Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

For Jerry Hernandez, his love of film became a lifelong passion when he saw Steven Spielberg’s E.T. as a teenager.

“After walking away from the film, and (after) experiencing various emotions over those two hours, I saw that there was more to film than just pictures and images,” Hernandez says. “I wanted to direct, and create that magic and that stirring of emotions of an audience.”

However, directing was not in the cards for Hernandez, an Indio resident who has instead worked in teaching and human resources after spending much of his teen years working in theaters and video stores. But cinema is still very much a passion for Hernandez (who says he has around 1,500 films in his collection)—and he’s taken that passion to the Indio Performing Arts Center, where he’s curating a Saturday-night classic-film series that will run into October.

The weekly IPACinema series kicks off at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 20, with the United Kingdom version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Other films in the series include Amadeus: The Director’s Cut, a newly discovered version of the complete Metropolis, and The Goonies. The plan is for the series to run through October, when it will conclude with a series of horror-film double features. (The complete schedule can be found at

IPAC—a department store turned theater turned charter school turned entertainment complex—is, in one sense, a perfect place for a classic-movie series, seeing as it features big screens, stadium seating and a bar serving beer and wine. Hernandez discovered this, he says, when he saw a performance of Always … Patsy Cline at IPAC. He started talking to IPAC executive director David Clinton-Reid about the possibility of a cinema series—and it finally came to fruition this year.

Of all the films he’s booked for the series thus far, Hernandez cites Metropolis as the crown jewel. The 1927 silent Fritz Lang classic originally premiered at 2 1/2 hours long, but about an hour of the film was cut from the movie shortly thereafter, and was presumed lost. However, a version of the original print was discovered in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2008, and after a heavy restoration, a “complete” version of the film was released in 2010. That’s the version IPAC will screen at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3.

While Hernandez’s passion for film has driven him to turn IPACinema into reality, the journey has not all been smooth sailing. One of the biggest challenges: IPAC does not own a proper movie projector, so Hernandez needs to rent one for each week’s screening. He’s counting on ticket sales and perhaps sponsorships to pay for that projector each week.

“I want to have every seat in the house full,” says Hernandez about the 127-seat theater where IPACinema will take place.

That’s an incredibly ambitious goal, especially since the series is taking place during the slow season in an area where foot traffic is rare to nonexistent. However, Hernandez is optimistic that he can make the film series a success.

“This series is about movies as they’re meant to be seen—on the silver screen,” Hernandez says.

IPACinema takes place at either 7 or 8 p.m., every Saturday, from June 20 through Oct. 26, at the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., in Indio. Tickets are $6, or $5 for children and seniors. For a complete schedule and more information, visit

What: The fish tacos

Where: El Ranchito Taco Shop, 34580 Monterey Ave., No. 103, Palm Desert

How much: $2.49

Contact: 760-320-9182;

Why: The sauce, the crispiness and the price.

The first-ever Indy Endorsement was published on Nov. 1 of last year. The subject of our effusive praise: the fish tacos at Shanghai Reds.

Now, more than eight months later, we’re celebrating another Indy Endorsement first: For the first time, we’re endorsing essentially the same item (fish tacos) at a second restaurant.

One may have a reasonable expectation of getting a great fish taco at a local mini-chain that has “fish” in its name, as is the case of Shanghai Reds and its parent restaurant, Fisherman’s Market and Grill. However, one does not necessarily expect to get a great fish taco in a gigantic industrial-area Palm Desert strip mall that’s anchored by a freakin’ Walmart.

Yet that’s exactly what we found at El Ranchito Taco Shop. We wandered before a weekday Costco run—and were shocked to see every table in the smallish restaurant full. At 11 a.m. On a Friday. In the summer.

Fortunately, someone was leaving as we got in line to order, so the significant other nabbed the table while I stayed in line. I ordered several tacos, some chips, and an order of huevos rancheros ($5.25). An aside: El Ranchito serves breakfast all day, as all breakfast-serving restaurants should. Bless you, El Ranchito!

All of our food was tasty—but the fish taco, as you probably guessed from the fish-taco banter above, offered the best bites of the bunch. The cod was crispy and not overly oily; the white sauce was tangy and smooth; the cabbage and tomatoes were fresh and crisp. It was truly a pleasant surprise—and helped explain why El Ranchito was so damned busy at 11 a.m. on a Friday.

