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‘Art Is Not a Crime’ The City of Palm Springs Looks to Enact a Policy on Murals After Shutting Down a Highly Publicized Project By Brian Blueskye PAGE 12


MAY 2014

A Note From the Editor

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

Editor/Publisher Jimmy Boegle Assistant Editor Brian Blueskye Editorial Layout Wayne Acree Advertising Design Betty Jo Boegle Contributors Gustavo Arellano, John Backderf, Victor Barocas, Max Cannon, Kevin Fitzgerald, Bill Frost, Bonnie Gilgallon, Bob Grimm, Alex Harrington, Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume, Brane Jevric, Keith Knight, Christina Lange, Marylee Pangman, Erin Peters, Deidre Pike, Guillermo Prieto, Anita Rufus, Jen Sorenson, Kevin Taylor, Robert Victor

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.

Cover photo courtesy of Ryan Campbell; cover design by Wayne Acree

The Coachella Valley Independent print edition is published every month. All content is ©2014 and may not be published or reprinted in any form without the written permission of the publisher. The Independent is available free of charge throughout the Coachella Valley, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased for $1 by calling (760) 904-4208. The Independent may be distributed only by the Independent’s authorized distributors.

I first met Debra Ann Mumm and Ryan “Motel” Campbell in the weeks leading up to the party the Coachella Valley Independent threw last October to celebrate the launch of our monthly print edition. Debra’s Venus Studios Art Supply sponsored the event at Clinic Bar and Lounge by donating a 10-by-5-foot canvas (and other materials), on which Campbell painted a gorgeous work of art during the party. (The painting was then donated to the LGBT Community Center of the Desert for the nonprofit’s Center Stage silent auction.) To say I was impressed by both Mumm and Campbell would be an understatement: They always display an intense passion for the Coachella Valley, its art and its artists. That’s why I was not at all surprised when Mumm announced she and Campbell were raising funds for PLANet Art Palm Springs (www., a project to bring in four renowned muralists in early April to create four murals on and around downtown Palm Springs’ Arenas Road. From what I know of Mumm and Campbell, I was sure they’d dot their I’s and cross their T’s when it came to planning, permits and permissions. Sure enough, they got a thumbs-up from the city’s Public Arts Commission, as well as all of the needed permissions from the property owners along Arenas Road. Since the city of Palm Springs has no law regulating murals—at least that Mumm or anyone else to whom the Independent has spoken can find—it seemed like clear sailing for PLANet Art. Such was not the case: As the PLANET Art artists began to paint on the weekend of April 4, police showed up and reportedly threatened to arrest them if they didn’t stop. Brian Blueskye has a comprehensive report on Page 12. There is some good news coming out of this mess: In May, the Palm Springs City Council is slated to take up the mural matter, and will hopefully develop a policy and procedures to prevent such problems from happening in the future. (We’ll definitely keep everyone posted on what happens.) But even if the city of Palm Springs gets its act together in May, that does not excuse the city for what happened to Mumm, Campbell and the other PLANet Art participants in April. Unless there is some law or statute that everyone is missing, the city officials who had a role in stopping PLANet Art—costing Mumm and Campbell no small amount of time and presumably money—should be ashamed. If there’s no law regulating murals on the books, and Mumm and company did everything possible to get proper permission—including getting an endorsement from a city commission— then what they did is legal. Period. People like Mumm and Campbell, who are stepping up and trying to make our community a more beautiful, culturally aware place, should be celebrated, not threatened with arrest. This seems like common sense doesn’t it? Alas, the city of Palm Springs was lacking any and all sense when it shut down PLANet Art.

—Jimmy Boegle,


MAY 2014




Teachers, Not Tests, Can Save America’s Public-Education System


By Anita Rufus recently attended a seminar on technological literacy in K-12 classrooms, held at California State University San Bernardino’s Palm Desert campus. It was conducted by one of the five 2014 California Teachers of the Year, Jessica Pack, from our own James Workman Middle School in Cathedral City, along with Derrick Lawson, principal of Colonel Mitchell Paige Middle School in La Quinta. Soon after, I received an amazing book, Fear and Learning in America: Bad Data, Good Teachers, and the Attack on Public Education, by John Kuhn, superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent School District in Texas, about what he sees as an attempt to destroy public education. Let me explain how these subjects are connected. Jessica Pack is one of those teachers we would all remember if we had been lucky enough to be in her classroom. She teaches language arts, social studies and technology to sixth-graders. Her enthusiasm about introducing varying types of technology to her students, and her pride in the results she has seen, is genuine and joyful. “For me,” says Pack, “anything less than a passionate approach to education isn’t enough. I am a change agent, constantly learning and changing as a professional in order to transform my classroom further, and reach my students more effectively than ever before.” Pack’s approach to teaching is to establish a “memorable, extraordinary and safe place” for students to learn. She is involved in organizations that promote a technology-rich classroom environment, and acknowledges that in her classroom, the students are often teaching each other. In Pack’s classroom, students are encouraged to create their own short films, using technology to demonstrate and share what they are learning. “When students use technology, they are absolutely fearless,” says Pack. “Instead of just being consumers of education, they become producers, showing their thinking and reasoning, and demonstrating mastery of subject matter.” Samples of the short films made by Pack’s students were awe-inspiring, particularly because the students had planned, written, produced, filmed and acted in the films—and the subjects they tackled were substantive and meaningful. Lawson, speaking in his enthusiastic, rapidfire style, gave anecdotal evidence showing the difference the effective integration of

technology can make in the classroom, particularly for students for whom routine memorization or outdated methods of teaching just don’t work. One example he gave was when eighth-grade students worked in teams to pick a current news event and relate it directly to an issue covered by the Bill of Rights. “The students get more invested in what they are learning. “We’re no longer in the Industrial Revolution when it comes to education,” Lawson says. “We have to match the learning tool to the student. We’re looking for evidence of learning and what we can do to enhance that learning. We have to know how to embed learning so it sticks and can be demonstrated.” After the encouraging view of current educational methods presented at the seminar, I began to read Kuhn’s book. I’ve often talked about what I see as an assault on public education in the “reform” movements of recent years—privatization, charter schools, “choice,” reduced funding, endless testing, teacher-bashing and depressing statistics about the lack of educational equity, particularly for poor and minority students. Kuhn hits all of that from the perspective of an educator and administrator who is committed to public education and sees it as under attack from the “save the test but not the teachers” approach to education. “I write this book to warn that the folks spending their leisure time declaring the American public school system an utter failure have an embarrassing number of conflicting interests and ulterior motives. … They tenaciously peddle their remarkably consistent

message: Schools are bad. Unions are the problem. The free market is the solution. … (M)aybe they’re misleading us.” When you witness for yourself the dedication and professionalism of teachers in our local public schools—who have to teach all students, and not just those they pick and choose, and who are attempting to reach their students while keeping up with technological changes that happen faster than anyone can anticipate—you realize that Kuhn’s concerns about America’s commitment to public education are valid. Our free public-education system is necessary if we are to survive as a culture. Regarding the concept of testing as the be-all and end-all of evaluating our educational system, Kuhn writes that because “school- and teacher-ranking systems are built on mathematics, they are presented as unassailably objective. … The tests themselves may be objective … but the structures elaborated on the tests are often fraught with subjectivity and perfectly suited for behindthe-scenes manipulation.” Kuhn describes the move toward low-cost fixes along with “investors and CEOs with stakes in educational technology or charterschool management organizations” as “an alliance of the well-meaning and the selfserving. … It is ultimately cheaper and faster to cut down unions than it is to dig up our structural inequalities. “In a young century already noted for brazen corporate malfeasance in fields ranging from energy to mortgage finance to banking to insurance, a ceaseless PR campaign dedicated to the devaluation of our public school system led by corporate lobbyists and billionaire antiunionists should give us all pause. The crusade to cheapen this public trust is breathtaking for its audacity and its tenacity.” Teachers need to be supported and valued for the professionals they are, and we need to let them know we recognize and appreciate their commitment to preparing the Americans of the future. I learned at the seminar that education is about a lot more than preparing students to enter the workforce. It’s about teaching students to create, to work together, to respect

Jessica Pack: “For me, anything less than a passionate approach to education isn’t enough. I am a change agent, constantly learning and changing as a professional in order to transform my classroom further, and reach my students more effectively than ever before.” PACKWOMANTECH.COM

differences and to think for themselves, question everything and share what they learn. Every student is entitled to that, and only public taxpayer-supported education guarantees that for all. Stop falling for schemes that attempt to shovel tax dollars into private education. Don’t be misled by what sound like quick-fixes or a return to “the good old days.” Public education is essential for the socialization and citizenship of future generations, and the survival of our collective and ever-evolving culture. In Kuhn’s words: “Reform should be done by educators, not to them.” The educators I saw at the Cal State seminar prove that Kuhn is right.


MAY 2014



Why Do People Use ‘Latino’ as a Synonym for ‘Hispanic’?



By Gustavo Arellano EAR MEXICAN: I like reading your articles—they are funny, sad, insightful, crude, serious and even a little provocative and antagonizing at times. One thing I find a little antagonizing is the use of the term “Latino” as a synonym for “Hispanic.” I’ve noticed that you tend to favor “Hispanic” quite a bit more than “Latino”; thank you for that. While I may sound racist by making that remark, I am actually trying to raise cultural awareness and combat racism. The Latins as a people, a culture, a language and a tribe came from ancient Italy. On employment applications and government forms, the race/ethnicity section doesn’t include anyone other than Hispanics as synonymous with Latin(o). Where is the room for Latin Europeans? Italians, or French or Portuguese? As Italian-Americans, we rarely even get associated with a culture that came from our own land! See how racism can take many forms? Thanks, and I hope to hear back from you. Livid Latin Lover DEAR GABACHO: While I appreciate you regularly reading my columna, methinks you’re not poniendo much attention. If I ever use “Hispanic” in this column, it’s usually in disparaging terms, as that’s a creation of the Ford administration. I barely even use “Latino,” since this is a column about Mexicans and only Mexicans (with the occasional jabs at coños, carajos, conchas and catrachas, of course). All of this said, I agree with the spirit of your letter, and urge you to direct your ire not toward Mexicans, but rather intellectuals. It’s 19th-century French intellectuals, after all, who promoted the idea of a Latin America in opposition to Anglo-Saxon America in France’s eternal struggle against the English. It’s the love of anything French that drove intellectuals in Spanish-speaking countries in that era to warm up to that idea of pan-Latino identity in their eternal struggle against gabachos. And it’s gabacho intellectuals up here who bought into that idea in their eternal quest to categorize Spanish-speaking folks as subhuman. Don’t believe the Latino hype: Mexicans will only consider

themselves Latinos for welfare, Hollywood roles and affirmative action. The rest of the time, we’re puro mexicanos, cabrones. DEAR MEXICAN: When I watch YouTube videos of 1980s music, and whenever I sample the Italo songs, a lot of Mexicans comment on the videos. Basically, anything from Patrick Cowley, Rofo or Mike Mareen will have Mexicans commenting, mostly to give their memories of that era. How did Italo dance/Hi-NRG became so popular with Mexicans, at least the Mexicans from Mexico? And don’t forget in more recent years “El Pollito Pio” and “Macarena.” Interested Dance Music Fan DEAR GABACHO: Don’t forget “Vamos a La Playa” (“Let’s Go to the Beach”) by Righeira, a danceable tale of nuclear holocaust along the coast covered by Los João and immortalized in Lola la Trailera, the Mexican Smokey and the Bandit, except with more murder and mujeres. And you can even toss in “Eva Maria,” a 1960s ditty by Spanish pop group Formula V. Point is, Mexicans love synth-heavy pop dreck—

embarrassingly so. Sometimes, great music comes out of this amor—witness grupero groups like Los Barón de Apodaca or Bronco, pop geniuses such as Los Bukis, or “96 Tears” by ? and the Mysterians, the greatest song in human history. But most of the time, it’s just terrible— look at Timbiriche or whatever youth group Televisa is placing on a telenovela. Hell, Mexicans will dance to anything— what else explains the popularity of Maná? DEAR MEXICAN: My parents are immigrants from Mexico. Of course, they’ve retained some rituals that aren’t very necessary and would no doubt seem odd to the average American observer. One I’ve never mustered enough courage to ask about is this habit of placing a large stone or a log behind one of the rear wheels. I’ve assumed it’s so the car won’t roll away because of gravity, but I know this isn’t necessary when in park. Or maybe it’s to ward off grand theft auto? Rocky Llantasmande DEAR PEÑASCOSO TIRES: Are you kidding me? Putting a log or rock behind a tire is the Mexican version of LoJack. The smart Mexican gets a rock or log craggy or pointy enough so that anyone who tries to make off with the car will immediately puncture the tire or wreck the rim. After that, all you have to do is follow the skid marks to wherever the thieves left the car off. Simple, ingenious and cheap—the Mexican way. Catch the Mexican every Wednesday at Ask the Mexican at; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!


