CVIndependent

Tue08202019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Some thoughts percolating through my head this month:

• It was two years ago this month that CVIndependent.com first went live to the world. And it was one year ago this month that the Coachella Valley Independent—after two quarterly print editions—became the monthly print publication that it is today.

So, yeah, October’s kind of an important month for us.

We debated having a big anniversary party, kind of like we did for last year’s print-edition launch and one-year online anniversary, but we decided to hold off and put all of our efforts into creating a kick-ass Best of Coachella Valley party, coming your way most likely in early December. Keep your eye open for more details about that.

By the way, have you voted in the Best of Coachella Valley yet? Round One of voting ends Oct. 3, and the Final Round begins Oct. 8. So, go vote now at CVIndependent.com!

• While the Independent is holding off on an anniversary party, we’re sponsoring All Night Shoes—aka Alex Harrington—as he celebrates the one-year anniversary of his FRESH Sessions mixes for CVIndependent.com. Join us at the party: It’s going down at the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club at 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 11. DJ Day and COLOUR VISION will be joining All Night Shoes for one hell of a dance party—and there’s no cover. See ya there!

• Speaking of anniversaries: An organization that’s quite important to me and the Independent is celebrating 10 years of existence this month.

Ever since I moved here, I’ve been a part of the Palm Springs Gay Softball League. I’ve played on and helped coach the team now known as The Green Team for almost two years—and I’ve had the time of my life while doing so. (The Independent sponsors The Green Team, too.)

The league will be celebrating the big anniversary at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 5, at Demuth Park, on Mesquite Drive just east of El Cielo Road, in Palm Springs. Come and join in the celebration—especially if you are or were once part of the league, or if you want to know more about it. (By the way, you don’t need to be gay, lesbian or bisexual to play in the league; you just need to be a fun person.)

If you can’t make it on Oct. 5, the league plays games on most Sundays between October and May (with a holiday break in January and much of February) at Demuth Park, so come on down.

Congratulations to everyone in the league! Get more information at psgsl.org.

Published in Editor's Note

Voting in the Coachella Valley Independent’s Best of Coachella Valley has begun! Find the ballot here, including rules, dates and a complete list of categories.

I am intimately familiar with “Best Ofs”; I ran them or helped run them in newspapers in Reno, Las Vegas and Tucson before I moved here to launch the Independent. I’ll be completely honest with y’all: I have mixed feelings about contests such as these.

On one hand, “Best Ofs” are mere popularity contests, and what’s most popular is not always what’s best. (For example, Taco Bell is popular, but only someone with mental damage would claim that Taco Bell’s food is truly great. In every “Best Of” contest I have ever done, Taco Bell gets some votes in the Best Mexican Food category. Ick.)

On the other hand, “Best Ofs” themselves are popular: Readers and worthy businesses alike enjoy properly done “Best Ofs,” because they help spread the word about some of the community’s best businesses, places and organizations. Any time I travel to an unfamiliar city, I use the “Best Of” from that city’s alternative newspaper to help me pick where to go and what do to.

As I mentioned previously, our Best of Coachella Valley will indeed be properly done. Advertisers will have no say over who wins our readers’ picks, nor will the Independent staff: It’s the votes of you, our readers, who will decide the winners and finalists, period. (The staff will throw in some of our own picks—but they will be clearly marked as “Staff Picks” and will not in any way conflict with what readers choose.)

We’ll also do our best to make sure the contest is fair. We’re allowing readers to vote only once in each round, and we’re requiring that readers include a real email address with the ballot. We’re watching IP addresses, too, in an effort to eliminate as much ballot-box stuffing as we can.

Of course, this is our first Best of Coachella Valley, so there will be obstacles that arise. As always, if you or anyone else has questions about Best of Coachella Valley (or anything else related to the Independent, for that matter), my figurative door is always open: Call me at 760-904-4208, or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks in advance for voting in the Best of Coachella Valley!

Published in Editor's Note

As we distribute the new print issue of the Independent this week, I can’t help but think: Wait. Isn’t August supposed to be the slow season around these parts? Geez. Things sure aren’t slow here at the Independent offices.

Here are a few things going on that you should know about:

• Mark your calendars: Voting in the Independent’s very first Best of Coachella Valley will kick off in September.

I know what you’re thinking: Does the valley really need another freaking “best of”? Our answer: Yes, the valley does need another freaking “best of,” because we’ll be doing the Best of Coachella Valley right. Here’s how:

In September, public voting will begin in 120-plus categories at CVIndependent.com and BestofCoachellaValley.com. The voting form will include no “finalists” or pre-determined candidates—each category will have a blank field next to it, period. Voters will need to fill out at least 20 of these categories; will only be allowed to vote once; and will need to provide an email address for possible verification purposes. (We will also be watching IP addresses for possible ballot-box-stuffing.)

In October, we’ll tally those results, announce five finalists in each category, and launch a second round of voting among those finalists.

The final results will be announced in our inaugural Best of Coachella Valley issue, in December. (We’ll throw in some great features and staff picks as well.)

It’s gonna be awesome! Watch for details in next month’s print issue and/or at CVIndependent.com.

• Speaking of CVIndependent.com: The Independent Market—our online store—continues to add new deals! This month, while supplies last, customers can get half-off gift certificates to Crave dessert restaurant, La Quinta Brewing Co., Lisa Harrington Pest Control and the Synchronicity: Matter and Psyche Symposium.

However, the Independent Market is now offering another cool thing: Tickets! This month, we’re selling a limited supply of tickets to two shows at the Palms Restaurant in Twentynine Palms: Rock Formations II, featuring Jello Biafra and Spindrift, on Saturday, Aug. 23; and the Bat Country Labor Day Blast With the Rikk Agnew Band, on Sunday, Aug. 31.

Head on over to CVIndependent.com to get these exclusive deals—and if you want your business included in the Independent Market, drop me a line.

• Finally, I’d like to welcome a new comic strip to the pages and pixels of the Independent. Tom Tomorrow’s “This Modern World,” a staple of the alternative press for decades, will now appear each week at CVIndependent.com, and each month in the print edition.

Welcome, Tom!

As always, folks, thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Published in Editor's Note

Summer is here, more or less, in the Coachella Valley—and I couldn’t be happier.

No, I am not one of those masochists who actually like triple-digit temperatures, steering-wheel burns and bouts of sunstroke. Not at all—in fact, I loathe hot weather.

Still, this will be the 13th consecutive summer for me in a place where triple-digit summer temps are the norm, so I have obviously learned to deal with it—and in fact, I’ve learned to embrace it, because to me, summers in the Coachella Valley have far more pluses than minuses.

Take driving, for example: Yes, driving around the valley on a 113-degree day can have moments of unpleasantness, especially when getting into and out of the car. But driving around the valley on, say, an 81-degree day in March has moments of unpleasantness as well: too much traffic, confused Canadians, etc. So I ask myself: Would I rather deal with a little heat, or would I rather deal with a lost, dipshit snowbird who is dangerously impeding traffic? I’ll take the former, thanks.

When it comes to nights during the summer in the Coachella Valley, I have very few complaints. The temperatures, at least to my desert-adjusted body, are manageable, and I don’t have to worry about sunburn. It’s easier to get to, from and into my favorite restaurants—and starting with Restaurant Week, those restaurants often offer amazing summer deals. Yeah, some restaurants close for all or part of the summer, but it seems like more restaurants are staying open for more of the summer each year—because people are indeed still here, and there’s money to be made.

There is not as much going on events-wise during the summer—but that’s starting to slowly change, too. Theater companies are beginning to dabble with summer shows, for example. More special summer events, like Splash House, are coming to the valley. There may not be as many happenings as there are in, say, November—but there’s still plenty to do around these parts during the summer months.

Plus, after the fever pitch of March and April, I find the relative calm to be nice, refreshing and rejuvenating. I can catch up on stuff, like TV shows and movies I want to see. (You can read more on those in this issue, too.)

For all these reasons and more, while I hate the heat, I love the summer in the Coachella Valley. That's what our June print edition is all about; pick up the Summer Survival Guide now. Enjoy!

Published in Editor's Note

When we launched the Coachella Valley Independent in late 2012, we knew that we’d face numerous obstacles and dilemmas along the way.

However, our latest print issue presented us with a unique dilemma that I didn’t see coming. The question at hand: When should the Independent start its new volume?

For years, magazines, newspapers and other print publications have divvied up issues into volumes. Most publications change volumes on a yearly basis—quite often on the anniversary of the publication’s launch. For example, the publication I worked at before the Independent came to be, the Tucson Weekly, will start its 31st volume in late February, when the publication celebrates its 30th anniversary.

That’s all well and good—but in the Independent’s case, we have at least four “launch” dates.

We launched CVIndependent.com in beta in October 2012. We took the website out of beta on Jan. 1, 2013. We published our first print issue, a quarterly, in April 2013. After another quarterly in July 2013, we published our first monthly edition in October 2013.

So, taking this all into consideration, when should we start our new volume? One could make the case that we could have done so in October 2013, with our first monthly, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of our beta launch. But that was only our beta online launch; our full launch happened a year ago this month. However, we didn’t do a print issue until April—and it’s the print edition, not the website, that is divided up into issues and volumes.

After much inane back-and-forth—I think everyone can agree that when to start a new volume is not a dilemma that anyone would categorize as “serious” in any way—we decided to start Volume 2 with our January 2014 issue. It marks the fact that the Independent has a year of great, full-time content and coverage under its figurative belt, so it felt like the best answer to this silly question.

On a not-so-silly note: We’re kicking off Volume 2 with quite a bang; there’s a lot of great stuff in this issue (most of which has already been posted online). Our cover package looks at some of the issues that people within the Coachella Valley’s homeless population face—including a crippling amount of petty legal citations, with not-so-petty fees. Our News section features a story on the Desert Ice Castle, and its ties to potential Winter Olympics glory; our Movies section offers a quick history of the Palm Springs International Film Festival; and our Music section is packed with coverage on everything from the newly restored Purple Room to a third-wave ska act that’s making an appearance at The Hood. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Enjoy Volume 2, Issue 1, of the Coachella Valley Independent.

Published in Editor's Note

The 2013 Palm Springs Pride Festival, held at Sunrise Park on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3, drew tens of thousands of people over two days.

Temps in the low '80s greeted attendees, who perused booths offering everything from underwear to animal adoptions to newspapers (including more than 1,600 copies of the Coachella Valley Independent), and enjoyed performers ranging from Richard Simmons to Berlin.

When we had more than one person manning our booth, Independent editor Jimmy Boegle wandered through the festival to take some pictures of the goings-on. Check out the photo gallery below.

Published in Snapshot

In late 2002, I was talking to the publisher of the Tucson Weekly about the editor’s job. I was working for what was then a corporate sister paper, Las Vegas CityLife.. The Tucson publisher, Tom, had apparently heard from my Las Vegas publisher that I was seeing someone—but Tom didn’t know the details.

“So, I understand you have a girlfriend in Las Vegas,” Tom said.

I suddenly faced a split-second decision—the kind of awkward and potentially damaging decision that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face from time to time.

“Actually, I have a boyfriend in Vegas,” I replied.

Thankfully, everything worked out: I got the job (and would happily keep it for nearly a decade), and the boyfriend and I recently celebrated 11 years together. But far too often, things don’t work out when LGBT folks have to make the split-second decision whether to come out—even today, in 2013.

This brings us to this month’s fantastic cover story, which we posted online last Friday (Oct. 25).

Over the last few months, Brian Blueskye and I have been looking for older LGBT locals to profile for this Pride-themed story package. We wanted to honor generations of LGBT folks who—simply by living their lives—fought for equality and fairness, therefore paving the way for legal marriage, for federal benefits, and for people like me to feel comfortable telling the truth during a job interview.

Although we quite didn’t achieve the ethnic diversity for which we were hoping, I think you’ll agree that Brian did an amazing job of telling the stories of these normal, yet somehow also extraordinary, men and women.

• On another note: I want to personally thank everyone who played a part in the li’l party we threw on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

OK, so the party wasn’t so little. In fact, hundreds of Independent readers, contributors, advertisers and (what I hope will be) future advertisers came out to celebrate both our one-year anniversary online, and our move to a monthly print schedule.

Thanks to Brook and the folks at Clinic Bar and Lounge (where you can find me nursing a Maker’s and Coke several days a week), who made everyone who showed up comfortable and happy; Alex Harrington, aka All Night Shoes, who turned in an amazing DJ set (including a by-request Patsy Cline remix that blew my mind); The Vibe, whose appearance was something of a surprise, albeit a most welcome one; and Ryan “Motel” Campbell (with support from as Debra Ann Mumm and the rest of the Venus Studios folks), who created a stunning mural before our very eyes.

Most of all, I want to thank you, our readers—whether you were able to attend the party or not. Without you, the Independent is just a bunch of pixels or ink on newsprint. You’re what gives our new and growing publication life. Thanks for picking us up each month, and for pointing your browser to CVIndependent.com. Thanks for following us on Facebook, Twitter and even Google Plus. Thanks for frequenting our advertisers—and thanks for telling your friends about us.

Enjoy our special 2013 Pride Issue, hitting streets this week, and already posted online here at CVIndependent.com. And if you’re at Palm Springs Pride this weekend, please stop by our booth and say hello!

Published in Editor's Note

It was not just another night in downtown Palm Springs.

Hundreds of people from across the Coachella Valley and beyond gathered at Clinic Bar and Lounge in downtown Palm Springs on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 16, for the Coachella Valley Independent's Monthly-Edition Launch Party. 

The crowd was enticed by a live work of art created in front of their eyes by Ryan "Motel" Campbell; a DJ set by All Night Shoes (aka Alex Harrington), followed by several sets from The Vibe; and, of course, two hours of free drinks.

Scroll down to see some photos of the event (most of which were taken by Kevin Fitzgerald). If you have pics you'd like to add to the photo gallery, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks to all who came, as well as the fine folks at Clinic Bar and Lounge, and Venus Studios Art Supply.

Published in Snapshot

The Coachella Valley Independent was born on Oct. 25, 2012.

The very first story to go live at CVIndependent.com was, really, nothing special. In fact, the piece was more of a test piece for us to build the website around than what I’d call “journalism.” It was just three sentences, plus a photo, explaining that Restless Heart was going to be playing a show at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.

The headline, taken from the name of a Restless Heart song: “Tell Me What You Dream.”

I never dreamt that less than a year later, the Independent would be where it is today. This summer, the Independent became the first Coachella Valley publication to ever be admitted to the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. We have now published about 700 stories online—and our October print edition, hitting streets this week, includes about 30 contributors and marks our debut as a monthly publication.

So ... It’s time to celebrate.

If you’re free, or if you can get free, I encourage you to head to Clinic Bar Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, on Wednesday, Oct. 16. From 6 p.m. until midnight or so, contributors to and friends of the Independent will host a big party, to celebrate both our monthly print debut and our one-year online anniversary—and everyone (21 and over) is invited.

The bar will be open (translation: free drinks) from 6 to 8 p.m. But this is not just a drink-and-stand-around event: All Night Shoes (whose monthly Independent Fresh Mix debuted this month) will be DJ’ing all night, and artist Ryan “Motel” Campbell will be creating a live mural—on a 10-foot-by-5-foot canvas—as the party plays out around him.

It’s going to be a great time. I really hope you can be there.

Our switch to a monthly print schedule comes with new features. For example, esteemed music contributor Brian Blueskye will now be offering a look at the upcoming month’s local music events in every print issue; catch the debut of the Blueskye Report in print, or online later this week.

Of course, as we continue to grow, the Independent is looking for people to join the family. We’re always looking for writers who are willing to report on local matters, and on the sales side, we’d love to add another advertising rep or two. If interested, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As always, thanks for reading—and I hope to see you on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Published in Editor's Note

Ryan “Motel” Campbell is asked how he’d categorize his art.

He pauses to contemplate. “I’d say that my work is … contemporary, fluid motion, cubist, urban, contemporary.”

He laughs. “That’s the short version,” he adds.

The description (aside from the two mentions of “contemporary,” perhaps) actually fits Campbell’s works nicely—as everyone can see at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16, when Campbell will paint a 10-foot-by-5-foot mural live, as part of the Coachella Valley Independent’s Official Launch Party.

