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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Comedy

Coachella Comedy/Improv Festival

A weekend celebration of improv and comedy! See improv teams and comics perform and compete! Visit the website for a complete schedule. 4 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, July 11, through Sunday, July 13. $20 to $85. Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo Street, Indio. Coachellaimprovfest.weebly.com.

Film

Dive-in Movies at Wet ’N’ Wild

Dive-in Movies are included with park admission. Play during the day on Fridays, and stay late to enjoy a film poolside. The movies are intended to be family-friendly, but please use discretion. Movies will start after dusk, and the park will be open until 10 p.m., weather permitting. July 11: Frozen. July 18: The Amazing Spider-Man. July 25: The Lego Movie. Aug. 1: Grown-Ups 2. Admission prices vary. Wet ’n’ Wild Palm Springs, 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-327-0499; www.wetnwildpalmsprings.com.

Kids’ Summer Movie Series at Ultrastar

A selection of family-friendly films are shown at 9:30 a.m. every Monday through Friday, through Friday, Aug. 22. June 30 through July 4: Turbo. July 7-11: Walking With Dinosaurs. July 14-18: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. July 21-25: Ice Age: Continental Drift. July 28-Aug. 1: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. $5 for a 10-movie package; $1 at the door. UltraStar Mary Pickford Cinemas, 36850 Pickfair St., Cathedral City. 760-328-0484; www.ultrastarmovies.com.

Lit Flicks: All the President’s Men

See how great books can turn into film classics! Prior to the film, enjoy popcorn and kick back for a short conversation by film and literary experts. This will be facilitated by Tod Goldberg, director of the University of California, Riverside’s Palm Desert’s low-residency MFA program. After the film, there will be a brief discussion. 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 23. Free. University of California, Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-834-0800; palmdesert.ucr.edu/programs/Lit_Flicks.html

Moonlight Movies—Captain America: The First Avenger

Bring your blankets, low-back sand chairs, snacks and the whole family for fun and movies under the stars. Sunset, Friday, July 11. Free; call for other Moonlight Movies events. Fritz Burns Park Pool, 78107 Avenue 52, La Quinta. 760-777-7090; www.la-quinta.org.

Music

Copa Events

Ross Mathews presents Jackie Beat, the world-famous drag superstar and comedy writer, at 8 p.m., Friday, July 4. $20 to $40. Amy and Freddy, headliners for 13 consecutive years with RSVP Vacations, perform at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, July 18 and 19. $25 to $40. Copa. 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-3554; coparoomtickets.com.

Fantasy Springs Rock Yard Concert Series

At 7:30 p.m., full-throttle rock music fires up with a cover band to get audience members out of their seats. At 9 p.m., the tribute band takes over and plays audience favorites. At 10:30 p.m., the cover band comes back out and continues the live music until midnight. Saturday, July 5: Tribute to Queen. Saturday, July 12: Tribute to Bon Jovi. Call for information on other concerts. Free. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio. 888-331-5645; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Friday Night Tribute Concert: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Spotlight 29 Casino invites everyone to come out and enjoy the Friday-night tribute concerts. Guests must be 21 years and older. July 4: Lynyrd Skynyrd. Call for information on other dates. Free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

The Melvyn’s Artists’ Showcase

Join Mikael Healey, musical director, each Wednesday at 8 p.m. for open-mic night, featuring singers, poets, instrumentalists and artists of all types. Free. Melvyn’s Restaurant at the Ingleside Inn, 200 W. Ramon Road, Palm Springs. 760-325-2323; inglesideinn.com.

Special Events

Independence Day Celebration Benefiting AAP

Join supporters of the AIDS Assistance Program at the legendary O’Donnell House for a dazzling celebration. The evening includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. Valet parking provided. 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 4. $100; advancaae purchase required. The O'Donnell House, 412 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs. 760-325-8481; aidsassistance.org.

Lyfted Productions Presents Independence Fe5tival + UFC

The party features DJ LF and DJ Sean; and a carnival theme on the patio with a dunk tank, bungee pull, vodka snow cones and more. Come early to hang with the beautiful Kilt girls and watch the UFC fight on more than 40 big screens. 10 p.m., Saturday, July 5. $5 to $8. Tilted Kilt, 72191 Highway 111, Palm Desert. 760-773-5458; www.showclix.com/event/3855645.

Palm Springs Tattoo Convention

More than 75 top artists are tattooing all weekend. Live music and DJs plus drink specials are included, as are tattoo contests. Friday, July 11, through Sunday, July 13. $20 weekend pass. Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-9676; palmtreesandtattoos.com.

Seventh Annual Mid-Summer Dance Party

To celebrate the Desert AIDS Project’s 30th birthday, they’re throwing a party. The event features DJ sets by All Night Shoes and Femme A, and a special performance by Cameron Neilson from The X Factor. 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 25. $20 to $75. The Commune at Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-992-0440; www.desertaidsproject.org.

Summer School: Poolside Art Workshops and Music

The Ace hosts its annual weekend of artist workshops, plus DJs and bands curated by School Night Los Angeles (KCRW’s Chris Douridas and MFG’s Matt Goldman). Friday, July 18, through Sunday, July 20. Prices vary. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/calendar/palmsprings.

Visual Arts

Backstreet Art District Art Walk

Galleries and studios featuring modern and contemporary fine art are open the first Wednesday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. Experience the thrill of interacting with working artists. Find paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography and more, in one location. Free. Backstreet Art District, Cherokee Way and Matthew Drive, Palm Springs. 760-202-1208; www.backstreetartdistrict.com.

California Dreamin’: Thirty Years of Collecting

The exhibit includes art works purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum with funds provided by the Contemporary Art Council and other contributors since 1984. The acquisitions were created by contemporary artists who worked in California or were influenced by spending some time in California during their artistic careers. This is the first time these artworks have been on exhibition together. The exhibit is a celebration of the commitment of the Contemporary Art Council to growing the museum’s collection of significant contemporary artists, and is a survey of art in California since the 1980s. On display through Thursday, July 31. Included with museum admission (free to $12.50). Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4800; www.psmuseum.org.

Submit your free arts listings at calendar.artsoasis.org. The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun

As we head into July, we can expect the summer to become even more unbearable. Therefore, we recommend these fun events to get you out of the house—and keep you cool.

The first thing worth mentioning: The Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club in Palm Springs is now open! At 9 p.m., Thursday, July 3, the venue will be holding a Pre-July 4th Party with DJs inside the Hacienda. There is no cover charge. On Friday, July 4, the Hacienda will continue the free party, this time at the pool, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday, July 6, also from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., DJs Yolanda Be Cool (right) and Overjoy will be performing, and again, there is no cover. These events are for those 21 and older. Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club, 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-778-8954; www.haciendacantina.com.

The Desert AIDS Project is marking its 30th birthday with its annual Mid-Summer Dance Party at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club’s Commune from 8 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 25. Playing at the event will be Independent resident DJ All Night Shoes, as well as Femme A; there will also be a special performance by Cameron Neilson of The X Factor. Tickets are $40 to $75; the late-night party pass, for entry after 10 p.m., is $20. For tickets or more information, call the Desert AIDS Project at 760-992-0440, or visit www.desertAIDSproject.org.

Speaking of the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, the venue is offering some great events in the Amigo Room on top of the regular weekly and monthly schedule. At 10 p.m., Friday, July 4, Sean Wheeler and Zander Schloss will be performing an Independence Day show. If you have never seen Coachella Valley local and Throw Rag frontman Sean Wheeler perform with Circle Jerks and Weirdos bassist Zander Schloss, you should go: They are a fantastic acoustic duo who always put on a great show. Admission is free. At 10 p.m., Saturday, July 5, Stronghold Reggae will feature DJ Journee and Dash Eye. Again, admission is free. Check out the website for even more great events. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The Purple Room in Palm Springs has added a revue show, hosted by friend of the Independent Brian Wanzek and his famous alter ego, Bella da Ball. Act II will follow The Judy Show on Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m. There’s no cover. The Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has one July music event worth mentioning. The Go-Go’s will be stopping by as part of the “Replay America” tour at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 26. Also performing will be Patty Smyth and Scandal, Martha Davis and the Motels, and Cutting Crew with Naked Eyes. Tickets are $65 to $170. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a slate of excellent events in July. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 5, Art Garfunkel (right), half of the legendary Simon and Garfunkel, will be performing. After staying away from the stage for a few years, Garfunkel is back, and this should be a great show. Garfunkel released his last solo album, Some Enchanted Evening, back in 2007, but he has dates booked through the summer, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be hearing more from Garfunkel going forward. Tickets are $29 to $59. Korean rapper Kim Jong-Kook and Haha have teamed up for a summer tour and will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 12. Tickets are $45 to $110. If you’re a fan of The Voice, you’ll be happy to know that The Voice Tour will be here at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 26. Tessanne Chin, Will Champlin, Dia Frampton and others will take the stage. Tickets are $39 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 has some nice tribute acts booked in July. Gregory Wolfe will be performing a tribute to Rod Stewart at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 5. Tickets are $20. Dean Colley will be paying tribute to Neil Diamond at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 26. Tickets are $20. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is shrugging off summer and putting on amazing shows throughout the season. At 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 2, Ronnie Spector will be performing. Spector, the famous ex-wife of music producer Phil Spector and former lead singer of the Ronettes, is the original bad girl of rock ’n’ roll. Tickets are $25. At 8 p.m., Saturday, July 19, the Los Angeles punk band X will be stopping by for … an acoustic performance? Strange! X’s lineup includes Exene Cervenka (who recently went crazy and claimed a recent Southern California mass shooting may have been a hoax), John Doe, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake. Tickets are $27.50. At 8 p.m., Sunday, July 20, the indie-rock dance group !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk, below) will be stopping by. !!! is one of the most energetic and entertaining bands touring today. At an intimate venue like Pappy’s, their show is going to be insane. Tickets are $17. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Previews

Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club Offers a Taste of Santa Fe

Last month in this space, we wrote these somewhat prophetic words about the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club, at 1555 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs (emphasis newly added): “If everything goes according to plan, the Hacienda … will quietly open its doors the weekend of May 30. It’ll be a baptism-by-fire sort of opening for the Hacienda: Just two weeks later, the new restaurant/beach club/events space will be hosting thousands of people as one of the three venues that are part of the second annual Splash House.”

Well, guess what? That May 30 soft opening didn’t happen, because … well, things didn’t go according to plan. In fact, even the first day of the Hacienda’s Splash House lineup had to be moved to The Saguaro because of delays.

That meant that the Hacienda finally opened its doors for the second (and heaviest) day of Splash House on Saturday, June 14.

And it was executive chef Robert Wepplo’s job to make sure his brand-new crew and brand-new kitchen were up to the task. How’d it go?

“That was a really fast learning curve, that’s for sure,” he said in what we’re going to call the Understatement of the Month.

Of course, Wepplo and his crew now have several weeks of serving the Hacienda’s decidedly Mexican-inspired menu under their figurative belts, and the kinks are being worked out.

What led Wepplo to create lunch, dinner and brunch menus with such a Mexican/Southwestern theme?

“I moved here from Santa Fe, New Mexico,” said the veteran of Piero’s PizzaVino on El Paseo. “I love green chiles and red chiles, and really lean on those two sauces.”

When I asked him what his go-to dishes are, he picked the shrimp adobo taco for lunch, and the fresh catch with his cilantro-saffron sauce for dinner; on the day I talked to him, he said the restaurant had gotten in some nice barramundi.

And more food’s on the way at the Hacienda: He said he’s in the process of developing a small, taco stand-like kitchen for the Hacienda’s pool area, which will serve simple yet tasty fare such as empanadas and tacos. He’s also honing the late-night bar menu.

The restaurant at the Hacienda is currently open from Wednesday through Sunday; call 760-778-8954 to confirm hours, and visit www.haciendacantina.com for more information.

Summer Specials in Abundance!

We keep finding out more news about various summer specials being offered by local restaurants. Here’s just a small sampling:

Cello’s American Bistro, at 35943 Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City, is offering $5 specials each week during the summer to celebrate the restaurant’s fifth birthday.

• Each weekday in the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, from 3 to 6 p.m., enjoy half-off “small plates” as well as drink discounts.

• A number of restaurants on El Paseo are teaming up to offer great summer specials, including Café des Beaux-Arts (happy hour every day in the bar from 4:30 to closing), and Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar (happy hour every day from 3 to 6 p.m.).

Know of any other amazing summer specials? Share the details by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

PS Underground Gets ‘Light’

The people responsible for the wandering supper club known as PS Underground continue to innovate.

The next event being put on by Michael Fietsam and David Horgen, called “Light,” has already been extended from two dates to four due to the extensive demand. The $150-per-person event, held at a location not disclosed to attendees until the day of the event, is shrouded in even more secrecy than some previous PS Underground events: All the briefs for the event say simply that it’s “an avant-garde dinner experience,” and that attendees should wear white; a Vimeo teaser video for the event includes a lot of pictures of light bulbs, and little else.

Hmm.

PS Underground is currently taking “Light” reservations for Friday, July 18, and Saturday, July 19. Make said reservations or sign up for updates at www.psunderground.com.

In Brief

The folks at the Kaiser family of restaurants—which includes the Kaiser Grille, Chop House and Grind Brgr Bar in Palm Springs, as well as Jackalope Ranch in Indio—are continuing to mix things up. A couple of months after closing the Hog’s Breath Inn in La Quinta, they announced they will convert the Palm Desert Chop House, located at 74040 Highway 111, into a Kaiser Grille. … Level 2, the LGBT bar located at 67555 Highway 111 in Cathedral City, has closed, about a year after the latest ownership change. Who knows what will come of the spot previously known as Sidewinders and Elevation? … Citron at the Viceroy, located at 415 S. Belardo Road, is offering special summer cocktails using No. 209 barrel-aged gin. If you’ve never tried barrel-aged gin, you’re in for a treat. Call 760-318-3005 for more details.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Summer is basically upon us—and in the desert, that means there’s a need to find activities that keep us cool.

Therefore, we here at the Independent have compiled a list of activities, places and events that will help you survive the scorching summer heat.

Wet ’n’ Wild

The former Knott’s Soak City in Palm Springs has new ownership and is now called Wet ’n’ Wild. The water park offers a definite summer survival activity for children and adults alike. With three slides—Pipeline Point, the Sea Snake, and the seven-story Tidal Wave Tower—the thrill element is there. You can also enjoy Kahuna’s Beach House and the 800-gallon Riptide Reef wave pool. If that’s not enough, you can take a ride on the Pacific Spin, featuring a 132-foot-long tunnel that ends with a ride into a 70-foot funnel. If you just want to soak and relax, enjoy a lazy ride on the Sunset River. With season passes starting at just $59, and general admission passes ranging from $26.99 to $36.99, Wet ’n’ Wild could offer a wonderful getaway all summer—or just for a day. Wet ’n’ Wild, 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs; 760-327-0499; www.wetnwildpalmsprings.com.

Boomers!

If you have children, you’ll need to get them out of the house when they aren’t in school. One idea: There’s something for everyone at Boomers in Cathedral City. There is an arcade—which means air-conditioning! There are also bumper boats, go-carts and a rock wall. This is a perfect place for a child’s birthday; a party room is available. For a family night together, nothing says fun like miniature golf. Boomers Palm Springs, 67700 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City; 760-770-7522; www.boomersparks.com.

Casinos

While our local casinos are a prime spot for gambling, of course, they also offer other things to do. The Spa Resort Casino, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Spotlight 29 Casino and Morongo Casino Resort Spa, as well as other local casinos, include fine restaurants, free shows and world-class entertainment (which you can read about in the Independent, of course). The drinks are often cheaper; the crowds in the dance clubs tend to be lively; and the air conditioning is always cranked up for maximum comfort.

Orange Empire Railway Museum

Sometimes, the best way to beat the heat is to get in the car and venture outside of the desert; even an hour’s drive can lead to a significant temperature difference. Well, the Orange Empire Railway Museum is located in Perris—about an hour outside of the desert. The museum features a collection of Southern California railroad history. A friend of mine who gives tours at the museum has told me in extensive detail about the fully functioning trains that offer short rides; the educational experience that the museum offers to both children and adults; and the great value of the visit. It’s especially great if you’re into trains or looking for a great piece of American history. Admission is free, and on the weekends, an all-day train-ride pass is $8 to $12; a family membership is available for $60. Orange Empire Railway Museum, 2201 S. A St., Perris; 951-943-3020, www.oerm.org.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

If you’re desperate for relief from the summer heat, consider the fact that the temperature difference between Palm Springs and the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway at Mount San Jacinto at 8,000 feet is generally 30 degrees. There are plenty of hiking, camping (great for the family!) and dining options up at the top, as well as guided nature walks. Tickets are $16.95 to $23.95. If want to go up for a nice dinner, the Pines Café offers an incredible package deal of dining and the tram ride for $23.50 to $36. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, One Tram Way, Palm Springs; 760-325-1449; www.pstramway.com.

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club

Whether or not your home has a pool, consider the Ace Hotel and Swim Club: The Ace has a great pool, with frequent events including DJs and more. A full bar is located near the pool, and the King’s Highway restaurant offers patio service, so you’ll never go hungry or get thirsty while you spend a relaxing day there. Day passes cost $30 and are available between the hours of noon and 6 p.m. I also suggest dropping in on Bella da Ball on Monday nights for both Sissy Bingo and Trivia Night, held in the King’s Highway restaurant and the Amigo Room, respectively. The Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

Joshua Tree Gay Pride Festival

On Saturday, June 14, Joshua Tree will celebrate its sixth annual Gay Pride Festival. I admit I was somewhat skeptical before I attended last year as a volunteer—when I was absolutely amazed at how the community up in Joshua Tree comes out to support the LGBT side of things. The festival brings out some of Joshua Tree’s artists, interesting vendors and the usual gay-related organizations. The entertainment this year is top-notch, with the Joshua Tree Community Jazz Band, the Small Wonder Experience, Indy Amos and many other performers. Attendance is a $5 suggested donation. Joshua Tree Gay Pride Festival, Coyote Corner (Highway 62 and Park Avenue), Joshua Tree; find the Facebook page for more information.

Splash House

If you are looking for a mini-Coachella-like festival that includes ample pool time, Splash House—from Friday, June 13, through Sunday, June 15—is definitely for you. The lineup this year includes Moby, Neon Indian and Purity Ring, just to name a few of the big-name DJs. This is definitely an awesome event, and your ticket includes a shuttle pass between the three venues: The Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, the Saguaro, and the Hacienda Beach Club. Tickets are $103. For more information, visit www.splashhouse.com.

21st Annual Jazz in the Pines in Idyllwild

If you’re looking to get out of the desert for a day or two, the Annual Jazz in the Pines up in Idyllwild on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16 and 17, will be a nice retreat: The temperatures will be a little cooler, and you’ll be in the wilderness of Idyllwild. Of course, the music will be fantastic, too. Tickets are $65 per day for walk-up admission; advance tickets and two-day passes are also available. For more information, visit www.idyllwildjazz.com.

10th Annual Campout with Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven

David Lowery, his two bands, and his friends will be heading to Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace for the 10th annual Campout in September. A lineup has not yet been released for festival-style event, but we know the dates: Thursday, Sept. 11, through Saturday, Sept. 13. Keep checking Pappy and Harriet’s website for ticket info and details. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road; Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

Published in Local Fun

Not going Coachella? You’re far from alone; most of us can’t afford the cash or the time it takes to go to the festival.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a taste of what Coachella has to offer: A number of local venues throw affordable parties and events before, during and between the Coachella weekends.

We asked representatives of a variety of venues what they had planned. Some declined to tell us, at least as of our late-March press deadline—perhaps because they didn’t want to let the cat out of the figurative bag too early, or perhaps because the details had not yet been finalized. For example, we’ve heard rumors that venues including Bar, Clinic Bar and Lounge and others may hosting some great parties and events, but we couldn’t get the details. (Watch CVIndependent.com for news.)

Here are four great events about which we have the details.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co’s Pre-Coachella Warehouse Party

We admit we’re a little biased about this one, because we’re sponsoring it: On Saturday, April 5, from 3 to 8 p.m., Coachella Valley Brewing Co. will host a party featuring two stages of music, live art, great food and—of course—delicious beer.

Independent contributor All Night Shoes (Alex Harrington), with the help of with Phonetix Entertainment Group, has assembled an impressive DJ lineup that includes Synthetix, Ivanna Love, Femme A, RowLow and CreamSFV. Caitie Magraw and Michael B. Perez will create a live work of art in the midst of the festivities, too. The $35 ticket includes four CVB beers, and proceeds will go to EcoMedia Compass, a group working to restore and promote awareness of the Salton Sea.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co. is located at 30640 Gunther St., in Thousand Palms. Get tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/594166.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Pappy and Harriet’s has announced a fantastic series of events going on before and during Coachella, and there may be more to come: Robin Celia, one of the owners of Pappy’s, told me one additional event may be announced in April; watch the Independent Facebook page for details.

Here’s what we already know: At 7 p.m., Thursday, April 10, the Afghan Whigs will play an outdoor show on the eve of their Coachella appearance. The Afghan Whigs announced their reunion earlier this year, along with news that they are recording new material. The show’s opener is Brody Dalle, the former frontwoman of the Distillers, and Queen of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme’s wife; she’s currently working on her debut solo album. Both of these acts should bring the house down! Tickets are $30.

Later that night, at 11:30 p.m., Goat and Holy Wave will be playing an indoor show; tickets are $15.

The good news: At 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, Little Dragon and The Internet will play an outdoor show. The bad news: The event is already sold out.

Pappy’s is located at 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza’s Coachella Kick-Off Party

The Hood Bar and Pizza has scheduled two shows by Mickey Avalon, at 9 p.m., Thursday, April 10 and Thursday, April 17. Avalon is a white dude from Hollywood who raps about drugs, prostitutes and his sexual escapades; he has a rather strange appearance that includes eyeliner and makeup. If you’re feeling brave enough to check this one out, and you’re 21 or older, tickets are $15. There are no pre-sales, so it’s first-come, first-serve.

