Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Will Sturgeon returned to the desert a couple of years ago and kicked his band Brightener into full gear—and ever since, it’s been one of the valley’s most talked-about bands. Brightener won last year’s Tachevah Music Showcase and was the local band to play at Coachella 2016’s first weekend. Catch them in action this Friday, Feb. 3, at the Coachella Valley Art Scene's 19th Hole Block Party in Old Town La Quinta. For more information on the band, visit Raefer Finnegan, the band’s bassist, was kind enough to answer The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Sounds at House of Blues in San Diego. My cousin Bonnie took us for my sister’s birthday, and it was such a new thing to me—a bunch of “cool kids” packed together, sweating and dancing to indie rock. I fell in love.

What was the first album you owned?

Nirvana’s Nevermind. I remember saving my money and going to Borders and buying it. It was like $18. I remember it feeling like a lot of money, but I didn’t care—I needed it.

What bands are you listening to right now?

It’s always changing, but the constants are Touché Amore, Joyce Manor, The Smiths (forever and always) and a lot of Little Dragon and Title Fight. Also, Tony Molina!

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

Mumble rap. Let’s leave it in 2016, please. Alsom Iggy Azalea can stop what she’s doing.

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

I’d have to say Nirvana, but current would be Fleet Foxes or Little Dragon.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Hmmmm. I’m not guilty about the music I love; everyone has different tastes, but (there are some things) I listen to that I don’t throw on at parties or for other people: bands like Knocked Loose, Expire and Bracewar, which is harder stuff. On the softer side, I love me some Eurythmics/Annie Lennox and Sade. I loooove Sade.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Gilman in Berkeley, Calif. Every time I went, it felt like the room vibrated with energy.

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

“Oh take me to the haven of your bed, was something that you never said. Two lumps please, you’re the bees knees but so am I,” from “Reel Around the Fountain,” The Smiths.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Smiths, because Morrissey is a genius, and the individuals shine through like no other band back then or that’s out there today. (It was a) highly skilled singer and musicians making highly refined music. It’s perfect.

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

I’d ask Morrissey if I could take a picture with him, and if he could sign a copy of The Queen Is Dead for me. Maybe Meat Is Murder as well if he had enough time.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Rest in Piss” by Brotha Lynch Hung.

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

The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths. Second would be Menos el Oso by Minus the Bear.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Lovers’ Carvings” by Bibio. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

Representatives of many of the Coachella Valley's top businesses, groups and organizations gathered on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Copa Nightclub for the Best of Coachella Valley 2016-2017 Party.

The revelry was the culmination of a process that started back in August, when first-round voting in the third annual Coachella Valley Independent readers' poll began. The top three to five vote-getters in each category then moved on to a second round of voting, which took place through October. The results were announced at on Nov. 28 and in the December edition of the Independent

Held at Copa, the Best Nightclub winner, the party was hosted by Independent editor/publisher Jimmy Boegle. After the awards, Best Local Band winner Venus and the Traps treated the audience to a set.

Below are pictures from the evening, by Independent contributor Cory Courtney. Enjoy!

Published in Snapshot

Here are the results of the third annual Best of Coachella Valley readers' poll!

An all-time-high number of people voted in both rounds this year—and the slate of winners and finalists represent all parts of the valley.

Come celebrate the winners with us during the Best of Coachella Valley 2016-2017 Awards Show and Celebration, presented by Renova Solar. It will take place at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Copa Nightclub—this year's Best Nightclub winner.

Thanks to all of you who voted in this year's poll!

Welcome to the Best of Coachella Valley 2016-2017.

