CVIndependent

Sat01192019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Brian Blueskye

When three friends involved in the San Francisco punk-rock scene moved to the desert, they decided they needed to get together and have some fun.

The result of that fun is the Hot Patooties, a newly formed band that consists of former San Francisco musicians Nettie Hammar (vocals), Beth Allen (guitar) and Shawn Smith (drums), as well as Yucca Valley bassist and former Gutter Candy member D.D. Gunz.

We chatted at Beth Allen and Shawn Smith’s home in Morongo Valley after an alcohol-infused dinner party.

“We’re from Morongo Valley, where the morons go,” Allen joked. “Shawn and I are in a band together called the Wastedeads, and we’re a two-piece. Nettie also moved to Morongo Valley. Nettie and I are old friends from way back, and I thought, ‘Oh shit, we need to be in a band together.’ The Hot Patooties were born after that.”

D.D. Gunz was recruited after the others decided to form a band here in the desert.

“(D.D.) sent me a response to the Craigslist ad, and asked, ‘Are you still looking for a bass player?’” Allen said. “This ad has been up for over a month. I was being really sarcastic on my phone, and I said, ‘Actually, we’re looking for an old punk-rocker; are you an old punk-rocker?’ I was about to give up. … He said, ‘Actually, yes,’ and then he sent me a photo of himself with his huge Charged GBH mohawk standing next to Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks. I was totally joking and didn’t expect to find anyone like this.”

D.D. Gunz said his time rehearsing with the Hot Patooties has been a lot of fun and even rejuvenating for him as a musician.

“I don’t want to sound cliché, but when I found these guys and played with them for the first time, I thought it was just real music,” Gunz said. “More so than Gutter Candy, who I used to play bass for; there were no influences or anything. It was just, ‘Who gives a shit? Let’s just play!’ Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, that’s how it used to be for me, but it hasn’t felt that way since.

“I’m 43, and I’m playing good music, and that’s a true story. It’s raw, and it’s real, and it’s cool.”

Back in the SF music scene, Hammar was in a band called the Mighty Slim Pickins, and Beth Allen was in a band called the Meat Sluts before they joined forces.

“We were a dyke-abilly band,” Hammar said about the Mighty Slim Pickins. “We were all rockabilly gay-wads, and we played with the Meat Sluts, who were an all-girl punk band, and it just worked. The shows were always packed. We played for a lot of years together before my band broke up and the Meat Sluts broke up. But it was a lot of fun.”

Allen and Smith are a couple; Smith told a story about how he met Allen after a Meat Sluts concert.

“I was in San Francisco for six months at the time and went in to talk to my band and said, ‘OK, who knows Beth Allen?’” Smith said. “My bass player, my guitar player and lead singer all raised their hands and said, ‘We all know Beth.’ I said, ‘OK, she’s going to be my girlfriend within three months!’ And it happened!’”

The Hot Patooties are entering the local music scene with no big intentions.

“We’re all a little older and have done our time,” Allen said. “I’ve toured and have done all that shit. We just want to show the desert how to have some fun.”

Hammar told me a story about touring Europe and making no money.

“We’re all comfortable with ourselves,” Hammar said. “We’re old people. We’re rocking our shit, and we all just got together to have fun. What we’re doing is having fun.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Hot-Patooties-2071750783142932. Disclosure: Beth Allen is an Independent contributor.

When I first started going to the open-mic shows at The Hood Bar and Pizza, I was constantly taken back by Daniel Scopelitis. Sometimes performing under the moniker of Fantasma Satanica, Scopelitis is often in costume, with face paint, and performs various songs with an instrumental track. Scopelitis was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; and here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Knotfest 2014, when I was 19. That was awesome. If and when I can afford it, I will go again.

What was the first album you owned?

A Led Zeppelin greatest-hits compilation.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Avatar, Ghost, Aviators and Miracle of Sound.

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

Mumble rap. In some instances, the voice can somewhat become an instrument, but for the most part, I don’t understand it—ؙnothing against people who are into it.

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

Michael Jackson.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Disney music, mainly from the classics. Sometimes you’ll find me singing “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Hood Bar and Pizza, mainly for sentimental value; it’s where I got the best feedback for my performances.

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

“So may your dreams be monumental, when your spirit guides the way,” “Monumental,” Aviators.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Ghost. It got me more into theatrical bands, and I guess you can say it’s made my life a lot less boring. It’s also inspired me to make my show more unique.