MAY 2014



To Drip or Not to Drip—Use Irrigation Lines to Gain Time and Beauty in Your Garden


By MARYLEE PANGMAN e often have the best intentions as homeowners: We create beautiful gardens at our home, and we promise ourselves that we will water faithfully—and living here in the desert can mean watering daily. In the severe heat we have much of the year, if we miss a day, our beautiful flowers can become toast. And sometimes, we miss a day. If this sounds like you, and your potted gardens are often dying, the most-reliable way to keep your pots healthy is to irrigate them automatically with a dedicated irrigation valve and timer. Yes, it takes some initial time and money to set up, but the payoff is huge: When I first set up my home pots with a drip system, I began saving an hour a day by not having to hand-water! You have two options for irrigating your pots. The preferred method is to use an existing irrigation system. If your existing timer can accommodate an extra valve and run times, you can use it. Pots typically are watered five to 10 minutes a day during the hot periods of the year. (Here in the Palm Springs area, that is a majority of the time!) If you’re tempted to hook your pots up to your landscape line, they will be getting one to two hours twice a week or so. This is excessive water, and you risk losing your plants and the pots from the abundant water and “erratic” watering schedule. This may mean you have to have another valve put in—at an expense of $500 to $1,200, if you hire a professional. But it’s well worth it when you think of the value of your time and the materials you buy for your gardens that die. The beauty of a good timer is that you can change the run time in one-minute intervals—so you can set it for five minutes, and then adjust it, one minute at a time, until your pots are getting the right amount of water. Additionally, if the water is running through the pots too fast, you can run it for a shorter period of time, but more often during the day. If you are unable to put a pot line into your landscaping system, an alternative is to add a Y-valve to a hose bib near the location of the pots, and connect them to a simple batteryoperated timer. These timers are inexpensive and typically allow for many start times. A good timer will cost between $20 and $50, and the rest of the parts will run less than $100, depending on how many pots you have. This is a great solution for vacation time, too! Just be sure to change the batteries twice a year—do not wait for them to run out. Daylight saving time is a good way to remember—and while you are at it, change the batteries in your smoke detectors, too! Regardless of which method you use, you will want to use the right emitters for your pots. An adjustable emitter on a stake is my preferred method. The output of water is patterned like wheel spokes, and is adjustable from about 4 to 10 inches. In larger pots, you would use two or three emitters, each off their own quarter-inch line. Another option is to use in-line emitters, spaced every six inches, on a quarter-inch line. These lines will need a longer run time to water your pots thoroughly, but they do work well with

gardens that need a slower water delivery. Test your system by running it for five to 10 minutes. After watering, the soil should be thoroughly wet, with some water draining out of the container bottoms. If water floods out, you have run it too long; if no water comes out, and the soil isn’t thoroughly moist, you need to run the system longer or use more emitters. Most controllers allow you to run the system several times a day, which is particularly useful in our hot climate. Get this all done, and you can enjoy your garden oasis even more, thanks to the newfound time you have gained! Marylee Pangman is the founder and former owner of The Contained Gardener in Tucson, Ariz. She has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for digital consultations, and you can email her with comments and questions at potteddesert@gmail. com; follow The Potted Desert at The Potted Desert Garden appears Tuesdays at

These lovely potted flowers will take a long time to water by hand!


MAY 2014



The Government Takes Baby Steps to Preserve the Salton Sea


By Kevin Fitzgerald he Salton Sea—the picturesque historical landmark located at the southeastern edge of Coachella Valley—is receding. Will it survive? Or will it dry up and become a massive generator of harmful dust emissions—posing a serious threat to public health and the local economy? This simple and important question has been debated for more than 20 years now, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Salton Sea Authority (, a joint-powers agency chartered by the state of California in 1993 to ensure the preservation and beneficial uses of the Salton Sea. The SSA is composed of two representatives from each of five member agencies: the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla tribe, Riverside County, Imperial County, the Coachella Valley Water District and the Imperial Irrigation District. This still-unanswered question spurred Gov. Jerry Brown to recently sign Assembly Bill 71. According to the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, “This bill would authorize the authority (SSA) to lead a restoration funding and feasibility study, in consultation with the (State of California Natural Resources) agency. This bill would also require the secretary (of the CNRA) to seek input from the authority with regard to specified components of restoration of the Salton Sea. By imposing duties on a local joint-powers authority (the SSA), the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.” In plainer language: The bill is intended to identify strategies to address the serious environmental and social challenges facing the Coachella Valley and the rest of Southern California due to the Salton Sea’s tenuous future. The most immediate result of the bill was the earmarking of $2 million in the 2014 state budget to fund a study to determine appropriate restorative actions. “AB 71 was successful, because after it was passed, we managed to get funding, which was a really good feeling,” remarked Roger Shintaku, executive director of the SSA. “We fought long and hard to get the funding.” Keali’i Bright, the deputy secretary for legislation with the California Natural Resources Agency, is the point-person on the state’s involvement in the Salton Sea campaign. “We’ve gone into contract with the Salton Sea Authority and their sub-contractor. … The study itself is very promising,” said Bright. “There’s an idea out there that we can encourage the development of a lot of geothermal and renewable energy resources around the Salton Sea, and that development can bring economic prosperity, and also provide revenues for further restoration activities.” How would the revenue created by such development flow back into the restoration effort? “More than 91 percent of the land under the sea basin is owned either by the Imperial Irrigation District or the United States government, so they would probably do some kind of leasing with development companies,” said Bright. “But one of the specific task orders in the study is to look at how you actually get revenue.” Shintaku’s SSA is supervising the creation of an action plan as the first phase of the study. “The first step in the feasibility study is to take the plan and make it more detailed and goal-oriented,” he said. “We’ve broken down specific tasks we want to accomplish along with

the schedule, because we need to finish the feasibility study by May 2016.” Of course, revenue and cost considerations can make or break any long term plans—especially when it comes to a project as daunting as saving the Salton Sea. “We need to examine what was laid out in the past and then try to inject the reality of today’s finances in an effort to see what we can do,” Shintaku said. “The bottom line is that we want to advance ecosystem restoration, and we want to advance any mitigation efforts, but we have to look at our own financial ability first, because we can’t really count on anyone else coming in.” What about the state budget funds earmarked to support SSA efforts? “The state is obligated to help out,” agreed Shintaku. “At the same time, we’re looking at what we can do locally without help from the state or federal governments. We’re doing what we can to move this forward.” Everyone agrees that time is of the essence—as the Salton Sea’s water supply will soon decrease. In 2003, the San Diego County Water Authority, the Imperial Irrigation District, the Coachella Valley Water District, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the State of California and the U.S. Interior Department signed the Quantification Settlement Agreement, which requires that annual allotments of Colorado River water are diverted into the Salton Sea. However, that agreement ends in 2017. Can anything be done in the near term to address the other challenges linked to this looming environmental, economic and public-health crisis? “The renewable projects themselves could be dust-storm preventers,” Bright observed. “… By this autumn, the state will begin constructing 600 to 700 acres of projects on the ground. Our focus and investment is in habitat ponds, which are really the most difficult to build. They’re deep-water habitats designed to grow fish, basically, so birds have fish to eat. Meanwhile, (the Imperial Irrigation District) is focusing on shallow-water habitats that are slightly less challenging, but equally important.” Curiously, there seems to be no serious discussion about delaying the QSA deadline on Colorado River-water allotments.

Later this year, the state will start constructing habitat ponds at the Salton Sea. “They’re deep-water habitats designed to grow fish, basically, so birds have fish to eat,” said Keali’i Bright, the deputy secretary for legislation with the California Natural Resources Agency.

“That’s way above my pay grade,” said Bright. “But I don’t know if the benefits are really there, because the tipping point on the salinity of the sea is already being reached. Undoing the QSA would be a monumental feat. We’re trying to work within our current framework toward the best solution and give us some kind of pathway to the future.” Shintaku said that no matter what is done, the Salton Sea will always be around, in one form or another. “If nothing else happens, and there’s still agriculture in the area, there’s going to be water draining into the sea,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s the real question. The real question is: What kind of sea will there be? “As we move forward after the feasibility study, we’d like to try to improve on what’s happening with the speciesconservation habitat and develop projects that maintain habitats and address future concerns of dust proliferation,” he continued. “We cannot say for certain that all 365 square miles of seabed will be a dust bowl. We won’t know until the sea actually recedes. That’s another challenge for us, to develop a program that will allow us to do dust control when such conditions arise, or avoid it by keeping areas wet or planting vegetation.” Of course, all of this work is being attempted in the midst of the worst drought California has seen in recorded history. How could this reality not serve as an impediment? “My feeling is that it’s been helpful, because it’s put the focus on water issues in the Legislature and where we put our priorities for water,” said Bright. “So in this year’s California Water Action Plan, the Salton Sea was put in as one of the priorities. … Other water areas have definitely been impacted by the bandwidth suck of the drought, but this is probably one of the few areas that hasn’t.”


MAY 2014


MAY ASTRONOMY Bright Stars and Four Planets Shine in the Evenings—and Meteors May Make an Appearance WWW.CVINDEPENDENT.COM/NEWS

by Robert Victor ay evenings are rich with bright stars: As many as 11 of the 16 brightest stars visible from the Coachella Valley can be viewed simultaneously in twilight—and this year, four of the five naked-eye planets will join the display. On the night of Friday, May 23, there will be possible outbursts of meteors as Earth passes through several trails of debris from a small comet. Outbursts could be short, with the peak likely between midnight and 1 a.m., Saturday, May 24. Although meteors from these outbursts could be seen anywhere in sky, if their paths are extended backward, they will radiate from a point to the lower left of the North Star, Polaris. You might like to camp out in a dark place on that Friday night, and keep watch for unusually slow meteors (only about 30 percent as fast as August’s Perseids) between 10:30 p.m. on Friday and 2 a.m. on Saturday. For more, visit webpage of the International Meteor Organization, www. May 2014 at dusk: The five brightest “stars,” in order of brightness, are Jupiter, Sirius (until it drops below the horizon), Mercury, Mars and Arcturus. (Mercury may not seem so bright, because it is seen in a brightly twilit part of the sky; its brightness fades below that of Mars on May 8, and that of Arcturus on May 21.) At dusk for most of May, four of the five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously! Jupiter (magnitude -2.0 to -1.9) descends in the west to west-northwest. Mars (-1.2

to -0.5) ascends in the southeast to south. Saturn, passing opposition as Earth overtakes it on May 10, shines at +0.1 for most of May, while ascending from eastsoutheast into the southeast. Mercury, low in the west-northwest to the lower right of Jupiter at dusk, sets at or after mid-twilight beginning May 3, while shining at magnitude -1.5. The planet fades to -1.0 on May 8, to 0.0 on May 20, and to +1.2 on May 31. As for stars, four of winter’s luminaries disappear below the western horizon during May. First to depart is Rigel, followed by Aldebaran, Sirius and Betelgeuse. Forming an arch above Jupiter, the stars Procyon, Pollux and Castor of Gemini, and Capella will linger into June. Far to the upper left of Jupiter, the star Regulus, heart of Leo, the Lion, is high in the south to well up in the west-southwest sky in May at dusk. Arcturus and Spica adorn the eastern half of sky in May’s evening twilight, and Vega rises in the northeast by mid-twilight after May’s first few days. Deneb and Antares are added later in month. Antares is at opposition and visible nearly all night on May 30. The moon in the evening sky in May and early June passes near Aldebaran on May 1; Jupiter on May 3 and 4; Regulus on May 7; Mars on May 10 and 11; Spica on May 11 and 12; Saturn on May 13; Antares on May 15; Mercury on May 30; and Jupiter on May 31 and June 1. May 2014 at dawn: The four brightest “stars” at dawn are Venus (magnitude -4), Arcturus, Vega and Saturn (+0.1). Those who

Morning visibility map at mid-twilight. ROBERT D. MILLER

Evening visibility map at mid-twilight. ROBERT D. MILLER

rise early and get outdoors to look at the sky before dawn are forward-looking people— literally! That’s because each morning, we are on the front side of the Earth with respect to our motion around the sun—facing directly out the front window of Spaceship Earth! This is a direct consequence of the Earth’s rotating on its axis in the same direction as our planet’s revolution around the sun: Counter-clockwise, as seen from the north side, or “above” our solar system. Venus at dawn in May gleams brilliant in the east. Examine Venus through a telescope, and you’ll find it two-thirds full on May 1 to more than three-quarters full on the 31st. In the morning sky, Venus is ahead of us, and widening its distance from us daily, until it rounds the far side of the sun in October. Low in the west-southwest to southwest at dawn, we find Saturn at opposition to the sun on May 10 this year, and Antares, heart of the Scorpion, at opposition on the night of May 30-31. As we follow our orbit curving between the sun and these two bodies, they’ll drift toward the horizon. So will Arcturus in the west to west-northwest, and eventually,

so will the Summer Triangle of Vega, Altair and Deneb, now overhead. Recently emerged Fomalhaut, mouth of the Southern Fish, is ascending in the southeast. The moon in the mornings in May passes near Saturn on May 14; Antares on May 15 and 16; and Venus on May 25. Check the website of the Astronomical Society of the Desert ( for dates and locations of “star parties” where everyone is welcome to look through telescopes at the moon, planets and “deep sky objects.” Our final sky watch until October at the National Monument Visitor Center takes place Saturday, May 10, but our monthly sessions at Sawmill Trailhead, at 4,000 feet, continue all year. Robert C. Victor was a staff astronomer at Abrams Planetarium at Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs.


