Coachella Valley Independent

Indy Digest: Nov. 15, 2021

Just when things are starting to feel sort of “normal” in terms of the pandemic, along comes a smack-in-the-face reminder that things are certainly NOT normal—and won’t be for quite some time.

On Friday, we published a review of CVRep’s production of Bakersfield Mist. Independent reviewer Bonnie Gilgallon, more or less, gave the show a rave.

“Ron Celona once again displays his skill as a director here,” Bonnie wrote. “Step one: flawless casting. Step two: expertly guiding his actors toward the creation of unforgettable characters.”

Well … at 1:35 p.m. this afternoon, an email from CVRep’s Tracey Essex arrived in my inbox with the subject line: “CVRep Postpones Bakersfield Mist – Production to Resume December 7, 2021.”

Here are the details contained in that email, in part: “Amid rave reviews and high patron demand, CVRep will be rescheduling all of this week’s performances of its run of Bakersfield Mist, after a cast/crew member tested positive for COVID. CVRep is mandating a 14-day isolation period for the entire production team. Bakersfield Mist will conclude its run from December 7, 2021 through December 12, 2021. The November 14, 2021 matinee was cancelled when a cast/crew member tested positive for COVID. Because CVRep had stringent protocols in place for COVID safety, no patron, team member or volunteer was potentially exposed to the infected person.”

And with that came the first postponement of a local theater company production since they started up again earlier this year, at least that we here at the Independent know of.

I feel bad for the good folks at CVRep. They’ve taken all the proper precautions. They were one of the last local theater companies to return to the boards with a full production … and now this. Ugh.

We’re now 20 months into the COVID-19 era here in California. I look forward to the end of this era … and the days when theater companies don’t have to worry about dealing with the sort of nightmare CVRep is currently enduring right now.

—Jimmy Boegle

From the Independent

The Meaning of ‘Real’ and ‘Fake’: CVRep’s ‘Bakersfield Mist’ Is a Near-Flawless Production of a Play That Will Make You Think

By Bonnie Gilgallon

November 12, 2021

Bakersfield Mist, based on the true story of a woman who believed that a $5 painting she bought at a junk shop was a Jackson Pollock masterpiece worth millions, gets a fantastic production at CVRep. The show will resume on Dec. 7 following a positive COVID-19 test.

Hiking With T: The Indian Canyons Are a Perfect Place to Enjoy Nature This Time of Year

By Theresa Sama

November 15, 2021

The Indian Canyons are a must-see—and they’re especially great to hike between October and June.

Caesar Cervisia: The Latest Stop on Our Virtual Beer Journey Takes Us to the United Kingdom for Some Fantastic Porters, Stouts and Ales

By Brett Newton

November 15, 2021

Many beer styles we cherish now in the U.S. have roots in the U.K., and one of the most important inventions in beer’s history comes from England

Visiting Vonnegut: A Documentary on the Famous Author, More Than 30 Years in the Making, Is Worth the Wait

By Bob Grimm

November 15, 2021

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time leaves viewers wanting to explore more of his novels—and learn more about the man behind those novels. That’s the mark of a good documentary.

More News

Here are the latest test results of COVID-19 levels in Palm Springs wastewater. The key takeaway from the testing done on Nov. 8 and 9: “The average number of viral copies detected at the city’s wastewater treatment plant has decreased slightly from the previous week.”

• Did you know we’re still living under a declared state of emergency here in California due to COVID-19? Yep, and that state of emergency just got extended. Our partners at CalMatters report: “Gov. Gavin Newsom last week issued an executive order that extends certain portions of his March 4, 2020 emergency proclamation through March 31, 2022—raising questions about what conditions would prompt Newsom or state lawmakers to phase out the emergency powers that have shaped Californians’ lives for nearly two years and affected more than 400 laws and regulations. In extending California’s ability to hire out-of-state health care workers and waive certain licensing requirements, among other things, Newsom cited ‘the potential beginning of a new surge in COVID-19 cases’ and ‘short-staffed and backlogged’ health care facilities. It’s a rationale similar to the one he gave in June, when he said he would keep California’s state of emergency in place even as the economy fully reopened: ‘This disease has not been extinguished.’”