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

“Could I perform for you?” to James Hetfield of Metallica.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Pro Memoria” by Ghost.

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

Black Sabbath, N.I.B.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Danny Don’t You Know” by Ninja Sex Party. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Palm Springs’ Church of St. Paul in the Desert wants to help tell the Coachella Valley’s story.

Working with the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission, the Church of St. Paul and artist Bernard Hoyes have begun work on a community mural, “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.”

On a recent visit to the in-progress mural—on the church’s wall facing the alleyway behind Trina Turk—Hoyes was finishing up after a group of children from BRAFF (Building Resilience in African-American Families) had done some painting with him. Hoyes said he welcomes people to come and share ideas.

“I’ll just enlarge and re-realize it,” Hoyes said, pointing to a wagon wheel some of the kids had painted. “I’ll just make it more realistic as a wagon wheel so it can be recognized. They suggested things, and I’ll make them come alive in a way that makes them a part of what I’m doing with the mural.”

The Rev. Andrew Green, the rector of St. Paul in the Desert, at 125 W. El Alameda, agreed with the community vision.

“This is one of the elements that makes it a community mural,” Green said. “The vision is adjusting and changing as different people participate.”

Hoyes said he wants the mural to acknowledge the cultural history of the Coachella Valley and its different ethnicities.

“I’ve been living in the desert permanently now for about five years,” Hoyes said. “I’ve been coming here for about 30 years, with my studio in Desert Hot Springs. Since I’ve been out here, I’ve been involved in the community, and I’ve seen the development of Palm Springs from year to year, and I wanted to do something that was an exposé of the development. What are the important elements of the development? One of those things was water. … Water is a nutriment, or in some parts of the Bible, a sacrament, and it’s an important part of the mural. There are different ethnicities from one side to the other side, and we have Esther Williams (who was a Palm Springs resident) in all her glory making water a kind of iconic element during the ’40s and ’50s as entertainment.”

Green said he’s had a mural in mind for the church for about two years.

“Originally, it was on a different wall,” he said. “I was talking with the people from the Palm Springs Art Commission. … They had an exhibit of young people’s art for a Martin Luther King celebration. When we were setting up for that … two people from the Arts Commission came and said, ‘Are you still serious about doing a mural?’ There were two artists who came and checked it out, saying that this wall was better than the other one we had in mind.

“The designs (artists) were submitting went to my church’s board, and they selected this design. But one of the ideas for it was that a mural is a very participatory kind of art. It invites people to get involved in the production end, but it also invites people to get involved at the viewing end. … People will find this to be a sacred space for them and their own spirituality. It would be an offering of our church to our community.”

Hoyes said he’s enjoying painting the mural.

“There’s a level of satisfaction with being involved, especially with the church,” Hoyes said. “My art speaks to religious and spiritual enlightenment and continuity. I made a name for myself as an artist with spiritual works. Most of the work has been derivative of African religious retention. I was raised in a backyard church in Jamaica, and it has stayed with me. I’m kind of versed in the Bible, and I’ve studied other religions. The commonality that is existent—I understand it, and I can inform with the symbols and make an informed statement about spirituality.”

Since the city of Palm Springs temporarily banned murals before creating a new murals ordinance—mandating a rather restrictive and expensive approvals process—back in 2014, few new murals have gone up. But that may change soon, Green said. 

“Palm Springs has had a change of heart in murals,” he said. “The existing mural code was designed to make it hard to do murals. But the Public Arts Commission and the City Council have changed and want to encourage murals—but encourage murals going through a planning process with the Arts Commission in advance. For example, the Arts Commission … said, ‘If you do this and set this up, we’ll approve this, and we’ll take care of paying the city fees.’  … We waited four months to get the process accomplished before (Hoyes) put a brush to the wall so that it was completely appropriate with the city. I did not find anything they asked for onerous or creatively muzzling; the process just takes time.

“Some of the code said for this mural to receive the benefit of the fees, about $1,500 being reimbursed, it would have to be up for at least two years.”

Green said he hopes the mural inspires people to look into the church and to find meaning.

“Far too much, what we do with church is aimed at supporting the building and the institution as a corporation or a facility. What I’m interested in is seeing the church as engaged and embedded in the community,” he said. “I hope that does bring people here. It might bring them here for 12-step groups; it might bring them here for lunch when Well in the Desert is serving lunch on Wednesday—or all different types of things. If it brought them to church, I’d love it.”

When I met with Daniel Sullivan, who goes by the stage name of Provoked, he brought a portfolio that chronicles his history in the local music scene.

A couple of nights before, he’d performed at The Date Shed, celebrating the release of his new album, One Life.

The portfolio included write-ups from publications including The Desert Sun and Desert Entertainer, information on his history with local television and radio, and news about music releases from more than a decade ago.

I asked him about the gap in his history. He sighed and then spoke publicly for the first time about what happened—a felony assault charge.

“I made a mistake that I’m remorseful for,” Sullivan said. “I went to prison. I was gone for five years. I had a lot of time to think—spiritually, mentally, physically and all of that. I feel that it was really the best thing to have ever happened to me. It (led to) the discipline that I needed, and it put everything into perspective.

“I’m back now, and I’m really thankful to be back. I feel blessed that I’ve been getting the response that I have. I want people to know that I’m remorseful for what I did, and I’m thankful for that experience. This might sound crazy; the happiest times of my life were in there, because I knew it was the adversity that would produce the refinement in life that I needed.”

He showed me an employee performance review that was stellar, as well as past and present letters of support from people including County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez; Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia; and Oralia Ortiz, co-founder of Culturas Music-Arts, who wrote in 2012 that she was surprised to hear about his situation due to his community work—including mentoring kids to stay in school.

“I would say that the discipline is really what upped my drive to the fullest and to write as much as I fully could,” Sullivan said. “I have a whole new attitude and gratitude that makes me want to write things that are uplifting. I grew up as a battle rapper, although most of my music was positive. But I was used to saying negative things when I was rapping about other people and clowning around. I want to spread a message of love, consciousness and the things that really matter right now, especially in this crazy time we’re living in.”

One of the tracks on One Life, “17 Years,” features local hip-hop artist J. Patron, whom Sullivan has known since they went to school together. Patron performed at the show at The Date Shed, as did another classmate of theirs, Willdabeast.

“We all went to La Quinta High School together. I met them in 2000,” Sullivan said. “When I met J. Patron, we met battling each other. I was trying to find anyone who was rapping. We had just started going to school there. They told me J. Patron was the guy, so we battled, and then we became friends shortly after. He’s been making music since the late ’90s. Willdabeast has also been rapping since around 1999, too—so we’ve all been rapping for about 20 years or more.

“It’s a trip that everything is coming full circle right now. For me, J. Patron has definitely done a lot out here, and I respect him for that. There’s a lot of history. From 2005 to 2010, we had a really strong five-year run of shows out there. There was so much local hip-hop that was really good. It was so cool. J. Patron said it was like our golden era. It was something really strong that we had at the time.

“But I feel like right now, it’s about to be stronger than ever.”

Sullivan said he sees a lot of positive things going on locally.

“I was happy to see so many artists really doing it. It isn’t even just the hip-hop, but the art and music scene in general and the growth I’ve seen,” Sullivan said. “We’re finally getting to the point where we’re almost giving people out of town no choice but to recognize what we have going on in this desert. This is ushering in a local time for us where local music and local art will get the exposure it deserves. It’s really unique, and we have a really good vibe out here.”

He wasn’t originally planning to make a new album.

“It’s kind of crazy how it all came together,” Sullivan said. “My friends Kancun and Sourcefirst were a big help to me. Originally when I got out, I was doing as many videos as I could, because I felt that was the formula that was really going to work for me. I was focusing on videos, and I never really planned on doing another album.

“I was close to a dozen videos I had done with my friends, and I was like, ‘I have an album.’ I just started organizing it, and it just came together. I was really excited. I felt like the videos were the important thing at the time, but I forgot about the importance of an album and giving people content they can listen to. I have seen how important it is … based on the reception I’ve gotten from this album. I feel like it’s such a full product that was produced in the Coachella Valley, down to the engineering and the graphics.”

Sullivan has returned to helping local youth.

“My friend Roland Gomez at MAEX Academy has been doing stuff with kids out here for a long time. What we’re doing is youth mentoring through music and art,” Sullivan said. “My approach is more toward the at-risk kids. I’ve been through what I’ve been through, so I’m trying to tell them there are a lot more resources for them now when it comes to the music and art. There are centers for them, and we’re working on creating a center for them as well. … If kids can actually meet some of these more established artists and artists that are really big right now, as well as local artists out here, it’s something that can really inspire them. … There are so many different aspects for them to get involved in. I feel like career-wise, aside from music, that’s what I’m really interested in.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ProvokedPoetry or provokedmusic.com.

