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Local Fun

17 Apr 2013
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Meet Chris Hoggatt. He’s a 20-year-old student at the College of the Desert and a graduate of Palm Desert High School who works at the Yard House. Oh, and one more thing about Hoggatt: He’s a hip-hop dancer. Hoggatt will be making his big-stage debut alongside 21 other individuals and groups this week as part of Open Call, the McCallum Theatre’s annual talent project. This is the 15th year for Open Call, which is part of the McCallum’s education and outreach program. Kajsa Thuresson-Frary, the director of education at the McCallum, has been a part of Open Call since the beginning. She says that Open Call started as part of an effort by the McCallum to live up to a then-new slogan—“It’s your theatre”—as the organization emerged from tough times in the late 1990s. “It’s an effort to closely work with the local community to create a community event,” she…
29 Mar 2013
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Ah, spring in the Coachella Valley. Some days feature the Best. Weather. Ever. Other days make it clear that the furnace we call “summer” is going to be here all too soon. Whether the weather’s amazing or appalling, there’s no sense in sitting around at home; spring in the Coachella Valley is simply packed with great things to do—no matter your interest, your budget, or what part of the valley you live in. We here at the Independent have scoured the various press releases and arts websites, and we came up with this selection of eight spring highlights. (OK, the last one occurs when it’s actually summer. But it’s the freaking Village People, people.) Oh, and before we begin: If you’re part of an arts organization, gallery or special event, make sure to send all of your info to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so we can keep our readers (who, like you, are…
22 Mar 2013
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It all began at an Ace Hotel job fair in 2009. “Our vice president saw Linda in line, with this fabulous glittery dress and a pair of her signature glasses,” recalled Jason Dibler, the hotel’s general manager. “He said, ‘I don’t know what she does, but we need her.’” That’s how Linda Gerard started her rapid ascent toward becoming something of a Palm Springs icon. Sadly, the hostess of the Ace’s wildly popular Sissy Bingo Monday nights is currently in the battle of her life: Several weeks ago, Gerard was diagnosed with lung cancer. Now, her friends and fans are joining forces to put on a fundraiser at the Ace next Monday evening, March 25. That Ace’s vice president’s instincts have paid off: It turns out that woman in line is one hell of a performer. She was Barbra Streisand’s understudy when Funny Girl was on Broadway. She became a…
12 Mar 2013
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In the 1970s, Madame was all the rage. The sassy ol’ broad—accompanied by her puppeteer, Wayland Flowers—was a regular on Solid Gold. (Yes, that Solid Gold; she often chatted with the guest performers.) She was also a regular on Hollywood Squares, even taking over center square from time to time after Paul Lynde left. She was on Laugh-In. She even had her own show, Madame’s Place, in 1982-1983 She was a star. A big star. When Wayland Flowers died of AIDS-related cancer in 1988, the puppet diva, of course, went into retirement. She had a brief comeback tour several years ago, and is today on the arm of a new puppeteer, comedy/commercials/TV veteran Gary Holland. In other words, Madame is out to become a big star yet again. Her biggest comeback gig so far: She’ll be doing “White Carpet commentary” during the White Party’s main event, on Saturday, March 30,…