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The Sun Runner

The Sun Runner

published in Joshua Tree, California October/November 2009—Vol. 15, No. 5 The Sun Runner Magazine 61855 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA 92252 (760)366-2700 • www.thesunrunner.com

October/November 2009 The Desert Art Issue

The Magazine of the Real California Desert

Publisher/Executive Editor: Steve Brown publisher@thesunrunner.com Founding Editor: Vickie Waite Associate Editor: Ed Munson Theatr e Editors: Jack & Jeannette Lyons Literary Editor: Delphine Lucas Music Editor: Judy Wishart Calendar & Social Media Editor, Event Production: Barbara Buckland Contributing Writers: Debbie Benson •Lorraine Blair David Brown • Steve Brown • John Di Pol David Lamfrom • Locopelli Jack & Jeannette Lyons Ed Munson • Denise Ortuno Neil Andrea Pelch • Steve Salkin • Linda Saholt Paul F. Smith •Judy Wishart • Andy Woods Contributing Photographers: Liz Babcock • Amy Bailey • Steve Brown Marcus Estavane • Joshua Marsden Ed Munson • Denise Ortuno Neil • Linda Saholt Dakota Sprout • Judy Wishart Advertising Sales: Leonard Casalino, Carolyn Gordon (760)366-2700, advertising@thesunrunner.com Distribution Manager: Sam Sloneker

The Magazine of the Real California Desert

Inside this Issue: Dry Heat, by Steve Brown ... 11 The Tortoise Telegraph News gathered from around the desert – at our own pace ... 12 Letters from ... you! ... 13 Locopelli – On the Road to Ithaca ... 14 Desert Art News, from the MBCAC & The Sun Runner ... 16 Woven Words, the Authors’ Page ... 21 Operation Sun Runner ... 22 Coachella Valley Confidential, by Denise Ortuno Neil ... 23 MidCentury WOW! ... 25 The Desert’s Largest Open Studio Art Tour Is On Its Way, and an Interview with Cover Artist Rik Livingston, by Andy Woods ... 26 HWY 62 Art Tours Poster ... 28 Ridgecrest’s Open Studio Tours ... 31 Action Council Celebrates the Murals of 29 Palms by Ed Munson ... 32 Art in “The Springs,” by Ed Munson ... 33 The Desert’s Art Festivals, by Ed Munson ... 35 Art Under Umbrellas & Out in the Street, by Ed Munson ... 37 Desert Survival DeRanger Steve: H2O ... 38 Desert Environment Students Learn Conservation Through Their Own Lenses by David Lamfrom, NPCA ... 39 Historical Perspectives on the California Desert The Press and Willie Boy, by Paul F. Smith ... 40 Ridgecrest: The Other “Indian Wells” John C. Freemont in the Indian Wells Valley, by John Di Pol ... 41 Ramblings from Randsburg On the Trail of... Oompaul... and the California Rand’s African Connection, by Lorraine Blair ... 42 Native Americans Learning from Ancient Ways, by Linda Saholt ... 43 Desert Theatre Beat, by Jack Lyons ... 44 Theatre Spotlight on Coachella Valley Repertory & Ron Celona, by Jeannette Lyons ... 46 Film Talk, by Jack Lyons ... 47 Coachella Valley Music News, by Ed Munson ... 48 Hi-Desert Music News, by Judy Wishart ... 49 Sustainable Living Caravans Across the Desert, by David Brown ... 50 The California Deserts Visitors Association CALENDAR Upcoming California Desert Events, Art & Entertainment ... 52 The Last Rant, by Steve Brown ... 55

The Sun Runner Magazine features desert arts and entertainment news, desert issues and commentary, natural and cultural history, columns, poetry, stories by desert writers, and a Calendar of Events for the California desert region. Published bimonthly. MAGAZINE DEADLINE: Nov. 16 for the Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010 issue, for advertising, calendar listings, & editorial. To list a desert event free of charge in The California Deserts Visitors Association Calendar, please send your complete press release to calendar@thesunrunner.com, or mail to: Calendar, c/o: The Sun Runner Magazine, 61855 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA 92252. Please include all relevant information in text format. Notices submitted without complete information or in a wrong format may not be posted. Event information will not be taken over the telephone or psychically. SUBMISSIONS: The Sun Runner , 61855 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA 92252. By email: publisher@thesunrunner.com. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $22/year U.S.A. ($38/year International). Copyright © 2009 The Sun Runner. Permission for reproduction of any part of this publication must be obtained from the publisher. The opinions of our contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the magazine. We have made every effort to be accurate, but we are not responsible for errors or omissions in mate- Cover Art — by Rik Livingston rial submitted to us, nor claims by advertisers. Advertising, press releases, and public Who better to capture the spirit of the HWY 62 Art Tours this season than artist service announcements accepted at the dis- Rik Livingston? Our thanks to Rik for a fantastic cover, and to Andy Woods of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council for his interview with Rik on page 26! cretion of the publisher. 5 8 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009


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S

ome folks think of the desert as a vast empty place, devoid of life, worthless. You just can’t get much more wrong than that, of course. The longer I have called the desert home, the more it seems to be overflowing with creative spirits who seemingly defy the apparent harsh environment to give birth to a broad range of art, music, theater, poetry, stories, crafts, and much more (some of it defying description). I find the desert filled with creative inspiration and natural beauty, and almost a dare to those who live here to reflect some of that beauty back in our own way. Our last issue was dedicated to desert writers and poets, and our annual Desert Writers Celebration in September proved to be a delightful gathering of those desert folk who love the written and spoken word. What a pleasure it is to get them together to read their work and to connect with each other and those who share their passion. This issue celebrates our desert artists who come in all media and styles, and the events like the open studio tours that take place here in the hi-desert and up in Ridgecrest, which provide such excellent opportunities to meet these artists and enjoy their work at their desert studios and galleries. If you have not partaken of the open studio tours before, I highly recommend taking a weekend or two and visiting the artists who call the desert home. There have been numerous changes here at The Sun Runner as the magazine continues to grow. We are trying a new paper stock this issue that has allowed us to add an additional eight pages to the magazine. We hope this will work well and allow us to regularly increase our space for editorial content. We have added staff to the magazine’s operations as well, something long overdue in my opinion, but with the quality of the people involved, well worth waiting for, I believe.

Barbara Buckland joins the magazine in almost as many capacities as I serve. She is our calendar editor, our social media editor handling Facebook and My Space accounts, tweeting, and a growing variety of online media that allows us to increase our reach, sharing our love of our deserts with an international audience. Barbara, with a background in the music business, is also assisting in event production and operations. Recently, I was named president of the California Deserts Visitors Association, the desert-wide tourism marketing organization that works with the state to promote the desert as a destination for visitors from around the globe. Barbara has signed on as secretary for the organization, alongside some well-respected directors and officers from around the desert. I heartily encourage all businesses, organizations, and individuals interested in desert tourism to join the CDVA and support its work on behalf of all of us who want to see a viable, responsible tourism industry in the desert. Ed Munson also joins the magazine as Associate Editor. Ed has worked extensively in Coachella Valley media, and has a passion for music and the arts, which allows us to increase our coverage in the Coachella Valley. Ed is always an interesting guy to work with, and I’m pleased to have him on board. Wait until you see the next issue! Leonard Casalino has joined the magazine in advertising sales. Together with Carolyn Gordon, he is helping drive the ongoing growth of the magazine, which in turn benefits our advertisers. We are also pleased to be bringing more folks on board as the magazine takes on more special projects such as maps and visitor guides. Our next issue takes us into our 16th year of publishing, and we hope you’ll join us at our 15th birthday party this coming January. Thank you for your support!  October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 11


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elcome to a new section in The Sun Runner—The Tortoise Telegraph. We’ve been wanting a page or two for a long time where we can start fitting all the news from around the desert that we haven’t had a place for—up until now. Of course, there’s a bit of commentary served up along with the news, so hopefully you’ll enjoy. Share your desert news with us at publisher@thesunrunner.com. David Nahai, CEO and general manager of the infamous “Green Path” proponents, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (everybody say “Boooo!”), has reportedly resigned. Yeah, I know we’ll all miss him and are sorry to see him go. I mean here was a guy who had his LADWP helicopters flying around the desert, landing on property where they had no business and no permission, dropping off LADWP survey teams who installed LADWP survey markers, and then he said that they weren’t doing it. As if someone stole LADWP choppers, flew out, dropped off LADWP surveyor impostors who installed fake LADWP survey markers. OK, so maybe they were all on Ambien and did it in their sleep without knowing it or something, but really, Nahai probably should have known, seeing as he was reputedly in charge of the public utility right about then. He got awfully testy when he was out here for his big public meeting on Green Path, the one that was supposed to set all of us hicks straight on the benefits of having LA run high voltage power lines through pristine wildlife preserves for the “common good,” which apparently excluded all of us in the desert, and he never came back. With his ability to plausibly deny (ie: lie about) what LADWP was or was not doing at any given time, it is almost amazing that he is not getting into politics. According to what’s left of the LA Times, Nahai is reportedly taking a position as an advisor to former President Bill 12 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

Clinton’s climate initiative (sunny and blue skies all the way, no doubt). The Times noted that environmentalists supported Nahai, and last spring some of them sent the mayor a letter urging him to keep Nahai on at LADWP (which is probably about when he started looking for another job). Remind me to find out who these supposed environmental leaders are, and I’ll let you know so we can all make sure to not join their organizations who would (once again) sell out the desert for a small sack of silver... San Bernardino County has allocated about $10 million of Prop 1B cash to road projects around the high desert. Drivers on old Route 66 (National Trails Highway) will have a smoother ride through Helendale (which nobody stops at any more since Dixie Evan’s Exotic World Burlesque Museum has gone off to Vegas courtesy of a bunch of smarmy New Yorkers—Exotic World’s annual Miss Exotic World Pageant was one of the best events anywhere, a true class act), while Apple Valley and Lucerne are getting some needed improvements as well (I love Lucerne—a community with characters, indeed). Construction is slated for spring and summer of 2010. A couple of babies were born in late September at The Living Desert—baby Slender-Horned Gazelles, that is. This desert native (Saharan, of course) is endangered and suffering from relentless hunting and all the other woes we humans foist on other species. The only gazelles now living in the wild are reportedly surviving in inaccessible desert locations or on preserves (or at The Living Desert, thank God). The Living Desert is living up to its name with 42 Slender-Horned Gazelle births so far. Maybe we can release some in the Mojave National Preserve? The National Park Service’d love that. One of the coolest, hippest desert resorts, the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, is get-

ting a big renovation. By the end of the year this funky, off-beat resort will have a dozen new rooms with three more renovated hot baths with tile floors and new skylights. If you haven’t soaked in their private naturally hot baths, and enjoyed a Tecopa star party, well, what are you waiting for? October 17 is your chance to take in some real Tecopa hospitality as they host the 2nd annual Fire House Fling, a fundraiser for the local volunteer fire department (10 a.m.-4 p.m.), followed by a star party featuring Yucca Valley amateur astronomer Ken Keller and his 20" (gasp!) telescope. Stop by the art gallery at the resort and take in their new show, “Intriguing Complicity.” Over the summer, the artists of Tecopa each selected an image to pass on to another person for them to digitally manipulate in whatever way they saw fit. They passed on a completed image to the next person every three weeks. The results are reportedly “delightful and intriguing,” and well worth a peek, I imagine. The word is in that Calico (and San Bernardino County Regional Parks) have gotten rid of the ghosts at Calico (ex-) Ghost Town. The ghosts gotta go due to budget cuts (nah, I just made that up— it’s our neighbor’s job that has to go due to county budget cuts, and that’s no joke). The 14-year tradition of hosting ghost walks at the Calico Haunt have come to an end. Author and ghost hunter Bill Cook of Haunted Barstow has found a positive side to this ghostless ghost town situation—the possible return of ghost tours at Barstow’s Harvey House, Casa del Desierto—in time for Halloween. Now I know there are a lot of “haunted houses” around Halloween time, and that’s all good fun. But if you’ve never experienced a freezing chill pass through you while you’re alone in a hallway of the Harvey House with no windows open and it’s about 108 degrees inside, then you really need to join Bill on one of these tours (including a planned special midnight tour for those who dare wander through this historic building during the witching hour). Check out www.hauntedbarstow.com for dates, and if you want to take your own ghost walk in Calico, pick up Cook’s book, Bill Cook’s Ghostly Guide to Calico Ghost Town. Bill led ghost walks in Calico for years, and has many encounters to share if you dare. Those stalwart and loveable troublemakers, Donna and Larry Charpied, the organic jojoba farmers of LaRonna Jojoba Co., who have fought against the proposed Eagle Mountain dump for a couple


of decades or so now, are being featured on Huell Howser’s California Gold on October 8, and again on November 4, at 7:30 p.m. on KCET TV (PBS). The couple has a 10-acre organic jojoba farm near Desert Center and Eagle Mountain, and they have been converting Jojoba Witnesses with their pure, natural jojoba oil for decades. Between Huell (whom I haven’t seen since he called me a “carpetbagger” for moving the magazine to Joshua Tree), and Donna and Larry, the show’s sure to be fun. Rarely will I urge you to sit in front of a television set, but this time I’ll make an exception. Another fun couple, Ray and Eva Kinsman, have been named Grand Marshals for the 2009 Pioneer Days. Eva and Ray, two great assets to the Twentynine Palms community, are probably too busy to ride in the parade, but they certainly deserve the honor of being selected. Congratulations you two. Jessica Wagner-Schultz, executive director of the Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce, has had the audacity to resign and plan her return back home with her husband. The nerve. Jessica will be wandering off to Wisconsin with her husband, a Marine, after the two of them endured deployments to exotic travel destinations such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, perhaps, they will get a chance at having a life together. Rob Fleck, former chamber VP and event chairman, will be taking over the executive director position as of November 1. It’s sad to see Jess go, but we wish Rob the best of luck as he takes the reigns. Homeless folks in the Coachella Valley may get a little shelter in North Palm Springs come December, at Roy’s Desert Resource Center (named for the late Riverside County Supervisor Roy Wilson). The shelter includes up to 120 emergency shelter beds for individuals and families, a dining area and kitchen serving three meals daily, an access center for social services, a transportation program since the shelter is in the middle of nowhere, and now, thanks to the Desert Healthcare District, a nurse’s station staffed by a fulltime public health nurse. The district is providing a $184,300 grant to create the nurse’s station. CVAG, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, estimates approximately 980 people will be served by the station annually. Equality California has opened a Palm Springs office as part of its “Win Marriage Back: Make it Real!” campaign, an

effort to restore marriage rights for samesex couples. The office is at 314 N. Palm Canyon, and info is at www.eqca.org. State Senator Robert Dutton (31st District), has passed along cheery news from the U.S. Census Bureau that more than 160,000 Californians were added to the ranks of folks living under the poverty line in 2008. California saw the largest increase of any state (We won! We won!), with San Bernardino County rolling in at 14.4 percent, and 12.4 percent of Riverside County folks existing in poverty. While Dutton goes on a bit about the evil liberal majority in Sacramento, he’s right that “the best social program we can provide is a good paying, private sector job.” (I know, everyone in the desert is saying, “What is a good paying, private sector job?”) – Steve Brown

We want you to stay in touch (just don’t ask us for money—that’s what we have kids for). Send us your letters to publisher@thesunrunner.com. Pasquali’s Fans Speak Out! To this reader, the voice of Pasquali via David Brown is pure redemption. What is it that makes it so different, and trustable? Upon reflection, Pasquali’s voice is an absense and a presence. It’s what’s left when someone isn’t trying to sell something, even themselves. I love this kind of courage in life and in literature. May this well-of- real be replenished with every issue of TSR. Thank you. Thanks, Steve! Constance (Walsh) Pioneertown Desert Writers Celebration & Sheeple Burgers a Hit! Thanks for hosting such a nice event as the Writers’ Read... I went last year as well. Nice folks—nice conversation—and nice snacks too! Thanks again and I hope to see you soon.... on the weekend... Francene Kaplan Joshua Tree (on the weekends) October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 13


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he summer droned on through July, then August, getting hotter, then hotter again. Cholla cooked in its own juices— until all juice was boiled out. Green Mojaves slithered out to soak up the sun and wound up browned and crispy around the scales. It’s bad when the meanest, baddest snake isn’t even tough enough to survive the mid-day heat. It got so hot that at night, it was too stifling for the coyotes to hunt, let alone howl, and the owls all flew down to Puerto Nuevo one night and stayed for a few weeks by the sea. They called it a “leadership retreat,” but that’s not the picture I got from my friends who went. More like a frat party, truth be told, complete with pranks and debauched parties until dawn, all brought on by the sheer relief of escaping the heat. Don’t ever believe that owls are all wise, upright, and moral. They are almost more trouble than the ravens, truth be told. Since I had made my promise to Coyote to keep an eye on the desert, I didn’t feel like I could take off and hit the beach, mai-tai in hand, so I retreated into the mountains south of Palm Desert and took shelter in the ruins of the Cahuilla Condos, the ancient Cahuilla village plundered by artifact thieves not so many years ago. Those bastards stole everything they could that might look good on the wall of a rich person’s home, desecrating yet another place I, and others, loved. All for a few bucks. It’s amazing how cheap a soul goes for sometimes. I thought upon the evils of mankind—the weakness, fears, greed, and sorrows—the demons we bring with us—and I grew restless. I cried out a prayer, but the sun beat down upon the rock slabs and dying trees, and the answer was not to my liking. I left and headed for one of the desert’s most remote refuges, the Saline Valley (though that’s not what it was always called), accompanied by an old acquaintance whom I chanced upon as I crossed north over Pinto Mountain: Pinacate, the black beetle. Together, we headed up past the hot springs, past the whirling dust devils, up out of the brutal, relentless heat, into the Panamints. If there is no refuge among these mystical peaks, I thought, then there is none to be had. We entered a broad draw, which narrowed into a rough, climbing canyon, rising up and up into pine and juniper. We rose higher into the mountains, and the air cooled—slightly. As it grew dark, we shared our evening meal (I ate the lion’s share), 14 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

