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According to the Los Angeles Times, L.A is the cultural center of the universe. As a result, the Coachella Valley, being two hours away (plus or minus, depending on how fast you drive), naturally experiences some trickle-down cool; if a star explodes in L.A., we are going to experience some of the blast.

Whether or not you agree with the Times … we can all agree there is much fun to be had this October across the Coachella Valley.

Fantasy Springs is offering a unique comedy event that you won’t want to miss. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5, comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short will bring their “Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t” tour to Indio for an evening of laughs and stories, with special guests Paul Shaffer, Della Mae and Alison Brown. Unbeknownst to many, Steve Martin is an accomplished banjo player, winning a Grammy in 2010 for a bluegrass album. Both men are widely popular—and funny. Let’s hope Martin brings out his banjo. Tickets are $79 to $139. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, put on your cowboy boots and head to the Special Events Center for Big and Rich, with special guests Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister. Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Show at Agua Caliente Casino is hosting several events this month we want to tell you about. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, REO Speedwagon will bring arena-pop anthems to The Show. It’s a good thing this event is on a Friday: You don’t want to go to work the day after a night with REO Speedwagon. Tickets are $65 to $195. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 23, blues great Joe Bonamassa will take the stage. A whopping 16 Bonamassa albums have topped the Billboard blues chart! Tickets are $89 to $199. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the man Pitchfork called “the face of modern reggaeton” will perform: J Balvin. He wowed audiences at Coachella earlier this year. Tickets are $85 to $125. Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

At 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, the legendary Mexican norteño band Los Tucanes de Tijuana returns to Spotlight 29 and the city of Coachella, which gave the band the keys to the city in the week leading up to the band’s performance at Coachella and Chella. Get ready to hear the smash hit about a danceaholic woman, “La Chona”; it drives concert-goers crazy, so the band is known to play it twice. Tickets are $35 to $55. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa is bringing a couple of old-school legends to Cabazon in October. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, Patti LaBelle will take the Morongo stage. Need we say more? Tickets are $69 to $79. A 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the man, the myth, the legend, Engelbert Humperdinck will return to Morongo. The man who was born in British India with the name Arnold Dorsey has gone on to sell more than 140 million records … and baffle Eurovision audiences when the then-76-year-old was inexplicably Great Britain’s entry into the continent-wide contest back in 2012. Tickets are $65 to $85. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s has a number of exciting shows booked this month. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2, indie-rock artists Beth Orton and Mercury Rev will bring their critically acclaimed music to Pappy’s inside stage. The show promises to provide high-desert vibes: psychedelia, acoustic guitars, distortion, lots of effects, boots—all of it. They will be performing their tribute to Bobbie Gentry’s The Delta Sweete. Tickets are $35. At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4, Pappy’s welcomes Soccer Mommy and Rosie Tucker, both critically acclaimed artists who have gained popularity in the blogosphere this year. Tickets are $18 to $20. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, Neon Indian, one of the progenitors of the “chill-wave” genre, will bring electronic pop songs in for an intimate evening. Led by Texas-born musician Alan Palomo, Neon Indian released its debut album, Psychic Chasms, 10 years ago, and most recently released Vega Intl. Night School in 2015. Palomo has kept busy with filmmaking, acting and soundtracking, and this show serves as Neon Indian’s return; according to Palomo’s Instagram, the band will be playing some “nuevo fuego,” or “new fire”—in other words, new songs. Hashtag smiley-face emoji. Hashtag fire emoji. Tickets are $20 to $25. At 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24, The Black Lips will return to the desert for a guaranteed loud evening of garage rock. Expect the unexpected, as the band is known for its wild stage antics. For fans of New York Dolls, T. Rex and Wavves. Tickets are $25. Weekdays at Pappy’s seem to be the place to be, because at 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31, Cherry Glazerr will bring feminist indie garage-rock songs back to the Pappy’s stage. This promises to be a fun show. Tickets are $20. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room has some noteworthy events this month. John Lloyd Young will take the stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12. Young performs a series of covers for fans of ’50s and ’60s rock ’n’ roll, including songs by Roy Orbison and The Platters, among others. Tickets are $50 to $65. At 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, Kinsey Sicks will bring their famous show back to Palm Springs. According to the Purple Room website, the show is a “mix of gorgeous a cappella, hilarious drag, obscenity and absurdity with gasp-inducing political satire thrown in for bad measure.” Tickets are $35 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the Tony Award-nominated Sharon McNight will perform her “Red Hot Mama” show, which is a tribute to Sophie Tucker. Tickets are $30 to $35. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Tack Room Tavern has a great month of events planned. Indio TerrorFest takes place on Saturday, Oct. 26; you can read all about that next week at CVIndependent.com. But first comes one of the best charity events of the year: At 5:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, the Tack Room will host the 12th Annual Concert for Autism, a benefit for the Desert Autism Foundation. Performers will include John Garcia and the Band of Gold, FrankEatstheFloor, The Hellions and many others. A $10 donation is suggested at the door. Tack Room Tavern, 81800 Ave. 51, Indio; 760-347-9985; www.facebook.com/tackroomtavern.

Toucans is hosting some fun cabaret events this month. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11, adult-contemporary singer-songwriter Tom Goss is performing along with Deven Green. Goss’ songs are emotive folk narratives reminiscent of Mumford and Sons, and Of Monsters and Men. Goss is playing in support of his upcoming album, Territories. Tickets are $25 to $35. At 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, the comedian and entertainer Mama Tits brings her outrageous part-comedy, part-concert show to Toucans for a night of fun, laughter and risqué jokes. Tickets are $25. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; www.reactionshows.com.

Below: Cherry Glazzer, by Pamela Littky.

Published in Previews

Director Clint Eastwood continues creative slump with Jersey Boys, a drab adaptation of the Broadway musical.

Jersey Boys further proves something that Eastwood established 45 years ago with his appearance in Paint Your Wagon: Dirty Harry has no business being around a movie musical. Oh, sure, he’s musically inclined. He’s been composing scores for some of his movies, but I’d like to point out that those scores kind of suck, especially that stupid “Gran Torino” song. His musical taste travels toward the meandering and sleepy.

Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli (John Lloyd Young, who performed the role on Broadway) and The Four Seasons, and how they went from being small-time hoods in New Jersey to being big-time rock stars. I’ve never seen the Broadway show, but I have to think its success means it was somewhat enjoyable and lively. Well, the movie version is neither of these things.

As in the musical, each member of the Four Seasons breaks the fourth wall to address the audience. It’s a gimmick that feels forced the way Eastwood stages it. Every time somebody faced the camera and started gabbing, I found myself getting annoyed.

Much of the film’s focus falls on Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), an early leader of the band and a bad influence on Frankie. Over the course of time, DeVito gets himself deep into debt—to the point where he has to be bailed out by a friend in the mob, represented here as Gyp DeCarlo and played by Christopher Walken in a thankless role.

The movie follows the band through its early session-musician days, and even includes a brief appearance by Joe Pesci (Joseph Russo) before his Hollywood emergence. (Pesci apparently had a real-life role in getting the band together.)

The Four Seasons have some great songs, including “Rag Doll,” “Walk Like a Man” and “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night!).” Young gives it a good go, belting out the hits with a voice akin to Valli’s signature falsetto. It’s admirable that Eastwood and his performers opted to have the music performed live on set rather than lip-synching. However, something happened in the final mix that flattened the overall musical presentation. The songs, although competently performed, lack a certain spark. They just feel like pale copies of the originals. (Perhaps it was the sound in the theater I was in.)

The timing of this film’s release seems a bit odd. It arrived with little to no fanfare during a drab week within the summer movie season. It’s almost as if Warner Bros. knew it had a stinker on its hands, and tried to dump the movie during a week with little competition to give it a fighting chance. Clint Eastwood films usually get high-profile, awards-season releases, but this one was snuck out there for an unresponsive public.

This is the second Eastwood-directed movie in a row (with the terrible J. Edgar) to feature brutally bad makeup. As the movie travels from the 1960s into the ’70s, it becomes a parade of bad wigs and hilarious mustaches. By the time The Four Seasons reunite for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1990, they look, well, silly. I concocted better old-man makeup on Halloween during the 1970s using flour and baby powder.

The movie does come alive during the closing credits, when all of the members of the cast gather for a triumphant musical-medley finale. It’s the only time when Jersey Boys feels like a legitimate, joyful movie musical.

It’s much too little, way too late.

Jersey Boys is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews