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The Sun Runner The Magazine of the Real California Desert October/November 2010—Vol. 16, No. 5 The Sun Runner Magazine PO Box 2171, Joshua Tree, CA 92252 (760)820-1222 • www.thesunrunner.com Publisher/Executive Editor:Steve Brown email@example.com Founding Editor Emeritus: Vickie Waite Theatre/Film Editors: Jack & Jeannette Lyons Literary Editor: Delphine Lucas Music Editor: Judy Wishart Calendar & Social Media Editor, Asst. Publisher: Barbara Buckland
Contributing Writers D’Anne Albers • Cynthia Anderson Lorraine Blair • Brian Brown • Steve Brown Barbara Buckland • Mike Cipra Caryn Davidson •John Di Pol Lou Gerhardt • Robert Lundahl Jack Lyons • Jeannette Lyons Barbara Maron • Denise Ortuno Neil Kathleen Radnich • DeRanger Steve Salkin Starsinger • Karine Swenson • Judy Wishart Contributing Photographers: Brian Brown • Steve Brown Art Miller, Jr. • Denise Ortuno Neil Karine Swenson • Judy Wishart Contributing Artists: Dianne Bennett • Rik Livingston Karin Mayer • Mark Meadows •Pepper Wagner Advertising Sales: Sam Sloneker, Travis, Puglici, Ryan Muccio Distribution Manager: Sam Sloneker 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 enormous California desert region. Published bimonthly. MAGAZINE DEADLINE: Nov. 22 for the December/January Desert Treasures 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to: Calendar, c/o: The Sun Runner Magazine, PO Box 2171, 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 telepathically. SUBMISSIONS: By mail to the address above; by email: publisher@thesunrunner. com, or stop us when we’re at the Kelso Depot, like everybody else does. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $22/year U.S.A. ($38/ year International, $38 trillion Intergalactic) Copyright © 2010 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, which is an inanimate object. We have made some reasonable effort to be accurate, but we are not responsible for errors or omissions in material submitted to us, nor claims by advertisers. Advertising, press releases, and public service announcements accepted at the mysterious discretion of the mighty publisher. 8 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
The Sun Runner The Magazine of the Real California Desert
October/November 2010 The Desert Art Issue
Inside this Issue:
Dry Heat, by Steve Brown ... 9 The Tortoise Telegraph News gathered from around the desert – at our own pace ... 11 Fire Strikes the Amargosa River Canyon, by Brian Brown ... 12 Letters from ... you ... 12 Coachella Valley Confidential, by Denise Ortuno Neil ... 13 Woven Words, The Authors’ Page ... 15 Desert Art News, by Barbara Buckland & Steve Brown ... 16 Putting the Pieces Together: Pepper Wagner, by Karine Swenson ... 19 The Zono Zone: Rik Livingston, by Karine Swenson ... 20 Dianne Bennett, Reconnecting Through Art - Joshua Tree National Park, by Caryn Davidson ... 21 Remembering Merle Armitage, by Cynthia Anderson ... 23 Joshua Tree’s Water Wise Garden, by Kathleen Radnich ... 25 The Killing of Kokopilli, by Robert Lundahl ... 26 DeRanger Steve: Wherein Lies the Blame, by Steve Salkin ... 30 The Medicine Gardener: Creosote & Mullein, by Starsinger ... 31 Preparing for 75, by D’Anne Albers ... 32 Making Death Valley Come Alive, by Mike Cipra ... 33 Ridgecrest: The Other “Indian Wells”: Showcasing Naval Technology at China Lake, by John Di Pol ... 34 Ramblings from Randsburg: On the Trail of... Clara Spalding Brown who Wrote of 1880’s Tombstone and 1897 Randsburg, by Lorraine Blair ... 36 Desert Treasure: Cabot Yerxa, by Barbara Maron ... 37 Desert Theatre Beat, by Jack Lyons ... 38 Theatre Spotlight On... Dezart Performs, by Jeannette Lyons ... 39 Film Talk, by Jack Lyons ... 40 Hi-Desert Music News, by Judy Wishart ... 42 Positive Living: Kelly Corbin, by Lou Gerhardt ... 43 Hot Picks from The Sun Runner Calendar ... 44 The Best Places to Stay in the Real Desert ... 47
Cover Art — by Dianne Bennett
Dianne Bennett is one of the artists selected to be an artist-in-residence at Joshua Tree National Park, where she lived for a time, creating works on display currently at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center in Joshua Tree. Read an interview with Bennett about her stay and her work on page 23 of this issue. Are you a desert artist or photographer? Would you like your work on the cover of The Sun Runner Magazine? Send copies of work you’ve done that might be appropriate for our cover to email@example.com. Are you interested in The Sun Runner Magazine’s 17 years of growth as the only regional desert media for the California deserts? If so, join our Desert Readers Advisory Group (DRAG). To sign up for future DRAG meeting notifications, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
here does art become separated from the rest of life? And why? It always seems a little odd to me that many people seem to put art in a box, label it, and set it mentally apart from other things. I find art connected to everything and everything connected to art. Out here in the desert, I am treated to great works of art—both natural and manmade—on a daily basis. I find what God creates serves as great inspiration to excite and drive the spirit of human creativity, and there is something exemplary that takes place when the human and natural worlds connect to create something timeless— something that defies labels and cannot be separated. Nothing really stands on its own. We humans (well, most of us, anyway) are not separate from nature, despite the best attempts of marketers, hucksters, and often, technology, and our past is directly and firmly connected to the future (whether we understand that connection or not). The more connected we become, the more we can understand our place in time, the human race, and in the world. Art can help transcend time, socialized norms, prejudice, and artifice, to connect people on a deeper, more archetypal level. That’s at least part of the reason why the Maturango Museum’s tours of Little Petroglyph Canyon sell out every year. That’s one reason why we’re fighting to preserve the Blythe geoglyphs of Kokopilli (and other images). These images connect us to something on another level, something not particularly
“western” or intellectual, but from a different place altogether—perhaps that elusive location where dreams originate? And it does it while connecting us to people we’ve never met in this world. Art and music are both facets of the same experience. I love singing a song that can be traced back 500 years. I think about the voices raised before mine who sang the same words. Sometimes, you can almost hear them singing with you, connecting you to a procession stringing through times and places you’ve never been, on a journey we don’t fully comprehend. We are, I believe, exceedingly lucky to have so many inspired, creative individuals living in the desert. It makes our journey richer, more vibrant and lively, not to mention a lot more fun. This time of year offers some great chances to get out, meet other creative spirits, share, and connect. The open studio art tours both in the hi-desert and in Ridgecrest, provide excellent opportunities to experience the artistic spirit in its natural habitat. I strongly encourage you to get out this October and participate in these tours. I live in a home that, over time, has become graced with works of art created by desert folk who possess impressive talent, and who have put that talent to work making things of beauty and imagination. Every day, these works of art, whether they be paintings, prints, photographs, the plates we eat off of, or the cup I fill with my morning coffee as I listen to the quail begin their day, enrich our lives as we continue on our journey. October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 9
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Please Vote Yes on Prop 21 Those of you who read this magazine know we don’t do a whole lot of political endorsements. This year, however, we’re going to make an exception because whether Prop 21 passes will have a direct impact on the California deserts. Prop 21 ends the ongoing circus around funding California State Parks, which have been in budget limbo and neglect for far too long. The proposition would add an $18 fee to vehicle license fees while providing day-use access and parking at our state parks. Some folks argue it is an economic imposition on those who are having a hard time. We understand that, but what that argument doesn’t take into consideration is the positive economic benefits of our state parks that will be lost if they don’t have a reliable source of funding. Communities like Borrego Springs could suffer long-lasting negative impacts from closure of invaluable state resources like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Others argue state parks should be funded through the general fund, but recent history shows that hasn’t worked. They repeatedly come up on the chopping block as an easy target for legislators. This is endangering the future of California’s cultural, historical, and natural treasures, and our tourism industry. We think California State Parks are worth $18 a year, and we hope you do too. Closing the state parks could mean we lose them for good. That would be a sad day for California.
Down the Rabbit Hole If you’re wanting a surreal experience sure to warp your mind and take it places you never thought possible, don’t reach for the jimson weed, just try to get a straight answer out of the federal Bureau of Land Management or the California Energy Commission. We’ve been covering and supporting efforts to protect a number of geoglyphs near Blythe that are, or so it would seem, located on a site slated for construction of the Blythe Solar Millennium proejct. Originally, we had questions like, “If archaeologists walked the project site and recorded individual stone tools, how did they miss a 200-foot-long geoglyph of Kokopilli?” We wanted to know too, why public site visits never made it to the site, and why meetings that should probably have been open to the public proved to be somewhat unwelcoming to interested attendees. We’ve been asking for lots of specific information for about six months, receiving no specific answers. Some might think the BLM is stonewalling your right to know about large corporate welfare projects slated to be built across the desert, using your tax money as incentives for corporations to build arguably obsolete power projects on your public lands, so they can then reap large profits from selling you the energy generated. With incentives set to expire at the end of the year, there has been a fast track gold rush going on, not so much about green energy, but about greenbacks. So, over the past months, as we have struggled to obtain information, we have been taken on a strange journey to a land where nothing may be as it seems. Our first shock was realizing that
the state government had agreed to this whole “fast track” business, when the CEC doesn’t have the budget to staff its offices the second, third, and fourth Fridays of each month. So, they sped up the review process while decreasing the amount of staff time available to review a large number of applications... Then, the CEC approved the project, but included “mitigation” for destruction of Native American cultural resources on the site in a manner that can only have been inspired by 19th Century institutional racism against Native Americans. A staff report indicates the geoglyphs were not eligible for protection because they could only be dated to 1994 by the BLM, despite Native American testimony indicating they had been around for a very long time. But the BLM refuses to provide archeological reports used in making this determination because—don’t laugh too loud—they must protect the cultural resources on the site. Yes, they won’t share the reports with anyone interested in preserving the site that may be demolished before New Year’s Eve in the interests of protecting the site from vandalism. And on it goes... One BLM archaeologist notes the reports cover outside the area of direct impact, while the BLM’s Dr. Charlotte Hunter states the BLM only reports on resources within the project boundaries, and that there are—hold on—no geoglyphs on the site at all, despite staff reports discussing what to do about the geoglyphs on the site. We’ve launched a petition to protect the geoglyphs that may or may not be there. If you’d like to show your support, please go to www.petitiononline.com/ savekoko/petition.html.
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n a hot, windy afternoon in late August, a fire of unknown origin erupted in the Amargosa River Canyon south of Tecopa. Driven by strong and erratic winds, the fire quickly spread onto both public and private lands, feeding on the lush vegetation of the river corridor and adjacent stands of brush and mesquite. The fire raced through parts of Tecopa at least twice, as the shifting winds also threatened to push the flames north across the old Spanish Trail Highway and into the Tecopa Marsh lands. Though the backside of the community church was scorched, miraculously no structures in the town were burned. A quick response by the local volunteer fire department as well as aid from the Pahrump Fire Department and eventually the BLM and Forest Service fire crews kept the fire from destroying the town and the eventual control of the blaze. Though the fire was a local disaster, it does present opportunities in other ways. A mile or more of the river is now accessible, having previously been choked off by decades of neglect. This 12 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
could present a real opportunity for the establishment of a stream-side hiking trail, one that could be more easily maintained than the former one. It will also give the BLM an opportunity to treat the regrowth of invasive tamarisk before it once again becomes unmanageable. Biological studies to collect data regarding recovery and plant succession in desert riparian areas are another possibility. The fire destroyed habitat for several rare or listed endangered species, including the Amargosa vole and the least Bell’s Verio, which were known to be nesting in the burn area. Recent census of the fish populations in the river had also shown that the Amargosa River pupfish and Nevada Speckled Dace were well established there, and hopefully escaped by swimming up or down stream. These resilient desert species will undoubtably re-establish, and hopefully the local community and management agencies will seize the chance to improve the human foot print. Brian Brown runs the China Ranch Date Farm near Tecopa and is active in preservation efforts in the Amargosa River area.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get caught up on my reading. Wanted to thank you for the June/July issue on Offroading. I really appreciated the varied articles and opinions. I am not an offroader and a staunch environmentalist, but strongly believe that there is a place for all of us. We have golf courses, swimming holes, fishing spots, etc. Offroading is no different and deserves it’s place. I particularly appreciated and mostly agree with DeRanger Steve’s column “Closed.” Keep up the good work, and thanks for continuing to shine a light on the most interesting topics. Jim Gilliland Morongo Valley
t’s true there is a treasure trove of art to see in the Coachella Valley. The venues in which the public can visually gobble-up a variety of art range from swanky check-your-credit galleries, and the bohemian starving group, to public museums, and, of course, exclusive private showings. But there are other places to marvel at masterpieces, which I find charmingly unique here in the desert, and you can drive by them without even leaving your car. They’re part of the transportation system that drives through this wondrous valley… you can see art—at the bus stop. The notion is crazy, almost annoyingly cocky, to think that a city would be so extravagant to not only have art at their bus stops, but have their bus stops actually be art. The culprit city with the audacity to do such a thing is the City of Palm Desert. Back in 1999, the Palm Desert City Council approved the Bus Shelter Improvement Program. The goal was to make the city’s numerous bus shelters more aesthetically appealing, and do away with tacky old school ones that incorporated advertising posts.
I guess when you’re waiting for the bus, there’s nothing more agitating than being harassed by a stagnant commercial. But the city went beyond just trying to look pretty. The replacement bus shelters also incorporate solar powered security lighting, making them selfsufficient. The bus shelters blend into their given area, as a result of developers’ consideration to their commercial surroundings. And although they do blend in, they stand out in their capacity to draw visual attention. One of my favorites is the bus shelter on the corner of San Luis Rey and Hwy. 111. You seriously can’t miss it. It has two huge happy-faced characters guarding a playful blue structure. The shelter was jointly provided by the Art in Public Places program and is titled, “The Fat Happys,” created by Barrett Debusk. It makes me happy every time I drive by. I cannot help but enjoy a smile from witnessing something so whimsical. There are many other favorites, including one on the corner of Portola and Hwy 111 in front of the Heather James Gallery. It’s streamlined and modern,
with a sexy silver spike going through it as if it had been struck by lightning and never let go of the bolt. That’s how I see it anyway. Isn’t that the intention of art, to make you think and come up with your own interpretation? It seems there are other cities in the desert that have adopted Palm Desert’s views on bus shelters, like La Quinta for instance, but if you’re still looking for the traditional, I know of one city (west on Hwy. 111) that has yet to turn the page on bus stop advertisement pollution. I give major kudos to Palm Desert for their progressive move in beautifying their bus shelters. Sometimes waiting for the bus really can suck, and it’s nice to know in Palm Desert, your time spent waiting can be a little more pleasant. I first met Hank Diamond a little over three years ago at Castellis restaurant in Palm Desert. His charismatic energy and enthusiastic piano playing and singing were magnetic, as he gleefully entertained diners and bar patrons. Hank is one of many talented entertainers that are sprinkled throughout the Coachella Valley, eager and willing to make your October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 13
Hank and Carolyn, above (talk about magic!). Art strikes another Palm Desert bus stop, below. Read Denise’s blog online at The Sun Runner’s new online desert community. Desert lovers can share desert news, views, photos, videos, and much more at www.thesunrunner.ning.com, or just go to www.thesunrunner.com and click on the link. It’s easy, free, and fun!