took a quick swig or two off the mescal jug, and exhausted, turned in for the night, drifting off under a Milky Way that radiated brilliance across the deep, dark desert skies. I awoke some time later from a dreamless pit of sleep and at first I wasn’t sure why. Then, I opened my eyes and looked up. Pinacate, barely distinguishable from the dark night, was sitting on my nose. “Wake up you soft-headed gringo,” he whispered hoarsely. “There’s something going on.” Beetles are light sleepers, ready to raise their rears to danger at a moment’s notice. But Pinacate was right. I heard voices, and thought I saw a dim glow coming from up the canyon. I removed the concerned beetle from my nose and slipped him into my medicine bag. Rising to my feet, I plucked up my mescal jug and wrapped my blanket around myself. I moved cautiously toward the glow, the voices becoming clearer as I neared. It sounded like two men, but I didn’t recognize all the words. They were arguing, it seemed, but somewhat amiably, as if more out of habit and entertainment than anger. Besides, their argument was punctuated by boisterous bouts of laughter. I felt at ease. It was a lot like evenings I had spent with Coyote. I decided to chance a meeting. “O, re malaka. And you believed that?” one voice said, laughing. “Oh, that is too much.” I was close enough now to make them out. Two men, in wellworn clothes, sitting around a small fire. They had dark hair, and looked somewhat similar to each other—medium build, deeply tanned, dusty, one middle-aged, one old. I stepped slowly into the small amount of light the fire produced. “Ah, we have guests, malaka,” said the old one who was facing my direction, nodding toward me. The younger one turned his face toward me cautiously, as if anticipating trouble. “I don’t mean to disturb you,” I said. “My friend and I were camped down below, and we heard someone up here and came to investigate.” “Your friend and you?” the young one asked. “What friend? Where is he?” I gently pulled Pinacate from my bag and set him on my hand. He immediately turned away from the two, raising his rear in what beetles consider a defensive posture, though I’m not clear on why they believe that will help them in a fight. “A bug?” The young man shifted around better to see us. “Your friend is a bug?” He laughed loudly. “Oh, now I’ve seen it all.” Pinacate was getting agitated. You could see his little beetle rear quaking with anger. “Allow me to introduce Pinacate, a beetle from the respected and hardy Picacho lineage,” I said calmly, pushing him around on my palm to face the men. “And I am Locopelli.” “Locawhat?” The young man said, still laughing. “Telemachus, you forget your manners,” the old man said, shooting him a stern glance. “I am,” he said as he rose to his feet, “Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and this is my son, who still has much to learn, Telemachus. We are on our journey home.” He dusted himself off a bit and extended his hand. I shook it, utterly unsure of what to make of this introduction. “The Odysseus?” I asked. “The one in the old tales and epic poems? The king of Ithaca and his loyal son?” “Heir to the throne,” Telemachus said, not rising, but relaxing back against the rock and staring off at the tiny fire. “That is,” he said with a sigh, “if we ever get there.” “But the last I heard, you had gone home to Penelope and your son,” I noted, looking at Odyssseus and doing my best to remember my Homer. After all, the tales of heroes and epic journeys all spin from the same deep roots, uniting the human experience in myth, legend, and even history. We are, of course, all related, all stemming from common roots, and as a people, we


should have recognized that and celebrated it a long time ago. But instead, we push aside that obvious truth and slaughter and abuse each other—practices that show no sign of abating, unfortunately. The same goes for our treatment of all that is nature, which includes us—intimately—but I am too disappointed in human kind to discuss our dismal failures now. “Oh, I had gone home,� Odysseus almost mumbled, raising his eyes to meet mine. “But Telemachus and I weren’t content to remain with my dear Penelope and to do the day-to-day ruling of a king. No, not I. Not him,� he nodded toward Telemachus. “No, it was too...� “Boring!� shouted Telemachus. “It was stupid and dull.� “Don’t interrupt, malaka,� Odysseus yelled back. “You see, I would recite my tales of encounters with the Laestrygones, with Poseidon, the Cyclops, Circe, the sirens, Scylla and Charybdis to entertain this young lad who had gone through so much, with me absent for so long. But instead of entertaining him, it worked its way into his head, and before long, he wanted to see these crazy things for himself. Me? I was quite happy at home with Penelope, working in the garden. But when Penelope...� His eyes dropped and I knew he was back in the garden with his beloved Penelope once more. “Well,� he said, “my son and I set off for adventures. But now,� he added, “we are going home.� “There is a poem...� I began. “Oh yes, I know,� Odysseus laughed. “Homer, that rascal.� “No, not Homer.� I interjected. “Kavafis. Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis.� “Don’t think I know him,� Odysseus shook his head. “Is that wine in your bottle? I’m quite thirsty.� “Not quite wine, but you may like it,� I answered, proferring the mescal jug. Odysseus uncorked the jug and took a quick swig, then gave me a look of mixed surprise and admiration. Then he took a long drink and handed the jug back, wiping his lips. I offered it to Telemachus, who thanked me politely and then drank like he had been dry for years. At this rate, there wasn’t going to be any mescal left by dawn. But that’s what it’s for, I consoled myself—sharing with wandering heroes. “Kavafis was a poet who wrote a beautiful work called ‘Ithaca’ about journeying to Ithaca, but more about journeying through life, I think,� I explained, handing the jug back to Odysseus. “After all, we’re all on a journey, aren’t we?� He chuckled. “Some of us a bit more than others, I’m afraid. We’ve been away for a very long time.� “Too long,� Telemachus joined in. “I am tired of adventures. I miss Ithaca’s groves, its gardens, and...� “Well,� a voice sounded from my shoulder, “at least you have gotten to see some of my homeland.� Pinacate had decided to drop his rear guard and join the conversation. “Tell me what you think of it.� “Of what? This dried up old desert, these desolate mountains, this is your home?� Telemachus asked incredulous, partially from having a small black beetle carrying on a conversation. “I didn’t think anything lived here.� “And you think wrong,� Pinacate snapped. “Why, I live here, and I can tell that you don’t know your bottom from a...� “Pinacate,� I interjected calmly. “I love our desert too, and it is beautiful as only it can be. Our friends are weary and have been traveling too long. They miss their home, and their longing to see it once again blots out what they could see right in front of them. It is the plight of the long-gone traveler, so let us be kind. For me, there are things here I love to see and could not bear to be without, and then there are the things here I wish never entered my eyes or my life. Mostly these things are those that mankind has done which destroy the things I love and replace them with odi-

ous ugly monuments to greed and shortsightedness.� Odysseus looked at me like he knew very well what I was talking about. He shook his head slightly. “The poem,� he said softly, looking into my eyes. “Do you know it? I would hear of Ithaca if I could.� “I can try, but I may not get it right,� I replied. “Please,� he asked. I rummaged around inside my mind for a moment, trying to pull the poem from whatever dusty old corner it was laying in. I took a swig of mescal, handed it to Odysseus, and began. “When you set out on the voyage to Ithaca, pray that your journey may be long, full of adventures, full of knowledge.� I had gotten that far anyway. “It’s been long enough,� Telemachus said to himself. “Of the Laestrygones and the Cyclopes...� As I recited Kavafis’ words, the men gazed into the dying fire as if they saw something, someplace, that existed for them only. “Pray that your journey may be long, that many may those summer mornings be when with what pleasure, what untold delight you enter harbors you’ve not seen before...� Odysseus brushed away a tear. A hero’s tear. I pretended not to notice. “But you must always keep Ithaca in mind. The arrival there is your predestination. Yet do not by any means hasten your voyage. Let it best endure for many years, until grown old at length you anchor at your island rich with all you have acquired on the way.� Telemachus raised his eyes and looked at his father who was softly weeping. “You never hoped that Ithaca would give you riches. Ithaca has given you the lovely voyage. Without her you would not have ventured on the way. She has nothing more to give you now.� Odysseus was nodding to himself, wiping his eyes. It was the journey that was the homecoming. He was understanding, as a hero would, of course, that all of this world, and none of this world, was his home. That it was the journeying, the voyaging, that conveyed the meaning heroes sought. “Poor though you may find her, Ithaca has not decieved you. Now that you have become so wise, so full of experience, you will have understood the meaning of an Ithaca.� Odysseus took one last pull from the mescal jug and handed it back to me as I finished the poem. “Thank you.� “I think I understand most of the poem,� Telemachus said almost absently. “But what about the losses in the journey? The things we love that we lose? The friends, our family?� “All we have, we lose, as we have nothing, yet we have all we need,� Odysseus replied to his son. “Nothing remains the same, and as you shall lose me, I have lost your mother. This place, this may be Ithaca. It may not be the Ithaca we have sought for all these years, but yet, it may be. Perhaps we have never left Ithaca, and yet, perhaps we have never really been there either.� His son sat, somewhat perplexed. “But we must seek our home, and honestly,� Odysseus continued. “And one day, we will find her—wherever we are. Even here.� “Even here,� echoed Pinacate. “This is a fine home.� “No doubt,� replied Odysseus. “But we must seek ours.� In his eyes, for just a moment, I thought I saw distantly reflected grape arbors with the sea beyond, and a young woman standing, beckoning. He turned away. “Tomorrow,� he said quietly to Telemachus, “tomorrow we continue our journey.� He looked up at me, and at Pinacate on my shoulder. “And we will reach Ithaca one day. We all will. And then, perhaps we will understand.�  October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 15


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16 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

29 Palms Art Gallery The second show of the 2009-2010 Season at Twentynine Palms Art Gallery features paintings in watercolor, acrylic, oil, and mixed media by Morongo Basin artists Ellen Hill and Anna Michelle Houghton from September 30 to October 25. Open 12-3 p.m., Wed.-Sun. 29 Palms Art Gallery, 74055 Cottonwood Dr. (off National Park Drive), 29 Palms. The 29 Palms Art Gallery is featured on this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours October 31 – November 1 with a group show titled Southland Show. The Southland Show is an annual judged exhibition showcasing the works of more than 40 desert artists in all media running October 28 to November 29. During the East End weekend of the HWY 62 Art Tours the 29 Palms Art Gallery will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The public is invited to a reception for the show at the gallery on Sunday, November 1, from noon to 3 pm. For more information, call (760)367-7819 or visit the gallery’s web site at: www.29palmsartgallery.com 29 Palms Creative Center Art of Bookmaking, October 17, Saturday, Noon to 2 p.m. The Art of Bookmaking is a fantastic beginner’s art class. An assortment of collage printmaking processes will make up the pages of your book. A great gift, or a personal treasure to keep for life. The workshop cost is $55 per person. Holiday Greeting Cards, November 7, Saturday, Noon to 2 p.m.

Anna Houghton, holding Johnny, is featured with Ellen Hill at the 29 Palms Art Gallery through October 25.

Holiday Greeting Cards is a popular class to make dozens of holiday cards for your loved ones, who will be tickled pink with your creative touch. The workshop cost is $55 per person. The 29 Palms Creative Center is featured on this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours October 31–November 1, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Artists Gretchen Grunt, Anna Houghton, and Mikal Winn will be in their studios greeting guests and showing off their artwork and gifts. Mikal Winn shows of f his new collection of sculptures in the November show at his studio. An artist reception is scheduled for November 21, Saturday, 69 p.m. Exhibit dates are November 21– December 21. 29 Palms Creative Center, 6847 Adobe Road, Twentynine Palms. (760)361-1805 or visit www.29PalmsCreativeCenter.com The 29 Palms Inn, Oasis of Mara The Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council presents acclaimed photographers David McChesney and Wally Pacholka at the Inn through November 7. The two will be available to meet in person at the Inn during the HWY 62 Art Tours October 31 and November 1 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mita Markland Barter is showing her collection of affordable petite assemblages at the Inn in November for the holiday season. Mita is also a featured artist on this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours October 31 – November 1 at her studio in 29 Palms. The 29 Palms Inn is open seven daysa week, 73950 Inn Avenue (off Na-


tional Park Drive), 29 Palms. (760)3673505, www.29palmsinn.com. 29 Palms Art In Public Places Art in Public Places at City Hall features desert paintings by Chuck Caplinger and night sky photography by Wally Pacholka in a new exhibit through October 30. The new exhibit, “Desert Land and Sky,” contains more than 30 framed works by the two artists, ranging from wildlife and landscapes to astral images of the starlit desert sky. Artist Chuck Caplinger is widely known for his vibrant oil paintings of coyotes, lizards, ravens, and landscapes of the desert Southwest. His award-winning paintings and portraits hang in public and private collections around the world, and his murals can be seen in Twentynine Palms and in cities throughout California and Texas. Two of Wally Pacholka’s images were featured in the LIFE Magazine book Hidden America, published in June 2009 by Time Inc. Home Entertainment. One of his night sky photographs captured the front cover of Beautiful Universe 2009, a special edition magazine for the International Year of Astronomy and the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope; and he celebrated his 34th publication by NASA—a world record for an individual. Since receiving international recognition for his famous images of the Hale-Bopp Comet over Joshua Tree National Park in 1997, Pacholka’s photography has been featured on the NASA web site, in National Geographic magazine, and has received multiple “Picture of the Year” awards by Time and Life magazines. The “Desert Land and Sky” exhibit is sponsored by the city’s Public Arts Advisory Committee and is on display through October 30 at City Hall, 6136 Adobe Road, open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

p.m., Saturdays 12-5 p.m, Sundays 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. 61010 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, (760)366-2519, www.theredarrowgallery.com True World Gallery The True World Gallery presents “Desert of My Heart” new works by acclaimed artist Mary-Austin Klein . Mary-Austin will be the featured artist during the HWY 62 Art Tours in the gallery, October 24-25 and October 31-November 1. True World Gallery 61740 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, (760)366-2300 trueworldgallery.com. Hours: Friday, Sunday, Monday 10-2, Saturday 10-4, or by appointment. To learn more about the HWY 62 Art Tours visit www.HWY62ArtTours.com or call the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council at (760)366-2226 Joshua Tree Retreat Center Weekly Life Drawing Group The Morongo Basin Life Drawing League meets Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, formerly Mentalphysics. Come for a great evening of drawing–bring your drawing or painting supplies and a drop for the floor. The $40 model cost is split among all who attend (usually 5-6) plus $1 for the facility. No membership or pre-payment required. Room locations are subject to change. October-November rooms to be announced. Contact Janis Commentz at elpres2@msn.com or (760)365-4955. Visit the life drawing group show in this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours October 24-25 at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center.

JOSHUA TREE

Crossroads Café A variety of art from this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours participating artists will be on display through November 4. Artist Scott Monteith is featured at the Crossroads Café November-December with Aliens, Desert Landscapes, Robots. 61715 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree. Open 6:30 a.m.– 8 p.m. Closed Wednesdays.

The Red Arrow Gallery The Red Arrow Gallery presents ‘I F*cking Hate Loser Artists’ opening reception October 2, Friday starting at 7 p.m. The show features artists J.A.H. and GodAwful from Sky’s Falling Art Kult. Come out to meet the artists and special guests. A DJ will be entertaining. The Red Arrow Gallery is featured on this year’s HWY 62Art Tours October 24-25. November is the 2nd Mini Show and will be hosted for the month by Timber Woolf-Bjork opening on November 7. Red Arrow Gallery is open Fridays 5-8

Studio Godot Lo-Res Lifestyle, a collection of two years of low resolution photos shot by artist Sydney McCutcheon. Follow McCutcheon through a narrative of tragiccomedic subjects aimlessly stumbling into the viewfinder: cancer patients, drag queens, graffiti artists, ballet dancers, petty criminals, drug dealers, d-list celebrities and homeless ex-pats all receive equal treatment through the lens of the iPhone. Studio Godot is a featured gallery on this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours October 24-25, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 61855 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree. (760)366-2200. October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 17


Ellen Hill’s Stepping into a Dream, above, and Steve Rieman, hard at work on one of his impressive creations, right.

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18 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

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Hi-Desert Nature Museum This year’s HWY 62 Art Tours, produced by the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, includes the popular annual Open Studio Art Tours. The Tours will be held October 24-25(West End including Yucca Valley, Morongo Valley, Pioneertown, Landers and Joshua Tree), and October 31–November 1 (East End including Joshua Tree, Twentynine Palms and Wonder Valley). The two weekend event kicks off with the annual Art Tours Collective Show that will be held at (and cosponsored by) the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. The show will include art from over 100 artists from the Open Studio Art Tours. A reception for the Art Tours Collective Show will be held Sunday, October 18, 4:30–7 p.m. with refreshments, food and live entertainment. Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Yucca Valley Community Center Complex, 57116 29 Palms Hwy. Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (760)369-7212 hidesertnaturemuseum.org.

The Purple AgaveArt Gallery The Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council and the Cactus Mart is proud to announce a new group show titled CACTi at the Purple AgaveArt Gallery in Morongo Valley. This juried show awarded a variety of prizes including a cash first place prize of $250 to artist Penelope Krebs. Other cash awards were presented to Mike Smiley, Karine Swenson, Brian Ingalls and Rick Ungar. The show will run through November 8 and will be up during this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours. To learn more about the HWY 62 Art Tours or to order the official program that includes over 100 artists, events and a fold-out illustrated map, visit www.HWY62ArtTours.com, or call the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council at (760)366-2226.


“Bird in Paradise,” a watercolor by Indian Wells artist Diane Morgan, has been selected by State Senator John J. Benoit (RBermuda Dunes) for inclusion in the Senate’s 9th Annual California Contemporary Art Collection exhibit. Morgan’s painting will be showcased in the State Capitol through September 2010. Morgangraduated from the University of Michigan with a major in painting. After working over 20 years in advertising, then as Public Art Administrator for the City of Palm Springs, she now paints full-time. She was a founding director of the Coachella Valley Arts Alliance and former chair of the Palm Desert Civic Arts Committee.

October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 19


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20 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009


Diana Lindsay’s Marshal South Site For fans of the classic Desert magazine (not the one currently published by The Desert Sun), Marshal South stands out as a figure like no other. South and his family lived on top of Ghost Mountain in an experiment in primitive living in the Anza-Borrego Desert, for 17 years after the Great Depression. Their home, Yaquitepec, because famous after his columns for Desert magazine became the most popular in the publication’s history. Now, Diana Lindsay, author and scholar on South’s life and his desert experiences, has launched a website for those who want to delve deeper into the desert history surrounding South. I highly recommend exploring her site at www.marshalsouth.com, and a hike to the top of Ghost Mountain when you are traveling through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Ridgecrest’s Red Star Rising with Kenneth Sewell The China Lake Naval Weapons Museum is hosting author Kenneth Sewell who will talk on his book Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine’s Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. And while some of Sewell’s book may be drawing conclusions based on some sketchy historical data, it is definitely non-fiction. On March 7, 1968, a Soviet submarine sank in the waters off Hawaii. The K-129, Sewell hypothesizes, had gone rogue and was sunk while trying to launch a nuclear missile that would have leveled Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, killing half a million people, and making the Japanese sneak attack of World War II seem like child’s play. Sewell, delves into this Cold War secret, and he does so authoritatively as a veteran submariner and nuclear engineer. He draws on interviews with American—and Russian—intelligence and military officials, eyewitness accounts of events pertaining to the sinking, surveillance information, and intelligence from the U.S. recovery (Project Jennifer) of at least some of the sunken sub that Sewell asserts was trying to provoke a war between the U.S. and China. It’s a riveting story that reads like a military thriller, but the sinking of the K-129 and the subsequent (and ongoing?) coverup is real. Even Howard Hughes plays a role in this mystery. Call (760)939-3530 to reserve your seat on this wild ride, Saturday, November 7, noon to 3 p.m. at the Carriage Inn in Ridgecrest. Charles A. Carroll Tells the Solid Story Behind Hard Candy Author Charles A. Carroll will be speaking at Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree on November 17 at 6 p.m. Learn the horrifying true story behind Carroll’s book, Hard Candy: Nobody Ever Flies Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and understand child abuse and pedophilia from the victim’s perspective. This is a highly recommended book of a true American tragedy—one that is sadly ongoing. – Steve Brown October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 21


Operation Sun Runner

O

ver the past five years, musicians and recording companies from the desert, and from around the country, have donated several thousand new CDs to our Marines through Operation Sun Runner. This year, we are once again asking any interested musicians or labels to consider contributing new CDs to Operation Sun Runner. We will be working through the Armed Services YMCA, Twentynine Palms, to ensure these CDs get into care packages and gift packs going to our Marines stationed overseas, as well as to their families living in the desert. Marines stationed overseas often look forward very much to receiving care packages from home. The Armed Services YMCA, Twentynine Palms, provides enlisted personnel a variety of gift items for spouses and families to pick out for care packages. These items are very popular with our Marines and their families. If you are a musician and would like to donate CDs to Operation Sun Runner, please send them to: Operation Sun Runner c/o: The Sun Runner Magazine 61855 29 Palms Highway Joshua Tree, CA 92252 For more information on how to participate, please call (760)366-2700 or e-mail publisher@thesunrunner.com. If you are not a recording artist but would like to contribute to Operation Sun Runner, please note that new DVDs, CDs, and family items are also very much in demand. Thanks to all the musicians and labels who have donated to Operation Sun Runner and especially to our Marine families.

