CVIndependent

Mon06172019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

A sold-out crowd of more than 100 people enjoyed nine fantastic cocktails—all made with Ketel One Botanical vodka—at the Third Annual Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Championship, held Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Moxie Palm Springs.

Carlos Argumedo, of Farm, was declared the champion of the event, earning an amazing 92 points (out of 100 possible) on the judges’ scoresheets. The tally was close—three points separated first place from fourth place. Argumedo follows in the footsteps of 2018 winner Hunter Broggi, of Lulu California Bistro (who also participated in this year’s event), and 2016 winner Sherman Chan, of Trio Restaurant.

Trio’s Garrett Spicher was the Audience Choice winner.

Nine bartenders competed in the event, which sold out for the first time in its three-year history. Each competitor made tastes of their drinks for each attendee, before making full drinks for the judges: Ketel One’s Leslie Barclay; Brad Fuhr, of media sponsors Gay Desert Guide and KGAY 106.5 FM; and representatives of Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week’s beneficiaries: the Desert AIDS Project’s Darrell Tucci, and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert’s Alexis Ortega.

The championship is the highlight of Palm Springs Craft Cocktail Week, a production of the Coachella Valley Independent. During the week, which continues through Saturday, Feb. 2, participating restaurants create a special drink for the week, or highlight an existing drink from their menus, and donate at least $2 from each drink sold during the week to the Desert AIDS Project and the LGBT Community Center of the Desert. A complete list of drinks and participants can be found at PSCraftCocktails.com.

Below is a collection of photos from the event, taken by the Independent’s Kevin Fitzgerald.

Published in Snapshot

When most residents of the Coachella Valley go to the polls on Nov. 6, for the first time, they will be able to either cast a vote directly impacting future access to important health care services, or elect a representative to champion their specific community needs.

Some voters living in the current, long-established Desert Healthcare District (DHCD)—which begins in Palm Springs and extends east to Palm Desert’s Cook Street—will be casting votes to elect representatives in two newly formed districts: District 2, primarily covering Desert Hot Springs; and District 4, mostly made up of Cathedral City.

At the DHCD board’s public session on June 26, a final zoning map was adopted that defines the boundaries of the five new districts created within the current DHCD. Previously, the five-member board was elected at large by the entire district; two of five seats are up for election this year.

The move to district-based elections should mean better representation for minority populations; one of the most outspoken advocates for this is Alexis Ortega, the director of community outreach for the LGBT Community Center of the Desert.

“Cathedral City has pockets where … some 70 percent of the folks living in that one area are Latino,” Ortega said in a phone interview. “So, when you have districts (created) where the minority group becomes the majority in that neighborhood, like what we’ve been advocating for in the DHCD districting process, there’s the potential to strengthen that (minority) voting block and get their preferred candidate elected.”

As for Coachella Valley residents living east of Cook Street: They will be casting their votes on whether the DHCD and its important healthcare support services will be expanded into their communities, beginning in 2019.

“As we know, there’s a great disparity between services provided to residents of the east valley as opposed to the west—whether it’s the number of providers or the number of resources and things like that,” said Dr. Les Zendle, president of the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation board of directors, during a phone interview. “But with our ‘One Coachella Valley’ approach, we really believe that—just like with transportation or other issues that can’t be handled by one city at a time, or half the valley at a time—(we’ll be able) to take a collective look at health care.”

Assuming that the majority of the valley’s east side voters approve the DHCD expansion in November, the DHCD will need to start the process of again redistricting and then electing representatives to those new districts—a process that will take place through 2022.

“This November, there will be the first two elections in the new districts, so it will be interesting to see who pops up to the forefront (to run),” Ortega said. “Moving forward, the biggest thing will be informing folks of the importance of the role that the DHCD plays in setting their health-care priorities and in funding for our region. Also, in November, folks in the (proposed) annexed areas will be voting to approve the expansion of the DHCD into their communities, so our role at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert will be to make folks aware of everything that’s happening and how it affects our community, and how our center works with LGBT folks of color to make sure that their needs are met.”

Zendle said he and his fellow board members have a lot of work to do.

“We will certainly continue to do what we have always done, which is trying to educate the public about what the Desert Healthcare District and its foundation does,” he said. “To be frank with you, it’s something not a lot of people in the community are familiar with. I think that the political people and the stakeholders who receive our funding are aware of it, but the general community isn’t necessarily aware of what we are.”

The DHCD provides support to a variety of organizations (such as Find Food Bank, Volunteers in Medicine, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, etc.) that provide health and wellness services to residents.

How can a valley resident within one of the new districts become a candidate for a board seat? “Basically, a person has to be a registered voter in the district or the zone in which they want to run,” Zendle said. “They have to get the forms and a handbook and instructions on how to get on the ballot and conduct their campaign. They can pick up these materials either here at our DHCD offices in Palm Springs or through the County Registrar’s Office.” Candidates must also pay $1,150; the nomination period runs through Aug. 10.

As complex, problematic and underappreciated as the DHCD seems to be, its potential to provide valuable services to all communities is evident.

“I currently live in Palm Springs,” Ortega said, “so I’m a Palm Springs resident who wants to see Palm Springs represented (on the DHCD board), but I also understand that maybe Palm Springs has been a bit over-represented on the DHCD board. So, how can we bring in other voices that may stem from communities that are more heavily majority-minority, and how can we make sure that those voices are included? I think this (district-creation effort) has been a good first step, but the process is imperfect. No one is ever going to be completely happy, but I think it’s a good first step.”

For more information on the DHCD’s new districts and proposed expansion, visit www.dhcd.org.

Published in Local Issues

On a warm and breezy Saturday evening, the night’s festivities were just beginning at Georgie’s Alibi, at Azul in downtown Palm Springs.

You could feel the bass thumping from the music as you walked up the stairs to Georgie’s Alibi. Once inside, the pink and purple lights, bumping music and beautiful ladies set the mood just right for a night of dancing and socializing—and it was all happening thanks to a fairly new group called Boudoir Entertainment.

Boudoir Entertainment, also known as B.E., is an entertainment group that has a goal to “satisfy the nightlife needs for lesbians and queer women in the Coachella Valley in a unique atmosphere BY and FOR women,” according to creators Delfina Zarate, Alexis Ortega and Marie Elloso.

However, Boudoir Entertainment events aren’t just for women who like women; B.E. prides itself on not being an exclusive organization, in an effort to bring together the community.

“In order for us (Boudoir Entertatinment) to be successful, we need to be welcoming to all people in the community, not just in the LGBTQ community,” says Ortega.

Zarate echoes that statement. “Our organization is set apart from others in the community because Boudoir Entertainment is community-based and all about giving back.”

These three ladies want to support the community that they grew up in and that helped shape them into the women they are today. The three 20-somethings were all raised in the Coachella Valley, where regular events designed for gay men are prevalent—while events for lesbians are fewer and farther between.

Thus, Boudoir Entertainment is filling a void—while demonstrating a dedication to community. B.E. has helped out with multiple fundraising events for local nonprofit organizations. The most recent event Boudoir Entertainment helped promote was the sixth annual Mid-Summer Dance Party at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, a benefit for the Desert AIDS Project.

Boudoir Entertainment has also donated money from its own activities as well. The group gave around $850 to the FIND Food Bank, by pledging a quarter of the profits from Boudoir’s 2013 Dinah Shore event, and by offering a raffle with a local hair salon.

Zarate, who works as a bartender, maintains that is it is her responsibility to “promote Boudoir (Entertainment) so it can be recognized for its value in the community.” Ortega, a Stanford grad and Palm Springs native who works for the Desert AIDS Project, is the woman in charge of social media, marketing and promoting the brand of Boudoir Entertainment, which is described as being “luscious, refreshing, alluring, mesmerizing, and ecstasizing” on the website. Elloso, a College of the Desert student, is the first contact who all newcomers encounter when they attend any Boudoir Entertainment event. She is also responsible for bringing in local talent, such as burlesque dancers and DJs, to perform.

According to Zarate, the idea of Boudoir Entertainment is to develop a “safe and comfortable space for lesbian and queer women to come together to hang out and socialize … to provide an atmosphere for women to be themselves, to be free to be who they want to be.”

Based on the growing interest and number of supporters, these ladies must be doing something right.

Boudoir at Georgie’s Alibi, at Azul, 369 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, takes place at 9 p.m., every other Saturday; the next event is on Saturday, Aug. 17. There is no cover. For more information and a complete calendar of events, visit boudoirnightlife.com, or look them up on Facebook.

 

Published in Local Fun