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Last updateFri, 03 Apr 2020 5pm

The Goal of the Second Desert VegFest: Sharing Info About Veganism With the Coachella Valley

Bryan Lopez is passionate about the vegan lifestyle—so passionate, in fact, that he produced a whole festival focused on vegan food back in the spring.

Just six months later, Lopez is back with the sequel: The second Desert VegFest—a whole day of food, music and guest speakers—will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus.

“I went vegan two years ago, and I have a lot of friends ask what I eat,” Lopez said. “‘What do you eat? Grass?’ I get poked at a lot, because a majority of people don’t understand it—so I thought that it would be a good idea to bring a lot of food into the valley that people can taste to try to disprove many people’s misconceptions. Vegan food is good, but a lot of people don’t know that.”

To Lopez’s knowledge, Desert VegFest is the only vegan-centered festival in the Coachella Valley.

“There are a lot of vegan festivals throughout the U.S., and I tried to use their formula to do mine,” Lopez said. “For the most part, I did what they are doing—but I plan to do different things in the future now that I know what I’m doing and am more confident with myself.”

While Lopez pulled off a great festival in the spring, he learned a lot of lessons—some the hard way.

“There were a lot of last-minute expenses,” Lopez said. “There was a big tent that we had for the artists, but we found out we couldn’t stake it down into the ground because of the piping, so I had to pay out-of-pocket for some cement blocks.

“The night before the festival, our generator got stolen. That was also expensive, but it also delayed the music by an hour and a half. … It was definitely a trial-and-error experience, and I know I’m going to be better (this time).”

The May event hosted some 2,000 people celebrating the vegan lifestyle by chowing down on food from various vendors.

“I’m hoping that a lot of people get to try the food, because the way to people’s hearts and minds is through food,” he said. “You can show people facts and statistics about going vegan, but the truth is that it’s all about the taste of the food. If I could get some people to consider going vegan just by trying the food, then that would be great.”

The second Desert VegFest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, at UC Riverside’s Palm Desert campus, at 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive. Tickets are $3 online, or a buck more at the door. For tickets or more info, visit www.desertvegfest.com.


In Brief

Sing along: “It’s the most yummiest time of the year!” To translate: It’s time for the 28th annual Indio International Tamale Festival! It all goes down on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, in downtown Indio. Admission is free (but alas, the tamales are not). Expect a food-truck park, a farmers’ market, entertainment, beer gardens and all sorts of family-friendly fun. Get more details at www.tamalefestival.net. … Now open: Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, at 73040 El Paseo, in Palm Desert. The high-end seafood restaurant is owned by the same company that runs The Capital Grille; learn more at www.eddiev.com. … The second annual Golden Grapes Wine Festival will take over the Commune at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. This joint production of the Ace and the Palm Springs Wine Festival will feature more than 50 winemakers “who are part of a radical shift in the wine industry in the Golden State.” Ooh! Tickets are $85; $99 gets you a VIP ticket, which comes with a free bottle of wine and admission to the soiree an hour early. Get those tix at www.acehotel.com. … Coming soon to 13104 Palm Drive, in Desert Hot Springs: Taste of India. That’s all we know for now; watch this space for more info when we get more info. … New to 461 N. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs: Las Palmas Brewery. The microbrewery and natural wine bar is the latest feather in the growing cap that is the Coachella Valley beer scene. (Apologies for that terrible analogy.) Visit www.facebook.com/laspalmasbrewing to learn more. ... Coming soon to Palm Springs, at 170 E. Palm Canyon Drive, next to Kreem: Gabino’s Creperie. Watch www.facebook.com/gabinoscreperie for updates.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

Music and More

Cabaret 88: Joan Ryan

Winner of Broadway World’s Top Female Cabaret Artist award of 2013, Joan Ryan has a four-octave range which has led to leading roles in Little Shop of Horrors, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Footloose, Les Miserables and Nunsense. 6 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 2 and 3. $88. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490; www.psmuseum.org.

Copa Events

Comedian Wendy Liebman performs at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 12 and 13. $25 to $35. The Nina Whitaker Holiday show takes place at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20. $30 to $40. Amy and Freddy return with their holiday show at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 27; and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 28. $25 to $35. All shows are 21 and older, with a two-drink minimum. Copa, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-3554; www.coparoomtickets.com.

CV Symphony Presents ‘Holiday Magic’

A heartwarming holiday concert features the vocal talents of Patricia Welch performing seasonal favorites. 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 20. $25 to $25, with discounts. Helene Galen Performing Arts Center at Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-360-2222; cvsymphony.com.

Ensembles Concert

This choral concert includes chamber singers and jazz singers, directed by Tim Bruneau. 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4. $5 to $10 goodwill donation. CSUSB Palm Desert—Indian Wells Theatre, 37500 Cook Street, Palm Desert. 760-773-2574.