MAY 2014



A New Study Predicts Coachella Valley’s iHub Will Bring Billions to the Area Over Two Decades


By Jimmy Boegle hen the pain of the Great Recession was just beginning to be really felt in 2009, Brian McGowan—then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deputy secretary for economic development and commerce—approached Coachella Valley leaders about developing an innovation hub. “We didn’t really have a clue what it meant,” said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet at a news conference on March 31. Spurred by McGowan, Pougnet—along with Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa and then-Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks—formed the Coachella Valley iHub. After the three cities chipped in, the iHub became one of the first six in California—there are now 16 in the state—and it’s starting to pay dividends: 21 tech-related companies are currently part of the Coachella Valley iHub. “We do have the top iHub in the state,” said Tom Flavin, the president and CEO of

the nonprofit Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, which is now working with the three founding cities (as well as the cities of La Quinta, Palm Desert and Indio, plus Riverside County) on the iHub. More dividends are coming, too: According to a study released at that March 31 news

Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, on the Coachella Valley iHub: “We invested money when times were tough—and we’re now beginning to see the fruits of our labor.” JIMMY BOEGLE

conference, the iHub is projected to have a $12.5 billion impact on the Coachella Valley between 2017 and 2036. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” By 2036, the study—by research economist John Husing—estimates that 81 companies involving clean/renewable energy, technology, health/medicine or advanced manufacturing will be operating in the valley as a direct result of the iHub. A projected 3,544 new jobs will be in place at those companies in 2036, with a total payroll of $174 million. The iHub currently includes companies working at the CVEP business center, and at the iHub Accelerator Campus, located near the Palm Springs International Airport. Leaders are also hoping to build a second iHub campus, for advanced manufacturing, in the East Valley with the assistance of a federal grant. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the economic payoff is significant,” Flavin said. Joe Wallace, the managing director of the Coachella Valley iHub, explained that Husing’s study makes some fairly conservative assumptions. It assumes that seven companies will “graduate” (i.e. go out on their own from the iHub) each year, with an average of 15 employees each; half of those companies are projected to go out of business. The bulk of the surviving companies are assumed to have 10 percent job growth per year, with expansion stopping at nine years and 35 employees; every fifth company is presumed to keep expanding beyond 35 employees, and every 10th company’s job growth is projected to be 20 percent per year. Each job’s pay is modestly projected at

$48,900—the median salary of an Inland Empire manufacturing worker in 2013. The development of an iHub is especially important in the Coachella Valley, elected officials say, because the valley’s economy is currently over-dependent on tourism—a fact which reared its ugly head during the Great Recession. It’s also important because the valley currently lacks a lot of good-paying jobs outside of the service and tourism sector. Today, many young people who grow up in the valley are forced to leave due to a lack of work. “Most of the kids who grow up here would like to stay,” Wallace said. Silicon Springs Enterprises—a company that partners with and helps develop tech companies that want to do business in the Coachella Valley—was the first company to graduate from the iHub. It’s a great example of a new local company that has big plans— and big potential. “We want to create another Silicon Valley, one that’s smaller and more efficient, in the desert,” said Joel Fashingbauer, Silicon Springs Enterprises’ president and chief operating officer, at one of the company’s regular Desert Tech Meetups, as reported by the Independent in December. At the March 31 press conference, Pougnet patted himself and his fellow mayors in Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs on the back for taking the initial steps to form the Coachella Valley iHub in 2009 and 2010. “We invested money when times were tough—and we’re now beginning to see the fruits of our labor,” he said.

MAY 2014



MAY 2014




Images From April in the Coachella Valley

Palm Desert’s Nicole Castrale pondered a shot with caddie/husband Craig during the first round of the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship at the Mission Hills Country Club, on Thursday, April 3. Coming off of hipreplacement surgery, Castrale started off strong with a first-round 71, one shot below par. Though she made the cut, Castrale struggled during much of the rest of the tournament, and finished at seven over par, tying for 51st place. PHOTO BY KEVIN FITZGERALD

Happy yet? T.I. joined Pharrell Williams to perform during Day 2 of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival’s second weekend, on Saturday, April 19. An estimated 90,000 people enjoyed the festivities each weekend at the Empire Polo Club. PHOTO BY KEVIN FITZGERALD

Hot Purple Energy, a newish Coachella Valley energy company, celebrated the grand opening of its “Studio E” building on Farrell Drive in Palm Springs on Thursday, April 17, with entertainment by the HPE All-Stars band, food and, of course, a ribbon-cutting, complete with cheesy oversized scissors. The company also announced it was partnering with the Palm Springs Office of Sustainability on a bikerecycling program. David Herrlinger, the company’s vice president, told the Independent that “the sky’s the limit” for rooftop solar energy in the valley. “The decision to go solar will come to people,” he said. “It’s a natural as energy becomes more expensive. … Rooftop solar is the only opportunity for people to change the paradigm: You can grow your own food, but (otherwise), you can’t produce your own electricity.” PHOTO BY JIMMY BOEGLE

MAY 2014




MAY 2014

The City of Palm Springs Looks to Enact a Policy on Murals After Shutting Down a Highly Publicized Project


HE WEEKEND OF APRIL 5 AND 6 WAS going to be big for Debra Ann Mumm. The owner of Venus Studios Art Supply had joined renowned local muralist Ryan “Motel” Campbell to launch PLANet Art Palm Springs. The project ( brought four renowned mural artists to downtown Palm Springs’ Arenas Road area to paint four large-scale murals. Proper funds had been raised; the city’s Public Arts Commission had even endorsed the week long project. Everything was ready to go. Except it wasn’t. As the artists started to paint, the police showed up and told Mumm and Campbell that their project was not authorized—it was illegal. Police reportedly threatened arrests if the artists continued to paint. Campbell took to Facebook and other social media to vent his frustration. He even posted a picture of the police arriving and shutting down the project. “ART IS NOT A CRIME,” Campbell wrote.


ODAY, OUT-OF-PLACE WHITE PAINT CAN be found along the edges of some of the walls where the murals were intended to be—Lulu California Bistro, Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt, Clinic and StreetBar— illustrating the sudden stoppage of the project. “I wish I could explain what exactly happened,” Mumm said. “The news articles that came out about it didn’t say a lot, because there wasn’t a lot of explanation for the actions the city took. We showed up to paint, and the police came and said they were told to cite us if we began to work.

Chad Hasegawa

By Brian Blueskye “It came as a bit of a surprise to us. We had followed all the procedures that we had to follow for the area we were painting in. There were no permits needed for that area as far as using the sidewalk and everything like that.” However, Palm Springs City Manager David Ready told the Independent that what Mumm and Campbell had planned was not allowed— despite the endorsement of the city’s Public Arts Commission. “Currently, the city does not allow murals,” Ready said, adding that the Public Arts Commission lacks the authority to approve mural projects on its own. “However, the City Council had asked to create a policy that would allow murals. The Arts Commission looked at it, and the Planning Commission is currently looking at it, and the City Council will consider it on May 7.” Mumm said she’s seen no law or ordinance prohibiting murals in Palm Springs. “There aren’t any procedures for murals in Palm Springs,” Mumm said. “Because there are no procedures, they are taking it from the standpoint that murals aren’t allowed. “I’m not sure exactly what happened. It was very clear about the dates we were doing this and moving forward, and that there was nothing in the city language that prevented us from doing that.” Ready also said that the property owners did not have proper permits for the murals. “They never received a permit from the city,” Ready said. “The property owners did not receive or request any approvals.” Mumm responded that her group did everything possible to get all the proper approvals. “We thought we only needed use

permits for the sidewalks, because all of Arenas is private, and the Arts Commission approved the project.” The confusion has cost Mumm and Campbell. The project featured out-oftown artists for whom Mumm had made accommodations; it was funded, in part, by locals to bring more arts and culture into the city of Palm Springs. (Mumm and Campbell are still raising funds, by the way.) Mumm said she hopes a fair policy will be put in place on May 7. “At this point, we’ve created a lot of public support,” Mumm said. “It’s clear that the city needs to move forward in making a procedure, because the public is very anxious for this project to move forward. At least we’ve created that dialogue.” One of the artists included in the project is Los Angeles painter Saber, described by The Washington Post as one of the most respected artists in the field of murals. (The others are APEX, Jeff Soto and Chad Hasegawa.) Saber went with Mumm to the Public Arts Commission meeting after the project was halted. “(Saber) was instrumental in helping the city of Los Angeles develop their mural policy,” Mumm said. “We brought copies of the Los Angeles city mural policy to maybe try to help them develop some kind of program.” Mumm said the plan is to continue work once the city enacts a mural policy and approves the project. “We’re still on board,” Mumm said. “The artists came here to paint, and they still want to paint, so we’re just going to continue to move forward. It’s just an extreme delay. …


At the very least, it’s created the dialogue and created the conversation, especially after the illegal mural activity.”


LLEGAL MURAL ACTIVITY” IS A REFERENCE to the mural that James Haunt painted at Stewart Fine Art, 2481 N. Palm Canyon Drive, and the mural at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, painted by Fin DAC and Angelina Christina. There was no attempt for the creators of these murals to get city approval, according to Palm Springs city officials. “It’s my understanding from the Public Arts Commission meeting that they’ll develop the policy, and once the policy is developed, Bar’s and James Haunt’s mural will both have to go through that procedure,” Mumm said. “They’ll make sure they’re compliant with the newly formed ordinances, and it’s clear that there will be no grandfathering of existing murals. That’s the language that I heard at the meeting. But again, the policy hasn’t been developed yet.” Mumm said the mural issue is getting caught up in the ongoing conversation about the nature of Palm Springs—and what belongs and doesn’t belong. “The problem with art is not everyone is going to like it,” Mumm said. “Bar has a fairly controversial mural. It’s a little bit provocative. … What we were bringing to the plate was a little more palatable publicly. I’ve heard people say about the Bar mural that it looks like a strip club. We’re trying to bring internationally recognized, quality artists and experienced muralists to the valley. I love Angelina Christina’s work, but that particular piece (at Bar) got some attention, and maybe


MAY 2014

all the neighbors aren’t happy about it. There was no public forum for them to come out and say, ‘Oh, man. You can’t do that.’ There was no approval by the Public Arts Commission, either. Everyone just wants the opportunity to weigh in on the subject.” She also points out that murals have been great for other cities. “It has made such a big difference for Miami,” Mumm said. “They have the Art Basel event, which draws $500 million in revenue to the Miami area in one week. I know there have been a lot of surveys done that cultural tourism is beneficial. It’s beneficial for businesses. … If you keep doing it, there’s bound to be something for everybody.” What about people who claim that murals don’t “belong” in Palm Springs? “I grew up here, and I was born in Indio,” Mumm said. “I’ve seen a lot of changes to Palm Springs from the time when I was a teenager. … I see extreme value in preserving our history, and there’s a lot of significant architecture here. … But the new generation, there’s not a lot to attract them or newer businesses to the area. There’s a lot of clinging to the past, and there’s a certain part of that past that’s important. I’m a big fan and have a lot of respect for what Palm Springs stands for. I think this just adds to it. We’re not taking away from anything that is Palm Springs, but adding something new and creating a new dynamic that can be more than onedimensional for Palm Springs. It doesn’t have to be just one thing.”

“Forever Marilyn,” the Seward Johnson statue that spent about two years at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive, was the subject of a debate over whether or not it was tasteful—or even art. “I wasn’t a fan,” Mumm said. “But I’m a fan of what the statue did for the community. Everybody took pictures with the Marilyn. I’m a local, and I don’t like the Marilyn statue, but I have to admit: I have pictures of her on my cell phone.” When asked whether murals are a good fit for the city, city manager Ready wouldn’t comment specifically, but he did say the city has noticed the potential. “I think that’s why the City Council requested that we bring forth a policy on murals,” Ready said, “because they recognize murals could certainly have a place in Palm Springs.” Mumm said that murals are also a good source of graffiti prevention. “We’ve been invited to bring our program to Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Indio, and even Indian Wells is even interested in looking at some murals,” Mumm said. “They realize the potential for what we’re offering. It is a graffiti deterrent. “I know if (someone) went up and tagged on a Saber mural, (the tagger) wouldn’t last long,” she said, laughing. “There is a lot of respect even in that culture for significant work like that. You do not tag on a mural unless you’re an idiot, and your whole community around you knows you’re an idiot.”