• You’ll be hearing a lot about redistricting in the next few weeks—and it’s worth paying attention, because the districts that are finalized for the state Legislature and Congress will be in place for the next decade. A few stories worth noting: Our partners at CalMatters answer four key questions about the process here in California. A taste: “Transparency, or the lack thereof, has been a recurring complaint during the process so far. Some experts have raised concerns that one data set—known as the Racially Polarized Voting Analysis—is not made public. It drives much of the decision-making around Voting Rights Act districts—ones where minorities make up more than 50% of the voting-age population—but those conversations happen in closed session. Despite the advances in technology the commission is able to use, such as a public line-drawing tool, the panel didn’t post its preliminary maps until hours before voting, giving the public less time to review them. And the ones it posted, as with some earlier maps, were not easy to decipher.”

• Focusing in here on the Coachella Valley: While Rep. Raul Ruiz currently represents pretty much the entire valley, that would change if the recently released draft maps were to be approved as-is. The Press-Enterprise reports: “The maps … carve up Rep. Raul Ruiz’s existing district, which includes the San Gorgonio Pass, Hemet, San Jacinto, the Coachella Valley and Blythe. The maps take Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Sage, Anza, Palm Springs and Palm Desert out of Ruiz’s district. The San Gorgonio Pass, Hemet, San Jacinto, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, Indio and other Coachella Valley communities would merge into a district that encompasses Blythe and Imperial County.” The portions of the valley taken away from Ruiz would go into a district currently represented by Republican Ken Calvert.

• And now zooming out on a national level, The New York Times has this blunt assessment: “A year before the polls open in the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans are already poised to flip at least five seats in the closely divided House thanks to redrawn district maps that are more distorted, more disjointed and more gerrymandered than any since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. The rapidly forming congressional map, a quarter of which has taken shape as districts are redrawn this year, represents an even more extreme warping of American political architecture, with state legislators in many places moving aggressively to cement their partisan dominance.”

• Well, after that pants-wetting piece, let’s look around for some better news. Let’s see … oh, here’s something: Palm Springs International Airport is getting another airline! From the news release: “Swoop—a Canadian ultra low-cost carrier—announced plans to start service between Palm Springs International Airport and Edmonton International Airport in Canada on December 16. The twice-weekly service will operate on Mondays and Thursdays. … With the arrival of Swoop, PSP will have nonstop service to 36 airports from 13 airlines in season and year-round service to 15 airports.”

• And here’s some more positive news: The big infrastructure bill, finally, was signed today, and the Los Angeles Times has taken a gander at what’s in it for California. One tidbit: “An estimated 1,500 bridges and 14,000 miles of California highway are in poor condition, according to the White House. The state is expected to receive $25.3 billion to fund road projects and an additional $4.2 billion to replace and repair bridges.”

Also from the Los Angeles Times … what in the hell, Amazon? Let me elaborate: “Amazon has agreed to pay $500,000 to better enforce state consumer protection laws after California’s attorney general said the company has concealed COVID-19 case numbers from its workers. It’s the first such action under the state’s new ‘right to know’ law meant to improve workplace safety.” Of course, Amazon probably made more than $500,000 in less than the time it took you to read those two sentences, so ugh.

• And finally … much has been made of the recent spate of people leaving or refusing to return to certain demanding and/or lower-paying jobs. About that … an expert, writing for The Conversation, has this to say: “Observers have blamed a wide variety of factors for all the turnover, from fear of contracting COVID-19 by mixing with co-workers on the job to paltry wages and benefits being offered. As a professor of human resource management, I examine how employment and the work environment have changed over time and the impact this has on organizations and communities. While the current resignation behavior may seem like a new trend, data shows employee turnover has been rising steadily for the past decade and may simply be the new normal employers are going to have to get used to.”

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Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...