Director Nick Frangione had a troubled upbringing in rural Pennsylvania—but he used those experiences to inspire Buck Run, a film that will premiere as part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The film follows 15-year-old Shaw (played by Nolan Lyons), who is reunited with his alcoholic father as he’s coping with his mother’s death.

“It’s very, very similar to my childhood, but it’s not exact,” Frangione said during a recent interview. “I did grow up in rural Pennsylvania; my mother passed away when I was a teenager, and my father and I had to renegotiate our relationship. It’s very similar, but there are slight differences. My father wasn’t a hunter, for example, and we didn’t live in a hunting cabin. I also was out of place in my town, and I didn’t really fit very well.”

In the film, the funeral for the mother provides a major plot point.

“The father is very poor, and he’s kind of forced into this situation where he doesn’t have the means for (the funeral), and the main character, Shaw, doesn’t understand that or have the ability to understand that,” Frangione said. “He just really wants to honor his mother and honor her memory and have the normal things one would expect when a parent passes away.”

The on-screen chemistry between Nolan Lyons and James Le Gros, who plays the father, is splendid; Frangione said the casting couldn’t have been any better.

“(Nolan) was just amazing. I wanted a very sensitive kid, and I didn’t want the story about a rough kid. Nolan was just that immediately in the audition: He blew everyone away,” Frangione said. “We really wanted James (Le Gros), because I don’t think there is anybody in the world who could have played that role as well as he did, and it was just perfect.”

The film was shot in rural Pennsylvania.

“We shot in a farmers’ market when it was really happening; we got real Amish people to be in the film,” Frangione said. “We embedded ourselves in the community for a number of months to be able to do that, and we became a part of it, which is the only way I wanted to do it—all real locations, real people’s homes. They all got to know us, and we got to know them, and we made lifelong friends.”

Making a film that’s loosely based on your own life can lead to some perspective-challenging moments, according to Frangione.

“It brought up a lot,” he said. “At first, I really only saw Shaw’s perspective, and I realized no one would want to watch that film, because it’d be too cynical. It was a process of understanding my own father and understanding the people and the place I came from. It ended up being very cathartic, and yet beautiful. It was hard at times, and also really beautiful and worth it at the end of it all.”

Frangione said he plans on working again with the writer of Buck Run, David Hauslein.

“The writer of Buck Run and I are working on another film about a 1970s trucker. It’s sort of a similar thing,” he said. “I didn’t know a lot about truckers, but I’ve grown up around them and have seen them in Pennsylvania. It’s about a trucker and his wife whose son gets kidnapped.”

Buck Run will be screened as part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival at 5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6, at Palm Springs High School, 2401 E. Baristo Road; and 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 8 at Mary Pickford is D’Place, 36850 Pickfair St., in Cathedral City. Tickets are $13. For tickets or more information, visit www.psfilmfest.org.

Se7en4 has made a lineup change, welcoming guitarist Chris Williams into the band. Earlier in December, Se7en4 played at the Viper Room in West Hollywood, where Williams made his Se7en4 debut. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/se7en4. Williams was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

A concert called Smoke Out when I was, like, 14 years old. It was 311, Limp Bizkit and System of a Down. It definitely made me want to play a show one day, even though I wouldn’t get into music until I was 21 years old.

What was the first album you owned?

Metallica’s Master of Puppets.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I listen to so much different music, and I go through phases, and currently, my phase is Falling in Reverse, Highly Suspect, The Pretty Reckless and A Day to Remember. Yeah, I’m all over the damn place.

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

Mumble rap. It is just ridiculous. But these dudes are making money doing it; I will, of course, give my respects to any musician who finds a way to make money doing what they love.

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

Honesty, Mötley Crüe. Mötley Crüe back in the Sunset Strip days would have been fucking awesome. That was rock ’n’ roll at its funnest.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Elton John. Honestly, I don’t really feel guilty, because his songs and albums are structured so damn well. Wow! What a great songwriter.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I just played at the Viper Room, and it was pretty damn awesome, so there for now. But Se7en4 is playing the Rainbow in Hollywood in February possibly, so that may be my favorite. I don’t know. I’m just eager to play the shit out of the Hollywood venues.