The Hood Bar and Pizza is located at 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Call 760-636-5220, or visit www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Desert Gold at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

Desert Gold is returning for 2014—even though we reported just the opposite in our print edition, due to incorrect information we had received. The festival will take place Thursday through Monday, April 10-14 and April 17-21

The free mini-festival will feature events curated by Festival NRML, described by the Ace as “a crucial convergence point between emerging artists from Latin America and the rest of the world.” Kindness will be doing a DJ set at a pool party from noon to 6 p.m., Friday, April 11. Later that day, Stronghold with Jonas Acunas will take place in the Amigo Room at 10 p.m. Festival NRML will hold pool parties on Saturday and Sunday both weekends from noon to 6 p.m. From noon to 6 p.m. on both Sundays, The Do Over will take over the Commune with barbecue, booze, and a lineup of mystery musical guests. (You need to RSVP on The Do Over’s website at www.thedoover.net/dodesert14 for these parties.)

DJ Day will be doing his usual Reunion shows in the Amigo Room on both Thursdays, and there’s no doubt he’ll have some special guests in what they are referring to as “Reunion Kickback.”

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club is located at 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/desertgold.

It’s February, and you know what that means: Love is in the air for Valentine’s Day, and it’s also the month of Modernism Week.

Here are some local events during our shortest month.

The McCallum Theatre is booked solid through February with a ton of events. Cesar Millan will be stopping by the McCallum at 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9. Although his famous show on the National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan, has ended, Millan is still sharing his techniques and wisdom in the field of dog-training; this live show should be a real treat (no pun intended) for dog-owners. Tickets are $45 to $75. Frank Sinatra Jr. (right) will be stopping by post Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. Although the younger Frank may be best known as the victim of a famous kidnapping, he is a talented performer in his own right, and has also branched out into acting over the years. Tickets are $45 to $85. Boz Scaggs will be at the McCallum at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 18. The sometimes-lead singer of the Steve Miller Band was a songwriting powerhouse in the ’70s and continues to put on a great show. Tickets are $55 to $95. Roberta Flack will be appearing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Flack had a No. 1 hit in with “Killing Me Softly With His Song”; The Fugees would return the song to the top of the charts in 1996. Tickets are $35 to $85. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

After a slower January, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has some fantastic events in the second half of February. If you’re a fan of soft rock, Air Supply (bottom of page) will be softly rocking for a special performance on Valentine’s Day, at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $35 to $55. The great Johnny Mathis will be appearing at 6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The romantic-ballads singer has been performing since 1956 and was one of a handful of crooners from his era who survived the wave of rock ’n’ roll. Tickets are $60 to $100. For fans of Jeff Dunham, you’ll be pleased to know that he will be joined by Walter, Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist and the rest of the puppet gang at Agua Caliente at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $85 to $135. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 Casino doesn’t have a lot of events in February, but there are a couple worth noting. Kenny “Babyface” Edwards will be performing on Valentine’s Day, at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. The ’80s R&B star has had a long and successful career; not bad for a guy who originally started playing with Bootsy Collins—the man who gave Edwards his famous “Babyface” moniker. Tickets are $55 to $75. There will also be a tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. Attendance is free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has a spectacular list of events for February. Chicago will be appearing at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. The band has been around since 1967, and still features four of the founding members. Since Terry Kath’s unintentional self-inflicted shooting death in 1978, the band has experienced a series of ups and downs, but they are survivors and have continued to make great music. Also: In Little Nicky, Adam Sandler discovered a rather hilarious subliminal message if you play their self-titled debut album backward during “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it! It’ll blow your mind. Tickets are $39 to $69. CeeLo Green will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. The singer of “F**k You” (or “Forget You,” whichever version you prefer) has managed to escape the potential one-hit wonder status used to describe his former project, Gnarls Barkley. While Danger Mouse swears that he and CeeLo will make another Gnarls Barkley album, Green’s success as a solo artist seems to throw that into question. Tickets are $39 to $69. Rick Springfield will be performing the following evening, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The soap opera actor and “Jessie’s Girl” hit-maker has a fanatical, mostly female following. He’s still wildly popular and is the subject of a recent documentary, An Affair of the Heart, currently available via Netflix. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fresh out of bankruptcy court, Wayne Newton will be performing at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23. While Newton was the king of Vegas and has remained a music icon, recent photos of him seem to prove that age and plastic surgery don’t always go hand in hand. Tickets are $29 to $49. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, per usual, has some good shows booked for February. At 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, Futurebirds will be performing. The experimental indie band recently released a new album, Baba Yaga. They have been described as a “psychedelic country” band and have toured with the likes of the Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic and others. Admission is free. At 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Pappy’s will host a Valentine’s Day show with Ferraby Lionheart. Lionheart is an indie-rock performer out of Los Angeles. He has some very catchy tunes that will make for a non-traditional Valentine’s Day show. Take your sweetheart to Pappy’s for some pre-show barbecue and then enjoy the show; you won’t be disappointed—plus admission is free. There will be a show not to miss from Moistboyz (right) at 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27. Moistboyz is a project that includes Dean Ween, formerly of Ween; Nick Oliveri, formerly of Queens of the Stone Age; and vocalist Guy Heller. The project has been around since 1994, when they released their debut album on the Beastie Boys’ now-defunct Grand Royal label. After the breakup of Dean and Gene Ween, it’s not a surprise Dean Ween has resurrected Moistboyz. The current touring lineup also includes Hoss Wright of Oliveri’s Mondo Generator. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

