CVIndependent

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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

As festival season heads into full swing, I can’t help but wonder: How involved is the average Coachella Valley local in these big events?

Take the Palm Springs International Film Festival, for example. I’ve heard grousing that the festival, which started out as a smaller event designed primarily for locals, has grown into an event that’s more for L.A. and film-industry folks, and less for Coachella Valley residents. (When you consider how hard it is for locals to get tickets to some of the bigger film-fest events and screenings, you may realize that those grousers have a point.)

This brings us to a couple of February’s bigger events—especially Modernism Week. I have a confession to make: I have never attended a Modernism Week event. The same goes for many of my friends.

Why haven’t I ever attended a Modernism Week event? While it’s true that many Modernism Week tours sell out weeks and months in advance, it’s also true that a lot of other events—good events, some of which are low-cost or free—don’t sell out. Therefore, I can’t blame a lack of availability.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that when it comes to the behemoth series of events that is Modernism Week (which includes many hundreds of things to do), I didn’t really know where to start. Hence the “Modernism 101” story.

My goal in doing this piece was to answer a lot of the questions I (and, presumably, other locals) have about Modernism Week—and modernism in general, for that matter. Did I succeed? Judge for yourself.

Our great arts coverage coming to CVIndependent.com this month (and already out in our February print edition): a story on renowned local designer Christopher Kennedy; a piece on the neighborhood tours offered during Modernism Week; and a primer on another cool arts event happening this month: the Palm Springs Fine Art Fair.

I promise: I will attend at least one or two Modernism Week events this year. If you’re in the same boat that I am, I hope these stories will help you decide to take part in this year’s Modernism Week, too.

I hope you enjoy all of our coverage. As always, thanks for reading.

Published in Editor's Note

Welcome to 2015—and, therefore, the start of the third year of the Coachella Valley Independent’s existence.

Regular readers of this space know that I used it last month to thank our readers, our employees, our contributors and our supporters. Well, forgive me for repeating myself a bit—because I have yet more thanks to give.

First, I want to thank the 39 business, organizations and individuals who opened their wallets to donate to the Independent’s first crowd-funding campaign. We did not meet the overly lofty goal we set for our Indiegogo-based effort, but we did raise a fantastic $3,246.

What are we going to do with that money? Well, we’ve already spent a good chunk of it: We just ordered 28 brand-new newspaper racks, which will help us increase and improve our circulation. That means more copies of the Independent getting into more people’s hands—and from our admittedly biased point of view, that’s a very good thing.

We’ll also use some of that money to fund a brand-new events-preview section, which we’ll be launching in our February issue. In other words, due to the generosity of our supporters, we’ll be able to shine an even brighter, more comprehensive light on the goings-on in the Coachella Valley.

Thank you, everyone. For a list of all our crowd-funding supporters, visit our “About” page.

Second, thanks to everyone who attended the party for our first-ever Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll. Dozens of winners joined Independent readers and contributors at Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge on Wednesday, Dec. 3, to celebrate—and a great time was had by all.

The presence of rain—which moved the party, which had been slated for Twin Palms’ lovely patio, indoors—didn’t keep a whole bunch of people from getting their awards, sampling some of Twin Palms’ fantastic food (Gator! Gumbo! Mmmm!) and enjoying a cocktail or two. To view some pictures from the event, check out our Snapshot feature.

Now, it’s time to look forward: We’re kicking off our third year with one of our best print issues ever. It’s chock-full of great stuff, from Kevin Fitzgerald’s extensive piece on the east valley’s political machine, to Brian Blueskye’s fantastic preview of the first-ever El Gato Classic skateboarding event. Enjoy, and as always, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments and suggestions.

Thank you for being part of the Independent family.

Published in Editor's Note

The holidays are here, and there are a lot of things for which I am thankful:

• I’m thankful for the Independent’s knowledgeable readers. Our inaugural Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll is complete, and the results are here! With a few categories excepted (In-n-Out has the valley’s Best Burger? Really?!), the results show that our readers, like you, are smart, cultured and local-minded: Very few chains won in our poll, especially when compared with readers’ polls in other publications and/or other cities.

I hope that as many of you readers who voted in the Best of Coachella Valley poll as possible (and, heck, even those of you who didn’t vote … next year, right?) will join us to celebrate the winners at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 3, at multiple-category-winner Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge, 1201 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. The Best of Coachella Valley Party will feature a brief awards ceremony at 7:15 p.m., and great specials on food and drinks all night.

See you there!

• I’m thankful for the Independent’s fantastic employees and contributors. Specifically, I’m thankful for those Independent designers and scribes who helped me out with our booth at Greater Palm Springs Pride, where we gave out community bags containing newspapers and great deals, as well as mini-flying discs and lots of pens. Thank you to Brian Blueskye, Wayne Acree, Victor Barocas and the indefatigable Valerie-Jean Hume for representing the Independent so proudly! Also, thanks to the readers who stopped by to say hi!

• I’m thankful to everyone who has contributed to our Indiegogo campaign. As I noted last month, we’re trying to raise $10,000 so we can increase our distribution and, most importantly, boost our coverage of news and local events. As of this writing, we’ve received some fantastic support, including a donation from reader Shilo Herrling, who wrote: “I really appreciate the CV Independent, and wish you all the best of luck in your expansion efforts. Unlike many, I don’t think The Desert Sun is a bad paper … but I do like to have options and alternative viewpoints, and CV Independent does a great job!”

Thanks, Shilo!

Despite the support from readers like Shilo, as of this writing, we’re behind the pace we need to be on to reach our goal. Please consider joining Shilo in supporting the Independent; find details on every page here at CVIndepedent.com, and via the short video posted below.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Published in Editor's Note

The calendar says it’s November, so that means our second annual Pride Issue is hitting the streets.

In terms of circulation, revenue and quality, November is shaping up to be the best month the Independent has ever had, both online and in print. However, we still have work to do in our effort to give the Coachella Valley the best alternative publication/news organization it’s ever had—and we’re asking for your help.

The Independent has launched a crowd-funding effort to help us reach the next level. The funds we hope to raise via the campaign will help us expand our coverage and strengthen our distribution.

As for distribution, we’re currently in 365 or so locations across the region, from Desert Hot Springs, through Palm Springs, and all the way down to the Salton Sea; we’re even at Chiriaco Summit and in select locations in the Yucca Valley area. That’s pretty darned good, I’d say—but we can do better. We want to boost that number of locations to around 400, and we want to do better at our existing locations. Our crowd-funding effort, if successful, will help us purchase new wire indoor racks, and will allow us to refurbish, repair and perhaps replace some of our outdoor distribution boxes.

The vast majority of the funds we hope to raise will help us improve what we do best—journalism. We want to increase our arts and events coverage, for example. Right now, we’re doing a fine job of covering band/club/popular music and reviewing multi-week theatrical performances; our visual arts coverage is also among the valley’s best. However, many events outside of these categories have tended to fall through the cracks, so we want to hire more writers on a freelance basis to patch these figurative cracks.

On the food and drink side: Have you noticed that no publication in the valley does full, honest restaurant reviews—the kind in which restaurants are visited more than once by an unannounced reviewer who pays his or her own way? Next year, we hope to start doing at least two reviews per month.

Finally—and most importantly—we want to boost our news coverage. We are constantly getting great story tips and ideas here at the Independent, yet we often don’t have the writers and other resources to pursue them. We want to—no, we need to change that, especially since The Desert Sun and other traditional news sources are continuing to get hammered by layoffs and cutbacks.

The Indiegogo page can be found here. We sincerely appreciate your help.

Published in Editor's Note

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

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