Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

On a recent Monday evening, around 60 people mingled on a patio at Jackalope Ranch in Indio.

The attendees—a mix of students, teachers, business people, tech experts and politicians—sipped drinks and munched on chips, guacamole and skewered chicken as they chatted. All in all, it was a typical-looking business-related social gathering.

But the goals of the people at this innocuous-looking event, called the Desert Tech Meetup, are far from innocuous: They want to make the Coachella Valley a technology-business hub.

The gathering—the second such Desert Tech Meetup—was held by Silicon Springs Ventures, in partnership with web/marketing firm Graphtek, and the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP).

“We’re all here for Silicon Springs: the movement,” Joel Fashingbauer, Silicon Springs Ventures’ president and chief operating officer, told the crowd. “We want to create another Silicon Valley, one that’s smaller and more efficient, in the desert.”

In between mingling time and giveaways of gift cards and Graphtek coffee mugs, Fashingbauer talked about how Silicon Springs—a company that launched in May—and its partners plan on creating that other Silicon Valley.

In October, Fashingbauer and his four partners launched Disruptor Labs, a project to develop online apps and mobile products. Silicon Springs is working with CVEP’s Workforce Excellence effort—the goal of which is to create a better-trained, more-educated local workforce—to launch the STEAM Pipe Initiative at local schools, including College of the Desert. The company is helping develop a program, called Encore, that will pair retired and semi-retired executives in banking, technology and other applicable fields with startup entrepreneurs in need of expertise. Finally, the Silicon Springs Ventures team has been meeting with people from various tech startups—about 45 or so, Fashingbauer estimates—and will help the most promising find funding.

All of these plans undeniably sound great. But they also lead to a question: Why the Coachella Valley? Why here?

Fashingbauer, in an interview prior to the tech meetup, said he gets asked that question a lot. For him, in part, it’s personal: His wife has family who lives in Palm Desert, and he’s been coming here for about 15 years.

“It’s been our oasis,” he said, mentioning the “Sunday blues” that all smitten visitors face when they have to leave this oasis to return home.

But the “why” also goes beyond the personal. Fashingbauer pointed to the great weather, the affordable cost of living (especially regarding housing, when compared to Silicon Valley and its Los Angeles descendent of sorts, Silicon Beach), the lack of traffic and the overall quality of life that makes the Coachella Valley an attractive place for tech businesses.

There’s one more reason, one that combines the personal and the practical: Everyone who loves the Coachella Valley agrees that the desert could use more industry. He mentioned the economic damage done here by the Great Recession, when the real estate market crashed, and tourism suffered. Technology firms didn’t get hit as hard by the downturn, said Fashingbauer, a digital-products expert who most recently was the vice president of product development for Atari.

The goals of Silicon Springs Ventures are undeniably ambitious—but they’ve gotten the attention of the valley’s leaders. Indio Mayor Elaine Holmes and Palm Desert Mayor Jan Harnik were among those mingling at the recent Desert Tech Meetup.

Of course, these goals will not be reached overnight.

“We’re doing a lot of behind-the-scenes seed-planting, and having conversations with leaders,” said Rich Silveira, Silicon Springs’ chief financial officer and vice president of finance. “Some of those seeds will fall away and die, and some will come to fruition.”

Of course, more seeds were being planted at the Desert Tech Meetup; while the gathering looked innocuous, the brain power present in the all-ages crowd was undeniable.

The third Desert Tech Meetup—one of four planned for 2014, thanks to CVEP’s support—is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30, and will most likely be held in downtown Palm Springs. Fashingbauer said the format may be tweaked; for example, the Silicon Springs team is looking at possibly bringing in computers for attendees to use for demonstrations and information-sharing.

“Silicon Valley can’t really grow any more. They’re out of space,” Silveira said. “We provide this expanse of real estate and a lower cost of living. … If we feed the ecosystem, our young graduates don’t have to leave here. They can stay right here.”

For more information on Silicon Springs Ventures, including more details about Desert Tech Meetups in 2014, watch, and follow the company on Facebook at


After not even a year at 117 La Plaza in downtown Palm Springs, Greek Islands Café has moved up the street to the spot that used to house Mykonos Greek Restaurant.

