Indy Digest: Oct. 14, 2021
I have a confession to make: In one teeny, tiny way, I am missing the stay-at-home days of the pandemic.
Let me be VERY clear that I am happy, oh so happy, about the return of in-person life. I dearly missed plays, and festivals, and concerts, and live sports, and dining out. But there can be too much of a good thing.
This comes to mind because for the first time since March 2020, I have several weekend days coming up during which I’m double-booked—in other words, I have multiple events, often overlapping, that I have to (or at least should) attend. And in November, I have some weekdays that are double-booked with events, too.
I am not complaining. This is the life I chose when I decided nine years ago that I wanted to become a newspaper publisher/active business owner. In order to get the word out, make connections and be in the know, ya gotta get out of the house and go to things.
Last season, I deeply missed getting out of the house and going to things. Doing the AIDS Walk with just a small group of friends was odd. Attending virtual Pride events was, frankly, depressing. Watching baseball games without crowds was jarring—an indicator that something was very broken in our world. Streaming film festivals? Forget about it!
All those days stuck at home made me realize (at least) two things. One, I now have a renewed appreciation for all of these events that I can, at last, go to again. Two … all that time in “quarantine” reminded me that downtime is good. Necessary, even. I know a lot of you out there have had similar realizations.
As those double-booked days approach, I am feeling conflicted. I am elated that, more or less, our culture and our society have returned, and that I can go out and live life around other people again. But I’m also a little bummed out that downtime, on some days at least, is going to be rather hard to come by.
From the Independent
A Musical First: Dezart Performs Returns to In-Person Shows With ‘Girlfriend’ at the Rancho Mirage Amphitheater
By Matt King
October 13, 2021
Michael Shaw said many times over the years that Dezart Performs would never produce a musical. Well … Shaw changed his ways of thinking—and rock-musical Girlfriend will take place at the Rancho Mirage Amphitheater Oct. 27-30.
By Kay Kudukis
October 13, 2021
Kellee McQuinn turned from acting to promoting dancing, fun and fitness via KidTribe.
Caesar Cervisia: Yes, There Are Pumpkin Spice Craft Brews—but Other Types of Autumn-Themed Beers Offer So Much More
By Brett Newton
October 14, 2021
There is a lot to choose from as far as seasonal beers go—and you don’t have to travel very far to enjoy them.
October 14, 2021
Topics tackled on this week’s comics page include critical race theory, a meteor strike, vaccine mandates, home-cooked meals, and much more!
By Guillermo Prieto
October 14, 2021
Black Midi turned in a fantastic and genre-blending show at Pappy and Harriet’s on Oct. 9.
• The latest Riverside County District 4 COVID-19 report mirrors the latest Palm Springs wastewater testing report in indicating that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the community is no longer declining—and instead has more or less plateaued. In District 4 (which includes the Coachella Valley and mostly rural points to the east) during the week ending Oct. 10, the testing positivity rate was 5.5 percent—up ever so slightly from 5.3 percent the week before. Let’s hope the numbers start decreasing again in future weeks.
• Palm Springs has named a new police chief. Our friends at the Palm Springs Post have the 411 on Andrew Mills, who has been the chief of police in Santa Cruz since 2017. A snippet: “Mills, 64, said Palm Springs’ proximity to San Diego played a prominent role in his decision to pursue the opening here. He and his wife Cathy have been married for 40 years. They have three daughters—Steffanie Montes, Andrea Stewart and Rachel Mills—and four grandchildren in the San Diego area. ‘I spent most of my career in San Diego,’ he said by phone. ‘To be able to work in another world-class city with a phenomenal police department, but yet be close enough to pop down to watch a play my grandkids are in or go to one of their ballgames on a Saturday morning is truly a dream come true.'”
• If you’re curious about Mills’ approach to things, I recommend perusing his blog. Yes, the incoming chief on Palm Springs’ police department has his own blog, and it includes a lot of interesting details on his views on policing and how that intersects with various aspects of society. For example, here’s a nuanced yet decidedly pro-police piece he wrote on June 16, 2020, which addresses calls to “defund the police.” Key quote: “There are some residents and students in our community calling to defund the police. This means different things to different people, but my sense from listening to the community is they want more support for social services like homelessness response and affordable housing. These programs are important, but calling for defunding or abolishing the police ignores the reality that ensuring public safety requires a system of preventing and investigating crimes.”
• Also from the Palm Springs Post: The homeless situation in part of Palm Springs has gotten so bad that it’s forced the Starbucks on Palm Canyon Drive near Sunny Dunes Road to close its doors to everything but drive-through service. The first “Briefly” item in the Oct. 12 briefing says, in part: “At issue, employees said Monday, are multiple encounters—including some that have turned violent—between members of the homeless population in the area and employees, security guards, and customers. The incidents reported at Starbucks are just a few of the growing number of run-ins reported at city businesses. At a nearby grocery store, security cameras were recently erected in the parking lot due to an increase in shoplifting.”
• Production on TV and film sets could come to a screeching halt next week. The Los Angeles Times explains: “Ratcheting up pressure on the major studios, the union representing Hollywood crews announced Wednesday that its members will go on strike on Monday if they can’t reach agreement on a new contract. A walkout would bring film and television productions across the country to a standstill and would be the biggest Hollywood labor dispute in more than a decade. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees represents about 60,000 film set workers nationwide.” The story later explains: “The union has been seeking improvements in rest periods and wages and compensation from streaming productions that it believes are unfairly discounted. Crews have shared stories of long hours and dangerous working conditions, which have dogged the industry for decades.”
• Also from the Times: The Biden administration has worked with major retailers and two of the nation’s largest ports to address a backlogged cargo-transport system that is contributing to the nation’s supply-chain issues. An excerpt: “Under the plan, the Port of Los Angeles will nearly double the number of hours that cargo is moving off container ships and onto highways by having crews work through the night. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union will fill the extra shifts, according to officials. In addition, major shippers and retailers—including Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Samsung, Home Depot and Target—will ramp up their operations to clear cargo out of the ports, freeing up more space on the docks. The goal is to move an additional 3,500 containers during the night each week.”
• Lots of vaccine news in recent days, much of it encouraging. NBC News reports: “The White House told governors to start preparing to vaccinate children as young as 5 by early next month in anticipation of clearance of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for the age group in the coming weeks, a White House official said. The Biden administration has purchased 65 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough to vaccinate the estimated 28 million children who would be eligible should the Food and Drug Administration approve Pfizer’s request to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11, said an official of the Department of Health and Human Services.”
• Booster shots for some Moderna vaccine recipients are likely to start very soon, as CNBC explains: “A key Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Thursday unanimously recommended giving booster shots of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to people ages 65 and older and other vulnerable Americans. The vote was a crucial step before the U.S. can start administering third shots to some of the more than 69 million people who originally received that vaccine. The nonbinding decision by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee would bring guidelines for Moderna in line with third shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.”
• As for members of vaccine team Johnson and Johnson … no decisions have been made yet, but the results of a significant study by the National Institutes of Health show that J&J recipients do very well when getting a follow-up shot from Pfizer or Moderna. NPR says: “The most significant finding suggested that people who initially got the J&J vaccine seem to have gotten the best response if they got Pfizer or Moderna as their booster. In an email to NPR, Nathaniel Landau, a microbiologist at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, said the findings show that getting a J&J booster after the initial one-shot immunization is ‘not as good’ as receiving one of the mRNA vaccines as a booster. The antibody levels of people in those groups went up 10 to 20 times higher than in those people who got another J&J shot.”
• Well, this is infuriating. A recent piece from The Atlantic is headlined: “Big Business Is Bankrolling an Effort to Kill the Democratic Climate Bill.” After starting off by mentioning big-name CEOs who expressed indignation when President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, writer Robinson Meyer says: “Today, many of those same companies—including Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Nike, Target, and dozens of others—are funding efforts to kill the Democratic reconciliation bill, which contains significant climate provisions that would allow the U.S. to meet its Paris Agreement goals. This campaign is a quieter one. The companies are financing it through their membership fees in pro-business trade groups such as the Business Roundtable, a coalition of CEOs that lobbies for corporate-friendly policy. That campaign seems to violate those same companies’ climate commitments.”
• And finally … a telescope that could change the ways in which we look at our universe is slated to be launched later this year. An astronomer, writing for The Conversation, explains why the scheduled Dec. 18 of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is such a gosh-darned big deal: “Telescopes are like time machines. If an object is 10,000 light-years away, that means the light takes 10,000 years to reach Earth. So the further out in space astronomers look, the further back in time we are looking. Engineers optimized James Webb for specifically detecting the faint infrared light of the earliest stars or galaxies. Compared to the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb has a 15 times wider field of view on its camera, collects six times more light and its sensors are tuned to be most sensitive to infrared light.”
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