So, you may be wondering: Is the fish taco at El Ranchito as good as the one at Shanghai Reds? All things considered, yes: While the tortilla is far better with the Shanghai Reds taco (it’s thick and delicious, while the El Ranchito taco is wrapped in two average-tasting tortillas), the price is far better with the El Ranchito taco: It’s $1.46 less than the fish taco at Shanghai Reds.

And, unlike the Shanghai Reds taco, it’s available nearby before or after a Costco run.

Rebecca Clark, 56, as you’ll see below, loves Barbra Streisand—and the Brooklyn, N.Y., native does a pretty good tribute to the Funny Girl, too. Catch her tribute show, Hello Gorgeous!, at 8 p.m., Friday, July 26, at Azul Tapas Lounge, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; tickets are $15 (with full menu options), or $40 with a dinner prix fixe. (You can see Clark as Babs below, preparing for a recent show at the Teatro Tapia in San Juan, Puerto Rico.) However, you don’t have to wait until then to see Clark in action: She’ll be singing songs by Streisand, Shirley Bassey and other great divas at Azul this Friday, July 5, at 8 p.m. For more information, call 760-325-5533, or visit

What was the first concert you attended?

Diana Ross, when I was 11 years old.

What was the first album you owned?

Frankie Avalon.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Lady Antebellum.

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

Adele. I like a few of her songs, but I’m not really into her stuff.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Barbra Streisand.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

West Side Story.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Melvyn’s Restaurant at the Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, on Sundays.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls,” by Dionne Warwick.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Barbra Streisand. She tells a story through her music with passion.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I would ask Barbra Streisand (if I could) be her understudy when she is ready to retire. I am just as good of a singer as she is.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Time,” by the Alan Parsons Project.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

The soundtrack to movie Somewhere in Time, by John Barry, and the soundtrack to Funny Girl, by Barbra Streisand.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Blake Shelton, “Boys ’Round Here.” (Scroll down to hear it.)

I was just flipping through some of this week’s local free print publications—and boy, is it ugly.

One of them is filled with mere press releases (save a couple of bylined culture columns), as it always is. Another features a page-one music story that, at least at the start, seems more about the publishers’ crush on the band than the band itself.

I could go on, but I won’t. If you’ve read these publications before, you know what I am talking about.

(If you think I am being rude by pointing out these publications’ weaknesses: I am sorry, but valley residents deserve better, don’t they?)

That’s why I am particularly excited about the second print issue of the Independent, which will be hitting the streets of the Coachella Valley this week.

There are no reprinted press releases in our summer quarterly (and no stories discuss my crushes, musical or otherwise). Instead, here’s what we do have:

• An opinion section featuring the usual Independent goodness (including ¡Ask a Mexican! and the Desert Potted Garden), as well as pieces from artsOasis’ Robert Stearns and Coachella Unincorporated’s Alexandra Alcaron.

• Seven news and features stories (eight if you count our “Snapshot” page) ranging from an interview with the mayor of Indio to a look at the Salton Sea area’s International Banana Museum.

• An arts section anchored by pieces by Valerie-Jean Hume (theater) and Richard Almada (visual arts).

• Movie reviews from the great Bob Grimm.

• A food section that includes a feature on Fame Lounge, restaurant news, our Sniff the Cap wine column, and Indy Endorsements from restaurants across the valley.

• A variety of music pieces, including features on Teddy Quinn and DJ Day, a review by Brian Blueskye of the Queens of the Stone Age’s new album, and a series of Lucky 13 interviews.

• A fantastic story by Erin Peters, aka the Beer Goddess, on the soon-to-open Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

• Plus comics, Jonesin’ Crossword, and yet more features not mentioned here … all presented in a package that features gorgeous design, fantastic advertisers and a more reader-friendly font size.

In other words, we’re giving the Coachella Valley the alternative publication it finally deserves. And we want to give the valley more: As we’ve mentioned before, we’re going monthly in print, starting in October.

Of course, we’re still posting fantastic pieces each and every day here at—at least three things every weekday, with stuff on the weekends, too.

More great stuff is coming, too: This coming week, Anita Rufus—you may know her as the “Lovable Liberal,” or perhaps from her congressional run a while back against Sonny Bono—will debut as a regular columnist for the Independent. The informal theme of her column will be: “Do you know your neighbors?” Every other week, she’ll tell a compelling story about a person, or a group of people, who call the Coachella Valley home. It’s going to be fantastic.