22 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009


The Date Farmers, Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, may have their base in Indio, but exhibit their art work internationally.

A

h, summer has finally released us from its chains and a new season is upon us. Soon triple-digit temps will be a faint memory as we enter into desert summer amnesia. That’s when the local communities firmly deny the pain of summer heat, insisting that it is always eighty degrees year-round. But in the defense of those who turn their cheek to reality, I must say that when the scorching temperatures give way to the comforting coolness of the “season,” it’s easy to understand the desire to be immersed in the now and forget the then. Season in the Coachella Valley and surrounding desert areas is a crucial time. It is a time when locals who have escaped from the summer heat return and when snowbirds begin their migration back to their winter homes in a pre-emptive move to dodge the bitter cold of their home states. Basically, season means back to business, it means money. One of best ways to cash in on the season money train is to network. No matter if you have a mom and pop gig, if you’re a doctor, sales person or just social butterfly, it’s all about networking. There happens to be a strong vein of networking groups here in the CV. They are all however, as I found, female-based groups. There’s the ABWA, WLF, PSWIFT, BTS, GFF, and the RHS, just to name a few in the sea of networking acronyms. The desert is strong in these estrogen-based social networks, and if you think that they are some sort of feminists’ extremists, well, you would be wrong. These groups not only promote business networking, but also deal directly with charities, putting most if not all of their membership dues towards helping those in need. For instance, the GFF, which stands for Girl Friend Factor, puts together educational grants for women who cannot afford it. All of these groups strive to serve the community as well as encourage one another in their endeavors and have a great time in the process. I had the opportunity to attend a recent ABWA, American Business Woman’s Association meeting, where one of the members

exclaimed that the women in the group are more than networking possibilities, they are her friends. The groups range in age, but their purpose is all aimed at the same goal. Just like the BTS, which means, hold on to your undies, the Blue Thong Society. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not a league of strippers, but rather a sassy ensemble of woman on a mission to be, and I quote, “Fun, Fabulous and Philanthropic.” So if you’re looking for a place to meet new people and peddle your goods, these networking groups aren’t a bad place to start. And for all you men out there, these groups are open to you as well, that is if you’re man enough to attend a meeting. If not, take heart, maybe some guy out there will start a Blue Boxer Society. In the downtown area of Indio, across an un-assuming parking lot, sits a treasure of art. The art is urban hip, and has a poignant social message which only the beholder can decipher. This is the studio of Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, better known as, The Date Farmers. Despite their definable name, you will not find the scrumptious fruit in sight or a cold date shake to ease the desert heat. And I’m sure if you asked for this tasty treat, your request would be met with something not as sweet as your intention. What you will find, however, is the innovative work of two artists dedicated to their craft and driven by their need to share it with those open-minded enough to get it. The duo met over ten years ago and started collaborating soon after. The name Date Farmers was brought on from the owner of one of the first galleries to showcase their art. When the owner learned that Armando’s father owned a date farm and Carlos used to work in the groves in his youth, he referred to them as The Date Farmers, and it stuck. The two are as un-assuming as their studio location. Their art, however, is anything but. With different textures and materials, their art commands attention and warps the mind to understand it. Some of the materials that they use for their artistic expressions include abandoned wood, creased metal, bottle caps and other components that inspire their vision. Most pieces share their space with traditional paintings or drawings and then a stamp or relative comic strip will appear to accentuate its purpose, a suspended collage on the wall. Elusive yet playful, the expressions incorporate a sense of whimsy and adolescence, yet a noticeable message to be understood by only by the one taking it all in. Perhaps that’s why when I asked the two to define their work, Armando humbly responded by saying, “We are artists and we speak in a visual language.” As with so much art, there October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 23


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24 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

is no clear definition. Some of their work is currently being featured at the Upperplayground Gallery in L.A. The gallery has been instrumental in The Date Farmers career, often showcasing their works, and was the conduit for their notable Obama piece that was commissioned for the “08” presidential campaign, which gained the duo national notoriety (check out more of their work at www.thedatefarmers.com). There is no doubt their path is clearly illuminated, and their notoriety will continue to grow. They are currently working on a show to open at the Lazarides Gallery in London in December. The two are excited about the future and continue to move forward, saying “All we want to do is work full-time doing our art, and make a living by doing what we love,” and with their talent, there’s no denying they will. Where to go, what to do? Well, the world is your oyster, or in our case the desert is your sand box and sand can become a pearl and pearls come from oysters, so I guess the desert is your oyster. So let’s open it up and see what it has to offer. October brings a buffet of delights with events such as the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum’s fundraiser, Dinner in the Canyons, where you can dine under the grandeur of the palm trees and help fund museum exhibitions and education programs as well (760-778-1079).

Then on the 16-18th, leather chaps, tattoos and exhaust-belching motorcycles invade Palm Springs for yet another debauchery filled weekend—no really it’s fun (www.road-shows.com). Palm Desert cruises down the street on the 25th for its electrically charged Golf Cart Parade; this year’s theme is Playground of the Stars. The parade features golf carts that have been transformed into miniature floats by local businesses and groups. It’s a great outing for the family (760-346-6111). And October can’t pass us by without a Halloween shout-out, the spookiest time of year unless it’s time for another election. Keep your eyes peeled for local haunted houses, if you dare. The independent scare halls are unpredictable and sometimes more fun than the mainstream; just use caution, so you won’t lose your head, mwah ah ah. I’m sure the Phish Festival at the Empire Polo Club from October 30 to November 1 will bring plenty of frightening moments as music and mayhem blanket the field (www.phish.com/festival8). In November you can’t miss the Palm Springs Veterans Day Parade on the 11th on Palm Canyon Drive; love those flybys (760-323-8272). And on November 14 get your metaphysical on when the Riviera Hotel Resort and Spa presents The Power of Positive Energy, hosted by Master of Cer-


P

The Date Farmers’ Obama piece, commissioned for the 2008 presidential campaign, garnered the artists national attention.

emony Enterprises. The night will feature celebrity medium Cheri Mancuso and professional speaker Daryl L. Frazier as well as a vendor’s gallery, dinner, and a whole lot of enlightenment. A portion of the proceeds benefit Iraq Star, which provides reconstructive surgery for returning American veterans. For more info on the event, go to www.christinefleming.skincaretherapy.net. And then it comes time for Thanksgiving, the holiday that bloats us up with fun-filled times with family and friends and a grotesque amount of food. This is okay because it only comes once a year, just make sure to loosen your top pant button as you gobble, gobble!

enelope Gottlieb’s exhibition, Midcentury WOW!, opens October 16 at Heather James Fine Art. The opening reception runs from 6 to 8 p.m. with 10 percent of all sales for the evening donated to the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture and Design Council. Prior to the opening, Gottlieb will give an artist’s talk from 4 to 6 p.m., debuting the 2009-2010 season’s New Contemporary Salon Series. Space is limited for the talk and RSVP’s are required via e-mail to kimberly@heatherjames.com or at (760)346-8926. For Midcentury WOW!, Gottlieb’s inspiration comes from homes found in Coachella Valley real estate advertisements featuring Midcentury modern architecture and its aesthetic variations that signify the crisp, clean desert minimalist lifestyle and iconic gems signature to the area, such as the Albert Frey Home. To create these variations on the real estate marketing theme, Gottlieb scours newspaper ads, seizing on minute photographs of homes with their uniform camera angles and hyperbolic advertising phrases. Selecting houses from these ads as source images, she creates finely detailed chromatic drawings with an atmospheric, dream-like density. Gottlieb’s work has been exhibited in many venues including the Krannert Art Museum, Otis Ben Maltz Gallery, Michael Kohn Gallery, and more. Public collections include The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Chicago Art Institute, and other museums. Midcentury WOW! is on exhibit at Heather James Fine Art, 45-188 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert. For more information, please call (760)346-8926, or visit www.heatherjames.com.

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I

want to welcome everyone to this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours sponsored by the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council. The HWY 62 Art Tours includes the popular Open Studio Art Tours that will be held October 24-25 and October 31–November 1. In its eighth year, the HWY 62 Art Tours encompasses all the arts of the Morongo Basin during the two weekend celebration, showcasing music, performance, and the best in visual arts. The Open Studio Art Tours is one of the largest in the nation and allows visitors to experience working studios and purchase original art affordably directly from our artists. Visitors and locals can plan their weekends and their own tour; planning the studios, and artists they want to see, where to have lunch, whether to take in some galleries or visit a museum. They will be able to enjoy live entertainment with a choice of venues, special events, and theatre shows each evening. This year’s featured artists include a variety of nationally and internationally acclaimed and award-winning artists. Among them are Time-Life “Picture of the Year” three-time winning night sky photographer Wally Pacholka; conservation artist Diane Best, featured on the cover of this year’s HWY 62 Art Tours collector program; and popular jewelry designer Mikal Winn, who has sold his designs the world over including to many Hollywood elite such as Britney Spears and Halle Berry. There are many award-winning and noted artists on the tours this year, including Steve Rieman, Mike Smiley, Mary-Austin Klein, Tina Bluefield, Ellie Tyler, Ellen Hill, Robert Arnett, Perry Hoffman, Christy Anderson, Penelope Krebs, Davis Murphy, Bobby Furst, David McChesney, Scott Monteith, and The Sun 26 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

Runner ’s featured artist, Rik Livingston. Rik Livingston is a newcomer on the tours with his Zono Art creations. He lent his talent this year to illustrate the foldout road map included in the official program and created the tortoise and hare mascots (little kangaroo rat, too) for the tours and the cover of this issue of The Sun Runner. I sat down with Rik to learn more about him and Zono Art. AW – Thank you, Rik, for taking the time to answer a few questions. RL – Thanks for asking, Andy. AW – What is Zono Art? RL – Zono Art, the art itself, stylistically, makes use of mass culture imagery, appropriating a popular visual vernacular, caricature method and cast off materials in seriously humorous, Post-Pop artworks of layered meaning. It’s Pop Art without the irony. Instead I use the “language” of popular culture to “mythologize” everyday life and the deeper truths that lie beneath. Zono Art, the name, well, originally, I thought Zono was just a nonsense word I made up in a humorous drawing. A buddy made a t-shirt for me with the drawing on it and when I wore it, fellow MFA students at the San Francisco Art Institute began calling me Zono. Since then I have found it has deeper meaning that I hope to explain in a future animation on my website (www.ZonoArt.com). Curiously, it’s also a real nickname in Japan, a country that reveres caricature method (i.e. cartooning). AW – Tell me a little more about your art and what visitors will see when they visit you on the Art Tours. RL – Well, I can guarantee they won’t be bored. We call it the


“Zono Art Museum of Madness, Mirth and Magic.â€? The house is pretty well decorated: There’s art on the walls, the floors and even the ceiling! There’s everything from small keepsake size art to an 11-foot-tall “rainforest statementâ€? painting. There’s also impromptu assemblage on the fencing outside and one of those carnival cutouts you stick your head through to get your photo taken! Previously, I directed a huge gallery, The Whitney Young Cultural Center Mansion, in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco for three years. During that time I collected some of the art from other artists who showed there and I plan to exhibit it as well. (“NFS,â€? of course, but it’s fun to look.) One of the artists is my wonderful wife, Cat, who has loads of photos of things like turn of the century automata and Barbie’s best dates! AW – Where did you grow up? RL – I was born in a VERY small town in Kansas. (Think Andy Griffith’s Mayberry.) Then my family all rolled around the Great Plains like tumbleweeds, living on prairie dawgs and sunflower seeds, until finally lighting in a cow town 50 miles from the infamous Dodge City, Kansas (Boot Hill, “Gunsmoke,â€? etc.). I really loved the “Big Sky Countryâ€? itself, but didn’t truly fit in with my classmates at the little one-room schoolhouse, refusing to participate in such bonding rituals as chewin’ ‘n’ spittin’ and cow tipping. Evolution comes slow to them parts and they keep a tight rein on creativity. I went to New York first, but it was San Francisco I ended up spending a quarter century in, before I discovered the magical, mystical Morongo Basin. AW– How long have you lived in Joshua Tree and what brought you here? RL – A few years ago, becoming disenchanted with the “Manhattanizationâ€? of San Francisco, I found a book called, “The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America,â€? and, on vacations, began to look for somewhere that had that small town congeniality, but was big on the arts. None of them quite seemed the right fit. But then I started dating Cat and her Mom—Luana lives in Joshua Tree—so we came here one winter for the Holidays and I was hooked. We moved here slowly over about three years. I’ve only been here full time a little over one year. I’m thinking of writing the author of “The 100 Best Small Art Towns in Americaâ€? and telling him that he missed a real jewel! AW – I hope you do write to him. Who are some of your favorite artists in the Morongo Basin and beyond, and why? RL – Wow, how much space do you have for this article? I mean, really, it takes a whole magazine, like the Art Tours guide, to even scratch the surface of the art talent in this area. Cat and I have had little time to miss the Bay Area. You could go out practically every night here and experience really top-notch creativity. Also, when I first moved to San Fran Land, it was a toss-up whether the Western USA Art Capital was SF or LA. Now it’s, without question, Los Angeles. I like aspects of the Low Brow or Pop Surrealism movements there. I get compared to them a lot, though I’d like to point out that I’ve been doing my type of “Folk-Popâ€? for longer than those movements have been around‌ AW – Well noted. Tell me about your comic books. RL – I have over 17,000 comics. I jokingly call them “The

Livingston Library,â€? with an emphasis on the word “Library,â€? since I actually READ my comics not just keep them sealed in plastic. I enjoy comics as the mythology of our culture, but as a hobby, I consider myself more of a curator than a collector. I’m saving them for future mythologists. Also, I’ve had a second career as an “Alternative Cartoonist.â€? So there’s quite a few of my own “comikz,â€? as I call them, out there. I’ll have a few copies for sale during the Art Tours. I hope to get a limited edition zine together, also, just for the Art Tours, that will collect some unpublished work and have a sneak peek at a strip that’s slated to be in the “Work!â€? anthology by Image Comics. AW – I want one! What are you working on now? RL – Well, there’s a surreal series of underwater paintings planned. The desert, with its sand and cartoon-like plants, reminds me a lot of the ocean bottom, what can I say? I also hope to have hand colored originals of the illustrations on the map and some brand-new prints‌fingers crossed! AW – Four weeks away, you best get busy! You have a great sense of humor. Who or what inspires you to laugh? RL – Whoever said “Laughter is the best medicineâ€? really knew my prescription. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, the conflicts of life. Nothing works faster or better to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good ol’ belly laugh. It’s the soul’s natural yoga. I seemed to have been blessed to have the imagination to see humor everywhere. Really, I enjoy cartoons and other things that are meant to be funny, but I can just look at clouds—or desert plants, as I mentioned above—and get tons of fun ideas. Laughter is a super effective way to heal discord, grudges, and pain, even on a societal level. Imagination can inspire us to view man’s world and life in general, with a brightened heart and new eye. It’s why I do what I do‌no joke! AW – Thank you, Rik, or should I call you Zono! I know people are going to enjoy you and “Zono Art Museum of Madness, Mirth and Magicâ€? this year on the Art Tours. I guess I should get back to telling the reader a few more things about this year’s event before I run out of room! The two-weekend event kicks off with our annual Art Tours Collective Show that will be held at and cosponsored this year by the Hi-Desert Nature Museum in Yucca Valley. The reception for the Art Tours Collective Show will be held Sunday, October 18, 4:30 to 7 p.m. with refreshments, food, and live entertainment. Artist Bobby Furst will host the annual closing party at his studio in Joshua Tree with musicians and a few surprises on November 1 (aka November Furst) at 6 p.m. On a personal note, it has been a pleasure organizing the Art Tours for the last three years. I moved to the Morongo Basin six years ago. I was instantly impressed with the variety of talented artists and musicians we have. I worked for years in the pop culture industry in Los Angeles, so I know a little about what is good. Many of our artists and musicians are as good as some of the best in the world. I want people to know that. That, my friends, is why I do what I do, and as Rik said‌.no joke! To learn all about the HWY 62 Art Tours or to order your official program that includes over 100 artists, event schedule and the Zono Art fold-out map visit HWY62ArtTours.com or call (760)366-2226.  October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 27


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Maturango Museum’s Open Studio Tour Opening Reception for The Artists Show 7 p.m., October 9 Sylvia Winslow Gallery Maturango Museum 100 E. Las Flores Ave. Ridgecrest Open Studio Tour October 24 & 25 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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his year marks the sixth anniversary of The Maturango Museum’s Open Studio Tour. It is a shared experience between the artists, their studio environments, and the public. The opportunities for viewing and purchasing local art created by local artists, sharing ideas, and having discussions are magnified by the number of artists participating. There are several new artists joining the returning artists, the Burroughs High School Art Department and the Cerro Coso Art Department. The Tour begins with a reception, free and open to the public, celebrating the opening of the Artists Show at the Sylvia Winslow Gallery at the Maturango Museum on October 9 at 7 p.m. The show will be up for a month and all of the artwork in the show is for sale. The Tour itself is held on the weekend of October 24 & 25. The studios will be open both days from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The $15 tickets and Tour Maps will be available at the Museum during the month of October and on both days of the Tour. This event is in support of local artists and is a fundraiser for the Museum with a percentage of all sales going to the Museum. This event has received funds from the Arts Council of Kern. The local artists participating in this event for 2009 are: Janice Allen, Christina Anderson, Barbara Andolsek, Helen Baker, Jerry Bradley, Doris Bruce, Paula Caudill, Kim Angeli Githens, Skip Gorman, Fred Hartson, Lois Hinman, Marcy Holbrook, Pat Kleinschmidt, Patrick L. Nichols, Bob Parker, Andrea Pelch, Larry Sawyer, Donna Shelhart, Betty Spindler, Su Tipton, Julie von Schlemmer, Joan