14 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
night out a little more harmonious. The now 74 year-old’s charm was undeniable then, just as it is today. I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Hank and his beautiful age-defying wife Carolyn, to talk about Hank’s long and illustrious musical career. It started back east in New York, where Hank grew up. His parents were vaudevillians, and brought little Hank into their act at the tender age of six. I don’t know why, but every time I hear the word vaudeville, I can’t help but think of the 1962 movie “Gypsy” with Natalie Wood, and how her mother would make her play second fiddle to her sister June, even making her work the rump roast side of a cow costume, only to watch “Gypsy Rose Lee” soar like a Phoenix in the world of burlesque. But that was not Hank’s plight. His parents were not pushy or vicariously ambitious, and Hank never went on to stripper fame. What he did take away from those early years was a deep love of music, and as a pre-teen, he decided to make music and entertainment his chosen vocation. He became enchanted with the guitar and in his late teens got together with some friends and started a rock-n-roll group, “Curly and the Jades.” Hank was the curly one. They played gigs around town and met up with another band, The Chants, which were getting popular as well. Hank soon joined forces with them. One night, while they played a lounge in New York, they got a break that was not recognizable as one at the time. The opportunity came in the form of a flamboyantly dressed man with an exaggerated Italian accent. So when the man offered the young band a recording contract, its understandable how they wouldn’t take him seriously. But as the saying goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Or perhaps, “Don’t judge an Italian by his suit.” Either way works. But the Italian panned out, and before the young band knew it, they were touring throughout Europe as The American Twisters, cashing in on the hype of the hip-swirling craze, and even recorded their own salute to the famous dance with, “The Tiger Twist.” But later, the 18-month tour started to sour as the boys became homesick. When they returned in 1964, the band split up and Hank called his old friend Harold Wesley who was working in Palm Springs. He soon made the trek out west and worked gigs in the desert with his buddy. The duo lasted for a while and when old Harold quit, Hank became a soloist, doing double duty as singer and musician. Hank continued his musical career, moved out of state, and had an intricate part in helping Stuart Anderson with his Black Angus restaurants by being his star attraction—besides the tasty steaks. Hank even tried his sleight of hand at magic… He took his new wife, whom he met at the Black Angus in 1971, and took their magic show on the road for five years. The pair claimed their residential stake in Palm Springs, where Hank has been sharing his musical talent ever since. When I asked Hank what his life is all about, it was clear there were two answers to the question…his wife Carolyn, and music. Although Hank no longer is playing at Castellis, he plans to resume performances soon. There’s no slowing Hank down and unlike his magic shows, he won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Woo hoo!! I’ve been waiting all summer for this time of year. Not only does the excruciating heat get kicked to the curb, but it’s also holiday time! Time for pumpkins and creepy costumes and the opportunity to scare small children as the ring the doorbell for candy. YES! Then Thanksgiving pops up with family, food and fun. Well at least the food is fun…all right, family too. This year I’m cooking. Now that’s scary...
Acid Christ Just Fabulous is hosting author Mark Christensen, who will appear at the Palm Springs store to sign copies of his book, Acid Christ: Ken Kesey, LSD and the Politics of Ecstasy. Kesey is the author of American classics such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion. The signing will be Sunday, October 31, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the shop located at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Christensen’s book draws from his own experiences and explores the many contradictions of Kesey, who moved from a literary career at 28 to being a figurehead of the counter culture. Christensen is formerly a writer for Rolling Stone. Visit www. bjustfabulous.com or call (760)864-1300 for information. Ridge Writers Actor/playwright/screenwriter/director Ted Lange will discuss his writing career at the monthly Ridge Writers meeting, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 6. You may recognize Lange from his decade on “The Love Boat” as Isaac Washington, he has also received the NAACP Renaissance Man Theatre Award, the Heroes and Legends HAL Lifetime Achievement Award, and many more, including the James Cagney Directing Fellow Scholarship Award from the American Film Institute. Lange has written 17 plays, and has written, directed, and produced, “Born a Unicorn,” a rock musical about the life of the African American Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge. The play led to the Ira Aldridge Acting Awards, an annual competition that showcases minority talent for Hollywood. The November 3 Ridge Writers meeting will be the Planet Mojave Workshop. Bring your ideas and help the group take another step toward publishing Ridge Writer’s own book. Writer Donna McCrohan Rosenthal will lead the workshop. The December 1 meeting will be a holiday party, starting half an hour earlier to allow more time for merry-making, and the party will be held at the Heritage Village Clubhouse. The Ridge Writers are launching a critique group with a focus on short story writing. The first meeting is slated for October 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church, 633 Las Flores Avenue. The group will be facilitated by award-winning short story author Norma Howell. For more information, call Howell at (760)375-5173. The Ridge Writers meet at High Desert Haven in Ridgecrest. Palm Springs Writers Guild The Palm Springs Writers Guild meets Saturday, October 2, at 2 p.m. at the Rancho Mirage Public Library. The guest speaker will be Dr. Bruno Wildhaber whose topic is The Truth About Writer’s Block. Wildhaber is an international health consultant. He has worked internationally and currently lives in La Quinta. October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 15
Catch photographer Mark Meadows(i) the second weekend of the Hwy 62 Art Tours (#58).
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on’t look for the Twentynine Palms Chalk Fest we told you about in the last issue’s Art News. The City Council decided against funding the festival being produced by Action Council, and the festival has been postponed. We’ll keep you posted... We’re beginning to try out some of the changes our Desert Readers Advisory Group discussed this summer (thanks again to all who joined us), and one suggestion was less focus on calendar-like listings of art shows, and more in-depth profiles of artists. With this issue, we’re somewhere in-between our past style and our new concept. One thing we’ve changed is we dropped contact information for nonadvertisers due to space constraints. That’s available on our calendar at www. thesunrunner.com. Our advertisers have retained their full contact information as they financially support the pages for these listings, and our ability to provide our calendar, and this magazine, for free,
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TWENTYNINE PALMS 29 Palms Art Gallery The beautiful old adobe gallery at the Oasis of Mara is hosting Wandering The West & Evoking The East: Chuck Caplinger and Ann Congdon, through October 31. A reception is slated for Sunday, October 3, noon to 3 p.m. The Southland Show (judged), runs November 3-28, with an opening reception on November 7, noon to 3 p.m. Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 3 p.m. 74055 Cottonwood Dr., 29 Palms. (760)367-7819. www.29palmsartgallery.com.
29 Palms Creative Center The Creative Center offers a wide variety of classes this fall: Intensive Study and Exhibit Opportunity (call for details); The Artist’s Book with Inks, October 9; The Stained Glass Enthusiast, October 9; Open Studio Art Tours, October 23-24; 4- Part Holiday Greeting Card Series, November 20, December 4, 11, 18. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 6847 Adobe Rd., 29 Palms. (760)361-1805. www.29palmscreativecenter.com. The 29 Palms Inn, Oasis of Mara A desert work of art itself, the Inn is open daily. Oasis of Mara, 73950 Inn Ave. (off National Park Dr.), 29 Palms. (760)3673505. www.29palmsinn.com. 29 Palms Art in Public Places The photography of Jim Smart is on display through October 29. Diana Shay Diehl & David Greene exhibit their work in November and December. Exhibits can be seen Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 29 Palms City Hall, 6136 Adobe Rd., 29 Palms. (760)367-6799. www. ci.twentynine-palms.ca.us. JOSHUA TREE Crossroads Café Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council Open Studios artists are on display through November. True World Gallery Urbane Terrain, new works by MaryAustin Klein, runs October 16 through November. The opening reception will be October 16, 7-10 p.m.
The Red Arrow Gallery and Lounge Carpe Diem, a solo show by Shea Dunn runs through October 31. Woods in the Desert Art Gallery Dead, Your Day Will Come, runs from October 15 through November 2. Joshua Tree Art Gallery 10 of 10 – New Works by New Artists: Stebbins, Martin, Florek, Rieman, Fulmer, Burnham, Bouse, Reese, Bluefield, and Swenson, runs through October 31. YUCCA VALLEY Hi-Desert Nature Museum Bells of the Saints: California Missions, is on exhibit from October 19 - January 2, 2011. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Closed Mondays & major holidays.) Free. 57090 29 Palms Hwy,Yucca Valley. (760)369-7212. www.hidesertnaturemuseum.org. Tamma’s Magic Mercantile Art featured in Tamma’s include nature and wildlife photography by David McChesney, Christy Anderson’s license plate and “junk art,” Christopher Pheyk glass blower and art, Divine Design cards by Barbara Penney, Claire Montrose stained glass windows and bottle crosses, Frederick Ruldolph leather art, and the gourd art of Ronald Churchwell. 10 a.m-5 p.m daily. 55727 29 Palms Hwy., Yucca Valley. (760)228-0700. MORONGO VALLEY The Purple Agave Art Gallery A group show featuring Penelope Krebs, Cheryl Jordan, James Hagerty, Jennifer Ruggiero, Gwendolyn Awen Jones, Bob Nelson, Wally Pacholka, and Tami Wood, runs through November. PALM SPRINGS Palm Springs Arts Festival This outdoor festival features over 175 artists. $5 adults, children free. October 29-31, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Palm Springs Art Museum Richard Avedon: Fashion, Stage, and Screen, is on exhibit October 15 through January 11, 2011. Annenberg Wing. The museum offers classes, workshops, films, and much more. First Wednesday Art Walk The Art Walk runs October 6 & November 3. Hosted by the Backstreet Art District. Galleries include Art By Peter,
Dezart One, Galerie Mystere, Images By Gideion, Red Dot Gallery, Showcase 5 Gallery, Studio 3, Trevor Goss, Gallery, and Ted Phillip Denton Working Studio & Gallery. 6-9 p.m. Dezart One Gallery A group show, Nothing More, Nothing Less, with new works by Susan Byers, runs through October 10. A group show, Visions of Expression, includes works by Debbie Star & Maggie Brooks with an artist reception scheduled for October 30, 7-9 p.m. The show runs October 13– November 21, with an encore reception November 13, 7-9 p.m. On November 27 an artist reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. for the group show Offbeat Impulse, featuring Marlene Bergman & Robert Newman. The show runs November 24–January 2, 2011. Agua Caliente Cultural Museum Exhibits include Raw Earth And Fire Clouds, through October 17. Also, What’s the Score? American Indians in Sports, and much more. PALM DESERT 1st Thursday El Paseo Art Walks Walks continue October 7, November 4, and December 3, from 5-7 p.m. Free. Galleries include; A Gallery Fine Art, Adagio Galleries, Christian Hohmann Fine Art, Christopher Morgan Galleries, Coda Gallery, Howard Schepp Fine Art, J. Willott Gallery, Jones & Terwilliger Galleries, Ramey Fine Art Gallery, Richard Danskin Gallery, S.R. Brennen Gallery and Max Von Wening Art.
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RANCHO MIRAGE 10th Annual Rancho Mirage Art Affaire The Art Affaire will be November 13-14, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. A juried festival featuring 100 artists, music, wine & food. DEATH VALLEY Death Valley Invitational Western Art Show This classic art show runs November 1114. The Death Valley ‘49ers Invitational Western Art Show began in 1951and became a premier art show for western art and heritage. The Invitational raises funds for the Death Valley Educational Scholarship Fund and has been one of the events of the World Famous Death Valley ‘49ers Encampment every November since 1949. Death Valley National Park Visitor Center, Furnace Creek. www. deathvalleyinvitationalart.org.
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October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 17
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LA QUINTA Art Under the Umbrellas The umbrellas open October 9, November 6, and November 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 70+ artists. BORREGO SPRINGS First Friday Nights First Friday Nights continue November 5, 5-8 p.m with an Art & Soul Art Walk celebration. Galleries include Stirrup Road: The House of Borrego Springs; The Center: Liesel Paris Gallery, Matson Gallery, Sally Rosen’s Gourd Art; The Mall: Borrego Art Institute; SoShoMe Gallery; Tumbleweed Trading Company. Borrego Art Institute Peoples Choice runs October 30-November 22. An opening reception is set for October 30, 5-8 p.m. The Home Show will run November 27-December 14, with an opening reception November 27, 5-8 p.m. KELSO Desert Light Gallery, Kelso Depot Face to Face with Mojave’s Belly Flowers, photography by Terry Ellis. At the Kelso Depot through January 3, 2011. RIDGECREST Maturango Museum The Maturango Museum’s annual Open Studio Tour is October 23 & 24. The museum presents an open studio tour featuring more than 20 artists from the Ridgecrest area. Tickets are available at the museum and allow entry into the studios of these artists. See the artists at work, ask them questions about how they create their art, purchase art from the artists, and have a great time. Each artist will also have art on display at the museum
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with proceeds to benefit the museum. Open daily (except major holidays) 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibits run October 16–November 17. Rebecca Smith’s Tapestry Interpretation of Ancient Imagery runs November 20-January 12, 2011. Maturango Museum, 100 E. Las Flores Ave., Ridgecrest. (760)375-6900. www. maturango.org. Maturango Museum Open Studio Tour Artist Profiles Lois Hinman: I have been making art for most of my life and the possibilities in both clay and paint still amaze me. I have been lucky enough to spend my time making objects that are meaningful to both me and my clients. My pottery and paintings are about the natural world and how it relates to the people who use and enjoy them. At the Open Studio Tour you will be able to watch demonstrations done by my students and see the distinctive pottery and colorful paintings that I so love to do. Betty Spindler: Today’s life seems so complex that I enjoy the things around me that are quiet and at rest. A bowl of fruit seems to say, enjoy my shape, my color, and maybe even the thought of my taste. I like to think of my sculptures as comfort food. Laura Arns comes from a background of science and mathematics with a strong artistic influence. Her childhood years were filled with music and theater including lighting, sound, and set construction. After earning a Ph.D. in computer science she took a research position at Purdue University; while there she spent considerable time collaborating with the School of Art faculty on performance pieces and interactive art making heavy use of technology such as stereographic projection and 3D interaction devices. During this time she discovered lampworking glass including making beads, marbles, sculptures, murrini, and goblets. Her current goal is to spread knowledge, understanding and the practice of lampworking by sharing her art with others. Joan Welsh: My favorite subject at this time is the clouds I see over the valley. I prefer to paint oil on canvas for large paintings and use alkyd and pen and ink for small scenes and mini works on canvas or paper. I paint realistically, and attempt to express the excitement and energy I find in my subjects, hoping to invite the viewer to be pleasantly drawn into the finished painting. When this happens, I know I have succeeded in communicating with the viewer. Maybe someday I’ll move on to other subjects. For now, it’s the clouds !
