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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Snapshot

21 Mar 2016
The second and final week of Coachella Valley’s prestigious BNP Paribas Open typically delivers sharp tennis play and competitive drama as sports media and fans around the world focus on the on-court action. This year, that unfortunately was not the case. As Sunday’s first match began, hopes ran high that top-ranked Serena Williams would reclaim the championship she last captured in 2001. But a curiously subdued and somber Williams offered little resistance to No. 8 Victoria Azarenka’s determined if less-than-dominating performance. With 33 unforced errors, Williams squandered a multitude of break-point opportunities throughout both sets. Even so, she did manage a short-lived comeback in the second set before succumbing to now second-time BNP Paribas champion Azarenka in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. That set the scene for heavily favored and top-ranked Novak Djokovic to take on No. 12 Milos Raonic of Canada. Despite plenty of Canadians in the stands to offer…
15 Mar 2016
As the 2016 edition of the BNP Paribas Open got under way last week at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, two topics dominated the conversations of players, the media and fans alike: Maria Sharapova’s recent alleged doping infraction (leading to her absence) and the return of Venus Williams after a 15 year boycott of the tournament where she enjoyed some of her earliest career triumphs. Two-time defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic told the media he was sympathetic regarding Sharapova’s situation. “I know that she has always been very responsible and aware toward herself, toward the sport—very disciplined, very … hard working, hard-working ethics, and (she) loves what she does. “I thought she was very courageous, and it was very human, brave of her, to go out and take the responsibility and say what has happened. She did admit that she made a mistake with her team. But certainly if there…
10 Mar 2016
Wednesday, March 9, was a beautiful day in many ways at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. At 9 a.m., under brilliant blue skies, long-estranged Women’s Tennis Association champion Venus Williams made her first official appearance at the tournament since 2001. She took to Practice Court 1 to begin her preparations for her first match, which will take place on Friday, March 11. Before only a dozen onlookers—only members of the media and security guards—Venus worked on her game. She seemed anxious and a bit surly; while casting surreptitious gazes at the few strangers present, she maintained a serious expression. At 10 a.m., as her workout entered its second hour, the gates to the grounds opened up for fans—and a crowd of spectators quickly formed around her court. She worked out in brief spurts, taking frequent breaks to rest in the shade, talk on her phone or grab sustenance from a…
05 Jan 2016
The annual Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Awards Gala provides a cadre of A-list film actors and directors with oddly titled awards for their trophy cases—along with a low-stress, fun night in Palm Springs, the “home away from L.A.” for many celebrities. This year’s honorees at the Saturday, Jan. 2, gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center included Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, Bryan Cranston, Michael Fassbender, Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Saoirse Ronan, Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara and Tom McCarthy. The 11-day festival proudly presents a broad gamut of films within nearly every genre, produced both here and abroad; some of these films receive little or no viewership in the commercial marketplace otherwise. In contrast, the celebrity cast of honorees and presenters—Michael Keaton, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet and Ridley Scott were among the latter this year—as usual included a host of attention-grabbing nominees for the rapidly approaching…
14 Dec 2015
I moved to the Coachella Valley some four years ago from Los Angeles, where I had worked in the media and entertainment industries for roughly 30 years. “Jaded” was my middle name. Not long after my wife, Linda, and I took up residence in Palm Desert, we were invited to a "desert drink the night away" party where I first met Mike Taylor. He regaled all listeners with stories of his “salad days,” as he would say, bartending for many of the celebrities who roamed the Palm Springs-to-Rancho Mirage range back in the ’70s and ’80s. To say that Mike is “an original” would be an understatement—and his storytelling skills have been honed to a glistening point over his years behind the bar. In this video, longtime area bartender to the stars Mike Taylor recants some of his favorite tales of serving drinks to, and hanging around with, Ol' Blue…
01 Aug 2015
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It was a big day for 30 children with the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Springs. On Friday, July 31, the children received their very own bikes, all of which were gathered during a bike drive that was spearheaded by the City of Palm Springs Office of Sustainability. The children also received a bike lock, a helmet and a safety lesson. The giveaway came on the heels of a similar donation of more than 60 bikes to children with the Boys and Girls Club of Mecca. "There is a great need in the Coachella Valley for children's bicycles," said Brett Klein, chair of the Palm Springs Sustainability Commission. "Many families can't afford to provide new bikes to each of their children. We are very proud on how successful this has been over the last couple years. There is no better joy than to see the smile on a child's…
08 Jul 2015
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As Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015, Clifton Tatum has made waves that extend well beyond the leather world. The eighth-place finisher at the International Mr. Leather competition has been on magazine covers. He's been in an advertisement promoting Palm Springs. And he's raised a whole lot of money for charities that help out LGBT youth. In fact, he's raised $17,000—with $7,400 of it being raised at his Heartthrobs Auction, which took place at Copa on Sunday night, July 5. Seven local luminaries (and their accompanying goodie baskets, which ranged in value from $500 to more than $3,000) were auctioned off for a date to the highest bidder: Jeff Hocker, Mike Cohan, Mike Thompson, Dimitri Halkidis, Will Dean, David White and Jill Langham. Five charities will benefit from the hard work of Tatum and his auction participants: The Trevor Project, For the Children, the LGBT Center of the Desert, the American…