Welsh, Donnie Woods and the students and staff from Burroughs High School Art Department and the Cerro Coso Community College Art Department. The artists in this year’s Open Studio Tour work in a wide variety of media, offering the public a varied and exciting range of opportunities to explore. Janice Allen is a Ridgecrest native who has loved to draw and paint since she was a child. She’s a self-taught realist artist who works mostly in oils, but has dabbled in charcoal, pencil, acrylics, and watercolors. Christina Anderson moves into the realm of the mythic, shaping lost momentos and curiousities into deeply layered new creations. Weaving old into the new, the forgotten into fables. Barbara Andolsek works in oil, transforming ordinary into extraordinary, from a loose rendering to realistic work. Helen Baker loves the surprises and transparent glow of watercolors. She seeks to abandon herself in her work with the confidence and joy of a first grader, experimenting with color and texture. Jerry Bradley creates unique sculptures, decorative bowls and vessels, from exotic hardwoods, stone, even Corian, along with lithopanes—photographic light sculptures, kinetic sculptures, and 3D Coso rock art figures. Doris Bruce is inspired by her father and his experience as a Red Cap for the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1930s and 40s. His descriptions of those he met during his work were shared with his family, and now Bruce seeks to interpret what she views, in oils and watercolors. Paula Caudill finds herself caught up

Tickets & Tour Maps: $15 Available at the Maturango Museum For more information and tickets: (760)375-6900 or Andrea Pelch at matmus5@maturango.org Debbie Benson at rbenson82@mchsi.com and enthralled by what she sees and is pulled in the direction of pottery, sculpture, painting, even beading, while maintaining a connection to the past. Kim Angeli Githens is inspired by her love for the sea. Her work is symbolic in nature and displays a love for color, texture, and form. Skip Gorman works in metal at a studio behind the old drive-in theater. From giant Joshua trees, to horseshoe signposts, you never know what’s next. Fred Hartson seeks out subjects and scenes to photograph to create digital images that express the beauty he finds in the world around him. Lois Hinman works in clay and paint that reflect the natural world. During the Tour visitors may watch demonstrations by her students. Marcy Holbrook mixes a sense of whimsy with a love of animals. Interested in, and influenced by so many cultures, Holbrook attributes the influence of ancient societies on her art largely due to the interconnectedness with animals and nature. Pre-Columbian art and ceramics have made an enormous impact on her, and she has traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru, along with October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 31


Continued... many other locations around the world, to experience art. She attended the Vesper George School of the Arts, and lived in the Middle East, Australia, and Japan, attending sophia University in Tokyo, studying sumi e and Koryu style ikebana. She has also studied at Pasadena City College, LACMA, Idyllwild School of Design, and Pottery West in Las Vegas. Pat Kleinschmidt takes a certain refuge in painting, and plans to continue to study new techniques in oil and watercolor. Patrick L. Nichols has known that art fascinated him since early childhood. To know the passion he experiences with art you just have to remember the first time you fell in love. Bob Parker possesses many talents in photography, ceramics, and painting, primarily in oils at this time. He has been inspired to try to paint his concept of humanity melding with the environment, with the result being a surrealistic view of the integration between the two. Andrea Pelch’s studio includes a glass fusing workshop, sewing area, and a jewelry and beadwork area. Her main focus in the Tour is her work in glass fusing, which she has been doing since 1998. Adding other materials to 3D glass shapes results in stunning treasures emerging from the kiln. Larry Sawyer began his journey through the world of arts and crafts 35 years ago. Working in wood is his real passion so watch for his custom furniture and stained glass door and window work. Donna Shelhart’s emotions are her muse, transforming her art into a form of creative journaling. For Shelhart, art not only allows expression, but facilitates healing. Betty Spindler thinks of her sculptures as “comfort food,” bringing a little simple shape and color to a complex world. Su Tipton comes from a family history of rock hounding, faceting, and some jewelry making, so her love of gemstones comes naturally. Julie von Schlemmer loves the feel of the Old West, so her wood projects sometimes look like they’ve been around a piece. Adorned sometimes with an old leather bridle or harness, even barbed wire, many are made from old boes, jelly cabinets, stools and benches. Joan Welsh has the desert clouds as her favorite subject right now. She paints in oil as well as using alkyd and pen and ink for smaller works. Maybe she’ll move on to other subjects later, but for now, it’s clouds. Donnie Woods paints original landscapes and other subjects in oil, watercolor, and collage. She also dyes silk scarves and makes miniatures in watercolor and oil. Burroughs High School Art Department and the Cerro Coso Community College Art Department are also exhibiting during the Tour. – Compiled by Andrea Pelch, Debbie Benson, and Steve Brown 32 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

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hat a terrific way to get to see some of Twentynine Palms as well as the Oasis of Murals. I had no idea, not a clue, that the city contained such incredible art where everyone can see it any time—on the outside walls of a variety of buildings. I was taking a progressive dinner tour of the murals of Twentynine Palms, commemorating the 15th anniversary of the organization responsible for most of the murals found in this city. We began at the mural of Bill and Frances Keys, located at Pine and Route 62 on the south end of town. This mural, painted in 1994, is of particular significance because the building it is painted on is soon to be razed to build a new Walgreens store, destroying this amazing mural. Go have a good look at it for yourself. Does this desert art deserve to be demolished? No. But it will go. The murals cost about $10,000 each when they were first painted but now estimates range to ten times that figure no matter what building a mural is painted on. It is easy to see why they should be preserved; they depict the early life and times in the Twentynine Palms area during the gold mining era around the turn of the century, as well as more modern history and varying artistic visions of the desert. When you really take the time to look at the murals, you will find descriptions of what is depicted in the scene. Our celebratory tour was conducted by the Action Council for 29 Palms, and what a tour. Simulating a wagon or hayride, two trailers hauled most of us participants from mural to mural in a progressive dinner with the thought of banana cream pie at the last stop. There was one mural where we rushed it through due to the wind that sprang up and put grit in our salad. All along the way the food was delicious and eagerly sought after by our gusty group, and it was dark by the time we got to the last stop. The Sheriff’s Citizen Patrol was exemplary in their duties to assist in traffic control and it made the tour that much more pleasant. I was privileged to meet Wayne Winiecki, who has restored most, if not all, of the murals, recreating the exciting colors and exquisite detail. You can take your own tour any time in any order. Call Mel Berlin at (760)367-4477 or check the website www.oasisofmurals.org, where you will find more information and you can take your own virtual mural tour. There is also an excellent mural brochure available that helps you enjoy the historic outdoor art gallery in many ways.


ne thing that really floored me when I arrived in Palm Springs almost a decade ago, was the sheer number of art galleries. I tried counting but always lost count when an art piece caught my eye. Perhaps that is as it should be, because with this many galleries, one can expect any number of intriguing distractions. The art community in Palm Springs has continued to evolve and offers even more ways to enjoy its offerings.

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(Dezart One Gallery represents numerous artists). Indeed, one thing that might work is painting the entire parking lot as a huge mural. Just a thought. I like these folks in this little backwater enclave, with its back up against the mountain and its arms around the future. They are a plucky lot. This art walk runs 6 to 9 p.m. monthly, the first Wednesday of Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., May., Oct., Nov., Dec. For more information, call (760)328-1440.

Palm Springs Art Walk – Uptown/Downtown When you get right down to it, Palm Springs boasts a very long stretch of art galleries all the way from uptown through downtown, further down Palm Canyon, around the bend and all the way out to the Backstreet Art District, a distance of at least a hundred miles….uh, well, okay, a few miles anyway. Just considering uptown and downtown, it is a lot to take in. Isn’t it great to have so much culture in the neighborhood? The Art Walk is held the first Friday of the month and many but not all galleries are between Amado Road and Tacheva Road on Palm Canyon Drive. Even in Downtown, be curious about side streets as they hold pleasant artistic surprises for the adventurous.

Palm Springs Art Museum In downtown Palm Springs, go west toward the mountain and you will quickly come upon the impressive Palm Springs Art Museum, a two-tone concrete megalith of artistic merit in its own right. Coarse and smooth surfaces, intersecting lines reveal a labyrinth to rival the canyons, at the foot of which it sits. Splashing color and smooth wind-fluid textures over the walls in the form of huge banners touting current or coming events is just one of the many contrasts you can find in this treasure trove of art and artifacts. One banner is for The Passionate Pursuit: Gifts and Promised Works from Donna and Cargill MacMillan, Jr., who have been building a personal collection of the art of their time for more than 20 years. The exhibition features more than 75 contemporary sculptures, paintings, design objects, and works on paper from the era’s most well known and art historically significant artists. It will inaugurate newly designed galleries in the Steve Chase Wing, which completes the museum’s dramatic changes following three years of transformative renovations. Another banner on the south side of the museum calls out about the new glass exhibit organized by the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington for the Palm Springs Art Museum. Lino Tagliapietra in Retrospect: A Modern Renaissance in Italian Glass, runs through December 27, in the Annenberg Wing. Tagliapietra is widely revered as the master of glassblowing, an inspiring teacher, and the elder statesman who is credited with shaping the course of international Studio Glass. Contemporary Glass opens October 13, ongoing in various wings. Noted national and international artists in this exhi-

Art Walk at The Backstreet Art District The Backstreet Art District walk is held on the first Wednesdays of months during season, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Cherokee Way (behind the Mercedes dealership on East Palm Canyon Drive). In addition to downtown/uptown Palm Canyon Drive, this area has been recognized as one of the coolest, hippest art districts in the desert. Experience this exciting contemporary art destination and its varied galleries. Dezart One makes space available for Original Play Readings, First Sunday Poetry Readings, as well as comedy improv with the Joe and Mustard Improv Group. “We all here participate and work together to make the Backstreet Art District the most vibrant, coolest, hippest art district in the desert,” says Marian Moiseyev, one of Dezart Studio’s principal artists, along with Kim Chasen and Downs

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bition show a range of glass techniques, and their diverse subjects range from the narrative and figurative to the natural world and the exploration of color in space. There is also Odyssey: The Photographs of Linda Connor, December 19, to April 10, 2010, in the McCallum Wing. This retrospective of 75 photographs by Linda Connor features her work from 1978 to 2008. Connor travels the globe, taking photographs with a large (8 x 10) view camera. Utilizing long exposure times, she creates images intended to reveal the “essence” of objects and places. ACE 2010: Artists Council Exhibition, runs February 14 to March 28, 2010, in the Marks Graphics Center and Jorgensen Gallery. ACE is an annual juried exhibition of artwork by Artists Council members. Following is Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner, February 20 to May 23, 2010, in the Annenberg Wing. This exhibition of the work of one of America’s most significant Modernist architects is the first comprehensive overview of Lautner’s architecture. It includes 115 original drawings and sketches; ten original models; and six large-scale architectural models created for the exhibition and a documentary film. Then there is Colors of the West: The Paintings of Birger Sandzen, April 17 to September 12, 2010, in the McCallum Wing. Sven Birger Sandzén (1871-1954), a Swedish-born artist, trained in Paris and participated in its famous fin de siècle milieu. In 1894 he immigrated to the United States and settled in the center of the American prairie in Lindsborg, Kansas. 34 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

Considered a post-Impressionist for his use of color and expressionist in technique, Sandzén’s vibrant and dynamic paintings of prairie and western landscapes from Kansas to the California coast have been relatively unknown outside the Midwest until recently. Photographing the American West: Selections from the Permanent Collection, is slated to run May 29, 2010 to January 3, 2011, in the Marks Graphics Center and Jorgensen Gallery (Theater Level). A comparative view of the American West from 1865 to the present, this exhibition examines the role of photography in popularizing divergent ideas and documenting changing visions of the West. Through the generous support of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, the Palm Springs Art Museum will be offering free admission and special programming on the second Sunday of each month this season. Great family offerings will be included on Free Second Sundays. Check the museum’s web site: www.psmuseum.org for more information on these and many other events at the museum.

Photos This page, top left: Artists Marian Moiseyev and Downs, two of the co-owners of Dezart One Gallery, pose in front of some colorful works by Michael Pfleghaar. This page, top right: Sculpture by Todji Kurtzman,, Monument In Right Feet Major, is a most fitting hyperbole to the El Paseo Art Walk. Opposite page: The La Quinta Art Festival is one of the Coachella Valley’s premiere arts events.

Utterly perfect,” I exclaimed as I screeched to a stop near the Monument In Right Feet Major. Surely the sculptor must have been inspired by the El Paseo Art Walk as well as Palm Desert’s Art In Public Places program. Once or twice a year, the art pieces in the busy street’s median are changed out, giving more artists a chance at public exposure. That is just a portion of Art In Public Places. The artwork in the median is nothing if not eclectic, merely hinting at what may lie in store for those inquisitive souls who engage in the El Paseo Art Walk. The El Paseo art scene comes alive on the first Thursday of the month, October through May, with artist receptions, gallery hospitality, and a festive atmosphere in 20some galleries. Participating Art Walk galleries include: A Gallery Fine Art, Adagio Galleries, Christopher Morgan Galleries, Coda Gallery, Edenhurst Gallery, Gallery 1000, Hart Gallery, J Willott Gallery, Jones & Terwilliger Galleries, Re Welch Gallery, Richard Danskin Galleries, Sr Brennen Gallery, Von Wening Art, Zantman Art Galleries, and others. Having done the Art Walk in years past, being reminded by that big-footed sculpture how my feet felt at the end, I am glad to see that Complimentary Courtesy


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hen I think of an overview of this sort, I suddenly get trans ported up into the air, sort of out-of-body, and gain some perspective on this thing we call Art in the Desert. That a land so sparse to the novice eye could produce such an astonishing array and quantity of excellent art work is something of a marvel. I have heard a number of opinions: the emptiness leaves room for creativity; there are fewer distractions; ability to hide from the past; ability to embrace the future; lots of room to spread out. It seems all are good reasons.

Carts will be made available for those who want to see more than their feet can carry them to. With all the golf carts available in Palm Desert, there shouldn’t be a single sore foot during the art walks. The grand expanse of galleries stretches from one end of El Paseo to the other, and I suspect that you’d have your work cut out for you if you tried to get to each and every one in a single evening. Instead, you may prefer to mosey along, drawn only by what catches your discerning eye. For more information, call (877)7357273.

It is a buyer’s market out there right now, so if you do have a bit of cash to invest, this is a great time to do it while investing in our desert artists. And one more thing. Do not be deceived by the notion that a small town in this desert has only a small art show. Some of the shows in smaller areas have as many vendors as the larger towns and many artists display in a number of area shows throughout the year. Some of those smaller shows are grouped in a following article. Borrego Springs Art Festival October 22-25 Celestial Celebrations are always in vogue in Borrego Springs, one of the best places to take in those starry, starry nights. A variety of programs are planned for the four-day event. Check www.BorregoSpringsChamber.com or call (800)559-5524 for more information. Death Valley Art Festival March 13-14, 2010 The Death Valley Chamber Art Show has been around for more than 10 years as a fundraiser for the Death Valley Chamber of Commerce. Historically, most artists are local (from Inyo County area) although last year they had artists from

Arizona, Southern and Northern California. The show is diverse, high-quality, and includes photography, jewelry, pottery, watercolor, oils, sculpture, weaving, and glass-etching. The setup is on the Furnace Creek Ranch lawn, right between the main road through Death Valley and the Registration Office. This is prime time for visitors and wildflowers, and artists can expect a lot of traffic from hotel guests (usually sold-out) and visitors passing through. Artists are offered a special room rate for the two nights plus complimentary coffee/datenut bread and lunch each day. For more information go to www.deathvalleychamber.org or call (760)852-4524. The Southwest Ar t Festival—Indio January 29, 30 and 31, 2010 While many art festivals and shows are free, some charge a nominal fee to cover costs. A three-day pass to The Southwest Art Festival is only $18 and seniors pay $8, while children 12 and under are admitted free. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., there is free entertainment, and refreshments are available. Featuring some 270 artists, this year’s festival promises to be a bigger and better show than ever. Empire Polo Club, 81-800 Avenue 51, MonOctober/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 35


Top left: Glass working demonstrations at the Indian Wells Art Festival. Top right: The Furnace Creek Ranch Resort provides the setting for the annual Death Valley Art Festival. Bottom left: Abundant in natural beauty and starry desert nights, Borrego Springs hosts a delightful annual arts festival.

roe and Avenue 51, Indio. For information, go to www.southwestartsfest.com or call (760)347-0676. La Quinta Art Festival March 11-14, 2010 Produced by the La Quinta Arts Foundation, in partnership with its premier sponsor the City of La Quinta, La Quinta Arts Festival is the primary fund-raiser for the La Quinta Arts Foundation. This award-winning event attracts art patrons and tourists from across the nation as one of the Coachella Valley’s premier attractions. The 28th annual La Quinta Arts Festival returns to the visually stunning setting of La Quinta’s Civic Center Campus. La Quinta Arts Festival is nationally recognized by artists and art patrons alike as one of the most renowned art festivals in the nation and has earned numerous accolades. The 10-acre La Quinta Civic Center campus, surrounded by the rugged Santa Rosa Mountains, is located adjacent to the west side of City Hall at the corner of Washington Street and Calle Tampico. For more information go to www.lqaf.com. Indian Wells Art Festival April 2, 3, 4, 2010 The 8th annual Indian Wells Arts Festival, a premier fine arts festival attracting thousands annually, is scheduled for April 2, 3, and 4, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The Indian Wells Arts Festival brings a splash of color to the beautiful grass concourse of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. This spectacular venue transforms into an artisan village featuring 200 judged and juried artists and hundreds of pieces of one-of-a-kind artwork available for sale. Watch glass blowing, monumental rock sculpting, wood carving, pot throwing, weaving, and mural painting. There will be glass blowing, bead making, and canvas stretching demonstrations all day. Entertainment and refreshments, wine tasting, a gourmet market, and children’s activities add to the festival atmosphere. For more information, go to www.indianwellsartsfestival.com or call (760)346-0042 38 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009


Art Under the Umbrellas offers relaxed browsing among more than 60 artists along Main Street in Old Town La Quinta, left. The College of the Desert Street Fair hosts a variety of artists every weekend, below.

Art Under The Umbrellas Partnering with the La Quinta Arts Foundation, this show, Art Under The Umbrellas represents a diverse collection of more than 60 artists exhibiting their original creations along Main Street in Old Town La Quinta. Live entertainment and wine tasting at Old Town Cellar are anticipated. When: Most holiday weekends during the 2009/2010 Season. October 10, November 7, November 28, January 16, February 13, March 30, and April 10. The Art Place Art Walk View an outstanding selection of fine art, ceramics, sculpture, and custom home accessories while enjoying live music, fine food, and refreshments. Meet the artists, designers, and gallery owners. When: First Friday of every month in the 2009/2010 Season. 5-8 p.m. Where: The Art Place, 41-801 Corporate Way, Palm Desert. Event Cost: Free. For more information: (760)776-2268.