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

“I’m ready for love and I’m ready for war, but I’m ready for more,” “My Name Is Human,” Highly Suspect.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Ozzy Osbourne—well, the Randy Rhoads days anyway, because (Osbourne’s guitarist) Randy Rhoads had a slick way of melding classical with metal/rock, and it was really a game-changer for me, because it let me know I could have a love for classical and rock, and use one to benefit the other in my practice regimen.

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

I’m asking Freddie Mercury: How does one just let go and just be who they know they are on the inside as an artist and performer? He had courage, and was a true performer.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John.

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

Easy: Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses. It’s hands down one of the most in-your-face, bad-ass, epic and immortal rock albums ever produced.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Everyone should listen to that song. (Scroll down to hear it.)

After the holidays, you may need some excitement to perk you up and recharge your batteries. Well, January features plenty of exciting events to help rejuvenate your spirit.

The McCallum Theatre has some great post-holiday hangover-busters. While many shows are sold out, tickets are still left for these shows as of our press time. Back by popular demand, at 3 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 13, the Capitol Steps will be performing. The Capitol Steps is a troupe of former congressional staffers who perform a comedy show based on current affairs. It’s a lot of fun. Tickets are $30 to $70. At 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22, the sons of the Okie From Muskogee, Ben and Noel Haggard, will be performing. Ben and Noel will be paying tribute to their late father in an intimate performance. Ben played in his father’s band, while Noel struck out on his own; this should be a great show and tribute. Tickets are $25 to $65. You have to love the amazing diversity of shows the McCallum offers; for example, at 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, prepare to be mesmerized by the Golden Dragon Acrobats. They are the premier Chinese acrobatic touring company and have performed for audiences all over the world. Tickets are $22 to $48. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some great stuff going on. Do you miss the ’90s? Sure ya do, so mark your calendars for 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, when you can go Back to the ’90s with Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Tone Loc and C&C Music Factory! Go rollin’ with your homies to this one, and get down during the ninja rap. Tickets are $39 to $69. Do you like to party … hard? At 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, party hard to the smooth sax of Kenny G. I would think that being Kenny G requires a sense of humor, and he does indeed seem to be a good sport; all kidding aside, he’s one hell of a musician. Tickets are $39 to $69. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has two great events taking place at The Show. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, singer-songwriter Burt Bacharach will be performing. Bacharach is a legend; like Neil Sedaka, he’s penned a lot of great songs that have become hit songs for others—and for himself. Tickets are $40 to $60. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, the Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo will be doing her thing. Caputo is a fascinating figure, given she’s managed to stay wildly popular and usually sells out shows. Tickets are $75 to $120. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 will have a residency every Saturday night in January at 9:30 p.m. by Banda SN LA Sin Nombre at En Vivo. There is a $15 cover at the door. Over in the Spotlight Showroom, at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, Queen Nation (upper right) will kick off a weekly series of tribute bands called The Next Best Thing. Tickets are $10 to $102. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has a fun show in January to mention. At 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 4, ’90s R&B group Bell Biv DeVoe will be performing. If you're unfamiliar, it’s basically three members of New Edition: Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe. They had that fantastic song “Poison” that you still hear on the radio. Tickets are $49 to $69. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some big things going on in January. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, Dirtwire will be performing. Trying to explain Dirtwire is not easy, but I’ll give it a shot: It’s a fantastic band that fuses world music and bluegrass. The group has played around the world in some very odd venues, including a festival in Kazakhstan. There are a lot of different sounds incorporated, and the result is highly enjoyable. Tickets are $15. At 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, the grandson of Bob Dylan, Pablo Dylan, will be performing. Pablo Dylan has done a lot in music, especially in hip-hop—he was proclaimed “Bob Dylan’s rapping grandson” by some publications. He’s a great songwriter in his own right, and he’s moved on to a more folk-music kind of style. Best part about this show: Admission is free! At 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31, murderfolk performer Amigo the Devil will take the stage. I highly suggest checking him out; he’s the darkest country music singer-songwriter you’ll ever hear, and he’s armed with a banjo. He’s a performer who can get a whole room of people to sing along to lyrics of “I Hope Your Husband Dies.” Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Date Shed has a January event worth noticing. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19, reggae band The Green will be performing. Originally from Hawaii, this reggae band has traveled all around the world, playing dub-heavy roots reggae and combining it with Hawaiian roots. Tickets are $20 to $25. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.facebook.com/dateshed.