Speaking of fantastic: Robert Victor, an astronomer from Michigan State University who retired to the valley, is now bringing Independent readers a monthly look at the nighttime sky. Look for it at the start of each month—and in our monthly print edition come October.

We’re still looking for other great people to contribute to the Independent. If you want to be a part of the valley’s only true alternative publication, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re especially looking for people who want to tackle news and features.

As always, thanks for reading; let me know your thoughts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What: The Gyros Plate

Where: Nina’s Traditional Greek Cuisine and Pizzeria, 555 S. Sunrise Way, Palm Springs

How much: $10

Contact: 760-323-8552;

Why: The mixture of crunch and moist and creamy

I just finished the gyros plate I got for lunch at Nina’s Traditional Greek Cuisine and Pizzeria. Two words describe how I am feeling right now.

Full. And—foremost—happy.

I am full, because the food on said plate is not a small portion. There are four smallish slices of pita bread, two large Kalamata olives, a fairly generous amount of marinated red onions, slices of tomato, a cup of tzatziki, and a whole bunch of delicious gyro slices.

Let’s talk about that gyro: This spiced mixture of lamb and beef is the best gyro I’ve ever had. The thing that makes the gyro special is the way in which it’s prepared: On the ends, it’s got crunchy-char goodness; in the middle of the slices, the meat is moist and almost spongy. As the saying goes: Variety is the spice of life, and the variety of both flavor and texture offered in a single slice of gyro adds a whole lot of figurative spice. (And the non-figurative level of spice is perfect, by the way.)

Now, let’s talk about that tzatziki: This yogurt sauce (which can be eaten on its own, too) is what sends this plate into the culinary stratosphere. As with the gyro, it’s some of the best I’ve ever had. It adds a cool, tart freshness to anything it comes in contact with—and when added to the gyro, it leads to an almost overwhelming (in a good way) nexus of sensations and flavors.

So, yeah. I am full—so, full, in fact, that an extra 20 minutes of cardio at the gym is a must next time. But thanks to this homestyle, made-with-love food at this small, almost-cramped counter-service restaurant, I am happy. Really, really happy. 

Thursday, 27 June 2013 15:30

The Lucky 13: DJ Sugarfree

Indio native Noemi Rodriguez, 26, is also known as DJ Sugarfree. A few weeks ago, she spun a guest set at Clinic Bar, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive—and was so impressive that this Saturday, June 29, she’s returning to Clinic to turn in a five-hour set EDM set. Admission to Clinic is free; for more information on the bar, visit For more on DJ Sugarfree (fun fact—she is also a part-time sign-spinner), peruse her Facebook page at

What was the first concert you attended?

*NSYNC. My favorite boy band as a kid. Ha!

What was the first album you owned?

The first album I ever owned was probably one of my favorite Mexican pop bands.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I listen to all kinds of bands and artists; I’m very open-minded about music, but some of my favorite artists right now: Best Coast, Tame Impala, Markus Schulz, W&W, Andrew Rayel, Suarez, Interpol, The Neighbourhood, and Tegan and Sara.

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

I really don’t know why all kinds of people are obsessed with “twerking” music right now; it’s just not my cup of tea. Sure, I like some songs, but I cannot listen to that stuff for more than 10 minutes straight.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

I’ve been dying to see Tegan and Sara live. I totally missed them at Coachella fest this year.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Indian music. There’s just something so captivating and special about that kind of music. Even though I don’t understand the words, the music is awesome.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Right now, my favorite music venue is the Yost Theater (in Santa Ana). They always have the best DJs perform there! They have amazing sound and lighting! I go there as much as I can.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

The one song lyric that is always stuck in my head is in Spanish: “Tengo que reconocer nunca va a cambiar la sensacion del dolor cuando me acuerdo.” It’s a song (“Stacy”) by a band called Suarez. The lyric in English would be: “I have to recognize that this painful sensation will never change every time I remember.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

My favorite band for a while was Interpol. When my mom died about 9 years ago, I would listen to their album Turn on the Bright Lights every day. It got me through the pain I was feeling, and it really helped me a lot. That band will always be special to me, but an artist who really changed my life was DJ Tiesto. He inspired me to become a great DJ and play like my heart is telling a story.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

If I could ask any artist a question, it would be: If you never get married and stay single until the day you die, would you still be happy just knowing that you made so many people happy with your music? I would definitely ask DJ Tiesto that.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“The Funeral” by Band of Horses.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Elements of Life by Tiesto and Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol. I couldn’t just choose one.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Everyone should be listening to “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood. Such a lovely tune! (Scroll down to hear it.)