COD (College of the Desert) Street Fair Held weekend mornings in the parking lot of the College of the Desert campus, this colorful event displays a wide variety of artistic work in many media. The fair boasts some 340 vendors offering new merchandise, art, arts and crafts and a farmers market. Browse and shop surrounded by date palms and mountain vistas. Make it a point to stop by and pay Hari and Lord Tim Hudson a visit at their booths. There is something different about the COD Street Fair though: Alumni Support of College of the Desert. Funds raised by the COD Alumni Association memberships and the weekend Street Fair provide over $270,000 in student scholarships and financial aid per year and fund many other college programs and projects. The Alumni Association has

donated $1 million to College of the Desert for the Alumni Association Academic Enrichment Fund. The Alumni Association has also established a second scholarship endowment fund and has raised over $6,000,000 for this purpose. The Street Fair patronage enables the Alumni Association to continually support College of the Desert. Now, if that doesn’t get you up on a weekend morning. When: Every Saturday and Sunday, October through May, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and June through September, 7 a.m to noon to avoid the summer heat. Enjoy free parking, free admission, free entertainment, and a good time in the early morning. For more information call (760)773-2567 or (760)568-9921, or visit www.codstreetfair.net.

VillageFest in Downtown Palm Springs Every Thursday evening in downtown Palm Springs, enjoy a diverse array of artists, artisans, entertainers, assorted fruits, vegetables, fresh flowers, jewelry, international cuisine, and sweets. When: Every Thursday evening. Where: Downtown Palm Springs, Palm Canyon Drive. Event Cost: Free admission. For more information: (760)320-3781, www.villagefest.org October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 37


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t always starts the same way. Sitting in a pub or with a group of people including a few relatively new to the area and the talk changes to earthquakes. What to do in case of… and how to do it, and so forth. Of course the subject of water comes up and our newbies say, “Well, we have a case of water in each car.” That’s when someone pipes up with, “But yeah, where do you get water if you run out?” Good question: where do you get water during a disaster? I’m not talking about extracting water from plants or how and where to dig a coyote hole in the middle of nowhere but rather about after a major earthquake or other event. The water mains are broken, there’s no water at the tap. Woe is me, what to do? If you listen to the newsies or disaster prep people, a lot of them are sure to have said, there’s water in the hot water and toilet tanks. That’s maybe 50-60 gallons. Not really enough to provide a family of four and pets for a week or more, especially if you have to transfer some of that water to the toilet to flush and use a bit more for minimal bathing and cleanup. Believe it or not, the best source of water in most desert homes is the swimming pool. “No! No! Not the Swimming pool!” some local TV journalist will scream, “The pool has chemicals in it, chlorine and muriatic acid, people even pee in the pool.” Yes, it does and they do. By themselves the chemicals can cause serious burns and be fatal if taken internally straight from the bottle. Dilute that down to several parts per million (ppm) and the problem becomes a moot point. Now let me ask a question: how much pool water have you drunk either by accident or on purpose in your life? A fair 38 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

amount, yes? Are you dead? No. The fact is the water in your pool is probably cleaner and safer than the water from the tap, even if someone has peed in it. After all, 15,000 gallons of water dilutes a few ounces of urine very quickly, and the filters get the rest. The real concern is the two chemicals typically used in pools at home, chlorine and muriatic acid. The purpose of the chemicals is to maintain a proper PH balance (the acid) and to keep the bacteria and algae levels down (the chlorine). Compared to chlorine the amount of muriatic acid in a pool is much less, yet getting rid of it takes a bit more effort. Sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the acid sprinkled on the surface of the pool then allows it to settle and filter (if the electricity is on). The acid level will be reduced dramatically within 24 hours. Of course you don’t want to wait 24 hours for the pool to settle and filter, so treating 5 gallons of water at a time with a little Arm & Hammer baking soda and mixing it well will work in a much shorter period of time. Removing chlorine is another problem, depending on how much is in the pool and the time of year. For the sake of argument we are going to assume the pool guy put a gallon of chlorine in yesterday, so concentrations will be mixed in and somewhat above normal. In the winter the cold water preserves the chlorine making a gallon good for a week or more. During summer the pool is hot, and with the sun’s strong UV factor at a 12+ that amount of chlorine may not even last two days. That is what accounts for the higher chemical use in the summer. Finding out how much chlorine, acid, along with a few other trace chemicals are in your pool can be done with a good quality pool testing kit. Test the water from your tap and make a note of it for a baseline when treating the water from your pool for drinking. Remember this is an emergency measure and not to be done lightly. What other sources of water are there? After all, not everyone has a pool. Other sources of water in the city include fountains, decorative and fish ponds, water hazards on golf courses. “Wait a minute, you can’t drink that water.” Of course you can. In the case of most fountains, the water is treated the same as a pool. Fish and other ponds, however, need a different treatment method. A chemical called (insert two very long words) is available in sporting goods and camping departments at Target, Big-5, and other places under the name of water purification tablets. You can also add a couple of drops of pool chlorine in a gallon of water to

have the same effect. Don’t forget to boil the water for at least 10 minutes to kill any bacteria in it. You don’t know if the water off a golf course came from the waste treatment plant or not. Naturally, save the best and most expensive for last. Reverse osmosis filters like the Brita water system and other systems sold by Coleman for campers are available at many box stores and sporting goods outlets. Worth the cost, they will treat any water, giving you good potable water in limited amounts. Of course, the more you spend the better the system and the more water it will deliver in a given period of time. The best water filtration units are marine grade systems for recreational yachts and such. Look on the Internet for places like West Marine or Yacht water systems. Water is our most precious resource in the desert, and I would imagine a major disaster is going to put something of a pinch on that water supply in a worst case scenario. Knowing where to find water in the city now becomes as important as finding water in the desert. ~ Comments, questions, suggestions, email Desertranger@gmail.com. Visit on the web at www.DesertBandanna.com and follow the link to the O’blogitory.


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ith cameras in hand, 13 local students have been exploring the Mojave Desert in search of desert tor-toises. Led by desert naturalists, the students have encountered an array of plants and animals that would make Jack Hanna or Jeff Corwin proud. Participants have photographed desert tortoises, horned lizards, roadrunners, quail, ground squirrels, chuckwalla, red tailed hawk, desert live-forever, desert five-spot, and the blooming Mojave mound cactus, just to name a few. From the rocky pinion-juniper of Joshua Tree National Park to the shimmering Kelso Dunes, to the lunar landscape of Rainbow Basin, they have visited some of the most beautiful places in the California Desert. Most importantly, students are engaging with the Mojave Desert, as witnesses to the plight of an imperiled species and are next in line to protect this remarkably diverse and fragile land. The students are participants in the Tortoises Through the Lens community action project, a 16-month program that teaches students ecology, biology, wildlife photography, global climate change, and provides field trips to let the students experience the Mojave first-hand. The students will create and publish a conservation photo book on the threatened Mojave desert tortoise, and will display their work at the Desert Light Gallery at Mojave National Preserve’s historic Kelso Depot. The project’s use of arts as a means of teaching conservation is an innovative approach to attract youth of diverse backgrounds and interests to learn about

the Mojave and the importance of conservation efforts. Through photography, students are gaining professional development, honing their individual voice, and expressing that voice in a medium that tells a story and is resonant to the general public. While they are learning to express their individuality, students are also working as a group to produce a collaborative product capable of inspiring conservation action and raising awareness of the plight of the tortoise. As we engage the next generation, we need to listen to their ideas and voices. We need to honor their creativity. Through this project, 13 students have experienced the Mojave both in a personal

Photos: Dakota Sprout, top left; Amy Bailey, top right; Joshua Marsden, above; Marcus Estavane, below.

way and through the eyes and experiences of their peers. The work they produce will be used to foster change and awareness, and the funds raised by the project will be reinvested into further desert tortoise conservation actions. The students have come to understand why the desert is important to save, and now are working to demonstrate its value through their collective art.  David Lamfrom is a National Parks Conservation Association California Desert Field Representative.

October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 39


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ne hundred years ago. The Willie Boy incident started in late September 1909, and communities that had a role in the story are recognizing the event with plays, readings, lectures, and a spate of friendly controversy over what really happened. We think that we know the following: 1. Willie Boy, a Chemehuevi Southern Paiute, was in love with his tribal cousin, Isoleta. They tried to run away together in early summer 1909 but were caught, and Isoleta was returned to her home at the Oasis in Twentynine Palms. 2. Isoleta’s father, William Mike, forbade Willie Boy from ever seeing Isoleta again. 3. At night on Sunday, September 26, 1909, William Mike and Willie Boy argued and fought. William Mike was shot and killed—Willie Boy was the likely shooter, but it is unknown if Willie Boy intended to kill him or if the shooting was an accident. 4. Willie Boy and Isoleta escaped across the desert. During the pursuit, Isoleta was shot and killed. Not much else is certain. Newspapers of the day claimed that Willie Boy raped and shot Isoleta and eventually committed suicide after a shootout at Ruby Mountain in the San Bernardino mountain foothills northwest of Yucca Valley. Recent research and analysis claims that the posse accidently killed Isoleta and that Willie Boy escaped to Nevada. Law enforcement officers were embarrassed that they did not “get their man� and invented the story of his suicide. With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at excepts from a letter written by the wife of the key newspaper reporter, Randolph Madison, to Harry Lawton the author of Willie Boy, a Desert Manhunt. 40 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

April 23, 1958 — Dear Mr. Lawton: Responding to your letter . . . . I know he was very happy with his scoop and the men at the office proud of his beating all of the “dudesâ€? from New York‌.I am sure that the body was that of Willie Boy. I know Mr. Madison believed it to be him and in discussing the story, he told how badly the body was swollen and that they had no choice in disposing of it. In an early draft of his book, Lawton commented on the near hysteria of the press. City editors scanned each other’s newspapers for details their rewritemen had missed, and as a result the errors of one paper were compounded with the inaccuracies of another. The bottle of whiskey that Willie Boy had drunk became a “suitcase full of whiskey.â€? The prosaic flowery bandanna, thrown at Lolita’s feet, became a pair of brilliant garters.â€? And Lawton continued: The earliest newspaper accounts had changed the fugitive’s real name, Billy Boy, into Willie Boy. . . .The Daily Press was proud of the fact that President William Howard Taft would visit Riverside on Oct. 12, and wanted to avoid any disrespect to the President’s familiar nickname, “Billy Boy.â€? When newspapers began to outdo each other in manufacturing background on the fugitive, the change in Willie Boy’s name became a bewildering problem. It made sense for the Los Angeles Record to report Billy Boy was named for the old folk song “Can She Bake A Cherry Pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy.â€? But it must have confused readers of the Los Angeles Times and Examiner to learn that “Willie Boyâ€? was named for a “well known folk song.â€? And the newspapers picked up numerous rumors about Willie Boy which created fear and excitement, including a possible Indian uprising and a number of killings in Nevada. Lawton described this reporting: No information linking Willie Boy to the Nevada killings was ever brought to light, but having reported that Sheriff Wilson had received inquiries on these murders, the newspapers began gratuitously adding other slayings to Willie Boy’s record. An unidentified “squawâ€? had seen him kill a white man. An Indian known as Old Jim had gone hunting and disappeared. Two missing prospectors were believed to have fallen beneath his gun. His former wife was an assured victim. He was undoubtedly the person who had “killed a boy and girl in Needles.â€? So, one additional fact is certain. The newspapers created a syndrome of myths around Willie Boy. This writer believes the many Native Americans who have confirmed that Willie Boy outwitted the posses and got away. But myths die hard. 


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any places, sites or locations in the Midwest and East advertise that “Lincoln slept here� or “Washington slept here.� We in the Indian Wells Valley of California’s high desert can boast that the Pathfinder, John C. Fremont, had truly “swept through here� on his fifth expedition in 1854 en route to California from Missouri. In the words of his biographer, Allan Nevins (1939): “Fremont struck due west across the Escalante Desert, exited Utah, crossed all of Nevada, reached the California boundary, continued to the Sierras which were blocked by heavy snows. He turned south and crossed the Sierras a little south of Walker’s Pass.� That would be Bird Spring Canyon, the fourth canyon south of Walker’s Pass, which empties into the Indian Wells Valley and provides passage across the Sierra summit. The approach to Bird Spring from the valley is a gentle slope up to the 5,000foot pass, then down open country to the flat, level Kelso Valley, thence either over the Piute Mountains to Caliente or up to the Kern River then down, to reach the San Joaquin Valley. Today there is a decent road over Bird Spring, not paved, but passable and easily reached from the Indian Wells Valley. Check your eastern Kern County or BLM maps. Fremont is a very well know personage in our country’s history, with many

historians and some critics as admirers. Born in 1813 in Georgia, he grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and attended Charleston College. He developed an interest in topography and related sciences and by 1838 received a commission in the Army’s Topographical Corps. In 1841 he met and married Jessie Benton, the daughter of the powerful senator from Missouri, Thomas Hart Benton, who was to have a great influence on Fremont’s career. Fremont’s first expedition into the far west was in 1842 to map the Oregon Trail as far as the South Pass in the Wyoming Rockies. His second expedition (1843–1844) was to extend the topographical mapping of the Oregon Trail from South Pass into the Anglo-American territory of Oregon. He reached Fort Vancouver near the coast, resupplied at the Hudson Bay Co. outpost, then returned up the Columbia. However, he did not retrace his route, but swung south through eastern Oregon, Nevada, and California. He crossed the Sierra from the Carson Valley in the dead of winter. It was a very difficult passage. He arrived at Sutter’s Fort in early March, refitted and continued south on the west side of Sierra, then crossed via Tehachapi Pass eastward to Missouri, his starting point 14 months prior. Fremont compiled the results of these first two expeditions into two reports, which were widely read and led to his being called “the Pathfinder.� In his third expedition (1845–1847), he focused on the Central Rockies and passed over the Sierra as he looked for possible railroad routes. Fremont was still in the U.S. Army at that time. He entered California in early 1846 as war clouds were gathering. After the Mexican-American War started in May 1846, Fremont was involved in many twists and turns in the liberation of California—too numerous to recount herein. The bottom line: Fremont was exceeding his authority, not following orders, etc. The lawful U.S. authority was Army General Kearney, who finally arrested Fremont and brought him back to Washington, D.C., in June 1847 to face a courtmartial, which convened in November. On January 31, 1848, the court found Fremont guilty of all three of the charges lodged against him. Dismissal from the service was his sentence. President Polk approved the court’s finding of two of the charges and commutated the sentence, but Fremont had already formally resigned. Fremont’s fourth expedition (1848– 1849) was funded privately by St. Louis

investors to find a central route for a transcontinental railroad. The plan was to cross the Rockies and Sierra Nevada in winter with 33 people plus many pack animals. Disaster. The expedition was trapped in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado by heavy snows, and 11 died of freezing and starvation. The survivors finally reached Taos, New Mexico, recovered, resupplied, and continued down into Arizona, across to Southern California, then by steamer up to San Francisco. Fremont stayed a year, then returned to New York City in January 1850. The fifth expedition (1853–1854) was Fremont’s last, also funded by railroad interests, and was designed to finish the work started in the fourth. Again crossing the mountains in winter, the expedition had much difficulty with snow and storms. This time Fremont and his party took a different route through the Rockies, suffering from want of food, forage, and proper clothing. They made their way to the Mormon settlement of Parowan in Utah to recover, then continued to California as described at the beginning of this article. John Charles Fremont was a very interesting person. In addition to being a pathfinder, he was a first senator from California and the Republican nominee for the 1856 presidential election (he lost to President Buchanan). Fremont was also governor of the Arizona Territory and was appointed by Lincoln to be a major general in the Civil War (commander of Missouri and West Virginia Districts). In 1861,on his own, Fremont issued an Emancipation Proclamation in those districts. Lincoln was aghast—he didn’t want to lose the border states—and he rescinded Fremont’s action and ultimately relieved him from command. An interesting person, indeed.  John Di Pol, Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert

October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 41


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street in Johannesburg, California, bears a curious name: OOMPAUL. Another street is called BULUWAYO, a third is TRANSVAAL. The names Johannesburg and Rand also signify connections with Africa. How did those labels land in the middle of the Mojave over a hundred years ago? Some connections are well known, others are part of history’s murky mysteries. Southern Africa’s Johannesburg was very logically laid out in a grid in 1886. In early 1897, a corporation was formed to organize California’s Johannesburg ‌designing the streets on a similar clear cut grid. The L A Times of January 3, 1897, wrote enthusiastically that the â€œâ€Śfirst large investment of [paid up] capital [of a quarter of a million dollars] in the Randsburg mining district is now an accomplished fact, and the new town of Johannesburg is the locality chosen by the capitalists who have the work of development in hand.â€? The corporation was titled Johannesburg Milling and Water Company, with elected officers Mr. Darling, Curtis, Pratt, Flint, Morrill and Hanson. Other sources suggest that Chauncey M. Depew and Associates laid out the town site prior to the arrival of residents. And what forward looking plans they all had! It was announced in the LA Times on October 23, 1897, that the State of California had issued a patent to the company for absolute title to the town lots which would enable them to provide a clear certificate of title to purchasers‌no doubt hoping to prevent the mess which grew in Randsburg out of a somewhat haphazard “quit claimâ€? transfer of properties. The company had already spent thousands of dollars to develop a water 42 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

supply sufficient for homes, businesses, the new ten-stamp mill, and the soon to be completed railroad. The Times noted that some things were still needed: a bank, blacksmith shop, livery, stable, church and a large merchandise store. A 35+ room hotel (in which Sunday School classes were held) had already been built; one impressed guest described her hotel stay as “mining camp life with trimmings.â€? All well documented steps to civilization but some Mojave mysteries remain‌. OOMPAUL Street, named for Paul Kruger (Uncle Paul in Afrikaans), president of Africa’s Transvaal, is a curious name that came from the Witwatersrand to the California Rand. Mining engineer Frederic Charles Frey (BS, Nevada State U.), worked, in 1898, for the well known Simmer and Jack gold mine outside Johannesburg on the Transvaal. During the Boer War he surveyed for the Yellow Aster, returning to Africa after the war to re-open the Simmer and Jack. Was Mr. Frey involved in placing OOMPAUL’s name perpetually on the Mojave? Was the Boer War sentiment on “ourâ€? Rand anti-English and pro-Boer? All far too long a thread to explore here! Relive history. Come out to Johannesburg, on the California Rand, look for those interesting street signs and give a thought to the people and stories they recall from another time‌and another continent. Savor a murky mystery of the Mojave. 

President Kruger, McClures Magazine, June 1900, above. The Johannesburg Hotel, 1898, top left. The OOMPAUL S treet sign in Johannesburg, California, top right.

Writer Lorraine Blair’s small books about Randsburg are in the permanent collection of the Historical Room, California State Library.