After requesting a list of events from The Date Shed, I was informed that the venue is now heading in a direction toward more private events. However, the venue still hosts shows from time to time. Along with the Tribal Seeds show, The Date Shed has Ozzmania booked at 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. Ozzmania, a local Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath tribute band, has received acclaim for excellent covers. A true metal fan wouldn’t miss it—plus it’s a free show, so there’s no excuse for not attending. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has some great local shows going on. At 10 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, The Hoodwill host the second monthly Industry Night, featuring DJ Angelique. Attendance is free. At 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, Mikey Raines Acoustic Movement will be performing, with The Hive Minds opening. Derek Gregg and Sean Poe of the Hive Minds are starting to sound tighter and tighter as they keep playing regularly. Since they parted ways with bassist Patrick “Tricky” Mitchem, they have yet to find a permanent replacement, but have brought in friends on occasion. Attendance is free. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, the aforementioned Mondo Generator will take the stage. While Nick Oliveri and some of the members of Mondo Generator are playing with Moistboyz at Pappy and Harriet’s later in the month, this is another not-to-miss show featuring Oliveri. At 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14, Long Duk Dong will be returning for a Valentine’s Day Show that will be themed like a 1980s prom. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.thehoodbar.com

The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs will be hosting Haunted Summer at 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. After a successful show at Pappy and Harriet’s in January, the Los Angeles dream-pop duo is happy to be doing a performance for us here in the low desert. The Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

Published in Previews

When Throw Rag frontman Sean Wheeler and Circle Jerks/Weirdos multi-instrumentalist Zander Schloss came together to record their debut album, Walk Thee Invisible, in 2011, the two icons of the punk-rock scene showed off a lighter side.

More music is coming from them, too: Amid several tours and appearances at festivals such as Punk Rock Bowling and the Muddy Roots Festival, the locals have recorded a new album that’s due out sometime this year.

Not too long ago, they played their first show together after a short break, at Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert. While Zander Schloss had played a high-energy show with the Weirdos at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown the week prior, it had been awhile since Sean and Zander had played a local show together. They are quite a sight to see: Schloss strums away on his 12-string acoustic guitar while Wheeler sings. It’s just them—with no bassist, and no drummer. The dialogue between Wheeler and Schloss is comical, as they call out their friends in the audience, tell amusing stories, and chat about anything—say, for example, the boots and clothing they are wearing.

The climax of their acoustic driven show is their song “Retablo,” which they can perform in several different ways—as an extended audience sing-along, or with added dialogue. During a show last year at the Ace Hotel, Wheeler led the audience in a conga line outside of the Amigo Room, out around the pool, and back in again—all while Schloss played the instrumental part.

Wheeler once lived a wild rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, and Schloss has years of experience with successful bands like the Circle Jerks, Thelonious Monster and others. In other words: It’s good to see the two musicians now having fun; after all, they’ve paid their dues—and then some.

“It’s more of an emotional outlet,” Schloss said about their partnership. “It’s also a great outlet for us to relax and have fun. We enjoy each other’s company without all the personalities of a band. It’s really nice to just have a couple of guys: It’s economical; it’s fun; and we let each other do what we do. Sean does something I can’t do, and I do something he can’t do.”

Added Wheeler: “We’re like wonder twins.”

While Walk Thee Invisible was an independent release, Schloss said they are currently looking for some distribution help for their next album, which is already completed and mastered.

“It’s better than the first record—which is saying a lot, because I love the first record,” Schloss said. “This record is much more soulful. We have different influences, and along the way, it’s become apparent to me what a great soul singer he is. We’re thinking he’s a soul man, so there’s more soul on the record.”

Both Schloss and Wheeler said that when it comes to songwriting, they try to share personal stuff to which people can relate.

“If you tell them a truth—good or bad—and you’re sincere, I think it transcends whatever comes through,” Wheeler said. “It’s mostly personal experiences. I’m trying to think if there are any songs I’ve written that aren’t directly related to someone I know. You have to be honest—or people’s bullshit detectors go off.”

Added Schloss: “If you tap into the spirit, and people are into the spirit, they’ll connect. There are a lot of people who aren’t open to the spirit, and we have to say to ourselves, ‘Well, it’s OK; they’re celebrating their life in a different way. This is the way we celebrate our lives.’”

They’re looking to a lot in 2014, they said: The new album; their first trip to Brazil, right before the World Cup takes place in that country this summer; and more touring. Their unorthodox, anything-goes touring style includes festivals, bars, opening slots for other bands, and gigs in small towns.

“We got together right around the time the economy crashed,” Schloss said. “We’ve actually been thriving. Economically, it’s great, because the travel (for just two) is less expensive. We can go to places where other bands can’t go. We went to Alaska with Flogging Molly … and we went up there a week before to play saloons. We actually took a ferry up the inland passage to Skagway, and took the train that used to take people out to the Yukon during the gold rush. We went into the rainforest and hiked up a glacier.

“Now, what bands can do that kind of shit? I’ve been touring with bands for 30 years, and I’ve never had richer experiences than I’ve had with this duo.”

For more information, visit www.seanandzander.com, or www.facebook.com/SeanWheelerandZanderSchloss.

The land of martinis and honey is undergoing a seismic shift toward summery saisons, infused IPAs, savory stouts and bourbon-barreled beers.

So, where in the Coachella Valley can you go to find these intoxicating craft creations?

With locations in New York, Los Angeles, London, Seattle, Portland and, of course, Palm Springs, the Ace Hotel (701 E. Palm Canyon Drive) keeps up with trends in music, art, food and drink. The boutique hotel boasts a nice selection of craft beer in the Amigo Room. In fact, the ever-changing craft-beer variety gets its own chalkboard near the bar. Ace is also home to the popular “Craft Beer Weekend,” a pool party complete with music, grub and beer—perfect for craft connoisseurs and beer beginners alike.

Up Palm Canyon Drive to the north lies a restaurant offering a farm-to-concrete-table dining experience that’s industrial chic and progressive. While the menus at Workshop Kitchen + Bar (800 N. Palm Canyon Drive) are heavy with cocktails and duck fat, the spot also offers a nice selection of beers in their downtown-L.A.-esque bar.