As thousands of people celebrated in 100-plus-degree heat, Rancho Mirage City Councilmember Scott Hines had sobering words.

Standing directly under the Forever Marilyn statue in downtown Palm Springs, the gay family man, military veteran and elected official explained that he was there representing not the city of Rancho Mirage—just himself. He had asked the current mayor of Rancho Mirage, Richard Kite, to issue a proclamation celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court's partial repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as the decision effectively appealing Proposition 8—therefore setting the stage for gay marriage to be legal once again in California.

But Kite refused, Hines said. Such a proclamation, or even allowing Hines to speak on behalf of the city, might be offensive to some.

Despite Hines' sobering words, thousands of people showed up to celebrate the happy events. Below are images from the celebration of this historic day.

The Legendary Purple Room Slated to Reopen This Week

The bad: The Legendary Purple Room, located inside of the Club Trinidad time share at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, closed in early June.

The good: If everything goes according to plan, it will reopen at 4 p.m. this Friday, June 28.

The ugly: Since the closure, there’s been drama.

Here’s what happened, according to Art Brigman, the longtime CEO of Club Trinidad: Tom and Susie Pacholik, who took over management of the club in 2011, informed Brigman they’d be ending their Purple Room involvement, and decided to close while Brigman was on a multi-week vacation.

When Brigman returned, he says, the Purple Room was essentially cleared out—including some items owned by Club Trinidad and not the Pacholiks, Brigman says.

“I have an inventory of what was mine, and what was theirs,” Brigman says.

Brigman also says the Pacholiks failed to pay the state the club’s taxes for the last quarter; he says he’s paying the state, and that if the former managers don’t pay him back, he’ll take them to small-claims court. (This could not immediately be confirmed with the state Board of Equalization.)

However, Tom Pacholik tells a different story entirely. First, Pacholik says the taxes have indeed been paid; second, he says everything he took from the Purple Room was, in fact, his. He says he may have even left some of his own stuff behind.

"I absolutely did not take anything that belonged to the Club Trinidad," Pacholik says.

Pacholik claims that it was Brigman who made the decision for them to part ways: He says Brigman gave them a 90-day termination notice, and that they responded by later giving Brigman 30 days of notice, as called for in their contract.

"I really didn't want to leave. This is what (Brigman) does all the time," Pacholik says, adding that the Purple Room name was revived by his wife and him when they took over the club in 2011. (The lounge was known as the Purple Room in its old-school heyday.)

Brigman’s plan was to have the bar in business again on Friday, June 28. He intends to have it open—with an ample amount of live music, starting with Bill Baker this Friday and Saturday—at 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

Whatever happened surrounding the closure, we’re elated that it was only temporary. The Purple Room is a unique, quirky and decidedly old-school club—a club that more people need to know about.

Dish Creative Cuisine Having an Amuse Night

When dining at Dish Creative Cuisine (68525 Ramon Road, No. A-101, Cathedral City), the greatest delights often don’t come from the appetizers, entrées and desserts on the menu (although these menu items are, in fact, delightful). Instead, it’s the complimentary amuse-bouches that lawyer-turned-chef Joane Garcia-Colson offers all of her customers, delivered between the various courses, that often turn a very good meal into something truly special.

And on Thursday, July 18, Garcia-Colson is going to give her delicious little bites the starring role they so richly deserve.

That’s the date for “Amuse Night,” when for $75 (not including beverages, tax and gratuity), she’ll offer her diners 18 to 20 amuse-bouches as their meal. (She’ll be offering optional wine-pairings, too!) My fingers are crossed that one of those amuses will be what I call “beet nipples”—a bite-sized pleasure (pictured) with a hardened meringue outside, and a delicious creamy beet filling inside. (These are amazing, folks … and this is coming from someone who generally loathes beets.)

We asked Garcia-Colson for a sneak preview, and she shared this tidbit: One of the planned courses is a lobster lollipop with sweet miso caramel sauce and crispy leeks. Mmmm. And liquid nitrogen MAY be involved in creating some of the amuse-bouches, if everything works out.