For the Children

Support the music programs sponsored by the Steinway Society of Riverside County and OperaArts. This event includes a cocktail hour, special piano concert, dinner and an “opera” dessert. Enjoy an evening of classical piano featuring some of the Steinway Society’s youngest and most talented artists; it’s a fundraiser to support music programs for students in the Coachella Valley. 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 7. $125. Bellatrix Restaurant and Wine Bar, 75200 Classic Club Blvd., Palm Desert. 760-323-8353; steinwayriverside.org.

Palm Springs Opera Guild’s 31st Annual Vocal Competition

Young men and women between the ages of 18 and 32 compete and are reviewed by three esteemed judges. Each finalist performs two arias. Singers receive prizes totaling more than $20,000. In addition, an audience choice prize of $1,000 will be awarded. 3 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 7. Free. Helene Galen Performing Arts Center at Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-325-6107; palmspringsoperaguild.org.

Special Events

Coachella Christmas Parade

The city of Coachella presents its annual Christmas parade. 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5. Free. Sixth Street in Coachella. Coachella.org.

Coachella Inauguration of Elected Officials and Christmas-Tree Lighting

The city of Coachella and the Coachella Chamber of Commerce invite the public to attend the inauguration of elected officials, immediately followed by the annual Christmas-tree lighting, where Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be present. Complimentary champurrado and pan dulce will be served. 5:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 3. Free. Coachella City Hall, 1515 Sixth St., Coachella. 760-398-8089.

Festival of Lights Parade

The holiday tradition in downtown Palm Springs features a host of marching bands, performing groups, and Santa and Mrs. Claus! Lisa Vanderpump will be the celebrity grand marshal. 5:45 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6. Free. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. 760-325-5749; psfestivaloflights.com.

Gourmet Food Truck Event

Try food trucks for lunch featuring burgers, barbecue, tacos, California cuisine, sushi and dessert. Outdoor seating is available, or bring a blanket. Dabble in the local farmers’ market; listen to music provided by The Coachella Valley Art Scene; enjoy a beer garden with some of the best craft beers from La Quinta Brewing Company and Coachella Valley Brewing Company. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the first Sunday of the month. Free. Cathedral City Civic Center Plaza, 68700 Avenue Lalo Guerrero, Cathedral City. Thecoachellavalleyartscene.com.

Indio International Tamale Festival

Food Network ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival as one of the Top 10. “All-American Food Festivals” in the nation. The festival is a special occasion that kicks off the holiday season and brings the entire community together. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6 and 7. Free. Downtown Indio. Tamalefestival.net.

Santa Fly-In

Santa arrives at the Palm Springs Air Museum to meet children and give them goody bags. 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 13. Free admission children 12 and younger; regular admission $14 to $16. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-778-6262; palmspringsairmuseum.org.

Walk for the Animals 2014

The desert tradition includes a one-mile dog walk around the park, pet vaccinations and microchipping, blessing of the animals, police K-9 demonstration, dog and puppy adoptions, pet costume contests and more. The event proceeds benefit Animal Samaritans’ no-kill animal shelter and humane-education program. All dogs must be on a leash or in a carrier. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6. Free, but donations accepted. Palm Desert Civic Park, 73510 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-835-6465; ansamswalkfortheanimals.org.

Walking Tour of the Inns

A self-guided walking tour of Palm Springs’ unique collection of boutique hotels and historic inns takes. The tour begins at any of the participating hotels, or at Palm Springs Art Museum, which will also provide free maps and flashlights. 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 11. Free. Neighborhoods between Ramon Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs. 800-347-7746; www.walkingtouroftheinns.com.

Winter Gathering Powwow

Tribes from all over North America will compete in dancing and drumming contests, with participants ranging from 6 to 65 and older. Various times Friday through Sunday, Dec. 12 through 14. Free. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella. Spotlight29.com.

Visual Arts

Joshua Tree National Park Art Exposition

Celebrate the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park and the art it has inspired, at the historic Oasis of Mara in Twentynine Palms. Various events are staged at five cultural venues in the Oasis of Mara. In addition, a special exhibit will be on display at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center. Various times Friday through Sunday, Dec. 5 through 7. Most events free. Oasis of Mara, Twentynine Palms. Jtnparts.org/jtnp-art-exposition.

A Grand Adventure: American Art in the West

The epic 19th-century landscape paintings of Yosemite and Yellowstone by Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran introduced the American public to the grandeur of the West. By the turn of the century, a new genre of Western art had developed. A Grand Adventurebrings together 40 significant classic and traditional artworks from private collections. The artworks span nearly 100 years, dating from the latter half of the 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century. The exhibit is on display through Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015. Included with regular admission prices. Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, 72567 Highway 111, Palm Desert. 760-346-5600; www.psmuseum.org/palm-desert.

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