As stated on Workshop’s liquid menu, this is a carefully chosen, opinionated mix of products. The beer bottles are sectioned by “crisp,” “yeasty,” “malty,” “strong or dark’ish” and “hoppy.” The tap list rotates, but offers a nice selection of lighter brews. Available as of this writing are Abita Lemon Wheat, hailing from Louisiana; Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, from Colorado; Stiegl Goldbrau Märzen, all the way from Salzburg, Austria; and our own local brew, the Belgian-Style Vanilla Blonde Ale from Babe’s. The rotating menu calls attention to Southern California seasonal products, from lemon cucumber and dates to pattypan squash.

Located down the street several blocks is Bar (340 N. Palm Canyon Drive). I’m enamored with Bar’s beer cocktails, its dark and seductive surroundings, the DJ parties and the Picnic Eggs—deviled eggs with Sriracha and wasabi. Pair them with the War Gin (gin and lemon honey pale ale) beer cocktail. If you favor bourbon, order the Burning Bush, made with bourbon, lemon, house grenadine and pilsner. Not daring enough for the beer-and-cocktail blends? The small selection of craft beers will satisfy.

The Purple Room is the swanky new kid at 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive. In bottles, you can enjoy San Diego beers like Ballast Point Longfin Lager and Stone Pale Ale. On tap, enjoy what the Coachella Valley has to offer with brews from Coachella Valley Brewing Co. and Babe’s.

In the heart of downtown Palm Springs, Fame Lounge (155 S. Palm Canyon Drive) is an upscale cigar, wine and microbrew lounge. At the bar, you’ll find a rotation of beers on tap. Recent finds: Ommegang’s Hennepin, Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA, and New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Coconut Curry Hefeweizen.

Heading east, the aforementioned Coachella Valley Brewing Co. (30640 Gunther St., Thousand Palms) is brewing up some one-off specialty beers perfect for the cooler nights that have arrived. Their Fall Harvest Saison is a 7.3-percent-alcohol, Belgian ale brewed with pumpkin, sweet potatoes and Lance Davis’ 100 percent pure desert gourmet honey. Only two kegs were brewed, so if it’s not already gone, hurry! The Volstead India Pale Lager is a light yet flavorful 7 percent alcohol pre-Prohibition pilsner made with hops from the Czech Republic, as well as lively Motueka hops from New Zealand. Coming up in Coachella Valley’s brewing rotation is Oasis, a hard apple medley—brewed with fresh Julian apples. Look for this release around mid-December. The guys at CVB also just brewed a saison with Torulaspora delbrueckii, a strain of wild yeast isolated from an apple orchard on a deserted island in Denmark. Brewed with rye and spelt, the release is as of yet unnamed, but keep an eye out for this beauty.

Their first collaboration beer has been a tasting-room success. Coriolis is a 9.5-percent-alcohol, 120 IBU, wet-hop imperial IPA. Brewed along with Rocks Brewing in Sydney, Australia, with hops from New Zealand and Australia, this is a mouthwatering hop bomb. It’s down to the final keg, so visit their tasting room to check it out. Their brand new Framboysenberry is a raspberry and boysenberry sour wild ale made with Pedio, Brett and Lacto yeasts. This won the peoples’ choice award in Redlands recently and is now on tap for tasters and glasses. Crave more spice in your life? The Monument on Fire, just released, is a double IPA is infused with habañero and hatch chiles, papaya and mango. The Conquistador Quadruple ale will be available in early December, and watch for a special treat: They are stashing some in bourbon barrels.

The appropriately named Burgers and Beer (79815 Highway 111, La Quinta, and 72773 Dinah Shore Drive, Rancho Mirage) has a list of more than 50 bottled beers, like Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA. On draft, you'll find local brews like Babe's Honey Blonde Ale and CV Brewing’s Monumentous, a West-Coast rye double IPA.

Neighboring Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse (71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage)—the granddaddy of local brewers—is Southern California-started chain Yard House. Each Yard House features 100 to 250 tap handles, depending on the location. The Rancho Mirage tap room has 155 beers on tap, ranging from Allagash White and Lost Coast Apricot Wheat to Bootlegger's Black Phoenix and Port Brewing Shark Attack Red. Also rotating in are seasonal drafts, which are displayed electronically above the bar. Currently tapped are IPAs like Firestone Wookey Jack and Green Flash Hop Head Red, joining Belgians like The Bruery Autumn Maple and Gulden Draak 9000 Quad. Of course, if you’re really thirsty, you can order a draft in 3-foot-tall glass container. Make it a yard!

Schmidy’s Tavern (72286 Highway 111) is a relaxed (unless there’s live music!) craft-beer bar in Palm Desert, with rotating selections like Stone Enjoy By 12-13-13, CV Brewing’s Volstead and Game of Thrones: Take the Black Stout. Enjoy learning more about the craft-beer revolution at their beer school, hosted the last Wednesday of most months. (Beer School is on hiatus during holidays, but the popular class will return on Jan. 29.)

The Beer Hunter (78483 Highway 111, La Quinta) offers a great choice and selection in their sports-themed “Hall of Foam.” Enjoy the game while drinking an Alaskan Amber Ale, Firestone Pale Ale or Ranger IPA from Fort Collins, and log your drinks in the Hall of Foam to eventually have your name emblazoned on the beer plaque. You’ll find local beers from brand-new La Quinta Brewing and CV Brewing.

So Cal chain Eureka! Burger (74985 Highway 111) is helping Indian Wells discover American craft, one burger, whiskey and beer at a time. The craft-beer selection is carefully selected by beverage director, sommelier and company ambassador Jonny Barr. Currently, the selection boasts 20 taps ranging from Drake’s Brewing Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen and Eagle Rock’s Manifesto Wit to Stone Brewing’s Smoked Porter and Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout. All of their bartenders are certified beer servers, which is the first level of a cicerone—the craft-beer equivalent of a sommelier. Artisan recipes and fresh, organic ingredients accompany their signature hand-cut fries and gourmet salads.

Despite the gorgeous display of fermented grain mash available at Eureka!, the suds are not to be overlooked. Even a couple of the whiskeys on offer are made by—you guessed it—breweries. Check out what Anchor has to offer with their Anchor Distilling Old Potrero, single malt 19th-century straight rye whiskey. This is distilled with 100 percent rye malt mash and aged in new charred oak barrels—and is a silver medal winner!

It’s exciting to see restaurants and bars in the valley getting in on the craft-beer revolution, serving a varied choice of beer alongside aperitifs and main courses.

Choice matters. Taste matters. Check out what the Coachella Valley has to offer.

Below: The Coachella Valley Brewing Co.'s Fall Harvest Saison.

Published in Beer

On rare occasions, you’ll see Brian Wanzek make a public appearance—and while Brian is a handsome and charming fellow, his alter ego, Bella da Ball, is the bigger star—so big, in fact, that she’ll be getting her own star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars later this year.

Bella can be found all over the place—for starters, at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club on Monday nights, where she hosts both Sissy Bingo and Trivia Night; and at Azul/Alibi on Tuesday nights, where she hosts her Cabaret Variety Dinner Revue. And at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 1, you can find her and her amazing legs under the amazing legs of “Forever Marilyn,” where she’ll be hosting the Forever Marilyn Palm Springs Look-Alike Contest, as part of the weekly downtown Palm Springs Villagefest.

If interested in entering the contest—in categories including pets, Miss Junior Marilyn, Ms./Mrs. Marilyn, and Drag Marilyn—register by Tuesday, July 30, at forevermarilynpslookalike.eventbrite.com. Of course, it’s free to watch the goings-on.

We recently asked Bella, who hails from a little town in Southern Minnesota, to endure The Lucky 13; here are her responses.

What was the first concert you attended?

Several county and state fair concerts, but Barry Manilow sticks out in my mind.

What was the first album you owned?

Village People.

What bands are you listening to right now?

SiriusXM radio, with a focus on Studio 54 disco, Elvis, and Broadway.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Rap.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Benny Goodman.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

I love to dance, swing, and spin the skirt.

What’s your favorite music venue?

So many: Annenberg (Theater at the Palm SpringsArt Museum) and McCallum (Theatre), and I can’t wait for the new Rancho Mirage Performing Arts Center at the high school.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

The big-band song “In the Mood.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Big band and polka bands from my young years—watching my parents dance, celebrating anniversaries and community events with family and friends.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

RuPaul: What’s your secret to looking so fab and trim?

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Lookin’ for a City” by Happy Goodman Family.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Mame.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Baby I’m a Star,” by Tina Turner. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

Since the age of 17, JP Houston has been building his impressive musical résumé.

Houston, a native of Toronto, has written songs for recording artists, theater and television. He’s composed for BBC, HBO, CBC, PBS and many others; he was even nominated for a Gemini Award, which is the Canadian equivalent of an Emmy Award.

Since relocating to the Los Angeles area about four years ago, he’s been involved with The Relationship, the side project of Brian Bell from Weezer. He’s also part of Pappy and Harriet’s The Sunday Band, up in Pioneertown.

On top of all of that, he’s been leading a unique variety show that has been compared to A Prairie Home Companion: Since February, he’s been producing American Parlor Songbook, a podcast that’s recorded live in the Ace Hotel’s Amigo Room every Wednesday evening, featuring a variety of guests. Previous performers have included Blasting Echo frontman Josh Heinz, former Beastie Boys keyboardist Money Mark and singer Keisha D.

While the show is recorded weekly, Houston is currently saving up an archive of unreleased shows for possible radio broadcast down the line. As of this writing, six recordings are available at americanparlorsongbook.com and iTunes. Houston said another is due to be released this week, followed by one in July, and one in August.

Houston said that American Parlor Songbook is partly inspired by his childhood.

“I grew up with my parents being theater people,” Houston said during a recent phone interview. “We would have these parties where all the people were actors, dancers and writers, and there would be a piano-player at the parties. We would sing show tunes, play games and tell jokes. The structure of the show is sort of based on those parties.”

The show has made him step outside of the norms of being a musician, Houston said.

“I think for me personally, the first performance—going from a singer and musician to a speaker—was a real turning point,” Houston said. “When I was scripting out the show and then went in front of an audience and had to execute it, the words came out, and they made sense—it worked. That was a really exciting moment for me.”

While his show has been compared to A Prairie Home Companion, Houston said there some definite differences.

“I would say it’s a silhouette of A Prairie Home Companion; you could put it in the same place and category shelf in a library,” said Houston. “(A Prairie Home Companion) is a variety show where they tell stories, sing songs, and the guests come out. American Parlor Songbook is a very different show in its structure and tone. I call it a parlor act, because it similar to a parlor with the piano-player and the bantering with the audience. It’s more interactive.”

For those who have never attended an American Parlor Songbook show, Houston said it’s different than what people are accustomed to—and that makes things fun for both himself and the audience.

“It’s not just an event. It’s a fun show to watch, and it’s a fun show to participate in. … We play musical charade-type games where the audience can shout out the answers. After the show is done recording, I stay and keep play sing-along songs, and we keep playing games through the night.”

American Parlor Songbook podcasts can be found on iTunes or at americanparlorsongbook.com. The show is recorded at 9 p.m. each Wednesday at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive (760-325-9900; acehotel.com/Houston). Admission is free.

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