You can’t miss new digs, at 139 E. Andreas Road, thanks to the bright-yellow building. Even cooler than the building, though, is the restaurant’s gorgeous courtyard. I stopped in a couple of days before the “official” Nov. 16 grand opening for lunch, and was completely enchanted by the lovely space. (At one point, a tiny kitten zoomed under my chair!) And then there’s the food: The gyro sandwich I had was fantastic.

For more information, call 760-413-3811.

It appears Greek Islands’ move has set off a game of restaurant musical chairs: There’s now a sign in the restaurant’s old La Plaza space that touts the expected January 2014 opening of Délicatesse, a restaurant offering German meats, gourmet cheeses, French pastries and other European goodies. The fare will be available for in-house dining, for take-out and on party platters.

Yum! We’ll keep you posted.


The Copa—the sister nightclub of the ever-popular restaurant Tropicale, which sits right next door—should open its doors at 244 E. Amado Road in Palm Springs sometime in December.

An email went out to The Tropicale’s regular customers on Nov. 20 promising that the Copa’s opening was “just a couple of weeks away,” and referring folks to That website is chock full of information: “In a throwback to old Palm Springs’ nightclubs, the Copa is fashioned around an elevated performing stage and a stunning U-shaped bar lined with leather barstools, upholstered booths and gilded cocktail tables,” it promises.

It seems The Copa will offer a series of themed nights: “Stardust Swingers,” with swing, jazz and ballroom dancing on Monday; pop and country classics on Wednesday; music from the ’70s and’80s on Thursday; modern club nights on Friday and Saturday; and salsa/Latin dancing on Sunday.

Cliché alert: But wait; there’s more! Further sleuthing led to another website,, which is selling tickets to performances by actor/comedian Leslie Jordan (Peanut!) on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19 through 21; comedian Judy Tenuta on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27 and 28; and other performers going into January.

Since this is the restaurant news column, we should mention that The Tropicale’s full menu will be available at The Copa.

Watch the aforementioned websites for more details.


Like gingerbread? Then you’ll want to check out the Miramonte Resort and Spa’s Gingerbread Village, debuting Friday, Nov. 29.

Varied gingerbread buildings—all of which must be at least 51 percent edible—will be on display in the Tuscany Foyer starting at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29. They were all made by kids, adults, businesses or pro bakers/chefs who entered a contest for a good cause: The proceeds are being donated to the Desert Cancer Foundation.

Catch the Gingerbread Village through Dec. 26. It’s just one of the many holiday events taking place at the Miramonte, at 45000 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells.

Visit for more.


Wang’s in the Desert, at 424 S. Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception on Thursday, Nov. 21. … Las Casuelas Terraza, at 222 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, is getting into the holiday spirit by offering pomegranate guacamole. We’re not sure that regular guacamole needed sprucing up, but this “seasonal tradition” will be available through December, or as long as pomegranates are in season. … Chez Pierre Bistro is latest incarnation of Pierre Pelech’s eponymous restaurant, and it’s now open at 74040 Highway 111, at Portola Avenue, in Palm Desert. It replaces his old Town Center Way digs. Get more info at … Oscar’s Café and Bar, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, celebrated the opening of its remodeled dining room with a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, Nov. 20. … The dates have been set for Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week: May 30 through June 8, 2014. The 2013 incarnation was 17 days long, which means the 2014 version will be a week shorter. Find more info at

Friday, 29 November 2013 12:00

The Lucky 13: DJ Bobby California

On Sunday, Dec. 1, DiGS Bar (36737 Cathedral Canyon Drive, Cathedral City) will launch Super Fuzz, a day of celebration for bears, leather aficionados and everyone in between. From 7 to 11 p.m., Bobby California (real name: Bob Deck) will be spinning a variety of indie music, garage rock and alternative rock. For more info, visit, or find the bar on Facebook. Deck, 41, a Cathedral City resident and Kansas City, Mo., native who has called the Coachella Valley home for five years, recently answered The Lucky 13. Enjoy!

What was the first concert you attended?

Mötley Crüe.

What was the first album you owned?

Paul Stanley’s self-titled solo album.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Tame Impala, King Khan and the Shrines, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, MGMT, The Flaming Lips, Dungen, The Amazing, and Black Lips.

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

Miley Cyrus.

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

The Beatles, of course.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

1970s soft rock.

What’s your favorite music venue?

There’s a little pinball bar in Lawrence, Kan., called the Replay Lounge. My old band (The Hefners) used to play there a lot in the ’90s. I just attended its 20th-anniversary party last month.

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

I love the way that The Zombies’ “Care of Cell 44” starts: “Good morning to you; I hope you’re feeling better, baby.” It pops into my head almost every morning.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Kiss. I met them at a hotel restaurant when I was in grade school. They were out of makeup, but had their platform boots on. I went to their table and asked for autographs, but Paul Stanley was the only one who signed my paper placemat. That made me want to be in a band—I thought they were so cool! Years later, I taught myself to play drums and played in several garage-rock bands.

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

Otis Redding. He was killed in a plane crash three days after recording “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” The whistling was just filler until he came up with the words for that part. I would ask him what lyrics he was planning to replace the whistling with.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Big Star, “The Ballad of El Goodo.”

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

The Millennium, Begin.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Pentecost Hotel” by Nirvana (the British band from the ’60s, not the grunge band from Seattle).

A businessman I used to know liked to talk up the fact that his restaurants were locally owned.

He pointed to studies showing the increased economic impacts of spending money at locally owned businesses when compared to non-locally owned businesses. One such study showed that $73 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business stayed in the local economy, whereas only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business stayed.

(See this and other studies at; I’d point you to a more local “Local First” website, but, alas, I couldn’t find one.)

However, he didn’t always put his money where his mouth was. When it came time to advertise, he didn’t spend with any of the local media; instead, he used Groupon. (Go figure.) That bit of hypocrisy aside, my businessman friend had a point: It’s always better to buy local whenever you can—and that’s a lesson that many in the Coachella Valley should learn.

That’s not to say that all chains are bad, nor is it to say that non-locally owned companies don’t often offer services or products in a better, cheaper way than locally owned business do. (For example, the Independent dead-tree version is printed by a non-locally owned company, because there is no locally owned alternative that makes any sense financially.)

But when it comes to, say, restaurants, there’s little excuse to go to a big chain when there are so many great local eateries around. Trust me: There’s no reason to wait in line at the Cheesecake Factory when you can get food that is just as good, and probably cheaper, at hundreds of locations around the valley. It’s the same story with retail stores in many cases, too.

Of course, it drives me crazy to see how many businesses, many of them locally owned, spend far too much advertising money with the corporate-owned entities, when they could be getting more bang for their buck (AND seeing more of that money stay in the valley) by advertising with locally owned media, such as the CV Weekly,,—or, the best option of all (in my admittedly biased opinion), the Coachella Valley Independent.

Again, non-locally owned businesses have their place. Some goods aren’t available at locally owned stores, and, yes, we all have occasional cravings for Big Macs or Moons Over My Hammy sandwiches. But there are lessons to be learned from a local-first movement called the 10 Percent Shift ( If people moved just 10 percent of their purchases from non-locally owned companies to locally owned ones, thousands of new jobs would be created here, with millions more dollars staying in the community.

Keep these lessons in mind this holiday season: When it comes to spending your money, local is always better.

Annenberg Theater

CK Dance Company presents its “Sensational Seventeenth” annual production of The Nutcracker at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6; and 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. $15 to $25. Dance With Miss Lindsay’s Holiday Showcase happens at 6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. $15 to $20. SPARKLE: An All-Star Holiday Concert, to benefit the Desert AIDS Project, features an appearance by Florence Henderson at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 11; $35 to $400. Helen Reddy Home for the Holidays happens at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14. $55 to $85. Charles Phoenix’s Retro Holiday Slide Show takes place at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20. $35 to $45. At the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490;

A Christmas Carol—from Theatre 29

The Charles Dickens holiday classic has a month-long run at this Twentynine Palms theater mainstay. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, through Saturday, Dec. 14; Sunday matinee at 2 p.m., Dec. 8. $12; $10 seniors and military; $8 students. At 73637 Sullivan Road, Twentynine Palms. 760-361-4151;

CV Rep Luminary Luncheon: Florence Henderson

Carol Brady herself sits down for lunch with CV Rep and friends. Noon, