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Snapshot

11 Mar 2015
The 11th Annual Desert Smash delivered a day full of expected humor and generosity—as well as some unexpected last-minute program changes—on Tuesday, March 10. World No. 1 ATP pro Novak Djokovic, who has contributed to the hilarity and star power in previous years, was a no-show. Instead, No. 20-ranked John Isner stepped into the program, joining No. 31-ranked Fernando Verdasco in the final match of the day. Earlier No. 43-ranked Sam Querrey, a repeat volunteer himself, partnered with pro Mardy Fish to deliver the most entertaining real tennis of the day, as they took on the No. 1-ranked doubles team of Mike and Bob Bryan. On the women’s side, WTA No. 7 Genie Bouchard was unexpectedly joined by No. 47-ranked Daniela Hantuchova in the opening singles match, which offered the most purely competitive tennis display. In the middle two matches, comedy moved to center court at the La Quinta Resort…
10 Mar 2015
Hardcore tennis fans arrived early on Monday, March 9, to take advantage of the free-entry policy in effect during the first and second days of the 2015 BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. While there was a lot of tennis action for them to enjoy, not much of it involved the sport’s big names. Some of the game’s stars—like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Serena Williams—have not yet appeared to prep for the tournament, which begins main-draw play on Wednesday, March 11. The big names who had arrived—including Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Daniela Hantukova—worked out on the main stage of Stadium 1 surrounded by thousands of empty seats, because the doors to that court were locked all day, while thousands of diehard fans roamed the pathways nearby. In an email, the Independent asked J. Fred Sidhu, of the BNP Paribas…
27 Jan 2015
The 2015 Humana Challenge Championship was still up for grabs as the last group, containing the sole leader, Bill Haas, came down the 18th fairway on the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West in La Quinta. Waiting, watching and keeping loose on the driving range were five players, including Idyllwild’s Brendan Steele, who had finished their rounds tied at 21 under par—one shot behind Haas. “The tournament’s definitely not over from my perspective,” Steele said as he waited for more than an hour to see if his 21-under total would get him into a playoff. “With the water on the last couple holes, anybody can make a bad swing at any time, so you just kind of hang out and see what’s happening. I can’t act like, ‘Hey, I did a good job, but it’s not enough, and I’m going to go home.’ I’ve got to be ready, just…
27 Jan 2015
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When the Independent interviewed local professional skateboarder Eddie “El Gato” Elguera about his inaugural El Gato Classic, he said one goal of the event was to “honor the past and champion the future.” That’s exactly the vibe that the event at the Palm Springs Skatepark had last weekend, on Jan. 24 and 25. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, a large crowd gathered around the Nude Bowl replica for the Legends Jam, which lasted into the afternoon and led into the Vert Demo in the Palm Springs High School parking lot. Many legendary names were present, including Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Micke Alba, Jim Gray, Scott Foss and Tony Magnusson. Most of the Legends Jam was announced by Christian Hosoi, who had an injured knee and therefore only skated briefly. Highlights included a shirtless David Hackett landing his trademark “Hackett Slash” in the bowl; Steve Caballero’s numerous attempts (with plenty of…
24 Jan 2015
On Thursday and Friday, Jan. 22 and 23, the crowds grew in size and fervor at the 56th Annual Humana Challenge—and for local fans, there was an unusual bonus, as several local PGA Tour pros were in pursuit of the winner’s payday of $1,026,000. La Quinta resident Scott McCarron and Palm Desert’s Byron Smith were hovering near par after two days, well behind the leaders. However, Brendan Steele of Idyllwild finished Friday’s round at 9 under par, six shots behind leader Matt Kuchar. “I’m happy with how I’ve been playing,” Steele told the Independent after Friday’s solid round. “I was a little disappointed with the last six holes today, but overall, I’m really happy with every part of my game.” Although he and his wife are staying in a condo near the courses this week to cut down the commuting time, he recognized a lot of familiar faces behind the…
05 Jan 2015
As the Hollywood A-listers began arriving at Palm Springs Convention Center for the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's Awards Gala on Saturday, Jan. 3, hopes ran high among the fans gathered along the sidewalks across from the red-carpeted entryway. Whether the fans were locals or visitors to the Coachella Valley, they all had favorites they were hoping to see. Palm Springs resident Diana Doyle has joined the crowd for three years running. “I’m one of those people now,” she said. “I’m hooked!” Has she had luck meeting celebrities in the past? “Last year, I had a great picture taken with Bradley Cooper, and it went into the Los Angeles Times, and now it’s my screensaver,” she laughed. This year, her good luck continued as she got a chance to grab “selfies” with Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. For Connie Hale of Palm Desert, this was her eighth year…
03 Jan 2015
The film Selma is one of the most acclaimed movies heading into awards season. It’s nominated for four Golden Globes, including Best Drama, even though it doesn’t open in wide release until Jan. 9. A week before that opening date, the film was the star attraction as the official opening night screening of the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, at Palm Springs High School, on Friday, Jan. 2. On the unusually crowded red carpet, director Ava DuVernay and two of the film’s actors, David Oyelowo and Common, graciously posed for photographers and spoke with news crews and reporters about the controversy stirred by the powerful film. “We couldn’t have prepared for this. I’m just thankful that we made a truthful enough film that it is meeting this moment in a real and potent way,” said Oyelowo, who portrays Martin Luther King Jr. in the film, referring to current…
05 Dec 2014
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There were a whole lot of winners at Twin Palms Bistro and Lounge on Thursday night, Dec. 3. Numerous Best of Coachella Valley 2014-2015 honorees joined Independent staffers, contributors and readers on the rainy evening to celebrate the results of the annual readers' poll, which were published in the December print issue of the Independent, and online at CVIndependent.com. Photographer George Duchannes was on the scene to photograph the brief awards ceremony and other goings-on. The photo gallery is below.