Page 1

VOL.1 | ISSUE 4

THOSE WHO PAVED THE WAY

MEET FIVE LOCALS WHO SPENT DECADES FIGHTING FOR LGBT RIGHTS BY SIMPLY BEING THEMSELVES By Brian Blueskye

Our Special Pride Edition—Page 19


2 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

A Note From the Editor

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

Editor/Publisher Jimmy Boegle Editorial Layout Wayne Acree Advertising Sales Matt Stauber Advertising Design Betty Jo Boegle

The Coachella Valley Independent print edition is published every month. All content is ©2013 and may not be published or reprinted in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The Independent is available free of charge throughout the Coachella Valley, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased for $1 by calling (760) 9044208. The Independent may be distributed only by the Independent’s authorized distributors. The Independent is a proud member and/or supporter of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, the Local Independent Online News Publishers, the Desert Business Association, the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, artsOasis and the American Advertising Federation/Palm Springs-Desert Cities.

CVIndependent.com

COVER DESIGN BY wayne acree; PHOTOS BY KEVIN FITZGERALD

Contributors Alejandra Alarcon, Richard Almada, Gustavo Arellano, John Backderf, Victor Barocas, Brian Blueskye, Nicole C. Brambila, Max Cannon, Kevin Fitzgerald, Bill Frost, Bob Grimm, Alex Harrington, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, Keith Knight, Christina Lange, Marylee Pangman, Erin Peters, Deidre Pike, Brenda Rincon, Anita Rufus, Jen Sorenson, Robert Victor

In late 2002, I was talking to the publisher of the Tucson Weekly about the editor’s job. I was working for what was then a corporate sister paper, Las Vegas CityLife. The Tucson publisher, Tom, had apparently heard from my Las Vegas publisher that I was seeing someone—but Tom didn’t know the details. “So, I understand you have a girlfriend in Las Vegas,” Tom said. I suddenly faced a split-second decision—the kind of awkward and potentially damaging decision that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face from time to time. “Actually, I have a boyfriend in Vegas,” I replied. Thankfully, everything worked out: I got the job (and would happily keep it for nearly a decade), and the boyfriend and I recently celebrated 11 years together. But far too often, things don’t work out when LGBT folks have to make the split-second decision whether to come out— even today, in 2013. This brings us to this month’s fantastic cover story. Over the last few months, Brian Blueskye and I have been looking for older LGBT locals to profile for this Pride-themed story package. We wanted to honor generations of LGBT folks who—simply by living their lives—fought for equality and fairness, therefore paving the way for legal marriage, for federal benefits, and for people like me to feel comfortable telling the truth during a job interview. Although we quite didn’t achieve the ethnic diversity for which we were hoping, I think you’ll agree that Brian did an amazing job of telling the stories of these normal, yet somehow also extraordinary, men and women. You can find the piece on Page 19. • On another note: I want to personally thank everyone who played a part in the li’l party we threw on Wednesday, Oct. 16. OK, so the party wasn’t so little. In fact, hundreds of Independent readers, contributors, advertisers and (what I hope will be) future advertisers came out to celebrate both our one-year anniversary online, and our move to a monthly print schedule. Thanks to Brook and the folks at Clinic Bar and Lounge (where you can find me nursing a Maker’s and Coke several days a week), who made everyone who showed up comfortable and happy; Alex Harrington, aka All Night Shoes, who turned in an amazing DJ set (including a by-request Patsy Cline remix that blew my mind); The Vibe, whose appearance was something of a surprise, albeit a most welcome one; and Ryan “Motel” Campbell (with support from as Debra Ann Mumm and the rest of the Venus Studios folks), who created a stunning mural before our very eyes. Most of all, I want to thank you, our readers—whether you were able to attend the party or not. Without you, the Independent is just a bunch of pixels or ink on newsprint. You’re what gives our new and growing publication life. Thanks for picking us up each month, and for pointing your browser to CVIndependent.com. Thanks for following us on Facebook, Twitter and even Google Plus. Thanks for frequenting our advertisers—and thanks for telling your friends about us. Welcome to our special 2013 Pride Issue. Enjoy!

—Jimmy Boegle, jboegle@cvindependent.com


NOVEMBER 2013

COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 3

CVIndependent.com


4 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

OPINION

KNOW YOUR

NEIGHBORS

Comparing and Contrasting Two Local Women’s Political Gatherings

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/OPINION

By Anita Rufus e like to group things: a covey of quail, a flock of ducks, a flight of swans, a pack of wolves. Well, I recently attended two very different events in which neighbors came in groups. First, I had lunch with the Democratic Women of the Desert (DWD) to hear a discussion about the current and future state of Medicare. The program featured our local congressman, Dr. Raul Ruiz, an emergency room physician who has been instrumental in providing health-clinic services in places ranging from Haiti to our own local poor communities; and Dr. Jeffrey E. Kaufman, an Orange County urologist who also teaches at the University of California at Irvine and has participated on the California Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee since 1997. A streak of tigers. Later the same week, I attended an evening meeting of the Palm Springs chapter of Republican Women Federated (RWF), produced by Elise Richmond. (Elise does a conservative call-in talk show every Sunday morning just before my own show on KNews Radio.) The Republican Women’s event featured author and filmmaker Joel Gilbert, presenting a showing of his film Dreams From My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception, described as “the real history of Barack Obama and his family.” The film purports to prove, via a combination of known facts and “re-creations of probable events,” that President Obama’s father wasn’t really his father, and that Obama is a committed Marxist-Socialist (with some “red diaper baby” Communism inexplicably thrown in). A rhumba of rattlesnakes. Both events included women and men in attendance, although there was a greater percentage of men at the RWF event, perhaps because it was a “special event,” as opposed to a regular meeting. Each group had a “social hour” preceding the start of the programs where members can meet and greet, renew acquaintances and catch up on news and gossip. A murder of crows. Food was part of each meeting as well. DWD was a lunch meeting, well-catered with a lovely table setting—in fact, extra tables had to be moved in to handle an overflow crowd. RWF had a buffet-style table with spicy wings, thick-crust pizza, garlic bread and salad. The wings were delicious! A brood of chickens. DWD’s attendance was diverse, with board members (including the president, Josephine Kennedy) from AfricanAmerican and Hispanic heritages, spanning all ages. There were lawyers, teachers and retirees. A drove of donkeys. RWF’s attendance was, at least to my eyes, all-white. There were lawyers, teachers and retirees. A herd of elephants. DWD’s stated purpose is “promoting social, economic, and political policies that reflect women’s priorities.” One of RWF’s CVIndependent.com

stated missions is to “increase the effectiveness of women in the cause of good government through active political participation.” To me, the most interesting contrast between the two groups is that DWD is clearly “Democratic” in identifying itself—part of a political party—while RWF’s website conflates “conservative” with “Republican,” as if the two were necessarily synonymous. A business of ferrets. The DWD meeting opened with Kennedy welcoming everyone, introducing club officers, noteworthy guests and aspiring candidates in attendance. None did more than stand and acknowledge the introduction. A convocation of eagles. RWF opened their meeting with a prayer, which included requesting God’s assistance to U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee to hold firm on overturning the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). The prayer closed in Christ’s name. (Do they have Jewish members?) That was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, something that did not happen at DWD. Introductions of club officers were also made. State Assembly candidate Gary Jeandron was introduced and gave a short, folksy speech, calling Palm Springs RWF “my club.” A pandemonium of parrots. The discussion of Medicare at DWD was thoughtful, loaded with facts, and frank about threats to guaranteed care for the elderly and disabled, primarily due to rising health-care costs. The discussion covered proposals to increase the numbers of primary-care doctors, as well as the expansion of medical services provided by physician assistants and trained healthcare workers. A colony of penguins. RWF showed Gilbert’s entire film, after brief opening remarks by him. The film seems designed to scare rather than to inform. It includes a narrator, supposedly President Obama’s “voice,” reporting conversations that would have taken place privately between two individuals. Gilbert does not explain how he knows what actually occurred. Oh, yeah, there’s that pesky disclaimer, a “re-creation of probable events.”

A scourge of mosquitos. A question-and-answer session followed each program. At DWD, the questions (including mine) centered on budget cuts, health care for the poor, the expansion of insurance coverage, and a refutation of claims of rationing of health services, particularly to the elderly. At RWF, questions (including mine) about how some of the dots were being connected, often based purely on conjecture, were often responded to by writer/director Gilbert with: “Look it up on Google.” Yet, when one does, one finds primarily Gilbert’s own commentary, and similar conjecture without much supporting evidence. A fever of stingrays. Perhaps the strangest part of the movie was the claim that President Obama had plastic surgery to redo his nose so that he wouldn’t look as much like his “real” father. However, no proof is offered other than side-by-side photos. A wisdom of wombats. When I first told Elise that I planned to attend the RWF meeting, she jokingly responded, “Be sure to wear a trench coat—you never know what might happen!” I asked that she not introduce me; I wanted to experience the event without prejudicing how others might perceive me. However, after I asked a couple of questions, Elise decided she would introduce me anyway. This came after another attendee followed up one of my questions with what seemed like equal perplexity at the illogic of some of Gilbert’s claims. (Perhaps Elise felt the need to make sure everyone knew I wasn’t really a Republican.) A colony of bats. Following the meeting, a woman commented on my “nerve” to have attended, and one gentleman, who introduced himself as a lawyer who occasionally heard my show, said that although we probably wouldn’t agree on anything, he was glad to meet me and was pleased that I was there. A host of sparrows. What did I learn? The Democratic Women of the Desert, although admittedly partisan, seemed far more interested in getting and understanding information about issues. The Republican Women Federated, although admittedly at an event with a specific purpose, were focused on trashing the president. Before I left the RWF event, Elise thanked me for coming and showing “such courage.” Why on Earth would anyone need courage to attend a public meeting? A nattering of neighbors. Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Know Your Neighbors appears every other week at CVIndependent.com.


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 5

NOVEMBER 2013

OPINION

ILLEGAL DUMPING SUCKS

Join the Salton Sea-Area Cleanup Effort on Saturday, Nov. 9

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/OPINION

By Christina Lange have a message for the person who intentionally dumps trash and unwanted items into the desert. You are a total jackass. It does not matter whether you dump in a neighborhood or an open space. Shame on you, as you are responsible for: • Environmental degradation. Bringing in hazardous waste, plastics, plastic bags, diapers, clothes, tires and commercial waste is not conducive to a healthy ecosystem. Waste gets into waterways; it damages vegetation; animals and birds eat it; it harms the rodents and crickets that inhabit these lands. “Dump sites containing waste tires provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can multiply 100 times faster than normal during our warmer months. Severe illnesses, including West Nile virus and encephalitis, have been attributed to disease-carrying mosquitoes originating from discarded waste tires,” said the Imperial County Public Health Department in a 2007 research paper. • Physical and health risks—especially to kids. Kids might see some of these areas as playgrounds—which means they could be playing in chemical waste. Rodents living at the dumpsite might have the hantavirus, and there is high risk of sharp objects like broken glass, rusty metal nails and so forth. • Lowering property values. Who wants to live in a neighborhood where there is a large amount of trash? According to the Keep America Beautiful website (kab.org): “93 percent of homeowners say a littered neighborhood would decrease their assessment of a home’s value and influences their decision to purchase a property. And 40 percent estimated that litter would reduce a home’s value by 10 percent to 24 percent.” • Using taxpayer money unnecessarily. Billions of dollars, both from government and private sources, are spent each year cleaning up other people’s trash. According to a 2009 Keep America Beautiful study, the United States spends $11.5 BILLION on cleaning up litter. This does NOT include

This huge dump site near the Salton Sea was cleaned up by volunteers.

organizing campaigns to educate people not to dump. Let’s put that in perspective: If your salary is $29,000 per year, it would take 34,482 years to earn just $1 billion. Wouldn’t you prefer that this money be spent on something useful, rather than loathsome individuals or groups who can’t be responsible for their own shit? • Trashing the Salton Sea. If you dump your trash into a wash, it will move down the wash. There isn’t much rain—but when it rains, it pours, and all that trash will end up in the sea. And let’s not forget our fabulous wind. Guess who eats the trash? The birds and the fish. Hazardous liquids seep into the soil and pollute waterways. Oh, but I hear some of you say: The Salton Sea deserves to dry up anyway. Well, if the sea is allowed to dry up, the trash and the pollutants will not. Instead, they’ll blow through the valley during high winds. Thanks for all that, illegal dumper. So why do people dump in the desert? What on Earth makes them think it is OK? Laziness, a lack of education, because it is easy, and/or a total disregard for anything outside of their narrow world-view, for starters. Perhaps it also includes a misunderstanding of the desert landscape: To many, the desert landscape is not alive; they do not see the damage that their dumping can create. However, the desert is actually an ecological wonder, and if people would spend more time in it, they may begin to have a different connection with this landscape in which we all live. So what can we do about illegal dumping? Mainly, it boils down to education: • Most trash-haulers will pick up bulky items and electronic waste, often for free, on designated days, or if you ask in advance. Hazardous materials can be dropped off at various locations, and a lot of communities organize annual or twicea-year household-hazardous-waste collection days. Each city is different, and it may take a little bit of research and planning—but that is what being an adult is all about. Google is handy; type in the name of your city, your trash service, and the service you require, and you’ll probably have more links and

information than you can swing an old motor-oil bottle at. • Educate kids while they are young about the effects of illegal dumping. Every school district should organize an annual cleanup day in the areas surrounding their schools. Every child is better off after attending a community cleanup, as they see first-hand the effects of illegal dumping—and the time and effort that is required to clear an area of trash. • Spread the word about what we can all do if one of us sees someone in the act of dumping illegally, or the aftermath. For one, you can call the local sheriff’s department or police department. While illegal dumping tends to be unfortunately low on law enforcement’s priority list, they are responsible for acting on your behalf. There are also task forces and other resources in place, like IVAN (ivanonline.org), which is set up to take reports on illegal dumping activity. The website is pretty easy to use—and you can even upload photographs.

“Litter, and it will hurt. It hurts the community, and the fines will hurt when you get caught. Half of the litter is accidental, from things blown off trucks and such, but the other half doesn’t reflect positively on the community.” —Walt Thompson • Would-be illegal dumpers need to understand that there are consequences. In Riverside County, according to the waste management website, “The fine is $5,000. If the illegal dumping involves commercial quantities, you may be imprisoned up to six months and fined $3,000 upon the first conviction, $6,000 upon the second conviction, and $10,000 for a third conviction. Vehicles may be seized and impounded for 30 days when used in the act of illegal dumping; related costs may exceed $1,000.” The county has started putting up cameras at well-known illegal trash sites, too. If I had my way, I would walk every dumper out to their own personal dump site, make them pick up their own trash, videotape the whole thing, and shame them each publicly. This year’s annual community cleanup at the Salton Sea takes place on Saturday, Nov. 9; please come and volunteer from 9 a.m. to noon at the corner of Sea Elf Street and Salton Bay Drive, off South Marina Drive in Salton City. Some snacks and water will be provided. as will gloves, bags and some picker-uppers. If you have any questions, contact me at info@ christinalange.com. CVIndependent.com


6 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

OPINION

THE POTTED DESERT GARDEN

It’s Time to Replant Your Garden for the Fall and Winter Months

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/OPINION

By MARYLEE PANGMAN any avid gardeners and enthusiasts have a large number of planted pots. At my high point, I counted more than 55 around my home; the majority of them were planted with colorful floral bouquets. Even though I love the desert and the colors related to it, I wanted more gemstone shades around—up close and personal. Potted gardens allow me to do that easily—there’s no digging in the ground! But when it came time to change out the annual color in all those pots twice a year, it was costly. My first step in fixing this was to combine a central plant—a perennial plant, shrub or tree that I enjoy—in some pots along with seasonal plantings. Getting smarter still, I filled other pots with succulents, which led to savings both in the cost of replacement plants and water needs, as the succulents do not need to be on an irrigation drip line. Well, the fall and winter season is upon us, so it’s one of those two times per year when we must improve our potted gardens. We want to refresh some pots with flowers, enrich the soil for all plantings, and create living art. For snowbirds returning: Now is the time to create a reason why you leave your snow-covered grass to come to the Coachella Valley. Because we’ll often experience nighttime lows of 30 to 45 degrees (or even lower), you need to keep these chilly temps in mind when you make your choices for plantings. Also consider the sun: It shifts from a northern angle in the summer to a more southerly angle now, so plants that were getting a lot of sun will not get as much in the winter—and plantings on the northern side of the home may be in complete shade. You need to note where your winter sun is so that plants that do well in the shade are not blasted with the desert rays, and vice versa. We are lucky, though: We have enough warmth in the Coachella Valley that we do not (often) risk the severe frosts that some of our desert relatives experience. Winter annual flowers supply brilliant color, grow quickly and offer a “wow” factor to your desert landscape. Add annuals to pots that have an established central plant, and fill smaller pots with bouquets of your favorites to give you a garden that will thrill you all winter long. (See the accompanying list of appropriate plants.) Here are the steps to take while replanting. (If you have pots in which you’re not putting any new plants, be sure to add fertilizer, and water thoroughly with the application.) Step 1: Remove all dead plants, dying plants or past-their-prime plants. Be sure to get out all old roots and anything that does not seem healthy—and be somewhat careful around the roots of the central plant. Step 2: Add fresh potting soil and a handful of time-release fertilizer; mix it in with the old soil as much as possible. If the old soil is entirely root-bound, you are going to need to remove the central plant, discard the soil and start with fresh soil. Step 3: Plant your new plants, leaving an inch or two between plants. Step 4: Pack additional soil in around the plants, making sure you do not bury the stems deeper than they were originally planted in their nursery containers. Step 5: Water thoroughly with a gentle shower. Be careful while shopping for those new flowers at the nursery. Grab an empty flat or carton; place your selections on the flat; and then step back. Look at it hard and long, and be sure the flowers sit right with you. A 24-inch pot with one central planting will need approximately 14 CVIndependent.com

4-inch plants. If you select any gallon plants, they can replace or four smaller ones. I urge you to use 4-inch plants and not six-packs. When you go shopping and bring your plants home, water them well, and plant as soon as possible—in other words, on the same day. If you need to wait until the next morning, place them in the shade to rest. Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener, and she has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments and questions at potteddesert@gmail.com, and follow the Potted Desert on Facebook. Her column appears every Tuesday at CVIndependent.com.

Winter garden glory!

Good Winter Flowers for the Potted Desert Garden

African Daisy Ageratum Alyssum (fragrant!) Arctotis Calendula Candytuft Carnation (Dianthus family) Cyclamen (shade) Delphinium (late winter) Dianthus (look for the Amazon variety) Diascia Dusty Miller (a gray-leafed plant for contrast) Foxglove (late winter) Geranium (frost-tender) Gerbera Daisies (afternoon shade) Hollyhock (late winter) Larkspur (late winter) Lobelia (frost-tender) Nasturtiums (fragrant!) Nemesia Nierembergia Ornamental Cabbage Osteospermum (related to African Daisy) Pansy Petunia Poppy (Iceland) Primrose (shade) Ranunculus (afternoon shade) Schizanthus (Be sure to ask for this winner!) Snapdragons Stock (fragrant!) Sweet Peas (fragrant!) Viola


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 7

NOVEMBER 2013

OPINION

ASK A MEXICAN!

Wouldn’t Locking Up Undocumented Immigrants Cause More Harm Than Good?

!

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/OPINION

By Gustavo Arellano EAR MEXICAN: With the current state and federal prison system (especially here in California) spitting out even harder criminals due to overcrowding; and gang activity allowed to a certain degree by the “system”; why are some legislators, government officials and American citizens stating that illegal immigration can be fixed by sending undocumented immigrants to prison? Our prison system, I think, would create more criminally minded individuals … and, if not, expose immigrants looking for a better opportunity in life to the savage nature of living behind bars. I don’t know if there will ever be a law passed that would provide such punishment to those crossing the border, but with these Middle East wars using up a high percentage of United States resources that could be used for domestic issues, I feel that if the citizens of the United States ever vote in the “wrong” presidential candidate, our new president will be pressured to pass a law that would only lead to immigrants of all nationalities having an even more negative stigma. We can sit here and discuss facts and charts and percentages of those who are in prison, and if there are more white people in jail compared to Mexicans, blah blah blah … but what do we need to do to avoid such a scenario from occurring?

DREAMers who chained themselves to the White House fence not long ago) are not only a welcome development, but absolutely vital.

Worried for Wabs

DEAR MEXICAN: Do Mexicans use cream of mushroom soup, or is that a gringo/Campbell’s ploy to get white people to eat Mexican food? I grew up with parents from Kansas, and we lived in New Mexico in late 1960s and early ’70s. Since we were from the casserole generation, cream of mushroom soup was a staple of all casseroles, and my mom did not have the love for true green chile. The family chicken enchilada recipe called for cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta cheese. I loved it growing up, but now that I am older and beyond nostalgia, the enchiladas taste like shit, so I am working on a new family recipe. The process of formulating a new recipe has me wondering if cream of mushroom soup is used by those of Hispanic descent at all—or is it just a post-Depression white person’s abomination?

DEAR GABACHO: Methinks you had a bit too much of the pruno before typing this letter, but I follow you: You’re saying that it’s wrong for politicians to enact draconian laws that imprison undocumented folks, and that we should elect a president who wouldn’t support such measures. Problem is, American voters went for the “right” presidential choice with Barack Obama these past two elections, and look at the results: More deportations have occurred under his administration (about 400,000 people per year) than there ever were in the era of Dubya (who, for his many, many faults and sins, at least had the right ideas about Mexis, given his sister-in-law is one). Mitt Romney, of course, was a far-worse choice, what with him stealing the satiric idea of legendary cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz that illegal immigrants “self-deport”—but Obama is bad, and the escalating protests against him by the left (witness the seven

One Royal Vomit

DEAR GABACHO: Don’t forget that a lot of Mexicans came of age in the same era as you, so while cream of mushroom isn’t exactly a Mexican pantry staple like, say, Tapatío, it’s not unheard of. Mexican food is chameleonic and adapts to what’s available, ensuring its brilliance. For instance? My mami’s magnificent buñuelos—giant fried disks of cinnamon-sugar goodness—are made not with flour tortillas or even masa, but … rice paper that chinitos use for their spring rolls. Somewhere, Rick Bayless se cago his pants … and that’s a good thing! Catch the Mexican every Wednesday morning at CVIndependent.com. Ask the Mexican at themexican@askamexican.net; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or ask him a video question atyoutube.com/askamexicano!

CVIndependent.com


8 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

CVIndependent.com

NOVEMBER 2013


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 9

NOVEMBER 2013

•• Paved roads mean better East Valley health •• Veterans Day at the General Patton Memorial Museum •• An interview with author Richard Rodriguez •• November Astronomy •• The Stroke Recovery Center's Winter Wonderland Ball www.cvindependent.com/news

SAVINGS FROM THE SUN Palm Springs Unified Plans on Saving Big Bucks With the Help of Parking-Lot Solar Panels

10

CVIndependent.com


10 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

NEWS

SOLAR SAVINGS A Local School District Locks in Low Power Rates

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

By Nicole C. Brambila

These parking-lot solar structures at Palm Springs High School will help the Palm Springs Unified School District save $6.9 million or more in energy costs over 20 years. JIMMY BOEGLE CVIndependent.com

he Palm Springs Unified School District is expected to save more than $6.9 million in energy costs over the next two decades after the installation of solar systems at campuses across the district. Among the 11 sites, including the district’s service center, is Cathedral City High School, where district officials were slated to hold a “flip the switch” event on Monday, Oct. 28. Some of the solar systems are already in place, and the rest are expected to be installed by the end of the year, according to information distributed on a district PowerPoint presentation. The district includes schools in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Thousand Palms. With five different rate tiers between May and October, calculating the district’s power rate is complex, said Julie Arthur, executive director of facilities and planning for the district. However, the district has projected a savings of $6,949,731 over the next 20 years. That figure assumes a roughly 2 percent annual increase in energy costs. Arthur said the true savings could be as much as $25 million, or even more, because the district has historically seen 3.75 percent increases, Arthur said. “Just this summer, Southern California Edison had a 5 percent rate increase, so we’ve already saved 5 percent,” Arthur said. (In an annoying bit of bureaucratic nonsense, Robert Villegas, a Southern California Edison spokesman, referred questions about rate increases over the years to the California Public Utilities Commission. When asked for that information, California Public Utilities Commission information officer Christopher Chow referred us back to Southern California Edison.) Arthur said the district had explored wind energy as well, but opted for a solar solution with SunEdison, which assumed the installation and equipment costs. The district is only required to pay for the state inspections. Arthur did not know the precise cost, but estimated it would be roughly “a couple thousand” per site. Because the solar panels will continue

to generate power during the summer months when school is out, yet area energy consumption is at its peak, school and company officials called the partnership “a win-win.” The school board approved a 20-year energy-service contract with SunEdison. It effectively locks Palm Springs Unified in to the 2012 rates the district paid to Southern California Edison. “Wouldn’t you love to pay the same amount for your gallon of gasoline for the next 20 years?” Arthur said. Formed in 2003, SunEdison focuses on making and installing solar systems for schools, prisons, commercial buildings and utilities. “I’d love to have solar panels at every school,” Arthur said. “We just don’t have the parking lots to make it an option.” She said the district is also looking to add two additional school sites: Raymond Cree and Nellie Coffman middle schools. Palm Springs Unified is one of three school districts statewide with SunEdison contracts. “It seems to be mostly Southern California schools that are showing interest at this point,” said Dawn Brister, a SunEdison spokeswoman. “Palm Springs is an early adopter for solar. They really are ahead of the game.” The district’s move to solar was part of its 2010 energy master plan, said Shari Stewart, Palm Springs Unified’s school board president. “One of our main objectives is to go as green as possible, if we (can) save money,” Stewart said. As for other valley school districts: Desert Sands Unified, which includes schools in Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Coachella, La Quinta and Indio, is “researching potential projects but (has) nothing in the works at this time,” said Cynthia McDaniel, assistant superintendent of business services. It is unclear whether Coachella Valley Unified has or is exploring solar power. Anita Meraz, a spokeswoman for the district with schools in Indio, Coachella, Thermal, Mecca and Salton City, did not return multiple emails or calls to her office and cell phone. “I’m happy we’re one of the first,” said Stewart, of Palm Springs Unified. “We’re going to be saving a tremendous amount of money over the long haul.”


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 11

NOVEMBER 2013

NEWS

DUST BE GONE

Paved Roads Mean Less Pollution, Better Health in the Eastern Coachella Valley

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

By Alejandra Alarcon and Brenda Rincon esidents of Thermal scored a major victory in their 16-year fight for clean air when Riverside County was awarded the funding to pave the roads of 31 trailer parks in the unincorporated communities of Eastern Coachella Valley. The $4.1 million project is scheduled to begin as early as next summer, and should be completed within two years. “When cars pass by, they lift a lot of dust, and it affects everyone that lives here,” said Margarita Gamez, a resident who has been active in the grassroots effort since 1997. In 2008, Pueblo Unido, a community-development corporation, joined the fight for improved environmental conditions in the region’s trailer parks, which are typically situated in areas that lack potable water, sewer systems and basic infrastructure. Trailer-park residents were the backbone of the organizing effort, and the idea to push for paved roads came from them, said Sergio Carranza, executive director and founder of Pueblo Unido. “I’m just facilitating the project,” he added Carranza said that dust and fine-particulate pollution from the unpaved roads are linked to the prevalence of asthma and respiratory problems among the many families who live in the trailer parks. The paved roads will also improve accessibility for residents and alleviate another major problem in these communities: flooding caused by heavy rains. Pueblo Unido saw hope for funding when the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) began accepting proposals for environmentally friendly projects, funded by AB 1318 emission-mitigation fees from the Sentinel Energy Project. Meetings were held in a number of Riverside County locations to gather community input—but many in the eastern Coachella Valley felt left out of the conversation. “There were only public hearings being made in the western Coachella Valley,” said Carranza. “We (Pueblo Unido) made sure

that the eastern Coachella Valley was taken care of, too.” Pueblo Unido received backing for their roads proposal from Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez, who introduced AB 1318 in 2009, and Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit, who co-authored the bill when he was a state senator. As a result, county officials and held meetings in the eastern Coachella Valley. “We had a lot of public hearings all over the valley on how this money should be spent. One of the witnesses was a young boy from the eastern Coachella Valley. He had to walk to school every day of his life. He felt that the air quality affected him greatly. (His story) impacted me and other members that are working on this project,” said Benoit, who is a member of the SCAQMD governing board. SCAQMD, the manager of the mitigation-fee funds, entered into a contract with Riverside County to pave approximately 8.3 miles of unpaved roads within 31 mobile home parks containing

St. Anthony’s is one of the 31 trailer parks that will be paved, meaning cleaner air for residents. ALEJANDRA ALARCON

483 mobile-home units. According to Darin Schemmer, communications director for Benoit, “The actual construction may begin as early as summer 2014. The remaining steps the Riverside County Transportation Department needs to take include completing the design and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) environmental document, (and) preparing, advertising, bidding and awarding a construction contract.” The county, in turn, has contracted with Pueblo Unido to continue to be the liaison to the community that came together to make their needs heard. “I advocated strongly that AQMD must provide technical assistance to grantees, and ultimately, we convinced them to do so. Another thing we did was encourage smaller, community-based grantees, to the extent possible, to partner with agencies that had the resources and capacity to present a strong application,” said Perez. “Such was the case of Pueblo Unido in partnering with Riverside County for the successful paving project.” However, that does not mean that everyone is happy with the SCAQMD and the emission-mitigation fee distribution. More than $17 million of the $53 million mitigation fee fund total was awarded to CV Link, a proposed 52-mile multipurpose trail from Palm Springs to Mecca. Tourism leaders aggressively pushed for these funds on the grounds that the entire Coachella Valley would benefit. Not everyone in the eastern Coachella Valley believes that would be the case. “The road from Palm Springs to Mecca doesn’t benefit us. It only benefits wealthier communities,” said Gamez, who believes the trail is being geared toward tourists. Perez, however, said he sees the environmental benefits of both the trail project and the paving project at the trailer parks. “One of the things we have emphasized from the beginning is the need for an equitable distribution of grant-funding, so that many worthwhile projects and grantees would be able to use their ingenuity and community know-how to address local air quality concerns,” he said. With the paving project now in place, Carranza said Pueblo Unido would continue listening to and organizing residents of these rural communities, in their quest for a better living environment. Future projects include a water-purification system and the opening of a learning center. Alejandra Alarcon is a reporter for Coachella Unincorporated, a youth media startup in the east Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of the California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. Brenda Rincon is Coachella Unincorporated’s professional adviser. The purpose is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. “Coachella Unincorporated” refers to the region youth journalists cover, but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset. For more information, visitcoachellaunincorporated.org. CVIndependent.com


12 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

CVIndependent.com

NOVEMBER 2013


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 13

NOVEMBER 2013

NEWS

HONORING VETERANS WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

The General Patton Memorial Museum Recognizes the Sacrifices Military Members Have Made

By Kevin Fitzgerald bout 30 miles east of Indio, perched on the high ground of Chiriaco Summit, stands the General Patton Memorial Museum. It is located at the heart of what was the Desert Training Center, established by Gen. George S. Patton in 1942 to train American troops in desert warfare in preparation for the invasion of North Africa. In its brief, two-year existence, it became the largest Army training facility in the United States, through which passed 60 divisions and more than 1 million soldiers. On Monday, Nov. 11—Veterans Day—a crowd of some 1,000 dignitaries, honorees, veterans and their families will gather in this space with local citizens to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of all American veterans. This year, the traditional event will serve a dual purpose: It will be a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the museum as well. “This 25th anniversary celebration of the museum’s opening is a very big thing to our board,” said Mike Pierson, the newly appointed general manager of the museum, “especially to co-founder Margit Chiriaco Rusche, who still operates the café family business next door and acts as our first vice president. Also, original founding board member Leslie Cone gave her input for this event. “For 25 years, this has been a labor of love for both of them and for all who have served on the board.” The ceremony—which is open to all—begins at 11 a.m. “We’ll begin with an air salute flyover of World War II aircraft flown by Warbirds West,” said Pierson, a U.S. Special Forces veteran who served on the Patton Museum board before becoming the general manager. “Following will be a re-enactment of World War II battles. We have the consulate general of the Republic of South Korea coming in from Los Angeles as our special guest to unveil our new Korean War Memorial Wall. Gen. George Patton’s daughter Helen, who lives in Europe and is the president of the Patton Foundation, will be our keynote speaker.” Pierson said U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz, Assemblyman Brian Nestande, Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez and Supervisor John Benoit are all expected to attend the free event, which will include a chili cook-off and a raffle. “Most of all, we’ll recognize all the veterans who have served from all the war eras. It will be quite a party,” Pierson said. While the Veterans Day celebration is always the highlight of the museum’s calendar, the future is filled with plans for many additions and improvements to the museum. “Friends and community supporters are going to build us a new room for both storage and to use as a vault,” Pierson said. “Some members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars are going to renovate and re-locate the last remaining original building from the former Camp Young to our grounds for use as a maintenance office. One of our board members is restoring our 2 1/2-ton

Museum general manager Mike Pierson. KEVIN FITZGERALD

truck right now; another friend is rebuilding our vintage World War II Sherman tank, which we should move to the position right up front in our tank yard. We’re going to create a botanical garden of indigenous desert plants in our garden and tank yard, and develop an approved school course curriculum to offer for credit to student groups who visit the museum to learn about the history of U.S. warfare or to study the vegetation of the desert. We’ll build an education center out in the chapel area. “I have a lot of ideas, but never enough time,” Pierson chuckled. Like many museums, the General Patton Memorial Museum depends on memberships, sponsorships and donations to stay afloat. “It is difficult to keep the doors of the museum open relying only on the small amount we charge for admission and our small amount of gift-shop sales,” Pierson said. “Our operating expenses are more than most people realize. For instance, we have to maintain a constant temperature in our buildings in order to preserve the perishable artifacts like books, uniforms and weapons.” The main focus of that fundraising outreach has been the sale of memorial tiles, which are engraved with the names of former service personnel and then mounted permanently on one of the museum’s memorial walls. These include the West Coast Vietnam Veterans Wall, the new Korean War Veterans Wall, and the Defenders of Freedom Wall. “The campaign to attract donations for tiles from service units like bomber groups, Marine battalions and Navy shipmates as a whole group, and not just as individuals, is an initiative of mine,” Pierson said. “It started from my desire to honor veterans from my own high school. First, there were the four who lost their lives in Vietnam. I knew all four of them personally. And by honoring them, I wanted to honor all those

who served in Vietnam. “The first year, in 2010, we unveiled about 48 names. Nine of those veterans had never talked to their family or children about their service—and to see them in front of that wall on Veterans Day three years ago with their families, and with assemblymen and congressmen shaking their hands and taking pictures with them in front of those memorial tiles … well, word got out from those nine about what a spiritual and healing thing it was for them. They were actually crying. “So last year, 11 others showed up from my high school, because we put two more tiles on. And this year, the fifth and final tile will be mounted, totaling 102 service members from the tiny town of Imperial, California, who served in the Vietnam era.” General Patton himself, perhaps. would be moved by the commitment of those who have nurtured this namesake destination. “General Patton joined our Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post right here at Camp Young, in 1942, I believe, along with all of his line officers who had served in World War I,” said Pierson. “And he stayed a member of our post, and his granddaughter, Helen, is a member of our ladies’ auxiliary. It’s kind of neat to have that tie.” The General Patton Memorial Museum is located at 62150 Chiriaco Road, at Chiriaco Summit, located off Interstate 10 about 30 miles east of Indio. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily; admission is $5; $4.50 for seniors; and $1 for kids age 7 to 12. Children 6 and younger, active members of the military, and card-carrying members of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars are all admitted for free. Admission is free to all on Nov. 11. For more information, call 760-227-3483, or visit generalpattonmuseum.com. CVIndependent.com


14 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

NEWS

LANDSCAPE AND OUR IMAGINATIONS

An Interview With Author Richard Rodriguez

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

By Jenny Shank ichard Rodriguez grew up with Mexican immigrant parents, “a scholarship boy in Sacramento.” His new book, Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography (Viking, released Oct. 3), is dedicated to the Sisters of Mercy nuns who taught him to speak English. Rodriguez’s autobiographical essay collections include Hunger of Memory; Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father, a finalist for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction; and Brown: The Last Discovery of America. “I’m not interested in writing a memoir to tell you what I did that year,” he says. “I’m interested always in writing a biography of my ideas, of how I came to think about those things.” In Darling, Rodriguez examines his faith, particularly what it means that three of the world’s major religions were founded in the desert. At the same time, he ponders the state of American consciousness today, looking at Las Vegas, California and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. This interview has been edited and condensed. One of the main themes of Darling is the idea that Christianity is “a desert religion,” as are Judaism and Islam. Can deserts today, especially those in the American West, contribute to one’s faith in these desert religions? A lot of the things we think about the Judeo-Christian-Muslim God come out of the fact that the Israelites experienced a very specific ecology. The God who came to them was a desert God. One of the most important desert cities in the American West is Las Vegas. Las Vegas seems to represent a particular anxiety we feel in this landscape. This is not a landscape to which we feel immediately welcomed. We have learned, in desert cities like Phoenix, to insist on the desert’s sky by denying the desert’s terrain. So we plant gardens that are not appropriate; we water the desert. In Las Vegas, there’s this fantasy, this architectural idea of the denial of the desert: If the desert is flat, you build these shapes into the sky; if the desert is by definition emptiness, then you can fill it with toys. You can fill it with the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower or with golf courses. I find Death Valley to be one of the most beautiful environments in the world, but it is really scary to hike around Death Valley. What everyone says about the desert, “Well, there’s plenty of life in the desert,” is also true, but we have to say that while coating ourselves with sunblock. The desert threatens us. You discuss the contrast between Mexican “stoicism” and American “optimism” that plays into the conflict over our mutual border. Would an understanding of our countries’ differences in outlook ease tensions? What Mexico knows is the suffering of life. It’s a culture based on that notion that to live is to suffer and to endure. Bravery is the virtue, not winning. People come into the United States illegally because there’s no food for the family, or their mother needs an operation. There is a sense of obligation to other people. It’s very rare CVIndependent.com

to find somebody just coming on his own. Mexicans come searching for an American dream that has exhausted itself in the American consciousness. You meet optimism coming across the border from the South, from a tragic culture, at the same time that the optimistic culture of America seems to be in a kind of dejection or despair. That’s the paradox of our border for me. The peasant is optimistic, and those who are guarding themselves against the peasant tend to be afraid. The collision between these two impulses is really strong. No one is talking about the human drama playing out on the border, on that extraordinary landscape. At the very time when China has turned its wall into a tourist attraction, and the Chinese are everywhere in the world, America builds a wall against the future. That should tell you a great deal about how it is with us right now. You write, “The traditional task of the writer in California has been to write about what it means to be human in a place advertised as paradise.” Is this a subject that has been important in your writing, as a Californian? Oh, yes. In California, the sense of disappointment is very large around me, partly because the state changes so much. … There’s this sense of disappointment that California was never what it advertised itself to be. In the early 20th century, when Los Angeles real-estate interests began to advertise this ideal landscape and weather, people came out from New Jersey and Nebraska—and then it became so crowded that they ended up on a freeway that wasn’t moving. But in some ways, I’m optimistic about California, because it’s filling with people who came here from a different direction— from the South, people for whom California is not the West, but El Norte. The West was always—as defined by people from the East Coast—an unraveling of history. You could find yourself alone in the West; you could be free of the confinements of the East by going West. People who come to El Norte tend to go to cities, because

Richard Rodriguez. TIMOTHY ARCHIBALD

that’s where the jobs are. They tend to see the landscape between the South and the North as continuous. People, on the other hand, who come to California from Asia are seeing California as the beginning, not the end. … Asians say this is where America begins. How does the landscape in which a person lives affect his or her viewpoint? For all of our talk about environmentalism, it’s amazing how little we talk about landscape and how it informs our imagination. When you and I talk of the West, there are millions of people in California for whom this is not the West. My mother used to call California “El Norte,” and I hated it because I wanted to live in California with cowboys. That was really glamorous. When she was talking about people coming to El Norte to get these jobs picking peaches, it wasn’t glamorous at all to me. They didn’t ride a horse; they were really poor and they spent their last bet on the ground. Probably the most important consciousness of the West belongs to John Muir. Muir was from Scotland, and he describes California as the other side of the mountain. In some sense, that’s an East Coast vision of California. But, in fact, Muir came to California from the water as an Asian would— from the sea. He found in (the state) this beginning, but he also knew that it was limited. So he begins to sound this notion that we have to protect the land, because it’s finite. The environmental movement did not begin to talk about preserving America in the crowded brick cities of the East Coast. That begins in places like the forests of California, where people realize that in order to have it for another generation, you need to protect it. It’s the great gift of people like Muir to realize that there is a continent that comes to an end; there is a landscape of our imagination. This article originally appeared IN High Country News (hcn.org).


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 15

NOVEMBER 2013

NEWS NOVEMBER ASTRONOMY

The Month Features Planetary Pairings and a Much-Anticipated Comet

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

by Robert Victor common yet striking event is the monthly pairing of Venus and the crescent moon. In the closing 10 weeks of Venus’ current evening apparition, pairings will occur at dusk on Nov. 6, Dec. 5, and Jan. 1 and 2. Jupiter is usually the planet next in terms of brilliance after Venus, so its pairings near the moon, occurring at intervals of 27 to 28 days, are often impressive. The moon is always in its crescent phase when it is seen near Venus, but can appear in any phase when it passes Jupiter. This month, Jupiter will appear near the moon on the night of Nov. 21-22, from four hours after sunset until dawn. Venus appears at greatest Evening visibility map at mid-twilight. ROBERT D. MILLER elongation, appearing a maximum of 47 degrees from the sun in our sky on Oct. 31, in the afternoon and evening sky. Through a telescope near those dates, Venus appears as a tiny “half moon.” The 20 weeks from the end of October to late March will be an exciting time to follow Venus through telescopes and binoculars, as the backlit planet swings close to Earth and displays all its crescent phases. On our evening twilight chart for November 2013 (shown here), bright objects are plotted for each day when the sun has sunk to 9 degrees below the horizon, at “mid-twilight.” By then, Venus and about a half-dozen stars of first magnitude or brighter, including the summer triangle of Vega, Altair and Deneb high in the western sky, are easily seen. In November, mid-twilight in the Coachella Valley occurs about 40 to 43 minutes after sunset. Planet positions are represented by a separate dot for each date, with positions for each Friday in November. Jupiter does not appear on the evening twilight chart. On Nov. 1, it rises within 4 1/2 hours after sunset. Its rising time shifts earlier by about four minutes per day, until at month’s end, it will rise a few minutes before Venus sets. Jupiter is also present in the morning, as the brightest “star” visible. In mid-twilight, find it very high in the southwest on Nov. 1, moving about halfway from horizon to overhead in west at month’s end. The other morning planet in view for entire month is Mars. In November, find the red planet just over halfway up, drifting through the southeast early in the month, and ending in the south-southeast. Two additional planets join the morning scene as they emerge from the sun’s glare. First, Mercury pulls out from its Nov. 1 inferior conjunction on the near side of the sun to be spotted by Nov. 8. Look low in the east-southeast, to the lower left of Spica. Mercury brightens, rapidly at first, and then more slowly. Next, just after midmonth, Saturn emerges from far side of the sun to appear to the lower left of Mercury. The two planets form a close pair on Nov. 25 and 26 and switch places as speedy Mercury moves around toward the far side of its orbit. On Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 28, four planets—Mercury, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter—span 120 degrees across the sky. Later that same day, Comet ISON will pass within 725,000 miles of the sun’s surface and make a sharp turn to the north, or upper left of the predawn sun. Visit www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/ison for updates. Robert C. Victor was a staff astronomer at the Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs. CVIndependent.com


16 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

NEWS

REHAB HAVEN

The Stroke Recovery Center Steps in When Insurance Runs Out

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

By Brian Blueskye he Stroke Recovery Center in Palm Springs is truly an exceptional place when you consider that it has around 300 clients—and the services it provides to clients are often free. The Stroke Recovery Center, at 2800 E. Alejo Road, runs on grants, the kindness of donors and money raised through fundraisers. The organization is holding its biggest fundraiser, the 34th Winter Wonderland Ball, on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Westin Mission Hills Resort. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke states that 700,000 people in the United States suffer a stroke each year. “It’s the leading cause of a handicap for adults,” said Beverly Greer, the CEO of the Stroke Recovery Center. “The most recent statistics say that one in four families has someone who has suffered a stroke.” The key to a recovery after a serious stroke is rehabilitation. Even with rehab, there’s no cure or full recovery, but it helps people gain back language skills and independence-related tasks such as dressing and bathing. “What we have found over the years is that if you continue working with rehab, you really find you can improve, particularly the ability to take control of your life and your activities of daily living,” Greer said. “We can actually get people out of their wheelchairs. They don’t see the doctor or go to the E.R. as often, and they don’t fall as often.” Many insurance providers, including Medicare, only provide

30 days of rehabilitation, at the most. That’s often not enough for a stroke victim. “It really comes down to the original Medicare regulations that were put in place during the 1960s,” Greer said. “Stroke isn’t the only thing that has this problem. What Medicare looked at was if you can document improvement in mobility, muscle strength and the elements that are quantifiable. We

were not able to do that for strokes past the 90-day level. Therefore, the reimbursement via Medicare was stopped. This is very typical of nursing homes and different types of rehabilitation.” What does this mean to stroke victims? “Unless you have a lot of means and deep pockets, you really don’t have a lot of options open to you to continue rehabilitation.” The Stroke Recovery Center provides a variety of rehabilitation programs such as physical therapy, speech therapy, recreational therapy, and healthy meals to clients and caregivers, often at a cost of only $4. During a tour of the facility, Greer pointed out a space on the courtyard patio that will eventually be the site of a new physical-therapy and exercise room. It will be double the size of the current one, which is limited in space and generally packed with clients receiving physical therapy and using exercise machines. “We say that we see miracles every day, and we really do. It’s absolutely amazing,” she said. “We’ve had numerous people come in, in wheelchairs, and start walking. We see people who have lost their ability to speak for 5 to 10 years start speaking again. We see people coming in with post-stroke depression, which is very common, being able to laugh again and feel good about themselves. It’s a very upbeat environment and a strong community of people here.” The center does all of this with a budget of around just $1 million annually. “We have to raise every cent of it,” Greer said. “We have very generous donors and a number of foundations and granting organizations that have funded us for years. We’re always looking for new avenues of support. Because we’re an older organization, a lot of our donors who were with us for the full 35 years are no longer with us, because they started when they were older folks and retired. We’re looking to build a new generation of donors and hope that people understand when they see what we do here, what a good thing it is, and they’ll continue with their support.” The Winter Wonderland Ball is the center’s main event. This year, the center will honor board member Harvey Gerber and his wife, Angie; local philanthropist Donna MacMillan; and Javed Siddiqi, of the Primary Stroke Center at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. Wayne Foster Entertainment will be providing the live music. “It’s our big do of the year,” Greer said. “It’s always a big kickoff for the season here in Palm Springs. This year is going to be absolutely spectacular, because we have wonderful honorees.” The Stroke Recovery Center’s Winter Wonderland Ball starts at 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Westin Mission Hills Resort, 71333 Dinah Shore Drive, in Rancho Mirage. For more information or reservations, call James Martinez at 760-323-7676, ext. 112, or visit www.strokerecoverycenter.org.

Wayne Foster Entertainment CVIndependent.com


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 17

NOVEMBER 2013

NEWS

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

SNAPSHOT

Images From October in the Coachella Valley

Clinic Bar and Lounge in Palm Springs was the site of the Coachella Valley Independent’s monthly printedition launch party on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Hundreds of people attended the party over the course of the evening, which featured a DJ set by Independent contributor All Night Shoes, followed by music by The Vibe. Independent readers enjoyed two hours of free beverages as they watched artist Ryan “Motel” Campbell create a 10-by-5-foot mural before their very eyes; the completed mural was donated to the LGBT Community Center of the Desert for a silent auction. PHOTOS BY KEVIN FITZGERALD

The much-anticipated Hard Rock Hotel, at 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, opened its doors for a special VIP party on Thursday, Oct. 3; the following day, the general public was allowed to check out the converted former Hotel Zoso for the first time. The hotel is currently in its “soft opening” phase, with its official grand opening slated for the fall. Music fans have a reason to be excited: Goldenvoice— the company that puts on Coachella and Stagecoach each year—has agreed to book some concerts at the Hard Rock. PHOTO BY CHRIS MILLER

CVIndependent.com


18 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

CVIndependent.com

NOVEMBER 2013


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 19

NOVEMBER 2013

THOSE WHO PAVED THE WAY Meet Five Locals Who Spent Decades Fighting for LGBT Rights by Simply Being Themselves By Brian Blueskye Photos by Kevin Fitzgerald

T

HE LGBT COMMUNITY CELEBRATED on June 26 when the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on United States v. Windsor struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act—and Hollingsworth v. Perry overturned California’s Proposition 8 and therefore allowed LGBT couples here to get married. These were historic decisions for LGBT Californians—but they’ve been a long time coming, and the fight for marriage equality continues in the majority of the United States. On June 28, 1969, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, the fight for gay rights began in earnest when the Stonewall Inn was raided by police. As officers loaded some of the patrons into the patrol wagon, the crowd began to sing “We Shall Overcome.” When a scuffle between a woman in handcuffs and four police officers broke out, the crowd began to fight back. What’s believed to be the first gay pride march took place in New York City one year to the day later in 1970. While LGBT activists took up a public fight, a lot of ordinary people who weren’t out of the closet were facing their own personal battles. A handful of these people in our LGBT community recently spoke to the Coachella Valley Independent about some of the hardships they faced, as well as some of the sacrifices they have made—and continue to make. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE ➠ CVIndependent.com


20 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

THOSE WHO PAVED THE WAY continued from Page 19

R

Ron Wallen

ON WALLEN, OF PALM SPRINGS, celebrated his 80th birthday in September. His husband and partner of 58 years, Tom Carrollo, passed away in 2011 after a battle with leukemia. They met in New York City at a time when same-sex relationships were rare and not discussed openly. “We were ‘properly introduced,’ which even then seemed quaint,” Wallen said. “My best friend had a boyfriend who was

CVIndependent.com

in charge of my coming out. I was not allowed to go with anybody he didn’t approve of. He introduced me to Tom. (Tom) was one of his previous one-nighters, and Tom was very curious of what being gay was, because it was bothering him at the time.” “We were introduced, and we ‘courted’ for 3 weeks. I thought he was a slouch, and he thought I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. At the end of the three weeks, we decided: Screw all those things—and that was it. We met every night in a park until 2 or 3 in the morning, and then I had to get up and go to work, and then go to school at night. I didn’t get much sleep.” Wallen said there were places for the LGBT community to go back then—but there were potential consequences. “There were bars that you could to go to,” Wallen said. “There were dance places where it was nothing more than the police coming to get their ‘stipend’ to keep the bar going. There would be cute little things like the lights would flicker, and then you had to run around and find the first girl you could find instead of dancing with a boy, or vice versa for the girls, or sit down very quickly at a table and stare. Even though they were coming in for their bribes, they still didn’t want to see things.” During the early years of his relationship with Carrollo, Wallen was drafted into military service. “They got me kicking and screaming, two years—and they got me for an extra week somehow,” he said. “They were backed up on paperwork. “I was drafted in December 1956, and by that time, we had been together about three years. I had to write to him through friends. I was stationed in Germany and had to write him all kinds of coded things. I couldn’t pour out my love and all those things. I hated military service. Lots of people said, ‘Well, why in the hell are you going?’ My point was that if Joe Jones, who just married Marge Jones, has to go, then why in the hell shouldn’t I? Just because I got together with a boy instead of a girl, I just felt that it wouldn’t have been right to bug out on (the basis) of being gay—which, of course, was quite easily done back then.” While Wallen was in the military, Carrollo was settling in California; that’s where they both wanted to be, Wallen explained. When Wallen was discharged, he also moved to the Los Angeles area, where they both eventually worked in a document-reproduction facility—where Wallen was required to have a security clearance. “Obviously, when you produce things that are secret, and because of my job where I had to go anywhere in the plant, I had to have a security clearance as the assistant controller,” he said. “I used to help the sales manager with his budget every three months because he was so fucking stupid. I also paid the commissions and got sick and tired of paying unearned advances every single month, but these people knew what they were doing. I knew that Tom knew how to sell, so I blackmailed the sales manager into hiring him. “You weren’t supposed to be gay and have a security clearance. Anybody knew you were gay … bye-bye security clearance and bye-bye job. Tom would have to sit and listen to all the fag jokes with all the other 25 people in the sales department and go, ‘Ha, ha, ha,’ even though he wanted to punch them out.” Wallen said co-workers eventually figured out that they were together, and there was a level of acceptance.

“We were their fags. How we got away with it? I’ll never know, but we did,” he said. “I suppose the people who were monitoring the clearance knew we were sharing a home and must have known, or the company should have told them.” The year 1978 was a particularly ugly time in California, as Anita Bryant and others promoted the Briggs Initiative, which would have had any LGBT citizen, and even some supporters of the LGBT community, fired from positions in public schools. Both Wallen and Carrollo were politically active and fought against it. Wallen said the movement went well beyond teachers. “We were the nucleus for an organization called the WhitmanRadcliffe Foundation,” he said. “… One of the things that floored me was at one point, they said they were going to defrock anybody who required a state license, period. A hairdresser they were going to defrock, because (hairdressers) had to have a state license. It never got to that; everyone remembered the teacher thing, but it really was a state-licensure thing.” Trying to get people involved in the fight presented a challenge. “We asked our friends in San Diego to give us money, and they said no and were afraid,” Wallen said. “We would tell people, ‘It’s your license were trying to preserve,’ and they were that afraid. The climate was such that smart people, if they really thought about it, were so paranoid that they wouldn’t even give us cash.” In the 1980s, Carrollo suffered a severe heart attack and was no longer able to work, so the couple decided to relocate to Mexico. In the 1990s, they moved to Florida, and eventually settled in Indio. They bought a home together, and were living on investments and their Social Security income. When California allowed gay marriage in the state for the first time in 2008, they were one of the first couples to be legally married. But until June of this year, thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government did not recognize these marriages. After Tom’s death in 2011, Wallen found himself in a stressful situation, because he was unable to get Tom’s Social Security survivor benefits. He was forced to do a short sale of the home they once shared together. Wallen found himself testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the impact of DOMA on American families, at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “It was a very bad time in my life,” Wallen said. “Because it was a very bad time in my life, it was great, because it got me out of myself. Dianne Feinstein asked (pro-gay-marriage group) Freedom to Marry to send me to Washington for the hearing. Tom had died a month prior to that. I was like, ‘It couldn’t have happened at a worse time.’ Now I think it couldn’t have happened at a better time.” On the day that Wallen spoke to the Independent, he found out he would finally be getting the survivor benefits going back to when Tom died in 2011. “When I first applied back then, I was doing it because I was being a bitch. I was doing it to make a point. Sometimes, when you do a thing for a good reason—then some good reason comes back.”


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 21

NOVEMBER 2013

THOSE WHO PAVED THE WAY

OUR GAY STORIES

The LGBT History of Palm Springs Is the Focus of a New Tour

J

Jim McDivitt

IM MCDIVITT, OF PALM SPRINGS, is usually the life of the party. The 73-year-old has an outgoing personality and a fantastic sense of humor. When I approached him about being interviewed, his response was: “Oh, do I have some stories to tell you!” While growing up in Deport, Texas, McDivitt realized his attraction to men at an early age. “During my childhood, sexual orientation was never an issue. I never tried to hide anything—but I just didn’t do anything about it,” he remembered. “Once I got into adolescence, I was scared to do anything, because I was supposed to be interested in girls, and I wasn’t. I used to get Playboy magazine, and I’d flip through it and look at the jokes, but I’d never look at the naked women. I was more interested in getting a copy of National Geographic.” During his college years at the University of North Texas, he saw firsthand what the social implications were for being openly gay. “I had to go back home during spring break, and this kid came through on his Vespa scooter from Mississippi. He had been kicked out his house for being gay by his father,” McDivitt said. “He was basically on the road and living off the kindness of strangers. I asked him, ‘Would you like to come home with me?’ So we went. My mother didn’t quite know what was

going on. We stayed in the guest room on twin beds—nothing out of the ordinary.” McDivitt’s father eventually discovered some materials in the traveler’s suitcase and confronted Jim. The traveler was sent on his way that evening by Jim’s parents. Jim later returned to the University of North Texas, and his mother came to visit him. “She says, ‘I have a surprise for you,’ and it was my aunt, who had flown in from Florida. She said, ‘Get your things. You’re moving away from these people. It’s all these people’s fault; you’re in the wrong crowd!’” he said. “It was like an intervention; you couldn’t be gay. My father told me, ‘You’ll never amount to anything but a shoe salesman.’ My mother had already called an old friend of the family, a doctor, who she felt she could confide in, and my parents actually thought I was mentally ill. I think my mother would have had them do a frontal lobotomy on me if that would have made me straight, because it was like I brought shame to the family.” McDivitt faced the military draft after his family found out about his sexual orientation, and he decided to voluntarily enlist in the U.S. Air Force. He lied during the recruitment process when asked about being a homosexual. “It was good and it was bad in a way,” he said about his military service. “No, I could not be myself. But I was a very unmotivated, undisciplined, lazy person. Being in the military? You get in there and clean the urinals or do 25 pushups. I started doing what I was told to do. It was good, and it even got my family to think I was doing the right thing, turning my back on that evil lifestyle and serving my country.” He was stationed in Scotland during his military service. “I had a top-secret clearance, because my job was copying Soviet chats through Morse code,” he said. “They read a letter that I wrote to my ex-roommate who was also in the Air Force; the only thing I said was, ‘There’s the cutest guy in the barracks. He’s half-Italian and half-Irish.’ Well, that was all that it took. They read that and questioned me: ‘Did you write this? Are you homosexual? Have you had sex with anybody?’ So as luck would have it, I got an honorable discharge (due to an) inability to adjust to military life.” He returned to the University of North Texas, and eventually moved to San Francisco, where he found a job at a bank. He also took part in the first gay parade in San Francisco. “That parade was the first time I didn’t mind people seeing me on the street celebrating who I was,” he said. “It was just a continued on next page

By Brian Blueskye alm Springs is known for its large, vibrant gay population—and, therefore, for gay tourism as well. Enter Desert Adventures, and new its Gay Icons of Palm Springs Tour. With headquarters in Palm Desert, Desert Adventures offers a variety of local Jeep tours to the San Andreas Fault, Joshua Tree and the Indian Canyons. One of Desert Adventures’ guides, Bob Gross of Rancho Mirage, had the idea for the new tour. “The company was looking to expand our outreach and make sure both locals and visitors knew our tours were fun and available to be led by gay guides like myself or another guide, Carlos Salas,” said Gross, who joined the company about two years ago after retiring from AT&T. “As for the Icons Tour, specifically, things get kind of slow for us during the summer due to the heat, so I went to my boss and said I’d like to create a city tour that included some of the rich gay history of the city, from its earliest days right through the present, including some of the famous gay and lesbian residents and icons of the community who lived here. He said, ‘Have at it,’ so I spent July and August doing the research and creating a tour that I hope will be interesting and fun.” The first stop is the site where Lois Kellogg, a Chicago socialite rumored to be a lesbian, arrived in Palm Springs in 1914 or so and built a large home that once occupied an area which now includes a Rite Aid store. The home had a Moroccan-Persianstyle exterior and a large swimming pool, as well as a stable and guest quarters. That particular block of Palm Canyon Drive at the end of the downtown strip now looks completely different, and one has

to wonder what the large home would have looked like there. The tour also goes through the Warm Sands area. It was a family-friendly area during the ’50s and ’60s, before disintegrating into a high-crime area in the 1970s, and then being revived as a gay-resort area. Howard Hughes once owned El Mirasol Villas; it later became what’s believed to be Palm Springs’ first gay resort, in 1976. Close by is the Vista Grande—the first clothing-optional gay resort, which opened in 1984. The tour stops at two of the homes that Liberace owned. The home on Kaweah Road has a sign that reads “Plazza de Liberace.” A miniature piano and piano stool serves as the mailbox for the home. Another former home on Belardo Road, where Liberace died in 1987, is currently being renovated to restore it to the state it was in when Liberace purchased it. It was said during the tour that Liberace had a large candelabra on the home, as well as a gate with a big “L” and a music note on it. While those markings are gone, and the home currently is a construction zone, it’s located behind Our Lady of Solitude, the church that was shown in the funeral scene in Behind the Candelabra. The tour is a fun time and includes stories about many other colorful and vibrant LGBT icons who once called Palm Springs home—people who helped put Palm Springs on the map as they made entertainment or LGBT history. The Gay Icons of Palm Springs Tour is available through Desert Adventures for $59 and runs about 90 minutes. For tour reservations or questions, call 760-324-5337, or visit www.red-jeep.com.

Two of Liberace’s former homes, including this one on Kaweah Road, are stops on Desert Adventures’ Gay Icons of Palm Springs Tour. BRIAN BLUESKYE CVIndependent.com


22 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

THOSE WHO PAVED THE WAY continued from Page 21

By Jimmy Boegle n occasion, you’ll see Brian Wanzek make a public appearance—and while Brian is a handsome and charming fellow on his own, his alter ego, Bella da Ball, is the better-known star. Bella can be found all over the place—for starters, at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club on Monday nights, where she hosts Trivia Night; and Azul/Alibi on Tuesday nights, where she hosts her Cabaret Variety Dinner Revue. On Sunday, Nov. 9, Bella will have her day in the sun: The Southern Minnesota native will be honored with her very own star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in front of Azul/ Alibi, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, at 4 p.m. The unveiling will be followed by a no-host reception; call 760-325-5533 for more information. We recently asked Bella to endure The Lucky 13; here are her responses. What was the first concert you attended? Several county and state fair concerts, but Barry Manilow sticks out in my mind.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? The big-band song “In the Mood.”

What was the first album you owned? Village People.

What band or artist changed your life? How? Big band and polka bands from my young years—watching my parents dance, celebrating anniversaries and community events with family and friends.

What bands are you listening to right now? SiriusXM radio, with a focus on Studio 54 disco, Elvis, and Broadway. 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? Benny Goodman. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? I love to dance, swing and spin the skirt What’s your favorite music venue? So many: The Annenberg (Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum) and the McCallum (Theatre), and I can’t wait for the new Rancho Mirage Performing Arts Center at the high school. CVIndependent.com

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? RuPaul: “What’s your secret to looking so fab and trim?” What song would you like played at your funeral? “Lookin’ for a City” by Happy Goodman Family. Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Mame. What song should everyone listen to right now? “Baby I’m a Star,” by Tina Turner.

little parade, and we didn’t have the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence marching with us back then or anything like that. Back to Monday morning at work, I’m pink and sunburned. People said, ‘Oh, you got some sun this weekend. Where’d you go?’ I said, ‘Oh, some friends and I went to the beach.’ I couldn’t say I went to the gay parade; I just couldn’t.” He later became a victim of workplace discrimination. “There was a bank robbery, an inside job,” he said. “I would let people into the safedeposit boxes and inside the vault. There was another door inside the vault that went into another room, and that’s where all the money for the bank was; I didn’t have a key to that. What happened was at about 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday—the bank closed at 5— this woman comes in and wants to withdraw about $5,000 in cash. In those days, on Friday afternoon, you counted all your money at about 2, and from about 3 on, business was (delayed until) Monday. She wanted that money; she (says she’s) going to Reno to gamble—she wanted her money, and she wanted it now. They opened the safe to get her the money, and there was no money in there. “This kid who’s a bank teller and a co-worker, who worked in the mailroom, had gotten together and devised this plan. The teller didn’t twirl the dial on the safe. He goes in, takes a black garbage bag, dumps all the money in the safe, puts it in the trash can, and puts trash papers on the top. He said he was going to take it down to the basement, where the guy from the mailroom put it in a canvas bag and put it next to the mailbox, where a third person would come and grab it.” When McDivitt discovered the bag and brought it to the attention of the bank manager and the authorities, the culprits confessed. However, McDivitt’s military discharge became a subject of interest to the investigators. “They asked me why I got out before four years of service. I told them, ‘Well, they found out I was gay.’ They didn’t question me any further,” he said. “The two guys confessed, and neither of them got jail time. A week later, the bank called me up and said, ‘We really appreciate your help in recovering the money.’ They gave me a $100 bonus for finding the money—and then a two-week notice. They said, ‘We’ll let you write a letter of resignation so it looks better.’ “They did that so I couldn’t file for unemployment.”

D

Dorian and Kim Kieler

ORIAN AND KIM KIELER RESIDE IN A small apartment in Palm Springs. They have been together for about seven years and were married in Canada. Like many retirees, they are part-time residents in the valley; they return to British Columbia for part of the year, by necessity. Due to Dorian’s health and problems with arthritis, she’s not able to tolerate the cold and wet weather in British Columbia during the fall and winter months. Kim is a Canadian citizen, and Dorian is an American citizen. Dorian grew up in Indiana. When her mother found out Dorian was attracted to women, her mother was not accepting—and went to extremes to free Dorian of her samesex attraction. “My earliest memory of hearing about being gay or lesbian was through the church,” she said. They said you were going to hell; you were probably not better than some sort of criminal. When I was growing up, it was still a mental illness to be gay. “When my parents found out I had leanings that way, they admitted me to a psychiatric hospital, where they told me I could have shock treatments to cure me of my gayness. In the hospital, I distinctly remember becoming straight, and then about a day after I got out of the hospital, I got real gay again.” Dorian’s understanding of her sexuality came with the women’s liberation movement during the 1960s and 1970s. “The bar scene and all—I missed all of that,” she said. “For me, coming out was like continued on Page 24 (being) in women’s studies


NOVEMBER 2013

COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 23

CVIndependent.com


24 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

THOSE WHO PAVED THE WAY continued from Page 22

in college, the NOW Movement, and the Women Take Back the Night movement. (Accepting) myself as a gay and coming to love myself made me naturally interested in women’s issues back then … but I didn’t live ‘out.’” Dorian said that she lost a job as a psychiatric nurse for being a lesbian in the 1990s—and she pointed out that some Americans still face similar discrimination today. “They didn’t want me working with adolescents,” she explained. “In many states, that’s still the same thing. I could walk into any state outside of California—for instance, a hospital in St. Louis. I might not be so OK if I’m out. I might not get raises; I might not get promoted. It’s still there, and it’s a really big deal still. In 2013, it’s still happening. I wouldn’t want to know what it would be like to be gay in this day and age and go to Tupelo, Miss., to try to find myself a nursing job.” Meanwhile, Kim grew up in Northern British Columbia in a small town where being gay wasn’t really talked about— although it didn’t seem like a huge issue. “It’s interesting: I can’t remember anybody in high school being openly gay,” she said. “It was a redneck little town; no one would come out or acknowledge it. Then in university, I started to run into a few gay people, and I think it was then I started to figure out I might be gay, too. (Canada) is more progressive. Legally, our prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, in 1968, before it was even a social issue, took homosexuality off the criminal books. People weren’t even talking about gay issues then.” While Canada as a whole has been quicker to accept gay marriage and LGBT people in general, Kim knows firsthand that Canada is not free of discrimination. “For most of my working life, people didn’t come out,” Kim said. “Part of it was just the social stigma. There was always that sense of shame or something. You never came out to the straight folks, and I never really came out to my family until after quite a while. I came out in the '90s at work, and at that time, I was a manager. I was the first gay manager to come out where I worked. That was pretty much it for my career at that time. My first boss was great and had no problem with it. When he left, the next guy who came in had a problem with women— and he really had a problem with gay women. He was out to have my position eliminated, and he was going to go after me. He did it by reorganizing. They restructured my job and got rid of all the female staff under me.” Kim said that her family still doesn’t acknowledge the fact that she’s a lesbian. “I have 300 Baptist relatives back in Alberta. They’re in a really small town,” she said. “My one cousin will leave the room if I’m in there. She has a really hard time trying to talk to me, and I always talk to her about what Dorian and I are doing just to make her uncomfortable. In some ways, I’m denied my whole family, who are all supportive of each other; if you’re gay, you’re not welcome in that support system.” On a happier note, Dorian’s family has been quite supportive of the couple. In fact, Dorian joked that the biggest picture in a relative’s house is of Kim. Even today, Dorian and Kim face difficulties whenever they cross the U.S.-Canada border. “We got married in Canada, and because it’s not legally recognized down here, we’ve had to maintain two homes,” Kim said. “We’ve had to cross the border separately. If we say we’re CVIndependent.com

married at the border, they assume I’m coming down here to live, and they’ll ban me for five years. The same with Dorian; they’ll ban her for five years. We have to take two separate vehicles to cross the border,” Kim said. Dorian added: “What happens is I drive the RV, and we have the Smart car on the back of it. About three miles from the border … we unhook the car, and Kim drives it. The car is registered in Canada, and the RV is registered in America. We cross the border separately, and then three miles down the road, we hook up again and go on our way,” Dorian said. They said the fact Kim can only stay in the U.S. for a limited time causes problems for them both. “There was a point once where it was getting time for me to have to leave, and Dorian was running into medical problems,” Kim said. “She might have needed surgery, and I couldn’t be here with her, because I had to get out of the States. So the fact that DOMA has been repealed is an enormous difference for us both. “I just turned in my papers for permanent-resident status. Imagine what would happen if Dorian were to get sick and I would have to leave—it’s barbaric!”

A

Allison Annalora

LLISON ANNALORA SHARES A PALM SPRINGS apartment with her boyfriend, Ron Campbell. She’s a fairly wellknown figure within the LGBT community, because she’s been very open about the fact that she’s transgendered. In fact, on the day of her chat with the Independent, she had just gotten home after being interviewed for a local radio show. Her ex-boyfriend from her previous life as a gay man, Bill Brockman, was also present. Annalora, formerly known as Larry Miller, recently completed her three-year transition from man to woman. Her life as Larry Miller was 55 years of torture, she said. She tried to make the transition in the 1970s and stopped. In January 2008, she attempted suicide by sitting in her car in the garage

of the home she was sharing with Brockman. She said she eventually turned off the ignition and decided to stop living a life that wasn’t hers. “My life has pretty much settled into a mainstream lifestyle,” she said. “I met Ron on a straight dating site and portrayed myself as a woman, because I am. One of the things I made very clear to myself when I transitioned in 2009 was I was going to be really upfront about my being transsexual, which is the reason why I didn’t transition back in 1974 when I started the first time. Back in 1974, you had to go ‘stealth,’ as we called it. You had to just move away, forget all the people you knew before you transitioned, and then forget the past—and hope that no one ever figures it out. That was one of the reasons why I backed out of it, because I wasn’t sure I could do that. I also knew back in 1974 that being open about it wasn’t an option.” Annalora said it was not easy at first when she started seeing Campbell. “We contacted each other, and he lived in Huntington Beach at the time, born and raised there. When we were talking, he said, ‘Well, we really hit it off; I really like who you are. We really have a lot in common, and I think we should get together.’ I said, ‘I have something to tell you,’ and when I told him, he said, ‘Whoa! I didn’t see that coming,’ because he had seen my pictures, Facebook, and all that other stuff. “He said, ‘You know what? I like you; I appreciate your honesty, and why don’t we just hang out and see what happens?’ So we dated long-distance for two years. The first year, he didn’t introduce me to any of his friends or any of his family, because he wanted to make sure this was what we both wanted before we took it to the next level.” After that year, Annalora made it clear to Ron that their relationship needed to be taken to that next level. Ron therefore told his friends and family, and she has since gotten close to Ron’s sister, his married daughter, his son, and other members of his family. For Annalora, the three-year transition wasn’t easy. It was full of procedures to remove facial hair, a trachea shave to reduce the size of her Adam’s apple, breast-augmentation surgery, and gender-reassignment surgery. She also faced legal hurdles to change her name and gender. “The most difficult thing for me really was the psychologist, the weekly appointments, and all that other stuff,” Annalora said. “… It took me four years to clear my beard (using electrolysis), and I just recently had laser resurfacing to get rid of the scarring. It’s a very long, very expensive process. It can be very frustrating. “The other part of the transition that I didn’t enjoy was the one year you have to live as your true gender without reassignment surgery,” she said. “It made it difficult to start a relationship, because you’re in this gray area. I was very nervous when I had to use the public restroom. I have never once had anybody react to me negatively in the women’s restroom, but there is that fear that someone is going to figure it out and make a scene.” She also stated that the cost of gender-reassignment surgery is out of reach for a lot of people. Annalora’s surgery was paid for by Brockman, who had received an inheritance. “What’s aggravating to me is that the medical community has now made this a medical condition, yet medical insurance won’t


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 25

NOVEMBER 2013

THOSE WHO PAVED THE WAY cover it,” Annalora said. “We found out the IRS will let me write off my gender-reassignment surgery, but not my trachea shave or my breast-augmentation surgery. Who would want to have gender-reassignment surgery and not do the other?” Brockman said he was upset that many of his and Annalora’s friends within the gay community were not accepting of Annalora’s change. “Some of our gay friends will say to me in private every once in a while, ‘Gosh! I really miss Larry.’ I’m going, ‘You what? This is the same person—the same soul, the same brain, the same heart, and that comment really makes no sense to me.’ She was no different before than she is now,” Bill said. “Except that I’m blonde, wear makeup, and I have breasts,” Annalora added with a laugh. Annalora said she’s come to accept that many people in the LGBT community have problems with the ‘T’ part. “How could they possibly understand it if it’s not something they’re experiencing?” she said. “I can’t know what it’s like to be African American; I will never know, because I’m not. “But I learned a long time ago that what’s really missing here is the compassion. We don’t need to understand; what we need to be is compassionate and support people. I find it very fascinating in the gay community that they want compassion, understanding, acceptance and all the same rights as the heterosexual community, yet they’re prejudiced against (transgendered people) and say, ‘I don’t understand why they have to do that. Why don’t they just dress up and get it out of their system?’ I say to them, ‘You’re expecting heterosexuals who don’t understand what it’s like to be gay to understand you, yet you’re not willing to give acceptance to another group?' “We need to start practicing what we preach.”

Moving Forward

W

HILE JUNE’S U.S. SUPREME COURT decisions show how far gay rights have come since Stonewall, the struggles that these five area residents continue to have illustrate that there’s still a long way to go. Wallen said the difficulties he and others faced should not be forgotten—and that young people need to stay engaged. “In 10 years, maybe 15, they’re not going to

understand what in the hell this was all about,” he said. “It’s very easy to say you can’t legislate how people feel, and I agree. If you reinforce the way people feel with unjust laws that make those people right … the bigots will just keep going on convincing other people. As soon as the government says it’s not right or legal to have inequality, that’s a very important step toward people’s thought processes. … It’s up to the younger people now, if only they’ll get off their asses and vote.” McDivitt said times have definitely changed for the better. “The young people today are very lucky, and they don’t have any idea,” he said. “When President Obama said something in his inaugural address about equality including the LGBT community, I almost cried, considering (President Ronald) Reagan wouldn’t even mention AIDS. It’s been a struggle, but looking back, I’ve had it pretty good. I’d like to see more education about homosexuality. Parents who are accepting of their gay children are now more common because of that. If many of the older people like me wouldn’t have educated the straight population, it wouldn’t have happened.” Kim and Dorian Kieler feel similarly. “I feel that the thoughtful young ones among us know about history, and know there have been some big dues paid,” Dorian said. “Those drag queens at Stonewall? I owe them all the gratitude in the world, and many others such as Billie Jean King. … I love this freedom that young people have to explore, and that it’s OK without carrying shame in a relationship, because that can destroy a relationship from the start,” Dorian said. Kim added: “Some of the young kids won’t understand what they’ve been given; we’re probably the generation who’s going to be most grateful, because we went from one end of it to the other.” Annalora said the day may never come when everyone is accepting of LGBT people. “There are some people out there who are never going to accept anything and are prejudiced against people because of the color of their skin, their ethnic background, their country of origin—and you can’t change those people,” she said. “But there are so many more people in the world who just don’t know any better. People don’t like change. … I never really believed we would have gotten as far as we have today.”

WHEN SHE’S BAD, SHE’S BETTER Irene Soderberg Kicks Off Palm Springs Pride With a Free Show at ‘Forever Marilyn’ By Brian Blueskye rene Soderberg is a larger-than-life figure within the LGBT community. She’s a comedienne, a singer and an actress. She’s suffered from health problems in recent years, but she’s back and better than ever. She’s performing at the Stonewall Equality Concert, which will kick off Palm Springs Pride on Friday, Nov. 1, at the “Forever Marilyn” statue at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way. A child of Finnish immigrants, Soderberg grew up in New York state. “Even as a kid, I was always singing. We worked from the time we were 8 years old … in the fields, hard labor—people would say it would be slave labor now, but that’s all we knew. We worked from February to November every year, picking all the fruits and berries. We also worked in a cannery.” While Soderberg has varied talents, she’s especially passionate about singing. “I knew that singing was always my life,” she said. “When I was in fifth-grade, I was a soloist in the chorus, and all the rest of the chorus girls were sixth-graders,” she said during a recent phone interview from her home in West Hollywood. “… It was so interesting that I had a big challenge in college, and I turned away from music and quit school. I was devastated by the music director. I started bartending, moved to Hawaii, and I started belting it out behind the bar—and that’s how I got started singing again. I got an Equity contract singing behind the bar at Hamburger Mary’s in Waikiki. I got back to it just like that.” That singing led to her appearing in a production of Godspell at the San Jose (Calif.) Repertory Theatre, a gig that she said led to the unleashing of her “inner drag queen.” “I would get these clothes, take them, cut them up and turn them into a new outfit. We would watch Saturday movies, and I would put on a different outfit to go with every movie that would play on Saturday afternoon,” she said. “I just loved the costuming, and many people don’t know this, but I make my costumes. Drag queens approach me now and say, ‘Make my clothes!’ I say, ‘If you got the money, honey, it’s possible!’” After moving to San Francisco, Soderberg won a Mae West look-alike contest. “I was working on a show at the same time called Men Behind Bars, and I was playing a fairy godmother,” she remembered. "I made my entrance onto the stage from a wire 40 feet above the stage. While we were rehearsing, they said there was a Mae West look-alike contest, and ‘that you should enter.’ I made my own outfits and everything, so I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ People always said I could do Mae West better than anyone. Lily Tomlin was a judge.” She said she managed to make the entire audience laugh with her comedy and acting talents; in fact, she said she managed to win the contest before she even sang her own parody of “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.”

After five surgeries in four years, she had to take a break and cut back on live appearances. She also deals with other health issues on a daily basis. “I’m HIV-positive,” she said. “I got HIV from my ex-husband in San Francisco. I’ve been HIV-positive for about 24 years. Most people don’t know that I’m HIV-positive. I’m speaking out now, because it’s important people get inspiration and validation from whatever source they can, and who better than to give reassurance, comfort and inspiration than a fairy godmother?” She is now returning to doing what she does best—entertaining people, making them laugh, and sharing her song parodies with audiences. She has started performing regularly at Azul/Alibi in downtown Palm Springs. “I really respect the owner, George Kessinger,” she said. “He actually built that place. He is really kind of a man after my own heart, because my father built our house. I think the whole place is wonderful; the staff is very professional, and I can’t say enough kind, wonderful things about how great they are.” She has recorded five albums and is currently working on a sixth. “One has to work within one’s own budget, and the music business has changed dramatically over the years,” she said. “I recorded my first CD in 1999, and I actually was at Palm Springs Pride in 1999 selling CDs. It was so wonderful, because I sang, and people were lined up to buy my CD. My song parodies are the reason I’m booked all over the country. I can mix up beautiful songs with being funny, which makes it irresistible to people.” While Soderberg has performed at gay-pride celebrations around the country—including much bigger celebrations—she said Palm Springs Pride is an especially wonderful event. “First of all, it’s the last one of the year,” she said. “It also has this charm to it. I sang in San Francisco for a half-million people at gay pride; that’s a far cry from Palm Springs gay pride, but the energy of Palm Springs and the genuineness—you can’t find that anywhere else. It is just so intimate, and it’s a celebration, especially with marriage equality this year. It’s so exciting.” The Stonewall Equality Concert takes place from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1, at the "Forever Marilyn" statue, at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way, in Palm Springs. Other scheduled performers include the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus, DJ Corey D spinning a retro ’80s mix, Doug Strahm and Arro Verse. Admission is free. Visit pspride. org/pride-2013/equality-concert for more information. CVIndependent.com


26 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

•• CV Rep holds a "Master Class" •• CHRIStian Hohmann celebrates with Chagall •• The debut of the Lon Michels Gallery •• Western Lit: A local author's "Curious Shorts" •• November theater www.cvindependent.com/arts-and-culture

A DANCE DESTINATION? Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal Is Part of the McCallum Theatre's First Palm Desert International Dance Festival

31

CVIndependent.com


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 27

NOVEMBER 2013

ARTS & CULTURE

BRAVO! BRAVO!

Marina Re Is Stunning as Maria Callas in CV Rep’s Production of ‘Master Class’

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/ARTS-AND-CULTURE

By Valerie-Jean (V.J.) Hume he Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, or CV Rep to you, has launched its 2013-2014 season with Terrence McNally’s Master Class. I was part of the very first audience of CV Rep’s new season. This little gem of a theater, located inside The Atrium in Rancho Mirage, tried out the idea of two “preview” shows before the grand opening. Not a bad idea. (The Independent would not normally review a preview performance, but we’re sending our November print edition to press before the grand opening. Therefore, the folks at CV Rep were kind enough to allow us to review the Wednesday-night preview.) CV Rep is also trying out a 7:30 curtain time, which, frankly, I love: 7 is too early, and 8 is so late, especially when you emerge from the theater in what feels like the middle of the night. The open stage set which greets us, designed by Jimmy Cuomo, is charming. Stuart Fabel’s lighting is effective and creative. Aalsa Lee’s costumes are ideal. No changes needed here. The play is set in 1971, at a “recital room” of Juilliard School, and Madame Maria Callas is going to teach a Master Class. We get to be the audience which is welcomed at such an event. Callas, at the time, was the most famous opera diva in the world, known for her tempestuous personality and style as much as her astonishing voice (which can reduce me to tears of awe within her first three notes). But in the world of opera—whose mysterious, jealousy-ridden and colorful backstage we rarely see depicted in literature—the whispers have started: Is she losing her voice? The role of Callas is a superhuman challenge for any actress, because of La Divina’s fame— and the circumstances which drove her to the top, both personal and historical. It’s also a challenge because of McNally’s script: It’s basically a two-hour monologue that demands emotional twists and turns you won’t believe. Marina Re plays Callas flawlessly, showing the naked pain, the unimaginable glory, the humiliation and despair, the obsessive perfectionism, and the dizzying excitement of her life—all on parade. Her pronunciation of the many foreign languages which opera stars must command is very good. The gestures, facial expressions and body language fit. Her cheekbones are fabulous. She uses her eyes like Greeks do, and she moves like a once-overweight but now-thin woman. Re provides us with an astonishing amount of subtext. How much of this is due to her interpretation of the role, and how much is due to the work of director Ron Celona? We’ll never know, but the results are stunning.

Celona’s excellent work never calls attention to itself; every move is logical and natural—and this is the greatest compliment I can pay to a stage director. The three innocent opera wannabes who have signed up for Maria Callas’ Master Class are absolutely delightful. Kara Masek plays Sophie; Mario Alberto Rios is Anthony; Nora Graham plays Sharon. These actors’ personal résumés go on for pages, and all three bring solid talents, serious training and surprisingly emotional interpretations to their roles. Opera, alas, is often filled with hackneyed gestures and stereotyped acting, leading to results that can be either hilarious

or boring, but Callas demands Method-like research and deep thought from her students before even the first note is sung. The advice given to these aspirants by Callas is extremely worthwhile and important, and every serious performing-arts student could benefit from these teachings. (Speaking of which: Some opera companies, in an attempt to educate that part of the audience that doesn’t speak the show’s foreign tongue, have set up an interpretive digitalized banner above the stage, which contains a running English translation. This has been met with mixed success. One of my friends attended an opera in which the chorus sang, over and over, a phrase which the banner assured the onlookers was: “We cry potatoes!”) Steven Smith plays the role of Manny, the hapless piano accompanist who plays his music effortlessly and brings to the show another flavor—that of a steady working musician. Callas charms him, and then orders him around like a peasant; he bears both stoically. Michael Frank’s role of The Stagehand is played with more attitude, though he, too, is safe from La Divina’s storms, and he knows it. We are overwhelmed by the gravitas and

wisdom in McNally’s script—and by the emotional roller coaster through which Marina Re puts us. She recalls the height of Callas’ career at La Scala, and in the next minute, she is talking about having sex with the world’s richest (and power-mad, and abusive) man—and then she is a young girl again, an impoverished child in the middle of a war with nothing going for her but a fabulous voice and a burning determination to outwork anyone else. If you’re in the audience, you’ll need to brace yourself. But do see this play, whether you’re a big opera buff, or you’ve never seen a live performance. Once you meet this volatile Maria Callas, you’ll never again fear a blonde valkyrie in metal breastplates. Although the show I saw was a “preview,” all I can say is: Don’t change a thing. Master Class, a production of the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, is performed at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Nov. 10. The theater is located at 69930 Highway 111, Suite 116, in Rancho Mirage. $40. For tickets or more information, call 760-296-2966, or visit www.cvrep.org.

Nora Graham and Marina Re in CV Rep’s production of Master Class. CVIndependent.com


28 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

ARTS & CULTURE

ART IN HIS BLOOD Christian Hohmann Celebrates 20 Years in the Biz With Some Chagall

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/ARTS-AND-CULTURE

By Richard Almada first met Christian Hohmann about 15 years ago. He’d just arrived at the Hart Gallery in Palm Desert to work for his aunt, Eva Hart. His English was not that good—he spoke with a heavy German accent—but he was eager to learn and meet people inside and outside of the art business. It’s a business that is in his blood. Before his arrival in the desert, Christian had opened a gallery in his native Hamburg at the age of 21, before joining forces with acclaimed art dealer Thomas Levy one year later. That gallery represented works by Marc Chagall, Francis Bacon and other top artists from around the globe. Christian said it was a wonderful experience—so it was natural for him to join the Hart Gallery as director. When the Harts retired in 2009, Christian chose to continue the family tradition by opening his signature gallery, located at 73660 El Paseo in Palm Desert. The gallery is full of examples of his taste and influence in the art industry, featuring works by artists from Europe and North America. Just a few years ago, he expanded the gallery, taking over an adjacent location where another gallery had closed. Today, Christian Hohmann Fine Art is one of the best galleries in the desert, exhibiting a diverse collection of original art, paintings and sculpture. His exhibitions and openings have featured classical pianists and singers performing for guests to celebrate the new works from the roster of more than 60 artists exclusive to the Hohmann. I recently spoke to Christian and learned that he is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his art career this year. To highlight this milestone, he has planned an exhibition featuring one of the greatest artists of the 20th century: Marc Chagall. The opening reception for the exhibit—which will include 25 to 30 Chagall works—is from 7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30; the show will run through the end of the year. The gallery will also be filled with wonderful, colorful works by other artists that have made the Hohmann gallery a destination for exhibitions in Southern California, including Paul Wunderlich, Karin Voelker, Neil Nagy, Sigurd Rakel and others who have CVIndependent.com

formed a strong relationship with Christian over the years. I recently asked Christian what the secret to his success is. He credited his true passion for art, a love of educating his clients and a devotion to the artists. The space that he created also offers artists’ demonstrations that are often filled to capacity. Sculpture, painting and music add excitement and help the gallery a stand out from others in the Coachella Valley. The airy, well-curated environment beckons visitors with a friendly atmosphere where one feels welcomed—and never intimidated. Christian Hohmann Fine Art is located at 73660 El Paseo, Suite 2, in Palm Desert. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday and Saturday, in October through May; call to check hours from June through September. For more information, visit www.christianhohmann.com, or call 760-346-4243. Richard Almada is the president and CEO of Artistic Relations and heads up Desert Art Tours. He can be reached at artisticrelations@gmail.com.


NOVEMBER 2013

COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 29

CVIndependent.com


30 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

ARTS & CULTURE

FORM, FIGURE, COLOR WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/ARTS-AND-CULTURE

Lon Michels Celebrates the Grand Opening of His Palm Springs Gallery

By Victor Barocas hen one first walks into Lon Michels Gallery, a person may feel a bit overwhelmed, and perhaps even claustrophobic. However, those feelings quickly dissipate. The rooms of the small Palm Canyon Drive gallery are filled, almost frame to frame, with art. Those works quickly become welcoming friends. After wintering in the Coachella Valley for six years, Lon Michels and his husband, Todd Olson, recently decided to make the desert their year-round home. They celebrated the grand opening of the new gallery on Saturday, Oct. 26. “The desert is an artist’s paradise,” Michels says. “The colors are always changing. It’s more than just the sky; it is also about the mountains. The mountains produce such wonderful shadows and textures.” Michels has been painting for more than 40 years and demonstrates a unique style; it reflects his education, influences, travels—and a life-changing event. At the age of 30, while living in Key West, a viral infection attacked his optic nerves. He was left blind, he said. However, Michels, with the help of an assistant, returned to painting in just three months. After 17 months of intense therapy, his vision returned—and the experience shaped, literally and figuratively, how he perceives objects and color. His paintings are awash with color. Paints are not spattered; they are not dripped; they are not flat; they are definitely not monochromatic. He selects colors that create an immediate impact—as well as a subtle experience. They complement or serve as a counterpoint to other colors on the canvas. His style is highly controlled. A similar sensibility extends to his unique, one-of-a-kind

CVIndependent.com

pieces of wearable art. Michels frequently creates recognizable forms within forms—and he also uses those forms as the shell for staccato-like brush strokes. Irrespective of the subject, many canvases, when viewed from a distance, contain hints of pointillism. Michels’ paintings also contain a well-managed freneticism. This quality is a result of his years in New York City, perhaps? He clearly loves blues and purples. His juxtaposition of these colors, at times, brings out a subdued psychedelic vibe. Much of Michels’ style is epitomized in “Joshua Tree,” pictured here. This accessible canvas features the rock structures and desert life that define Joshua Tree; each object is outlined in black—and these black lines become frameworks or mini-canvases for paintings embedded in the larger canvas. Todd Olson, Michels’ husband, is a painter in his own right—and Michels’ influence on him is clear. However, there are definite differences. Olson’s style seems a bit freer, and he employs a warmer color palette; he uses oranges and yellows extensively. Today, both artists work side-by-side; they

"Joshua Tree," by Lon Michels

share a studio inside the gallery. The stylistic differences between the two artists can be seen on two canvases, each titled “Princess.” Painting at the same time and using the same models (a tall man and his shorter, voluptuous wife), Michels and Olson worked together, yet separately. Michels’ work features multiple layers and densities, resulting in tremendous depth and dimensionality. Olson’s painting, clearly an

homage to his mentor, is similar, yet different: His freer style and choice of warmer colors resulted in a more-lyrical but somewhat-lesscomplex canvas. The Lon Michels Gallery is located at 1061 N. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, visit lonmichelsart.com.


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 31

NOVEMBER 2013

ARTS & CULTURE

FIRST STEPS

The McCallum Theatre’s Goal: Make the Palm Desert International Dance Festival the Valley’s Next Signature Event

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/ARTS-AND-CULTURE

By Jimmy Boegle .S. Resorts, a coalition of Palm Springs hotels and tourism groups, recently paid almost $30,000 to a consulting firm in an effort to determine what new events would draw the most tourists to the town. Meanwhile, in Palm Desert, the folks at the McCallum Theatre think they may have already figured out what event could become the valley’s next big thing. Welcome to the first Palm Desert International Dance Festival. “If you love dance, where better to be than Palm Desert in November?” said Jeffrey Norman, the McCallum’s director of communications and public affairs. The brand-new festival kicks off with something that’s actually been around for years: the McCallum’s 16th Annual Choreography Competition, an event that brings in dance companies, both professional and pre-professional, for two days of performances, on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9 and 10. Then the McCallum will host three of the world’s more unique and renowned dance companies: I.aM.mE on Wednesday, Nov. 13; Lula Washington Dance Theatre on Friday, Nov. 15; and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal on Saturday, Nov. 16. Norman said the increasing popularity of the Choreography Competition led McCallum president and CEO Mitch Gershenfeld to the idea for the festival. Gershenfeld approached city of Palm Desert officials about the idea, and they were happy to jump on board. “The aspiration, really, is that this becomes another signature event in the valley,” Norman said, adding that it will take several years, at least, before that happens. In the dance world, the Choreography Competition already is a big deal. On Saturday, Nov. 9, a dozen dance groups from across the country will compete as Jacques d’Amboise, a veteran of New York City Ballet and a MacArthur Fellowship recipient, receives a lifetime-achievement award. One of those dozen competitors is Lauren Edson, who won last year’s top prize in the competition. The Boise, Idaho, native and Juilliard graduate has won several other competitions. She entered the McCallum competition last year, in part, because her parents now live in Palm Desert. “I gathered a group of dancers from Boise who I trust and really respect and admire as artists,” she said. “… We were eager to perform and share the work we’d done.” However, eagerness is one thing; paying to

bring six dancers from Boise to Palm Desert for several days is another. She mounted a successful $5,000 Kickstarter campaign last year to pay the way. Well, success often leads to complications: In part because of her win last year, Edson finds herself more in demand, so this year, she and her dancers had to find a way to pay for trips to New York and Texas, as well as Palm Desert. That meant this year’s Kickstarter campaign— again successful—was for $15,000. Edson and her dancers will perform her 11-minute work “I Hit the Ground.” (“The maximum’s 11 minutes, and I am coming in right at 11 minutes,” she fretted.) “The work really deals with this one couple as a central relationship, and the changing of the power dynamic in the relationship,” she said. On Sunday, Nov. 10, the second day of the Choreography Competition will feature 11 pre-professional choreographers, mostly from schools and organizations in the Western U.S. Also on the bill are performance exhibitions from local students who are participating in the McCallum’s East Valley Dance Project, a program of the McCallum Theatre Institute that reaches some 1,200 East Valley middle school and high school students. Norman said the inclusion of local students is “dear to his heart.” “We see every day the impact that exposure to the arts and immersion in the arts makes on kids’ lives, especially kids who might not have had the opportunity (to be exposed to the arts) otherwise,” he said. “Study after study shows how immersion in the arts helps children learn better.” As part of the festival, some area students will be treated to daytime dance shows at the McCallum, too. After several days off, the festival returns to the McCallum stage on Wednesday, Nov.

I.aM.mE

13, with I.aM.mE. The dance crew, featuring four men and two women between the ages of 15 and 28, won the sixth season of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew with what they call their “Brain Bangin’” style. According to the I.aM.mE website, “The style is a series of connections and large-scale visuals that create shapes and puzzles with the human body.” (Find videos of the crew online, and you’ll see exactly what that means.) Two days later, on Friday, Nov. 15, a slightly more traditional—but no less innovative— dance group will take the stage. The Lula Washington Dance Theatre got its start as a nonprofit organization that offered an outlet to minority dancers from South Los Angeles. Today, the group is a renowned group whose modern dance reflects African-American culture and history. On Saturday, Nov. 16, the festival will conclude with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. While “ballet” is part of the 40-plus-year-old company’s name, the group also melds modern

dance, street dance and other styles into in its energetic and often humorous works. Both Norman and Edson said that shows like America’s Best Dance Crew, which ended last year after seven seasons, as well as ABC’s ever-popular Dancing With the Stars, have made dance in its various forms more widely popular—therefore paving the way for the Palm Desert International Dance Festival to exist. “(These TV shows) broaden the scope and the reach of dance,” Edson said. “… It’s wonderful that the McCallum is broadening the whole event. There really are people who love so many different facets of the medium today.” The Palm Desert International Dance Festival takes place Saturday, Nov. 9, through Saturday, Nov. 16, at the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, in Palm Desert. Ticket prices for the events vary. For tickets or more information, call 760-340-2787, or visit www.mccallumtheatre.com. CVIndependent.com


32 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

ARTS & CULTURE

SCARY STORIES

Western Lit: Local Author David Rothmiller Amuses and Horrifies in His Young-Adult Collection of Shorts

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/ARTS-AND-CULTURE

By BRIAN BLUESKYE he young-adult book genre is dominated by romantic stories featuring vampires or high school life (or, sometimes, both). Local author David Rothmiller is definitely bucking the trend. His recent book, Curious Shorts: A Creepy Collection of Terrible Tales, feels like a throwback to the days of Alvin Schwartz’s renowned Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Rothmiller’s Curious Shorts has some very creepy tales indeed, including one called “Something’s Eating Sara.” It made me want to throw my Frappuccino away as I read it. The story is about a junior high school girl who also happens to be a hypochondriac. She is convinced that she is sick; her mother and the school nurse don’t believe her, given she has faked illnesses before. When she becomes very ill, the story takes a bizarre, disgusting twist that will make you question each and every processed food that you eat for at least a couple of days. Another compelling terrible tale is “The Thing in Jamie’s Room,” about a boy with a dirty room. His family can’t stand the disgusting odor; meanwhile, Jamie starts believing something is actually living in his room, and his parents decide it’s time to force him to clean it. What happens next is both disgusting and funny. “Waaz” offers a warning about getting too involved in electronics or video games. When a girl named Heather and her brother discover a

Annenberg Theater Bobbie Eakes: Turn the Page, featuring the singer and Emmy-nominated soap-opera actress, takes place at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Tommy Tune: Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales, starring the legendary performer, takes place at 6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16; $295 show and dinner; $95 show only. $35 to $55. At the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www. psmuseum.org/annenberg-theater. Avenue Q—from the Palm Canyon Theatre The lovably crass puppet/human musical that brought the world the song “The Internet Is for Porn” takes over the Palm Canyon Theatre. 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Nov. 8, through Sunday, Nov. 17. $32. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org. Broadway in Drag The lovely and ubiquitous Bella da Ball hosts the third annual drag pageant in which female impersonators vie for the crown; it’s an official Palm Springs Pride event. 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1. $50 VIP; $35 general. At the Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-3235123; www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

David Rothmiller

device called “Waaz,” they find it is hard to put down. Do you play the game, or does the game play you … or perhaps consume you? There are 13 (of course) unlucky tales in this book. Many have unpredictable twists and turns, or supernatural effects with a Twilight Zone twist. “Sagiri’s Gift” is a story about a Japanese woman who has a fateful encounter with an elderly man. “Growing Pains” is told from the point of view of a character who believes his brother is a werewolf. “The Legend of the Headless Indian Princess” is set in Minnesota and tells the story of the title—and the effect the legend, or the spirit, has on the town. While Curious Shorts is certainly no Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, it does have many positive qualities and offers a haunting read for those in the young-adult market. Each of the tales—which vary between disturbing, disgusting, haunting, suspenseful and horrifying—is smartly written and unique. Rothmiller—a local filmmaker, videographer and author—has produced a great collection of horror stories written for young adults who are sick of vampires and high school divas. With this being spook season, this is definitely a treat. Curious Shorts: A Creepy Collection of Terrible Tales, by David Rothmiller (Trick Dog/Lulu), 185 pages, $20.48

CVIndependent.com

NOVEMBER THEATER

A Christmas Carol—from Theatre 29 The Charles Dickens holiday classic has a monthlong run at this Twentynine Palms theater mainstay. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, from Friday, Nov. 15, through Saturday, Dec. 14; Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., Nov. 24 and Dec. 8. $12; $10 seniors and military; $8 students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; theatre29.org. CV Rep Luminary Luncheon: Tommy Tune The legendary dancer, choreographer, director and Arrested Development guest star joins the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre for the “Luminary Luncheon” series. Noon, Thursday, Nov. 14. $35. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966; www.cvrep.org. Exquisite Potential—from Dezart Performs In 1979, Alan Zuckerman decides his son is special. Very special. In fact, Zuckerman announces his son is the Messiah. Of course, skepticism abounds. 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, from Friday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Dec. 1. $22; $18 students, seniors and military. At the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179; www. dezartperforms.com. Indian Wells Theater/CSUSB Palm Desert Tribute Concerts Liza Minnelli and Marilyn Monroe are joined by comedian Pete Barbutti at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2; Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton navigate the islands in the stream at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. $40 for first three rows; $35 for the remainder of the house. At the Indian Wells Theater at CSUSB Palm Desert, 37500 Cook St. 760-341-6909; pdc. csusb.edu/eventstheater.html. Irreversible—from Script2Stage2Screen Set in Los Alamos, N.M., this play focuses on the Manhattan Project and the tense days leading up to testing of the atomic bomb. 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, and Saturday, Nov. 9. $10. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage. 760-702-0062; www. script2stage2screen.com.

Lush! This two-act staged reading, written by the Independent’s own Valerie-Jean Hume, tells the story of Marty Mann, the first woman to become involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10. $10. At the Miracle Springs Resort and Spa, 10625 Palm Drive, Desert Hot Springs. 760-251-6000; ask for Stanley at the front desk. Master Class—from Coachella Valley Repertory Toward the end of her career, opera star Maria Callas taught master classes at Lincoln Center. In this play, by Terrence McNally, the audience gets to watch her in action with her students, as she reflects on her life and career. 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Nov. 10. $40. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-2962966; www.cvrep.org. Million Dollar Quartet This Tony Award-winning show is inspired by the famed recording session in which Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins came together for one special evening. 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, Nov. 26, 27 and 29; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30; 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1. $35 to $95. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com. The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told— from the Desert Rose Playhouse The Old Testament is re-imagined from a gay/ lesbian point of view. In other words, instead of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden is home to Adam and Steve, as well as Jane and Mabel. When banished from the garden, they decide to invent civilization—starting with brunch, of course. 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Dec. 22. $25 to $28. At 69260 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760202-3000; www.desertroseplayhouse.org The Mousetrap—from Desert Theatreworks Agatha Christie’s well-known whodunit features chills and laughs as the harried detective tries to solve the mystery before another of the lodgers at Monkswell Manor winds up dead. 7 p.m., Friday; 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Nov. 1, through Sunday, Nov. 10. $23 to $25. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455; www.dtworks.org Other Desert Cities— from the Palm Canyon Theatre The award-winning Broadway drama returns to the place where it originated. The Wyeth family struggles when the daughter, Brooke, announces she’s going to publish a memoir that includes a retelling of a family tragedy. 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 23; 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. $25 adults; $10 students with ID. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123; www. palmcanyontheatre.org. Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays Keith Coleman, in association with Palm Springs Pride, presents an encore performance of a series of short plays, conceived by Brian Shnipper and written by Emmy-, Tony- and Pulitzer-winning authors. 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday. Nov. 2. $29 and $39. At the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www. annenbergtheater.org.


NOVEMBER 2013

COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 33

CVIndependent.com


34 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

MOVIES

NOW SHOWING AT HOME

New Blu-Ray Releases That Are Worth Your Money

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/MOVIES

By BOB GRIMM High Plains Drifter Universal, released Oct. 15 This dark, dark 1973 Western was Clint Eastwood’s second directorial effort (after Play Misty for Me)—and man, oh man, does it contain some nasty stuff. The film works as an ode to Eastwood’s Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns by taking the Man With No Name from those films, changing him into “The Stranger,” and giving his surroundings a more Americanized look. (Eastwood shot most of the film on a set constructed on the shores of Northern California’s Mono Lake.) Within minutes of rolling into the old Western town of Lago, The Stranger kills a bunch of men while getting a shave; he rapes a woman soon thereafter. In other words, he’s not trying to win any popularity contests. Eastwood ambiguously suggests that The Stranger could be the ghost of a man the townsfolk killed—or the devil personified. The Stranger, after displaying his powers with a gun, is coaxed into protecting the townspeople from some soon-to-be-released prisoners. The finale, in which The Stranger has trained the residents to defend themselves, might’ve been the inspiration for the similar ending to Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. This is the film that stopped many Hollywood types from sending family-movie scripts to Eastwood, although he did get a little more family-friendly for Every Which Way but Loose in ’78. Of course, Eastwood has managed to take a few nicer roles since then, so we look at him as a great American actor, as opposed to a scary provocateur. I rank this as his second-best Western after Unforgiven. Special Features: While this film looks great on Blu-ray, there are no special features. Pacific Rim Warner Bros., released Oct. 15 The latest film from director Guillermo del Toro is a bit dopey and soapy in spots, but it definitely delivers the thrills when big robots clash with big monsters. In the near future, huge beasts have started coming out of the ocean, making it hard to get a morning latte at the corner shop. CVIndependent.com

The world comes up with a giant robot plan that works for a while—but then multiple monsters start attacking. Things begin going wrong, and bad dialogue ensues. Yes, the script is a bit weak, but the action is stellar—and one of the scenes, in which a woman recalls a monster attack from her youth, is one of the year’s best individual sequences. The film tanked domestically, but did OK internationally—raising hopes that more robot/ monster action could follow. Del Toro has confirmed that work has begun on a part two, but the project hasn’t been officially given a go-ahead, so don’t hold your breath. Special Features: This one is LOADED. There’s a commentary from del Toro (his commentaries are among the best), and a large variety of behindthe-scenes shorts. You also get deleted scenes, a director’s notebook, art galleries and even a blooper reel. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (30th Anniversary Edition) Universal, released Oct. 8 The final film from the famed British comedy troupe is by far their nastiest. It was a shocking viewing experience 30 years ago, and it remains so today. After the successes of The Holy Grail and The Life of Brian, the Pythons apparently struggled to come up with a narrative for another film. Therefore, they wound up making a film about “everything,” essentially giving them a platform to go back to their sketch-comedy roots. The result is a scattershot adventure, with much of it making very little sense—but with most of it being very funny. Sketches about birth, religion and death abound; the Pythons didn’t hold back when it came to visual and verbal obscenity. The liver-donor segment is still one of the goriest and most-disturbing sequences ever put into a comedy, yet it somehow manages to be hilarious. Hats off to Terry Gilliam and his ability to scream and choke like a man having his liver removed while still alive. Of course, there’s the Mr. Cresote sketch, which I’m guessing holds the cinematic record for onscreen vomit volume. It’s sad that 30 years have passed without a true Python cinematic reunion. Somebody give these guys lots of money, and get them back onscreen!

Special Features: This disc features an exclusive, one-hour reunion of the Pythons, with all of them (sans the late Graham Chapman) sitting in a room discussing the making of the movie. (Eric Idle appears via satellite video.) It’s a beautiful thing to see them laughing and reminiscing together, and alone justifies the price of the disc. John Cleese actually seems genuinely interested in some sort of movie reunion, although he’s teased us before. You also get a bunch of features from previous editions, including deleted scenes, a commentary and a documentary. Prince of Darkness Shout! Factory, released Sept. 24 A new Blu-ray version of John Carpenter’s Halloween was recently released, and now comes his Prince of Darkness. Hey, ’tis the season for John Carpenter films, right? Carpenter had a couple of disappointing studiofilm experiences in the 1980s, so he made this 1987 film independently on a small budget. A priest (Donald Pleasence), a professor (Victor Wong) and some grad students head to an abandoned church. In its basement is a cylinder containing swirling green fluid that is somehow Satan himself. The cylinder starts squirting into people’s mouths— turning them into gory vessels for the devil. Carpenter hasn’t made a scarier film since. It’s horribly 1980s at times (Jameson Parker has an unfortunate hairdo and moustache), but Carpenter has a way with possessed humans that makes them scary and pathetic. Chief among the film’s haunting images are the shared dream—a creepy transmission from the future that shows a gray, cloaked figure arising from the church’s smoky doorway. This is one of the freakiest images ever put in a horror film. Alice Cooper makes a rare film appearance as a murderous homeless guy who leads a legion of street people under the devil’s spell. He has a very memorable moment with a bicycle. It’s all wonderfully weird and scary—while being a little hokey at times. Special Features: You get a Carpenter commentary, along with a new Carpenter interview, and a fun documentary in which somebody visits the film’s locations as they look today. You also get the strange TV-version intro that suggests the whole thing might just be a dream—a rather stupid idea.

THE VIDEO DEPOT

The Heat

TOP 10 LIST for OCTOBER 2013 1. The Heat (20th Century Fox) 2. The Hangover Part III (Warner Bros.) 3. Pacific Rim (Warner Bros.) 4. The Conjuring (New Line) 5. The Croods (Dreamworks) 6. The Purge (Universal) 7. After Earth (Sony) 8. Monsters University (Disney) 9. This Is The End (Sony) 10. The Way Way Back (20th Century Fox)


NOVEMBER 2013

COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 35

CVIndependent.com


36 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

the

FOOD & DRINK International Stout Day is Friday, Nov. 8

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/FOOD-DRINK

By Erin Peters like my beer like I like my men: tall, dark and handsome. And what is the darkest beer of them all? Well, hello, stout! Stout originally meant “proud” or “brave,” but morphed into “strong” after the 14th century—and this handsome, brave and strong beer now has its very own day. International Stout Day (www.stoutday.com) will be celebrated for the third year on Friday, Nov. 8. I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of celebrating a beer style or locale. Just like vineyards and the resulting wines tell the story of the people, the weather and the land behind them, beer also tells a story about its creation. In 2011, I reached out to other beer bloggers and breweries—and the day was born. The first stouts were produced in the 1730s. The Russian imperial stout was inspired by brewers in the 1800s to win over the czar. “Imperial porter” came before “imperial stout”; the earliest noted use of “imperial” to describe a beer comes from the Caledonian Mercury of February 1821, when a coffeehouse in Edinburgh was advertising “Edinburgh Ales, London Double Brown Stout and Imperial Porter, well worth the attention of Families.” Coachella Valley breweries and bars are celebrating on Nov. 8 with a variety of special beers and special events. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; 760-346-8738) will have two specialty stouts on tap: Anderson Valley’s Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout, and AleSmith Speedway Stout. To make the Bourbon Barrel Stout, the folks at Anderson Valley take their Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout and age it in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels for three months. Despite the use of liquor barrels, the beer is on the lower side of the alcohol scale. On the flip side, weighing in with an impressive 12 percent alcohol volume, the San Diego-born Speedway Stout starts with strong coffee and dark-chocolate sensations. Alongside sweet notes of molasses are alcohol heat and dark fruit undertones. Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (30640 Gunther St., Thousand Palms; 760-343-5973) will have Condition Black on tap. The black IPA is a marriage of stout and IPA styles—featuring the malt complexity of a stout, and the hop bitterness of an IPA. Using multiple dark-roasted malts like midnight wheat, barley, two dark crystal malts and chocolate malts, this Cascadian dark beer is a new style in and of itself. It’s not technically a stout— these beers typically lacks the roasted taste and body of a strong stout, but are much maltier than a typical IPA. While Eureka! Burger (74985 Highway 111, Indian Wells; 760-834-7700) may be the new kid on the local restaurant block, the Southern California chain is no stranger to craft beer and will join the festivities with stouts and barrel-aged stouts from breweries throughout the U.S. Stouts are always a tasty accompaniment to a juicy burger! Stouts also make for a decadent pairing with a fine cigar, so visit Mel and the rest of the gang at Fame Lounge (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-320-2752); they almost always have at least one stout on tap. The craft-beer advocates over at Schmidy’s Tavern (72286 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-837-3800) in Palm Desert will be offering savory stouts as well; their selection had yet to be announced as of our deadline. While visiting these fine establishments, make sure you share your stout with your friends! Are you a member of Untappd? CVIndependent.com

Log in and share what beer you’re drinking—and get the 2013 specialty Stout Day badge! What other stouts should you look for and enjoy? • Brewery Ommegang’s Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout was released at the end of September and is available on draft and in 750-milliliter bottles. This stout is full of midnight wheat, roasted barley, Northern Brewer hops and chocolate malt. • Founders Brewing can do no wrong. The world-class Kentucky Breakfast Stout is an imperial brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. The alcohol volume is 11.2 percent, so take your time and savor this big beer. • Firestone Walker Brewing’s Parabola is a whopping 13-percent-alcohol Russian imperial stout. Pouring a dark caramel-brown color, this delicately smooth stout has flavors of sweet malts, charred barrel notes, coconut, vanilla, bourbon spiciness and chocolate. Age one in a dark place to drink on next year’s Stout Day. It will take a little edge off the bourbon and round off the flavors. • Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is brewed every winter, and the imperial stout has won numerous awards, thanks to the addition of wheat and specialty malts, and the use of three mashes. Beginning with cocoa, caramel malt and dark fruit, the beer features roasted bitterness, and finishes with pleasing alcohol warmth—as the chocolate continues to send ribbons of its bouquet. • Southern Tier Crème Brulee is an imperial stout brewed with vanilla coffee beans. Yes, please! You’ll find vanilla, custard and brown sugar in the nose. Serve this in a tulip glass, snifter or oversized wine glass. • Foothills Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout gets The Beer Goddess award for the coolest name. The famed imperial stout has been brewed since 2007; the original Sexual Chocolate contains nine different malts and four different hop varietals, in addition to its “chocolate”—organic Peruvian cocoa nibs. • 2013 Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout is part of Stone’s “Odd Beers for Odd Years” program; the series introduces new, or “odd,” versions of Stone Imperial Russian Stout in tandem with the classic version during odd-numbered years. This beer features espresso beans from San Diego’s Ryan Bros. Pair it with a flavored cigar like Java Robusto or Camacho Triple Maduro.

• Deschutes’ The Abyss American Imperial Stout pours an obsidian black, after being aged in bourbon barrels and brewed with licorice and molasses. The 11-percent-alcohol beer has barrel-aged character, on par with a fine dark rum or bourbon as a mature sipper. • The Allagash Fluxus is brewed differently every year to commemorate Allagash’s anniversary, and this year’s Fluxus is a porter brewed with a blend of 2-row, coffee and chocolate malts, as well as blood-orange pulp and zest. (Yes, I’m including a porter on the list. I won’t go off on a craft-beer-style lecture, but I will say that “stout” has typically meant a stronger version of porter. So, close enough.) • Three Floyds Brewing’s Dark Lord Imperial Stout is like chocolate mousse in a glass—with an alcohol volume of 15 percent. Sweet molasses, coffee bitterness, caramel notes and dark fruit come in waves, all while offering a nice sweetness and a velvety mouth feel. • Ten Barrel/BlueJacket/Stone Suede Imperial Porter is a chocolaty, higher-alcohol porter that’s a perfect collaboration beer for Stout Day. The sturdy yet velvety base of imperial porter holds up beautifully with the addition of the avocado honey, jasmine and calendula flowers. Cheers! Read more by Erin Peters at www.thebeergoddess.com.

Anderson Valley’s Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout will be available at Babe’s on International Stout Day. ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING COMPANY FACEBOOK


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 37

NOVEMBER 2013

FOOD & DRINK the

INDY ENDORSEMENT

These Breakfast Dishes Left Us Wanting More

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/FOOD-DRINK

By Jimmy Boegle WHAT Pablo’s Chicken-Fried Steak WHERE Don and Sweet Sue’s Café, 68995 Ramon Road, Cathedral City HOW MUCH $10.95 CONTACT INFO 760-770-2760; www.donandsweetsues.com WHY No knife necessary. Every so often, I get a craving for a food that is terrible for my body, but fantastic for my taste buds. (The most embarrassing of these cravings: a Moons Over My Hammy from Denny’s. Yes, I have much to be ashamed of.) Recently, one of these cravings struck: I needed chicken-fried steak, and I needed it now. I knew just where to head: Don and Sweet Sue’s Café, in Cathedral City. Of course, Don and Sweet Sue’s is located on that stretch of Ramon Road that was FUBAR for several months thanks to a much-needed repaving project. This craving struck just before construction was finished—but lane restrictions and traffic backups weren’t going to stop me. The prize for dealing with the traffic annoyances was ample: A big-but-notobnoxious piece of battered, tenderized steak; some savory country gravy; two perfectly done over-easy eggs; hash browns; and toast. Yummy. While I appreciated the presence of the bread, potatoes and eggs, I didn’t come all this way for them; no, I was here for that steak and that gravy, and it was perfect. The breading’s crispness held up just enough under that gravy, which was splendidly seasoned—and the steak was tender enough to be cut with a fork. Yes, the good folks at Don and Sweet Sue’s provided me with a steak knife, as you can see in the photo, but the knife returned to the kitchen unused. And I returned to Ramon Road and its construction delays carefree and happy. My craving was satisfied, and the world was a happy place. WHAT The Banana Walnut Pancakes WHERE The Palms Café, 69930 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; also at 44150 Town Center Way, Palm Desert

HOW MUCH $9.75; also available as an addon with other entrées CONTACT 760-770-1614 (Rancho Mirage), 760779-1617 (Palm Desert); thepalmscaferm.com WHY Big chunks of banana. I like pancakes—but I rarely order them for breakfast. Here’s why: When it comes to a choice between pork (sausage … bacon … mmm!) and what’s basically bread covered with some sort of sweet sauce, I am going to go with the pork 99.43 percent of the time. Because, y’know, pork. However, the banana walnut pancakes at the Palms Café in Rancho Mirage came highly recommended, so I ordered one. Boy, am I glad I did. (OK, confession time: I got bacon and eggs, too. No judgment, please.) The buttermilk pancake (a wheat variety made with Splenda is also available) part of the not-toosweet pancake was tasty in and of itself; the menu touts the fact it’s made with real buttermilk (the words are even underlined), and you can indeed taste that buttermilk. However, the addition of big slices of banana, and just enough walnut pieces, took these pancakes from tasty to oooh I think I’d like another. However, all was not perfect in Pancake Land: The Palms Café gets a slap on the wrist for apparently not offering customers real maple syrup. The pancake, as you can see, came with a little plastic container of syrup that, unless my taste buds (and those of my father-in-law, who was dining with me) were deeply confused, was not real maple syrup. Instead, it was apparently one of those cornsyrup atrocities that’s foisted on unwitting Americans way too frequently. According to my server, Smucker’s Sugar Free Breakfast Syrup was apparently the only other available alternative, which was a shame; I’d have gladly paid an extra buck or two for the real deal. No worries; the next time I head to the Palms Café for one of these heavenly pancakes, I’ll skip the bacon and eggs—and I’ll bring my own syrup. CVIndependent.com


38 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

FOOD & DRINK

SNIFF the CAP

The Night We Drank the State’s Best Zinfandel

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/FOOD-DRINK

By Deidre Pike he night we drank California’s best zinfandel, a 5.0 earthquake jiggled tectonic plates off the Pacific Coast. We didn’t feel it. No tsunami warnings ensued. Dave asked me if I would like to feel Adventurous. I said I did. He was washing dishes. I was scalding tomatoes, making them into a salsa with avocado, lime juice, lateharvest green onions and fresh basil. The chunky concoction tasted more Italian, like something you’d put on bruschetta. We ate it with tortilla chips. Dinner was on the grill: St. Louis-style barbequed ribs, a rack and a half, which is all that fits on my small portable gas grill. What wine goes best with ribs? Syrah! Malbec! Zinfandel! Tough choices. We chose to celebrate. Because it was Friday. Because Dave is a federal employee who was still working during the shutdown—he’s “essential”—but was not getting paid. Because we had enough wine to ride out a couple of weeks of gridlock. (Paying the mortgage … that’s another story.) We ended up opening this year’s best zinfandel, the doublegold-medal-winning California State Fair top pick—the Adventurous, a Macchia 2011 Amador County Zinfandel from the Linsteadt vineyard. Macchia’s tasting room in Acampo, Calif., is a down-homey place with moderately priced wines. The Adventurous is $26. We bought California’s Best Zinfandel on a Sunday in September. Dave drove over from Reno. I left Palm Springs at about 6 a.m. and arrived in the land of wine around 1 p.m. (My travel time included a crepe stop at the International House of Pancakes on Interstate 5. One shouldn’t taste award-winning wines on an empty stomach.) Macchia’s tasting room was our third and last stop for the afternoon. We’d been to a super-loud and crowded tasting room, and then a quieter but fruit-fly-infested winery. By contrast, Macchia was perfect. Friendly winery dogs greeted us and submitted to hearty petting. Tasting-room employee Vanessa Gonzales wore a Chiefs football jersey. Sampling commenced. Macchia’s naming convention is memorable. A Sangiovese is called Amorous; a Barbera is Infamous. Zinfandels include Oblivious, Generous and Prestigious. We enjoyed subtle differences in fruit and spiciness and in the way the wine felt in our mouths. All were remarkably delicious. We’d tasted several wines before Gonzales remembered to tell us that they’d just gotten that big blue 2013 California State Fair ribbon on the wall for the 2011 Adventurous. We sipped, liked and purchased. We thought it was cool that the wine had won an award. Later, we realized that this wine had won The Award—“Best Zinfandel” in the state. After five minutes of extensive online research, I was duly impressed. (This year’s commercial wine winners are listed on the fair’s website, www.bigfun.org. It’s fun to scroll through and plot future visits.) The night we drank the best zinfandel in California, we opened the bottle more than an hour before dinner, but didn’t drink it. Ploop. Out came the cork. Dave sniffed the bottle. I sniffed the bottle. Nose-gasms ensued. CVIndependent.com

A decanting debate was brief: Should we dump the liquid into a large, oddly shaped bottle to let the wine open up? “You don’t want to flatten it,” I said. “You can’t flatten it,” he contended. Dave poured a half-ounce into my glass. “Yeah, decant it,” I said. We dumped. Because I like to sip a little something while I’m cooking, I had a couple of ounces of Montepulciano that I’d opened the previous night. Perfect with Italian dry coppa and Spanish manchego. I learned to say Montepulciano by watching a YouTube video. How did you learn to say Montepulciano? Speaking of streaming video, we’d planned to watch an episode of The West Wing’s season five on Netflix, but the night’s ante had upped. We selected an artsy Italian thriller instead. With English subtitles. Dave had harvested purple potatoes, so we shredded those and cooked ’em up with garlic and chanterelle mushrooms. Zin’s a fine meat-and-tater wine. Then the meat was on our plates. A toast—to Friday nights. We tested the velvet in our glasses, Dave noting caramel and light fruit. Me, nice warm spices. Then we dug in, dipping our perfectly seared ribs into a tangy Red Tail Ale barbecue sauce from Mendocino Brewing Company. Yeah. But how would the wine fare with the super-zingy ribs? Not to worry. The wine not only didn’t disappear; the meat brought out the wine’s giant fruits. Big peppery plums! “Not for the faint-hearted,” as the wine’s promo proclaimed. This is what pairing is about. The movie, La Doppia Ora (The Double Hour), from 2009, began with a suicide and a dismal speed-dating scene. We hunkered on the couch and nursed the rest of the bottle for 90 minutes or so, wearing glasses over our schnozzes like oxygen masks. Inhaling flavor. Can you use up smell? I sat my glass down but was distracted by the intoxicating vapors coming from Dave’s wine. He guarded his Adventurous. The plot twisted. The characters were not who they seemed to be. Everything changed. Our wine shifted as well, into harmonious balance, hints of vanilla. Then bullets. Bad dreams. Hallucinations. Is this wine the best because it is the best? Or is it the best

because we think it’s the best? Later while cleaning up, I polished off a few sips of Montepulciano. After the Adventurous bliss, the formerly OK wine tasted disgustible with notes of sour refuse. As the movie climaxed, we savored the last of our Adventurous, hopping on the Macchia website to price out a case ($312) that we would not be buying. Finally, our last sip. The Italian thriller had resolved, and I don’t mean to spoil it, but true love was not served. Or was it? We raised our empty glasses for a final toast. Nothing notable, really, about our Friday night. We turned it into the night we drank California’s best zinfandel. Deidre Pike is an assistant professor of journalism. Sniff the Cap appears every other week at CVIndependent.com.


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 39

NOVEMBER 2013

FOOD & DRINK

Restaurant NEWS BITES

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/FOOD-DRINK

By Jimmy Boegle CRAVE DESSERT RESTAURANT RE-OPENS IN NEW DIGS Crave, which its owners tout as Palm Springs’ first dessert restaurant, reopened in a bigger space on Friday, Oct. 18. The restaurant—which opened in 2011 at 390 N. Palm Canyon Drive—now has a new home at 301 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 200. The new spot is on the second story and features two patios. Customers are now able to enjoy tasty dessert treats, coffee, beer and wine while overlooking the goings-on at the Amado Road intersection. Crave does not only have new digs; it also has some new owners: Original owner Davy Aker has been joined by Raymond McCallister and Larry Abel, co-owners of businesses including Abel McCallister Designs and the Party Lab. Crave will be open Wednesday through Sunday. Watch www.craveps.com for more info. FANTASY SPRINGS LAUNCHES CUPCAKE CHALLENGE Cupcakes for a good cause—has there ever been a sweeter clause? Forgive the bad poetry (or whatever the heck that was); we’re just excited about the second annual Fantasy Cupcake Challenge, taking place from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. Here’s how it works: Pros and non-pros alike compete for prizes up to $750. Entrants then bake up a whole bunch of cupcakes (including four full-size entries and at least 300 tastes) and bring them in. The general public is invited to enjoy those tastes—tickets are $30, or $10 for kids age 3 to 11—and vote for their favorites while perusing a silent auction and enjoying live music. Best of all: Proceeds go to Well in the Desert. In that spirit, anyone bringing three canned/ nonperishable goods to the box office on the day of the event gets $5 off admission. Yum. And yay! Get more details at www.fantasyspringsresort.com/cupcakes. PURPLE ROOM UPDATE The Purple Room at Club Trinidad is now open. As we’ve previously reported, TRIO owners Tony Marchese and Mark Van Laanen have taken over management of the space at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, and the grand opening was Thursday, Oct. 24. The supper club and lounge offers live music booked by Gary and Joan Gand, of the Gand Band, and features food service until midnight Tuesday through Thursday, as well as Sunday—with service going until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. “Our Continental menu will have a mix of everything,” Van Laanen said in a news release. “From deviled eggs and Sloppy Joe sliders to fresh seafood and steaks, we’ll have delicious options for every palate.” Get more details at purpleroompalmsprings.com. IN BRIEF The Miramonte Resort and Spa, 45000 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, has launched a series of wine events for the season. “Le Serate di Vino” events will feature wines complemented with the food of executive chef Robert Nyerick; call 760-341-7200 for reservations or more info. … Dragon Sushi, at 68369 E. Palm Canyon Drive in Cathedral City, is now open. As reported in this space before, it’s the sister restaurant of the much-loved Dragon Sushi in Indio. … Also now open: Livreri’s Bella Napoli at the Atrium, located at 69930 Highway 111, Suite 121, in Rancho Mirage. It’s the brainchild of Robert Livreri, the son of Alan and Jane Livreri, who ran Palm Springs’ Livreri’s Italian Restaurant for years. Get more details by calling 760-289-2266, or visiting livrerisbellanapoliattheatrium.com. … Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta, 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, recently held a Make My Pizza Challenge contest. Almost 200 folks entered, and the winning pizza was Christopher Giusto’s eggplant Parmesan pizza, featuring red sauce, breaded eggplant medallions, roast garlic, basil and ricotta cheese . That’s not the only news from the Funkey family, which owns Giuseppe’s (as well as Bar in downtown Palm Springs): Next to Giuseppe’s is their soon-to-open Smoke Tree Supper Club. Watch for further details. … Bernie’s Lounge and Supper Club, featuring food by chef Jason Moffitt, will be opening soon at 292 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. … Earlier this year, a Kickstarter campaign went live with this pitch: “My name is Kelly McFall. With the help of my brother Kreg and my mother Jan, we are opening a restaurant in the El Paseo shopping district of Palm Desert.” It went on: “Wilma and Frieda’s Café will be a full service breakfast and lunch farmhouse cafe with an urban twist.” The needed $50,000 was raised, and now the café, at 73575 El Paseo Drive, is open; details at www.wilmafrieda.com. CVIndependent.com


40 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

•• Musician, inventor, entrepreneur: Mark Gregg •• The Spanglish Jive of Machin' •• The Blueskye Report •• The Lucky 13 •• The All Night Shoes Fresh Monthly Mix www.cvindependent.com/music

A POLITICAL ANIMAL

With Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, the Former Dead Kennedys Frontman Is as Outspoken as Ever

42

CREDIT: ELIZABETH SLOAN CVIndependent.com


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 41

NOVEMBER 2013

MUSIC

ENTREPRENEURIAL TALENT

Mark Gregg Continues Playing, Inventing, and Planning for the Future

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/MUSIC

By Brian Blueskye ark Gregg is one of the most easily recognizable musicians in the Coachella Valley. He’s been playing shows here for almost two decades—and he’s still going strong. He has a regular gig at Sullivan’s in Palm Desert on Thursdays and Saturdays with his band, Dude Jones. Gregg decided he wanted to play the guitar at the age of 13— but his parents made him wait until his 14th birthday to give him his first guitar. Like many great guitar players, Gregg is largely self-taught, although he did take the occasional lesson. Gregg arrived in the Coachella Valley in 1994. He and his band, Dude Jones, had no problems getting gigs, and Gregg and quickly established himself. “I came here to just play some gigs. I got a bunch of highprofile gigs, and I started dating a girl down here,” Gregg said. “The first place I played was Redondo Don’s, which eventually turned into Bananaz, then GG’s Island long after. … (I also played at) B.B. O’Briens, which was a legendary place out in Palm Desert.” Mark Gregg said he’ll always remember when he played with Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant. “It was like your feet not touching the ground, and it was like your knees not being able to hold you up,” Gregg said. “Led Zeppelin was my religion when I was growing up. It would be like meeting the pope if you were a devout Catholic. It was an overwhelming experience.” Gregg said one of his biggest challenges has been keeping familiar audiences happy over the years. “Usually, when a band plays original music, they have a set. It’s one set, and they do that over and over and over again, so it’s not really sustainable in one area,” Gregg said. “That’s why a lot of the younger bands go out on tour. They have to expose their music to new and different audiences. If you see my band play, I have a varying repertoire that will change from night to night or venue to venue. “Seems to me, there is a lot of original stuff going on in the valley; some of the local venues are dabbling in it, and some (venues are booking bands) strictly doing original material— places like The Hood, for instance. My son (Derek) is a good songwriter, and he plays a few gigs that are specified as original. He’s doing gigs at the Palm Canyon Roadhouse, which is strictly originals; they don’t allow any cover music there, and it’s kind of a classic-rock joint.” Speaking of Mark’s son, Derek: It’s not surprising that Derek has managed to become a talented guitar player and songwriter in his own right. Derek is guitarist and frontman of The Vibe, and he also plays solo acoustic gigs. Mark and Derek have played gigs together, too. “Derek is pretty smart. He’s going to try to take advantage of anything. He and I play together, and he considers it a good

opportunity and good thing for him,” Gregg said. “My feeling about it is if you’re a musician, you have to do everything. You have to be able to play all kinds of music. I think the real musicians have encyclopedic knowledge of music. Guys I know through my business, such as guys who play with Sheryl Crow and Eric Clapton, those guys can play anything and know every song. If you asked them to play something, they can play it. They have encyclopedic knowledge. That’s what I try to press on Derek: If you’re a musician, you’re a musician. If you take any gig, you’d better sell on it. I think that’s what he gets from me.” While Gregg is a great musician, he’s also crafty when it comes to guitar-maintenance and guitar amplifiers. He owns his own company, Magus Innovations, which sells its “Ultimate Attenuator.” His customer list includes Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, Peter Frampton and Steve Miller. “An attenuator is for guitar-tube-based amplifiers. They run on tubes instead of transistors. It turns out in guitar amplifiers, the tubes really lend themselves to a certain expression that you

can’t get as well from transistor-based amplifiers. The problem with tubes is you have to crank them up to get a good sound out of them, and it’s generally too loud. What an attenuator does is dissipate some of that voltage as heat; however, the problem is it ruins the sound, so we came up with a way not only to control the volume, but preserve the sound and feel. It’s a one-of-a-kind invention.” Gregg’s music-biz innovations don’t stop there. “I have a patent on a guitar pickup called the Silverbucker. (I) have a repair facility. I have a manufacturing facility, and I also have overseas manufacturing in Asia. I have a bunch of working prototypes for a new product that I hope to get patents on in the near future.” While Gregg is a successful entrepreneur and musician, he still has bigger career ambitions. “The next step for me is to secure a tour with a name band, maybe a band that was big in the ’70s and ’80s, and add credentials to my name, so I can be Mark Gregg from this internationally known band and Mark Gregg from Dude Jones.”

“Led Zeppelin was my religion when I was growing up. It would be like meeting the pope if you were a devout Catholic.”

Mark Gregg. GIDEON ARTIST CVIndependent.com


42 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

MUSIC

NO BROWN LIPSTICK HERE

Some 35 Years After the Formation of Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra Is Still Raising Hell

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/MUSIC

By BRIAN BLUESKYE any bands meld politics with their music. However, no one does it quite like Jello Biafra. The former Dead Kennedys frontman is coming to Palm Desert for a post-Coachella encore at The Hood Bar and Pizza on Friday, Nov. 8, with his band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine. Dead Kennedys formed in 1978 in San Francisco as part of the hardcore punk scene that was sweeping America. After Dead Kennedys guitarist East Bay Ray put out a newspaper advertisement for band mates, Jello Biafra (vocals), Klaus Flouride (bass) and Ted, aka Bruce Slesinger (drums), took the hardcore punk scene by the horns thanks to their psychedelic, surf-guitar-infused sound, and Biafra’s political satire-based lyrics. Songs such as “Holiday in Cambodia,” “California Über Alles,” “Too Drunk to Fuck” and “Police Truck” became the band’s most recognizable anthems. The band released its albums on its own label, Alternative Tentacles; Jello Biafra presides over the label to this day. The band quickly drew the attention of police in San Francisco and other cities—as well as, most notably, Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center. When the band put out the album Frankenchrist in 1985, the Dead Kennedys members found themselves in a world of trouble over the H.R. Giger-designed poster insert showing rows of penises and vulvae. They were charged with distributing harmful material to minors and faced a criminal trial. While the case ended in an acquittal, the controversy and the everchanging punk scene led to a breakup in 1986. Biafra’s fascination with music and politics came in part from his parents, who encouraged him to take an interest in current events as well as music. During a recent phone interview,

CREDIT: ELIZABETH SLOAN CVIndependent.com

he said his music was a product of the times in which he grew up. “In a way, even the music that didn’t have political lyrics back then scared people. Even liking … the harder-edged, garage-rock side of rock ’n’ roll, or even the Beatles—or long hair, for that matter—was all kind of an outlaw act, and therefore, political,” Biafra said. “It was a real struggle, though, to find music that rocked as hard as I like it (and that’s) a tad overt with political lyrics instead of the same old sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll with a little Satan thrown in.” After the Dead Kennedys split, Biafra stayed active in music while he also made spokenword appearances. He made records with Mojo Nixon, D.O.A., The Melvins, and his previous band, Lard. However, he didn’t return to material that was as hard-hitting until he formed his current band, the Guantanamo School of Medicine. “It was never my intention to not ever have another band. I just kept getting derailed on good and bad adventures. When I saw the Stooges on Iggy Pop’s 60th birthday, I thought, ‘Oh shit! I’m turning 50 next year. I’d better get this band thing together one of these days.’ So I finally had a deadline.” Since forming in 2008, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine have put out two albums and toured the world—including an appearance at Coachella in April. The band’s most recent album, White People and the Damage Done, released in April, includes a song called “The Brown Lipstick Parade” that references some of the Tipper Gore/PMRC fiasco. “I got the term ‘brown lipstick’ from Frank Zappa when he testified at that Senate hearing

CREDIT: CURTIS STANKALIS

that Al Gore had arranged for his own wife to investigate evil music—you know, how Ozzy makes you kill yourself, AC/DC causes crime to increase, and later on, if you listen to political hip-hop written by African Americans, you might turn into some kind of gang-banger or something. One of the things Zappa said in a prepared statement to those pompous senators was, ‘No one looks good in brown lipstick.’” “What he meant was the way things are done from City Hall to Washington: People get themselves elected—or should I say selected—not to do anything for the voters or the public good, but to prove themselves to be as corrupt as possible, as quickly as possible, and put on as much brown lipstick as possible, so when they leave Congress or the Pentagon or whatever, they can get on corporate boards of directors and rake in millions of dollars through lobbyists.” When it comes to Tipper Gore, he expressed an amusing point of view. “Let’s put it this way: I think Tipper Gore had more to do with costing her husband the 2000 election than anything Ralph Nader or the Green Party would have hoped to have done. Where was the youth support for Al Gore in 2000?” While Biafra has earned success and praise from the punk-rock community, he isn’t without critics. Punk-rockers with a libertarian ethos, as well as foes of the punk-rock ethos in general, have chided Biafra for being a hypocrite, in part because he makes money from his political works. “They’re people who have their heads firmly up their asses and never bothered to research any fact, that’s for damn sure,” he said. “It’s not as though I’m rolling in mountains of

money. I’ve never made a dime off Alternative Tentacles, either, and I think in any society where the mass media continues to be corporatized, censored and dumbed down, it’s that more important for the artist to speak out and tell people what’s really going on.” While fans have hoped for a Dead Kennedys reunion that includes Jello Biafra, it’s unlikely to happen. Biafra fought a bitter legal battle with some of his former band mates, who have since began performing again under the Dead Kennedys name. They’ve gone through a cycle of replacements for Biafra, one of whom was Brandon Cruz, a former child actor (The Courtship of Eddie’s Father). Currently, Ron “Skip” Greer is the lead vocalist. Meanwhile, Biafra remains as political as ever. He encouraged people to become engaged. “People should show up and vote, especially in local elections, because that’s where people can really make the most difference,” he said. “It really matters who’s mayor, who’s sheriff, who’s on the school board, who the county commissioners and who the city council members are. They are the ones who decide how to spend our money that gets taken in taxes. Do we need to build a shelter for the homeless people? Or do we put up another golf course? Things like that—those things are important and have direct impact on our lives.” Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine perform with Death Hymn Number 9, You Know Who and Fatso Jetson at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is $10; there are no presales. For more information, call 760-636-5220, or find the event’s page on Facebook. Read an extended version of this story at CVIndependent.com.