Reservations for this most unique meal at one of the valley’s most innovative restaurants are sure to go fast; call (760) 832-6526 to get your spot before they’re all gone. (And be sure to leave for the meal a wee bit early, as the stretch of Ramon on which Dish sits is currently under construction!)

Tropicale Owners Prepping to Open the Copa Room

Diners at Tropicale, 330 E. Amado Road, may have noticed that the building next door to the restaurant is currently under some serious construction.

When that construction is done later this year, the building will become the Copa Room bar/nightclub.

The Copa Room will be owned and operated by the same folks behind Tropicale. According to a recent Palm Springs Life article, the club is slated to open this fall, and people eager for updates should bookmark, which should be up and running soon.

Update on Twin Palms (or a Lack Thereof)

The future of the newish Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge, 1201 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, is in limbo after an April 9 fire.

While Twin Palms management kept an active presence on the restaurant’s Facebook page immediately after the fire (including some now-heartbreaking posts expressing plans to reopen within mere days), the posts have steadily decreased—and the restaurant remains shuttered. A May 28 Facebook post says, in part: “This should have been an easy fix to a small problem. … We continue to be at the mercy of the landlord and the insurance companies to get things resolved.”

Folks, keep your fingers crossed that a resolution comes soon.

(Editor's note: The first item here was updated Monday afternoon, June 24.)

What: The picnic eggs

Where: Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $6

Contact: 760-537-7337;

Why: A deliciously spicy twist on an American classic.

Question: Is there anything more all-American than the deviled egg?

Answer: Well … yeah, there is: mom, baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Vin Scully, for starters. Still, deviled eggs are pretty gosh-darned American—they’ve been a picnic and party staple for years, after all. And at downtown Palm Springs’ Bar, one can enjoy this all-American classic—with a distinctly Asian twist.

The menu says it all: Picnic eggs. Eggs siracha wasabi. Yeah, they misspell “sriracha,” but we’ll forgive them, because these deviled eggs are splendid. The eggs definitely have a back-draft-style kick, so if you don’t like spicy foods, either start liking spicy foods, or get something else from Bar’s charmingly unique menu.

While bar-food standards like burgers, sandwiches and fries are indeed present, they all have a decidedly non-bar-food twist. The burger is a Caprese burger with tomato chutney and basil. The sandwiches include a chicken club with a “spicy Vietnamese” flair. And the fries come with garlic freakin’ aioli.

In other words, this is bar food … that’s not bar food.

We recommend dropping in for a before-dinner nosh, or an after-dinner snack. Or, hell, drop in for dinner. Order a drink. (We’re partial to the whiskey sours. And don’t skip the egg whites.) Enjoy some live music.

Have an all-American good time.

What: The shaved spit-roast organic pork

Where: Figue Mediterranean, 47474 Washington St., La Quinta

How much: $29

Contact: 760-698-9040;

Why: Savory + sweet + pork skin = OMG

Can we talk about pig skin for a moment?

No, I am not referring to football here. I am talking about cracklins, or chicharrones, whatever you want to call this most delicious of foods.

It’s chewy. It’s salty. It’ll send your cardiologist into a snit. And it’s one of the factors that make the shaved spit-roast organic pork at Figue Mediterranean worth the $29 price tag.

While chicharrones could make almost any food better, perhaps even ice cream (hey, don’t judge; we’re all friends here), they merely play a supporting role in this fantastic dish. The pork shavings—rustically uneven slices, if you will—are the nominal star, with the mustard vinaigrette a potential nominee for Best Supporting Actor. The stone fruits add a nice touch of sweetness, and the arugula adds freshness.

And then there are the chicharrones. There could be more of them, yes—some would even say there should be more than the mere handful that’s tossed lovingly atop the dish—but if there were too many more, they’d overwhelm these other fantastic ingredients, and that wouldn’t be fair, now, would it?

To overextend the acting analogy a bit: This dish is not a vehicle for one big star (even though some of the ingredients may indeed have incredible star power). Instead, it succeeds based on its fantastic ensemble cast.

So, go. Enjoy. If pig skin and pork shavings aren’t your thing, go anyway: Figue—fully open for not quite three months yet—offers plenty of other delicious foods in a high-end restaurant atmosphere unlike any other in the valley. Think big windows, modern touches and lots of wood, to go along with delicious food and great service.

And just the right amount of pig skin.