t was a hot, unusually humid desert day when I made my way out to Pepper Wagner’s “Tile Art and Design Works.” You will find her place about 12 miles north of Yucca Valley on Old Woman Springs Road. Wagner is a tile mosaic artist who has been in Landers since July of 2008. She and her partner Ron moved here from Desert Hot Springs where she had a gallery for three years. Wagner has been doing tile mosaic since 1998 or 1999. She had worked professionally as a tile cutter and setter in Ohio, where she is from. One day, she was doing a job for a jewelry store, and there was a section where she had to do an unusual cut to fit the space. The tile she cut ended up looking like the logo for the jewelry store, which was diamond-shaped. This moment was an epiphany for Wagner, when she realized she could use a wet saw to cut different shapes in tile. That was what started her on her first piece of tile mosaic art. That first piece came with her to California. In addition to her own original designs, Wagner also does commission work. She enjoys doing both, but what she loves about commission work are the challenges presented by creating a piece specifically for one person. There are times when people will bring their own materials (special rocks or pebbles) for her to use in the commission piece. Pepper started doing murals because she wanted to create a peaceful setting - one of her favorites is a piece called “Beach House” that she did because she desperately wanted to go to the beach. Once
she had created it, she hung it on her wall and could “go to the beach” whenever she wanted. (Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of that piece.) Wa g n e r h a s a strong design sense, but what really struck me about her work was the dimensional qualities it has. Many of her pieces resemble bas-reliefs, with the rocks she includes protruding out from the surface of the piece. She will also use pebbles, stained glass, and stones in addition to the tile to create the finished pieces. Wagner’s partner Ron is also a tile setter, and he helps her with the logistics of her art: building frames, arranging shipping and hanging for each piece. Wagner shows her work at Bob Williams Nursery in Indio and Cabot’s Museum in Desert Hot Springs. You will also see a great deal of her tile work if you ever visit The Pepper Tree Inn, located in Palm Springs. Of course, putting this venue on your agenda for the October Hwy. 62 Art Tours will be the best way to see this talented artist’s work, and meet her for yourself. Pepper Wagner will be showing on the second weekend of the art tours this year. Karine Swenson profiles desert artists for the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council’s blog at: hwy62arttours.blogspot.com.
October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 19
TWENTYNINE PALMS ART GALLERY AND GIFT SHOP Desert Art Native American Jewelry and Southwestern Gifts 74055 Cottonwood Dr. (off National Park Dr.) Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 www.29palmsartgallery.com (760)367-7819
Open: 12 to 3 PM Wednesday–Sunday Summer Hours: 12 to 3 Friday-Saturday-Sunday
“The Community’s Natural Foods Store”
Joshua Tree Health Foods
Your Informed Mind, Healthy Body Connection Fresh Organic Produce • Refrigerated & Frozen Bulk & Packaged Foods • Herbs • Supplements Body Care • Books • Apparel 61693 Twentynine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree, CA Corner of 29 Palms Hwy. & Sunset Rd.
9:00-6:00 Monday thru Saturday
20 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
y next visit brought me a bit closer to downtown Joshua Tree, to Zono Art Productions. Rik Livingston and his wife, Cat, share their charming home with two cats, Mysterio and Rocket. The Livingstons have lived in the desert since 2006. At first, they were part-time residents, spending the other part of their time in San Francisco. In 2008, the recession propelled them into becoming full time residents of Joshua Tree. Livingston has always been an artist, despite coming from a midwestern family with no other artists to influence him and no real connection to the art world. Art was an innate part of him. He earned a BFA from Wichita State University and an MFA from the Art Institute in San Francisco. He was able to get scholarships to help him pay for most of his education, but he also worked as a picture framer to help pay the bills. Despite having a family who didn’t really understand his drive to pursue art, he followed the path of an artist. Livingston has made a career as an artist by not only selling paintings and fine art, but also by doing graphic design and graphic art. He also taught art for a while. While living in San Francisco, Livingston became involved in Whitney Young, Inc., which is an organization promoting child development for young children in San Francisco. He ran a 5,000 square foot art gallery as part of his involvement in Whitney Young, Inc. for three years. The gallery had nearly a hundred artists involved, and Livingston was the Art Director. Livingston found that the responsibilities of the gallery left him little time and energy to devote to his own work, and moving to the desert provided him with the change he needed to pursue art full time once more. Livingston is inspired by comics and advertisement, and considers his work to have a strong retro flair. Color and humor are both important to him. In times past, it seemed like people had a strong focus on the future—it held hope and the potential of space travel and other exciting innovations. This element is strong in his Zono art. His distinctive and light-hearted style does go through changes without losing its overall character and feeling. Seeing so much of his art hanging throughout their home does give a person the feeling of being transported, and anyone who enjoys a humorous take on life will enjoy Livingston’s art. Livingston shows his paintings and assemblage at Woods in the Desert Gallery, The Art Queen, and Hwy 62 Art and Antiques. To meet this visionary artist in person, however, your best bet will be to make this a stop on your Hwy 62 Art Tours this year. Livingston is planning to offer a line of cards, books and refrigerator magnets in addition to his paintings and assemblage this year for the Art Tours. Don’t miss it!
Dianne Bennett’s work is on display at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitors Center in Joshua Tree.
ianne Bennett was the artist-in-residence at Joshua Tree National Park in the fall of 2009. She was the first artist to participate in the second year of the park’s Artist-inResidence program. Each year, a jury composed of National Park Service personnel, Riverside Art Museum staff, and artists from the local community, select people whose project proposals reflect a strong interest in producing work connected to the park and its unique landscapes. Dianne lives in Ojai, and during her residency she painted a series of retablos currently being exhibited in the Joshua Tree visitor center. I recently interviewed her about her experience in the park last year. Caryn Davidson: Dianne, you describe yourself as an assemblage artist. But, given that you could not collect any materials in the park, how did you proceed? Dianne Bennett: I work with found materials such as old signs. I knew I wouldn’t be collecting materials in the park, so I brought my own. For instance, I had a piece of metal from an Ojai nursery that closed. I also had other signs people had given me. There’s a place in Ventura that cuts up the metal for me, which I then use as canvasses. I often allow the lettering from the sign to show through; for instance, if you look at the Joshua tree painting hanging in the visitor center, you can make out the letters of a stop sign beneath the paint. The lettering below the painted surface of the tortoise retablo is part of a reused speed limit sign. I try to integrate the text into the images I paint. CD: Could you explain what a retablo is? DB: It’s a form of Latin American folk art. Traditionally, retablos are devotional paintings that use religious iconography drawn from Catholicism. I’ve developed a more personal iconography in which birds, other wildlife, and the natural landscape take the place of more traditional images. The word retablo literally means “board behind.” In my paintings the reused metal signs suggest other layers below the surface, so to speak. CD: Who or what has influenced your work? DB: Many kinds of folk art, popular art including animated Disney films, Warner brother cartoons and modern artists like
Joshua Tree National Park’s 2010-2011 Artist-in-Residence Program
his year’s Artist-in-Residence program marks the third year in which artists in the visual, performing, and literary arts have been offered the unique opportunity to spend time inside the park focusing on a project relating to their experience in the desert. Participants this year will include Steven L. Anderson (a painter from Los Angeles); Shayna Keller (a choreographer from Studio City); Caille Millner (a writer from San Francisco); and Naida Osline (a photographer from Riverside). Michael Kenny (a photographer from San Francisco) was selected as an alternate. Eric Nevis, a Joshua Tree musician, was selected to participate in the Affiliate Artist program, which supports one-year projects in the park but offers no accommodations. Each artist-in-residence will be provided with accommodations at the Lost Horse cabin for a two- to six-week period. The residencies will take place during the months of October and November, and March and April 2011. Through partnerships established with other cultural, environmental, and civic agencies in the surrounding communities, these artists will produce a program, presentation, or exhibit to engage members of the public during or following their residency. The mission of Joshua Tree National Park’s Artist-inResidence program is to provide artistic and educational opportunities to promote a deeper understanding of and dialogue about the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Joshua Tree National Park and the deserts of Southern California. For more information about the program, contact Caryn Davidson, Park Liaison for the Artist-in-Residence program, at (760)367-3012, or at Caryn_Davidson@nps.gov. The prospectus is online at: www.riversideartmuseum.org/jtnp. October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 21
Miró, Magritte, Kienholz and Kahlo. I am drawn to painters whose work contains strong geometric elements. I worked as an illustrator for almost twenty years, so my visual language developed in the context of advertising and editorial work. In the early 90s things changed; because of advances in computer technology there was a shift away from hand-drawn work to computer-generated images. For me, a retraining period ensued. I took classes at CalState Channel Islands and in 2005 received a B.A. in Studio Arts. During that period of readjustment, several El Niño storms hit southern California and a lot of debris washed up on the beaches. I collected material there and began to experiment with it. I saw the effects of oil paint on metal and developed a flat graphic style that is reminiscent of my illustration style of the 1980’s that can be seen in the work hanging at the Joshua Tree visitor center. CD: How did your stay in the park influence your work? DB: I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Since the 1980s I would come out to Joshua Tree National Park to decompress from life in Los Angeles, to be in a place where I could see the horizon. I was very excited to hear about the Artist-inResidence program last year because I was already familiar with the park. When I first arrived I thought I would be painting a lot of birds—but they move too fast! As I learned more about the Joshua trees and the threats facing them, I began to paint them. I was surprised by the subtlety of life here compared to the urban environment. It takes time to slow down and observe what’s going on. I enjoyed seeing the wildlife that moved through the Lost Horse cabin area, mostly coyotes, jackrabbits, and birds. One of the park’s resource rangers, Jane Cipra, took me out in the field where we saw a desert tortoise. As I learned about its threatened status I was inspired to paint it and make more people aware of its predicament. My stay in the park allowed me to work without distractions and to be more mindful of how much was going on in the desert once I slowed down. I worked more spontaneously than while at home—I’d get up in the morning, go outside, and start painting. The environment was guiding my work; it wasn’t necessarily coming from my mind. CD: Do you have any last thoughts to share with the readers? DB: Even the most conscientious people don’t always seem to be aware of the delicate balance in the natural environment. There’s so much going on in the desert, both close-up and far away. The park offers people an opportunity to sit and watch the shadows move across the rocks. It’s hard for people to just sit and observe, and not to be doing something. The park is a wonderful place to experience a reconnection with our wild nature, and to appreciate our place in the natural world. 22 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
ne of the Morongo Basin’s most unusual residents called this area home from the 1950s until his death in 1975. Today, there are only a handful of locals left who knew Merle Armitage, but his contributions to music, art, literature, and design helped shaped the cultural life of an entire nation. “He’s not your typical person who came to the desert,” says Art Miller, Jr. of Yucca Valley. “But he was my favorite person because he was so unique and had such a varied background.” Born in Iowa in 1893, Armitage began one of his lifetime vocations, collecting art, as a teenager; he would go without lunch one day a week and use his savings to buy original drawings and paintings. In his early 20s, he took the concert world by storm as an outrageously successful and gutsy impresario. For three decades he organized concert tours for the likes of Igor Stravinsky, Leopold Stokowski, George Gershwin, Martha Graham and Anna Pavlova, plus the leading singers of the day—Mary Garden, John McCormack, Rosa Ponselle, Amelita Galli-Curci, and many more. He arranged the debuts of new prima donnas, revived the careers of others and traveled cross-country by train with his performers to their sold-out engagements. In 1921, he settled in Los Angeles, declaring that Southern California should become the music and art center of the world. He cofounded and managed the Los Angeles Grand Opera Association, helped choose the site for the Hollywood Bowl and later managed the Philharmonic Auditorium. He lived large—driving Packard automobiles and indulging his insatiable appetites for great art, great food and gorgeous women—and he built a circle of friends that seemed to include everybody who was anybody. Frank October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 23
Lloyd Wright, Edward and Brett Weston, Henry Miller, William Randolph Hearst and Charlie Chaplin all fell under the Armitage spell. During the Depression years, Armitage directed federal work programs for artists in Los Angeles while developing a reputation as an author and book designer. He once said, “I write books so that I will be able to design them.” He favored bold colors (especially orange) and strong graphic elements that became his award-winning, signature style. In all, he created over 100 books on subjects ranging from art, artists, dancers and musicians to the U.S. Navy, railroads and food. Two autobiographies, Accent on America, and Accent on Life, chronicle his adventures and his views on art and culture. (Though nearly all of these books are now out of print, George Gershwin, reissued in 1995 by Da Capo Press, is readily available.) Armitage designed both Edward Weston’s and his son Brett Weston’s first books of photographs and maintained close friendships with them. Edward once said, “Others talk; Merle acts.” Brett’s nickname for him was “Bull Tongue,” an apt description. But Armitage also had a heart; he once helped a poverty-stricken Henry Miller by taking an unpublished story, “The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder,” and turning it into a book that sold out within a year. Miller immortalized Armitage and his daughter Chama in Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. At the end of World War II (he served as a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force), Armitage was flying towards March Field in a B-24 bomber, sightseeing from the front gunner’s position, when he first laid eyes on the future site of his beloved Manzanita Ranch. North of the then-village of Yucca Valley, an area of immense boulders attracted his attention—he later called it “a Stravinsky panorama”—and he got the pilot to turn around so he could plot the location. He ultimately bought acreage at that very spot and built a compound with buildings for cooking, sleeping, working, and for his library and modern art collection—which by that time included over 600 works by Picasso, Gauguin, Klee, Kandinsky, et al. He served as his own architect, sending sketches from New York City where he was working as art director of Look magazine—one of seven magazines he designed during this phase of his life. By 1953, he left Look and made Manzanita Ranch his 24 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
home base. From there, he continued writing, publishing and lecturing around the country; but, as the years went by, he stayed closer to home. “There is great poetry about Manzanita Ranch,” he said. “A mystical quality of timelessness permeates everything…one is closer to the primeval, more in tune with the lasting values, than anywhere else on earth.” In a gesture that was pure Armitage, he placed a cross on a rocky ledge where he claimed to have buried Emily Post. Evelyn Conklin, founder of the Hi-Desert Nature Museum, used to sell Armitage’s books in the museum bookstore. She recalls that some of the celebrity guests who used to visit Manzanita Ranch included Erle Stanley Gardner and “Death Valley Scotty.” She also says, “He had a beautiful young wife who he used for a nude model. When you drove up the long driveway, you had to start honking so she had time to put on her clothes.” After multiple failed marriages and financial reversals, Armitage lived out his golden years on a shoestring. Ruth Long, owner of The Book Alley in the early 1970s, says that Armitage would come in to chat. “He was lonely, but a nice guy. He liked to tell about his past life so people would appreciate him.” By design, he had few close friends locally; among them were Art Miller, Sr., the developer of Western Hills Estates, and his wife Hazel. “Merle was always interested in being with other unique people, and both he and my father broke the mold,” says Art Miller, Jr. “My mother’s food was another bond. When she would invite Merle over for dinner—which was at least once a week, plus all the major holidays—he’d always accept, saying, ‘And thousands were killed in the rush.’” Following a stroke, Armitage died at Hi-Desert Memorial Hospital in 1975. Five years later Robert Purcell, another close friend, gave a talk on Armitage’s life for the Friends of the Library in Yucca Valley that drew a crowd of 100 people. Encouraged by Dan Cronkhite of Sagebrush Press, Purcell subsequently wrote a book titled Merle Armitage Was Here! The Yucca Valley Library holds two copies of this illustrated, limited edition book, designed and printed by Cronkhite. George and Marlene Wallace met Armitage in 1975 when they bought a nearby property, and they purchased his house after his death. Marlene says, “We found Christmas ornaments in the house that we put up every year in his memory, and whenever a door blew closed, we always said it was Merle’s ghost.” In a very real sense, Merle Armitage has never left. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the national park and at his soul’s home, Manzanita Ranch.