The Purple Room Palm Springs has plenty to offer in January. At 5 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6, Purple Room owner Michael Holmes’ regular Sunday The Judy Show will be a fundraiser for our friends at the Desert Ensemble Theatre Company. Enjoy tons of laughter as Holmes performs as Judy Garland—for a good cause. Tickets are $25 to $30. At 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 11, actress and singer Renee Olstead will be performing. Olstead is probably best remembered for the television shows Still Standing and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but she’s also a talented singer who has released three albums. Tickets are $35 to $40. Do you like a good battle? How about a Battle of the Bitches? At 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 25, drag stars Jackie Beat and Sherry Vine (below) will be performing. These two are known for their epic insult wars with each other through song. It's hilarious, fun and no holds barred. Tickets are $25 to $30. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge and Cabaret will be having a fun event in January. At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, cabaret singer Tori Scott will be performing. Scott is a big name in New York’s cabaret scene and is considered one of the top cabaret performers in the country. She’s also sang on shows such as Sesame Street and Cathouse: The Musical. Tickets are $25 to $35. Toucans Tiki Lounge and Cabaret, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-416-7584; reactionshows.com.

The Great Depression-set musical Guys and Dolls is a classic—and the Palm Canyon Theatre is bringing the show, which initially premiered on Broadway back in 1950, to its stage in January and February.

During a recent phone interview, director/choreographer Derik Shopinski explained why the Palm Canyon Theatre decided to include Guys and Dolls in this year’s schedule.

“It’s been a number of years since we’ve done the show,” Shopinski said. “The timing felt right. It’s in a good time slot for us, given the snowbirds really love the older shows that they know—and this one has gotten a huge response already with ticket sales.

“It’s a fun, feel-good show. It does have a message at heart, but it’s still a fun show.”

Shopinski elaborated on what’s fun about Guys and Dolls.

“At its heart, it’s two different love stories—the contrast between the Salvation Army girl and her bootlegger-gambler boyfriend, and the other couple, with the nightclub star and her gambler boyfriend who have been engaged for 14 years. It’s about the problems that they face, how they arrive at the end of the show, and how they tie it all up,” Shopinski said. “It has one of the best musical scores. … There’s so much about it that’s fun to watch, fun to look at and fun to listen to. We also have some amazing talent in the show, so that’s going to be very exciting for me, working with this very talented cast.”

That cast will contain some faces familiar to those who have attended Palm Canyon Theatre shows before, as well as some new talent.

“I have Paul Grant, who is playing Nathan Detroit, and Se Layne, who is playing Miss Adelaide, his love interest,” Shopinski said. “The other couple is married in real life—Nicholas Sloan and his wife, Jamie Leigh Walker, are playing Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown. I’ve worked with them both separately on other projects, and they are a dream to work with; they are incredibly professional, and they work well together, because they’ve done shows together since before they were married and while they’ve been married.”

Shopinski said the song that stands out to him comes toward the end of Act II.

“‘Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat’—it really wraps up the show in so many ways,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest ensemble numbers for all of the men and the band members. It’s a high-energy dance number that ties everything together.”

Bringing older musicals to the stage today may seem like a challenge to some—but Shopinski said he doesn’t see things that way.

“I really know these kinds of shows, given I grew up with them,” he said. “I know the music, and when you get into directing them, you can really dissect the story. While it’s historical … it’s necessarily telling historical events, because it’s taking place in another time. This was when they didn’t have all the television shows, and there wasn’t an internet. All you had was film and theater. They were three hours long, and it was what you did for entertainment. You went out to dinner, and then you went to the theater.”

The Palm Canyon Theatre finds success and is able to do a wide variety of shows thanks in part to its casting process, Shopinski said.

“Our casting process is very diverse,” he said. “We cast people of all backgrounds and all ages. Any given show, we’ll have 16-year-olds performing with our veteran performers. That, in turn, brings in the younger members’ friends to experience the shows. Our audience is as diverse as our cast members.”

Guys and Dolls will be performed at 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Jan. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $32 to $36. For tickets or more information, call 760-323-5123, or visit www.palmcanyontheatre.org.

Imagine you’re a young filmmaker. You write, plan and shoot an entire movie—and then someone you trust takes all of the footage and completely disappears.

That’s the real story of the documentary Shirkers, which was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018, before being picked up by Netflix and released on the streaming service. It will be screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Jan. 4, 5 and 12.

In 1992, a Singapore teenager obsessed with cinema, Sandi Tan, gathered her friends and set out to make a film she’d written called Shirkers. Georges Cardona, an American living in Singapore, was Tan’s film teacher and the director of the film. When the film was finished, Cardona vanished.

Years later, after Cardona’s death, the film canisters were found and returned to Tan, but without the audio tracks. The documentary starts off as an unsolved mystery, as Tan explains the story, shows scenes from the film, and sets out on a quest to try to understand Cardona’s life and what really happened.

During a phone interview with Tan, who now lives in Los Angeles, she acknowledged that her story is rather strange.

“I’ve lived with it for so long that it’s been a big part of my life,” Tan said. “It’s the secret I’ve had to suppress for so many years that belief is not even part of it. … It seems like a story that’s stranger than fiction.”

Singapore has a notoriously authoritarian government, and Tan said there wasn’t an outlet for independent filmmakers back when she shot Shirkers.

“We were really the only people making an independent film, which is why it was such a revolutionary act,” she said. “… It’s a huge chunk of history that was stolen along with it, along with our dreams. … We just did it without any support or permission. We just shot it.”

Tan at the time was a punk-rocker and artist who found a way to get her hands on material that inspired her.

“I was part of the whole mail-art thing where you’d send your collages and zines to people around the world, trading with them, and you could make mixtapes and send them to another friend somewhere else,” she said. “My cousin in Florida was sending me videotapes of movies I wanted; I’d send her homemade T-shirts as trade. It was our version of the internet. My cousin would rent movies from Blockbuster and copy them onto a VHS tape—things like Blue Velvet and Raising Arizona. I was really into David Lynch and the Coen Brothers. I was also obsessed with Tim Burton. I loved Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table; that was a very inspiring film for me.”

The original Shirkers has never been released; the only parts ever publicly shown are the scenes included in the documentary. The fact that the audio has never been found presents a challenge.

“We could put together a silent version of the film in a creative way, but with creative sound,” Tan said. “I’m not sure about dubbing, which is kind of tacky. I really think it could work as a silent movie with subtitles with creative sound and music. A lot of people want to see the original film, and I’m sure there’s some way we could get that done someday.”

She remembered the first time she watched the footage after it was found and returned to her.

“The strange thing is it was exactly the way I remembered it,” she said. “I was very relieved that I wasn’t imagining all this stuff. All the colors, all the locations, the expressions on people’s faces and everything was exactly as it was in my head, but I had no proof of it, and couldn’t tell anyone.

“When I saw the footage in Burbank with someone who was seeing it for the first time and had no idea what the story was, his jaw just dropped. I knew we had something that was extraordinary and a story that had to be told.”

Tan did not have kind things to say about Georges Cardona.

“His way of being creative is to take away the dreams of other people,” she said. “If other people were able to do things, he would help them realize their dreams and take them away. He’s a very fascinating figure, because we have a lot of (his type in) the film and entertainment industry—people who want to create, but create loss and destruction so they are remembered in some way.”

After the loss of the original Shirkers, Tan said she learned some valuable lessons.

“I have never lost my will and desire to be a filmmaker,” she said. “I really rediscovered my confidence and voice with the help of the technology that’s available. You can do amazing things, and it’s liberating and empowering to realize you’re not the sorceress’ apprentice; you’re now the sorcerer.”

Shirkers will be screened as part of the Palm Springs International Film Festival at 1:45 p.m., Friday, Jan. 4, at the Annenberg Theater, 101 N. Museum Drive; 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Regal Palm Springs Stadium 9, 789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Road; and 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road. Tickets are $13. For tickets or more information, visit www.psfilmfest.org.

When the Flesh Eaters first hit the Los Angeles punk scene in 1977, the band instantly stood out among its contemporaries.

After breaking up in the early ‘80s, resurfacing in the early ‘90s, and reforming once again in 1999, the Flesh Eaters now feature a reunion of frontman Chris D. and the 1981 lineup heard on the album A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, including Dave Alvin (The Blasters), Bill Bateman (The Blasters), John Doe (X), D.J. Bonebrake (X) and Steve Berlin (The Blasters, Los Lobos). In fact, the reunited superteam is releasing a new album on Jan. 18 titled I Used to Be Pretty—and on that same day, the band will perform at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace with Mudhoney.