The Independent is celebrating our one-year anniversary online, as well as the launch of our monthly edition, with free drinks from 6 to 8 p.m.; a DJ set by All Night Shoes; and the live creation of the mural on canvas, which will later be donated to the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, for the organization’s silent auction at the Center Stage event.

Campbell, 32, is an accomplished artist whose works and installations have been featured in galleries far and wide. (See just a small sampling of his works at www.ryanmotelcampbell.com/index.html.)

Ryan “Motel” Campbell—the nickname came to be, he says, because friends used to regularly stay at his house, aka the “Motel Campbell”—teaches regularly at Venus Studios, which is co-sponsoring the launch party; the good folks there are donating the canvas on which Campbell will paint, as well as other materials.

He says he often came to the desert while he was growing up in Los Angeles, and he credits the Coachella Valley for giving him inspiration.

“I really love the desert—something about the energy, something about just being here, I connected with immediately,” he says. “I would come here from Los Angeles and feel just completely disconnected, which is great.”

As a kid in L.A., Campbell fell in love with graffiti.

“I went and wrote on every mailbox and every sidewalk, and I’m not proud of it,” he says. “… I knew better. I had a very nice upbringing. My family taught me to always be respectful. But I needed to have my voice heard.”

In 2001, he decided to move to the Coachella Valley; his mom already lived in here, in Palm Desert.

“I had the opportunity to move here and jumped all over it,” he says. “I moved here—and found myself totally bored out of my mind.

“Oddly enough, in the bag of things that I brought with me—my worldly possessions—I had my sketchbook. So I broke out my sketchbook, and I just started drawing. I started looking at a lot of the graffiti I was doing and saw the monotony in it. I saw that I wasn’t really progressing. … I felt like I needed to push myself.”

Campbell started visiting local museums and galleries; those visits led to what he called a “wave of inspiration.”

“I said, ‘You know, I want to do something different. I want to try to really take the fundamentals of this graffiti art … and put it into creating something that’s more fine art’—art that spoke to me, that I was able to connect with and identify with and really enjoy.”

The melding of influences has led to Campbell’s “contemporary, fluid motion, cubist, urban, contemporary” style.

“It’s very inspired,” Campbell says about his art. “It’s inspired by movement. It’s inspired by motion, a lot of fluidity. I think that depicted where I was and where I am in life. I like to cruise through. I don’t want to fight too much.”

Today, in a way, Campbell has come full-circle: He often teaches alternative-education classes to kids with whom he can closely relate.

“I was basically going in to teach (kids who were just like) myself when I was in high school,” he says. “I was going in to teach kids who were rebellious and angry and wanted to do vandalism and go out and make a name for themselves.”

He says some kids even recognized him and his works from his graffiti days.

“The question (from the kids) was always like, ‘How come you don’t go out any more?’ he says. “For me, the necessity and the outlet have changed over time.”

Today, he says, kids have more outlets than he did when he was young. He cites skate parks as an example, as well as some of the efforts that forward-thinking arts organizations like Venus Studios are making.

“Kids want to go out and paint. They want to go out and write their name,” he says. “They want people to go out and see the work that they’re making. What I’ve been able to do with Venus Studios is we have Spray Paint Session Saturdays, where we invite people to come in and bring their spray paint. We give them a large-size canvas to paint on, to display their work in a venue where they’re not harming anybody, and they’re not getting into any trouble. They have an audience that’s interested in what they have to say, in a place where they can show their work.”

When asked what attendees at the Independent Launch Party can expect while Campbell spends four to six hours creating a brand-new work of art, he says that he often draws inspiration from the audience when he produces live works.

So come and help create Campbell create a contemporary, fluid-motion, cubist, urban, contemporary piece of art—for a good cause to boot.

Ryan “Motel” Campbell will paint starting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Coachella Valley Independent’s Official Launch Party. The event takes place at Clinic Bar and Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. A hosted bar will be open from 6 to 8 p.m., and All Night Shoes will spin music all night. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-904-4208. Below: “Reclining Nude” (from life study), 48 by 36 inches; acrylic, spray paint and charcoal on wood. Above: “Sorting It All Out,” 24 by 24 inches; acrylic, spray paint and charcoal on wood.

Published in Visual Arts

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