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When Throw Rag frontman Sean Wheeler and Circle Jerks/Weirdos multi-instrumentalist Zander Schloss came together to record their debut album, Walk Thee Invisible, in 2011, the two icons of the punk-rock scene showed off a lighter side.

More music is coming from them, too: Amid several tours and appearances at festivals such as Punk Rock Bowling and the Muddy Roots Festival, the locals have recorded a new album that’s due out sometime this year.

Not too long ago, they played their first show together after a short break, at Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert. While Zander Schloss had played a high-energy show with the Weirdos at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown the week prior, it had been awhile since Sean and Zander had played a local show together. They are quite a sight to see: Schloss strums away on his 12-string acoustic guitar while Wheeler sings. It’s just them—with no bassist, and no drummer. The dialogue between Wheeler and Schloss is comical, as they call out their friends in the audience, tell amusing stories, and chat about anything—say, for example, the boots and clothing they are wearing.

The climax of their acoustic driven show is their song “Retablo,” which they can perform in several different ways—as an extended audience sing-along, or with added dialogue. During a show last year at the Ace Hotel, Wheeler led the audience in a conga line outside of the Amigo Room, out around the pool, and back in again—all while Schloss played the instrumental part.

Wheeler once lived a wild rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, and Schloss has years of experience with successful bands like the Circle Jerks, Thelonious Monster and others. In other words: It’s good to see the two musicians now having fun; after all, they’ve paid their dues—and then some.

“It’s more of an emotional outlet,” Schloss said about their partnership. “It’s also a great outlet for us to relax and have fun. We enjoy each other’s company without all the personalities of a band. It’s really nice to just have a couple of guys: It’s economical; it’s fun; and we let each other do what we do. Sean does something I can’t do, and I do something he can’t do.”

Added Wheeler: “We’re like wonder twins.”

While Walk Thee Invisible was an independent release, Schloss said they are currently looking for some distribution help for their next album, which is already completed and mastered.

“It’s better than the first record—which is saying a lot, because I love the first record,” Schloss said. “This record is much more soulful. We have different influences, and along the way, it’s become apparent to me what a great soul singer he is. We’re thinking he’s a soul man, so there’s more soul on the record.”

Both Schloss and Wheeler said that when it comes to songwriting, they try to share personal stuff to which people can relate.

“If you tell them a truth—good or bad—and you’re sincere, I think it transcends whatever comes through,” Wheeler said. “It’s mostly personal experiences. I’m trying to think if there are any songs I’ve written that aren’t directly related to someone I know. You have to be honest—or people’s bullshit detectors go off.”

Added Schloss: “If you tap into the spirit, and people are into the spirit, they’ll connect. There are a lot of people who aren’t open to the spirit, and we have to say to ourselves, ‘Well, it’s OK; they’re celebrating their life in a different way. This is the way we celebrate our lives.’”

They’re looking to a lot in 2014, they said: The new album; their first trip to Brazil, right before the World Cup takes place in that country this summer; and more touring. Their unorthodox, anything-goes touring style includes festivals, bars, opening slots for other bands, and gigs in small towns.

“We got together right around the time the economy crashed,” Schloss said. “We’ve actually been thriving. Economically, it’s great, because the travel (for just two) is less expensive. We can go to places where other bands can’t go. We went to Alaska with Flogging Molly … and we went up there a week before to play saloons. We actually took a ferry up the inland passage to Skagway, and took the train that used to take people out to the Yukon during the gold rush. We went into the rainforest and hiked up a glacier.

“Now, what bands can do that kind of shit? I’ve been touring with bands for 30 years, and I’ve never had richer experiences than I’ve had with this duo.”

For more information, visit www.seanandzander.com, or www.facebook.com/SeanWheelerandZanderSchloss.

The land of martinis and honey is undergoing a seismic shift toward summery saisons, infused IPAs, savory stouts and bourbon-barreled beers.

So, where in the Coachella Valley can you go to find these intoxicating craft creations?

With locations in New York, Los Angeles, London, Seattle, Portland and, of course, Palm Springs, the Ace Hotel (701 E. Palm Canyon Drive) keeps up with trends in music, art, food and drink. The boutique hotel boasts a nice selection of craft beer in the Amigo Room. In fact, the ever-changing craft-beer variety gets its own chalkboard near the bar. Ace is also home to the popular “Craft Beer Weekend,” a pool party complete with music, grub and beer—perfect for craft connoisseurs and beer beginners alike.

Up Palm Canyon Drive to the north lies a restaurant offering a farm-to-concrete-table dining experience that’s industrial chic and progressive. While the menus at Workshop Kitchen + Bar (800 N. Palm Canyon Drive) are heavy with cocktails and duck fat, the spot also offers a nice selection of beers in their downtown-L.A.-esque bar.

As stated on Workshop’s liquid menu, this is a carefully chosen, opinionated mix of products. The beer bottles are sectioned by “crisp,” “yeasty,” “malty,” “strong or dark’ish” and “hoppy.” The tap list rotates, but offers a nice selection of lighter brews. Available as of this writing are Abita Lemon Wheat, hailing from Louisiana; Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, from Colorado; Stiegl Goldbrau Märzen, all the way from Salzburg, Austria; and our own local brew, the Belgian-Style Vanilla Blonde Ale from Babe’s. The rotating menu calls attention to Southern California seasonal products, from lemon cucumber and dates to pattypan squash.

Located down the street several blocks is Bar (340 N. Palm Canyon Drive). I’m enamored with Bar’s beer cocktails, its dark and seductive surroundings, the DJ parties and the Picnic Eggs—deviled eggs with Sriracha and wasabi. Pair them with the War Gin (gin and lemon honey pale ale) beer cocktail. If you favor bourbon, order the Burning Bush, made with bourbon, lemon, house grenadine and pilsner. Not daring enough for the beer-and-cocktail blends? The small selection of craft beers will satisfy.

The Purple Room is the swanky new kid at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive. In bottles, you can enjoy San Diego beers like Ballast Point Longfin Lager and Stone Pale Ale. On tap, enjoy what the Coachella Valley has to offer with brews from Coachella Valley Brewing Co. and Babe’s.

In the heart of downtown Palm Springs, Fame Lounge (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive) is an upscale cigar, wine and microbrew lounge. At the bar, you’ll find a rotation of beers on tap. Recent finds: Ommegang’s Hennepin, Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA, and New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Coconut Curry Hefeweizen.

Heading east, the aforementioned Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (30640 Gunther St., Thousand Palms) is brewing up some one-off specialty beers perfect for the cooler nights that have arrived. Their Fall Harvest Saison is a 7.3-percent-alcohol, Belgian ale brewed with pumpkin, sweet potatoes and Lance Davis’ 100 percent pure desert gourmet honey. Only two kegs were brewed, so if it’s not already gone, hurry! The Volstead India Pale Lager is a light yet flavorful 7 percent alcohol pre-Prohibition pilsner made with hops from the Czech Republic, as well as lively Motueka hops from New Zealand. Coming up in Coachella Valley’s brewing rotation is Oasis, a hard apple medley—brewed with fresh Julian apples. Look for this release around mid-December. The guys at CVB also just brewed a saison with Torulaspora delbrueckii, a strain of wild yeast isolated from an apple orchard on a deserted island in Denmark. Brewed with rye and spelt, the release is as of yet unnamed, but keep an eye out for this beauty.

Their first collaboration beer has been a tasting-room success. Coriolis is a 9.5-percent-alcohol, 120 IBU, wet-hop imperial IPA. Brewed along with Rocks Brewing in Sydney, Australia, with hops from New Zealand and Australia, this is a mouthwatering hop bomb. It’s down to the final keg, so visit their tasting room to check it out. Their brand new Framboysenberry is a raspberry and boysenberry sour wild ale made with Pedio, Brett and Lacto yeasts. This won the peoples’ choice award in Redlands recently and is now on tap for tasters and glasses. Crave more spice in your life? The Monument on Fire, just released, is a double IPA is infused with habañero and hatch chiles, papaya and mango. The Conquistador Quadruple ale will be available in early December, and watch for a special treat: They are stashing some in bourbon barrels.

The appropriately named Burgers and Beer (79815 Highway 111, La Quinta, and 72773 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage) has a list of more than 50 bottled beers, like Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. On draft, you'll find local brews like Babe's Honey Blonde Ale and CV Brewing’s Monumentous, a West-Coast rye double IPA.

Neighboring Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage)—the granddaddy of local brewers—is Southern California-started chain Yard House. Each Yard House features 100 to 250 tap handles, depending on the location. The Rancho Mirage tap room has 155 beers on tap, ranging from Allagash White and Lost Coast Apricot Wheat to Bootlegger's Black Phoenix and Port Brewing Shark Attack Red. Also rotating in are seasonal drafts, which are displayed electronically above the bar. Currently tapped are IPAs like Firestone Wookey Jack and Green Flash Hop Head Red, joining Belgians like The Bruery Autumn Maple and Gulden Draak 9000 Quad. Of course, if you’re really thirsty, you can order a draft in 3-foot-tall glass container. Make it a yard!

Schmidy’s Tavern (72286 Highway 111) is a relaxed (unless there’s live music!) craft-beer bar in Palm Desert, with rotating selections like Stone Enjoy By 12-13-13, CV Brewing’s Volstead and Game of Thrones: Take the Black Stout. Enjoy learning more about the craft-beer revolution at their beer school, hosted the last Wednesday of most months. (Beer School is on hiatus during holidays, but the popular class will return on Jan. 29.)

The Beer Hunter (78483 Highway 111, La Quinta) offers a great choice and selection in their sports-themed “Hall of Foam.” Enjoy the game while drinking an Alaskan Amber Ale, Firestone Pale Ale or Ranger IPA from Fort Collins, and log your drinks in the Hall of Foam to eventually have your name emblazoned on the beer plaque. You’ll find local beers from brand-new La Quinta Brewing and CV Brewing.

So Cal chain Eureka! Burger (74985 Highway 111) is helping Indian Wells discover American craft, one burger, whiskey and beer at a time. The craft-beer selection is carefully selected by beverage director, sommelier and company ambassador Jonny Barr. Currently, the selection boasts 20 taps ranging from Drake’s Brewing Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen and Eagle Rock’s Manifesto Wit to Stone Brewing’s Smoked Porter and Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout. All of their bartenders are certified beer servers, which is the first level of a cicerone—the craft-beer equivalent of a sommelier. Artisan recipes and fresh, organic ingredients accompany their signature hand-cut fries and gourmet salads.

Despite the gorgeous display of fermented grain mash available at Eureka!, the suds are not to be overlooked. Even a couple of the whiskeys on offer are made by—you guessed it—breweries. Check out what Anchor has to offer with their Anchor Distilling Old Potrero, single malt 19th-century straight rye whiskey. This is distilled with 100 percent rye malt mash and aged in new charred oak barrels—and is a silver medal winner!

It’s exciting to see restaurants and bars in the valley getting in on the craft-beer revolution, serving a varied choice of beer alongside aperitifs and main courses.

Choice matters. Taste matters. Check out what the Coachella Valley has to offer.

Below: The Coachella Valley Brewing Co.'s Fall Harvest Saison.

Published in Beer

On rare occasions, you’ll see Brian Wanzek make a public appearance—and while Brian is a handsome and charming fellow, his alter ego, Bella da Ball, is the bigger star—so big, in fact, that she’ll be getting her own star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars later this year.

Bella can be found all over the place—for starters, at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club on Monday nights, where she hosts both Sissy Bingo and Trivia Night; and at Azul/Alibi on Tuesday nights, where she hosts her Cabaret Variety Dinner Revue. And at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 1, you can find her and her amazing legs under the amazing legs of “Forever Marilyn,” where she’ll be hosting the Forever Marilyn Palm Springs Look-Alike Contest, as part of the weekly downtown Palm Springs Villagefest.

If interested in entering the contest—in categories including pets, Miss Junior Marilyn, Ms./Mrs. Marilyn, and Drag Marilyn—register by Tuesday, July 30, at forevermarilynpslookalike.eventbrite.com. Of course, it’s free to watch the goings-on.

We recently asked Bella, who hails from a little town in Southern Minnesota, to endure The Lucky 13; here are her responses.

What was the first concert you attended?

Several county and state fair concerts, but Barry Manilow sticks out in my mind.

What was the first album you owned?

Village People.

What bands are you listening to right now?

SiriusXM radio, with a focus on Studio 54 disco, Elvis, and Broadway.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Rap.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Benny Goodman.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I love to dance, swing, and spin the skirt.

What’s your favorite music venue?

So many: Annenberg (Theater at the Palm SpringsArt Museum) and McCallum (Theatre), and I can’t wait for the new Rancho Mirage Performing Arts Center at the high school.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

The big-band song “In the Mood.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Big band and polka bands from my young years—watching my parents dance, celebrating anniversaries and community events with family and friends.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

RuPaul: What’s your secret to looking so fab and trim?

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Lookin’ for a City” by Happy Goodman Family.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Mame.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Baby I’m a Star,” by Tina Turner. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

Since the age of 17, JP Houston has been building his impressive musical résumé.

