Indy Digest: Sept. 23, 2021
Ready or not … here come the events!
We here at Independent World Headquarters are in the midst of print-issue deadline hell—and one of the reasons this production cycle has been so insane is that things in this valley are happening. October is packed to the figurative gills with plays, concerts, walks, art tours and all sorts of goings-on. This means more stories to write and edit (even though, alas, we’re still only able to cover a small fraction of the Coachella Valley’s worthy cultural events).
I decided to compare what’s slated for our October 2021 print edition to what was in the October 2020 issue, in terms of events coverage. This year, in the arts section, we have pieces on the Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours, the Coachella Valley Improv and Comedy Festival, Desert Ensemble Theatre’s season-opening fundraising concert, and the Halloween Hullabaloo at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. In the music section, we preview the Middle Kids and Black Midi shows at Pappy and Harriet’s, and have Matt King’s Venue Report, with news on dozens of shows taking place around these parts.
As for events-based pieces in October 2020 … In that issue, we had a preview piece on the virtual Palm Springs International Comedy Festival. In music, we did a piece on a concert at Pappy and Harriet’s … that was filmed, sans audience.
And that was it.
Yeah, the pandemic is far from over—especially in places like Idaho, where medical care is being rationed. Yes, progress still needs to be made here in the Coachella Valley. But we’re in a far better, more-normalish place today than we were one year ago—and that fact makes me very, very happy.
From the Independent
A Reimagining: The Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert, Closed Since March 2020, Will Reopen in December 2022—If There’s Enough Community Support
By Kevin Fitzgerald
September 22, 2021
If all goes according to plan, the Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert could reopen its doors in late 2022. However, it will take a lot of money and work to get there.
The Whimsical, Manicured Desert: Morongo Valley Artist Snake Jagger Is Part of October’s Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours
By Cat Makino
September 22, 2021
The fall Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours, which have been going on for about two decades, were canceled last year due to the pandemic. However, it’s a big comeback event this year, with more than 165 artists slated to open their studios to visitors.
Cannabis in the CV: Are There Too Many Cannabis Businesses in the Coachella Valley? Let’s Look at the Numbers
By Jocelyn Kane
September 21, 2021
Are there too many cannabis businesses in the Coachella Valley—or is there still room to grow?
‘Reunited’ In a New Home: Desert Ensemble Theater Christens Its New Space With Its Annual Benefit Concert
By Matt King
September 23, 2021
Not only did Desert Ensemble Theatre drop the word “Company” from its name; it has moved into a brand-new home at the Palm Springs Cultural Center—which it will christen Oct. 22-24 with a benefit concert titled Reunited and It Feels So Good.
A Music Safe Space: Sean Cox, Owner of La Quinta’s Finders Keepers Records, Helps Keep the Valley’s Love of Vinyl Alive
By Matt King
September 22, 2021
Sean Cox had been the entertainment supervisor at Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage for five years. Then the pandemic came, and he found himself without work. Then he got a call from his friend Matt, who owned a record/thrift store.
September 23, 2021
Topics tackled on this week’s Independent comics page include grooming wax, a dark authoritarian future, snowflake-triggering, homeschooled tweens—and much more!
By Matt King
September 21, 2021
Get to know Eleni Austin, a CV Weekly scribe who is a familiar face to customers of the late, lamented Record Alley.
• After weeks of steady declines, the most recent valley-specific COVID-19 reports show things have, at best, leveled off—and, at worst, have started to head in the wrong direction. First up, let’s take a look at the latest Riverside County District 4 report. (District 4 includes the Coachella Valley and rural points eastward.) While hospitalizations continued to decline in the week ending Sept. 19, the weekly positivity rate ticked up, from 6.4 percent to 6.6 percent.
• Similar news comes from Palm Springs wastewater testing done on Sept. 13 and 14: After several weeks of declines, the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater samples went up compared to testing done the week before. Could this be the start a Labor Day Weekend-driven spike? (Remember: The first indicator is wastewater testing, then positive tests, followed by hospitalizations, and, finally, deaths.) Just a blip in a downward trend? Or are we seeing a similar trajectory to the pandemic in Britain—where Delta-driven cases started to fall before rising again? The coming weeks will tell us more.
• The federal government has OK’d COVID-19 booster shots—but only for a rather narrow set of people for now. As The New York Times explains: “The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized boosters for older and high-risk recipients of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their second injection, as well as for people whose jobs leave them exposed to the virus, including health workers, teachers and grocery workers. The CDC’s science advisers unanimously supported the booster for adults older than 65 and for residents of long-term care facilities. And 13 of the committee’s 15 members also endorsed the shots for people aged 50 to 64 years with medical conditions that leave them at risk for severe Covid-19. … After a protracted discussion, a majority of the panel recommended the boosters for adults aged 18 to 49 years with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefit and risk.”
• The COVID-19 spikes ravaging some parts of the country are resulting in a shortage of an important treatment regimen. The Los Angeles Times reports: “Monoclonal antibodies have been developed as a treatment for COVID-19. They are thought to be a way to counteract the coronavirus before it can begin destroying the body’s organs, said Dr. Rais Vohra, the interim Fresno County health officer. The antibodies can be used to treat mild or moderate COVID-19 in patients who are not hospitalized. Recently, the nation has seen a twentyfold increase in demand for monoclonal antibodies; as a result, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reserving the treatment for areas hit hardest by the pandemic, said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, a deputy health officer for Orange County. ‘Because of this, we likely are going to see a drop in monoclonal antibody access for our county,’ Chinsio-Kwong said. Healthcare providers are being asked to prioritize the highest-risk people for the therapy.”
• This seems like a good place for this article, written for The Conversation, by a professor of environmental health sciences, who was “part of the largest randomized controlled trial to date testing the effectiveness of mask-wearing.” the conclusion? “The study has yet to be peer reviewed but has been well received by the medical community. What we found provides gold-standard evidence that confirms previous research: Wearing masks, particularly surgical masks, prevents COVID-19.”
• This summer was the busiest ever at Palm Springs International Airport—pandemic be damned. From the news release: “At the start of the year, (the airport) forecasted passenger numbers would average approximately 50% of 2019 levels throughout 2021 and predicted they would not return to pre-pandemic numbers until early 2023. However, the total passenger count for summer 2021 (June-August) came in at 191,547, making it the busiest summer on record for Palm Springs International Airport. Summer 2019, previously recorded as PSP’s busiest summer, had a total passenger count of 153,361, but this summer beat 2019 with a nearly 25% increase in passengers.”
• The Palm Springs Post looks into the stories of two very recognizable people often seen on downtown Palm Springs streets. One is an oft-arrested man in a wheelchair who is known for getting aggressive; the other, most heartbreakingly, is a pregnant woman: “The woman, who goes by the name of Leela, is in the advanced stages of pregnancy and is frequently seen lying on downtown sidewalks, including during the intense heat of summer. Multiple community members have tried to help the woman, explained Joy Brown Meredith, who has so far only managed to convince Leela to take shelter in a shaded area near Meredith’s store on North Palm Canyon Drive. ‘I personally have been involved trying to get her to accept help from Mama’s House, Well in the Desert, Martha’s, and also Street Life Project,’ Meredith said Tuesday. ‘She doesn’t want any services, and it’s unfortunate that it is that way. When you see somebody eight months pregnant laying on the sidewalk with her belly out, and it’s 100 degrees outside, it’s very concerning.’”
• Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this summer asked Californians to reduce water usage by 15 percent. And how’s that going so far? Our partners at CalMatters report: “Californians used about 191.5 billion gallons of water in their homes, businesses and other industrial or institutional spaces in July, only 1.8% less than a year earlier. ‘I’m not here to say 1.8 is a good number,’ said Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, at a Monday press briefing. ‘We’re going to have to continue to dig in deeper and look forward to seeing what the numbers show then in August.’ When asked when to expect statewide conservation orders, Esquivel said that for now, the board is reflecting on the data. ‘We need to continue to see that response and decision-making, and the state’s here to make sure that if we need to go mandatory, that’s where we’re going.’”
• And now for something completely different: It turns out humans have apparently been in the Americas for much longer than previously believed. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required to read the whole piece) reports: “At the height of the last Ice Age, generations of children and teenagers ambled barefoot along a muddy lakefront in what is now New Mexico, crossing paths with mammoths, giant ground sloths and an extinct canine species known as dire wolves. Now, some 23,000 years later, the young people’s fossilized footprints are yielding new insights into when humans first populated the Americas. Unearthed in White Sands National Park by a research team that began its work in 2016, the tracks are about 10,000 years older and about 1,600 miles farther south than any other human footprints known in America, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science.”
• And finally, we’ll again turn things over to Independent contributor Charles Drabkin, who offers up his recommendations for this second weekend of Cinema Diverse, Palm Springs’ LGBTQ film fest: “On Friday at 2:45 p.m.: Terfslurred explores the perceived misogyny of trans identity politics and the intellectual fights fomenting from claims to ‘true womanhood.’ At 7:30 p.m., Being BeBe documents the career of BeBe Zahara Benet the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. On Saturday at 5 p.m.: Baloney is the surprising story of the titular San Francisco’s beloved all-gay male revue that invites the audience to embrace the sexualized aspects of striptease and burlesque alongside a blend of fantasy, confession and social commentary. On Sunday at 2:30 p.m.: The Mirror Will Take Us Home features Baltimore singer Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon as he contemplates what it means to feel at home in a journey that chronicles his life growing up gay in a conservative Christian family. Find the complete schedule and get tickets at psculturalcenter.org/filmfest.
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