEGINNINGS.
The Purple Palm at the Colony Palms Hotel 572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262 760-969-1818 www.purplepalmrestaurant.com CVIndependent.com
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 21
Metropolitan Opera Star
Motown The Musical
Nathan Gunn, baritone Julie Gunn, piano
Tue-Fri, January 16-19, 8pm Sat, January 20, 2pm & 8pm Sun, January 21, 2pm & 7pm
Mon, January 22, 8pm
A Chorus Line
Chita & Tune
Fri, January 26, 8pm Sat, January 27, 2pm & 8pm Sun, January 28, 2pm & 7pm
Just in Time Thu, January 25, 8pm
Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel Virtuoso Variations Mon, January 29, 7pm Presented through the generosity of Donna MacMillan
Jan 26 - Presented through the generosity of Barbara Arnstein City of Rancho Mirage Presents
Palm Springs Legends IV Starring Frank Ferrante as Groucho Marx, Sebastian Anzaldo as Frank Sinatra, Andy DiMino as Dean Martin, Scot Bruce as Elvis Presley, Daryl Wagner as Liberace, Vanessa Claire Stewart as Dinah Shore, and Bill Johnson as Bob Hope Tue, January 30, 8pm
Kinky Boots Meow Meow in Concert Wed, January 31, 8pm
Fri, February 2, 8pm Sat, February 3, 2pm & 8pm Sun, February 4, 2pm & 7:30pm
Presented through the generosity of Wayne & Miriam Prim
Order tickets by phone
73000 FRED WARING DRIVE, PALM DESERT • BOX OFFICE HOURS: MONDAY-FRIDAY, 9:00am-5:00pm
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Tickets: $28-40 • dezartperforms.org • (760)322-0179
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FOOD & DRINK
ON COCKTAILS A
After disappointing $20 drinks at an undisclosed establishment, our intrepid imbiber finds good stuff at the Rowan and Moxie
By Kevin Carlow
fter an off-season back East, I’m back in the Coachella Valley, with a new bar gig and more-reliable transportation—meaning I am ready to search once more for the tastiest drinks in the area! Sadly, most of the places I visited this month were a bit … disappointing. In particular, there were two cocktails I tried at a “high-end” establishment that were actually tough to finish (and $20 each!). Fortunately, I had much better luck at Window Bar at the brand-spankin’ new Kimpton Rowan Hotel Palm Springs. Not only is the design of the place pretty breathtaking; this diminutive bar in the lobby also makes a mean drink. After looking over the menu for a bit (there are some interesting ingredients on having some fun designing their cocktails. there, including local dates), I went with the While we’re on the subject, let’s discuss Dealer’s Choice. Bartender Bryan Bruce was that deceptively simple drink, which is perfect in a classical mood and made me an excellent for winter get-togethers—the old fashioned. martinez cocktail with a nice chinato, an First of all, what the heck is an old aromatized Barolo wine with a pleasant fashioned, anyway? The old fashioned is a bitterness that makes beautiful cocktails. If callback to the early days of cocktail—booze, you’re wondering what a martinez is … well, bitters and sugar. The cocktail, without it’s basically gin and Italian vermouth with getting too bogged down in historical details, bitters and a spoon full of sweetener (usually was consumed in the morning as a hangover Boker’s and Maraschino respectively). Some cure. Later, cocktails moved in a more-elegant folks think it’s the martini’s absentee dad, but direction, but certain drinkers still wanted I respectfully disagree—and Maury Povich that old standby. doesn’t have the paternity results yet. Notice that I have mentioned nothing For my friend who was on a vodka-soda about a cherry or an orange slice—or kick (I know, I know), Bryan indeed made a muddling, or even ice. That doesn’t make vodka soda—but it was a pretty cool vodka those additions “wrong,” per se (certainly not soda: The soda water was infused with the ice!), but they’re not necessary. So we’re local juniper branches and lemon zest, and going to strip things down here and go back carbonated à la minùte in a plastic soda to basics. bottle. (You have to see this glass contraption Here’s what you need: they use to infuse things; it’s straight out of • Rye whiskey, or bourbon Harry Potter.) The drink itself occupied a nice • Sugar (white or raw—no brown sugar) middle ground between a gin-and-tonic and a • Bitters (Angostura, in the brown bottle vodka soda. There are two more bars on the with the white label) property, but I saved those for my next visit. • Ice (cubed—large cube for extra credit, I also checked out the new offerings but certainly not necessary) at Moxie, where they’ve created a pretty Take the sugar, and mix it equal parts with extensive list of cocktails these days. Barwater. You can heat it to mix, and then cool manager Blake gave us a sneak peak at his the mixture; or you can shake it in a bottle “poptails,” which combine a cocktail with a and let it sit. That’s the only “hard” part popsicle on a skewer, which serves as a garnish here. (I won’t get into the sugar-versus-syrup and/or snack. We tried the Pretty in Pink Pop debate here, because this is the 101 class; we Drop first. This is not intended for whiskeycan get nerdy some other time.) swilling bearded dudes like me. It certainly was Take a short, wide glass, and lash in a pretty, and pink, and will definitely appeal to couple of good slugs of those bitters. (Don’t less-hardcore drinkers, thanks to its flavors be shy.) Then put that sugar syrup in there; of vanilla and the super-fragrant Combier until you know just how sweetened you Liqueur de Rose, replete with sugared rim and like it, start with one teaspoon. Then add 2 strawberry basil lychee pop. ounces of the whiskey—just pour it right in. Next, the Desert Sun was reminiscent Add plenty of ice, and stir until seasoned. of an Oaxacan old fashioned, with mezcal, You’re done. tequila and sweeteners, but served up. The Of course, you can make it look and taste mango-serrano popsicle, when it was mostly better with a little citrus oil. Do you have a dissolved, added some needed brightness. lemon, an orange or even a grapefruit? Take Blake responded: “It’s a drink that rewards off a nice swath of zest with a peeler or a patience.” In any case, it’s nice to see someone knife, and squeeze the oils over the drink;
The martinez at the Window Bar at the Kimpton Rowan. kevin carlow
then rub it on the outside glass. Toss it in … or don’t. (Just be careful with that peeler; I don’t need any lawsuits. You can peel a bunch ahead of time, and keep them in a damp paper towel to prevent Ramsay Bolton-ing yourself after a few drinks.) As for the cherry, either get good ones (like Luxardo brand), or don’t bother. Stick the cherry on a skewer so you can enjoy it; it does little good smashed
under the ice. There you go—it’s the perfect get-together drink for Dad, Grandma or your buddies. But when you see a bartender “making it wrong,” keep it to yourself; that’s between us. Kevin Carlow is a bartender at Truss and Twine, and can be reached via email at email@example.com. CVIndependent.com
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FOOD & DRINK
VINE SOCIAL JASON DAVID
Nobody should ever drink warm wine. Ever. Period.
By KatieLOVE finn YOUR
t long last, the desert’s al fresco season has arrived. What better way is there to end an exhausting day of NASCAR-style evasive driving down Highway 111 than by relaxing on your favorite restaurant patio? This is where you’ll find me any given early evening. I’ll be pretty easy to spot: Just look for the gal sipping a fullCountry Club and Cook Street bodied red with an ice cube floating in it. Palm Declutch sert your pearls and recoil Say what?! Ice in red wine? That’s right; you heard me. Before you in horror, allow me to demystify this greatest of all wine crimes. Several years back, I was sitting in a “room760-340-5959 temperature” was actually referred to restaurant and having lunch with a notable as “cellar temperature,” and when a bottle of www.jasondavidhairstudio.net winemaker. In the middle of a sentence, he wine was desired to accompany the evening casually picked up his fork, fished out an ice meal, one had to venture into the deep, dark, cube from his water glass, and plinked it into cold subterranean level of the castle where his glass of red wine. The look on my face must temperatures would hover around 50 degrees. have resembled that of a child who just found Those are not exactly the same conditions as out there was no Santa. What did he just do?! Is my hall closet, where some of my wine lives. this OK?! Will we be asked to leave and dare not But then again, I don’t have a castle—or a show our faces in here again?! subterranean level, for that matter. He simply smiled at me and said: “I don’t The truth is, we Americans notoriously like warm wine.” drink our white wine too cold, and our red It was a revelation. As a sommelier, I wine too warm. Living in the desert where had always known that it was perfectly temperatures often hover between 100 degrees acceptable to chill down a bottle of red, and I and the blazing inferno that is hell, the “too never flinched from asking for an ice bucket cold” part is almost forgivable. I’ve long regardless of the reaction from the server. said that I’d rather have my wines too cold But if this guy—respected and revered in his than too warm, as it’s much easier, certainly position in the wine world—felt no shame ’round these parts, to go up in temperature about a cube or two floating in his cabernet, than down. That said, there should only be a then who am I to say otherwise? 10-degree difference between white wine and I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been red wine: Your whites should be between 50 there—sitting in a bar or restaurant, ordering and 55 degrees (rosé and Champagne are a a glass of wine, and watching the bartender couple of exceptions), while the reds should be grab the bottle sitting on the counter next around 65 degrees. to the steaming espresso machine. You know I know this may come as a shock to that you’re about to endure a wine that’s an some people who hold tight to the “room ambient 80 degrees (or higher if it’s in August). temperature” concept as gospel and shudder at Let me assure you—this is not what “room the very idea of plinking a cube into their wine. temperature” was ever supposed to mean. I honestly think folks are so afraid of looking Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, like a wine novice—knowing that putting ice
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in your wine is considered very déclassé—that they’ve convinced themselves that drinking warm wine is OK. The fact is, when a wine is too warm, every flaw is exacerbated. The wine begins to live under a microscope, and each sip can be a painful reminder of a bad year, an unskilled winemaker, or just cheap crap. (If you’ve ever ordered a nondescript “house wine,” then you know exactly what I’m talking about.) In this case, an ice cube or two are your best friend, because when a wine is too cold, the flavors are muted, and the aromas are all but silenced. This is not necessarily a bad thing when the wine is marginally palatable. Conversely, if you’ve ever had a white wine that didn’t taste like much initially, only to have it develop into a delicious and delightful explosion of aromas, it probably just needed to warm up a bit. Now, I’m not suggesting that you put ice in a glass of ‘82 Lafite or a Grand Cru Montrachet. That would be a crime punishable by terminal sobriety. But if you’re imbibing benchmark, world-class wines, they’d damn well better be served at a proper temperature. Furthermore, any restaurant worth its salt is going to make sure the wines being presented are stored correctly at the ideal temperature—or at least
pretty close to it. If you get anything out of this article, let it be this: If you come face-to-face with a lukewarm rose, a tepid sauvignon blanc or a downright-sweltering malbec, don’t hesitate to reach for the ice. Is it going to water the wine down? Oh, probably. Will it interfere with the wine’s texture, aromas and delicate nuances? Sure it is. My point: That might not be such a terrible thing. Yes, manipulating the temperature of the bottle is most certainly the preferable method, but we don’t always have that option. If you need further validation, even the great, venerable British wine-writing legend Jancis Robinson said she has been known to pop a few ice cubes into her glass from time to time— because no one should drink warm wine. Katie Finn is a certified sommelier and certified specialist of wine with more than 15 years in the wine industry. She is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and is currently studying with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. When she’s not hitting the books, you can find her hosting private wine tastings and exploring the desert with her husband and two children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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FOOD & DRINK
How to buy beer: Tips and tricks from someone in the know
BY brett Newton
oday, we’re going to go over some tips on how to buy beer. Before you throw up your hands and say, “Please … what is there to know about buying beer?! You enter a store that sells it, and you buy it!”—let me explain. If you drink mass-produced lager and are perfectly happy with that, you don’t need this advice. The one thing the “big boys” in the brewing industry are good at is making their beer exactly the same, every time, and getting it to you as fresh as possible, as often as possible. But if you are like me and love craft beer—in other words, I spent a year studying (after 23 years of you look forward to having your taste buds exploring and learning on my own) for a 4 challenged and your mind blown—this advice 1/2-hour exam that only 33 percent of all testwill help. takers pass. (This is only the second level of a I have some good and bad news for you. four-level system of certifications, by the way.) First, the bad: There is bad beer everywhere. In other words, when it comes to the subject of The good news: There is excellent beer almost beer, you can go very deep. everywhere, and if you follow a few rules, you Anyway, enough about my bona fides; let’s can greatly increase your chances of finding jump into the rabbit hole. some great beer. 1. Beer goes bad at varying rates. A can How am I qualified to tell you, the wise or keg is ideal for protecting beer, because consumer, about this? I am what is called a light, oxygen and heat are beer’s worst certified cicerone. Think of it as the equivalent enemies. The brown bottle offers the next-best of a sommelier (a wine “expert”) for beer. protection, followed by green and clear bottles,
which provide almost no protection. Also, refrigerated beer is the best to buy. There are many reasons for this, but suffice it to say that beer stored in cold, dark places is preferable. 2. Check the dates. Many craft breweries stamp or print the bottling date somewhere on the packaging. Hoppy beers are the first to go bad. This is due to the breakdown of the various hop compounds in the beer, as well as possible exposure to UV rays (Ever had skunky beer, anyone?) If that IPA is more than three months old, it probably isn’t what the brewer wanted you to taste—especially if it was not refrigerated or protected from light. Three to six months is good for most other styles. There are major exceptions to this—for example, many Belgian trappist styles and sour ales last longer, as do stronger ales such as barley wines and imperial stouts—but a good way to look at it is this: The brewer would not have packaged and released the beer if he or she didn’t think it was ready to drink. I have saved enough bottles—and been subsequently disappointed—often enough to now seriously limit the number of beers I cellar. 3. Crowd-sourcing sites like BeerAdvocate are your friends. BeerAdvocate is a website that allows users to add, rate and review beers, as well as breweries and craft-beer bars. If you have any questions or are wondering what the beer you’re looking at in the store is, you can look it up there and get some generally thoughtful reviews. Many places sell or serve craft with employees who can’t offer you much help—but luckily, you are armed with a powerful pocket computer that can access the vast information resource that is the Internet. Remember to consider the source, however.
4. Don’t be afraid to send that beer back. You might feel odd doing this—but a beer you’ve been served may be flawed. It may be that the beer itself is no good and suffers from off-flavors; the keg may be old; or the lines that bring the beer to the tap may need cleaning. You don’t need to pay for a bad drink, and while a truly great beer bar will rarely, if ever, make these mistakes, they’ll gladly make up for it if they do. And if a business reacts poorly when you send a beer back … be glad: You now know where not to drink in the future. 5. Take a chance. Many of the best beers I’ve ever purchased have been dice rolls when it came down to it. This does not need to happen as much as it did in the 1990s and 2000s— yes, I’m that old—because today, there are so many resources discussing so much beer from so many breweries. However, in some ways, this wealth information can be daunting, and even discouraging. If you’re afraid of looking ignorant … don’t be afraid. We’re all dreadfully ignorant about some things—so much so that there are things that we don’t even know that we don’t know. Do you know what I mean? Anyway … if you are a curious person with a thirst for knowledge, you can dive in and become less and less ignorant, no matter your interest level in craft beer. Now, start getting that fresh, beautiful beer from that store or bar into your mouth. Happy hunting! Brett Newton is a certified cicerone (like a sommelier for beer) and homebrewer who has mostly lived in the Coachella Valley since 1988. He currently works at the Coachella Valley Brewing Co. taproom in Thousand Palms. He can be reached at email@example.com.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 27
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FOOD & DRINK INDY ENDORSEMENT
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ōKIŚ TACO ŐESDAYS Ś ŚATŚŌE
By Jimmy Boegle WHAT The queso y frijoles pupusa WHERE El Salvador Café, 1751 N. Sunrise Way, #F2 HOW MUCH $2.95 CONTACT 760-322-3778 WHY It’s stunningly simple but flavorful. We were bummed out. The front end of my car had been smooshed up in an accident a couple of days prior, and we were on our way to an auto-body shop for an insurance-mandated damage assessment. But first … we needed a tasty lunch—and, if possible, a good cheer-up. Thankfully, El Salvador Café was able to provide us with both. I’d been craving pupusas—thick corn tortillas stuffed with some sort of filling— after seeing them on a travel-food show recently, so in addition to the plato de antojitos ($11.50, including plantains, meat cakes, a bean and cheese pupusa and a Salvadoranstyle enchilada), we ordered a steak and cheese pupusa ($3.95) and a shrimp and cheese pupusa ($3.95). Both the steak and shrimp pupusas were good, as were the plantains, meat cakes and the Salvadoranstyle enchilada (which is something akin to a Mexican tostada). However—much to our surprise—the favorite thing we had was the bean-and-cheese pupusa. It doesn’t get much simpler than beans, cheese and tortillas—but simple, in this case, meant delicious. I’ll be honest: I am not sure why the bean pupusa rang our figurative bells while the steak and shrimp pupusas didn’t quite reach that level (even though they were both enjoyable). My best guess is that the flavor of the earthy, savory beans just melded better with the subtle sweetness of the corn tortillas and the creaminess of the cheese. But really … it doesn’t matter why they were so fantastic. Thanks in large part to the bean-and-cheese pupusa, we left El Salvador Café with happy taste buds, a full tummy and decidedly better dispositions—that’s what matters.
WHAT The Chorizo Taco WHERE Tacos El Poblano, 68100 Ramon Road, Cathedral City HOW MUCH $1.49; $1 on Tuesday and Thursday CONTACT 760-534-0446; www.facebook.com/ tacoscemitaselpoblano WHY It’s a few bites of deliciousness. It was the noon hour. I was hungry, so I headed to a restaurant I’d heard good things about, located in the shopping center at the northeast corner of Ramon Road and Landau Boulevard. I went to the door, saw an “open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. sign,” pulled the handle … and the door was locked. For some unannounced and undisclosed reason, the restaurant was closed, despite what that sign said. As I drove through the shopping center to make my departure, I passed by Tacos El Poblano—and spotted a sign touting $1 tacos on Tuesday and Thursday. It just so happened to be a Tuesday. Dollar tacos? Yes, please. I walked in, ordered four tacos—one each with chicken, pastor, steak and chorizo—at the window, got the tacos, paid for them, retrieved some salsa from the salsa bar, and sat down. I wish I could tell you that all of the tacos knocked my figurative socks off … but that was not the case. Frankly, three of the four tacos were merely OK: The chicken, pastor and steak tacos were decent, but not as flavorful as tacos I’ve had at other places. I can’t say I’d order any of them again, despite the thrifty $1 price tag. However, the chorizo taco was delicious— and not too oily, which can be a problem with some chorizo versions. With a squeeze of lime and just a hint of the house medium salsa, the taco was damn near perfect. I would order that chorizo taco again in a heartbeat. In fact, I’d probably order about six of them.
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Restaurant NEWS BITES By Jimmy Boegle RANCHO MIRAGE’S FOX AND FIDDLE TO MORPH INTO DRINGK EATERY + BAR The Fox and Fiddle is going out with 2017 … and in its place, 2018 will bring Dringk Eatery + Bar. The Fox and Fiddle opened in February 2017 at The River, at 71800 Highway 111, in Rancho Mirage, and was touted as one of the valley’s only English-style pubs. It also brought with it some name recognition, seeing as there are Fox and Fiddle pubs in Canada—and, of course, many Canadian snowbirds winter in the Coachella Valley. However, some 10 months later, the English-pub concept was to be no more, as of the close of business on Saturday, Dec. 23. On New Year’s Eve, Dringk—with the same owners—was slated to be born. What, exactly, is Dringk? Its shtick, according to the website, is centered on $5 drinks, with food being offered at $5, $10 and $15 price points. Wait, what? $5 drinks? Like, all the time? “Yes, you can drink mules, beers, margaritas (and) Dringk cocktails for $5 all day long,” the website says, before going on to insist that all drinks will have a minimum of a 1.5-ounce pour. As for the eats: “Our food is high-quality and sourced to be from the best without added junk,” the website says. “Our hamburger meat is the top we could find; breads (are) made from a locally sourced baker; and when possible, we serve organic and GMO-free. We want you to love our food and trust we put the effort in to make sure we are providing you with tasty dishes that will have you coming back for more.” For more information on Dringk, call 760-888-0111, or watch that aforementioned website, dringkbar.com.
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SO LONG, BAR: THE PALM SPRINGS RESTAURANT AND WATERING HOLE CLOSES ITS DOORS Bar—the charming bar, restaurant and music venue known for its fantastic drinks and provocative murals at 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—closed its doors for good on Saturday, Dec. 2. While the closure was heartbreaking to many (including yours truly; Bar was one of my personal favorites, thanks in part to Bar having the best damn whiskey sour in the valley), it was no surprise: The owners had known the end was near for a good year and a half, as the landlord has been making plans to tear down the building, apparently to build yet another new hotel in downtown Palm Springs. Bar was owned by the Funkey family, the members of which are certainly keeping themselves busy: In addition to running Smoke Tree BBQ and Giuseppes in Palm Springs, they recently switched their Palm Desert space, at 73850 Highway 111, from a Smoke Tree into a Giuseppes. Watch giuseppesps.com for updates on that. Meanwhile … if you know of a place ’round these parts that makes an amazing whiskey sour, drop me a line. IN BRIEF New to Cathedral City: Restaurant and Pupuseria Claudia, located at 68100 Ramon Road, at the intersection of Landau Boulevard. The place serves a variety of pupusas—a Salvadoran dish featuring thick corn tortillas stuffed with various ingredients—as well as another half-dozenplus dishes. I tried to stop in and check it out for lunch one recent day, but the place was closed without explanation. Yeah, this is something that understandably happens at small, familyowned places from time to time—but I was disappointed nonetheless. I’ll check it out again here soon—but I’ll call 760-534-0594 before I go just to be safe. … New to the northern portion of Palm Springs: 4 Paws Coffee Co., located at 2500 N. Palm Canyon Drive. The pet-friendly place opened in early November, and serves coffee, tea, sandwiches and the like. (An aside: It’s exciting to see this long-decrepit shopping center, at the intersection of Racquet Club Road, being revitalized with the addition of new tenants including 4 Paws, the Escape Room Palm Springs and Venezia Restaurant and Pizzeria.) For more info on 4 Paws, type www.facebook.com/4pawscoffeeco into your Internet browser of choice. … New to the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort and Spa, located at 45000 Indian Wells Lane in—you guessed it!—Indian Wells: Citrus and Palm. The revamped resort restaurant has a self-described “farm-to-fork aesthetic.” Executive chef Paul Hancock is “(featuring) fresh local cuisine that is both healthy and delicious … utilizing items grown on property as well as sourced from local farm partners,” according to the restaurant website. Want more info? Head to that very website at www.citrusandpalmrestaurant.com.