Cynthia Anderson is a fine writer, editor, and occasional activist, who lives in Yucca Valley and contributes to this magazine. We here at The Sun Runner consider Dan Cronkhite of Sagebrush Press, mentioned in Cynthia’s story, to be a local cultural treasure along with Merle Armitage. Maybe it’s time for another profile, Cynthia?
arden Art” conjures up many variable interpretations in individual minds: from topiary to extravagant water fountains to landscape ornaments or even floral designs. The Water Wise Demonstration Garden, the newest public garden in Joshua Tree, invites visitors and locals to an experience in “Garden Art” that not only serves as an inspiration for those who love desert botanicals, but offers beautiful art murals upon each of the five themed gardens in downtown Joshua Tree. This garden was a collaborative effort by the local community, as well as from the outside grant funding agencies who saw this project as a terrific opportunity to help educate homeowners on the ways of reducing drinking water usage on landscaping. A short trail first takes visitors through the porthole of the Native and Wildlife Garden, designed with plants that are naturally local and provides food for small birds, animals, and butterflies. Right around the bend you may enter the porthole of the Desert Ranch Garden, which was designed for those of us who love living and dining outdoors. The Mediterranean Garden, while keeping with a true water-wise budget, introduces plants that, while not native, thrive here and create color (such as drought-hardy roses) or food (such as olive trees and pomegranate trees). If you find yourself losing ground—literally—during our heavy monsoonal rains, you will surely be interested in the Rock and Sloped Yard Garden, designed to help minimize erosion while looking attractive. The winner for many recent visitors who have just recently relocated here, however, is the Thornless Garden. Imagine, desert plants that don’t stick, prick or sting!
Acclaimed hi-desert artists Shirley James and Bruce Miller teamed up on behalf of the Morongo Cultural Arts Council, the Morongo Valley Arts Colony, and the Chaparral Artists, and adorned each porthole wall with painted mini-murals and the respective garden names. James noted, “This garden is a perfect place for artists and botanists to study botanicals up close and personal—and be safe!” The best part of this “Garden Art” encounter is that you may even save money on your own water bills, no matter where you live in our dry Southern California region. Simply try duplicating at home any of the landscape templates you discover there. For a sneak peak at these plant palettes, garden designs, and irrigation layouts, go to www.jbwd.com. The garden is at 61750 Chollita Road in downtown Joshua Tree. Public hours are business days, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Free docent-led tours are available by appointment seven days a week by calling: (760)366-8438. Note: If you like the growing and landscaping options the desert offers, visit this garden, H20 Plus Ponds, & Yucca Valley Hydroponics. October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 25
Note: We invited documentary filmmaker Robert Lundahl to share his story about the Blythe Geoglyphs in danger of being destroyed (before the end of this year) to make way for a solar power project. Lundahl is working on a full-length film about “green” renewable energy, “Solar Gold.” He tells his story as only a filmmaker can...
s a filmmaker, my relationship with the desert began as it does for many others, transversing a lonely landscape with its share of oddities and attractions all the way from Palm Desert to the Colorado, San Bernardino to Las Vegas. As the years shot down the lonely highways and back, I began to open my eyes and ears. The mysteries of the ancient petroglyphs, the life supporting oases and springs awakened; the realization of desert as habitat dawned. I always had a camera with me, and that made me sensitive to the wreckage and artifacts we leave behind, fighter jets on poles out by Lancaster and an airplane wing here and there. In the desert, you are the main character, the protagonist. The desert is a reflection of you. If you are empty, or wanting, you will see the desert through that lens. If the desert itself is not enough, you may want to build costly solar apparatus with a lifespan of maybe 50 years and grade 100?s of square miles to do it, battle the desert for her gold and riches. Destroy 20,000 years of recorded history. Yes recorded. That’s what petroglyphs and geoglyphs are. In 30 years when we paint solar accumulating crystals on to the flat surfaces of our cars and houses, your public dumpsite will be someone else’s cultural genocide. On the other hand, if you see nature and abundance and 26 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
life, well, you’re ok. The desert is the protagonist. You are a bit player. Writers like conflict, and conflicts between competing ideas about our future are eternal and ongoing. But there are times when a deeper conflict manifests which can only be described as a conflict of the soul. The drama is about power; it is about energy; and how the burgeoning cities of the southwestern desert obtain that energy. Oh, yes, and I am a documentary film maker. Documentary means you film it from real life. If this were docu-drama... Solar Millennium executives could play both the protagonists and the antagonists. DISSOLVE TO SOLAR MILLENNIUM, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (Executives around the conference room) “We’ve got public opinion behind us, how can we really mess this up?” Let’s backtrack. In November, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar detailed several California renewable energy projects that are on a fast track to be constructed in the desert. “Under President Obama’s leadership, we have entered a new energy frontier,” Salazar said. “By putting these renewable energy projects on a fast track, we are managing our public lands not just for conventional energy development but also for environmentally responsible renewable energy production that will power our clean energy future.”
CUT TO: SOLAR MILLENNIUM, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (Executives around the conference room) “Forget about building solar on rooftops and parking structures, brownfields, ag lands, airstrips, and places that make sense, close to where people use it, distributed, so terrorists can’t knock it out... …we’ll build out in the desert, in a semi–wilderness, centralized, get the permits and build long transmission lines and interconnects, so its complicated and expensive, and so one Iranian cruise missile could take out the whole enchilada...”
Blythe Solar, a partnership of Chevron and the German firm Solar Millennium will grade and level 7500 acres of desert in an area near to the Blythe Giant Intaglios. The Intaglios are extremely large geoglyphs (images created on the surface of the Earth). Some say they represent Man, Woman, Creator, the seed and the “Trinity,” in the Uto-Aztecan cosmological view. The Blythe Intaglios are not alone. Film makers Robert Lundahl, whose film, “Solar Gold,” and Robert Gonzales– Vazquez, have documented scores of previously unknown geoglyphs in the area, some even within the footprint of the Blythe Solar project. CUT TO: SOLAR MILLENNIUM, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (Executives around the conference room) “And we’ll get the government, the taxpayers, to pay for it, or for a lot of it, they’ll give us ‘cash back...’ Yes (echoes) Cash Back! Is this a bad idea or what?” And Solar Millennium is not alone. Seven companies are now expected to break ground in the California and Arizona deserts before the end of this year on eight utility-scale solar projects with a planned eventual capacity of more than 3,800 MW. The solar industry is benefitting from a push, and pull, by the Federal government. Companies are anxious to break ground on their projects before the end of this year in order to meet a crucial deadline that will allow them to eventually be eligible for Federal cash grants from the Treasury Department that would reimburse them for 30% of the cost of construction. The developers are also lined up hoping to receive government guarantees of project loans from the Treasury’s Federal Financing Bank. The seven companies are Abengoa, BrightSource, Chevron Energy Solutions, First Solar, NextEra, Solar Millennium and Tessera Solar. CUT TO: SOLAR MILLENNIUM, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (Executives around the conference room) “And we’ll build them on... Native American Traditional and Religious Grounds!!!” The Palen Mountains are sacred to the Native Americans and in Nahuatl they are called “Hue-Hue- Talpallan” meaning Hue (Ancient), Hue (Ancient), Talpallan (Reddish Earth) together “The Ancient, Ancient Reddish Earth”. This area of proposed development is also home to Native petroglyphs, ancient trails, springs and a way of life and cosmological orientation that derives its symbolism and power from the very mountains ringing the valley to be paved over by the power plants. Six of the proposed projects have over 250 major cultural impacts each. For tribes across Southern California, resources
which constitute the libraries and recorded record of existence and life in the territories of Indigenous cultures are threatened. They are held in trust by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). CUT TO SOLAR MILLENNIUM, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (Executives around the conference room) “But wait, excuse me, excuse me.. Why would we want to build these plants on top of sacred geoglyphs, when there are other places we can build that are already distressed land like the City of Boron, Desert Center, Lake Tamarisk, Palmdale Airport, California City? “Look, it doesn?t matter. It?s solar energy, its ?renewable,? no one is going to fight us. We can do whatever we please.” “We know any kind of lawsuit will wind up in Federal Court and we’ll miss the deadline for our rebates, but if that happens it will be “Not our fault!” The State of California mandated the “33% Renewables Portfolio Standard by 2020” requiring that the State meet 33 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy by that time. With an unemployment rate nationally of 9.6 percent and a construction schedule coinciding with the 2012 elections, the Federal Government wants jobs. The third branch of governments in the State and the Nation, the Tribal Governments, are keeping quiet for now. But according noted anthropologist Dr. Lowell Bean there are concerns among Native people regarding cultural and environmental impacts. With policy and energy decisions looming that will define how the consumers and homeowners of the State of California will meet their energy needs, how much they will pay for it, and what “trade offs” will be made, it seems the three branches of Government may not be seeing eye to eye. A result left to the opinions of the Federal Judiciary would likely not benefit all October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 27
The Blythe Intaglios.
or perhaps any of the stakeholders. What Solar Millennium executives really discuss behind closed doors is, of course, unknown. And while one’s imagination can create a multitude of scenarios, most make no sense. The permitting process is in disarray. At a CEC, California Energy Commission hearing in Sacramento, relating to the CEC’s permitting of Florida Power and Light subsidiary NextEra’s™ Genesis plant at Ford Dry Lake, CEC Senior Project Manager Mike Monasmith, returning from a lunch break, announced the project would be approved despite major cultural impacts--on the basis of the overriding consideration of the power needs of the state. In other words, the result was announced before the data had been gathered. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties, and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment. The regulations also place major emphasis on consultation with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations, in keeping with the 1992 amendments to NHPA. Consultation with an Indian tribe must respect Tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. Here is gets fishier. When “good” renewable energy projects go bad. What happens when oral history and digital photography collide? Who believes what? Five of the six projects with major cultural impacts are on BLM (Bureau of Land Management land, which holds Native Cultural interests in trust. At the proposed location of Solar Millennium/Chevron?s Bythe Solar plant, geoglyphs of Kokopilli, Cicimitl, and the foot of Creator, lie within the project boundaries. The BLM says the geoglyphs weren’t there in a 1994 photo from Google Earth, so Solar Millennium can feel free to bulldoze them. Mohave Elder Ron Van Fleet, a descendent of the last Mojave traditional Chief, Emmett Van Fleet, says they were. Under the Section 106 process, that should be enough. 28 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
Some suspect digital photographic evidence provided by the BLM may have been altered. When asked about the discrepancy, noted anthropologist/ethnographer, Lowell Bean, who has worked with the Cahuillas for over 50 years said, “We have a conflict.” In the CEC’s presiding members proposed decision (PMPD) it appears that BLM believes that it is better qualified than the tribes themselves to identify whether or not the Kokopilli/Quetzalcoatl and Cicimitl geoglyphs existed prior to 1994. The BLM Palm Springs Field Office archaeologist provided Energy Commission staff with a Google Earth location for the Kokopilli geoglyph and another nearby geoglyph identified as Cicimitl. It appeared to staff that the two geoglyphs were located within the project boundaries. Staff considered the two geoglyphs as potential cultural resources subject to impacts. The BLM Palm Springs Field Office Field Manager and archaeologist met with Alfredo Acosta Figueroa and other representatives of the La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle on March 2, to view the two geoglyphs and some other sacred sites identified by Mr. Figueroa, including the Creator’s Throne (a rock masonry feature), and some ancient trails Mr. Figueroa says connected these two geoglyphs and the throne to the Blythe Intaglios and other sacred sites. The site visit and analysis of the geoglyphs determined that that these geoglyphs are recent in origin (Kline 2010). These conclusions were based on reviews of historic maps and aerial photography, allegedly showing that these geoglyphs did not exist prior to 1994. The BLM is relying on the May 21, 1994 and June 15, 1996 Google Earth photos below to determine their age. But the geoglyphs clearly existed. While the Kokopilli/Quetzalcoatl image is barely visible due to the poor quality of the Google Earth image the Cicimitl geoglyph is plainly seen in 1994. The pixel structure of the 1994 image on the left appears to this trained eye to be soft in the middle which might indicate use of the clone tool in Photohop to replicate and paste over images. Patterns of vegetation appear also to be highly regular and the 1996 image on the right appears more complex overall, suggesting significant alteration of landscape in ways that are unexplained. Bean gathered data from Native sources, Phil Smith (Chemehuevi), Ron Van Fleet Sr. (relative of Traditional Chief Fort Mojave Emmet Van Fleet), and Blythe resident Roy Robles under Section 106, indicating Kokopilli, Cicimitl, and Creator’s Footprint geoglyphs predated 1994, as presented in BLM FEIS, however due to scheduling inconsistencies and improper public notification, confusion and doubt has been created as to whether this data will be included in the FEIS by extension, amendment or other legal process. Other examples of a permitting process gone awry include: Persistent comments to the effect that Tribal representatives need more time to respond have not been given credence, but qualify in and of themselves as satisfying Section 106 requirements according to several of the project FEIS documents.