During a recent phone interview with Chris D. (Desjardins), he said the recent reunion shows have been a lot of fun.

“We did five shows in 2015, and we did eight back in January (2018), and it always feels good to play with these guys,” Desjardins said. “They are some of my oldest friends, and they are certainly my longest-held musician friends. We just seem to have a good chemistry when we play together. Everybody has fun, and it’s great to do it again.”

Desjardins has worked in the film industry, released poetry, and written books, linear notes and commentary tracks for DVDs of various films. However, he’s not a formally trained musician.

“I tend to get musical ideas very easily, and I don’t know where they come from,” Chris D. said. “I come up with vocal melodies for the guys who know how to play the instruments, and we build up the songs in that way. I could always hear three or four different influences, and didn’t realize at the time I was working on the song. I’m just grateful in doing this that I’ve learned how to convey those musical ideas to more-trained musicians who know what they’re doing with their instruments.”

He talked about the early days of punk’s evolution in Los Angeles.

“Sometimes, like when hardcore was really mushrooming in the early ’80s, we were billed on hardcore shows,” Chris D. said. “In that lineup playing to hardcore audiences, I would think, ‘We should play the melodies a little faster than we usually do.’ In retrospect, I ask myself, ‘How chickenshit is that?’ Even when we’d do that, we’d connect with a majority of them, but there was a contingent that was very off-beat. The one good thing is that a lot of the writers who heard the Flesh Eaters records through the years seem to get that there were a lot of different influences. I could probably count bad reviews on three or four fingers. Most of the write-ups we got from 1979 on have been really good reactions.

“Occasionally, people criticize my vocal style, but when I first started out, I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing.”

I Used to Be Pretty will include the song “Black Temptation,” which was originally included in Desjardins’ writing anthology A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die, released in 2009. He said he never thought he would be able to record it as a song.

“It was kind of strange, because I had the vocal melody in my head, and when I tried to work it up in the early 2000s to record when I did that Miss Muerte album with the other Flesh Eaters lineup … it was too complicated to get into,” he said. “When we worked it up this time with this lineup, we had a similar problem. We hunkered down. ‘Black Temptation’ is pretty structured, and we had to really work on it. Initially, before we did the overdubs and mixed it, I wasn’t really sure if it was sounding like what I had heard in my head, and it wasn’t until it was completely done and mixed that I was going, ‘Oh, OK! Now I hear it the way it’s supposed to be.’ In the end, it came out great.”

The new album also features a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown).”

“We were trying to figure out another cover to put in the set, and I had several other different ideas. We’re still intending sometime in the future—if good fortune shines upon us, and we continue to do this for another couple of years—a cover of ‘Dead Souls’ by Joy Division,” Chris D. said. “Since I originally had that idea, I heard that Nine Inch Nails did a cover of it, which I haven’t heard. I knew John (Doe) had this Stooges song in mind from the Fun House album called ‘T.V. Eye,’ and there were several other covers. Dave (Alvin) and I wanted to do ‘Green Manalishi,’ because we really appreciate how great of a guitar player (Fleetwood Mac founder) Peter Green is, and I loved how mysterious the lyrics were. They were informed by a really bad acid trip he’d been on when he was in Germany when his schizophrenia got triggered.”

The Pappy’s date is one of two shows the Flesh Eaters will perform with Mudhoney.

“(The members of Mudhoney) are great guys, and they’re the guys who were responsible for getting us back together for some reunion shows in 2006,” Chris D. said. “They were playing the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in England and got to pick the bands they wanted to play with on the day they were headlining. They got in touch with John Doe and me, and said, ‘We’d really like the Flesh Eaters to play with us, and any of the lineups would be good, but if we could get the Minute to Pray lineup, that’s what we’d like the most.’ John and I went out to the other guys, and everyone had time in their schedule. It was a great experience, and we did three warm-up shows in California before we went over there. We almost did more shows in 2007 and 2008 in California, but those always fell through before they got announced, because people’s schedules got in the way.”

The Flesh Eaters will perform with Mudhoney at 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Tickets are $35. For tickets or more information, call 760-365-5956, or visit www.pappyandharriets.com.

Page 1 of 88