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Please don’t throw beer when the Reverend Horton Heat visits Pappy and Harriet’s After the sudden departure of a band member, The BrosQuitos change their name to Sleeping Habits Throw the Goat used PledgeMusic to help with the band’s ambitious new album the lucky 13: get to know two standout local guitarists
ICONS AND IDOLS Von Smith is Freddie Mercury in Michael Childers' fimdraiser for the PSUSD foundation.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 31
ROCKABILLY REVOLUTIONARIES T
Please don’t throw beer when the Reverend Horton Heat brings its acclaimed live show to Pappy and Harriet’s
By Brian Blueskye
he Reverend Horton Heat has gone on to do many things that most rockabilly bands could never imagine. The band’s music has been featured on soundtracks for television, films and video games; the group has toured with acts such as the Sex Pistols and Motörhead; the members have collaborated with rock ’n’ roll heavyweights; and it has been labeled as one of the hardest-working bands and best live acts in America. The Reverend Horton Heat is returning to the desert for a show at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Thursday, Jan. 11. because five to 10 fights broke out all at once. During a recent phone interview, the Some sweaty alternative rocker goes slamming Reverend himself, Jim Heath, said he never into some girl in her perfect little ’50s dress, imagined what would happen after he started and her boyfriend hits him. It was just a big the band in 1985 in Dallas. brawl. It is what it is, and people want to have “I just wanted to do my own songs within fun, but I want them to have fun and not hurt the rockabilly framework, and I was just giving each other.” up on the idea of being a rock star,” Heath said. The Reverend Horton Heat was once on tour “We ended up on a major-label deal, and we for 250 to 275 dates a year, but that number worked with Al Jourgensen of Ministry and has been decreased to a still-substantial 120 Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers, and to 150. Heath said the band has always been a some other pretty heavyweight people. This touring band first, regardless of album sales. has been quite a ride! We were on the tail end “With where record sales are now and of major labels giving out big money. It’s been that side of the industry falling apart, the a lot of fun.” lucky thing for us is that our art form is If you’ve been to a Reverend Horton Heat playing music, which has nothing to do with show, you know that all kinds of music fans, recordings,” he said. “Music is about a live across all age ranges, come out to see them thing with people having fun, socializing and perform. enjoying the music together. That’s my art “In the early days, we would play a punk-rock form, and that’s what I do.” room one night, a country bar the next night, The list of legends with whom the Reverend and then a heavy-metal place the next night,” Horton Heat has shared the stage is quite Heath said. “Even though we were playing our impressive. own original music, we could tailor the set “One of the best shows we ever did was list to fit any situation we were in. That really opening for Johnny Cash at the Fillmore. We helped make ends meet when we were just got to meet Johnny Cash and June Carter, and trying to do it full-time, so no one needed to guys in his band to this day still keep in touch have a full-time job. It’s a blessing, because with us,” he said. now, we have shows where we have a really “I did a recording session, played golf, diverse fan base. We have rockabilly guys, had dinner and played golf again with Willie heavy-metal guys, old guys, country guys—it’s Nelson. We opened for Carl Perkins, and after crazy! It’s flattering, and it’s a real blessing.” the show, he sat and told me stories for over In some places, the mixture can lead to an hour and a half. He was so funny and had chaos. During a Reverend Horton Heat show I some of the best stories. Johnny Rotten, when once attended in Cleveland, a fist fight broke we toured with the Sex Pistols, would come out between a couple of older guys and some up to me and tell me the craziest and funniest young punk-rockers who had started a mosh stuff. We did a TV show that included Wayne pit. Heath agreed that the diverse range of fans Newton, and he told us stories ’til 4 in the can sometimes lead to drama. morning.” “We played quite a few gigs on our first trip The band’s last album, REV, was released to California where they would swing-dance,” in 2014—but Heath said to expect some new he said. “For those clubs, we would tailor our material soon, despite delays. gigs to a swing-dance crowd. But there was one “We took most of the summer off to try particular gig in Long Beach (at a place) called to record a new album, and in the middle of Bogart’s where we showed up and started all that, we switched drummers,” Heath said. playing, and the swing-dancers started swing“The album project got a little bit pushed dancing—and the mosh pit started. It was a back, and now we’ve been so busy that we clash of cultures, and we had to stop the show almost don’t have time to do an album. I
The Reverend Horton Heat.
think we have 10 basic tracks pretty well, but we might go back and try to redo some of them. The good news is we have 10 songs, and it’s coming. We just need to get in the studio and finish it out.” A word to the wise: It’s well-known that throwing beer is a no-no at a Reverend Horton Heat show. Heath took a serious tone when he told me his thoughts on the matter. “I don’t like it; it’s stupid, and it’s ridiculous. I’m not into it at all,” he said. “You’ll get your ass thrown out doing that, and it’s not right. The first thing you learn in kindergarten is don’t throw stuff; the first thing you learn in college is don’t waste beer. There was a guy who threw beer on me in Denver one time, and I told him, ‘I always wondered what kind of person throws beer, and I figured it out—it’s
rich kids!’ If you’re a rich kid, you can afford to throw beer and then call Mommy and Daddy, saying you need money for laundry or whatever. He got mad at me, and he was a writer, so he wrote a bad review of the show, saying what a wuss I was, and I was going, ‘Who is this guy?’ I Googled him, and he was a lead singer in a band whose stage antics were throwing beer. I kinda blew his stage shtick, which is awesome!” The Reverend Horton Heat will perform with Voodoo Glow Skulls and Big Sandy at 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $25 to $30. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com. CVIndependent.com
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MATTER OF MATURITY
After the departure of a band member, The BrosQuitos change their name to Sleeping Habits
By Brian Blueskye
few months back, the band known as The BrosQuitos decided it was time to make some changes. The Desert Hot Springs-based group went from a quartet to a trio after the departure of guitarist John Clark—and the remaining members decided the band’s name needed an update, in part because they wanted to be taken more seriously. The band Sleeping Habits was born. On Thursday, Jan. 25, Sleeping Habits will be unveiling a new live set and a new sound at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. During a recent interview in DHS, James has to offer, and I know she has a lot going Johnson (guitar, vocals) explained the on. I’ve been talking to Will Sturgeon from changes that he, Max Powell (bass) and Hugo Brightener, and I’m hoping he’ll be in the Chavez (drums) recently made. studio with us to produce one of these songs. “The honest word is that we lost a member, I also have Sean Scanlon from Smallpools who so we had to change the position of the band,” will hopefully come on board. We’re trying to Johnson said. “We wanted to go in more of make it more of a learning process this time an edgier direction, something that was less around, because that’s what we didn’t take high school. Our old name did hold us back advantage of the first time we recorded. We from a lot, and … we’ve already been taken really limited ourselves to letting everyone more seriously as far as Los Angeles County take a piece into the project who wanted to.” and outside of here. You say, ‘Yeah, we’re The Johnson said he’s happy that The BrosQuitos,’ and we’re going to be downplayed. ‘The BrosQuitos’ was created when I was 14 years old, and we’re all going on 22 years old now. We had to change it. It got some new songs out of us, as well as a new style.” Johnson said he could not explain why Clark left the band; Clark stopped communicating with the other members rather suddenly, Johnson said. On a lighter note, Johnson also could not really explain the band’s new sound. “Our style has definitely changed. I honestly don’t know how to describe it and haven’t found a word for it,” he said. “To me, it sounds a lot more full. … The stage presence is there; the organization is there; the lyrics are there; and if you were to ask me what it sounds like, I couldn’t tell you. “We have a song that is about prostitution in Hollywood; we have a song about rumors and sex … and an anthem song that leads into a chant. We all feel confident about it. It’s not so much (like) the first songs I wrote as a 13- or 14-year-old. I went through a breakup; I went through the loss of a friendship; and I went through a transitional period with a band. There’s a meaning behind it, and I think a lot of people appreciate it.” The members are currently putting together an EP that they hope to have out later this winter. “We will be finishing up our EP shortly,” Johnson said. “Our connections this time around have greatly improved, so I’m working on getting a few producers for the studio. I’ve been talking to Esjay Jones to see what she Sleeping Habits. CVIndependent.com
BrosQuitos record, Vinyl Image, finally came to fruition earlier this year—but that he’s already grown beyond it. “I love it. It’s my first record,” he said. “As a 13- or 14-year-old writing those pieces and finally seeing them when I’m 18 and 19 being put together in the studio—it’s chilling to me. I mean that in all honesty. It’s amateur, though—the writing style and the chord structures. I’m not going to say I’m embarrassed by it, but I look back on it realizing I could have done so much more. I could have seized more opportunity at that time of my life. But it’s still a good record to me.” Sleeping Habits will perform with Foxtrax at 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www. pappyandharriets.com.