A new low for the BLM. Incredulously, at a closed door meeting on August 11, at U.C. Riverside Extension in Palm Desert, BLM Regional Director Holly Roberts commented that adequate efforts had been made to contact the tribes for input under Section 106 were immediately contradicted by the lack of invitation by email to Ft. Mojave Tribe, and statements that “they didn’t answer their phone.” Look, there?s a good chance it’s Aztec Listen to La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Site Protection Circle. In a February 8 e-mail to Allison Shaffer of the BLM’s Palm Springs Field Office, Patti Pinon, Chairperson of the La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle, expressed concern that the proposed project would be constructed on a Kokopelli geoglyph and numerous other images and ancient trails that lead to other geoglyphs a few miles away. Failure to incorporate substantive evidence provided by La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Site Protection Circle related to Cicmitl, Kokopili and Creator’s Footprint geoglyphs, trails, and land based geometries in accordance with Uto-Aztecan cosmology and traditions, seems to fit the pattern dodging Section 106 compliance. This dodgy behavior would also include the failure to take such logical steps as reaching out to Uto-Aztecan experts, nonlocally, including in Mexico (Yaqui, Tarahamaru, others) and Arizona (Tohono O’ Odham, others). No wonder they didn?t find anything. The BLM has relied on applicant anthropologists, BLM anthropologists, and contracted anthropologists to provide data reflected in Section 106 without proper vetting by Tribal authorities. Now when’s that report due? Anthropologist Dr. Lowell Bean was hired under the auspices of a BLM contractor to gather data from Tribal sources on a time schedule that is inconsistent with the period for public comment. Obviously this has created confusion and doubt. No one seems to know whether Bean’s data wlll be included in a version of the FEIS, which is closed, or the Public Comment period is also now closed for Blythe Solar. In conclusion the permitting of all of the six projects with major cultural impacts suffers from the same kinds of problems due to process shortcuts. Ivanpah, Lucerne, Imperial, Genesis, Palen, and Blythe Solar projects “fast tracked” status has resulted in inadequate evaluations of environmental and cultural resource impacts and therefore inadequate EIS documents in all cases. Similarly the lack of adequate Section 106 consultations appears across the board. In producing my film, “Unconquering the Last Frontier,” www.unconquering.org, I researched the history of the damming of Washington State’s Elwha River and its impacts on Native peoples dating back to the 1890s. What was revealed was a process of encroachment, brutalization, displacement, economic marginalization, cultural dissociation and forced acculturation into the European culture. Eighty years following the construction of dams blocking the salmon runs that provided spiritual and material sustenance to the Native peoples, Congress passed the Elwha Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act of 1992, mandating full ecosystem restoration and restoration of 11 runs of anadromous fish. The dams are scheduled to be removed in 2011, 100 years after they were built. A lesson to be learned is that it can take a long time to correct a problem once it is allowed to occur. Another lesson to be learned is this: Dams were not built to control rivers and generate power, for the economic benefits
Alfredo Figueroa and Kokopilli.
of that were always known to be short term, dams were built to control people. The generation of power by multinational corporations, including oil companies like Chevron (Blythe Solar, Palen plants), and power companies like Florida Power and Light (NextEra™–Genesis Plant), will over time feed the energy needs of Southern California, including Tribal businesses and reservations, thus making the tribes “customers”, no longer of local firms, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric but of international investment bankers and multinational firms with trillions of dollars of investment funds behind them. Their disregard for the Tribal perspective is exemplified by the Solar Millenium/BLM FEIS with all its inherent inadequacies. In the future, Tribal solar and energy projects will interconnect with the power grid on the terms of the current applicant/ providers and their successors, with the Tribes excluded as independent power generators or only under the contracts of the multinationals. Any joint venture projects developed in partnership with applicant companies will be subject to their terms and contracts. The hard earned sovereignty of Tribal governments will vanish like the surface of the desert under the blades of bulldozers run by investment bankers and the world’s energy firms. Ultimately this is a fight for independence, for sovereignty, and for survival of Tribal peoples. You can help say no to this corporate land grab by writing your thoughts to Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, at the following address: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W. Washington DC 20240. With projects quickly moving to the approval stage those wishing to participate in the appeals process or to file a lawsuit may do so on the basis of public comments filed in each of the projects. Public Comments related to the following cases may be found here: www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/. SES Solar Two Project (Imperial Valley Solar) (CACA 47740) Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (CACA 48668) Chevron Energy Solutions Lucerne Valley Solar Project (CACA49561) Blythe Solar Power Project (CACA 48811) Genesis Solar Energy Project (CACA 48880) Palen Solar Power Project (CACA 48810) Robert Lundahl is a documentary film maker. Contribute to his film on renewable energy,“Solar Gold,” at: www.indiegogo. com/Solar-Gold, and see his short film about the Blythe Geoglyphs and Alfredo Figueroa at www.thesunrunner.ning.com. Sign our petition to protect and preserve the Blythe Geoglyphs online at www.petitiononline.com/savekoko/petition.html. October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 29
wherein lies the blame
ormally I would ignore tirades in my e-mail and letters to the editor. However this time there were enough of them to warrant a response. From my column in the desert off-roading issue of The Sun Runner it has been implied that if an area, any area, is closed to access and I don’t like it, I’ll ignore the postings and go have fun anyway. This is completely untrue. While I like to lay my oversize tires on a nice set of rocks or use my Jeep to access some remote trail, I learned long ago in my errant youth that you don’t put your rubber where it doesn’t belong. To imply that I would do such a thing only shows that regardless of what I’ve written about responsible desert use in the last several years, anything in print can be interpreted in a manner benefiting the reader. Amusingly enough was the reaction to the off-roading issue of The Sun Runner. It was to say the least, very interesting from long letters defending ORV play to, “Driving vehicles off road should be prohibited. Outlawed. Period.” There was almost nothing to be said in-between except for a few people who actually acknowledged there is a problem and thanks for the focus. So the arguments continue as usual, with fingers being pointed, as usual, in the wrong direction. Then on Saturday, August 15, shortly after the start of the California 200, an off-road vehicle race held in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, tragedy struck, with eight dead and 12 injured when a competitor lost control of his truck and crashed into the crowd of spectators. The race had permits issued by the BLM, and was organized and sanctioned 30 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
by Mojave Desert Racing of El Monte. The California Highway Patrol stated the motor vehicle code did not apply to the race because the event’s organizers had valid permits issued by the BLM. The driver who was at the controls of the fatal vehicle was not charged because it was an accident. Not true exactly; it was an incident, not an accident. By definition and accident is unpredictable and this catastrophe was totally predictable and preventable; therefore, an incident. The race course was not well monitored, there was no security to speak of, emergency services were not planned for, and people were standing too close to the course, just to name a few problems. According to witnesses, some people were actually standing within a few feet of, if not on, the track themselves. So let me ask; who stands in the middle of a freeway? Who voluntarily places themselves in life-threatening danger at a spectator event? Unfortunately, the answer is that lots of people do it everywhere, everyday, all over the world. YouTube is filled with it. While the race organizers did have the obligation to provide proper security and first aid to keep the spectators safe from themselves, the bottom line liability for this incident didn’t lie with the organizers. It lay with the spectators who should have remained a safe distance (100 feet was called for) from the roadway of the course itself. The race at Soggy Lake caught national attention and that is sure to bring about new and unenforceable rules. The government, in this case the BLM and maybe even Congress, are sure to pass some kind of ruling regarding desert access and racing, and given a chance to add to the existing morass of legal confusion they will. During all of this, everyone from the Access Fund to the Sierra Club is going to come out of the woodwork to lobby for their causes and in the end nobody wins, with more desert access being restricted or closed. This doesn’t have to come about you know? Only the need to
point fingers shall insure it does. All in all, I think the California 200 is history from this point on. So wherein lays the blame? With the BLM and/or the SanBerdoo County Sheriff’s Department’s lack of presence? They have neither the manpower nor money to pay for it and lord forbid they should think to charge for the personnel to be there. Anybody else? What about the organizers? Absolutely. They were responsible for safety on site and should have provided adequate security and safety patrols at key points. Marked the course out in safety tape and provided hay bale barriers at turns and potential jumps. Yet that’s a lot of crap to haul into and out of the desert, not to mention the expense, just for a little safety. There’s more: a much larger than expected group of spectators and the chance of problems at an event in BFN go up significantly. So what is point of all this? Just what I’ve been saying for years in these very pages: From within a crowd of 40,000+ at Burning Man to being by yourself at Zabriskie Point, when in the desert the only person that can be held accountable for your personal safety is ultimately yourself. ~ Comments, suggestions questions: e-mail email@example.com.
andscape gardening is done to please the eye, with plants native to an area for easy care. Many home cooks also grow herb and vegetable gardens, a ‘hobby’ becoming more popular as commercial food quality is compromised by thoughtless agricultural practices and food prices rise. As more of us seek ways to increase our quality of life (or to avoid losing all quality of life, which is the real cost of illness) I hope we’ll be seeing more people tending their own ‘medicine gardens’ right alongside the vegetables and herbs. My grandmother (who lived to age 96 in perfect health and, in her words, “only passed on because she wanted to visit the Lord”) was the home-remedy queen, and the source of my lifelong interest in using common plants in the treatment of illness, a practice that goes way back before Hippocrates, who famously said, “Let food (plants) be thy medicine.” Grandmother taught me to make my own ‘weed & flower’ healing teas, salves, lotions, and detoxifying baths, but when I got really sick I got serious about plant remedies. Over the years my immune system was compromised by exposure to toxins, antibiotics, and stressful years of juggling career and motherhood and other issues. Then a few years ago I found I was having trouble recovering from a serious bout of whooping cough that not only nearly killed me, it wiped me out
financially, too. Hearing that victims of tuberculosis, mustard gas, and other lung diseases had been sent to the Twenty Nine Palms area for the clean, dry air I moved from Los Angeles and discovered that there is a wealth of medicinal plants growing here in the desert. Two of the most common useful plants that thrive right under our noses are: creosote (or greasewood) and mullein. Creosote is said to be the oldest living thing, and all those bushes you see are actually one plant that has ‘cloned’ itself over centuries. One reason for its success is that it has the ability to prevent other plants from growing near it by secreting a toxin from its roots. (Rainfall washes away the toxin, but once the water drains off any plants that have sprouted will be destroyed). This ensures that creosote does not have to compete with other plants for vital nutrients. Natives (and modern herbalists) used highly antioxidant creosote tea to cure influenza, stomach ailments, arthritis, anemia, and fungal infections. A tincture of creosote is believed to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells, and because of its antimicrobial properties, can also be used on the skin as a first-aid salve. It has no known side-effects but prolonged use (more than three weeks without a break) is not recommended because it can have a toxic effect on the liver. Interestingly, the desert-dwelling Fremen in Frank
Herbert’s Dune series rubbed creosote on their hands to prevent loss of moisture. The common mullein is a woolly-looking plant covered by barbs of yellow flowers which smell sweet when crushed. Both leaves and flowers have been used for medicinal purposes for ages. The natives made tea from this plant that is a potent cough medicine, and further, is effective in treating tuberculosis, asthma, ear infection, allergies, and migraines. Syrup made from mullein is used by herbalists to treat a variety of heart problems. Mullein is also calming, relieves pain and induces sleep. A salve made from mullein and olive oil can be used to treat burns and bruises, rash, earache, and common skin problems like acne. A mixture of mullein and catnip is a powerful aid in treating many childhood illnesses, and is easy to give to children because it tastes delicious and has no reported side effects. Because of the wide range of mullein’s internal and external uses, some believe it is also effective in getting rid of evil spirits! You may also like to know that the yellow flowers can be used to dye hair blond and the fuzzy leaves can be put in your socks to keep your feet warm in winter.* For recipes and help designing your own medicine garden, contact the Medicine Gardener at (760)413-0538 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. *These statements are not approved by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. As always, The Sun Runner encourages the use of common sense when working with native plants, especially when ingesting them. If you aren’t sure about how best to make use of a plant, do your research and exercise caution. We love iced creosote tea from time to time, but caution and moderation are your best guides to native plant use. Stay away from the datura. Cahuilla elder, cultural leader, desert plant expert, and desert treasure Dr. Katherine Siva Saubel just turned 90. We wish her a very happy birthday! October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 31
eople who live in the Morongo Basin have an incredible treasure on our doorstep. Tourists travel from all over the United States and the world to visit Joshua Tree National Park. As a volunteer for Joshua Tree National Park I get to see the excitement and amazement that visitors feel for our park. As so often happens, those closest to a treasure tend to take it for granted. Of course, we all drive though the park to show our guests the views from the car window. But how many of us know the history of the park, have spent an evening stargazing with a ranger, or have gotten off the road and experienced the wonders of our park? Joshua Tree National Park is a land of granite formations, endless open spaces, star-filled skies and stunning sunsets. Its many striking features, stark beauty, vast expanses and solitude set our park apart from any other place in the United States. Did you know that Joshua Tree National Park protects 501 archeological sites and 88 historical sites and is home to over 50 species of mammals, 40 species of reptiles, and 700 species of plants? Did you know that Joshua Tree National Park is comprised of three separate ecosystems? The northern section of the park is in the southern tip of the Mojave Desert. The southwestern half is in the western tip of the Sonoran Desert. The third is the pinyon pine and juniper zone found at the higher elevations in the western mountain area. Recreational visitors enjoy our park for what it is –largely undeveloped land with breathtakingly scenic views and vast, remote areas of solitude. These unique desert characteristics translate into economic benefits for the outdoor recreation and tourism industries in our community. In 2003 visitors to our park spent $47.5 million. Our park also provides us with premium real estate values. 32 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
Real estate market figures reveal that people are willing to pay more for homes located near permanently protected open spaces. A 2005 survey of lots in Joshua Tree found that the average price per acre was about one-third higher for lots close to our park boundary than for lots farther from our park. As Joshua Tree National Park is gearing up to celebrate its 75th anniversary, the eyes of the world will be on our park. And what better way to say “Thank You” to our park than to restore and revitalize it in time for its 75th anniversary! One area in desperate need of restoration efforts is the Hidden Valley Trailhead. If rocks could talk, what stories the formations at Hidden Valley could tell! Once a refuge for cattle rustlers and mountain lions, Hidden Valley is now a popular rock climbing, picnicking and hiking destination located in the northern part of Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree National Park, Arrowhead Water and National Parks Conservation Association are teaming up to restore the hidden valley trailhead and eliminate nearby social trails. Volunteers at the Hidden Valley Restoration Event will restore two critical areas. The first is the Hidden Valley Trailhead. The work will involve removing wooden ties that line the trail and replacing them with rocks, digging postholes for fencing to secure the site and planting native vegetation. This work is critical to prevent further damage to vegetation around the trailhead and to stop soil from eroding into the parking lot. The fine sand that has eroded onto the sidewalk and parking lot is a serious safety hazard for park visitors. During our August site tour, several hikers actually slipped while park service officials were pointing out the loose soil seeping out onto the sidewalk. The second important project is to remove social trails on the outskirts of Hidden Valley, specifically the trails leading out to the Houser Buttress. This is very important work because social trails created by rock climbers, bouldering enthusiasts and other park visitors cause significant impacts to a variety of park natural resources including native plant communities, rare and sensitive plant species, wildlife species, scenic values, and cultural resources. Social trails also cause damage to geologic resources through destruction of cryptobiotic crusts, the desert’s delicate living soil. They also compact soil and cause erosion, two impacts that are long term in nature and difficult and expensive to restore. The social trails go east from the parking lot and have partly been created due to confusing trail signs and fallen Joshua trees. Since this is by a popular picnic site and accesses a very popular climb named “Loose Lady” it sees a great deal of foot traffic. To restore the area we will delineate the most used path by lining it with rocks and replacing the confusing signs. Then we will disguise the remaining paths with a technique called, “vertical mulching.” Vertical mulching is technically planting dead plants to create shade, wind blocks, and to encourage seed caches so that seeds can germinate. Vertical mulch is also a visual reminder for hikers to stay on the developed trail. Brooms and rakes will also be used to sweep away footprints. We have recruited numerous volunteers from the community for this project, including U.S. Marines and children from the local Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs. The volunteers who participate in the project will enjoy an on-site barbecue in spectacular Joshua Tree National Park to reward them for their efforts! D’Anne Albers works as Event Coordinator for the National Parks Conservation Association in Joshua Tree. We’d like to wish Curt Sauer well upon his retirement as superintendent of Joshua Tree National park, and welcome Actin Superintendent Lizette Richardson.