—Jimmy Boegle, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Best Art Gallery

Coachella Valley Art Scene


Runners up:


3. Heather James

4. Melissa Morgan


Best Indoor Venue

McCallum Theatre


Runners up:

2. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

3. The Hood Bar and Pizza

4. Fantasy Springs Special Events Center

5. The Date Shed


Best Local Arts Group/Organization

Palm Springs Art Museum


Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Art Scene

3. McCallum Theatre

4. La Quinta Arts Foundation

5. Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre


Best Local Band

Venus and the Traps


Runners up:

2. The Flusters

3. Brightener

4. The Myx

5. War Drum


Best Local DJ

Alf Alpha


Runners up:

2. DJ Day

3. Alex Harrington

4. DJ Pwee

5. Tommy Locust


Best Local Musician (Individual)

Jesika Von Rabbit


Runners up:

2. Nico Flores

3. Keisha D

4. Kal David

5. EeVaan Tre


Best Local Visual Artist

Sofia Enriquez


Runners up:

2. Elena Bulatova

3. Ryan “Motel” Campbell

4. Marconi Calindas


Best Movie Theater

Century La Quinta and XD


Runners up:

2. Camelot Theatres


Regal Palm Springs Stadium 9

Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX

5. Century Theatres at the River


Best Museum

Palm Springs Art Museum


Runners up:

2. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

3. Coachella Valley History Museum

4. Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

5. La Quinta Museum


Best Outdoor Venue

Empire Polo Club


Runners up:

2. The Living Desert

3. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

4. Fantasy Springs Rock Yard

5. Palm Desert Civic Center Park


Best Producing Theater Company

Palm Canyon Theatre


Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Repertory

3. Desert Rose Playhouse

4. Coyote StageWorks

5. Dezart Performs



Best Alternative Health Center

La Quinta Wellness Center


Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Healing Center

3. Desert Hot Springs Health and Wellness Center


Best Farmers’ Market

College of the Desert Street Fair Farmers’ Market


Runners up:

2. Certified Farmers’ Market Old Town La Quinta

3. Certified Farmers’ Market Palm Springs

4. Palm Springs VillageFest

5. Certified Farmers’ Market Palm Desert


Best Local Activist/Advocacy Group/Charity

Coachella Valley Rescue Mission


Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Animal Shelter

3. Desert AIDS Project

4. LGBT Community Center of the Desert

5. Shelter From the Storm


Best Gym

24 Hour Fitness


Runners up:

2. World Gym

3. EOS Fitness

4. In-Shape

5. Planet Fitness


Best Public Servant

Rep. Raul Ruiz


Runners up:

2. La Quinta Mayor Linda Evans

3. Palm Springs Mayor Rob Moon

4. Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors


Best Yoga

Urban Yoga


Runners up:

2. Bikram Yoga Palm Desert-El Paseo

3. TIE

Evolve Yoga

Yoga Central

5. Bikram Yoga University Village


Best Bowling

Fantasy Springs Bowling Center


Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Lanes

3. Canyon Lanes Bowling at Morongo


Best Auto Repair

Palms to Pines Automotive


Runners up:

2. Desert Classic Cars

3. Desert Lexus

4. L&L Automotive

5. Singh’s Automotive Repair


Best Car Wash

Elephant Car Wash/Rancho Super Car Wash


Runners up:

2. La Quinta Car Wash

3. Indio Car Wash

4. Airport Quick Car Wash


Best Plant Nursery

The Living Desert’s Palo Verde Garden Center


Runners up:

2. Moller’s Garden Center

3. Vintage Nursery

4. Bob Williams Nursery


Best Pet Supplies



Runners up:

2. Bones ’n’ Scones

3. PetSmart

4. Miriam’s Poochella Grooming

5. Desert Feed Bag


Best Annual Charity Event

Evening Under the Stars (AIDS Assistance Program)


Runners up:

2. McCallum Theatre Annual Gala

3. Ramblin’ and Gamblin’ (Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Desert)

4. Dinner in the Canyons (Agua Caliente Cultural Museum)

5. Center Stage (LGBT Community Center of the Desert)


Best Place to Gamble

Augustine Casino


Runners up:

2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa

3. Spa Resort Casino

4. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

5. Spotlight 29


Best Local TV News

KESQ News Channel 3


Runners up:

2. KMIR Channel 6

3. CBS Local 2


Best Local TV News Personality

Ginger Jeffries, KMIR Channel 6


Runners up:

2. Patrick Evans, CBS Local 2

3. Karen Devine, KESQ News Channel 3

4. Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3

5. Gino LaMont, KMIR Channel 6


Best Local Radio Station

Mix 100.5


Runners up:

2. 93.7 KCLB

3. Jammin 99.5 FM

4. K-News 94.3

5. La Ponderosa 96.7 FM


Best Local Radio Personality

Jimi “Fitz” Fitzgerald, CV 104.3 FM


Runners up:

2. Bradley Ryan, Mix 100.5

3. Mozingo, Mix 100.5

4. Bill Feingold, K-News 94.3

5. Dan McGrath, Sunny 103.1 FM


Best Bookstore

Barnes & Noble


Runners up:

2. Rancho Mirage Public Library Booknook

3. Revivals

4. The Book Rack


Best Retail Music/Video Store

Record Alley


Runners up:

2. Best Buy

3. Barnes and Noble


Best Comics/Games Shop

Game Stop


2. Desert Oasis

3. Interstellar Comic Books and Collectables


Best Hotel Pool

Ace Hotel and Swim Club


Runners up:

2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa

3. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

4. The Riviera

5. The Saguaro


Best Sex Toy Shop

Skitzo Kitty


Runners up:

2. Not So Innocent

3. Spencer’s Gifts

4. GayMart



Best Clothing Store (Locally Owned)

Bobby G’s


2. Wil Stiles

3. Glossy


Best Resale/Vintage Clothing

Angel View


Runners up:

2. Revivals

3. Gypsyland

4. Penny Lane Boutique

5. Plato’s Closet


Best Furniture Store

Mathis Brothers


Runners up:

2. Revivals

3. Ashley Furniture Homestore

4. Mor Furniture for Less


Best Antiques/Collectables Store


The Estate Sale Co

Victoria’s Attic


Runners up:

3. Misty’s Consignments

4. Classic Consignment


Best Jeweler/Jewelry Store

El Paseo Jewelers


Runners up:

Leeds and Son


Daniel’s Jewelers

Robann’s Jewelers


Best Hair Salon

J. Russell! The Salon


Runners up:

2. Salon 119 and Spa

3. Dishwater Blonde Salon

4. Revive Salon and Spa

5. Read Brown


Best Spa in a Resort/Hotel

Spa La Quinta (La Quinta Resort)


Runners up:

2. The Spa at Desert Springs (JW Marriott)

3. Sunstone Spa at Agua Caliente

4. Agua Serena Spa at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

5. Well Spa at Miramonte


Best Day Spa (Non-Resort/Hotel)

Massage Envy


Runners up:

2. Desert Zen

3. Studio M Salon and Spa

4. Revive Wellness Center

5. Bliss Chakra Spa


Best Florist

My Little Flower Shop


Runners up:

2. Indio Florist

3. Rancho Mirage Florist

4. Palm Springs Florist

5. Lotus Garden Center


Best Tattoo Parlor


Art and Ink Tattoo Studio

The Tattoo Gallery


Runners up:

3. Flagship Tattoo

4. Adornment Piercing and Private Tattoo

5. Strata Tattoo Lab


Best Eyeglass/Optical Retailer



Runners up:

2. Desert Vision Optometry

3. Milauskas Eye Institute

4. Walmart

5. Old Town Optometry



Best Urban Landscaping

El Paseo


Runners up:

2. Sunnylands

3. Downtown Palm Springs


Best Public Garden

The Living Desert


Runners up:

2. Palm Desert Civic Center Park

3. Sunnylands

4. El Paseo

5. Ruth Hardy Park


Best Place for Bicycling

La Quinta


Runners up:

2. Palm Springs

3. Palm Desert

4. Highway 74

5. Frank Sinatra Drive


Best Recreation Area

Joshua Tree


Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Canyon

3. Whitewater Preserve

4. Lake Cahuilla

5. Coachella Valley Preserve


Best Hike

Bump and Grind


Runners up:

2. Indian Canyons

3. Tahquitz Canyon

4. Palm Springs Museum Trail

5. South Lykken Trail


Best Park

Palm Desert Civic Center Park


Runners up:

2. TIE

Freedom Park (Palm Desert)

Ruth Hardy Park

4. Rancho Las Flores (Coachella)

5. Demuth Park (Palm Springs)


Best Outdoor/Camping Gear Store

Big 5 Sporting Goods


Runners up:

2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart


Best Bike Shop

Palm Desert Cyclery


Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Cyclery

3. Tri-A-Bike

4. Joel’s Bicycle Shop


Best Sporting Goods

Big 5 Sporting Goods


Runners up:

2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart

4. Pete Carlson’s Golf and Tennis

5. PGA Tour Superstore


Best Public Golf Course

Desert Willow Golf Resort


Runners up:

2. PGA West

3. Eagle Falls Golf Course at Fantasy Springs

4. The Golf Club at Terra Lago

5. The Lights at Indio Golf Course



Best Playground

Palm Desert Civic Center Park


Runners up:

2. La Quinta Civic Center Park

3. Ruth Hardy Park

4. Rancho Mirage Community Park

5. Cathedral City Town Square


Best Place to Buy Toys

Toys “R” Us


Runners up:

2. Mr. G’s for Kids

3. Target

4. Walmart

5. Big Lots


Best Kids’ Clothing Store

Old Navy


Runners up:

2. The Childrens Place

3. Tillys

4. Fallas

5. Revivals


Best Restaurant for Kids

Chuck E. Cheese’s


Runners up:

2. Shakey’s Pizza

3. Red Robin

4. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

5. Old Spaghetti Factory


Best Place for Family Fun

The Living Desert


Runners up:

2. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

3. Boomers

4. Chuck E. Cheese

5. Desert Ice Castle


Best Place for a Birthday Party

Chuck E. Cheese’s


Runners up:

2. The Living Desert

3. Boomers

4. Lulu California Bistro

5. Desert Ice Castle



Best Casual Eats

Café 54 at Augustine Casino


Runners up:

2. In-n-Out Burger

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Eureka!

5. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill


Best Caterer

Lulu California Bistro


2. Lavender Bistro

3. Jennifer’s Kitchen and Catering

4. Dash and a Handful

5. Cello’s Pantry


Best Diner

Keedy’s Fountain Grill


Runners up:

2. Café 54 at the Augustine Casino

3. Elmer’s

4. John’s

5. Rick’s Restaurant


Best Organic Food Store

Trader Joe’s


2. Sprouts Farmers Market

3. Whole Foods

4. Harvest Health Foods

5. Clark’s Nutrition


Best Delicatessen

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery


Runners up:

2. TKB Bakery and Deli

3. Manhattan in the Desert

4. Real Italian Deli

5. Clementine Gourmet Marketplace


Best Custom Cakes


Over the Rainbow

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery


Runners up:

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Exquisite Desserts


Best Desserts

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery


Runners up:

2. French Corner Café

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. Over the Rainbow

5. Manhattan in the Desert


Best Ice Cream/Shakes

Cold Stone Creamery


Runners up:

2. Great Shakes

3. Ben and Jerry’s

4. Brandini Toffee

5. Creamistry


Best Date Shake

Shields Date Garden


Runners up:

2. Hadley’s

3. Great Shakes


Best Frozen Yogurt



2. Beach House

3. Golden Spoon

4. Jus Chillin

5. Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt


Best Bakery

French Corner Café


Runners up:

2. Aspen Mills

3. Over the Rainbow

4. Pastry Swan Bakery

5. Peninsula Pastries


Best Barbecue

Smoke Tree BBQ Bar and Grill


Runners up:

2. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

3. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

4. Jackalope Ranch

5. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit


Best Burger

In-n-Out Burger


Runners up:

2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

3. Tyler’s Burgers

4. Eureka!

5. Smokin’ Burgers and Lounge


Best Veggie Burger

Native Foods Café


Runners up:

2. Eureka!

3. Palm Greens Café

4. Trio

5. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge


Best Sandwich

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery


Runners up:

2. TKB Bakery and Deli

3. The Sandwich Spot

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Aspen Mills


Best Pizza

Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill


Runners up:

2. Bill’s Pizza

3. Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta

4. Piero’s PizzaVino

5. Blaze Pizza


Best Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings


Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

3. Wingstop

4. Neil’s Lounge

5. Billy Q’s


Best Bagels

Townie Bagels


Runners up:

2. Panera Bread

3. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

4. Einstein Bros. Bagels

5. Manhattan in the Desert


Best Smoothies

Fresh Juice Bar


Runners up:

2. Jamba Juice

3. Juice It Up

4. Beach House Yogurt


Best Buffet

Café 54 at Augustine Casino


Runners up:

2. Grand Palms Buffet at Agua Caliente

3. Fresh Grill Buffet at Fantasy Springs

4. Oasis Buffet at Spa Resort Casino

5. Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo


Best Coffee Shop for Coffee



Runners up:

2. Koffi

3. IW Coffee

4. Vintage Coffee House

5. Ristretto


Best Coffee Shop for Hanging Out



Runners up:

2. Starbucks

3. Old Town Coffee

4. IW Coffee

5. Ernst Coffee


Best Tea

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf


Runners up:

2. Starbucks

3. Teavana

4. Koffi

5. Ristretto


Best Breakfast

Wilma and Frieda’s Café


Runners up:

2. Elmer’s

3. Spencer’s Restaurant

4. Sunshine Cafe

5. John’s


Best California Cuisine

Lulu California Bistro


Runners up:

2. La Quinta Cliffhouse

3. Zin American Bistro

4. Spencer’s Restaurant

5. Trio


Best Brunch

Pinocchio in the Desert


Runners up:

2. Wilma and Frieda’s

3. Spencer’s Restaurant

4. Louise’s Pantry

5. The Tropicale


Best Chinese

PF Chang’s


Runners up:

2. City Wok

3. Wang’s in the Desert

4. JOY at Fantasy Springs

5. New Fortune


Best Greek

Greek Islands Restaurant


Runners up:

2. Miro’s Restaurant

3. Nina’s Greek Cuisine

4. Koutouki Greek Estiatorio

5. Athena Gyro


Best French

La Brasserie


Runners up:

2. Si Bon

3. Le Vallauris

4. Cuistot

5. Chez Pierre


Best Indian

Monsoon Indian Cuisine


Runners up:

2. India Oven

3. Naan House


Best Japanese

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse


Runners up:

2. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

3. JOY at Fantasy Springs

4. Shabu Shabu Zen

5. Shogun Restaurant


Best Italian

Mario’s Italian Cafe


Runners up:

2. Ristorante Mamma Gina

3. Castelli’s

4. Trilussa

5. Livreri’s Palm Springs


Best Sushi

Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar


Runners up:

The Venue Sushi Bar and Sake Lounge

Shogun Restaurant

Dragon Sushi

Edoko Sushi


Best Seafood

Fisherman’s Market


Runners up:

2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

3. Pacifica Seafood Restaurant

4. Mitch’s on El Paseo

5. Spencer’s Restaurant


Best Steakhouse

LG’s Prime Steakhouse


Runners up:

2. Ruth’s Chris Steak House

3. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

4. TIE

Morgan’s in the Desert

Steakhouse at the Spa


Best Thai

Thai Smile Palm Springs


Runners up:

2. Thai House

3. Pepper’s Thai Cuisine

4. Le Basil

5. Blue Orchid


Best Vietnamese

Pho Vu


Runners up:

2. Pho 533

3. Rooster and the Pig

4. Watercress Vietnamese Bistro

5. Pho Na


Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Native Foods Café


Runners up:

2. Palm Greens Café

3. Nature’s Health Food and Café

4. Luscious Lorraine’s

5. Café Jasmin


Best Upscale Cuisine

Spencer’s Restaurant


Runners up:

2. Wally’s Desert Turtle

3. Le Vallauris

4. Johannes

5. Jillian’s


Best Outdoor Seating

Jackalope Ranch


Runners up:

2. Spencer’s Restaurant

3. Las Casuelas Terraza

4. Lavender Bistro

5. The Tropicale


Best Late-Night Restaurant

Yard House


Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Alicante

4. Smokin’ Burgers

5. Bongo Johnny’s


Best Mexican

La Casita


Runners up:

2. Fresh Agave

3. El Mirasol

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill’

5. Casa Mendoza


Best Salsa

Las Casuelas (Original)


Runners up:

2. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

3. Las Casuelas Terraza

3. Las Casuelas Quinta

5. Felipe’s


Best Burrito

Taqueria Guerrero


Runners up:

2. Castaneda’s Mexican Food

3. Chipotle

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Casa Mendoza



Best Beer Selection

Yard House


Runners up:

2. Burgers and Beer

3. The Beer Hunter

4. Eureka!

5. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brew House


Best Local Brewery

Coachella Valley Brewing Co.


Runners up:

2. La Quinta Brewing Co.

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brew House


Best Place to Play Pool/Billiards

The Beer Hunter


Runners up:

2. Neil’s Lounge

3. Hunters

4. Bart Lounge

5. Score the Game Bar


Best Cocktail Menu

Tommy Bahama Restaurant and Bar


Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Eureka!

4. Mitch’s on El Paseo

5. Trio


Best Gay/Lesbian Bar/Club



Runners up:

2. Chill Bar

3. Hunters

4. The Tropicale

5. Spurline


Best Happy Hour

Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill


Runners up:

2. Applebee’s

3. The Tropicale

4. La Quinta Cliffhouse

5. Mitch’s on El Paseo


Best Dive Bar

The Hood Bar and Pizza


Runners up:

2. Neil’s Lounge

3. Hair of the Dog

4. Red Barn

5. Score


Best Margarita

Las Casuelas (Original)


Runners up:

2. Fresh Agave

3. El Mirasol

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Casa Mendoza


Best Martini

Sullivan’s Steakhouse


Runners up:

2. Mitch’s on El Paseo

3. Mastro’s Steakhouse

4. The Tropicale

5. Trio


Best Nightclub



Runners up:

2. Zelda’s

3. Hunter’s

4. Bart Lounge

5. Chill Bar


Best Sports Bar

The Beer Hunter


Runners up:

2. Burgers and Beer

3. Buffalo Wild Wings

4. Alicante

5. Village Pub


Best Wine Bar

Zin American Bistro


Runners up:

2. Sullivan’s Steakhouse

3. La Rue Wine Bar

4. Vue Grille and Bar

5. Dead or Alive


Best Wine/Liquor Store

Total Wine and More


Runners up:

2. BevMo!

3. Costco

4. Trader Joe’s

5. Fame Lounge



Best Bar Ambiance



Runners up:

2. Chill Bar

3. The Tropicale

4. Matchbox

5. Workshop Kitchen+Bar

Published in Readers' Picks

The Coachella Valley Art Scene (CVAS) has come a long way since founder and executive director Sarah Scheideman started the whole thing as a blog in 2008.