The Blueskye REPORT JANUARY 2018 By Brian Blueskye
As of Jan. 1, the holiday season is over—but the tourist/snowbird season is cranking into high gear, meaning there are a ton of fabulous events to take in across the Coachella Valley. The McCallum Theatre is hosting a lot of sold-out events in January, but there are still tickets left for a few great shows. At 8 p.m., Monday, Jan. 22, operatic baritone singer Nathan Gunn will be performing from the Great American Songbook, as well as songs by Leonard Cohen and … Pearl Jam. Operatic Pearl Jam? Whoa! Tickets are $27 to $87. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, Broadway legends Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune will take the stage. These greats have 12 Tony Awards between them! Tickets are $37 to $67. At 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 29, piano virtuoso Jeffrey Siegel will be performing his variations on classical piano pieces, all while offering commentary. Siegel has played with some of the world’s best orchestras, so this is one you won’t want to miss. Tickets are $22 to $42. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www. mccallumtheatre.com. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino had a rocking holiday season and is sailing into January with a great schedule. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12, Motown R&B and soul legend Smokey Robinson will be performing. Smokey Robinson is an icon—even Bob Dylan listed Smokey Robinson as one of his favorite singers. His list of awards and honors is endless. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19, if you’re a man wondering where your wife is, she might be at the Michael Bolton concert. Bolton is a good sport and hasn’t been afraid to poke fun at himself, as seen in Netflix’s Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Special. Oh, he’s won two Grammy Awards and has sold more than 65 million records, too. Tickets are $29 to $59. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26, witness the spectacle of Adam Sandler going back to standup comedy and performing his comedy songs. It’s continued on Page 34
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GOAT ON THE CHARTS? I
By Brian Blueskye
t’s a common argument in the local music scene: Is Throw the Goat a metal band … or is it a punk band? The Idyllwild three-piece’s new album, The Joke’s on Us, settles the argument once and for all: Throw the Goat is definitely a do-it-yourself punk-rock band. As of Dec. 31, the band finished taking pre-orders for The Joke’s On Us, which will be released Jan. 26, via PledgeMusic. During a recent interview at The Hood Bar and Pizza, we talked about the title of the EP the band released last year before the presidential election, Vote Goat, as well as the title of the new album. acknowledge what’s going on.” “There are a lot of people in the political The recording sessions for the album started climate who dismissed certain things last year, on Halloween. thinking, ‘It’s just a joke.’ I think now, with “I guess if you put it all together, it took how the way things turned out, the joke is on about a month,” Parnell said. “Recording, all of us,” said guitarist Brian “Puke” Parnell. editing, mixing and getting the masters back Drummer Troy Whitford, who is celebrating took about 32 days.” his one-year anniversary with Throw the Goat Bassist and lead vocalist Michael Schnalzer and will appear for the first time on the band’s said there are pluses and minuses when it recordings with The Joke’s On Us, said it was comes to DIY recording. important to “go there” politically. “It gave us freedom we never had, which can “It’s almost kind of like a responsibility be positive and a negative,” he said. “I think it to say something,” Whitford said. “We all made it easier to work through the problems have our own opinions toward the political we ran into. But it also made it harder, because climate, but it would be bullshit and against you can do whatever you want. We’re really ourselves to write more songs about drinking fucking picky when it comes to ourselves. The and having a good time, boys and girls, and all vocals drove me insane.” that other bullshit. There are things that need Parnell laughed and added: “It would have to be put into perspective, and people need to only taken three weeks if we were less picky.”
Throw the Goat used PledgeMusic to help with the band’s ambitious new album
Schnalzer said a couple of the tracks stray from the typical Throw the Goat formula. “Puke wrote a song called ‘High,’ and it’s going to be the lead single on the album,” Schnalzer said. “That one is just an ear worm and is probably one of the poppiest tracks we’ve ever written—not that that’s a bad thing, because it’s still heavy as shit. This album gets a little weird for us, because it also has our heaviest song ever, ‘The Joke’s On Us,’ which is the title track. That song is about as metal as Throw the Goat will ever get.” Earlier this year, Throw the Goat went on a national tour, and also played in the United Kingdom. “We were gone for six weeks,” Schnalzer said. “In the middle of a trip like that, it feels like it’s never going to end. Once it’s over, it seems like a blur. Getting the opportunity to go to the UK again was pretty mind-blowing. But getting to tour around the country and getting to play for people who we’ve never
seen, and play with bands we’ve never met before—it was super-cool.” Of course, it was the first Throw the Goat tour for Whitford. “(Troy) was the man!” Parnell said. “If I was riding shotgun, and Mike was in the driver’s seat, Troy would all of a sudden appear out of the back and be like, ‘A little peanut-butter cracker sandwich, gentlemen?’” Parnell said the band has big hopes for The Joke’s On Us. “We’re trying to be on the charts, which is the main reason behind the PledgeMusic thing,” he said. “For an independent band to register with SoundScan, and do all that other kind of chart stuff that people have to do independently, it’s a big pain, but PledgeMusic makes it super-easy. With the way album sales go these days, it doesn’t really take that much overall to make an impact.” For more information, visit www.throwthegoat.net.