n June of this year, the Amargosa Conservancy convened the first meeting of a new environmental education alliance in the Amargosa region. The goal of this landmark summit, held at the Conservancy’s office in Shoshone, was to share resources, strategies, ideas, and opportunities for educating students about the natural and cultural wonders of the area and the value of protecting this rich heritage. “There’s a legitimate need to connect youth to the land, the water, and the stories that the Amargosa region has to share,” said Resource Advocate Brian Brown, who facilitated the meeting. “So many of our students don’t realize that people come from all over the world to see our back yard, that what we have here is really special.” Death Valley Academy student representative Ryan Muccio agreed, while thanking Death Valley National Park education
specialist Stephanie Kyriazis for her recent presentation to his class. “Learning about Death Valley National Park really makes the place come alive,” said Muccio. “It’s one thing to see it, and another to have a deep understanding of what you’re looking at.” The full range of collaborators in the summit included representatives from the Great Basin Institute, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Goldwell Open Air Museum, Death Valley Academy, National Parks Conservation Association, Barstow College, the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Death Valley National Park, Death Valley Unified School District, Death Valley Natural History Association, and the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. Participants discussed their existing programs and then identified challenges and opportunities for growth. The discussion soon moved to ways in which groups could collaborate, including the possibility of pursuing multiorganization grants to meet student needs. At the end of the meeting, the group decided that an environmental education alliance would be a vital resource for the region. “There’s a fundamental question at the heart of this,” said David Lamfrom, Amargosa Conservancy vice-president and program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “How do we ensure that, after that first field trip, there’s a continuing path towards understanding, appreciation, and even a career in conservation for our students?” It is this kind of long-term vision that the alliance will explore. The Amargosa Conservancy is proud to be part of this group and is committed to serving as an organization that will connect environmental educators in the region. If you would like to be part of this growing collaboration to benefit our students and our land, please contact Molly Helene Hansen at email@example.com or (760)852-4339.
October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 33
he U.S. Naval Museum of Armament and Technology, located at the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) at China Lake in the northern Mojave Desert 150 miles north of Los Angeles, is a good place to view examples of the work that smart people on the desert have been doing for the past 67 years to help keep our nation strong. The principal activity at NAWS, indeed the reason for its existence, is the extensive research, development, engineering and test complex of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. This facility was initially called the Naval Ordnance Test Station, then the Naval Weapons Center, but soon became called by the generic term China Lake. In 1941 the Navy partnered with the California Institute of Technology to apply rocket propulsion technology to air- and surface-launched weapons. By 1943 this program had expanded greatly, outgrowing its testing areas. A diligent search resulted in the choice of the Indian Wells Valley as the best location for the new complex. A massive construction program began at China Lake. Wise admirals in Washington had decided to build an extensive permanent facility to continue, postwar, the research, development and testing of the rocket program. In addition to extensive technical facilities, many housing units were built at China Lake to accommodate hundreds of military and even more civilian employees. The adjacent community of Ridgecrest at the time was a small hamlet with a population of only 100 to 150 and minimal support facilities. That meant that the Navy had to, and did, build a city within the 34 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
naval base. Some began to call China Lake the “Secret City” because of the sensitive work done here. With the end of the war in 1945 many of the Caltech people returned to academic research and the classroom. Some transferred to civil service at China Lake. Many military personnel separated from the service and did likewise. As the Caltech programs were completed, new projects were started, with expansion into broader fields over the next four decades. Ever since then China Lakers have constantly applied advanced technology to weapons. During the Korea and Vietnam wars many crash programs provided successful solutions to specific problems. The foresight of our technical workers during the periods intervening resulted in many “firsts” for China Lake, among them Ram, the 6.5-inch shaped-charge-warhead antitank aircraft rocket; the full development and design of the first air-to-air Sidewinder guided missile, advanced models of which are still in operation; The 2.75-inch folding-fin air-to-air and air-to-ground rocket in a multi-round pod (i.e. a shotgun!); Shrike, the first antiradiation air-fired missile; Walleye, the first “smart” guided bomb; the air dropped fuel-air-explosive bomb; ROCKEYE, a family of antitank cluster bombs; ASROC, an anti-sub weapon launched vertically from below decks shipboard; and many others. In 1993 a group of China Lake alumni formed a nonprofit public benefit corporation (the China Lake Museum Foundation) to assist in establishing an official government museum to preserve the history of the “Grand Experiment” that is China Lake. A former Officers’ Club building, previously converted
into an exhibit and conference hall, was proposed as the initial facility for the museum. Final approval was received, and the U.S. Museum of Armament and Technology was dedicated in 2000. The museum has been greatly improved and enlarged in the last 10 years. Three large areas are full of exhibits of weapons developed at China Lake from the early days up to the present. A gift shop has many items relating to the history and culture of the “Secret City.” An outdoor exhibit showcases several aircraft that have used China Lake weapons. Foundation members serve as receptionists, docents and guides. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The museum is closed Sunday and holidays. To get to the museum, you need to go to China Lake’s main gate, located in Ridgecrest at the intersection of Inyokern Road (Hwy. 178, which extends eastward from Hwy. 14) and China Lake Boulevard, which is the main north-south road through Ridgecrest from Hwy 395. Stop at the Visitor Center (Pass
Office at main gate, south side). Parking area access is from China Lake Boulevard. You’ll need to provide your photo ID and Social Security Number. The driver of your vehicle will also need to show current auto registration and proof of insurance. On Saturdays and alternate Fridays, when the Visitor Center is closed, you can show the documentation listed to the guard at the main gate. He will direct you to the museum. – John Di Pol, Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert
October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 35
any men have written about the so-called old west…the exhilarating world of frontier. Descriptions of the edge of civilization…the border between ‘us and them,’ known and unknown, and other hierarchical dichotomies seemed designed to stir up hormones…male hormones. Surprise! Women also wrote about this exciting world and sometimes even got their articles printed in important publications of the time. Women had indeed written for newspapers in the late 19th century but almost always in what were thought to be women’s fields: food and fashion, children and clubs. They were certainly not assigned to write about the evolution of rough and tumble mining camps. Thankfully, a few authors did cross their own frontier and tell tales from a woman’s view. Clara Spalding Brown was one such remarkable person. Clara (1855-1935) joined her husband Theodore at Tombstone, Arizona Territory in 1880 from where she wrote a series of 17 letters to the San Diego Union describing mining camp life from a woman’s point of view. In 1897 Clara found herself in Randsburg describing mining camp life on the Rand… also, of course, from a woman’s perspective. Frank Leslie’s Weekly (printed on Tuesdays since 1852) published Clara’s piece on the 27th of May 1897 under the title of A DESERT EL DORADO. What did Clara choose to report? Firstly, she suggested to readers that they grow beyond the idea that the Mojave is merely a terra incognita “over which ill-fated travelers wander half-crazed in search of water”. Clara saw “the glory of color, the gorgeousness of clouds, …[a] mysterious region interesting to the appreciative observer….” She briefly chronicled the camp’s gold-discovery-history and then remarked: Randsburg is one of the most picturesque of mining-camps, containing a population of about twenty-five hundred, its tents and rude frame structures scattered irregularly over a narrow bench of land between high, barren hills. Of newly-minted Johannesburg Clara wrote: On the other side of a steep ridge is Johannesburg, a three months’ old town, which will probably become the business centre of the district. It has an admirable site, broad streets, a well-appointed hotel, sampling works, and a good supply of water, furnished in pipes…Good, hard roads lead in all direc36 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
tions, with seldom any dust, for the reddish soil packs easily and looks capable of producing something more than the low clumps of sagebrush which abound. Twenty years hence, one ventures to predict, the application of water will have caused a wondrous change in the appearance of this now arid territory… Much of the year the climate is unexcelled. In summer the heat is intense through the day, but the nights are comfortable at this elevation. High winds prevail in the winter and spring, yet there are many perfect days when the dry, pure air has just chill enough in it to be bracing. Sometime Johannesburg will be known as a sanitarium in addition to its prestige as the centre of a rich gold-producing district. Clara continued her writing career for over 55 years. She produced several books and wrote many articles for journals and newspapers. Clara was also one of the founder’s of the Southern California Women’s Press Club. Widowed twice, she found solace as she wrote about the world from a woman’s distinctive point of view. Clara had been trained as a teacher, not a writer, however she bravely picked up a pen and wrote of what she experienced in the early west and in early Randsburg. Most published writers of Clara’s time were men but because Clara dared to write about ‘guy stuff’ she left us a unique treasure of her thoughts. Randsburg today is still an experience. When YOU next come here don’t forget to bring paper and a pen…
abot Yerxa, the lone builder of Cabot’s Museum in Desert Hot Springs, created a life of adventure and purpose. Adventure was in his blood. In the inhospitable North Dakota Territory, his father, Frederick Yerxa started a Trading Post on a Sioux Reservation in 1882. Cabot was born there in 1883. Cabot’s mother was a Cabot of Boston. When Cabot was just 16 years old, against the frustrations of his parents, he set out, alone, for the Klondike Gold Rush in 1901. While in Nome Alaska, Cabot made a handsome profit selling cigars supplied from his father’s wholesale grocery business. Cabot lived with Inuits while in Alaska. He transcribed a partial Inuit dictionary that he later registered with the Smithsonian Institute. He was 19 years old. A profound respect and appreciation for indigenous people was evident and well demonstrated throughout Cabot Yerxa’s life. The home and museum he built in Desert Hot Springs, Cabot’s Old Indian Pueblo, was an homage to Native Americans. He called his tours… “lectures” and worked vigorously over the course of many decades to abolish the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Visitors to his museum were asked, if they liked, to sign petitions in support of his goal. Many well known Indian Rights activists of his time were good friends and frequent guests, Chief Semu Haute and Laura Mohl among them. Cabot led an early charmed life... at 10 years old he took a private rail car with his parents on a three month sight seeing trip from Minnesota to Mexico. They were guests of President Perfirio Diaz and stayed at the famous Chapultepec Castle. In 1903 his parents lived at the palatial Villa Pillar in Cuba, on The Isle of Pines, building and selling homes. Coming to California the family bought citrus groves in Arlington Riverside. In The Great Freeze of 1913 the family lost their sizeable fortune overnight. Cabot’s father soon died. Cabot was 30 years old. Expressing his sorrow, Cabot wrote, “Sometimes we’re in the cellar beneath the floorboards where new beginning and fair starts are made.” Undaunted, with 10 dollars to purchase a burro, and an
idea, he started anew. Along with his good friend Robert V. Carr, Cabot started a homestead in what is today, Desert Hot Springs. His first “home” was a hole dug in the side of a hill. On his land he discovered a very hot water spring that he intuitively knew would heal people. He named his homestead Miracle Hill. Life was strenuous. Cabot wrote extensively about this time in his life. In the 1950s he published 280 articles over a five year period titled On the Desert Since 1913. Many of the articles were republished in a national Hearst newspaper; The New York Journal American. (Cabot Foundation Board member and author Richard Brown is currently editing for publication) Cabot’s contributions to the founding of Desert Hot Springs are as varied as his life. He “raked and oiled” over eight miles of road for access to the city. He brought the largest land developer, L.W.Coffee, to the community to take advantage of the hot medicinal water. Coffee, in 1941, built the most sophisticated bath house in the West…poured concrete, a 275 foot pool and a chiropractor on staff. On opening day he greeted 2,000 well-wishers when the population of the city was just 20. The hot water would soon become the catalyst for the creation of the” Spa City” called the “Baden-Baden of America” and “the hot water mineral capital of the world.” Cabot called himself a writer and artist. He studied art, in 1925, at Academie Julian in Paris. He was a lifelong Theosophist who exemplified the belief of living a life of truth through creating, in tandem with practicing humanism. He was immersed in a metaphysical life. In a love letter to his soonto- be Theosophist bride Portia, Cabot asked, “Can we build a place like no other?” We believe that Cabot Yerxa’s greatest work of art was the creation of a city… Desert Hot Springs. He was lovingly called Desert Hot Spring’s “Guiding Light.” Just months before Cabot Yerxa died the New York Times called Cabot’s Pueblo Museum “the most fantastic building in California.” It’s a beauty—35 rooms, 150 windows, 65 doors, all built from found or handmade materials. The “fantastic” too can be found in the man that conceived and built it: Cabot Yerxa. Come to see it for yourself. The Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is open six days a week. Closed on Monday. Visit www. cabotsmuseum.org, or call (760)329-7610. Our thanks to Barbara Maron for writing the one of the first of what we hope to be a never-ending series on our “Desert Treasures,” the people, past and present, who have made significant cultural impacts here. Maron is a four-year Cabot Foundation Board member, the historian of the museum. She has written and published research about Cabot Yerxa. Riverside County Historical Commission recently awarded her an Individual Achievement Award for promoting history. Congratulations! October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 37
Desert Theatre Beat
By Jack Lyons Sun Runner Theatre Editor
s we stare down Halloween (where did the summer go?) wasn’t it only yesterday that we were complaining about the sizzling triple digit heat of July?). Fall brings not only cooler weather, but signals the beginning of the live theatre season in the Coachella Valley. For those keeping score, we’ve lost four theatres (victims of the economy) but we’ve gained three new production companies. With your support we won’t lose anymore and may even add a theatre or two this 2010/2011 season. HI-DESERT THEATRES … Groves Cabin Theatre – Morongo Valley This little gem of a theatre, a half mile off Highway 62 on Desert Willow Trail, was set to raise its curtain on its season with the Tina Howe play “Painting Churches.” Due to cast changes, the production has been moved to a Spring opening. In its place, the Groves will present Del Shores’ zany comedy “Daddy’s Dyin,’ Who’s Got The Will.” The production, directed by Kathryn Ferguson, features Chris Fleishman, Joy Groves, Charles Harvey, Rebecca Havely, Marty Neider, Elodie Rain, Virginia Sulick, and Les Taylor. The play opens Saturday, October 8 and performs Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through October 31. Reservations are a must, there are only 22 seats! Call the box office at (760)365-4523. Theatre 29 – Twentynine Palms Theatre 29 features their 7th Annual Halloween Haunt on the grounds of the theatre with shows scheduled for October 21-23, 28-31. The spooky event created and produced by master special effects wizard Eric Ross, opens at dusk to the delight and fright of hauntees. Following this seasonal haunting, Theatre 29 presents their annual holiday show. This year it’s called “The First Christmas,” a musical version of the Christmas story, as you have never seen it before—through the eyes of a young girl.