Houston, a native of Toronto, has written songs for recording artists, theater and television. He’s composed for BBC, HBO, CBC, PBS and many others; he was even nominated for a Gemini Award, which is the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy Award.

Since relocating to the Los Angeles area about four years ago, he’s been involved with The Relationship, the side project of Brian Bell from Weezer. He’s also part of Pappy and Harriet’s The Sunday Band, up in Pioneertown.

On top of all of that, he’s been leading a unique variety show that has been compared to A Prairie Home Companion: Since February, he’s been producing American Parlor Songbook, a podcast that’s recorded live in the Ace Hotel’s Amigo Room every Wednesday evening, featuring a variety of guests. Previous performers have included Blasting Echo frontman Josh Heinz, former Beastie Boys keyboardist Money Mark and singer Keisha D.

While the show is recorded weekly, Houston is currently saving up an archive of unreleased shows for possible radio broadcast down the line. As of this writing, six recordings are available at americanparlorsongbook.com and iTunes. Houston said another is due to be released this week, followed by one in July, and one in August.

Houston said that American Parlor Songbook is partly inspired by his childhood.

“I grew up with my parents being theater people,” Houston said during a recent phone interview. “We would have these parties where all the people were actors, dancers and writers, and there would be a piano-player at the parties. We would sing show tunes, play games and tell jokes. The structure of the show is sort of based on those parties.”

The show has made him step outside of the norms of being a musician, Houston said.

“I think for me personally, the first performance—going from a singer and musician to a speaker—was a real turning point,” Houston said. “When I was scripting out the show and then went in front of an audience and had to execute it, the words came out, and they made sense—it worked. That was a really exciting moment for me.”

While his show has been compared to A Prairie Home Companion, Houston said there some definite differences.

“I would say it’s a silhouette of A Prairie Home Companion; you could put it in the same place and category shelf in a library,” said Houston. “(A Prairie Home Companion) is a variety show where they tell stories, sing songs, and the guests come out. American Parlor Songbook is a very different show in its structure and tone. I call it a parlor act, because it similar to a parlor with the piano-player and the bantering with the audience. It’s more interactive.”

For those who have never attended an American Parlor Songbook show, Houston said it’s different than what people are accustomed to—and that makes things fun for both himself and the audience.

“It’s not just an event. It’s a fun show to watch, and it’s a fun show to participate in. … We play musical charade-type games where the audience can shout out the answers. After the show is done recording, I stay and keep play sing-along songs, and we keep playing games through the night.”

American Parlor Songbook podcasts can be found on iTunes or at americanparlorsongbook.com. The show is recorded at 9 p.m. each Wednesday at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive (760-325-9900; acehotel.com/Houston). Admission is free.

Jack Kohler, 23, sings and plays the keyboard for War Drum, a band described on their Facebook page thusly: “From the sun-dripped hills of the desert comes WAR DRUM, a self-described psychedelic spook rock sound.” When he’s not playing psychedelic spook rock, the Indio resident and La Quinta native works in music promotion at the Ace Hotel, among other activities; he is also a member of the band WAXY. War Finder just got done with a European tour in support of its latest album, Fortune Finder, and they’ll celebrate their homecoming on Friday, May 24, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Tribesmen will join the men of War Drum for the free show, which kicks off at 9 p.m. For more, head to www.wearewardrum.com, or seek out the band on Facebook.

What was the first concert you attended?

Probably Styx or something weird with my parents.

What was the first album you owned?

The Doors, The Soft Parade.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Tame Impala, The Black Angels, Sleepy Sun, Father John Misty, The Asteroid #4, WAXY.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Dubstep. What’s going on there?

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett era. I always wanted to see what that was all about.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

ELO. I don’t know why I like them so much, but every time I put them on at a party, everyone hates it.

What’s your favorite music venue?

No brainer: Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. Long live Pappy’s!

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“And I’ve made my mind up, you’re going to be mine!” Donovan, “Sunshine Superman.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Pink Floyd. I remember hearing them for the first time and having this overwhelming desire to find out how and why they did what they do. Still figuring that out to this day.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I’d ask R. Kelly why he’s such a genius.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

My band can pick that one. They know me best.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Lonerism by Tame Impala. These guys are way ahead of our time, or maybe way behind in the best way. All the tones are there; the lyrics are relevant; and the musicianship is unmatched. Best band playing right now.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Low Light,” War Drum. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

DJ Day, aka Damien Beebe, may be the hardest-working DJ in Palm Springs.

He’s collaborated with the hip-hop group People Under the Stairs. He’s put out his own records. He’s traveled around the world for live performances. And he hosts the ¡Reunion! show at the Ace Hotel every Thursday night. Because of all of these efforts and more, he’s managed to become a prominent name in the hip-hop community.

His recently released full-length album, Land of 1000 Chances, feels like a throwback to the hip-hop sound during its coming-of-age in the late ’70s and ’80s in New York City. You can feel the inspiration from Funkmaster Flex in his music, melded with modern influences, jazz and funk instrumentals, and vocalists singing soul and classic R&B. It’s a blend of the old-school with some unique modern underground.

The story of Damien Beebe before he became DJ Day starts in Palm Springs.

“I was a latchkey kid, raised by a single mother, and living in an apartment in Palm Springs,” he said. “I got one of those Kmart one-piece turntables with a tape deck. I would teach myself to how to scratch and DJ with that and a little boom box playing in the background. It progressed outside of my house into house parties and going out of town to perform. I just kept going and going.”

Eventually, he crossed paths with Thes One from People Under the Stairs, who has family in Indio.

“We just hit it off; we had a lot of similarities. He asked me to do a remix for the group, and I ended up doing a few remixes for them,” he said.

They eventually decided together to jump ship from the record labels they were on at the time and form their own collective based label, Piecelock 70. “It’s not a record label, per se, but it’s more like an artist collective where we pool our resources to help each other out and get art out around the world,” he said.

As an example of the unique projects that Piecelock 70 has put out beyond music, he tells me about a book called The Mop, by Alan Simpson, based on stories Simpson created after working in a porno shop in Australia during the ’90s.

Aside from his work with People Under the Stairs, and the labor-intensive process of getting Piecelock 70 off the ground, Beebe’s DJing career keeps him busy and traveling all over the world. He’s performed in 16 different countries and has a corporate client list that includes big names like DC Shoes, Adidas, Ray-Ban, Levi’s, and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. His resume of remixes includes work from Quantic, Alice Russell, Aloe Blacc, Exile, and Clutchy Hopkins, to name a few artists. He was even hired to DJ for Justin Timberlake’s Shriners Open Golf Tournament in Las Vegas.

He said he stays true to himself through his music, which is a big part of his Thursday night event at the Ace Hotel.

“We play a mix of everything. It’s what I consider a musically open format,” he said of ¡Reunion!. “There’s everything from current music and underground stuff—classic hip-hop, soul, disco, funk, dancehall and reggae. There’s a little bit of everything.”

If there’s one thing DJ Day wants people to know about ¡Reunion!, it’s that everyone is welcome.

“The biggest thing I think about ¡Reunion! is that we try to be all-inclusive,” he said. “… We just try to provide a good time and a comfortable environment—where you can sit in the booth, have a drink and enjoy the vibe.

“… I want it to be like the show Cheers, where everyone knows your name. That the kind of vibe I want it to have”

DJ Day hosts ¡Reunion! at 10 p.m., every Thursday night, at the Ace Hotel’s Amigo Room. 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; admission to the 21-and-older event is free. Call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings for more information.

If you are without a Coachella ticket, no worries: The Ace Hotel has you covered with the fifth annual Desert Gold event.

Desert Gold is an 11-day festival that coincides with Coachella, and it started with a bang on Thursday night, with DJ sets in the Amigo Room featuring the Coachella Valley’s own DJ Day; BBC Radio personality Benji B; and Flying Lotus.

DJ Day got the crowd pumping with his remixes of various rap songs and funky anthems. Benji B, known for a wide variety of sounds at the mixing board, started with a gentle instrumental and worked his way up to faster mixes before turning over the mixing board to Flying Lotus.

As the evening progressed, standing space became hard to come by, but that didn’t stop crowd's urge to dance. Flying Lotus, grandnephew of Alice and John Coltrane, whipped the capacity crowd into a veritable frenzy with his meditative and energetic infused style of electronic dance music.

Desert Gold offers events during both weekends of Coachella—and the days in between. Best of all, the events are all free to attend. You can take a swim in the pool with pool toys designed by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO; enjoy a wide variety of DJ sets and bands; or kick back and enjoy a cocktail inspired by one of the Coachella artists. The vodka based “Blurberry Lemonade” had hints of cinnamon and real blueberries; as strange as the concoction was, it was very refreshing.

Third Man Records—founded by Jack White—has an on-site store selling vinyl records and Third Man merchandise at reasonable prices. I was awe-struck by the selection of singles—starting as low as $6—from the White Stripes, Tom Jones, and Stephen Colbert with the Black Belles. There’s even the Jack White and Insane Clown Posse collaboration of Mozart’s Leck mich im Arsch that left many confused last year.

Third Man is also selling live albums—recorded in the Blue Room of their Nashville, Tenn., headquarters—which are normally website exclusives.

Here are some upcoming highlights:

• Miss Lily’s—a Jamaican diner, radio station and record shop from New York City—will be onsite selling the diner's famous jerk chicken on Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14.

• NPR Music will be featuring live music in the Amigo Room on Monday, April 15, and a special karaoke night on Tuesday, April 16.

• Local bandleader JP Houston will also host his weekly podcast from the Amigo Room on Wednesday, April 17.

• Warp Records will be kicking off the second Coachella weekend on Friday, April, 19, in the Commune, featuring Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus, Warp DJs and an unannounced special guest. After experiencing Flying Lotus’ set in the Amigo Room on Thursday, I can say this is something that you don’t want to miss.

• Third Man Records will host live bands at poolside on Saturday, April 20, with performances by Carly Ritter, Courtney Jaye, Dough Rollers and Gap Dream, Y DJ Blue Jeans, and Moon Beams.

• Just like it started, Desert Gold will close with a bang, featuring a performance from Redd Kross and Coachella Valley’s very own Eagles of Death Metal on Sunday, April 21.

Desert Gold runs through Sunday, April 21, at the Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free, but some events may reach crowd capacity. For a full schedule, www2.acehotel.com/desertgold/schedule.

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 Provincetown singing legend, and opened one of the East Coast’s biggest lesbian bars in that town in the 1970s. Later, she moved to West Hollywood and opened The Rose Tattoo cabaret club. She even made a splash on Deal or No Deal, with the briefcase-holding models wearing oversized glasses in tribute as she won some good money.

Of course, Linda made an instant splash at the Ace. Her first gig was as the hostess at the King’s Highway restaurant, and somewhere along the line, she started singing—for a diner’s birthday, perhaps. So then she became the singing hostess, which led to a bingo night in the Amigo Room bar. Of course, this was no regular bingo night; Linda often would stop calling numbers and break into song, or a story about her life, or something else entertaining.

“It got so busy, so fast, that we moved (the bingo night) to the restaurant,” Dibler said, citing social networking as being key to Linda’s rise: Someone would post a video on Facebook, for example, of Linda doing her thing, and people would decide they needed to check her out themselves.

The Ace also released a compilation album of some of Linda’s songs, Fabulous Selections, on vinyl. (You can listen to some excerpts online at the Ace website. Good stuff.)

Gerard said that on a Monday in February, Linda showed up for bingo not feeling well—she was having difficulty breathing—but she still put on a fine show. She was soon thereafter diagnosed with lung cancer.

This Monday, March 25, starting at 7 p.m., the Ace is throwing a “Linda Fabulous” party. A portion of bar proceeds and all revenues from rooms booked for that night with the code “fabulous” will be donated to Linda (plus, the resort fee will be waived, and patrons will receive a 25 percent discount). Linda will also receive the proceeds from raffle tickets, and the raffle prizes look pretty sweet, with well more than a dozen businesses—from LuLu California Bistro to Vons to the Living Desert to the Ace itself—chipping in.

The entertainment lineup is impressive as well. Performers include Lady Tigra (of L’Trimm), Sean Wheeler (of Throw Rag and a frequent collaborator with Zander Schloss), JP Houston and the Fabulous Band, DJ Day, Rachel Dean, Giselle Woo, Alf Alpha and Ace karaoke host Kiesha. Manny the Movie Guy will host.

There’s also a chance of an appearance by Linda, the OWL (Older, Wiser Lesbian) herself, depending on how she’s feeling. Here’s what she wrote in a letter to friends and fans posted on the Ace website: “Thank you so much for your love and support. I look forward to returning to the Ace very soon. I will do everything in my power to rid my body of the monsters inside me and once again join you in King’s Highway, outside on the patio, the Amigo Room or wherever you are at the Ace. I will wear my giant glasses, sing lots of songs and even play some fucking bingo Monday nights. I hope to see many of you on the 25th. And again, thank you. This will be a celebration for all of us.”

Hear, hear.

Linda Fabulous takes place at 7 p.m., Monday, March 25, at the Commune space at the Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free, but donations, raffle-ticket purchases and generosity are appreciated. For more information, visit acehotel.com/fabulous.

Published in Local Fun

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