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MUSIC LEGENDS LIVE AGAIN Talented musicians pay tribute to some of rock’s biggest names to support the PSUSD foundation
By Brian Blueskye
he Foundation for the Palm Springs Unified School District is mounting a fantastic production for its annual fundraiser—with a little help from some friends. The Grab Your Seat: Icons and Idols concert on Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Richards Center for the Arts at Palm Springs High School will pay tribute to a handful of rock ’n’ roll’s biggest stars: Tony Award-nominated singer Mary Bridget Davies as Janis Joplin; singer/songwriter Von Smith as Freddy Mercury; high tenor Jake Simpson as George Michael; and tap dancer and opera singer Rogelio Douglas Jr. as Prince. During a recent phone interview, Ellen Goodman, the executive director of the PSUSD Foundation, said the idea for the show came from photographer and philanthropist Michael Childers. “The school district really wanted to produce something for the community that would celebrate the renovated auditorium at Palm Springs High School, the Richards Center for the Arts,” Goodman said. “We really wanted something that was different and would be kind of culturally aligned with our student population not just George Michael. Janis Joplin would and family population. We were brainstorming, be considered quite racy during her time, and and Michael Childers and (Deb Len so would Prince. They all carry the same genre Productions’) Debbie Green sat together and musically.” came up with this idea. It would be something The production is going to be focused on the that is sustainable through the years, and is a music by the legends, Goodman said. tribute and a celebration of past, current and “It’s a band, so it’s not going to look future artists. I can’t really take any credit, and like your traditional theater production I have to say that Michael Childers and Debbie that would have an orchestra or be … Green began the incubation, and Michael entertainment similar to Broadway,” she said. Childers just ran with it. That’s where the idea “It’s going to look like a mini-rock concert. came from.” I say ‘mini,’ because our band will likely be When I mentioned that George Michael was a six-piece. Our theater is almost 900 feet notorious for his risqué music videos and song long, and we’re probably going to have a lot of lyrics, she explained that the show pays tribute singing along with some loud music.” to late performers who were all eccentric in one This event will show off the potential of the way or another. recently renovated Richards Center for the “Aside from Janis Joplin, it feels like an ’80s Arts, Goodman said—and people can choose theme where it’s mostly pop rock,” she said. to literally (sort of) “grab your seat” by naming “The tribute combines talents who have passed a seat in the theater in their or someone else’s on and (have) a legacy. When we looked at honor, in exchange for supporting the PSUSD pop-rock performers who fit that genre, these Foundation. entertainers seemed like the ones to include “I want to believe that everything that we do in our first year’s theme. George Michael fit there shows it off in a positive light, and we’ll that, and the music is totally in line with Prince be coming in on the heels of the Palm Springs and Freddy Mercury. They’re all kind of racy, International Film Festival,” Goodman said. “We have an orchestra in there, and musical theater in there, and I think (this event) is going to maximize this auditorium in terms of sound and stage in a way that some of the other events won’t. Every event is different, but I really think we’ll be able to maximize the sound, lighting and stage with this show.”
Jake Simpson will perform as George Michael.
Grab Your Seat: Icons and Idols takes place at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18 at the Richards Center for the Arts, 2248 Ramon Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $75 to $125. For tickets or more information, call 760-416-8455, or visit www.grabyourseat.net.
The Blueskye REPORT continued from Page 32
been years since he’s performed these types of shows; given his massive Netflix contract; he certainly doesn’t need the money. Tickets are $79 to $139. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-3425000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is going to be sizzling in January with hot events. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13, our favorite show is coming back: It’s Thunder from Down Under! That’s right, the all-male Aussie review that makes women scream will return to the Coachella Valley. Tickets are $15 to $25. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20, crooner Burt Bacharach will perform. The “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” scribe is always popular when he comes to the Coachella Valley, which is no wonder, considering Bacharach has written some of the greatest songs ever—plus he performs them beautifully. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27, comedy great Howie Mandel will be performing with Preacher Lawson. I’ve always found Mandel a little odd, with his fears of germs and his refusal to shake people’s hands, but he’s an icon. Tickets are $35 to $55. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www. hotwatercasino.com. Spotlight 29 has some fantastic weekend shows coming in January. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12, comedian and actor Mike Epps will do his thing. You might remember Epps for performing opposite Ice Cube as Day-Day in Next Friday and Friday After Next. One of Epps’ funniest moments in my opinion was when he told the story of Baby-D and her “Y2K snacks” in Next Friday. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26, recording artist and television star Tony Orlando will be performing. I had a chance to interview Orlando last year, and it was a pleasurable experience. Growing up, I remember seeing him on many television shows, and hearing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” which received heavy airplay on the radio. Tickets are $25 to $45. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com. Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a January event with a limited number of tickets still available as of our press deadline. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 5, comedian Sinbad will bring the funny. Sinbad seemingly disappeared for a while … until he had financial problems. However, he seems to be finding his groove and is getting good reviews for his “family friendly comedy.” Tickets are $29. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www. morongocasinoresort.com. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has a ton of events in January, featuring acts both national and local, so be sure to check
the full schedule. Here are a few highlights. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19, punk/rockabilly band The Flesh Eaters will take the stage. The Flesh Eaters have some dark themes in their music and were a hit in the Los Angeles punk scene. Also on the bill are Sean Wheeler and the Reluctant Messengers. Tickets are $25. At 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21, Monkees guitarist/vocalist Michael Nesmith will be performing with his band, The First National Band. Fun fact: During the ’70s, Nesmith wrote and performed country music. Just a heads up: Nesmith usually avoids performing Monkees songs. Tickets are $30 to $40. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27, country and rock singer/songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield will be performing. Mayfield has shared the stage with rock contemporaries such as Ryan Adams, and has collaborated with The Black Keys. Given she’s from Northeast Ohio like me, I’m rooting for her. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com. The Purple Room Palm Springs is always a popular place during season. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 6, jazz singer Jonathan Karrant will perform. The Arkansas native has been on stages since he was a young child and says that he cherishes the storytelling aspect of performing. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12, Tony Award-winner Levi Kreis will be performing. The Broadway singer and pianist from Tennessee is quite popular, and overcame personal beliefs and issues to embrace the fact that he’s gay. Tickets are $30 to $35. At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26, Barbra Streisand impersonator Steven Brinberg will be doing his show Simply Barbra. Considering Streisand is unlikely to be performing locally anytime soon, these types of shows are a great way to celebrate Bab’s music and style. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com. The Copa has one event in January worth noting: At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20, get ready for Lee Squared: An Evening With Liberace and Miss Peggy Lee. This show will be performed by David Maiocco and Chuck Sweeney, who are both dazzling and acclaimed performers. Tickets are $25 to $40. Copa Palm Springs, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760866-0021; www.copapalmsprings.com.
Jessica Lea Mayfield
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LUCKY 13 This month, get to know two standout local guitarists
By Brian Blueskye NAME John Quinn GROUP Right On Right On MORE INFO The guys in Right On Right On are tight musicians who play a blend of hiphop, country and jam-band rock, with a few more genres thrown in, too. For my money, Right On Right On is one of the more amusing and musically entertaining bands to watch in the Coachella Valley. John Quinn, the band’s guitarist, stands out with his dreadlocks and face-melting guitar skills. For more information, visit www.rightonrighton.com. What was the first concert you attended? June of 2002: Poison, Cinderella, Winger and Faster Pussycat at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. The local grocery store was giving away free tickets at the checkout, because not enough were sold, and my mom took my younger sister and me. What was the first album you owned? Around the same time, I got Harvey Danger’s Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?; Everclear’s So Much for the Afterglow; and Less Than Jake’s Hello Rockview. What bands are you listening to right now? Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, My Morning Jacket, Lettuce, The Digs, Dead and Company, The New Mastersounds, the Marcus King Band, Black Pussy, TAUK, Twiddle, Dumpstaphunk, SOJA, Fortunate Youth, Iration, Nattali Rize, Hempress Sativa, Chronixx, Yaadcore, Hirie, and Protoje.
Music documentary almost every day and had a dream about him teaching me guitar in between aisles in a library. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? Jerry Garcia: “What are you Grateful for?” What song would you like played at your funeral? Elton John’s “Circle of Life” from The Lion King soundtrack.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced. What song should everyone listen to right now? My Morning Jacket covering “Purple Rain.”