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 43

NOVEMBER 2013

MUSIC

SUPREMELY EXCELLENT

The Blueskye REPORT Machin’ Melds Rock and Latin Sounds Into ‘Spanglish Jive’

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/MUSIC

By Brian Blueskye achin’ has only been around for about a year—but in that short amount of time, the band has already gained a lot of respect in Coachella Valley and the high desert. The “Spanglish Jive” band is playing at a fundraiser for the Coachella Valley History Museum on Friday, Nov. 1. The Dia de los Muertos-themed party will include dinner and drinks; admission is $75. The three-piece band from the high desert is fronted by David Macias (vocals, guitar), and includes Briana Cherry (violin) and Andy Gorrill (bass/accordion). The band’s name, Machin’ (Ma-Cheen), is Spanglish slang for “supremely excellent.” The band formed after David Macias completed eight years in the U.S. Navy; he served as a corpsman during two deployments to Iraq. Machin’ takes pride in mixing various Latinmusic sounds with rock. “When I was in high school, I played trumpet in mariachi; I played guitar in jazz band and in a salsa band,” Macias said during a recent interview. “I grew up listening to rock music—The Beatles, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. At the same time, I also grew up listening to Mexican music. I was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, so I have a deep appreciation for Latin music.” Since the band formed, Macias said, the band has faced a welcome challenge—keeping up with all of their gigs. They’ve played the Joshua Tree Music Festival, the Hue Festival, AM/FM Fest, and even the Kraft Nabisco

LPGA golf tournament, where they were the backing band for Robby Krieger of The Doors. They also opened for Ozomatli at their 2013 appearance at the Date Shed in Indio. “I grew up listening to Ozomatli, so opening up for them was a dream come true,” said Macias. “More like, ‘Oh wow, I’m on the right track. This is cool!’ “We became the backing band for Robby Krieger, and we played a couple of Doors songs—‘Back Door Man’ and ‘Break on Through.’ The Doors are one of my inspirations. Playing with Robby was amazing. He just walked up to me and was like, ‘Hi, I’m Robby,’ and I was like, ‘Man, you don’t have to tell me that.’” Machin’ is currently in the process of recording a demo—and Macias is a big believer in the DIY ethic.

“We don’t have the privilege and the money to pay people to do all the work for us,” Macias said. “We’re focusing on the mission ahead, which is creating a fan base. Pushing material to labels and all of that is a waste of time rather than doing the ground work, going and playing the streets, playing the music, and having a one-on-one interaction with people. “Creating a fan base is the idea of the music militia. You start creating a fan base, (and) you start creating an army. Take over little sections where people will recognize you and know who you are, and once you have that section, you move on to another place to create a fan base. I think everything will come from that. It doesn’t matter what record label you’re on. If people don’t come to see you, what does it fucking matter?” Macias said the band currently has 12 original songs and is working on more, including instrumental pieces and other songs that have developed through jam sessions. While Machin’ has been a six-piece band at times in the past, Macias said he’s focusing on the three-piece element for right now. The band has played outside of the desert at times—in Los Angeles, Northern California, Oregon and Washington. “Most people’s reactions are, ‘What is this?’ at first. We haven’t had any bad comments so far, and people have been reacting positively,” Macias said. Macias said he and his fellow members of Machin’ believe that music brings people together and creates a positive impact. “We have a saying of ‘revolution through music.’ There’s no separation. … There’s no discrimination in music. As an artist has a canvas with different colors and can make different colors, we can do the same with sound waves.” Machin’ plays at the Dia de los Muertos Celebration at the Coachella Valley History Museum, 82616 Miles Ave., Indio, from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1. Admission to the fundraiser is $75 and includes dinner and drinks. For more information about the event, call 760-342-6651, or visit www.cvhm.org. For more on Machin’, visit www.facebook.com/ machinmilitia, or www.reverbnation.com/machin.

Machin’ rocks the crowd at a recent show at The Date Shed. KEVIN FITZGERALD

NOVEMBER 2013 By Brian Blueskye

Season is finally here! As you make plans for Thanksgiving and prepare for the other big holidays just around the corner, you should also plan on attending some of these great shows. The McCallum Theatre has an amazing variety of events booked solid through the month. One show that definitely won’t disappoint music-lovers is an appearance by Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Graham Nash at 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18. While he may be best known for his work with Stephen Stills and David Crosby, he’s had a long and successful solo career; his 1971 solo debut album, Songs for Beginners, was critically acclaimed and reached No. 15 on the Billboard albums chart. Tickets are $35 to $75. Herb Alpert will also be stopping by the McCallum, at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, along with his wife, singer Lani Hall. The jazz trumpeter, known primarily for his years with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, was a pioneer in jazz because he mixed Latin, funk, pop and R&B styles into his sound. While jazz has been on the decline with audiences over the years, Alpert is still going strong. Tickets are $35 to $75. The Kingston Trio will be appearing at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. Before folk music became political in the 1960s, putting the genre on the path to a major revival, The Kingston Trio was paving the way for that revival. One downside: The original three members are long gone from the group, so the trio continues in a “third phase” with collaborators who worked with the original lineup or were otherwise affiliated with the trio. That shouldn’t stop you from going to see them and taking in some of the songs that inspired the folk revival of the 1960s. Tickets are $25 to $45. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www. mccallumtheatre.com. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is hosting some big events, too. Theresa Caputo, aka the “Long Island Medium,” will be there at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. What can be expected from Caputo? Well, it’s a safe bet that she’ll be communicating with the spirits and talking directly with their living relatives in attendance. Tickets for the event were $60 to $100, but we received word just before our deadline that the show is sold out. (I do NOT suggest shouting out a request for “Freebird” to her.) The following night, Neil Sedaka will take the stage; the “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” crooner will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. continued on next page ➠ CVIndependent.com


44 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

MUSIC continued from Page 43

Sedaka was a pop icon before the British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll took America by storm. He’s still a success today; he’s been involved with American Idol and had his first big-hit album in two decades in 2007 with The Definitive Collection. Tickets are $50 to $75. For those who remember the band Staind from the infamous nu-metal era: Aaron Lewis, the frontman of the band, will be there Neil Sedaka: at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30. Lewis Agua Caliente, Nov. 16 became a hit after he did a live duet at Korn’s Family Values Tour in 1999 with Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit of a song Lewis penned called “Outside.” He turned in solo acoustic performances in the later part of the last decade and has now transitioned to country music while Staind is on hiatus. Fun fact: In July 2012, Lewis had a bitter feud with Carrie Underwood after she released her song “Last Name,” which he said “made her sound like a complete whore.” Whoa! Tickets for the event are $25 to $55. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com. The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has two big music events booked this month. Modern R&B superstar Ne-Yo will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. The three-time Grammy Award-winning artist is currently touring behind his latest album, R.E.D., an acronym for Realizing Every Dream. He has crossed over into pop and dance-pop; his recent single with Sia Furler, “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),” was well-received and even included a successful music video—in an era when the music video isn’t appreciated much any more. Tickets are $49 to $109. Burt Bacharach will follow in Ne-Yo’s footsteps a week later, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23. Like Sedaka, Bacharach was part of the pop scene that came before the Aaron Lewis: Agua Caliente, British Invasion and rock ’n’ roll, but Nov. 30 he always stood out because of his unique songwriting. With 73 Top 40 hits in the U.S., Bacharach has also won Grammys, Academy Awards and pretty much every other award a singer-songwriter can win. Tickets are $29 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com. Spotlight 29 Casino has a light music schedule for the month of November; however, the resort’s Free Friday Concert Series kicks off with a Johnny Cash tribute by Rusty Evans at 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15. Admission is free. Also, the venue will be hosting The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience: Moonwalker at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9. With a live band and a cast of singers, the show is a must-see for Michael Jackson fans. Tickets are $15. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com. Morongo Casino Resort Spa has just one big scheduled November event: The Cabazon resort will host comedian and TV host Craig Ferguson for a standup performance at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8. Ferguson has established himself as the host of The Late Late Show and is a possible replacement for David Letterman if The Late Show host ever decides to step down. We’re dying to know: Will Ferguson bring along his robotic CVIndependent.com

Jennifer Keith Quintet: The Hood, Nov. 9

skeleton sidekick? Tickets are $55 to $65. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com. Pappy and Harriet’s has booked Cass McCombs for a gig at 9 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12. McCombs blends folk, rock, blues, country and several other different styles into one big, awesome mess. He’s toured with the likes of Band of Horses and Cat Power—and he’s definitely someone you should see live at least once. Tickets are $15. (Read my review of his latest album at CVIndependent.com.) The following evening, at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 13, Bill Callahan will take the stage. The underground rock artist, who has also performed under the moniker of Smog, continues to push the boundaries of simplicity in songwriting; it’s said that he can repeat the same chord progression throughout the entire song. He’s another musician who has tried his hand in writing, releasing a novel, Letters to Emma Bowlcut, in 2010. Tickets are $15. After an appearance earlier this year at The Date Shed, Reverend Horton Heat will be playing Pappy and Harriet’s at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24. The Texas trio and warriors of the road never disappoint and always put on a great show. I saw them on the same night as the 2009 Academy Awards when they played the House of Blues, right down the street from the awards ceremony and Vanity Fair after-party; the show was packed despite the traffic and all the Oscars craziness. They’re truly one of the hardest-working independent bands in the business today. Tickets are $25. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com. The Date Shed hosts The Expendables at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. No, this group does not include Sylvester Stallone, the Governator or any of those guys; it’s the Santa Cruz surfrock band that mixes reggae and punk. The resulting sound is similar to that of Sublime. Tickets are $15. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com. The Hood Bar and Pizza continues to get some great bands thanks in part to their booking genius, Brandon Henderson. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, the Palm Desert venue hosts a retrothemed show going back to the big-band and rockabilly eras featuring Vicky Tafoya and the Big Beat, the Jennifer Keith Quintet and the Deadbeat Daddies; the show will include a pinup contest. Admission at the door is $20. Guttermouth plays at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 16. Guttermouth’s shockingly humorous and offensive lyrics reportedly got them booted

from the 2004 Warped Tour; you never know what to expect from the Huntington Beach group. Antics aside, they’re a great punk band that shouldn’t be underestimated. Admission to the 21-and-over show is $10 at the door. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5520; www.thehoodbar.com Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio features a November party that is not to miss—Bella Da Ball’s Star Dedication. It will take place at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, in front of Azul, followed by an all-star concert at 7:30 p.m. with food and drink specials. Performers such as Allison Annalora, Doug Graham, Keisha D, Marina Mac and others are all scheduled to perform. Admission is free, and the full menu is available, but reservations are suggested. Azul Tapas Inspired Lounge and Patio, 369 N. Palm Canyon, Palm Springs; 760-325-5533; www. azultapaslounge.com.

The Expendables: The Date Shed, Nov. 16

The Hard Rock Hotel is open for business and moving forward with events. The hotel will kick off an entertainment series titled The Edge at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, with repeats on Friday and Saturday the following two weekends. The Edge is variety show that brings together actors from the screen and the stage in a production of rock classics, similar to Rock of Ages and other Broadway productions that include classic rock and stage performance. November’s show is titled “Top Rock.” Tickets for the event are $45. Hard Rock Hotel, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; www.theedgepalmsprings.com.


COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 45

NOVEMBER 2013

MUSIC

the

LUCKY 13

Our Never-Ending Goal: Get to Better Know Our Local Musicians

WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/MUSIC

By Jimmy Boegle voice brought me into the real world. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? I would ask Patti LuPone how she could produce a tear while singing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” every night during Evita. NAME Terry S. Larson MORE INFO Fans of the McCallum Theatre’s Open Call talent project are familiar with Terry S. Larson, 51; he was one of the 2013 finalists. Regulars at Studio One 11, at 67555 E. Palm Canyon Drive in Cathedral City, are also familiar with Larson: He works at the LGBT bar as a server and bartender—and wows audiences with his singing voice in concert every Tuesday at 6 p.m., and every other Friday at 8 p.m.; there is no cover. For more information, visit www.studio-one-11.com.

What song would you like played at your funeral? I would like Linda Eder to sing “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Barbra Streisand, The Broadway Album. What song should everyone listen to right now? “With You,” from Ghost the Musical.

What was the first album you owned? The Carpenters, Close to You. What bands are you listening to right now? I mostly listen to new Broadway cast albums, and Sinatra, Linda Eder, and Michael Buble.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? The Carpenters. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Barry Manilow. What’s your favorite music venue? Studio One 11 in Cathedral City (where I sing each week). What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “Where is love? Does it fall from skies above?” from “Where Is Love?” in the musical Oliver! What band or artist changed your life? How? Barbra Streisand. (I come) from a church background, (and) it was apparent to me they didn’t sing with a lot of sincere emotion. Her

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? I don’t mean to offend, but it’s got to be country. Sorry, guys. I’m not a hater; I just really don’t get it. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Nirvana, whether it be Unplugged or the Live and Loud concert they played in Seattle. Either way, I know it would be legend—wait for it—dary! What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? As of late, I hate to admit this: Katy Perry! It makes me want to go put whipped cream on my boobs and top them off with cherries. What’s your favorite music venue? I would have to say the Mesa Amphitheatre. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “If you want to sing out, sing out. And if you want to be free, be free, ’cause there’s a million things to be. You know that there are.” Ohhh, Cat Stevens.

What was the first concert you attended? Journey at the Forum in Los Angeles.

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

Dead Weather, Daft Punk, TOKiMONSTA. Umm, everything.

NAME Ashley Kay Pintor GROUP The Rebel Noise MORE INFO The four-piece Palm Springs rock band was formed in 2011 by brother-and-sister team Collin Pintor (lead guitar) and Ashley Pintor (drums), as well as Leopoldo Rodriquez (guitar/vocals); Ben Travis (bass) later joined the fold. Watch for their New Year’s Eve show at Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert. Follow them and hear their music at www. reverbnation.com/therebelnoise and www. facebook.com/the.rebel.noise. What was the first concert you attended? The Ataris. What was the first album you owned? It’s really sad that I’m having difficulty remembering this. I was a late bloomer with music. Possibly No Doubt. What bands are you listening to right now? Band of Skulls, The Kills, Band of Horses, The

What band or artist changed your life? How? There are two: Postal Service got me through some pretty insane moments in my life. I won’t get “emo” right now. Second, the Foo Fighters. Because of Dave Grohl and also getting to meet Taylor Hawkins, my love for music has gone through the roof. The energy and love for music the men in that band have is incredible, and they continue to out-do themselves with each new album. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? Dave Grohl: “Can I buy you a beer?” What song would you like played at your funeral? Foo Fighters, “Everlong” (acoustic, of course). Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape. What song should everyone listen to right now? Umm … I’ll answer that at our next show. ;)

The All Night Shoes FRESH Monthly Mix: november 2013 It’s no secret: Disco is back! A genre long mocked has returned with a new face. I have been a fan of disco since I was a kid. The Bee Gees, Electric Light Orchestra, Chic—I could go on and on. These acts were the top ticket in town for a good part of the ’70s and early ’80s. Of course, some of us may remember a night when a certain baseball team burned disco records, calling it the death of disco. Fast forward to 2013, and disco has returned to Top 40 radio via acts including Bruno Mars and Daft Punk. The Coachella Valley fell into “disco fever” this year with Splash House, a disco- and dance-themed pool-party festival. This month’s FRESH Mix is dedicated to disco with some familiar tracks, some new ones, and some you’ve probably never heard. Use this mix at your next house party—and turn up the heat! Also, don’t forget to catch my “Cosmic Disco” dance party hosted at Clinic Bar and Lounge in Palm Springs on the second Saturday of each month! As always, enjoy the FRESH Mix at CVIndependent.com! • Michael Jackson, “Rock With You” (Baptiste Remix) • CHVRCHES, “The Mother We Share” (Moon Boots Remix) • Stevie Wonder, “Superstition” (Dilemmachine Remix) • Funk LeBlanc Featuring T’mar, “Hold On, We’re Goin’ Home” (Drake Cover) • Fergie, “Glamorous” (Baptiste Remix) • Husky, “Step Back” (Figgy Remix) • Just Kiddin’, “Feelin’ Better” • Anoraak, “Made-Up” (Les Loups Remix) • All Night Shoes, “Last Summer” (Album Version) CVIndependent.com


46 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

NOVEMBER 2013

COMICS & JONESIN’CROSSWORD

Across 1 Chocolate sources 7 “Dude! Gross!” 10 Confetti-throwing Taylor 13 Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Bacardi Breezers 14 Place for SpongeBob’s pineapple 15 Classical ___ 16 Diamond attendant 17 I piece? 18 Holstein or Guernsey 19 Shrinking sea of Asia 20 Emergency signals 23 Rose-like flower 26 Ending for theater or party 27 Atlanta sch. 28 What a hand stamp permits at a concert 31 Clean, on-screen 34 Mobster’s weapon 35 Fortune-ate folks? 37 Pre-med subj. 38 Van Susteren of TV news 40 Members ___ jacket 41 Band-wrecking first name 42 Sprint rival 43 Jazz bandleader Stan 45 Like healing crystals and biorhythms 47 Suffix for south or west 48 Hathaway of “Get Smart” 49 Formed teams of two CVIndependent.com

54 Wealthy socialite 57 “Going Back to ___” ( LL Cool J single) 58 “___ y Plata” (Montana’s motto) 59 Andy Warhol portrait subject 60 German word in a U2 album title 63 RSVP part 64 “Where did ___ wrong?” 65 Hunter’s gatherer 66 Show with a Five-Timers Club, for short 67 Manual alphabet, briefly 68 Chips away at Down 1 American Red Cross founder Barton 2 Happy as ___ 3 Athens, Ohio and Athens, Georgia, for two 4 Police dispatch, for short 5 Tic-tac-toe win 6 Genre for James Bond or Austin Powers 7 Beef-grading govt. agency 8 Actor-turned-Facebook humormonger 9 Deride 10 Like some themes 11 Do a laundry job 12 Hound’s hands 13 Scheme for a quatrain 21 Like some crossword books

22 Jump online, or a hint to the long theme answers 24 1960s drug 25 They say where your plane will land 29 Fill up on 30 Modern day “carpe diem” 31 Light beam 32 “Author unknown” byline 33 Do major damage 36 Roget’s wd. 39 Highway: abbr. 44 Commit a mistake 46 Red blood cell deficiency 50 “___ in Harlem” 51 French stew with beef, wine and garlic 52 Arm bones 53 “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” singer Landon ___ 54 Whedon who created the Buffyverse 55 “Happy Days” actress Moran 56 Maynard James Keenan band 61 “The Price Is Right” prize 62 Org. for docs ©2013 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@jonesincrosswords.com) Find the answers in the “About” section of CVIndependent.com!


NOVEMBER 2013

COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT // 47

CVIndependent.com


48 \\ COACHELLA VALLEY INDEPENDENT

CVIndependent.com

NOVEMBER 2013

Coachella Valley Independent November 2013  

The November issue of the Coachella Valley's alternative news source.

Advertisement