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The music and lyrics by Aaron Edson, and book by Dennis Agle, will be codirected by Patricia Tabeling and Paulette Highfill. Performances will be given on Fridays and Saturdays, at 7 p.m., Friday, November 19 through December 18. Call the box office for tickets and information at (760)361-4151. LOW DESERT THEATRES … Palm Canyon Theatre – Palm Springs The flagship theatre of the low desert opens its production of “Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice, on Friday, October 8. The long-running musical smash hit, directed by Scott Smith will perform through October 24. Following “Cats” the theatre is presenting the Neil Simon comedy hit “Rumors” directed by Dr. William Layne. The meowsical runs November 12-21. All performances are Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. For reservations and ticket information call the box office at (760)323-5123. Rubinsky Productions – Palm Springs One of the valley’s premiere cabaret producers is Irwin Rubinsky, a Desert Theatre League multiple award-winning composer, lyricist, and producer, and a DTL Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Rubinsky presents the Yve Evans Trio led by the incomparable piano playing jazz singing legend Yve Evans, on Saturday, October 2, at the Rock Garden Café beginning at 7 p.m. Patrons have the opportunity to dine before the show or just come listen to the cool sounds of Yve Evans and her trio. Tickets for just the show are $15. For reservations call (760)327-8840. The Rock Garden Café, 777 S. Palm Canyon Blvd., Palm Springs. On November 6, producer Rubinsky presents the internationally renowned chanteuse, Tonia Bern Campbell, who also appears at the Rock Garden, in a show called, “How Do You Keep The Music Playing.” Bern-Campbell says the show blends the music of European composers with songs by American songwriters. Tunes like “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “Happy Anniversary,” ”The Song Is You,” “I Don’t Remember You,” will be featured. I’ve seen her Cabaret act many times. The lady knows how to sing and stylize a musical number, and everyone is in for a treat by a really talented professional performer who has worked with music and movie legends the world over. Tonia Bern-Campbell’s show curtain goes up at 7 pm. Tickets are $20. Call (760)327-8840 for reservations.
Palm Desert Stage Company – Palm Desert Earlier in the column I mentioned our valley has gained three new live theatre venues. With that said, let me introduce you to the Palm Desert Stage Company. The new artistic endeavor is the brainchild of two longtime valley residents and award-winning performers, Colleen Kelley and Eric Olson. These two creative artist/performers bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new venture. Although Eric is an award-winning playwright and actor and Colleen an award-winning actor and producer, both decided to present the Ken Ludwig comedy/farce “Lend Me A Tenor,” as their first production. It’s a solid choice to show off the talent of some of the valley’s finest performers. “Tenor” was nominated for a Tony Award this year for Best Revival of a Broadway play. The zany comedy directed by Olson is being performed on the stage of the Arthur Newman Theatre at the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert, and features an ensemble cast that includes Peter Mins, Louise Ross, Nikki Hock, Colleen Kelley, Nicole Willared, Raul Valenzuela, and George Almond. Performance dates are November 5-7 and 12-14. Curtain times on Friday and Saturday evenings are 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on www.pdstage.com, at the Joslyn Center, or call (760)218-4075. We wish this new company the best of luck and look forward to seeing their next show. As they say in the world of live theatre, “break a leg.” Desert Actors Co-Op Local actors Ralph Simmons and Lloyd Steele put their creative heads together and came up with a new production company to join the ranks of the valley’s live theatres. Their debut production was “I Hate Hamlet,” by Paul Rudnick. The comedy directed by Pat Melvin was performed in the Arthur Newman Theatre at the Joslyn Center this September. The cast included: Dean Apple, Debbie Apple, Danielle Dorta, Anja Homburg, Ralph Simmons, and Lloyd Steele. Now we are anxiously waiting to see what the next production will be… Dezart Performs – Palm Springs The winners of last season’s Dezart Performs’ Playwriting Festival: “Ellipses” by Colette Freedman and Nick Mize, and “The Girlfriend Experience” by Mark Troy, are being presented at Dezart One Gallery, in the Backstreet Art District, 2688 S. Cherokee Way, Palm Springs,
October 21-23 at 7:30 p.m. The stage reading winners now have a full production staff and crew and the two play director’s, Jeannette Lyons for “Ellipses,” and Sal Romeo for “The Girlfriend Experience.” The directors have prepped their casts and are looking forward to opening night, Thursday, October 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets and information can be obtained by calling (760)322-0179. Last Minute Notes From the Editor’s Desk… Desert Theatre League Judging Coordinator Barbara Johnson informs me that almost 400 Nomination Certificates have been prepared and ready for presentation to nominated actors, directors, designers, singers, dancers, and a host of technical disciplines at the Annual DTL Nomination Party being held Monday, October 4 at The Indio Performing Arts Center beginning at 6 p.m. The Annual DTL Desert Stars Awards ceremony will take place at Sun City Shadows Hills, Indio on Sunday, November 14. More than 200 guests are expected to attend. The gala event is open to the public and begins with a social hour at 5 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony and program at 6 p.m. Make your reservations early. Refreshments are included in the $20 ticket price. Call (760)772-9617 for information. The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project is presenting a three-day festival, celebrating the contribution of “Women In the Arts,” convening the festival here in the Coachella Valley. On November 5-7, Leanna Bonamici, president and owner of Casablanca Studios, in Desert Hot Springs, will host a star-studded, three-day event that includes play readings, performance artists, and a personal appearance by Grammy Award-winner and music icon Janis Ian. Ian will perform, as well as conduct a Master Class in Artistry during the event. Los Angeles producers Dee Jae Cox and Michelle Weiss are the people responsible for bringing this event to the Coachella Valley. For ticket information call (818)471-9100, or www.lawomenstheatreproject.com. We are hearing there will be some unavoidable venue changes for the festival, but the festival is slated to continue. All of us at The Sun Runner want to express our condolences and send our love and prayers to Leanna at the passing of her father, Fred Bonamici. Fred was a warm, loveable, great character, and those traits have passed on quite well to his daughter.
am constantly amazed by the way new acting companies keep showing up in the Coachella Valley. However, I don’t suppose it should be so surprising with Los Angeles just down the road; a town whose major industry has to do with actors and stories. Even two hours away, the talent pool remains pretty deep. The valley, hand-in-hand with the hi-desert, has an unusually complex entertainment scene for an area of less than half a million people. Consider Pappy and Harriet’s, an incubator for many “alt” musical disciplines; tribal casinos, showcasing top entertainers; the Hi Desert Cultural Center’s Junior Philharmonic Orchestra, giving young musicians a taste of symphonic music; the McCallum Theatre, featuring national touring companies and College of the Desert’s student productions; and anywhere from 10 to 20 community theatres. Quite an embarrassment of riches! For this issue I thought I’d spotlight Dezart Performs. Founded by Michael Shaw and Daniela Ryan and working out of Dezart One Gallery, this group is an outstanding example of what makes our theatre scene so special. Michael works in LA, living part time there and part time in the valley; Daniela, with hubby and kids, lives here in the valley. So what does a theatre company have in common with an art gallery? When it’s Dezart One Gallery, it’s many things. First off, there’s all that gallery floor space—to put all those nice folding chairs. Of course, part of your set design is taken care of, with all that gorgeous artwork. Dezart One is a unique venue, and owners Kim Chasin, Marian Moiseyev, and Downs welcomed Daniela and Michael to be part of their theatrical plans. Daniela, new to the area, advertised on
Craigslist for information about local theatre groups. Downs answered. They met and Daniela agreed to begin thinking about how to begin. Daniela is no beginner in this theatre business. After her undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts from UC Berkeley, and a Telecommunications and Film M.A. from San Diego State, she worked in broadcasting and then six years in film and TV production. In addition to her producing work, Daniela is a writer and actress, skills she called upon to start Dezart Performs with a one-woman show, “4 at 40: Mothers’ Letters to their Daughters,” which premiered at the gallery in 2007. Michael Shaw, the other half of this theatrical venture, has been a professional actor for 27 years. He was a co-founding member of the Tamarind Theatre in Hollywood, where he produced, directed and performed in numerous productions while pursuing TV and film work. Michael and his partner Clark were looking for artwork for their Palm Springs home as Daniela was presenting her show at the gallery. Voila! Dezart Performs was born. Since its founding, the non-profit has dedicated itself to encouraging and nurturing new talent, while bringing thought-provoking, engaging performances. It holds an annual play reading series, bringing original plays and new playwrights to its audiences. Dezart Performs also hosts cutting edge improv, story telling, and theatrical performances. During the 2009/2010 season the play reading series performed 11 plays—all original, new one-act works. Audiences voted for their favorites, and the two winners will be fully staged and performed at Dezart One at 7 p.m., October 21-23. Both are hilarious, and should provide a fun-filled evening of theatre. October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 39
FADE IN: ith the 11th Annual Big Bear Lake International Film Festival (BBLIFF) now a successful memory, Executive Director Monika Skerbelis, and Screenwriting Committee Chair and consultant-guru Sandy Steers, can take a well-deserved holiday from the hustle and bustle of a major film festival. And, boy, have they earned it. One of the unique aspects I admire about this particular festival is the emphasis and recognition given to cinematographers and screenwriters. The festival honors both actors and Lifetime Achievement Award recipients as well, but the main thrust is to honor the creative artists who write and photograph the films. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Director of Cinematography, ASC Caleb Deschanel, the man responsible for capturing on celluloid such films as: “The Right Stuff,” “The Natural,” “Fly Away Home,” “The Patriot,” and “The Passion of Christ,” among others. Deschanel is a selfeffacing creative artist, but not the only creative person in his family. He is also the father of actor Emily Deschanel of TV’s “Bones.” As he graciously and humbly accepted his well-deserved honor, he lamented the future of celluloid film as the medium of capturing the story’s images saying, “… working with film is becoming a lost art form. Everything appears to be going to digital, and I feel the future will be losing something when it does so.” Deschanel continued, “The close collaboration and the dynamic of working in film with the actors, the directors, and the editors will be sorely missed by new creative teams. I’m afraid the technology 40 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
Actor Clint Howard (brother of Ron Howard), speaks with Vanessa Finney of the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. Howard received The Acting Award for Excellence for his nearly 50 years of work as a character actor..
(digital), with its ability to see instantly and view the scene just shot, might miss a creative mark here or there in the life cycle of the production before it goes into distribution.” That’s certainly food for thought from a master craftsman, but only time will tell concerning the future of film vs. digital. The 2010 Screenplay Award went to L.D. Goffigan for the screenplay “Germain’s Prime.” This script revolves around the true story Sophie Germain, an eighteenth century French mathematician who assumes a man’s identity in order to pursue her scientific endeavors. It was selected as the winner from more than 200 entries; judged by 30 readers, who then boiled down the scripts to just five finalists. The Acting Award for Excellence was presented to Clint Howard whose character actor career spans more than 49 years and boasts an impressive list of credits that includes over 100 films, five TV series, and scores of television appearances. The Community Appreciation Award was presented to voice-over artist Noel Blanc, son of Mel Blanc, the late, legendary voice actor, who was the voice of the cartoon character Bugs Bunny, and hundreds of others. Noel is a long time resident of the Big Bear area and a popular local celebrity who has lent his name and talent to countless charities in the area.
The festival always does a great job in welcoming and nurturing the many young, eager, and hopeful filmmakers who attend. For example, I had an opportunity to talk with the young husband and wife team of Stacia Black, a writer/ director, and her producer husband Matt Ferrone. We discussed their film “The Cross-Stitch,” which is entered in the festival in the short subject genre. Both are very bright, creative, and articulate, and full of ideas concerning their next film project. It will be interesting to follow their careers over the next few years. During the three days of the festival, seminars, screenings, schmoozing sessions, and great food and refreshments to tempt the palate, were all available to attendees. The event is always open to the public, so next year, get your tickets early for the 2011 festival. In a sidebar note, former Sun Runner journalist Brane Jervic was honored by the festival, receiving a Certificate of Merit for 10 years of covering and supporting the festival. Well done Brane! If you missed the BBLIFF and its many films, you can always feed your movie addiction by attending the free outdoor screening of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (director’s cut, rated PG) on Saturday, October 2 at 7 p.m. in Sunrise Park, Palm Springs. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis (remember to bring a blanket or small chair as it’s outdoors). There will be a Q & A
following the screening with the film’s producer Michael Phillips. Missed that screening? Well you can catch the foreign language film “Anita.” It’s a most compelling and profoundly hopeful study of human innocence and resilience inside the fragile world of a young Down syndrome woman who lives with her mother. The mother is played by the brilliant Spanish actor Norma Aleandro; a favorite actor of film director Pedro Almandovar. The Desert Film Society screens the Argentine drama “Anita,” in Spanish, with English subtitles at the Camelot Theatres, Palm Springs on Saturday, October 16. Doors open at 9 a.m. The screening begins at 9:30 a.m. Sharp! Tickets are $15 at the door, and include refreshments and the discussion following the film. FADE OUT: Writer/director Stacia Black, festival executive director Monika Skerbelis, and producer Matt Ferrone, above, at the BBLIFF. Black and Ferrone presented their film, “The Cross-Stitch,” at this year’s festival. The festival’s Vanessa Finney speaks with Caleb Deschanel, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, left. Journalist Brane Jevric, below, received recognition from the festival, bottom left, for his decade of coverage of the festival.
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Judy catches up with David Lowery of Cracker at the 6th annual Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven campout at Pappy & Harriet’s, left. Nick Voss pays his respects at Noah Purifoy’s, right. Jesika von Rabbit signs an autograph for Kate—on Kate, below right. Raina Rose and Steve Poltz, bottom right.
elcome to town to up-and-coming R&B/pop/hip- hop singer songwriter Nick (Sincer-e) Voss. Nick, who has been a songwriter for other people, is now venturing out on his own to represent the hi-desert with his debut mix tape “ This is it.” Though Nick is a San Diego native, his drive is to bring a bigger urban hip-hop scene to the whole Coachella Valley, and from what I have heard, he is doing just that. I did a really nice photo shoot with him out at Noah Purifoy’s and he is a welcome member to our ever growing musical community. Raina Rose and Steve Poltz put on quite a show at Pappy & Harriet’s. Raina is a dear friend to the desert and did songs from her new CD “When May Came.” Steve, who penned Jewels’ “You Were Meant for Me” did one of his acoustic-only “Good old fashioned sing-along shows,” and was quite the crowd pleaser and storyteller. I had the pleasure of sitting in live for Ted Quinn’s Local Music Show. On this Sunday there was a performance by “The Clouds” with surprise guest Victoria Williams. I had a blast. When I first moved here I had a show on a new local radio station that did not make it and I forgot how much fun it is. Ted really has the energy flowing so expect many more surprise guests on Sundays from 4-6 p.m. Ted and local musicians Shari Elf, Patti Hood, JP Houston and others also took a bit of the desert to Hollywood where they held an open mic at Pig and Whistle. Well received by everyone, they hope to do it on a regular basis. Exciting news when our favorite siblings Evaro got their song on an episode of “Deadliest Catch,” and our dear desert friend Johann Wagner who got his song “If I Go,” on an upcoming episode of Californication! A surprise Jayhawks reunion from band mates Mark Olson and Gary Louris who showed up on a Sunday night to sit in with Pappy’s All Stars at Pappy and Harriet’s. Sunday nights at Pappy’s (some of us call it “church”) is always outstanding and you just never know who will grace the stage with them. The 6th annual Cracker/Camper Van Beethoven campout 42 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
was fully attended this year with Crumbs (Cracker fans) who dressed Friday like Indians, and Saturday like cowboys. Friday night started off with a set from David Immergluck from Counting Crows and Coby Brown on the inside stage. Then the fun started outside with our own Gram Rabbit who performed songs off their new CD, “Miracles and Metaphors.” So fun to see so many Cracker fans who also love Gram Rabbit dressed as Indians in bunny ears. The set included the hit “Candy Flip,” with special guest Hillary Hack. Camper Van Beethoven then took the stage. It was an amazing, eclectic night, and it was only night one. Saturday started with a meet and greet with the bands, then it was time for what we all waited for, the campout that was not going to happen, and Cracker! I usually stand in the back every year since I blew out my last eardrum at a Ramones show, but this year I figured what the heck, and went up front. I am glad I did. It’s been a long time since I had so much fun that I did not even take any photos. Thanks again to Robyn and Linda from Pappy’s, the bands and all their crew. The 7th annual campout is already on the books for next year and I suggest everyone try to attend, you won’t regret it. We would like to say good luck to Krissie Gregory who has moved to Nashville to pursue her dreams. We will miss your smile, your friendship and your gift of song. Everyone knows—and loves—Judy as our longtime music columnist here at The Sun Runner. But she’s also an artist who will be exhibiting her work during the annual Hwy 62 Art Tours. Judy’s stop is #60, on the second weekend of the tours, October 30 & 31. Stop by and see her work (we’ve sprinkled a few images of it around these pages), and if you want to view or download a copy of this year’s program for the tours (produced by The Sun Runner), please go to www.thesunrunner.com, click on the magazine cover, and you’ll have access to all our digital editions.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy gets fans on their feet at Jazz in the Pines.
n this special issue of The Sun Runner dedicated to the arts I am pleased to introduce to you an outstanding musician who has returned home to Twentynine Palms. His name is Kelly Corbin, an extremely talented saxophone player, who has purchased a home and intends to make Twentynine Palms his base of operations. Kelly graduated from Twentynine Palms High School in 1996 and immediately went on to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at California universities. He then earned a doctorate from the prestigious music department of the University of Illinois in 2009. Dr. Corbin has enthusiastically accepted a position with the Morongo Unified School District and has been assigned to teach music at Twentynine Palms Elementary School and Twentynine Palms Junior High School. Kelly is the son of Jay and Susan Corbin and the brother of Sean Corbin. He is married to Rebecca who is an accomplished musician in her own right, playing the viola, piano and violin on a professional basis. Kelly has crowded a great deal in professional experience in his rather brief career. As a first class saxophone player, he has traveled nationally with the band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. He not only played great saxophone but played the clarinet, flute and piano. He has played in many venues in the Sun Runner’s area and is now playing regularly on weekends at the Jazz Kitchen, in Anaheim, at the Downtown Disney. Parents Jay and Susan are very proud of Kelly and his accomplishments at such a young age and they also are proud of their talented son, Sean, who has a degree in Creative Writing and woks with the public library system in Palm Desert. I am pleased to be a contributor to The Sun Runner magazine and look forward to providing you with positive information about the people of our area. October/November 2010 – The Sun Runner 43
Some of our favorite events for October & November, 2010 Oct. 1-3 – Southwestern Desert Bats Class. Popular class taught at the Desert Studies Center, Zzyzx. Day lectures & finding bats at night in the Mojave National Preserve. $225. Maturango Museum, 100 East Las Flores Ave., Ridgecrest. (760)375-6900. www.maturango.org. Oct. 2-4 – 27th Anniversary Furnace Creek 508. AdventureCORPS hosts the 27th Anniversary Furnace Creek 508, the world’s premier ultramarathon bicycle race. This 508-mile bicycle race is revered internationally for its epic mountain climbs, stark desert scenery, desolate roads, and reputation as one of the toughest endurance challenges available. AdventureCORPS, Inc., www.adventurecorps.com. Oct. 2 – Star Party & Fundraiser for the Covington Park Gallery. Live music with Clive Wright, “Hurricane” David McChesney, live deep space images projected. 7 p.m.-midnight. Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Rd., Joshua Tree. (760)366-8601. www.scdva.org. Oct. 5 – Inlandia Creative Writing Institute. Free, advance registration required. Creative writing workshops Tuesdays, October 5-December 7. Palm Springs Public Library, 300 S. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs. firstname.lastname@example.org. Oct. 6 – Art Cars Cruising to Joshua Tree. 6-11 p.m. $5. A caravan of art cars makes its way from L.A. to Joshua Tree for screening of Automorphosis at the True World Gallery, 61740 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree. (760)366-2300. www.trueworldgallery.com. Oct. 8 – Old Schoolhouse Lecture Series: California Desert Protection Act of 2010. 7-9 p.m. $5. David Lamfrom, CA Desert Program Manager, NPCA, discusses proposals of national park additions, establishment of two new national monuments, status of these efforts. Old Schoolhouse Museum, 6760 National Park Dr., 29 Palms. (760) 367-5535. www.29palmshistorical.com/DesertInstituteLectures.php. Oct. 8-10 – Calico Days. Daily: Adults $10, Juniors (6-15) $5; Children 5 & under, free. 2-day: Adults $15, Juniors $8, Children 5 & under, free. Relive Calico’s glory days during this 1800’s mining celebration. Calico Ghost Town. Yermo. (760)254-2122, (800)TOCALICO. www.calicotown.com. Oct. 9 – The Artist’s Book with Inks. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $65. Perfect class for the whole family and for the eager to paint & draw fast artist. 29 Palms Creative Center & Gallery, 6847 Adobe Rd., 29 Palms. (760)361-1805. ww.29PalmsCreativeCenter.com. Oct. 9-10 – 5th Annual Joshua Tree Roosts Music Festival. $3070. Two-day festival of music in the autumn glow of the hi-desert. Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons with Wally Ingram, Darrell Anger & Scott Law Republic of Strings, Reverend Peyton’s Damn Big Band, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Mamuse, Shadow Mountain Band, more. Cool evenings and hot music with a whole bunch of likeminded souls makes for a memorable weekend. Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Rd., Joshua Tree. (877)327-6265. www. joshuatreemusicfestival.com. Oct. 9 – 14th Annual Starry Nights Festival. 1-10 p.m. Free. Astronomy Lectures, 2 - 7 p.m., Twilight Reception, 7- 8 p.m., Stargazing, 8 - 10 p.m. Yucca Valley Community Center Complex, 57090 29 Palms Hwy., Yucca Valley. (760)369-7212. www.hidesertnaturemuseum.org. Oct. 9&10 – 69th Annual Gem-O-Rama. Saturday 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thousands of visitors converge for 36 hours of frantic, non-stop activity collecting some of the best evaporite mineral specimens in the world. SLG&MS Lapidary and Show Bldg., 13337 Main St., Trona. (760)372-5356. www1.iwvisp.com/ tronagemclub/GEM-O-RAMA.htm. Oct. 14-16 – 4th Annual Jeep Jamboree. Fees vary. Test your 4x4 in various ways, visit an ancient sea bed, find fossils & sea shells 44 The Sun Runner – October/November 2010
far from the ocean, climb steep hills, relax by the campfire. Borrego Springs. (530)333-4777, ext.11, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com/tripdetail.cfm?TripID=26. Oct. 15&16 – Maturango Junction. Noon -4 p.m. Free. Ridgecrest tradition for 35+ years. Arts & crafts, bands, dancers & singers, vehicle shows, children’s costume parade, chalk drawings, more. Freedom Park, 100 W. California Ave., Ridgecrest. (760) 375-833. www.maturangojunction.org. Oct. 16 & 17 – Rail and Craft Fest. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The Western America Railroad Museum at Barstow’s Historic Harvey House is holding their Annual Rail & Craft Fest, family fun, food & trains. 681 N. First Ave., Barstow. (760)256-9276. www.barstowrailmuseum.org. Oct. 21-24 – “60 Years Together at the Fair:” Desert Empire Fair. Thursday, 5-11 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m.-Midnight; Saturday, NoonMidnight; Sunday, Noon-9 p.m. Adults $6, Children(12 & under) & seniors(65+) $3, active military, $5. Free parking. Concerts, contests, exhibits, parade, & “Destruction Derby.” Desert Empire Fairgrounds, 520 S. Richmond Rd., Ridgecrest. (760)375-8000. www.desertempirefair.com. Oct. 21&22 – The Farmers. 8 p.m. 21+. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown. (760)365-5956. www.pappyandharriets.com. Oct. 22-24 – Calico Ghost Haunt. (Also October 29-31.) Daily: Adults $10, Juniors (6-15) $5; Children 5 & under, free. 2-day: Adults $15, Juniors $8, Children 5 & under, free. Calico Ghost Town actually becomes a ghost town during this time. Costume contests, pumpkin carving, ghost stories, & trick-or-treating. Calico Ghost Town, Yermo. (760)254-2122, (800)TO-CALICO. www.calicotown.com. Oct. 23 – Barstow Kiwanis Mardi Gras Parade. 7-9 p.m. “Barstow’s Youth: Riding the Wave of the Future.” Prize money for Best Elementary School float. Parade starts at Barstow Rd. & Main St., east to Mountain View & Main St., Barstow. (760)964-9053. www. barstowchamber.com. Oct. 23 – Full Moon Kayak on the Salton Sea. 5-8 p.m. Free, advance registration required. There’s nothing quite like a moonrise in the desert, & from the vantage point of a kayak, it can’t be beat. Salton Sea Visitor Center, Salton Sea State Recreation Area. (760)393-3810. Oct. 24 – Boo Bash – The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert’s Halloween Party. 1-3 p.m. $3, children under 2, free. Arts & crafts, trick-or-treating, kid’s costume contest, more. 71-701 Gerald Ford Dr., Rancho Mirage. (760)321-0602, ext.104. www.cdmod.org. Oct. 29-31 – “Art & Soul” 45th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival. Music festival, arts & crafts, parade, vintage car & motorcycle show, great food, dark skies. Borrego Springs. (800)559-5524. www.borregospringschamber.com. Oct. 30 – “If These Walls Could Talk.” 7 p.m. (Sundays at 2 p.m.) Created & performed by Sandy Scheller, inspired by Marta Becket. Shows continue every Saturday and Sunday until May 1. (760) 852-4441. Amargosa Opera House, Death Valley Junction. www. amargosa-opera-house.com. Oct. 30 – Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Art, music, celebration. Leave a memento on the community altar on the museum’s front steps. Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Dr., Palm Springs. (760)322-4800. www.psmuseum.org. Oct. 31 – 46th Annual Golf Cart Parade. 7 a.m. Largest parade of its kind in the world, longest running in the desert. Includes 29 Palms Marine Band, Family Costume Parade, Children’s Activities, Food & Drink, Beer Garden, Cart Show & more. Parade Route, westbound on El Paseo from San Luis Rey to Ocotillo. Palm Desert. (760)3466111. www.golfcartparade.com. Oct. 31 – Pappy & Scarriet’s Annual Halloween Party with Grim Rabbit. 8 p.m. $10. 21+. $100 prize for best costume. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown. (760)365-5956. www.pappyandharriets.com. Oct. 31-Nov. 2 – Dias de Los Muertos. Events to benefit both Hospice of Morongo Basin & battle to protect Native American geoglyphs slated to be destroyed by a solar power project. The Kokopilli Spirit Runners Sacred Sites Trek from the Colorado River to Joshua Tree will take place with Ballet Folklorico de Yucca Valley, the Figueroa Family, & Mexica/Aztec dancers. Film screenings of Robert Lundahl’s Kokopilli & The Last Giants, along with Aztec chocolate tasting & more. 61675 29 Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree. www.thesunrunner.ning.com.
For the most comprehensive event listings for the California deserts, please visit www.thesunrunner.com.
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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
EL RANCHO DOLORES MOTEL
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
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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
SUNNYVALE GARDEN SUITES 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
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. Gary & Jan Peters. 74744 Joe Davis Dr., 29 Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3238 www.roughleymanor.com
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
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Mojave National Preserve Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive (at Utah Trail) Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 Park Info: (760)367-5500 www.nps.gov/jotr
Joshua Tree National Park Association www.joshuatree.org
Death Valley National Park
Beatty Information Center, Beatty, NV (775)553-2200 Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Museum (760)786-3200, www.nps.gov.deva
Death Valley Chamber of Commerce www.deathvalleychamber.com
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park www.parks.ca.gov
Anza-Borrego Foundation www.theabf.org
Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association www.abdnha.org
California Deserts Visitors Association www.californiadeserts.org
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29 Palms Chamber of Commerce 73660 Civic Center, Suite D Twentynine Palms, CA 92277 (760)367-3445 www.29chamber.org www.visit29.com
Barstow Chamber of Commerce www.barstowchamber.com/visitors
Ridgecrest Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 1-800-847-4830 www.visitdeserts.com
Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce www.ridgecrestchamber.com
Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism www.visitpalmsprings.com
Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention & Visitors Authority www.palmspringsusa.com
The Sun Runner Magazine www.thesunrunner.com www.desertfuncoupons.com
The Sun Runner Magazine's annual Desert Art Issue for 2010.