Palm Springs police reportedly threatened to arrest PLANet Art participants if they continued to paint. COURTESY OF RYAN CAMPBELL


Jeff Soto


MAY 2014



The McCallum Theatre’s 2014-2015 Lineup Includes Acts Ranging From Comedy Legends to the Pope of Trash


By Jimmy Boegle he McCallum Theatre will, as always, bring in big names and big shows during the 2014-2015 season. Comedy legend Bob Newhart. Grammy Hall of Famer Neil Sedaka. Violin icon Itzhak Perlman. The legendary musical Anything Goes. But if you’re looking for some hidden gems on the recently announced schedule, McCallum director of communications and public affairs Jeffrey Norman encourages you to check out Mitch’s Picks. “Mitch” is Mitch Gershenfeld, the president and CEO of the McCallum, who has been booking shows at the venerable theater—the top-selling venue in California in the spring, according to Pollstar—for about 14 years now. His “Picks” are five shows by performers who may not be household names, but are immensely talented nonetheless. “He’s kinda saying, ‘I’ve been booking shows for a long time, and I can personally recommend these,’” Norman said. Those picks by Mitch include a show by Cheyenne Jackson, who will be performing Shaken Not Stirred: The Music of the Movies. The performer is best known for acting roles on 30 Rock and Glee, but he’s one hell of a singer, too. (He’s also gorgeous, and proudly out.) He’ll be performing on Saturday, Nov. 1; tickets are $25 to $75. Mitch’s other picks include the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (yes, I really did just write “Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain”) on Thursday, Jan. 29; Rodney Mack Philadelphia Big Brass performing Brothers on the Battlefield, a multimedia show honoring the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, on Monday, Feb. 16; Mona Golabek’s onewoman show about a young Jewish musician in 1938 Vienna, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, on Wednesday, Feb. 25; and 2Cellos on Friday, March 6. Norman encouraged me to look for clips of 2Cellos—which consists of Croatian cellists Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser—online. I now encourage you to do the same. They’re simply amazing (and, like Cheyenne Jackson, they’re simply gorgeous). “Elton John called them the most amazing thing since Jimi Hendrix. They play the heck out of those cellos,” Norman said. Of course, Norman—a veteran of the theatervenue world himself—also has his own opinions, so I asked him for one of Jeffrey’s Picks for the 2014-2015 season. “It would have to be Dame Edna,” Norman

said, referring to the alter ego of Australian comedian/performer Barry Humphries, who recently turned 80. “She had reportedly retired—or perhaps I should say he had reportedly retired. Apparently, he decided to do one last farewell tour, and he specifically remembered the McCallum Theatre, and wanted to return.” Dame Edna—who was a semi-regular on Ally McBeal, fans may recall—will perform on Monday and Tuesday, March 30 and 31; and Wednesday, April 1. Tickets are $35 to $95, possums. And now for my pick: I was intrigued to see that John Waters, the uniquely Baltimore “pope of trash” known for Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, will be doing his one-man Christmas show, A John Waters Christmas, at the McCallum on Tuesday, Dec. 2; tickets are $25 to $55. I’ve seen Waters do a one-man show before; he’s hilarious and even charming (though certainly graphic and, um, profane). “We were very explicit in the brochure: This is for diehard John Waters fans. He is definitely putting the ‘x’ back in Xmas,” Norman said. All in all, 2014-2015 looks like yet another diverse and busy year for the McCallum—and Norman said up to a dozen more shows may be added before all is said and done. “I am really excited about it,” Norman said. “It’s a really fun, interesting, eclectic season that has a little bit of everything.” A lot of really fun and interesting things are going on behind the scenes at the McCallum, too. While the theater is best known for its great shows, the McCallum Theatre Institute spends a lot of time, money and effort promoting arts around the community, especially to local

Dame Edna’s farewell tour will include shows at the McCallum in 2015, possums.

students; Norman notes that the institute puts on 1,700 workshops at 28 schools throughout the valley each year. In September 2014, the McCallum will be expanding its community-arts mission even further: Thanks to a $600,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation, the McCallum will launch a new effort. The Crisálida Project: Transforming Ourselves, Transforming Our Communities is “an initiative to give voice to the cultural traditions and aspirations of the largely Hispanic and economically disadvantaged communities” in Indio, Coachella, Thermal and Mecca. The project, funded by the grant for two years, will be led by master storyteller David Gonzalez.

He will hold a series of meetings, classes, workshops, story circles and performances in the East Valley to promote community art-making, gather stories and preserve traditions. Norman said that the products of The Crisálida Project could lead to communitywide performances, and perhaps even shows on the McCallum stage, although there are no prescribed expectations for the project. “As the valley’s leading performing-arts venue, we have a responsibility to promote broader access to the arts,” Norman said. For subscription sales or more information, visit


MAY 2014


REPRESENTING MEXICO ‘Contemporary Mexican Masters’ Shows Jorge Mendez Gallery’s Emphasis on Contemporary Latin American Art


By Victor Barocas

new gallery, with a focus contemporary Latin American art and artists, has joined Palm Springs’ growing Uptown Design District. Jorge Mendez Gallery plans to bring “underrepresented (Latin American) artists” to the “underserved U.S. marketplace.” And if its current show, Contemporary Mexican Masters, portends future shows, Jorge Mendez Gallery will offer a great alternative to the often formulaic art found in other desert galleries. Most gallery artists are representational, Using black paint, he produces indigenouswith a considerable number rooted in the looking facial features. The hair, painted in figurative tradition. Contemporary Mexican a dark black, appears to define gender. Cora Masters spotlights five artists, including creates a sense of depth by varying the size and Alberto Castro Lenero and Amador Montes, shadings of the heads, and sometimes having who were born in, were trained in and create heads overlap. Each face projects a defined their work in Mexico. personality and mood. This keeps the painting Vladimir Cora’s inspiration comes from his fresh, interesting and not repetitive. home in Nayarit, in western-central Mexico, While “Retablo V” might be considered and he has a distinctive style. First, he almost pensive, Cora’s women in his “Cabeza” series exclusively paints the human head and face. generally come across as far less serious. Second, he outlines each head to separate it “Cabeza Con Fruitas” seems light hearted and, from the background. Lastly, Cora’s works in some ways, carefree, with the oversized project an early cubist quality. head taking up about 85 percent of the large The artist’s large canvas, “Retablo V,” is canvas. The forward-facing model is front and more than an academic study of the human center; avoiding the outward stare of her left head and face. Cora—clearly referencing the eye and occluded right eye is difficult. Tropical devotional paintings frequently found in Latin fruits in greens, oranges and yellows create the America—brings more than 20 different-sized appearance of an aura or halo. Caro illuminates and triangular or oval-shaped heads and necks his model from the left. Despite her having to the canvas. a green tinted face, she is approachable. The Against a burnt-orange background, the right, or shaded, side of the model’s face artist outlines each face in black. His faces tend is neither attractive nor unattractive. It is, to be deeply tanned. Some, perhaps those in however, quite different from the left side of the shade, have a lightly applied blue wash. the painting. Here, the muddy dark-orange,

“Chencho Sax” by Jazzamoart Vazquez (cropped).

brown and yellow paints result in a highly worked and dense complexion. Armando Amaya’s sculptures offer a balance to the large canvases. His works, both in bronze and marble, are sensuous to the eyes; they invite touch. His sculptures are reminiscent of the classic female nude, as portrayed by many classical sculptors and painters. When working with marble, Amaya demonstrates a real respect for the stone. He takes great care to bring out the marble’s smooth, subtle luster. In “Mirislava Acostada Flexionada,” a reclining female figure is stretching. Her arched back and outstretched arms, projecting way beyond her head, suggest that she has just yawned. The experience with “Emelia Acostada Boca Arriba” is totally different. Here, Emelia lies on her back. His treatment of the soft marble produces a highly sensual sculpture: The nude seems to be sunbathing, totally relaxed and at ease. Jazzamoart Vazquez’s paintings, while in some ways disparate, retain a common visual dynamic and technical adventurousness. At first glance, “La Taberna de los Sueños Sincopados,” roughly translated as “The

Tavern of the Syncopated Dreams,” seems like time-lapse photography. A blur of off-center brown and light-tan lines move toward the center of the canvas. The artist forces one’s eyes to take in the entire canvas, and what emerges is a highly complex portrayal of an active nightclub. The lines become the beamed ceiling, leading to a far wall that looks like an old Catholic Church with similarities to the Sistine Chapel. By using a fine paintbrush to apply deep-dark-brown paint, Vazquez creates sketch-like figures and forms. The canvas is a vibrant place for the eye to wander and revisit. With “Chencho Sax” (Sax Dude), Vazquez pays homage to Francis Bacon by satirizing Bacon’s satirization of Diego Velázquez’s “Portrait of Pope Innocent X.” In Velázquez’s original painting, a stately pope, positioned on a raised platform, sits on a throne-like chair. Both Vazquez and Bacon imitate Velázquez’s seating of the pope; however, their treatments of Innocent X differ greatly. Against a dark background, Bacon cordons off the pope in thick gold cord. A screaming pope appears imprisoned by vertical beams of murky purplish white lights; Bacon’s ominous and sardonic message cannot be avoided. Vazquez’s reworks Bacon’s classic to make it his own. Through his active brushwork, Vazquez again ensures the eyes take in the entire canvas. Vazquez’s painting contains a clear political and social agenda, but his riff is biting and humorous. With the derogatory title “Chencho Sax,” we see austere pope reduced to an overweight, fat, ugly and scowling saxophone-playing commoner. Contemporary Mexican Masters is on display at Jorge Mendez Gallery, 756 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, through Saturday, May 31. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday; and noon to 5 p.m., Sunday. For more information, call 760-656-7454, or visit


MAY 2014



Neil Hamburger, America’s Funnyman, Is Bringing His Bad Jokes and Flop Sweat to Pappy and Harriet’s

College of the Desert’s Les Misérables—at the McCallum Theatre The McCallum hosts College of the Desert’s production of Les Misérables at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 1; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3; and 2 p.m., Sunday, May 4. $25 to $45. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;


By Brian Blueskye nderstatement alert: Neil Hamburger is not an ordinary stand-up comedian. His jokes often take a question-and-answer riddle format, and the answers usually have neither rhyme nor reason. Still, the resulting act is quite hilarious, if not for everyone—so it’ll be interesting to see the reaction of the crowd at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, where the greasy-haired comedian will be performing on Friday, May 9. Neil Hamburger is the alter ego of Gregg Turkington, the co-publisher of the underground zine Breakfast Without Meat. Turkington performed with various San Francisco punk bands throughout the ’80s. During a recent phone interview, Neil Hamburger discussed what inspired his comedy act. “The idea came from walking down the street and seeing people with tears streaming down their faces,” he said. “People with broken shoulders, with their legs in a cast, and that type of thing. It occurred to me that these people need some laughs; these people need to forget their problems for a few minutes, and laugh their heads off. We tried to put something together to relieve these people’s burdens, and I have to say, we failed for the most part. But we do provide a few laughs over the course of the evening.” Neil Hamburger’s routine includes many comedic punches—often raunchy and in poor taste—toward celebrities. “These are garbage people,” he said. “These are people who are being paid 150,000 times more than the fireman who will save your life, and these people get up there and do a poor job of entertaining. Now, I’m all about paying somebody who does a good job well, but when you see this stuff like we saw at the Oscars, where this woman takes a photo with the phone she’s being paid to advertise, and suddenly she’s being heralded as some sort of comedic genius? She orders pizzas, and that’s supposed to be entertainment? These people are being paid ridiculous amounts of money while the rest of us are eating wallpaper paste.” Has a celebrity ever confronted Neil Hamburger about one of his jokes? “I was in Montreal one night, and Dane Cook came up to me in a bar,” he said. “He told me that he wasn’t particularly thrilled about being the subject of some of the jokes.” Corporations have come after him, too. “We had a situation with AXE Deodorant,”

he said. “They had a disgusting ad campaign that was very, very sexual in nature. It was all about using their products for men to clean their testicles and things. They were doing it in what they thought was a humorous way, but it was really grotesque. So I wrote an article about this at the request of Vice magazine. So AXE didn’t like this one bit, and within 30 minutes, the article was removed from the Internet, never to be seen again. “We’ve had problems with Arby’s, and the comedian Rob Riggle had blocked me on Twitter, because I called him an ‘AXE Comedian’ because he does work for AXE.” Hamburger’s act is packed with riddles. In fact, there was an online campaign to get him to play the Riddler in a Batman film. “People pay good money to see a show to go out and laugh their heads off,” he said. “Of course, we’re doing a show there in your region soon at Pappy and Harriet’s, assuming it isn’t torn down to make room for a Dollar General. But in all seriousness, when people pay good money to see a show, they want to laugh as many times as possible. Riddles give that dream a chance to become a reality, because if you tell riddles, you can probably work six, seven or eight of them into each minute of the show, opposed to one of these comedians who come out and tell this long, dreary story about how they went to the supermarket and they didn’t have peaches, so they went to the frozen-food aisle to get frozen peaches, and five minutes later, you finally get the punch line. By then, your mind has wandered back into all your problems.” Hamburger’s unorthodox jokes and horrible comedic delivery have led him to a career that most comedians would envy. However, Hamburger remains angry. “There’s more to do if you take a guy

MAY THEATER Equus—From Palm Canyon Theatre The Tony Award-winning play about a psychologist’s attempts to understand a young man’s obsession with horses is performed at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17; and 2 p.m., Sunday, May 18. $25. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123;

Neil Hamburger

like Carrot Top, who’s making millions and millions of dollars for jamming suitcases filled with props up his ass,” he said. “… I certainly have played (some great venues), whether it was Madison Square Garden or a big stadium in Sydney. I cannot complain about the venues I have played. While I’m very satisfied with my career in terms of all the wonderful cities I’ve gotten to visit, unfortunately, you’re still looking at a living wage that is somewhere (like) that of a short-order cook at your local Denny’s diner.” So, what’s Neil Hamburger’s pre-show routine? “I like to put on some music that would get me in the mood,” he said. “Generally, it’s Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Jr. or Bow Wow Wow, because you have to be in a mood that you want to put on a good show. The other thing is hopefully at the nightclubs, they have goodquality liquors and not some of these that are actually cut with store-brand alcohol, water or Clorox bleach.” Hamburger often discusses his old car with a broken tape player. I asked him if his car will make it up the hill to Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown. “The car will probably make it, but the tape player probably won’t,” he said. Neil Hamburger will perform with Johnny Pemberton and Clownvis Presley at 8 p.m., Friday, May 9, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $12. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit

The Haunted Host—From Desert Rose Playhouse The LGBT and LGBT-friendly playhouse presents one of the first contemporary gay plays, Robert Patrick’s comedy The Haunted Host, on the 50th anniversary of its Greenwich Village premiere, at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, May 2, through Sunday, June 1. $25 to $28. At 69260 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000; Is It Just Me, or Is It Really Dumb in Here?—From Script2Stage2Screen Local Jason Hull’s crazy sketch comedy is performed at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3. $10. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage. 760-345-7938; Nunset Boulevard—From Theatre 29 Nunset Boulevard follows the Little Sisters of Hoboken as they’re getting set to perform at what they think is the Hollywood Bowl; turns out it’s actually a bowling alley. Shows at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, May 24, with 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sunday, May 4 and 18. $12; $10 seniors and military; $8 students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151; Swan Lake—From CK Dance Local dance studio CK Dance presents the classic ballet, at 7 p.m., Friday, May 23; and 2 p.m., Saturday, May 24. $15 to $25. At the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www. Thoroughly Modern Millie—From Palm Canyon Theatre In the early 1920s, Millie has a goal: To marry a rich New Yorker and live the “modern” life. Of course, things don’t happen that easily; at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, May 2, through Sunday, May 11. $32; $10 students/children (call the box office). At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-3235123; Wait Until Dark—From Desert Theatreworks The thriller that was a Broadway hit before becoming a famous film starring Audrey Hepburn comes to the Joslyn Center stage, at 7 p.m., Friday; and 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, from Friday, May 9, through Saturday, May 17. $25; $23 students and seniors; special kids’ prices and group rates available. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455;


MAY 2014


HEALING NEEDED Western Lit: ‘In the Light of Justice’ Shows the Wounds That Remain in Native American Communities


BY KEVIN TAYLOR t’s unthinkable that kids in America would ever be allowed to play “slaves and masters,” writes Walter Echo-Hawk, but we don’t see anything wrong with Junior strapping on the trusty ol’ cap-shooters for a game of “cowboys and Indians.” Echo-Hawk, a Pawnee tribal member and lawyer who has toiled for 35 years in federal Indian law, has written a provocative book that examines the tragic and continuing effects of colonial conquest and its resulting “settler” mindset. He does this without ever scolding his readers and succeeds in pointing a way toward eventual healing. In the Light of Justice shines its light onto often-overlooked issues, explaining that what many whites think of as history—a bygone era of treaty-making, frontier warfare and taming the West—is, to most Indian people, actually current events. S. James Anaya, a human-rights investigator for the United Nations, agrees. In his foreword to the book, Anaya writes that, during a tour of Indian Country in the wake of the U.S. endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (President Obama announced he would signed it in 2010 after opposition by the George W. Bush administration), he was struck “by … the deep, still open wounds” left by Manifest Destiny. It’s disturbing, Echo-Hawk notes, that former colonists who rebelled for the sake of freedom treated, and continue to treat, indigenous people in the manner of 500 years of Western European colonialism. The

doctrines of conquest and discovery have not only unjustly destroyed indigenous economies and societies; they have harmed the land as well, by treating it solely as a resource to be exploited. And yet those doctrines are still cited by federal courts today. Echo-Hawk devotes a chapter to the need for what he calls an American land ethic, something, he writes, that Aldo Leopold suggested as early as 1948. Without a new way to engage with the landscape, “the American people cannot fully mature from a nation of immigrants and settlers recovering from a rapacious frontier history of Manifest Destiny and stride toward a more just culture … and resolve to become more ‘native’ to place.” In 10 focused chapters, Echo-Hawk maps the way from the dark legacy of conquest to the light of justice. The “clothes of the conqueror,” he concludes, do not well fit the American ideals of liberty and justice. This article originally appeared in High Country News. In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by Walter R. Echo-Hawk (Fulcrum), 352 pages, $19.95


MAY 2014

MAY ARTS Film MOVIES IN THE PARK: THE CROODS Bring chairs, kick back and enjoy the start of summer! The movie will begin the second the sun goes behind our mountains. 6 p.m., Friday, May 9. Free. Mecca Community Park, 65250 Coahuila St., Mecca; apm.activecommunities. com/desertrecdistrict. SHORTFEST ‘SHOOTING STARS’ In preparation for June’s ShortFest 2014, the Camelot will host a program of the best of the “Shooting Stars” programming, featuring major Hollywood names appearing on screen or behind the camera. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 15. Free. Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-2930;

Music BEST OF COACHELLA VALLEY SYMPHONY In Coachella Valley Symphony’s season finale, local physician and soprano Dr. Lisa Lindley headlines this gala event with selections from both the opera and pop worlds. This special evening will include a grand VIP reception and auction following the concert for those patrons who purchase a $125 ticket. All proceeds from the auction will go toward youth education programs. 7 p.m., Friday, May 9. $25 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; MARIACHI EXTRAVAGANZA Don’t miss the dynamic sounds, the rich colorful costumes and the cultural celebration of the Mariachi Extravaganza. Embajadores Del Mariachi, Mariachi Sol De Mexico, led by Jose Hernandez, is a Grammy-nominated and platinumselling group that has performed to sold-out audiences around the world for more than 30 years. Las Primeras Damas De Mariachi Reyna De Los Angeles is the first female mariachi ensemble in the United States. 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 24. $20 to $40. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 800-585-3737; item/spotlight-29-casino.

MARIACHI VARGAS DE TECALITLAN Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan has been in existence for 100 years and has been credited with revolutionizing the style of music. They’ve recorded albums, starred in more than 200 movies, and performed all over the world. 4 p.m., Sunday, May 11. $40 to $100. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787; PEPE AGUILAR Five-time-Grammy winning artist Pepe Aguilar is an impressive master of fusion with an undisputed capacity to inspire audiences. 8 p.m., Friday, May 2. $39 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 800-827-2946; ROCK YARD AT FANTASY SPRINGS The Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs brings music fans free, live rock shows. At 7:30 p.m., the full-throttle rock music fires up with cover band Rok of Ages and gets audience members out of their seats. At 9 p.m., the tribute band takes over and plays audience favorites. At 10:30 p.m., the cover band comes back out and continues the live music until midnight. Friday, May 2: Pat Benatar. Saturday, May 3: Tribute to U2. More shows to be announced; check the website for more information. Free; 18 and older. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 800-827-2946; STAYIN’ ALIVE: A CELEBRATION OF THE BEE GEES Stayin’ Alive offers the songs and sights of a full Bee Gees concert, singing blockbusters such as “Night Fever,” “Jive Talkin,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “You Should Be Dancing,” “Nights on Broadway” and “Stayin’ Alive,” along with video clips, photos and dazzling imagery. 8 p.m., Saturday, May 10. $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 800585-3737;

Performing Arts THE FABULOUS PALM SPRINGS FOLLIES’ FINAL SEASON The Follies’ final edition, entitled “The Last Hurrah,” will conclude on Sunday, May 18. The Fabulous Palm Springs

Follies has been seen by nearly 3 million patrons, and celebrates the music and dance of mid-century America with a cast ranging in age from 55 to 83 years young. Various dates and times through Sunday, May 18. $29 to $95. Palm Springs Follies at the Historic Plaza Theatre, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-327-0225;

and live auctions, one-of-a-kind collectibles, marvelous merchandise and more. 5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 3. $395 and up. O’Donnell Golf Club, 301 N. Belardo Road, Palm Springs. 760-325-8481;

Special Events

ART AT SUNNYLANDS Sculpture Taking Place: Cast, Carve, Combine allows families to wander Sunnylands Gardens and view local sculptors at work in this thematic family day; from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, May 18. Plein Air in the Gardens admits artists for extended hours to paint, sketch or sculpt in the gardens. Preregistration is required; from 7:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, May 21. Free. Sunnylands Center and Gardens, 37977 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270. 760-202-2222;

BIRDS OF JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK The deceptively barren Mojave Desert landscape is home to and resting grounds for numerous endemic and migratory bird species; more than 240 species of birds have been recorded in Joshua Tree National Park. Kurt Leuschner, professor at College of the Desert, will guide this three-day field class through the Mojave and Colorado deserts to identify common and rare birds. Leuschner’s focus will be on identifying individual species and separating summer and winter residents from true migrants. 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, May 2; 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 3; 7 a.m. to noon, Sunday, May 4. $125 to $135. Black Rock Visitor Center, 9800 Black Rock Canyon Road, Yucca Valley. 760-367-5525; www. BREW AT THE ZOO “Save wildlife one beer at a time.” Enjoy a sampling of handcrafted beers, food and live entertainment, with participation by more than 50 local breweries and restaurants. Proceeds help The Living Desert. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3. $35 to $125. The Living Desert, 47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert. 760-346-5694; AN EVENING AT THE PUEBLO Join Cabot’s Pueblo Museum for a fabulous cocktail and dinner celebrating the placement on the National Register of Historic Places and the preservation of the integrity of Cabot Yerxa’s history, pueblo and collection of artifacts. 6 p.m., Saturday, May 17. $150. Cabot’s Pueblo Museum, 67616 E. Desert View Ave., Desert Hot Springs. 760-329-7610; www. EVENING UNDER THE STARS’ 2014 GALA: FIRST LADIES OF DISCO The 21st annual Evening Under the Stars gala to benefit the AIDS Assistance Program (AAP) will feature a star-studded performance by fabulous female pioneers of the ’70s disco scene. Scheduled to appear are Linda Clifford, France Joli, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Maxine Nightingale, Pamala Stanley, Anita Ward, Martha Wash and the ladies formerly of Chic: Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin and Norma Jean. The event includes cocktails, dinner, dancing, and silent

Visual Arts

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: THIRTY YEARS OF COLLECTING The exhibit includes art works purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum with funds provided by the Contemporary Art Council and other contributors since 1984. The acquisitions were created by contemporary artists who worked in California or were influenced by spending some time in California during their artistic careers. This is the first time these artworks have been on exhibition together. The exhibit is a celebration of the commitment of the Contemporary Art Council to growing the museum’s collection of significant contemporary artists, and is a survey of art in California since the 1980s. On display through Thursday, July 31. Included with museum admission (free to $12.50). Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4800; PALM SPRINGS PHOTO FESTIVAL Connect 2014 offers the opportunity for professional, emerging professional and serious advanced amateur photographers to study with legendary photographers, show portfolios in the celebrated Portfolio Review Program, and attend cutting-edge seminars. The program is intended to inspire, educate and instill or reignite passion for the art and commerce of photography. Various times Monday, April 28, through Friday; May 2. Prices vary. Hyatt Palm Springs, 285 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 310-289-5030; 2014.

Submit your free arts listings at The listings presented here were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.


MAY 2014



Check Out These Four Oscar-Nominated Flick


TOP 10 LIST for APRIL 2014


By Bob Grimm August: Osage County Anchor Bay, released April 8 Tracy Letts’ play came to the big screen with a big cast featuring Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper and others. After a family tragedy, a group of sisters and their husbands/boyfriends return home to Texas and their dying mother (the Oscar-nominated Streep). Mom was mean when they were growing up, and she remains mean in her dying days, much to the annoyance of daughter Barbara (Roberts, also Oscar-nominated); she is doing her best not to follow in mom’s footsteps. The cast is strong, with most of them turning in great work, including Juliette Lewis, who does her first truly good acting in a long while. The lone exception would be Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the slow sibling. He’s all wrong for the part. Sam Shepard makes a brief but memorable appearance as the family patriarch. The movie is super-dark and ugly, and full of people acting like true jerks. While the story isn’t anything all that new, the cast makes the film worth seeing. The ending feels a bit tacked on; in fact, it was tacked on: The studio didn’t find the original ending to be suitable, so they insisted on this new one. Special Features: There’s a director’s commentary (something rare on recent Blu-ray releases), deleted scenes and a making-of featurette. The Wolf of Wall Street Paramount, released March 25 This was my pick for the best picture of 2013, and Leonardo DiCaprio should’ve won an Oscar for playing likable scumbag Jordan Belfort. In fact, DiCaprio should have at least three Oscars on his mantle by now, but, alas, he has none. Martin Scorsese’s latest explodes like a mortar full of deranged bliss. DiCaprio plays slimeball stockbroker/convicted-felon Belfort, a real-life jackass who made millions selling penny stocks at a Long Island, N.Y., brokerage. The movie, based on Belfort’s own autobiography, takes people

doing bad, bad things to an extreme level; it’s one of the best and most-deranged comedies ever. As Ray Liotta did in Goodfellas, DiCaprio talks to the camera on occasion, often during highly elaborate tracking shots that have become a Scorsese mainstay. It’s in these moments, and during Belfort’s drug fueled speeches, when DiCaprio does his most exhilarating acting to date. Jonah Hill, in an Oscar-nominated role, knocks it out of the park as Belfort’s partner in crime. When the two ingest an abundance of Quaaludes, the sequence that follows stands as one of the best Scorsese has ever put to film. That’s saying a lot. The best film of 2013 scored no Oscars, but it did net DiCaprio a Golden Globe for Best Performance in a Comedy. Special Features: The only supplement is a weak behind-the-scenes featurette. No Scorsese commentary. No deleted scenes. Boo! American Hustle Sony, released March 18 Director David O. Russell continues his impressive roll with American Hustle, a semi-comedic look at the notorious 1970s Abscam scandal. Russell is shooting for Scorsese-style glory here, and while the style of the movie seems copied at times, there’s no denying the power of the ensemble cast. Bradley Cooper scores laughs as a pathetic FBI agent looking to make a name for himself, and Christian Bale looks great with a comb-over as the conman forced into an alliance with the law. Amy Adams gets one of the strangest roles of 2013 as a con artist pretending to be British; she pulls it off quite nicely. Jennifer Lawrence steals every scene she’s in as a seemingly dim Long Island housewife, a role for which I thought she deserved an Oscar. The film scored nominations for Lawrence, Cooper, Bale and Adams among 10 total nominations—yet it didn’t take home a single award. Also worth noting: Louis C.K. is hilarious as Cooper’s field boss. C.K. canceled a show for which I had tickets to make this movie. I was pissed, but after seeing how good he is here, I’m

OK with it now. The film falls a little short of greatness due to the fact that it seems copied at times, but the cast pulls it out of the fire. It also has the best usage of Robert De Niro as a bad guy in many years. I keep forgetting that De Niro was once the greatest actor on planet Earth; with this film, and his terrific turn in Silver Linings Playbook, De Niro seems to have found a great director in Russell. Special Features: There’s a bunch of deleted and extended scenes, along with a making-of featurette. Not much to enjoy. Saving Mr. Banks Disney, released March 18 Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are charming as Walt Disney and Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in this obviously whitewashed look at Disney’s attempt to get the movie rights to her book. We all know that Disney succeeded, but many don’t know that Travers was quite the holdout. The movie splits time between the Disney/Travers business and Travers’ childhood, where we find out that much of Mary Poppins was based on her troubled father (Colin Farrell) and actual nanny. B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman are wonderful as the Sherman brothers, who made Mary a musical, much to the chagrin of Travers. The movie takes a lot of artistic license; even though Travers is depicted as difficult, she was far more adversarial in real life, and never approved of the movie. (Those animated penguins!) Still, the film is fun to watch, with Hanks and Thompson making it all very worthwhile and heartwarming. Shockingly, Thompson was supersnubbed when it came time to hand out Oscar nominations, as was Hanks. In fact, only Thomas Newman’s score received an Oscar nom from this film. Special Features: Some deleted scenes are of interest. There’s also a cute scene of the real Richard Sherman leading the cast in a round of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” Still, this package is a bit lacking.

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in Ride Along.

1. Ride Along (Universal) 2. The Nut Job (Universal) 3. 47 Ronin (Universal) 4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (New Line) 5. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount) 6. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (20th Century Fox) 7. Grudge Match (Warner Bros.) 8. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Paramount) 9. Labor Day (Paramount) 10. Devil’s Due (20th Century Fox)


MAY 2014



A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Sourdough Bread and ‘Mad Men’


By Deidre Pike ome day in the not-too-distant future, I want to make wine. But I don’t want to ruin perfectly good grapes. So I’m training myself on bread. Sourdough bread, specifically. This spring, I’ve been nurturing a sourdough culture: lactic-acid bacteria and yeast, feeding and reproducing on wheat flour and water. What’s growing looks like gluey carbonated yogurt. Aptly called starter. The bread-making process isn’t unlike the wine-making process. Both grapes and wheat undergo chemical changes as bacteria and yeast reproduce, causing fermentation, alcohol and gas production, and the tasty conversion of acids. To be honest, I started messing with sourdough because friends were baking it. I enjoy gnawing on a tangy bit of bread while I slurp fermented red. So, yum! Sourdough pairs with cabs. With merlot and sangiovese and barbera and aglianico. A few great pairings: • An earthy mourvèdre with sourdough and baked brie, drizzled with honey and garnished with pears. • A jammy zinfandel with sourdough toast smeared with herbed butter. • A syrah with sourdough crackers, baked with sea salt and flecks of black pepper. Let the mouths water. Pairings aside, I’m getting evangelical about the chemistry of sourdough and its health benefits for my intestines, waistline and mood. As I write this, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” is looping in my brain. I’ve been calling my sourdough starter yeast. And, yes, the starter has some of the single-cell fungi that make bread rise. But in most sourdough starters, lactic-acid bacteria outnumber yeast by about 100-to-1. I love the names of these bacteria— Leuconostoc, Pediococcus, Weissella. And most prevalent, you know her and you love her: Give it up for the multi-talented Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis! You’d think that the latter microbe must be endemic to its namesake, San Francisco, but it’s been found in sourdough cultures in Belgium, Italy and Germany. In February, Karen Dixon, who works at the Moonstone Crossing Winery in Trinidad, Calif., gave me a plastic container of gloop—a legacy sourdough starter passed from friend to wino to friend. She sent me to a website, Cultures for Health (, with info on the care and feeding of starter and how to make, knead, proof and bake bread. I’m learning so much, so fast. Keeping starter alive requires little time—but that little time must be dedicated on a regular, rhythmic basis. To keep it active and ready to make bread, I feed it daily. Because it’s a growing community, the small starter gloop becomes a massive sticky vat kinda fast. If you don’t want to feed an ever-expanding mass of bacteria and yeast, you can discard some. Since it pains me to slather happy, healthy gloop into the trash, I’ve found recipes for putting this “discard” to good use, making crackers, pizza crust, cinnamon rolls. I bake. A lot. At its simplest, sourdough bread is flour, water and gloop— with a sprinkling of sea salt. Some recipes call for milk, fat and sugar. My recipe uses none of these. It’s vegan, lactose-free,

sugar-free. Kneading dough causes the gluten to develop. A byproduct of fermentation is carbon dioxide, and the gluten holds the gas in, making bread fluffy. Because sourdough is a slow-rising bread, the developing acids make the gluten more easily digestible. Some gluten-intolerants have no problem with traditional sourdough bread. What I’ve learned: Don’t skimp on kneading. My first loaves were tough little dough wads. Not sour. Not fluffy. A good knead takes about 20 minutes, at least. My second loaves were sourdough geodes—impenetrable rocky spheres inside of which a tasty sponge-like mass resided. The loaves dried out before I baked ’em. Slicing required a chainsaw. But inside, success—springy moist crumbs with the texture of pound cake! And so mouth-puckeringly sour. I cubed this up and ate it with runny eggs for breakfast. I’m getting better. Warmer weather means my starter is livelier, and to be honest, that makes the kneaded bread rise— double in size—too fast. It takes time for fermentation to turn the bread sour. A few loaves have tasted sweet, bland even. Clearly, this is an art—and a healthful one. Sourdough makes me feel physically great. Why? The acids in sourdough activate enzymes that make more nutrients available to your body. Also, studies of bread-eating folks showed lower blood-glucose levels after eating sourdough white bread compared to any other bread, including whole wheat. That’s great news for me, since diabetes runs in the family. There’s also a potential weightloss strategy: I’ve noticed if I eat a piece of sourdough toast in the morning with some protein, I don’t get the mid-morning munchies until around 1 p.m. Bread is rising as I write at 11 p.m. on a weeknight. I’m enjoying a lovely glass of 2008 Zucca Mountain Sorprendere, a red blend, and watching the sixth season of Mad Men on Netflix. Lovely mounds of dough are rising on baking stones atop my record player and my pellet stove (which is not fired up). I made the dough around 3 p.m. and kneaded for a half-hour. The loaves have properly doubled, and I’ve punched the dough lightly with my fists so it can rise again without globbing over the edges of the stone. I could throw the loaves in the oven tonight and watch another episode or finish this column. For full-on sour, though, I’m going to wait. Bread for breakfast! Baked before work! I’m

going to have to get up mighty early, but that’s OK. Have I mentioned how much bread-making helps me value the work that goes into that bottle of fermented grape juice? Thank you, hard-working makers of wine. Someday, I’d like to join your ranks. Wine Events Coming It’s Wine Riot time at the California Market Center, two hours away from the Coachella Valley in Los Angeles, at 110 E. Ninth St., on Friday and Saturday, May 9 and 10, featuring a gazillion tastings, temp tattoos, a Bubbly Bar and some Crash Courses in wine education. The Riot “reinvents wine for the thirsty and curious” and runs $60 per each of three sessions—Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night. Tickets and more info at



MAY 2014


FOOD & DRINK Wanna Brew? Then Participate in the First Wort Challenge


By Erin Peters he craft-beer industry is no stranger to collaboration: Many craft brewers embody not only an entrepreneurial spirit, but a basic human kindness toward his or her fellow brewer—as well as an infatuation with the art of brewing, and a respect for craft-brew consumers. The American Homebrewers Association’s National Homebrew Competition, which is currently under way for 2014, embodies this ethos. It’s the world’s largest international beer competition that recognizes outstanding homebrewed beer, and it has been going on since 1974. But the National Homebrew Competition isn’t the only contest; growing in popularity are smaller competitions that celebrate the craft of homebrewing—and one such contest is taking place here, starting in May. Coachella Valley Brewing Company (www. and the Beer Culture Webshow ( are joining forces to present The Wort Challenge, a beer competition that celebrates the roots of American craft beer—homebrewing. Coachella Valley Brewing Company will provide entrants 5 gallons of golden ale wort (6 percent alcohol by volume, 25 IBUs), professionally brewed on the High Efficiency Brewing System—there are only 10 such systems in the world. On Saturday, May 10, between 2 and 4 p.m., entrants will bring a sanitized carboy to the CVB tasting room. Homebrewers will go on to add yeast, other ingredients and a copious amount of creativity to create collaborative concoctions that will become the first entries in what’s intended to become an annual event. The tasting room will open at noon with specially priced beer. So, what can a homebrewer do? Age a brew with oak cubes and vanilla beans? Go hot, and add peppers? Or add some hazelnuts for a rich, brown ale? Fruit-infused beers are popular in the warmer months; perhaps a brewer can add some blackberries and raspberries, as well as some cocoa nibs, to create a slightly tart, yet velvety feel. Feeling super-adventurous? Add some sugar, and ferment with Belgian yeast. Another refreshing option for the sizzling desert summers are saisons: Add some saison yeast, orange zest and coriander, and dry-hop with some Amarillo or Citra hops. On Thursday, June 12, participants must submit nine bottles of their wort collaboration homebrew. Four inspired entries will win prizes. The “Best in Show” will be determined by the judging panel (yours truly will be one of the lucky judges) on Friday, June 13.

The winners will receive a trophy and a day with Coachella Valley Brewing Co.’s head brewer, Chris Anderson. Winners will also be interviewed by Beer Culture Webshow and will receive a special prize from Beer, Beer and More Beer. The “People’s Choice” award will be decided by Coachella Valley Brewing Co’s patrons at the Grand Tasting, on Saturday, June 14, from noon to 4 p.m. “Best to Style” will be determined by the judging panel, as will the recipient of the “Most Creative” award. It costs $25 to enter (with a cash or check made payable to the Coachella Valley Brewing Co.). If entrants want to split the wort into a second entry, submit an additional $10. Make sure to use the recipe form found at www., and specify the details. Email david@ to enter. This is the first time Coachella Valley Brewing is making wort with no intention of fermenting it in-house. So, challenge your brewing skills; get objective feedback from knowledgeable judges; and taste the fruits of your labors, and well as those of your fellow brewers’ labors. Some tips: • Know your style and what you want to brew. • Use extracts and yeasts that are fresh. • Water matters! Use quality water. • Keep everything clean, at every phase. • Allow enough time for the beer to condition and carbonate properly. • Take copious notes on how you brew your beer. It may be a winner! With a mission to grow, advance, educate and advocate regarding the industry of craft beer, homebrewers are the brewmasters of tomorrow. Join the club!

Wort is the liquid, drained from mash, that eventually becomes beer. ILDAR SAGDEJEV VIA WIKIPEDIA


MAY 2014


MAY 2014


Restaurant NEWS BITES


By Jimmy Boegle COMING SOON: GYORO GYORO IZAKAYA JAPONAISE After many months of construction, Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise—located at 105 S. Palm Canyon Drive, surrounding the Starbucks at the Tahquitz Canyon Way intersection—is getting closer to opening. The signs for the much-delayed restaurant are up; several photos of the interior have been posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, too. Gyoro Gyoro will be a sister restaurant to Oto-Oto, which includes locations in Monrovia and West Covina; and the Gyoro Gyoro in Encino. The menu posted online at will make the mouth of any Japanese-food-lover water: A wide variety of sushi, sashimi, ramen dishes, rice clay-pot entrées and appetizers are listed, as are many other goodies. There’s an interesting story behind Gyoro Gyoro and Oto-Oto. According to, the restaurants are owned by Ramla Inc.: “Founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1980 by Akira Murakawa, Ramla has grown … into Tokyo’s third-largest restaurant operator. With 154 restaurants comprised of 32 brands, Ramla’s restaurants span a spectrum of cuisines ranging from traditional Japanese, to French, to Italian, to Spanish and more. … Ramla is embarking on an ambitious expansion into the U.S. with its plan to bring 150 Ramla-branded restaurants to American cities both large and small.” Beyond Thai food, downtown Palm Springs is in serious need of more Asian-food offerings—so count us as excited. If you’re excited, too, follow Gyoro Gyoro Izakaya Japonaise on Facebook for updates. NOW OPEN: SMOKE TREE SUPPER CLUB The Funkey Family has done it again: The folks behind Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta and downtown Palm Springs’ Bar have finally opened the much-anticipated Smoke Tree Supper Club. The restaurant—located next to Giuseppe’s at 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs—appeals to lovers of grilled meat: In addition to starters and salads, the menu features reasonably priced steaks ($18 to $23), a 12-ounce pork porterhouse ($17) and slow-smoked baby-back ribs ($16), as well as a burger ($11), salmon ($16), a sea-scallop skewer ($16) and a pounded free-range chicken breast ($16). Prime rib—$26, with two sides—is the house specialty. Vegetarians, take note: Aside from the aforementioned salads, you can enjoy a jumbo marinated portobello mushroom burger on a brioche bun ($10). The Smoke Tree Supper Club is open for dinner every day but Monday. For more information, call 760778-6521, or visit NEW: NOTHING BUNDT CAKES OPENS IN PALM DESERT Veteran Southern California chef Jeffrey Tropple, along with partner Ellie Koch, has opened the valley’s first Nothing Bundt Cakes location, at 72216 Highway 111, No. F-3, in Palm Desert. Nothing Bundt Cakes is a chain, based in Las Vegas, with about 90 locations in 20 states. The Palm Desert location celebrated its “soft” opening on Friday, April 11. The concept behind Nothing Bundt Cakes is simple: The bakery sells bundt cakes, 10 flavors of ’em (nine regular, with one flavor of the month thrown in), in various sizes. That’s it. What Nothing Bundt Cakes does may be limited, yes, but they do what they do well: Store manager Lauren Bright offered us a sample of the cinnamon swirl cake, saying it was her favorite flavor. Why is the cinnamon swirl her favorite, as opposed to the carrot, or the red velvet, or the pecan praline? “Because it’s amazing,” she said. Turns out she was right: The moist, yellow cake with cinnamon, sugar and a signature frosting was indeed amazing. In fact, it was one of the best cakes we’ve had in the valley. More good news: Tropple and Koch are celebrating the grand opening of their locally owned store by giving a little something back. On Friday, May 2, 20 percent of sales will go to local no-kill shelter Animal Samaritans. For more information, call 760-346-3440, or visit IN BRIEF While some restaurants have struggled in what is considered “downtown” Cathedral City—for example, Picanha Churrascaria never found its footing after moving from Palm Desert to 68510 Highway 111, next to the IMAX theater, before closing last year—fast food seems to be taking hold there: A Subway recently opened not too far from the Mary Pickford Theatre, and a Taco Bell is on its way. … Another sad note from downtown Cathedral City: Daniel Webster Jr., 44, the man who owned Big Mama’s Soul Food, has passed away, reportedly due to a heart condition. His highly regarded restaurant closed late last year. Our condolences go to Webster’s family and friends … Farm, the lovely breakfast/brunch place located in downtown Palm Springs’ La Plaza, is expanding, sort of: Just around the corner is Farm 2, a spot that will be offering “super foods and juices.” … On Tuesday, April 8, Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, located at 71800 Highway 111, No. A176, hosted the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Child Abuse Awareness Lunch at the center, located on the Eisenhower campus at 39000 Bob Hope Drive, in Rancho Mirage. The luncheon offered thanks to detectives, prosecutors and other professionals who fight child abuse.


MAY 2014




Enjoy These Two Warm, Gooey Local Treats

By Jimmy Boegle WHAT The Crab Enchiladas WHERE Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar and Grill, 241 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs HOW MUCH $14.95; $13.95 after 9 p.m. CONTACT 760-325-8800; WHY It’s a delicious dish made with love. On most nights, you’ll find either Ruben or Ozzy Lopez, if not both of them, hard at work behind the counter at the brothers’ eponymous Tahquitz Canyon Way restaurant. It’s nothing new for the brothers to be hard at work behind a restaurant counter; they started out working together at the late, lamented Beach House before moving to Shanghai Reds—the back-bar part of Palm Springs’ Fisherman’s Market and Grill—for a nine-year stint. In 2012, the two left Shanghai Reds and ventured out on their own, opening Ruben and Ozzy’s Oyster Bar and Grill. The menu at Ruben and Ozzy’s is rather reminiscent of the menu at Shanghai Reds (as is, in some ways, the décor—they both have a large bar area, a nice patio area, TVs tuned to sports, etc.). But most important: The food on that menu at Ruben and Ozzy’s is pretty goshdarned spectacular. Our personal fave is the crab enchiladas. A real-crab concoction is wrapped inside tortillas, which are topped with goodies including a slightly spicy salsa verde, cheese and a creamy sauce. Adjacent to all of this warm, gooey deliciousness is a heap of cool, fresh pico de gallo, as well as some cabbage pieces, for texture, flavor and temperature variety. Finally, there is a scoop of Mexican-style rice—a perfect foil for any salsa and sauce that happen to be left over. Yeah, the weather is getting increasingly warm as the march toward summer continues, but trust me: This hot little dish is fantastic even when temps are in the triple-digits, in part because the entrée includes cool contrasts (the cabbage and pico de gallo), and in part because it’s so freaking delicious. So, go and support these two local restaurant icons who have been making food— tasty food—with love around these parts for decades, will ya?

WHAT The Goat Cheese Sweet Corn Tamale WHERE Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, 71800 Highway 111, No. A176, Rancho Mirage HOW MUCH $11 CONTACT 760-346-8738; WHY It’s a veritable flavor bomb. If you’re looking for a traditional Mexican tamale, then Babe’s is not the place for you (unless you also like great beer and tasty barbecue, but that’s a story for another time). However, if you’re looking for a twist (and a serious size upgrade) on the traditional tamale, then get thee to this mainstay at The River, pronto. There is a lot going on in this far-fromtraditional dish. There’s sweetness from the corn meal, as well as a subtler sweetness from the goat cheese. There’s a whole lot of savory from the tortilla soup in which the huge tamale is swimming. There’s a delightful bit of floral freshness from the microgreens lovingly placed atop the dish. And the variety of textures— soft (the goat cheese), creamy (the soup), crisp (the greens)—will keep your mouth entertained with each and every bite. The sum of these parts: a veritable flavor bomb. We’ve praised the delightful subtlety of some dishes in this space before. Well, this tamale offers just the opposite: Your taste buds will be overloaded—in a good way—by all of the different flavors hitting them. Take note: The tamale—a recipe from the founder of Babe’s, the late Don Callender—is not always available; sometimes, Babe’s may have pork or chicken tamales instead. As the menu says, “Check availability with your server. As (Don Callender) would say, ‘Here today, gone tamale!’” I am sure the pork and chicken tamales are quite yummy, too. But I’d keep your fingers crossed for the goat cheese.


MAY 2014

•• The Rebel Noise : A Band on the Rise •• Tribesmen 's Plans: A New Album—and a Surprise for Fans •• The Lucky 13 With Synthetix, Jesika von Rabbit •• FRESH Sessions All Night Shoes: May 2014

Country superstar Alan Jackson makes a May date at Fantasy Springs. That and much more in The Blueskye Report.




MAY 2014



Meet the Members of The Rebel Noise, One of the Valley’s Up-and-Coming Bands


By Brian Blueskye he members of The Rebel Noise moved from their hometown of Paso Robles to the Palm Springs area in 2011—and only then did they have the idea to start a band. Since that fateful decision, they have been a band on the rise. The Rebel Noise is Leo Rodriquez (guitar, vocals), Collin Pintor (guitar), Ben Travis (bass) and Ashley Pintor (drums). The move to Palm Springs started with a job offer made to Collin Pintor. “My company has two offices, and one of them is down here,” Collin Pintor said. “We vacationed here all the time when we were kids, so it just kind of made sense to make a move. It was a good time for me. The rest of the band followed about a year after.” But they weren’t yet a band. In fact, the only one who had played in a band was Ashley Pintor, who had been in an all-girl band in the Paso Robles area. “We played a couple of shows,” Ashley Pintor said about her old group. “One of them was this saloon, and we actually opened up for the Kottonmouth Kings, which was super-weird, because our music style did not mesh at all. But that was it, and it lasted for about half a year.” Another surprising fact about The Rebel Noise: Leo Rodriquez has only been playing the guitar for about two years. “When we were all living up north, I didn’t know how to play guitar,” Rodriquez said. “I had just picked up my acoustic guitar and was learning major chords, and that was about it. I didn’t even sing or anything. (Collin and Ashley) used to jam all the

time, and I’d just sit there in their band room and listen to them play. I couldn’t jam, because I didn’t know how to play anything. I stole my little sister’s acoustic guitar, and Collin showed me my first chords—and I would just play the shit out of it.” Rodriquez moved to the area and had two weeks off between jobs; he used that time to learn how to sing and play guitar. He said he even wrote his first “terrible song.” “We were blown away,” Collin Pintor said about Rodriquez’s musical talent. “We could see the potential. That was always one thing we were missing—a singer. We came out and we’re like, ‘What in the hell? You’ve never sang before? Ever?’”

Rodriquez said the band’s sound has been developing ever since. “Every recording that we do, every new song that we write, it gets tighter and tighter, and it sounds better and better,” he said. All the hard work by Rodriquez and his band mates has paid off, leading to some great songs and a unique sound that offers a mix of blues and hard rock. One of the band’s songs, “Possessed,” starts off with Rodriquez singing gently—and then shifts to full-on insanity, with a blast of heavy guitar and Rodriquez screaming. (Check out this story at CVIndependent. com to see a video.) “We actually just wrote that one,” Rodriquez said. “It was kind of on a whim. (Collin) had a lick, and we were just like, ‘We could write this song right now.’ We wrote that song in one practice.” Rodriquez said the band members try to emphasize a diversity of sounds in their songs. “It’s important for us to use dynamics in our songs,” Rodriquez said. “You can’t just rock out the whole time. It kind of becomes numb at that point. We like to bring it way up and bring it back all the way down to the floor again. We always do that.” When they look back on their first live show—at the Dillon Roadhouse, two years ago—they cringe. “We probably practiced for about two months before we played that show,” said Collin Pintor. Rodriquez remembers that Michael Durazo from Slipping Into Darkness helped them land the gig. And how’d it go? “We sucked really bad,” Rodriquez said. “I remember being so nervous before that show that I was shaking onstage, but it was fun, and it was a good first-show experience. I even have one video of one of our songs, and I watch it just to see how far we’ve come. Every time I watch it, I can only watch about half of it before I have to shut it off.” In the two-plus years of The Rebel Noise’s existence, the band has earned love from many local bands. “People are into the music scene here, which is nice,” said Collin Pintor. “The other bands here are really cool. We’ve met some of the bands where it feels like it’s very competitive, and they’re standoffish. But usually, when we play down here, we hear, ‘Hey, that was a really good show; looking forward to your next one.’” They also have the support of their neighbors around their home in Palm Springs. In fact, a neighbors’ daughter might end up on the cover of their debut album, which they hope to have ready during the summer. “She’s actually listening to our song through a pair of headphones,” said Ashley Pintor. “She busted up her chin and has a Band-Aid on her chin looking all hardcore. It’s seriously awesome.” For more information, visit

The Rebel Noise


MAY 2014

The Blueskye REPORT

MAY 2014 By Brian Blueskye Coachella, Stagecoach and the White Party are all now behind us in 2014, which means the summer slowdown is beginning to set in. However, there are still some great events that’ll keep both Coachella Valley visitors and locals entertained in May. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa will host funnyman Gabriel Iglesias at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 3; 6 p.m., Sunday, May 4; and 8 p.m., Monday, May 5. The comedian also known as “Fluffy” is best known for his

Gabriel Iglesias, Agua Caliente, May 3, 4 and 5

hilarious standup act, but he found a degree of acting success as Tobias in Magic Mike. He’s even hosted his own showcase on Comedy Central called Stand-Up Revolution. Tickets are $45 to $75; get them fast, as they were close to selling out as of our press deadline. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-9991995; Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a variety of entertainment options in May. Robin Thicke will be in town at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 3. (He was originally slated to perform in March but had to reschedule.) The son of Growing Pains actor Alan Thicke has become an international superstar after the success of his hit single “Blurred Lines.” Tickets are $49 to $109. At 8 p.m., Friday, May 9, Earth, Wind and Fire will be appearing. The group has sold 90 million albums since forming in 1971, and they’re still going strong. A few years back, they toured with a reunited Van Halen as the opening act. Tickets are $49 to $79. If you missed Stagecoach and need a good dose of country music, Alan Jackson will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Friday, May 16. He sounds more traditional than some of today’s other “mainstream” Nashville country artists, and that has led him to a great deal of success. His post-Sept. 11 track, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” was a smash hit that comforted many. Tickets are $59 to $139. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway; 760-342-5000; Spotlight 29 Casino has a great postStagecoach event for country fans: Leann Rimes will be appearing at 8 p.m., Friday, May 9. At the age of 13 in 1996, she had a hit record with Blue. Since then, she has become a country music superstar— Continued on page 29


MAY 2014



A Year After Playing at the First Tachevah Party, Tribesmen Plan an Album—and a Surprise for Fans

By Brian Blueskye little more than a year after winning the chance to play at the first Tachevah block party in Palm Springs, Tribesmen continue to gain notoriety throughout the Coachella Valley. The group came together through jam sessions scheduled with the intention of forming a band. Alec Corral (guitar), Leslie Romero (bass) and Freddy Jimenez (drums) play a distorted style of rock ’n’ roll that Corral compared to that of the White Stripes. Wilber Pacheco (guitar) was in another band when Tribesmen formed, but soon became interested in what the three members were doing. “I went to one of their band practices, and they were just going to play rock stuff,” Pacheco said. “I was like, ‘I’ll just hang out,’ and then (Corral) starts playing in this awesome tone. I was like, ‘Holy shit, dude! Does the offer still stand to be in this band?’” Tribesmen doesn’t have a vocalist, and the band doesn’t plan on adding one any time soon; the group originally intended to have a vocalist, but were unable to find one and decided to instead make instrumental music— something that few bands have managed to make work, outside of Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Red Sparowes and several others. However, none of those groups were among their influences. “We make the songs more along the lines of cinematic scores,” Corral said. Pacheco explained further why the band doesn’t have a singer. “We’re very specific,” Pacheco said. “… To be honest, I think (a singer) makes or breaks a band. I’ve heard some really sick (in a good way) intros before, and I think, ‘Oh, this band is going to be sick, I can tell!’ Then the lead singer starts singing, and I’m like, ‘Oh, never mind.’ “I’d rather be criticized at first because people aren’t used to it. We got a lot of criticism after our first shows, and people asked us, ‘Why don’t you have a singer?’ Now, people get it, or they’re starting to get it.” Corral said the members of Tribesmen don’t necessarily think of themselves as musicians. “We don’t know all these notes, time, key and all that stuff,” Corral said. “We just play whatever sounds good to us. If it sounds good, we’ll keep playing it and keeping it going.” Their songwriting process tends to be rather complex. “When we’re creating songs, we jam for two hours just on random stuff,” Pacheco said. “Either a small clip or just 10 seconds can make us stop and go, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa! What was that you just played?’ We’ll just play that, and then we’ll work off of that for the next week or so, trying to make that into a song.”