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t’s all about education at the Four Winds Inter-Tribal Council of the Indian Wells Valley. Not only does the group host an annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in a park in Ridgecrest, they also hold classes and community events. One of their biggest ongoing educational efforts is the Four Winds Youth Council of Many Nations, a group for youngsters ages 5 to 18. Established in April 2008, today the Youth Council boasts 30 members. Open to all, the only requirement is an interest in Native culture, history, and life ways—and a willingness to learn with their hearts. One of the factors that makes this group unique is that the kids do it all themselves. While adults are on hand as chaperones and advisors, the council members decide for themselves how they want to do things. For instance, the council voted to include youngsters as young as five. Youth Council President Audrey Gillespie, who will have celebrated her 18th birthday by the time this article is printed, said she enjoys the wide range of ages. “You can’t really have five-year-olds doing the same things as 18-year-olds, but I really love having the five-year-olds around,� said Gillespie. “The older kids help with the younger kids and that’s really fun.� So far, the council has not only organized their bylaws and been in parades, but has also held a variety of fund rais-

ers, craft and sewing classes, sent members to the Native American Unity Conference for Youth in Reno, and hosted a booth at the Four Winds Pow Wow. Their latest triumph was a homegrown Native American Summer Day Camp, the first one ever in the Ridgecrest area. Put together on a proverbial shoestring, the event teamed volunteers and eager youngsters learning about traditional Native skills. Day One of the camp found the youth members busily involved in arts and crafts, making Native American hair and arm ornaments. Gayelynn Sailor generously donated her time and arts and crafts materials to teach Native beading skills, as well as traditional storytelling. Later, the youngsters painted pictures with Native themes. Interestingly, most of the pictures showed horses. On the second day, Bob Gould of the Sierra Desert Gun Club taught a firearms safety class. The kids had loads of questions, and later it was learned four of the youngsters signed up for Gould’s hunting safety class for youth. Then the youngsters made traditional medicine bags and learned about their use. The day ended up with the movie “Squanto� and popcorn, in a theater-style presentation. Day three was a big day—the group went to a local horse ranch to learn all about horses. Most of these kids had not been around horses before; their little faces lit up! One teen later got a job at the ranch.

Gillespie made all the arrangements for the event at the ranch and gave classes to the other members on the history of horses and how important horses were to the Native Americans. She also designed coloring pages for the youth council. Audrey’s mother, Cheryl, cotaught the classes. To earn the privilege of riding, the youth members first learned how to bathe each horse, clean out their shoes, feed them, saddle them, and muck out the stalls. Ranch personnel generously loaned the youngsters cowboy boots for the day. One five-year-old participant had never been on a horse in her life, but before the day was out, she had that great big horse dancing. Day four saw the group convoy up to the Nuui Cunni Cultural Center on the shores of Lake Isabella. “We started with 15 kids the first day, and they brought their friends to join, and it grew to 30 kids by day three,� said Little Deer Durvin, chair of the Four Winds and advisor for the Youth Council. “It was great! The Nuui Cunni Center was happy to see all those extra kids. They made us fry-bread and were so accommodating.� The youth members made gourd rattles, painted feathers, wove baskets, ground dried corn in a stone metate, and tried their hands at chipping arrowheads from obsidian. Parents later said their children went right to bed without having to be told, tired but happy, and couldn’t wait for the next day. Early in the morning on day five, the group set out for Knott’s Berry Farm. Having already made arrangements, the group enjoyed extra special attention from the hoop dancer, a tour of the Mystery Lodge of the Storytelling of local Natives, and a ticket for lunch on Knott’s Youth Special for large groups. Future plans of the Council include a visit to the world-famous petroglyphs at the Coso National Rock Art Monument at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, and the first-ever Youth Pow Wow. Set for Oct. 17, as part of the Maturango Junction event in Freedom Park in Ridgecrest, this mini-Pow Wow will be entirely about education. “We won’t be selling anything,� said Gillespie. “This is for everyone to learn from everyone else. Other Native youth groups will be joining us: one group is very good at drumming, and another is expert in dancing and singing. We’ll all learn together.� For information about the Youth Council of Many Nations or the Four Winds Inter-Tribal contact Durvin at (760) 446-3414 or durvin@verizon.net.  Writer Linda Saholt lives in Ridgecrest. October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 43


Desert Theatre Beat

By Jack Lyons Sun Runner Theatre Editor

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urtain Up on the 2009/2010 Theatre Season. October is the month when we begin to see a trickle of snowbirds returning to the high and low desert communities. By November the “season” in the Coachella Valley begins in earnest. That means reservations to our many live theatre venues will become a regular routine until May 2010. Here’s what to expect from the theatres here in our paradise on earth. HI-DESERT THEATRES Hi-Desert Cultural Center, Blak Box Theatre—Joshua Tree The granddaddy of theatres in our area (over 35 years) has the keynote spot in the column this issue because they are presenting the world premiere production of Swift Fox: The Story of Willie Boy written and directed by Hollywood playwright/director/actor Ron House. It’s not very often that a prominent playwright and director debuts his work in a desert community like Joshua Tree, but this time there is a compelling reason —the play is based on actual characters and events that took place in the area 100 years ago. Swift Fox is a powerful and controversial story that deals with a Native American (Willie Boy) who eluded authorities for weeks in the hills and mountains of the hi-desert in 1909. There are those who felt the entire episode was a politically motivated rush to judgment in proclaiming him a murderer. Others say there was no doubt as to his guilt. Playwright House has been researching his play for over a year; developing the rich mother-lode of information and misinformation that makes theatre and stories like Swift Fox so compelling. When asked if his cast was ready for a world premiere, he grinned broadly, saying, “Jack, we are definitely ready and raring to go. Opening Night, September 18, will be a special day in the lore of the hidesert.” 44 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

Performances of Swift Fox will be given on Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through October 11. Call the Blak Box ticket office at (760)366-3777 for reservations, or visit www.hidesertculturalcenter.com Groves Cabin Theatre—Morongo Valley The award-winning theatre located on Desert Willow Trail in Morongo Valley has replaced its previously announced production, The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, with a show founder Joy Groves is calling Reflections. The production consists of a series of vignettes, songs, monologues, and skits performed by high and low desert favorite performers that include: Delores Becker, Sue Bradley, Wendy Cohen and Company, Mike Dorrington, Lin Gillham, Bob Harrison, Vicki Montgomery, and Lloyd Steel. The show opens Saturday, October 31 at 8 p.m. and runs through November 22. Performances are Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. The Groves, with only 23 seats, is the most intimate of all the theatres in the high and low desert communities so reservations are a must. Call the Box Office for tickets at (760)3654523. Don’t dawdle, as seats go fast! Theatre 29—Twentynine Palms Following the success of their mega-hit musical The Producers, this family values theatre offers in October their 6th Annual Halloween Haunt—Year of Fear special event created and designed by Eric Ross. Ross, who worked with the Disney organization designing haunted exhibits and the like, has been the director and designer of Theatre 29’s version for the last five years. It’s always a popular event with the local children as well as adults. This October’s Year of Fear begins October 10 and performs on weekends through October 31. Tours begin at dusk and are open until 9 p.m. Tickets are sold at the door or call the Theatre 29 box office at (760)361-4151. DOWN VALLEY THREATRES Palm Canyon Theatre—Palm Springs The Flagship theatre of Palm Springs returns from summer camp and acting class hiatus to launch its 2009/2010 season with Meredith Wilson’s rousing musical The Music Man on Friday, October 9. Wilson’s story of Professor Harold Hill, a traveling salesman of musical instruments, is one of the country’s longest running musicals (there is a theatre company somewhere performing it as you

read this) and it’s directed by Scott Smith. The show is full of hit songs like “76 Trombones” and “Trouble in River City” and profiles life in a bygone and gentler America set in the country’s heartland, the Midwest of Wilson’s boyhood. The show has charm, comedy, singing and dancing, and features a closeharmony barbershop quartette. This is a show you can bring the kiddies and the grandparents to and not blush at the dialogue. The Music Man performs on Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. through October 25. The November show at Palm Canyon Theatre is the Del Shores outrageous comedy/satire The Trials and Tribulations of A Trailer Trash Housewife. The title of this hilarious show says it all. It’s an over-the-top romp about a slice of Texas life that some might take exception to—but not everyone. Playwright/director Shores enjoys his special and ongoing relationship with Palm Springs and PCT. His movie Sordid Lives ran for two years at The Camelot Theatres (an unprecedented run for a movie in a city of 42,000 people). In addition, the PCT performed the play version for three straight years to sold-out audiences. Trailer Trash Housewife opens Friday, November 6 at 8 p.m. and performs Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through November 15. Call the box office for tickets at (760)323-5123. Joslyn Players—Palm Desert Managing Director Gina Bikales announced the Palm Desert group will open its 2009/2010 season on Thursday, October 8, at 7 p.m. with the Neil Simon comedy Chapter Two. The comedy, like all of Simon’s plays, is very autobiographical. He had lost his long time wife to cancer and was ready to carry on with his life. He married movie actress Marsha Mason and began to write a play involving their married life together. The result became a bittersweet hit as Simon and Mason divorced later on. But his play characters revealed a lot about Simon himself. The play has been called a fortune cookie romance and according to Bikales, “it’s light, it’s romantic and it’s also a perfect fit for our patrons (Senior Center members); you know, a second chance at love,” she says smiling. The cast featuring Jerome Elliott, Arnie and Janet Kleban, and Bikales, is being directed by Jeanette Knight and performs on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through October 25. For a change of pace, the Joslyn’s November production will present New


The large cast of Ron House’s play, Swift Fox, at the Hi-Desert Cultural Center ’s Blak Box Theatre.

York-based tenor Nicholas Simpson in concert. Simpson’s rich tenor will sing both arias and love songs in a show whose theme is billed as a show about love. Simpson’s “love show� opens Friday, November 13 at 7 p.m., and performs Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through November 22. For tickets call the Joslyn Box Office at (760)340-3220, ext. 109, www.joslyncenter.org. La Quinta Playhouse—La Quinta By the time you read this column, the La Quinta Playhouse will be performing in new quarters. It’s a classic case of “lost our lease.� But in true show biz tradition, all the shows this season will go on. Check the Playhouse for their new address. First up in the new venue is the hilarious comedy The Gin Game, written by D.L. Coburn. The season opener for the Playhouse stars Ashley Carr and Paula Klein as the elder card-playing duo who in the course of the game discover each other as well as some of life’s deeper mysteries. It’s a story that resonates with all ages, if one just takes the time to listen. The Gin Game opens Thursday, October 1 and performs Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and matinees on Sundays at 2 p.m. through October 25. Following The Gin Game, the November show is Baby With The Bathwater by Christopher Durang. Durang, a favorite playwright of actors, can be a bit offthe-wall, but he is always funny and provides insights into our society and culture. Eric Olson and Jane Parson star in the production that opens Thursday, October 29, and runs to December 9. Call the LQP Box Office for the location of the new theatre and ticket information at (760)360-9191.

Indio Performing Arts Center (IPAC) The Indio Performing Arts Center (IPAC) in the eastern end of the valley is home to three venues for plays, cabaret, concerts, etc. IPAC Artistic Director Pat Melvin informed me that IPAC kicks off their 2009/ 2010 season with a musical production called The Taffetas written by Rick Lewis and directed by Bob Reinhagen. The production bills itself as a musical journey through the fabulous ’50s and tells the story, in song, of four young women who want to break into show business. The cast stars Marissa Escobar , Adriana Navarro, Veronica Padilla, and Rachel Perdue. Choreography is by Rob Reinhagen. The Taffetas performs on October 16-17 at 7:30 p.m., on October 18 at 3 p.m., and again the following week on October 23 at 7:30 p.m. and closes on October 25 at 3 p.m. Call the IPAC box office for ticket information at (760)775-5200. Thorny Theater—Palm Springs The Thorny Theater is the only live theatre venue serving the GLBT community of the Coachella Valley. Founder Arch Brown has had his trials and tribulations over the last four years; what with a sinking economy it’s been touch and go. If Brown can hold on until the economy turns the corner, then patrons will continue to have the chance to see not only gay-themed theatre but quasistraight theatre productions as well. Last year’s Who Killed Zachary Morgan?, a delightful comedy-mystery, was a Desert Theatre League (DTL) award winner. The Thorny Theater begins its Fall/ Winter theatre season on Friday, October 23, with Candy and Dorothy by David Johnston. It’s a story revolving around Andy Warhol’s Tranny “Superstar� Candy Darling and Dorothy Day, founder

of the Catholic Workers Party, who meet in the afterlife to help a drug-dealing librarian find true love with a hot bartender. Granted, the story sounds a bit bizarre, but then isn’t life a bit unusual? The cast features Jason Hull as Candy, Alden West as Dorothy, with Sammara Stone as the librarian, Kyle Bradford as the bartender, Sebastian Petrie as the psychiatrist, and Jim Strait as the voice of God. The comedy directed by Arch Brown performs on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. The show runs through November 15. For tickets call (760)325-0853. Many Thorny Theater productions are for mature audiences, so call the theatre to get the content rating. Dezart Performs—Palm Springs Dezart Performs, the acting group that performs on stage inside Dezart One Galleries of Palm Springs, kick-off their second season of play readings with two hilarious one act plays: Hummels by Scott Davis Jones and The Basic 7 by Mark Troy. Productions are October 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 4 at 1 p.m. The casts for both readings include Colette Freedman, Danny Lipppin, Daniela Ryan, Michael Shaw, and are directed by Charles Rinaldi and Michael Preece. Tickets are $16 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets are available at www.DezartPerforms.com or (760)3220179. Dezart One Gallery is located at 2688 Cherokee Way, Palm Springs. Dezart Performs is the brain-child of Daniela Ryan, an actor, playwright, and director, and her co-founder Michael Shaw, both of whom are passionate and true practitioners of the live theatre art form. Check out their efforts. It’s well worth the time. See you at the theatre.  October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 45


R

on Celona’s name is well known among the theatrical community of the Coachella Valley and the hi-desert. He has been working among us for some 10 or 11 years, both on stage as well as backstage and in the business offices. During his tenure with the Joslyn Senior Center, he created an award-winning theatre company, The Joslyn Players at the Joslyn Center Theatre. I well remember performing on the original Joslyn stage, a much smaller playing area than now, to an audience seated in folding chairs on a flat floor. Now, of course, the stage is much more versatile and the theatre sports stadium seating. The Players have earned the respect and support of the community they serve, thanks to Mr. Celona’s artistic vision, as well as his ability to work with a progressive Board of Directors. Ever-active and on the move, Ron, during this period, was also selected as a teaching artist for the McCallum Theatre Institute. He trained teachers in summer workshops to teach young boys and girls, grades 3-12, to appreciate the visual and performing arts. Ron has also taught Theatre Arts for the River side County Arts Council and was responsible for creating a theatre curriculum designed for underprivileged children in Indio and Coachella. Upon leaving the day-to-day responsibilities of being the artistic director of an active theatre and performing arts center, 46 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

Ron did some traveling around the country. He visited a number of performing arts groups, companies and centers throughout the U.S. What works? What doesn’t? What’s necessary? What can be overcome? These are some of the questions he asked of his fellow practitioners. By the middle of 2008 an idea began to take shape. Ron realized that he wanted to do theatre that would make a difference in people’s lives. He didn’t want the problems of running a theatre venue to take his energies away from “doing� theatre. He decided to stop looking for a “home,� i.e. a building. He would, instead, form a new professional repertory company—a nonprofit, educational, dramatic, and musical theatre organization. Named the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre, CVREP for short, the group would concentrate on programs and productions that are thought-provoking, socially conscious, and which make an essential contribution to the quality of life of the community. It began operations in September 2008 and introduced its first production in March 2009. Our Dad Is In Atlantis, a play by Javier Malpica, was presented at the Indio Performing Arts Center for the CVREP’s first production. It played seven performances for pre-arranged local area school students from grades 6-12, in English and Spanish, and featured a Q&A session after each performance. The play also enjoyed four public performances: two in English and two in Spanish. While conversation often centers on the impact immigrants have on the U.S., rarely do we hear what impact immigration has on those left behind. In this case, two young brothers have a widowed father who has left them with seldom-visited relatives while he seeks work in Atlanta. A near-perfect vehicle to accomplish CVREP’s Childrens Outreach Program, Celona remarked at the wonderful insights he was accorded by the variety of questions asked by the different kids at the Q&As following performances. For a man so involved in teaching performing arts to children, this was indeed a landmark production. CVREP had tentatively planned to go in another direction for its second production. Then, according to Celona, a “groundbreaking� opportunity presented itself. The Palm Springs Art Museum’s Education Department became interested in an idea of Ron’s concerning creating a marriage between the visual arts and the performing arts. Robert Brasier, education director, and Celona, began to put together the concept of an original contemporary performing arts piece that would consist of original music, contemporary dance, dialogue, lighting and projection design, based on the life and work of world renowned glass artist Lino Tagliapietra. Reflections of Lino will kick off the Art Museum’s Second Sunday of the Month Series of free family days, on Sunday, October 11 at 2 p.m., and again on Saturday, November 14 at 2 p.m., in the Annenberg Theatre. With original music by Nathan Wang, choreography by Kate Hutter, performance by her LA Contemporary Dance Company, from an original script by Jonathan Dorf, with voice-over narration by Donna Theodore and Don Martin, the entire production will be directed by Celona. Along with telling the story of Lino Tagliapietra, considered by many as the world’s greatest glass artist, the production will cover the entire history of glass making from ancient times, including its zenith during the Renaissance. It sounds like a perfect fit for Ron’s CVREP. 