Right on Right On.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Thrash metal and hardcore punk. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Stick Figure. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? “La Chona” (by Los Tucanes de Tijuana). What’s your favorite music venue? La Quinta Brewing Company’s Old Town Taproom. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “Let’s give them something to talk about,” from Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About.” What band or artist changed your life? How? Jimi Hendrix. I watched his VH1 Behind the
NAME Larry Ellison GROUP Hundred Forms MORE INFO Hundred Forms has been getting consistent local gigs lately, and I’ve been trying to come up with a proper description of the band’s sound. The best I can come up with so far: “something fascinating.” The band includes elements of punk rock, desert rock and ’90s underground alternative. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ hundredforms. Larry Ellison is the band’s guitarist—not to be confused with the guy from Oracle. What was the first concert you attended? AC/DC. I got invited to join some friends of mine our sophomore year in high school. I believe it was The Razor’s Edge tour. What was the first album you owned? Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I became obsessed with the dancing zombies in the video and had to have the song at my disposal. What bands are you listening to right now? Hey, that’s my line! I really like what Puscifer has put out recently. Royal Blood has captured my attention. Lately, I’ve been on a Subhumans and Silversun Pickups kick. Them Crooked Vultures are good long drive companions. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Rap. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Tchaikovsky. That sounds so pretentious. Either way, I’m just a sucker for moody and dramatic music. Maybe I should say Kyuss (with the Reeder, Hernandez, Homme and Garcia lineup). Or Crash Worship—yes, definitely Crash Worship.
What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Oh boy, time to come out: Lady Gaga. I want to crawl inside her vocal chords and marinate myself for a lifetime. What’s your favorite music venue? Nowadays, almost anything in a theater type setting. I saw Puscifer at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside and loved it. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “I know the pieces fit …” from “Schism” by Tool. That goes really well with my day job. What band or artist changed your life? How? Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys. I had never heard punk rock music before that. Let me just say I haven’t been right since. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? Jim Morrison of the Doors: “Me first or you?” What song would you like played at your funeral? Ooh, I don’t know where to start. Perhaps “The Wind” by the Zac Brown Band. Hopefully that will get the party started. Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Neurosis, Souls at Zero. What song should everyone listen to right now? “Three Days” by Jane’s Addiction. CVIndependent.com
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A primer on the differences between sativas, indicas and hybrids
BY CHARLES DRABKIN
o with legal recreational marijuana finally here, you want to buy a joint … but the last time you bought “the pot,” you were at the crossroads of pimples and AP algebra. Well, medical marijuana, legal weed and even your old-fashioned pot dealer have all matured since then to compete in an ever-growing market. Over the last few years, marijuana has become specialized, and pot heads have become cannabis connoisseurs, as exacting as any oenophile. Three basic words—indica, sativa and hybrid—make up the lexicon of the aficionado, with growers creating specialized varietals that vary in strength, taste and affect to satisfy demanding customers. Let’s explore the difference between the strains—keeping in mind that within each classification, there are hundreds of substrains with their own flavor profiles, effects and fans. We have seen these classifications around for a long time, but in the last few years, users have started coming out of their basements and enjoying their herb casually in social situations—in much the same way they enjoy a fine wine or hand-crafted cocktail. Also, remember that your own life experiences and body chemistry will inform the way any strain affects you. Sativa strains are believed to have originated in temperate growing regions between the equator and the 30th parallel (around the top of the Gulf of Mexico); they grow tall and have a thin leaf. If you are looking to grow your own plants outdoors here in the desert, these are the ones for you. Sativas tend to make the user feel more energetic, creative and happy. Going out with friends for the evening, embarking on a hike or taking a painting class? Sativa is the way to go. From personal experience, I can tell you this is what I prefer when I sit down to write during the day or want to be out and about with people. One of my favorite sativa strains is Tangilope, a super-tasty, citrusy strain that really helps me with creativity. But remember: It is always a good idea to test out any new strain in a small amount before making a commitment. Indicas, on the other hand, originated further north, probably in the area around Afganistan. The plants tend to be short and bushy with a relatively short maturation time. If you are looking to grow inside your home, you will probably want to look for one of these. Indicas tend to be more relaxing and act as a sedative for their users, while at the same time making a person feel somewhat social. Planning an evening of Netflix and chill? Have a lot on your mind and need to spend some time processing? Or are you planning a quiet
evening at home with friends? If so, indicas are a great choice—but they do tend to make you hungry or sleepy, and they just may fuse your tush to the couch. I am fond of the Grape Ape strain of indica; I find its grapey smell and flavor really tasty. If I’ve had a tough day and just need to relax, I will often reach for some Grape Ape—not too much, though, or I may not move for the rest of the night. As the name implies, hybrids are cross-bred plants with both indica and sativa genetics. Growers do this for a variety of reasons, including yield and growing time. Of course, they also want to produce plants with the benefits of both parent strains, and they are experimenting with hybrids that will create very specific effects. A grower may, for instance, breed some indica into a sativa
to make it better-suited for an indoor grow operation, or decrease some of the associated paranoia; perhaps they’ll add some sativa to an indica to help the consumer stay awake. Hybrids tend to be broken down into either sativa- or indica-dominant verities. (Truth be told, most strains these days have at least some hybridization in their ancestry.) Depending on what strain you choose, you will find a wide range of differences in both effect and flavor. One of my favorite hybrid strains is the sativa-dominant Blue Dream, a fairly mellow strain that will help you relax while still giving you the creative effects of many sativas. Blue Dream’s ancestry involves the indica Blueberry strain, which carries through to give you a lovely berry flavor. With so many strains to choose from, it is important to both experiment and get guidance while you are discovering your favorites. Always talk to your friendly neighborhood budtender, as they are sure to keep abreast of the latest and greatest. When figuring out what strains work well for you, consider keeping a notebook with your favorites and how they each make you feel. Whatever strain you choose … enjoy!
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 37
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Supporters of the Independent Program Newspapers today are charging more and more for their content. However, the work done by the award-winning Coachella Valley Independent has been—and always will be—available to all, free of charge. We will never put up a paywall. We will never charge for a subscription. However, we are now offering readers an opportunity to support us voluntarily in doing what we do, via the Supporters of the Independent Program. Readers can make one-time, monthly or annual contributions to the Independent—and receive some great perks while doing so. Title supporter: $5,000 (or $417 per month) • Get listed prominently on every page of CVIndependent.com as the website’s sponsor for an entire year. • Receive three quarter-page print ads over one year to donate to the charity of your choice. • Have lunch with the publisher. • Get invited to regular supporter-only parties and events. Major supporter: $2,500 (or $208 per month) • Receive three quarter-page print ads over one year to donate to the charity of your choice. • Have lunch with the publisher. • Get invited to regular supporter-only parties and events. Reporter supporter: $1,000 (or $83 per month) • Receive one quarter-page print ad to donate to the charity of your choice. • Have lunch with the publisher. • Get invited to regular supporter-only parties and events. Correspondent supporter: $500 (or $41 per month) • Get invited to regular supporter-only parties and events. • Receive $10 in Independent Market credit every month! Dear Reader supporter: $250 (or $20 per month) • Get invited to regular supporter-only parties and events. • Receive $5 in Independent Market credit every month! Story supporter: $100 (or $8 per month) • Get invited to regular supporter-only parties and events. Freelance supporter $50 • Receive an Independent bumper sticker and refrigerator magnet. Stringer supporter: $25 • Receive an Independent bumper sticker and refrigerator magnet. Thank you supporter: $10 • Receive an Independent bumper sticker and refrigerator magnet. Or contribute any amount you choose! There are three easy ways to contribute: 1. Go to CVIndependent.com and use PayPal or a credit card. 2. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements. 3. Mail a check or money order to: Coachella Valley Independent 31855 Date Palm Drive, No. 3-263 Cathedral City, CA 92234 Note that since the Independent is not a nonprofit entity, contributions are NOT tax-deductible. However, we here at the Independent really, really appreciate them! CVIndependent.com
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OPINION SAVAGE LOVE
DAN’S COACHELLA VALLEY DEBUT BY DAN SAVAGE
ditor’s note: Before we get on with the column here, two things: 1. I’d like to welcome Dan Savage and his well-known and much-loved column, Savage Love, to the pages of CVIndependent.com. Welcome, Dan! 2. Readers: For those of you unfamiliar with Savage Love … consider this a warning. This is a sex- and relationship-advice column. It’s a popular column, one that’s been in papers across the continent for more than 25 years now. However … this column is not tame. It is NSFW—not safe for work—and, at times, it is rather graphic. If you are offended by sexually graphic content, do not read this. Really. Don’t. Also, Dan is quite the social liberal, so if you don’t like liberal politics, you may want to read something else instead. But if you can handle graphic sexual content and liberal politics, then by all means, read on. The column, and Dan, have done a whole lot of good over the last 2 1/2 decades—first and foremost, the It Gets Better Project, something that has unquestionably saved the lives of many bullied, confused and hurting teens. So … the choice on whether or not to read on is yours—and whether or not you do, I thank you for reading the Independent. —J. B.
I used to be a fan of your column, Dan, but something happened to you. Maybe it’s stress, the current political climate, or some other issue—I don’t know. I used to look forward to your columns because they were fun, smart, and helpful—but I don’t enjoy what I’m seeing now. If something did happen to you, reach out for help. You’re on the verge of losing a loyal reader. Reader Enquiring About Dan’s Enervating Responses I’ve been getting letters like yours—What happened to you, Dan? You used to be more fun?—at this time of year, every year, for the
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last 25 years, READER. Maybe I get moody when the weather gets gloomy, and that spills into my column annually. And perhaps the current political climate—a rather reserved way to describe the destruction of our democracy—is making my seasonal grumping worse. Another possible factor … I don’t know how long you’ve been reading, READER, but I’ve been writing this column for a long time. And back before the Internet came along and ruined everything for everyone, I used to get a lot of how-to/what’s-that questions about sex acts and sex toys. A column explaining butt plugs to readers who knew nothing about them—and lacked easy access to butt-plug info—was as much fun to read as it was to write. But every sex act and every sex toy has its own Wiki page now, which means I don’t get to write fun columns about butt plugs anymore, READER, and you don’t get to read them. Columns filled with questions about and from people behaving badly are never going to be as delightsome as those butt-plug columns of yore. But thank you for writing in to share your concern, READER, and rest assured that nothing truly terrible has happened to me—besides Trump, of course, but Trump happened to all of us, not just me. Still, I don’t want to lose you as a reader, so I’m going to make an effort to sunny things up a bit over the next few columns. OK! Let’s see what else came in the mail today! Hopefully something fun! My significant other and I rarely have sex. A while ago, I had a sexual encounter with her daughter. We continued to have sexual encounters for some time. Now my significant other and I may be getting married. Her daughter and I broke it off, but it started up again after a week. I am attempting to break things off with my significant other’s daughter, but I’m having a hard time. Restraining Urges Is Necessary Ugh. Do you see what I mean, READER? It’s hard to come through with jokes, erudition and uplifting words when you’re responding to questions like this one. OK, RUIN. Marrying a woman whose adult daughter you can’t keep your dick out of … yeah, that’s a bad idea. (And her daughter is an adult, right?!? You’re not Roy Moore-ing it, are you?) Sooner or later, your significant other is going to discover what’s been going on, and your relationship with both of these women will be destroyed. You’ll be able to move out and move on, RUIN, but your former
What happened to the fun, smart, helpful Dan? significant other isn’t going to be so lucky— because while you won’t always be her SO, and hopefully won’t ever be her husband, her daughter is always going to be her child. So while you may get out from this relationship with some light scarring, your ex and her daughter will be left with open, gaping wounds for the rest of their lives. My advice: Pull up your pants; cancel the wedding; and get as far away from your SO and her daughter as possible. A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were engaging in mutual masturbation when she squirted all over my hand—a large amount—and she was completely mortified. It was the first time it happened for her, and it’s happened several times since. She is upset. I’ve been with a couple of other women in the past who squirted, and I am absolutely fine with it. I love it, in fact! I did my absolute best to reassure her that I think it’s great and there’s nothing to be ashamed of, but she’s really embarrassed every time. The last time, she was close to tears with fears that she’d urinated. My question: There’s so much great writing about female ejaculation around, but rather than bombard my GF—who is the most amazing, incredible person—with links to article upon article, how can I help her feel OK about this? Sincere Questioner Understands It’s Really Terrific This one’s pretty good, READER. It’s an oldschool, pre-internet Savage Love question, sexy and playful—charming, even. OK, SQUIRT. You can help her feel OK about this by continuing to use your words (“I love this; it’s so hot!”), by sharing those articles with her (she needs to hear from and about other women with her superpower) and by lapping that shit up. Swallow, SQUIRT. And so what if it is piss? (And many argue it isn’t.) Piss isn’t sterile, as Mike Pesca took time out of his day to explain to me on the Savage Lovecast back when alleged human being Donald Trump’s alleged pee tape was all over the news. (Goddammit. Our current political climate snuck up on me. Sorry about that, READER.) There are a lot more bacteria and whatever else in saliva, and we dump spit into each other’s mouths like it’s maple fucking syrup. If you guys are swapping other fluids regularly, why not swap a little of this one, too? Read Savage Love every Wednesday at CVIndependent.com; email@example.com; @ fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.
COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 39
OPINION COMICS & JONESIN’ CROSSWORD
38 Gadget 39 Bygone Italian money Across 40 According to 1 Put on ___ of paint 41 Marshawn Lynch and 6 Carmaker based in Emmitt Smith, e.g. Munich 44 Latent 9 Former world power, 47 Reznor’s band, for short initially 13 It’s formed by small 48 Pickled vegetable droplets and shows 49 Fin. neighbor white rings (unlike 50 Scale on a review site its colorful rainy that determines if counterpart) movies are “Certified 15 “Go team!” cheer Fresh” 16 Part of some organs 53 Amateur 17 As an example broadcaster’s 18 Party table item equipment, once 20 Peace offering 55 Treat table salt, in 22 Dir. opposite of WSW a way 23 Get up (get on up!) 56 Sherlock Hemlock’s 24 Lout catchphrase on 25 “Just a sec” Sesame Street 27 Homer Simpson 57 Shady tree exclamation 58 Grade that’s passing, 28 Scone topper but not by much 29 August, in Avignon 59 1040 IDs 30 Frolicked 60 Go slaloming 33 Mary, Queen of ___ 61 Collect together 34 Kitchen gadgets that really shred Down 37 Faker than fake 1 Be able to buy “You’re the Toppings”— get a pizza the action
2 “Gangsta’s Paradise” rapper 3 Monstrous, like Shrek 4 None of the ___ 5 Subdue, with “down” 6 ___ City (Comedy Central series) 7 ‘Til Tuesday bassist/ singer Aimee 8 Question of choice 9 Network merged into the CW in 2006 10 Sneaky way into a building 11 Racecar mishaps 12 Feels contrite 14 Monitor-topping recorders 19 “What have we here?” 21 Increased, with “up” 26 Tied, in a way 28 Baby kangaroo 30 Same Kind of Different as Me actress Zellweger 31 I strain? 32 “End of discussion” 33 Touchtone keypad button 34 Gossip sessions, slangily
35 BoJack of an animated Netflix series 36 Lymphatic mass near a tonsil 37 Some stuffed animals 41 Part of the eye with rods and cones 42 Ramona’s sister, in Beverly Cleary books 43 Put emphasis on 45 Flight info, briefly 46 Computer network terminals 47 The Book of Henry actress Watts 48 Make shadowy 51 Cereal partner 52 Home of Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” for short 54 Some city map lines, for short ©2017-2018 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@ jonesincrosswords.com) Find the answers in the “About” section of CVIndependent.com!
40 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT
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The January 2018 issue of the Coachella Valley's alternative news source.