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Local Fun

22 Apr 2020
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Mitch Gershenfeld has been booking shows at the McCallum Theatre for more than two decades now—and it’s a vast understatement to say he’s never experienced a season like this. The longtime McCallum president and CEO retired—while keeping his booking duties—late last summer to make way for a new president and CEO, Terrence Dwyer. Three months later, Dwyer was let go, and Gershenfeld returned as the acting president. Then came March 12—and the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We were supposed to have Ricky Skaggs that night,” Gershenfeld said during a recent phone interview. “It was a sold-out show, but we shut everything down. The rest of the shows for the season were canceled. “But we had a plan. We kept all of our full-time staff on, and we’re continuing to work from our homes. We’re using Zoom and having daily meetings. We’re working on all the various aspects of the…
09 Apr 2020
Ted Pethes is a lifelong musician who is about to turn 92. In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are pausing to reflect on the twists and turns of their lives—and looking back at his long and lucky life, Ted readily admits that most of it might never have happened without his clarinet. There’s one more thing you should know about Ted: He’s my husband. He’s the only person I can really interview in person right now—and he’s got an amazing story to tell. Born in Chicago in 1928, Ted was an only child. His musically talented mother played the piano and even the concertina; his father, an engineer, was a wannabe musician father who struggled with the violin, battling tone-deafness. Ted grew up in a huge extended family of hardworking Polish, German and French-Canadian immigrants who often played and sang music at family gatherings. When he was…
31 Jan 2020
If you want to join in the fun of the annual 11-day celebration of midcentury architecture and design known as Modernism Week, we have good news and bad news. First, the bad: The week, taking place from Feb. 13-23, has gotten so popular that a lot of events have been sold out for weeks. Now, the good: The week, now in its 15th year, has gotten so big that there are still tickets available for an array of tours, lectures, sales and parties—including a host of free and lower-cost events. Lisa Vossler Smith is the executive director of Modernism Week, a nonprofit organization. Smith and her team, including more than 450 volunteers, will produce hundreds of events and activities across the Coachella Valley over those 11 February days. “This is my seventh year (working for) Modernism Week,” Smith said. “I’ve been involved with the organization since its beginning. My husband…
24 Dec 2019
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Wes Winter started his new job as the executive director of the Mizell Senior Center last March—but before he officially began, he got a taste of what he was getting himself into at the 2019 Stars Among Us gala. “It was my first exposure to Mizell. It was my introduction to the community. My eyes were spinning in opposite directions at that point,” Winter said with a laugh. “I really didn’t know much about what was going on … so I’m really looking at this year as my first year.” This year’s gala will take place on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Palm Springs Air Museum. We recently spoke with Winter about his first year on the job, Mizell’s future—and, of course, what people can expect at this year’s Stars Among Us. It’s fascinating that your first exposure to Mizell was at Stars Among Us last year. What impressions did…

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