FADE IN: In my last column I mentioned that some exhibitors and movie folk claimed that ticket sales are down, have been down, and worse yet, are going to continue on that downward spiral. “Dead” is the term I keep hearing when I nose around for answers. Dead, as in box office receipts. If the film doesn’t have them streaming in, after a solid opening two weeks, the term “dead” is attached to the movie. And we’re talking films with big stars attached. For example: Julie & Julia with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams (one a movie legend, the other the hottest young actor around these days) played locally on several valley screens and enjoyed excellent opening weeks at the various box offices. However, once the bloom was off the rose, the attendance drop-off was noticeable and worrisome for theatre owners, exhibitors, and producers. One can only imagine how movies with lesser stars are faring. It’s not rocket science when it comes to answers as to why ticket sales are down. Just recall those memorable four words uttered years ago by former President Bill Clinton: “It’s the economy, stupid!” It’s always the economy where the movie business is concerned. When discretionary income dries up, the local Cineplex feels the brunt first. But that wasn’t the case during the great Depression of the 1930s. Back then America’s economy imploded worse than today, yet movie theatres were filled. People, it seemed, wanted to escape, if only for just two hours, the miserable reality of their situation. Which leads me to say we may be down for a while, but we’re

not out, not yet. We’re merely catching our breath for the next round. Stay tuned. Inexplicably, one area of the film industry that seems to be thriving is the movie festival business. Where Cineplexes are hurting, the festival circuits are doing a bang-up business. The comparison may be odious but the reality is nonetheless true. Darryl Macdonald, Executive Director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, the third largest film festival in North America, states his attendance keeps on climbing. The January 2009 Festival saw more than 230,000 film buffs go through the turnstiles in 10 days. The upcoming January 2010 Festival is expected to surpass even those heady 2009 results. Another festival setting new attendance records is the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, located in our back yard and only an hour and a half drive up the mountain. The just concluded event clocked more than 5,000 attendees, who got a chance to get up close and personal with filmmakers and celebrities over the three-day event. The movies have always held a certain allure for Americans. We not only attend in droves (when the economy is good), we want to know all about the stars and how the movies themselves get made. For those film junkies who can’t get enough screening time, don’t miss the October selection, “Visual Effects,” in the ongoing series “Behind the Scenes” being held at the Rancho Mirage Library, Tuesday, October 13, 7 p.m. The November selection, “Sound,” features Academy Award winner Richard King discussing the finer points of how sound plays the most important part of moviemaking. The event takes place at the Rancho Mirage Library on Tuesday, November 10, 7 p.m. And the best news of all, during this economy-challenged time, all “Behind the Scenes” seminars are free to the public. On a more collegial note, there is a new group of filmmakers, actors, writers, producers, directors, and musicians residing in the Coachella Valley who have formed an organization called “Meetup Group” to assist its members in networking for opportunities in the film industry. It’s also a social group of like-minded artists who want to explore and exchange creative ideas and film projects. Randal Black is the local organizer who honchoed the first three meetings, getting the fledging organization up and functioning. The group now has 65 members who meet once a month at the Hotel Zoso in Palm Springs. According to mem-

ber and guest comments, the future looks promising. You can check out the organization online at www.meetup.com/PalmSprings-Filmmaking-Meetup or contact Randal at randalb@yahoo.com. The October and November meetings will be held at the Hotel Zoso, 150 S. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs on October 26 and November 23. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. and run to 8 p.m. A collection of Latino films from around the world with a special showcase from Mexico will highlight the Latino International Film Festival, which is being held at the Indio Performing Arts Center (IPAC) from October 16-18, 2009. IPAC will be partnering with two other Latino film festivals, Los Angeles and San Diego, acting as hosts of the local event. Spearheading the event as a Presenting Sponsor is Q3 Telecom, Inc., and its President/CEO Janie Hughes-Myers has agreed to serve as president of the festival event. Anyone wishing to be a part of the festival or to obtain a schedule of films, special events, and ticket information should contact: Janie Hughes-Myers, President/CEO, The Coachella Valley’s Latino International Film Festival, 1775 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 110-277, Palm Springs, CA 92264, call (760)323-5059, or send email inquiries: CVLIFF@aol.com. Finally, think you recognized some of the scenery from the movie “Land of the Lost?” Chances are, you did, if you pass by Trona very often. The film, with Will Ferrell starring as Dr. Rick Marshall, sucked into a space-time vortex (probably where he belongs), had segments filmed out at the Trona Pinnacles, as well as other locations around the Ridgecrest area. Another major Hollywood production, “The Priest,” was also recently filming in the area—a boon for desert businesses there, with up to 150 hotel rooms booked at a time. The Hollywood types were pretty secretive about who was on the set, so we’ll have to wait and see..... FADE OUT:

October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 47


Brad Mercer and The Acquitted.

L

et’s get some of the major casino concerts out of the way first. Just a little farther on , we’ll talk more about the local folks. But first... The Show at Agua Caliente Casino, Bob Hope Dr. & I-10, Rancho Mirage, www.hotwatercasino.com/theshow or 800-585-3737. Jamie Foxx and Marco Antonio Solis are both sold out. October 30 —Margaret Cho; November 5—Anita Baker; November 13—Lewis Black. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Exit I-10 at Golf Center Parkway, Indio, www.fantasyspringsresort.com or 800827-2946. October 17—Steely Dan Rent Party 09; October 30—Alice Cooper Theatre of Death Tour. Rock Yard—Outdoor music at Fantasy Springs has live classic rock on Fridays and tribute bands or local talent on Saturdays. Spa Resort Casino Downtown Palm Springs, on Amado across from the Post Office, in the Cascade Lounge, Sundays 9 p.m.—Quinto Menguante, Latin music. Spotlight 29 Casino, I-10 at Dillon Rd., Coachella, www.spotlight29.com or 800-585-3737. October 3—An Evening With Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (Who’s Line); October 10—Jefferson Starship, Big Brother & the Holding Co., Canned Heat & Melanie. 8 p.m.; October 17—Diamond Rio, Little Texas and Restless Heart. 8 p.m. Now let’s just say you aren’t going 48 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

to a major concert because you just didn’t get off your butt in time to get decent tickets, or you’re on a bit of a budget. If you’re reading this in the hi-desert, you could think about rolling down the hill into Palm Springs to a little old holein-the-wall called Shanghai Red’s in back of Fisherman’s Market and Grill. The hole is right between the two and fills up fast on Saturday nights when the Barry Baughn Blues Band starts kickin’. The collective ensemble has about 200 years of experience among them, and they are so tight and smooth they make the blues go down easy. Or you might be in a different mood and decide to check out Dink’s on North Palm Canyon. This is a first rate restaurant and club that knows how to cater to its diverse clientele. The dinner crowd and Ultra Lounge guests enjoy a variety of entertainers, including Nancy Franklin and Denise Motto, who have been entertaining at Dink’s since the beginning. After 10 p.m., a younger crowd comes in for disco dancing in the lounge until late. Maybe it’s not the weekend, and you just decided to spring for a special meal for your significant other. Two places come to mind. BluEmber in the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club. On Thursdays you can catch an acoustic John Stanley King and be further amazed at this man’s abilities while the two of you enjoy a sumptuous meal perfectly prepared. The other place is Bing’s—Bing

Crosby’s Restaurant on Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage. This is a great place to take a step out of time to another era. It doesn’t hurt that Johnny Meza, one of the Coachella Valley’s most versatile entertainers, plays here frequently. You might want to go here on a Wednesday because, for some reason, the place is hot on Wednesdays. Find out for yourself. You could head on down to the Rock Yard at Fantasy Springs Casino. On the way, you might stop in to the newly reopened Neil’s Lounge on Hwy 111 just off Jefferson. They opened August 1 after a devastating fire. Bartender Mike says that the outside looks pretty much the same but the interior has had some major changes but still in a Western motif. He says they have karaoke most every night and book music that is country, rock, R&B, etc. But the cool thing about the Rock Yard on a Friday or Saturday night is that the music is free. Interview with Brad Mercer, KQRS DJ, rock band leader, musician singer. I asked him how the suffering economy is affecting the music business in the valley. “There has been an effect, no doubt,� he said. “But most music acts are working.� “But, at what pay are they working?� I asked. “That’s the rub. Most people are working with the house and working for less than usual.� “And the usual was 1969-era wages at that.� “Well, yeah, for some. But working even for less is still working.� Brad continued, “All the guys in my bands work other weekly-wage jobs, and that allows them to play the music to their heart’s content. I feel for those who are playing music as sole employment right now.� “The incomparable pianist Marty Steele once told me that ‘when times are tough, the best musicians always work.’� “Well, yeah, there’s something to that. People want their money wellspent.� And musicians need to see something in that tip jar. And let me take a moment here to remind everyone that when planning a budget for the evening’s entertainment, please include at least one $5 tip for the musicians. You will often find Brad Mercer’s latest band, the Acquitted, opening for some of the tribute bands that play the Rock Yard venue. 


Spirits in the Sky.

The Evaros.

T

wo memorial concerts for Sky Saxon of the Seeds, who passed away in June, were held at Pappy and Harriet’s. The first one, held in July, was with friends, family, and locals all paying tribute to their friend and inspiration. Sky’s lovely wife Sabrina was in attendance, with performances by Sky’s dear friend Sunny Sun-Downer, Ted Quinn, Shawn Mafia, The Evaros and others. There were many stories of how Sky touched peoples’ lives, and even our own Klaus had an amazing story of when he worked at a gas station in Beverly Hills: Sky pulled up in his Rolls Royce and they became fast friends. The second memorial in August featured the band Spirits in the Sky, fronted by the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, with Dave Navarro from Jane’s Addiction on guitar with members of the Electric Prunes and Strawberry Alarm Clock. Originally conceived as a one night tribute concert, the band decided to do a six city mini tour. It was an outstanding show and tribute that opened with Sky’s “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine� among other Seeds songs and some new originals. Every photo I took had strange orbs in them that always seem to happen at Pappy’s. Billy was very cordial taking time out in the afternoon before the show to sign autographs and chat with fans and even did a few Pumpkins songs. Pretenders’ drummer Martin Chambers was also spotted at Pappy’s, challenging anyone who would take him on in a game or two of pool. Things are heating up at the Joshua Tree Saloon with a new open mic on Sun-

days and a performance from punk rock legend Mike Watt (Firehose/Minutemen) and his new band The Missingmen along with Allison Stargazer from Joshua Tree. There was the best Campout ever at Pappy and Harriet’s. Rumored to be the final Campout, Friday kicked off with Camper Van Beethoven who asked all their fans/followers to dress in white. The surprise came when front man David Lowery passed out grape Kool Aid to everyone, a la Jim Jones. The fans turned the tables on the band by falling down dead after the fourth song. Once again people flew in from all over the world, some from as far as Tokyo. Saturday was the much anticipated meet and greet followed by a reunion of the Monks of Doom. Cracker put on an outstanding show, including songs from their new CD, Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey. One of their new songs, “Yalla Yalla� (a common Arabic expression loosely meaning “hurry up� often used by American soldiers) has become such a hit with our service men and women in Iraq that they have been invited to play there. Thanks to Robyn and Linda, and all the Cracker/ CVB musicians, crew and fans (The Crumbs) for such a great time. Gram Rabbit has been touring and recording, playing Lobster Fest with Dave Wakeling and The English Beat! Thelonious Monster re-united for the Vans Warped Tour and front man Bob Forrest sat in with the Thrift Store All Stars as part of a documentary filmed about him. Bob is getting a band together out here and I can’t wait to hear them! Speaking of the Thrift Store All Stars,

Music columnist Judy Wishart with Billy Corgan. Sunny Sundowner, Sabrina, and Ted Quinn.

Kool-Aid, anyone? David Lowery plays the impeccable Campout host.

welcome back Bingo to the band. Looking forward to the Joshua Tree Roots festival October 10-11—it is going to be outstanding this year. You should not miss this roots music extravaganza.  October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 49


Sustainable Living

Simple Times in a Simple Place “Caravans Across the Desert” (By Pasquali via David Brown)

Before I moved here and with the help of my good friend Alan built this yurt house, I lived in an old camp trailer,” recalled Claire as she tossed another small branch of pinyon onto the fire. The fire pit is simple and elegant, as such things made for companionship should be. Set in a clearing, away from brush or trees, it is a ring of large rock, some covered with lichen which I am told are hundreds of years old! Claire dug a hole a half foot or so deep and then placed these rocks into the soil, matching the shape of each against it’s neighbor. They are chinked, or mortared, using the hard red soil dug up from within the pit. Flat rocks, large enough to take a comfortable seat upon, were placed in a half circle around the pit, about two meters or so away. This forms a sort of small ampitheatre, seating about eight friends. On a night such as this, the stars in heaven smile upon this place. Our little friends in the forest can watch and not be seen. This is a perfect spot for conversation and companionship. “Pass the jug!” snorted Coyote. “In my ‘hippie’ days” laughed Claire, “You know, about 30 years ago. Wow, I know this is a cliche, but doesn’t it just fly right on by?” “I was thinking she still is in her hippie days” observed Coyote, rather loudly. “I mean, look at her. That long hair. Tanktop. Handmade artisan jewelry. Simple beauty. Paisley patterned India type dress. Barefoot too. I mean, I like it, but... do you think she owns a razor?” “OK, right on cue, must be dinner time. There’s my old friend Charlie, the coyote! Yipping up a storm for your evening entertainment.” “Hey, keep it down” whispered Conjeo, “they heard you again you big dumb coyote! You sure have a big mouth!

Big mouth, little brain. Big truck, little... Yeah, but I got to agree with you, it sure looks like that crowd from the old commune down the valley all that time ago.” “Sort of smells like ‘em too,” giggles Coyote. Conejo giggled as well. “Ok, like I was saying. Alan and I were travelling around in those days. I had just wasted loads of my parent’s and my own money going to college and dropping out of college and going back again. You know, the same things most of us did! Right about the time I got my degree I met up with this ‘rogue,’” as she pointed to Alan. He just smirked and shrugged his shoulders. “Anyways, he was sort of cute and he was also clever and a good talker and good at most other things as well so we sort of hitched up for about three good years or so. Those where great years too, as far as ‘we’ where concerned. As far as everything else? Reagan Years! Neither one of us college educated ‘professionals’ could find work.” “Damned near like today,” someone called out from behind the trees. “Shhhhhhh!!!!” “Did you hear that?” asked Claire. “Anyways, Alan says to me ‘Hey, don’t worry sweetie,’ or something along those lines, and then adds, ‘Let’s just live like hallelluja on the bum. We’ll just travel all over the West and work when we can and live the life of voluntary simplicity.’” “Well I fiddle when I can, work when I should...” thought Coyote. That was a good song! “You know, I really liked that idea, and Alan was pretty handy for an educated guy, so we just travelled about. Work was hard to find but we got by. It was just like being in school again except we didn’t have to study. We still got to party somewhat and play guitar and sing and paint and draw in our spare time.” “Sort of like today” said I. “Exactly,” replied Claire and Coyote in chorus. “I better lay of this jug, I thought I heard that voice again,” said Claire. “Pass that over here and I’ll tell the rest of the story” snorted Alan. “We were up in Northern Nevada, outside of what was, in those days, a pleasant little town named Winnemucca. I was working at a

hardware store called C Browns and Claire was waitressing at a Basque hotel and family restauraunt on Bridge Street. Pasquali most likely knows all about that place. Places like that, even as they are fewer and fewer, are his homes away from home. I can picture him, sitting there, eating tapas. I would imagine Claire most likely even waited on him while he made passes at her.” “Hmmm. Now that you mention it, there was this time in 87,” thinks I. “We were staying in a room at that hotel when the bartender told me about a place outside of town on about a hundred acres with a small trailer on it. It belonged to his cousin, and he told me we could stay there as ‘caretakers.’ “Shhhhh!” said Conejo and Coyote held up his right paw to his lips and nodded towards Alan. “We go out to this beautiful place in the hills,” interrupted Claire, “There, in a small canyon, next to a grove of stunted trees, is this incredible little sheepherder’s trailer. The wagon looked like something you would see a Romany or Gypsy plying the countryside in. It was about 18 feet long and had an arched roof. There was a small porch, or landing on the back, and you entered it from the rear. “You went into the wagon through a dutch door. At one’s left, was a small cast iron stove with incredible tile work around. They were all hand made and had simple designs hand painted onto them. Opposite was an exquisite set of cabinets with raised panel doors. The lower was for the cooking utensils and there was even a place to put the wash basin on the front of its door. As you walked to the front of the wagon, there were two settees facing one another. The woodwork in this thing was incredible. The front window had a stained glass insert. In the front, there was a full sized bed which ran side to side. It was elevated and had a table which slid from underneath so we could sit opposite of one another and eat, drink, play cards or gaze into one another’s eyes.” Claire paused. “The bed was elevated because there was also storage underneath it and to make it harder for the dog to get up into the bedding with dirty paws” said I. “Dirty paws! Well I never!”

Ride with Shawn Mafia down the unlit back roads of the

Dark Desert Only on www.thesunrunner.com 50 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009


“Did you hear that?” questioned Claire. “Come on, you didn’t hear that? It might be time to turn in for the night, or at least put this bottle down. Here, take it.” She handed it to me. “You’re right Pasquali” said Alan. “There was storage under the bed accessed from the outside of the wagon. There was also a portable antique icebox, which held a block of ice for a long time. It was a work of art. I can imagine some woodworker putting that thing together with pride as if he himself would purchase it with his hard-earned cash. We had a propane stove and an outhouse. We used to sit in a small stocktank filled with spring water for baths. That was great, except in winter, which was sponge bath time on the wagon floor. “Or ‘resort crash’ a campground or hotel pool in town for shower rights.” added Claire cheerfully. Cue to Pasquali. “Wagons, and the later travel trailers were at one time a viable way to live. Some of the older travel trailers, ones under 25 feet or so, are very efficent and well designed. Some have bathrooms with showers and even sometimes a small, deep bathtub. Most have a good place to cook and sleep. The older ones were also well made. In past times, it wasn’t about fitting an entire suburban house into something less than 30 feet long. “Once I lived in the mountains of the deserts in one with Josef the Dog as a room mate. The trailer had a pressurised hot water shower and a swamp cooler as well. I used to hook up an extension cord of sorts from the cigar lighter in my old Ford truck to the battery bank in the trailer to charge them up. No self respecting mountain man would own any truck but a Ford, unless he wanted to walk or perhaps could afford an International. Nowdays, one could just plug in one of those battery packs when driving then plug it into the trailer later. Or, use a solar panel or two. There are always alternatives. And there is always someone attempting to rob one of these experiences. “I do not want to raise a ruckus, however, I would like to add that these days, at least in parts of the Southwest, people cannot just park and live in a trailer or wagon, sometimes even on their own land. This is a shame. This is because there is no money to be gained if you put your own trailer house or small cabin up on your own land. This greed, it is most terrible, is it not? Imagine what your grandparents might have thought about this type of regulation. Good and honest working people should be able to enjoy the comfort of their own little domocile of their own choosing. It is their own land, is it not? Why should anyone be able to tell them what they can or cannot put on it, as long as it is within reason and not a blight? “Not everyone would like to live in a trailer, a wagon, yurt or even a tiny house, but it should be the people’s choice, don’t you think? A well made vintage trailer house plays no second fiddle to any instant ‘McMiddleclassShack(TM).’ I know plenty who think a countryside covered with stucco junk is far uglier than an a desert dotted with trailers. Of course, my friends, this is only my own humble opinion. “Off of my soapbox,” said I, “to jump down and run about with no coyote in sight and not a care in the world.” “No coyote in sight, hmmm. See, I told you, they never knew we were here. Hey Conejo, my friend...pass me the jug!” Until next time peace in your travels... – Pasquali

Letters From London

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Art • Theatre • Music • Travel

Only on www.thesunrunner.com October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 51


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760-365-1158 56840 29 Palms Hwy • Yucca Valley Mon-Sat 9am-6:30pm • sueshealthfood@adelphia.net