Since its humble beginnings, the organization has left a unique footprint on the Coachella Valley with its arts-related events. The 111 Music Festival, in collaboration with the Sunline Transit Agency, places local bands inside buses; the musicians perform as the buses travel down the road. Last year, CVAS put on its first Street festival at the Westfield Shopping Center in Palm Desert. The group has been a part of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for multiple years, and after operating a gallery in Cathedral City that closed in 2016, CVAS moved to the Westfield Shopping Center.

Today, CVAS continues to evolve. In fact, when I went to interview Scheideman at the location inside the Westfield mall, known as “MAKE,” the group was preparing to move to a smaller, less prominent storefront, giving up the “MAKE” space for the seasonal Halloween and Christmas stores that occupy it during the fall and winter months.

Scheideman said she’s delighted with the relationship that the Coachella Valley Art Scene has with the Westfield mall.

“It started when they had the idea for the ‘First Fridays’ events,” Scheideman said. “They wanted to have art and music on the top floor of one of the parking structures. They wanted to have something that could cater to their audience here at the mall. They wanted to partner with an organization to really take on the art aspect and the direction for it. After they did some research and visited our old gallery, they met us and asked if we wanted to do some art pieces. It seemed like a great fit. It started out with us producing the Street festival, but then they really believed in what we did and continued it. It’s been an organic and harmonious relationship.”

When CVAS was given the keys to the now-former “MAKE” location in the mall, the group had one week to prepare and open. Now CVAS is prepping to make the smaller space, called StreetHQ, its next temporary home. Scheideman expressed a positive outlook about the change.

“It’s totally understandable,” she said. “It’s kind of fun for us, because we can take a break from having a space so big and go back to something smaller, then we can revisit back in here and do what we’re doing in here better. … After about three months, we’ve found out how to work within a mall setting, and it’s been a learning experience.”

CVAS has now been a nonprofit organization for more than a year, and that transition has not been easy. The group recently established a board of directors and rolled out a new membership program with three tiers: members can contribute $10, $30 or $100 per month. Donors who commit to $100 a month will have the opportunity to become board members of the organization.

“We have a board of directors right now, but it’s very small,” Scheideman said. “… We’re fairly new to building a structure for (being a nonprofit) and all that. But we’re going through and involving a whole new board of directors, initiating a membership program, and developing our organization to serve our community the best that we can.”

Scheideman said it’s often been difficult for CVAS to generate revenue, given the organization’s focus.

“We like to feature upcoming and young artists and stay focused on trying to inspire the younger and millennial generation to stay here in the Coachella Valley and keep creating art. It’s hard to make money off of that,” Scheideman said. “When you’re creating culture like that, money isn’t really a main focus. As soon as we opened the gallery in Cathedral City, we realized the essence of what we were doing was community service.”

While Scheideman praised CVAS’ homes inside the Westfield mall, she said she hopes CVAS one day has a permanent space.

“The mall has been a great opportunity, because it gave us the ability to expand beyond our online presence,” she said. “But the dream would be to have a location where we can have more art shows and a venue that would be open later at night. That’s what would make a permanent location nice to have.”

The new location in the mall will serve, in part, as a three-month-long promotion for the second annual Street festival, which is focused on hip-hop culture, spoken word and poetry; mark your calendars for Nov. 4. CVAS is also getting ready for the third annual 111 Music Festival, and for the return of a classic Coachella Valley Art Scene event.

“We’re in the process of trying to bring back Doo Wop in the Desert, which is our retro Valentine’s Day-themed party that we did that featured all ’50s doo-wop music, with the costumes, the décor and the whole thing. We had been doing that for about five years until we stopped doing it last year, but we’re bringing it back and making it better this year.”

After a turbulent year, Scheideman said she’s looking forward to further establishing CVAS’ presence.

“After the three-month activation of Street, we’d like to move back in here (to the HERE space), and we really want to have better programming,” she said. “We want to have classes. … We also want to develop poetry and literary scenes here in the desert.”

For more information on the Coachella Valley Art Scene, visit Full disclosure: Brian Blueskye has done freelance work for CVAS in the past.

Published in Local Fun