All of this takes place in a Coachella practice space that has no air conditioning or heat. “We’re working on it, though,” Corral said. “We’re working on adding more guitar pedals, and an A/C unit to help us out.” Of course, the heat didn’t stop the band from holding an after-party at their practice space after playing The Hue Music and Arts Festival in Coachella last year. “It was really hot,” Pacheco said. “I don’t know why, but we felt really compelled to have an after-party in our band room. More people than we expected came through. We had probably like 50 or 60 people; 30 of us were in the band room, and the rest were outside.” When the band won the chance to play at the first Tachevah block party last year, the members were elated and nervous at the same time. They enjoy having a few alcoholic beverages before they perform, but one of the members of the band Passion Pit had just been through rehab—and the backstage area was an alcohol-free zone. “They specifically said no beer in the green room or anywhere,” Corral said. “We were just in the green room chilling, just dry as fuck.” The nervousness led to a bit of paranoia about their equipment. “Nothing was going to mess up,” Pacheco said. “I opened up my amp and made sure there were no loose screws. I made sure everything was working, and I bought a bunch of new cables.” Corral said his uncle helped ease their fears. “As soon as he heard (about the show), he asked me if I needed anything. I didn’t ask him for anything, but when it came down to the wire, I asked him for some new cables. I bought a new amp at time—a tube amp instead of a solid state. We didn’t want to fail to impress.” However, once they took the stage, the band members felt like they belonged, Corral said. “It was an amazing experience,” Corral

Tribesmen. JUAN GALVAN

said. “As soon as we got onstage to set up our equipment and heard our sound, we went back in the green room, and we’re like, ‘You know what? We’re not going to play to a bunch of people, because we’re opening.’ As soon as we came back on, there were loads of people everywhere.” Tribesmen went on to play some local shows in the past year, as well as gigs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. A local show with the Swedish band Truckfighters last fall wound up being particularly helpful. “They gave us some good advice, along with touring advice,” Pacheco said. “The drummer, Poncho, bought one of our band shirts, and he was wearing it while he was playing the show! I was like, ‘The drummer from Truckfighters is wearing our shirt!’” The band hoped to play at the Tachevah block party again in 2014, and was one of the 10 finalists. However, the group was beat out by CIVX, The Yip Yops and One 11. This year, the band submitted a music video that they recorded recently for their song “Alpine.” “Last year, Bolin Jue from the Town Troubles filmed our video, and we thank him so much,” Pacheco said. “This year, we couldn’t ask Bolin again, because he did it for us last year, and his band didn’t win, so I felt bad. Freddy and I know this guy named Manuel, and we decided to hit him up to make us a music video. Our good friend, Ken Foto, let us use his studio at the Coachella Valley Art Center.” Corral said they were happy with the end

result, even if the band did not get a return Tachevah engagement. “After we saw Manuel’s work, we were sold,” Corral said. “He did a good job with us. He had a good camera, good editing, and all of that. It was entirely last-minute, and we told him, ‘We leave it in your hands; whatever you want to do, and we’ll do it.’ He said all he needed was a projector and a warehouse, and we couldn’t find a warehouse, but props to Ken Foto for letting us use his studio.” As for the future, the Pacheco and Corral said they have a surprise for their fans that they will reveal within the next year, but they wouldn’t elaborate. They did say they’ve begun work on a full-length album. “We’ve been having some issues with recording,” Pacheco said. “We’re trying to do it ourselves and then send it out to get mastered. We’re having trouble getting the timing on the metronome. ‘Alpine’ was the first song that we were recording, so, fortunately, it was ready by the deadline to enter Tachevah.” Corral said the band is continuing to work on new material. “Definitely more songs,” Corral said. “Vocals, maybe: We’ve been talking about little oohs and aahs and some spoken-word stuff, but only on some songs, and we’re going to drown them in reverb to hide our ugly voices. We don’t want to sound too poppy.” For more information, visit


MAY 2014

MUSIC continued from Page 27

Black Uhuru: The Hood, May 23

Robin Thicke: Fantasy Springs, May 3

despite personal issues involving her parents, unflattering write-ups in the tabloids accusing her of being a home-wrecker, rumors about her supposed diva complex, and various lawsuits. Hey, no one said being on top was easy. In any case, she’s an amazingly talented woman who can still perform. Tickets are $45 to $65. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www. Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a couple of intriguing events in May. Ladies, if you’re not hot enough from the desert heat, you’ll be happy to know that Australia’s Thunder From Down Under will be stopping by at 9 p.m., Friday, May 2. The all-male revue that is giving the Chippendales a run for their money will be in town, so get ready. The best part: You don’t have to bring any singles with you! Tickets are $25. If you’re not into all-male revues and are looking for some more-traditional entertainment, relax, because Smokey Robinson will be at Morongo at 9 p.m., Friday, May 16. The Motown legend has been to hell and back, but he’s still performing. Tickets are $69 to $79. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www. The Hood Bar and Pizza has an excellent event in May worth noting: Reggae legends Black Uhuru will be stopping by at 11

Thunder From Down Under: Morongo, May 2

p.m., Friday, May 23. The group formed in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1972, and had a magnificent string of success in the ’80s. In 1985, the group won the first Best Reggae Album Grammy Award. The show is $15 at the door and is first-come, first-serve. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; After an unparalleled April during which Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace hosted the Afghan Whigs, The Pixies, GOAT, Future Islands and Little Dragons, the venue has another strong slate of bookings in May. Some highlights: At 2 p.m., Saturday, May 24, Pappy’s will host Freaks for the Festival II featuring two live sets from Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson. The festival will also include Buffalo Killers, Howlin Rain, Mystic Braves and live DJs. Tickets are $40. Pappy’s, in partnership with FYF (the FYF Festival is approaching this summer, by the way), will host Panda Bear and Peaking Lights during an outdoor show at 7 p.m., Monday, May 26. Panda Bear features Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox; it’s his psychedelic pop project, and he’s been at it since about 1998. This is one show worth checking out. Tickets are $16. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www. The 12th Annual Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival will take place Thursday, May 15, through Sunday, May 18, at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Road in Joshua Tree. The festival has a history of featuring artists who are on the brink of breaking out nationally, as well great artists who are already stars; past performers have included Chali 2na from the Jurassic 5, and Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Last year, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires played the festival just before getting signed to Sub Pop Records. This year, the festival will feature performances by Future Rock, Third Ear Experience, The Revivalists and many, many others. An all-weekend pass is $140, while individual days cost from $20 to $80. For more information, visit www.


MAY 2014





By Brian Blueskye

What band or artist changed your life? How? Richie Hawtin inspired me to experiment and be myself—to DJ what I like to listen to, and to find other people with similar tastes instead of trying to appeal to those I don’t understand. You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? Mat Zo: “Will you work with me?” What song would you like played at your funeral? “Thing Called Love,” Above and Beyond.

NAME SynthEtiX MORE INFO SynthEtiX —aka Alvaro Sandoval—is a local DJ who has a unique house/techno sound. He frequently collaborates with Independent contributor All Night Shoes, aka Alex Harrington. He has performed at Clinic, Schmidy’s Tavern, Coachella Valley Brewing Co. and a variety of other local spots. For more information on SynthEtiX, visit SynthEtiX.Official; hear some of his mixes at

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory. What song should everyone listen to right now? “Hot Natured,” Benediction.

What was the first album you owned? Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Indie. What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Chemical Brothers. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? Omarion. What’s your favorite music venue? Exposition Park (in Los Angeles). What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? “Little sister, can’t you ...,” from “Little Sister,” Queens of the Stone Age.

What bands are you listening to right now? Courtney Barnett, Django Django, Kendrick Lamar and The Pretenders. What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? Ahhh, I don’t particularly like the trend of being barefoot on stage. This is show business; put some shoes on! What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? Madonna. What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? LMFAO. What’s your favorite music venue? Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? Well, this is embarrassing to say, because I don’t even care for this song, but I can’t get “Diamonds” by Rihanna out of my head lately—most likely because it is a little on the annoying side. What band or artist changed your life? How? Metallica. As I mentioned, it was the first concert I attended. The production of their live show blew my mind. It was so powerful. The music was tough. The guys were blackclad, skinny-jeaned, superhero rock gods, and huge white pillars were breaking and crumbling to the ground while lightning and thunder artificially struck.

What was the first concert you attended? Monster Massive (a Halloween-themed electronic dance music festival in Los Angeles), in 2008.

What bands are you listening to right now? Little Dragon, Chromeo and Darkside.

This Month, Get to Know an Up-and-Coming DJ, and a Legend of the High Desert Music Scene


NAME Jesika von Rabbit GROUP Gram Rabbit MORE INFO Jesika Von Rabbit is truly a legend of the high-desert music scene. She is the frontwoman of Gram Rabbit, and is now performing solo material. For more information, visit jesikavonrabbitmusic or www.gramrabbit. com. What was the first concert you attended? My first arena show was Metallica’s … And Justice for All tour. My first punk-rock show was The Dickies’ Killer Klowns From Outer Space tour. What was the first album you owned? Kiss, Destroyer.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? I want to ask Boy George if he really wants to hurt me. What song would you like played at your funeral? “Knights in White Satin,” The Moody Blues. Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? Ugh! So hard to decide. Beck, Midnite Vultures. What song should everyone listen to right now? “Avant Gardener” by Courtney Barnett, and “Dimestore Diamond” by Gossip.

FRESH SESSIONS WITH ALL NIGHT SHOES: MAY 2014 The summer weather has arrived, and with it comes the close of another “season” in our valley. Poolside is the best place to be over the next few months, so I thought I would debut some of my new track selections. I have been immersing myself in more chilled-out, deeper dance music, with elements that can take the listener to distant places. This month, I have provided a perfect audio backdrop to your summer festivities. Chill out with this FRESH Sessions mix at your next pool party or tanning session, and enjoy the hot cuts and deep grooves. I will be playing at the Coachella Valley Brewery, 30640 Gunther St., in Thousand Palms, on Saturday, May 3, at the Beer and Bruises fundraiser for the Coachella Valley Derby Girls! The event goes from 5 to 9 p.m. and includes all kinds of fun stuff. Come have a beer and support some local awesomeness! Follow me at www. for more gig info. Here’s the May track list. Listen at, and enjoy! • CFCF, “Invitation to Love” • AIMES, “Keep on Movin’” • Kartell, “Two Step” (Original Mix) • The Players Union, “Barry and Marvin” • Patrick Baker, “Control” • Soho808, “Get Up Disco” • Moon Boots, “Got Somebody” • Irish Steph (featuring Eleven), “Crush” (Eumig and Chinon Remix) • Perseus, “Running Back to You” • Crayon featuring KLP, “Give You Up” (Darius Remix) • All Night Shoes, “Out of Time”


MAY 2014


Across 1 Nutty person (and new OED entry of 2014) 12 Talk freely 15 Ziti and such 16 AP competitor 17 Genre for “The Breakfast Club” or “A Catcher in the Rye” 18 Cornelius of “Soul Train” 19 People and language in Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” 20 Waiting for a real person, maybe 22 “Imagine that!” 27 ___ Popken (plus-size clothing retailer; hidden in PULLABLE) 28 Abu Dhabi’s loc. 30 Secretly schemed against 33 Ice cream shop item 36 Lot for Londoners 37 Nut 41 Away from the workplace for good 43 Magician Harry, Sr. or Harry, Jr. 46 Designation ditched after smoking bans 47 Robert Indiana stamp insignia 48 Did some dirty dancing 51 Wipes clean 54 “Does that ring ___?” 57 Like a new coat, at first? 58 Acknowledges, with “to”

63 ___ heartbeat 64 Lacking feeling 65 Roofing sealant 66 1955 hit about coal mining Down 1 Suffix after sand or Man 2 Director Egoyan 3 Army surplus store stuff 4 Kevin who played Dave 5 1980s teammate of Bird and McHale 6 Former UN Secretary General ___ Hammarskjöld 7 “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss” singer 8 Switch status 9 1950 film noir classic 10 Ad image 11 Genesis locale 12 Ballet star Nureyev 13 Theater with a log rubbed for good luck 14 Odist with a type of ode named for him 21 “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie 23 Noises from chopper blades 24 Old-school comedian Buddy 25 Bouncers ask for them 26 Tourist activity of declining popularity? 28 Bar code

29 Pie ___ mode 31 Musician on the road 32 “Gas Food Lodging” actress Skye 34 Rack contents 35 Tetra’s home 38 Looked after 39 Particle suffix, in physics 40 Warehouse qty. 42 AAA job 43 Messed up big-time 44 John Bobbitt’s ex-wife 45 2009 film set on the planet Pandora 49 Part of DKNY 50 Guy who was all thumbs? 52 Shield bearing Medusa’s head: var. 53 Apple tech support? 55 Attachment on property 56 Fords produced until 1991 59 ___ populi 60 Sinus specialist, for short 61 “___ Drives Me Crazy” (1989 #1 hit) 62 Bee chaser? ©2014 Jonesin’ Crosswords ( Find the answers in the “about” section of!


MAY 2014

Coachella Valley Independent May 2014  

The May 2014 issue of the Coachella Valley's alternative news source.

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