52 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

Oct. 8 – History Comes Alive Series: “A Visit with Great Presidents.” 9:30 and 11a.m. Forest Lawn, 69855 East Ramon Rd., Cathedral City. (760)328-3471. Oct 9-11– Fort Mojave Days & Parade. California Village, Needles. (760)629-4591. Oct. 9-11 – 43rd Annual Calico Days. www.calicotown.com. Calico Ghost Town, Yermo, (760)254-2122, (800) TO-CALICO. Oct. 10 – Indio Downtown Celebration. Join the City of Indio as they celebrate progress made in Downtown Indio. (760)391-4175. Oct. 10 – Cruise for the Cure Car Show. 9 a.m.-2p.m. Tanger Outlet Center I-15 at Lenwood Rd., Barstow. (760)253-4813. Oct. 10 – The Eric McFadden Trio w/ Wally Ingram, Paula O’Rourke, Delaney Davidson, Sid Brown. Early show w/Tim Easton. 8 p.m. Pappy & Harriet’s, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown. (760) 365-5956, www.pappyandharriets.com. Oct. 10-11– 68th Annual GEM-O-RAMA. Mineral Show. Great family field trips & more! Searles Lake Gem & Mineral Society Lapidary & Show Building, 13337 Main St., Trona. (760)372-5356. Oct. 10 & 11 – 4th Annual Joshua Tree Roots Festival. Line up includes: Abolene Dots (all female group from Sweden), Kelly Joe Phelps, The Sadies, Toubab Krewe, Frontier Ruckus. www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com. Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Rd., Joshua Tree. (877)327-6265. Oct. 13 – Songwriters Experience Hosted by Danny Sheridan. Special Guest: Chris Neel. Tuesdays, 5-7p.m. www.songwritersexperience.com “Jakes” in the Indian Wells Resort Hotel, Highway 111 at Club Dr., Indian Wells. (760)972-0960. Oct. 15-18 – Pioneer Days 2009: Celebrate 29. City-wide celebration in 29 Palms. Events include a Willie Boy historical production hosted by the Historical Society, a Burger Cook-off hosted by the Morongo Basin Red Cross & a Celebrate 29! art show hosted by the Public Arts Advisory Council, Haunted House hosted by Theatre 29, the Fireman’s Dinner & Dance hosted by the 29 Palms Fire Department, the Saturday Pioneer Days Parade hosted by the 29 Palms Chamber of Commerce, & the chili dinner hosted by the 29 Palms Art Gallery, among many others. Other events include a carnival, Stick Horse Races, Rubber Duck Regatta, Arm Wrestling, Cow Chip Bingo, Little Miss & Master, Skateboard contest, more. For 60+ years, the youngest members of the community have sung, danced & cried their way across the Pioneer Days stage in the Little Miss & Master contest. This annual event is open to boys and girls ages 3,4,& 5. Applications can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce office. www.29chamber.com, (760)367-3445. Oct. 16-18 – Inter-Tribal Gathering & Exhibition Pow Wow. A 3day cultural event featuring Native American entertainment, Friday & Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Indian village and museum, exhibition dancing, drumming, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, food, arts, crafts, pony rides, Sherman Indian School, Terri Goedel & hoop dancers, flute player Steve Ruiz, bird singers and dancers, Pomona Tribal Dancers & Drummers, Running Deer, Saginaw Grant, Steve Reevis, pottery and basket weaving demonstrations, and more. Sportsman’s Club, 6225 Sunburst, Joshua Tree. For more info: (760)408-3944. Oct. 17 – 2nd Annual Firehouse Fling. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Firehouse Fundraiser. Tecopa HotSprings Resort, 860 Tecopa Hot Springs Rd., Tecopa. (760)852-4220. Oct. 17 – Top Ten Scary Desert Creatures. 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Santa Rosa & San Jacinto National Monument Visitor Center, 51500 Hwy. 74, Palm Desert. (760)862-9984. Oct. 17 – 36th annual Maturango Junction. 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Youth Pow Wow, much more. Freedom Park in downtown Ridgecrest.


Oct. 17 – Oktoberfest & Battle of the Bands. 2-10 p.m., free. Downtown Main St., El Centro. (760)540-0204. Oct. 17 – Shadow Mtn. Band, 5 p.m., & I See Hawks In LA w/ special guest Susan James. 8 p.m. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown. (760) 365-5956, www.pappyandharriets.com. Oct. 17 – Ken O’Malley & the Twilight Lords. 7 p.m., $15. HiDesert Cultural Center’s Blak Box Theatre, 61231 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree. (760)366-3777, www.hidesertculturalcenter.com. Oct. 17 – Deep Space Viewing Star Party. Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, 860 Tecopa Hot Springs Rd., Tecopa. (760)852-4220. Oct. 17 – Edwards Air Force Base Air Show & Open House. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Army Golden Knights, reenactment of “Tora, Tora Tora.” www.edwards.af.mil. 305 E. Popson Ave., Edwards AFB. (661)277-1110. Oct. 20 – Songwriters Experience Hosted by Danny Sheridan. Special Guest: John Stanley King. Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m. www.songwritersexperience.com. “Jakes” in the Indian Wells Resort Hotel, Hwy. 111at Club Dr., Indian Wells. (760)972-0960. Oct. 22-25 – Borrego Days 44th Annual Desert Festival, Starry, Starry Nights. www.theabf.org. Anza-Borrego Foundation & Institute, 587 Palm Canyon Dr., Suite 220-224, Borrego Springs. (760) 767-4063. Oct. 23 – An Evening Conversation with International Author & Poet David Whyte. Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, 41000 Bob Hope Dr. Rancho Mirage, (760)346-4606. Oct. 23 – The Farmers (formerly The Beat Farmers). 7:30pm. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown. (760)365-5956, www.pappyandharriets.com. Oct. 24. – Trailhead Safari. 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. RSVP: Required by Oct. 23. Limit: 15 people. Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, 51-500 Hwy. 74, Palm Desert. (760) 862-9984. Oct. 24 – Halloween Fest. 4-8 p.m. Banning Community Center, 789 N. San Gorgonio Ave., Banning. (951)922-3242. Oct. 24 – Basket Making Class. Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, 219 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. (760)778-1079, x-1 13, www.accmuseum.org.. Oct. 25 – 45th Annual Palm Desert Golf Cart Parade. El Paseo, Palm Desert. (760)346-6111. Oct. 30-Nov. 1 – Annual Old West Days. Shoshone. (760)852-4524. Oct. 31 – Main Street Tehachapi’s Trunk or Treat. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Halloween celebration in Historic Downtown Tehachapi. Tehachapi Main St. (661)822-6519, www.mainstreettehachapi.org. Oct. 31 – 2K4KIDS Route 66 10K and 2K Run/Walk and Community BBQ Lunch. 8 a.m.-1p.m. Sante Fe Park, Route 66 in Needles. (760) 861-2519. Oct. 31 – Grim Rabbit’s Annual Halloween Party. Special guest: The Evaro Family Band. 8 p.m. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown. (760)365-5956. www.pappyandharriets.com. Oct. 31 – Carnival Sideshow Haunted House “Teen Scream.” 5 9 p.m. $2 entry. Lucerne Valley Community Center, 33187 Old Woman Springs Rd., Lucerne Valley. (760)248-7048. Oct. 31 – Howl-O-Ween Harvest Happening. All day. Live entertainment, scavenger hunt, pumpkin patch, mascot & costume parade, tractor rides & more. Half price admission. The Living Desert, 47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert. (760)346-5694, x- 2000. Oct 31st - Nov 1 – Desert Cities Woman’s Show. Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa, 44-400 Indian Wells Ln., Indian Wells Resort. (760)773-4444. Event: (760)285-3903, www.DesertWomansShow.com. October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 53


NOVEMBER Nov. 4-8 – Death Valley 49er Encampment. Incredible living history event in Death Valley National Park. www.deathvalley49ers.org. Death Valley National Park. (760)852-4524. Nov. 6 – Palm Springs Downtown/Uptown First Fridays. 2500 N. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. (760)325-1577. Nov. 6 – Marine Corps Birthday. 12603 Mariposa Rd, Victorville. Tickets/information:, call Jerry Hinds at (760)241-5266, (760)2454860, or Frank Alaniz at (760)949-0696, (760)953-0166. Nov. 6 – First Friday Art Around Town. Celebrating new art shows, local artists, special receptions. Tehachapi. (661)822-6794. Nov. 7 – Centennial Star Light Ball. Evening of dinner, dancing, live music. www.mainstreettehachapi.org. Tehachapi. (661)822-6519. Nov. 6-8 – Anza-Borrego Institute of Photography Presents: Photography Intensive. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center, 200 Palm Canyon Dr., Borrego Springs. (760)767-0446. Nov. 7 – 39th Annual Peddler’s Fair. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. St. John’s Church, 2020 J St., Needles. (760)326-3194. Nov. 8 – 20th Annual Veterans Day Celebration. General Patton Memorial Museum & the West Coast Vietnam Veterans Wall. 62450 Chiriaco Rd., Chiriaco Summit, I-10. (760)227-3227, www.generalpattonmuseum.com. Nov. 10 – Western Poetry Roundup. Sign-up at 6:30 p.m. Recital at 7. 275 Marjorie Ave., Brawley. (760)344-3160. Nov. 10 – Palm Springs International Film Society. Rancho Mirage Library, 71100 Hwy. 111, Rancho Mirage. (760)341-7323. Nov. 11 – Brawley Cattle Call – Mariachi Night. 6-9 p.m., free. Theme: “Down the Road to Cowboy Town.” Mariachi music. Mexican delicacies sold by local non-profit organizations. Cattle Call Park, Brawley. (760)344-3160. Nov. 13-15 – Wine Lovers Weekend. Wine-tasting, seminars, dinner Saturday, hiking & stargazing. Furnace Creek Ranch/Inn, Death Valley National Park. (800)236-7916. Nov. 14 – Pyrate Days. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $5. Pirate festival benefiting Yucca Valley Chamber Scholarship Foundation. Tri-Valley Little League Field, 56625 Little League Dr., Yucca Valley, (760)365-6323. Nov. 14 – Candy Cane Classic 3 Car & Bike Show. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Pioneer Park, 33187 Old Woman Springs Rd., Lucerne Valley. (760) 248-7048. Nov. 14-15 – 9th Annual Rancho Mirage Art Affaire. 9:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. Whitewater Park, 71560 San Jacinto Dr., Rancho Mirage. (760) 324-4511, www.RanchoMirageArtAffaire.com. Nov. 21 – 4th Annual Phineas Festival of Lights, Tree & Downtown Lighting. 3-6 p.m. Tours, performances, Santa, holiday lighting. Corners of Ramsey and San Gorgonio Ave. Banning. (951)9224911, www.banningculturalalliance.org. Nov. 21 – Small Works Group Show Reception at the TBAG Gallery. 5-8 p.m. Through Jan. 13. Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, 860 Tecopa Hot Springs Rd., Tecopa. (760)852-4220. Nov. 21 – Journeys to the Past. 10:30-4 p.m. Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, 219 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. (760)778-1079, x- 116. Nov. 26 - 30 – National Hockey Festival. Empire Polo Club. 81-800 Ave. 51, Indio. www.usafieldhockey.com, (719)866-4567. Nov 27-29 – Indio Powwow. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84-245 Indio Springs Pkwy. Indio. (760)342-2593.

For the most comprehensive event listings for the California deserts, please visit the California Deserts Visitors Association Calendar, produced by The Sun Runner Magazine, at www.thesunrunner.com. 54 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009


The Last Rant

O

h to be in Sacramento, where white is black and black is white and you can’t freaking believe a thing anyone says... OK, so those of you who love our California State Parks all know now that the Governator has informed us that they won’t be closing any state parks due to budget cuts (more than 200 were originally slated to be slaughtered, then it went to 100, then supposedly, we won—we should have known something was wrong then!). But under Ahnold’s plan, our state parks will be reducing maintenance, reducing hours and/ or days of operation at most parks, reducing seasonal staff, and closing portions of parks. The kicker? The cuts to our state parks are the same as they were before they were “saved.� What a freakin’ con job! And next year, another $8 million in cuts gets added to this year’s $14.2 million cut. And California State Parks were already grossly underfunded before all this foolishness began. So, here’s the deal—we need to keep pressure on “our� representatives in Sacramento (and out of touch), to prevent the complete and absolute ruin of our California State Parks. Our wise budgetarians in state government have forgotten some basic economics in that these parks draw people to our state, as well as from within our state to these naturally beautiful and historically important sites, and these people spend money at the parks and in the neighboring communities, stimulating economies, providing jobs, sustaining communities, and paying taxes back to Sacramento, where they piss them down a rat hole. (OK, actually I just said that because I’m mad. I have no idea what they do with our tax money once it gets to Sacramento, but they don’t seem to be too good at budgets.) Our all-knowing government isn’t telling you the truth about these cuts on any level either. I’m no MBA (thank God), but when you defer (ie: stop) maintenance on historic buildings, roads, trails, and sites, when you neglect them, lay off staff, decrease morale, provide less security and oversight, and push the state park system to the breaking point, closing parts of the parks all of the time and all of the parks part of the time, you set yourself up for more losses. Once everything falls apart and decays, it becomes very expensive to rebuild these facilities and to restore their staffing and programs. In other words, this sleight-of-hand budget will result in a situation that is very likely to end our state park system. The cuts lead to enormous future costs to get park facilities up to par, our government won’t be able to find the huge amounts of cash necessary to restore them, and then, ever so reluctantly, they will have to close them because they can’t let them operate in a sub-par condition, and they can’t find the bucks infusion to fix them. A while back, I asked the late city manager of Twentynine Palms, Michael Swigart, what he thought about so many Marines from the area being sent to Iraq. Fresh from having city and county coffers looted by state government in another of our ongoing budgetary disasters, Michael replied that he would have done things differently. He replied that he would have sent the Marines to march on Sacramento, where the real enemy was. You know, he might be right.... If you want any chance of saving California State Parks, go to www.calparks.org for ways to take action. And while you’re at it, drop by the National Parks Conservation Association website at www.npca.org and take a little action to support our National Parks as well. After all, eventually some of these folks in Sacramento work their way up the foodchain to D.C. You can’t be too careful these days.  –Steve Brown October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 55


Circle C Lodge

Private oasis offers 12 spacious guest rooms nestled in a lush garden courtyard with heated pool, spa, BBQ pit. Full kitchen, A/C, HBO, phones, continental breakfast. AAA, extended stay available. 6340 El Rey Ave., 29 Palms, CA (760)367-7615 • 800-545-9696 www.circleclodge.com

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites

Free Smart Start breakfast, free local calls, fast DSL Internet access, heated pool & spa, fitness center, business center. Andy Patel, General Manager. 71809 29 Palms Hwy., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)361-4009 • 1-800-HOLIDAY www.hiexpress.com/twentynineca

High Desert Motel

29 Palms Inn Fine food & lodging since 1928. Lunch, dinner, continental breakfast, Sunday brunch. Art-filled dining room, bar. Heated pool, poolside patio, adobe bungalows. “Oasis of Mara” and trails, near JT National Park headquarters and visitor center. Paul & Jane Smith, Innkeepers. 73950 Inn Ave., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3505 www.29palmsinn.com

56 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

PRIVATE AND QUIET RETREAT

In the heart of Joshua Tree, a modern motel with spacious rooms, HBO/Cable TV, A/C, in-room phones, in-room coffee, laundry, swimming pool, picnic facilities, BBQ areas. Reasonable rates. Near west entrance to JT National Park and local rock climbing schools. Your host, Vijay Hira. 61310 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA (760)366-1978 • Toll Free 888-367-3898

2 artist-owned cabins with boulder & panoramic desert views, minutes from Joshua Tree National Park, with all amenities, including wireless Internet. A favorite of musicians & artists, and dog friendly. 909-224-8626 or 760-366-1331

www.rattlerjoshuatree.com


Harmony Motel

Country Inn

EL RANCHO DOLORES MOTEL

Complimentary Continental Breakfast. Pillow top matresses. Business Center with fast DSL Internet Access, Data Port/Fast DSL Access in all rooms. FREE local calls. Outdoor pool, some Jacuzzi Rooms, Kitchenette Rooms. TV w/remote, iron, coffee maker, hair dryer, clock radio. Friendly, professional staff. 71829 29 Palms Hwy., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-0070 • (760)367-9806 Fax

A respite for desert travelers since 1940, downtown 29 Palms. Swimming pool, courtyard, A/C, direct phones, satellite TV/HBO. Refrigerators/microwaves, kitchenettes available. Ken Patel, Manager. 73352 29 Palms Hwy., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3528 virtual29.com/a-z/dolores

Roughley Manor

SUNNYVALE GARDEN SUITES

Bed & Breakfast Inn. Gorgeous 1928 stone manor on 25-acre historic Campbell Ranch. Gardens, elegant guest rooms, fireplaces, grand piano in great room, fine linens, gourmet food, catered functions. 74744 Joe Davis Dr., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3238

Condo-like suites with a touch of the “old west.” Junior, 1 & 2 bedroom suites, full kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, private patios w/barbecues, Cable TV, DVD, patio area, playground, spa and fitness center. Tony & Cora Naraval, owners. 73843 Sunnyvale Dr., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)361-3939 www.sunnyvalesuites.com

Pop legends U2 stayed at the Harmony, why not U too?

2005 newly remodeled rooms with TVs, kitchenettes, hot spas, swimming pool, break room, copier, fax and Internet service is free. Best value in town. 71161 29 Palms Hwy., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3351 • www.harmonymotel.com

Sunset Motel

At the foot of Joshua Tree National Park in downtown 29 Palms. Pool, direct phones, TV, HBO, refrigerators, complimentary coffee, full kitchens available. A/C. microwave oven. Friendly, European-style hospitality. Owner: Jan. 73842 29 Palms Hwy., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3484 totteknutzen@hotmail.com

96.3 FM October/November 2009 – The Sun Runner 57


Amargosa Opera House & Hotel

Historic Spanish Colonial style adobe hotel with Marta Becket murals, gift shop, AC. Reservations recommended. (760) 852-4441 www.amargosa-opera-house.com

Now you can reach 36,000 readers each issue with your ad in The Sun Runner Magazine (and reach even more online with our DesertFunCoupons.com!)

Joshua Tree National Park

Mojave National Preserve

74485 National Park Drive (at Utah Trail) Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 Park Info: (760)367-5500 www.nps.gov/jotr • www.joshuatree.org

www.nps.gov/moja

Death Valley National Park Beatty Information Center, Beatty, NV (775)553-2200 Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Museum (760)786-3200 www.nps.gov.deva

29 Palms Chamber of Commerce 73660 Civic Center, Suite D Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3445 www.29chamber.com www.visit29.com

Barstow Chamber of Commerce www.barstowchamber.com/visitors

Anza-Borrego Foundation

Find the best in desert lodging at www.thesunrunner.com and www.desertfuncoupons.com

www.theabf.com

Ridgecrest Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-847-4830 www.visitdeserts.com

Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism visitpalmsprings.com

The best of the California deserts 58 The Sun Runner – October/November 2009

Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention & Visitors Authority www.palmspringsusa.com


Fine Food and Lodging at the Historic Oasis of Mara

Family Owned and Operated since 1928

GEOFFREY PRESTON PHOTOGRAPHY

(People have lived at this natural oasis for thousands of years.)

The Sun Runner

• Lunch, Dinner, Cocktails, Sunday Brunch • Charming Adobe Bungalows with Fireplaces • Heated Swimming Pool • Entertainment Friday and Saturday Nights • Available for Special Events • Tour our extensive fruit and vegetable garden and grape arbor. • See California Fan Palms, Oasis Lagoon, Barn Owls, Roadrunners, Gambel’s Quail, Bunnies and Jackrabbits and other delightful things!

73950 Inn Avenue, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 • 760-367-3505 www.29palmsinn.com

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The Sun Runner Annual Desert Art Issue 2009 (Oct/Nov 2009)  

The Sun Runner Magazine's Annual Desert Art Issue for 2009.

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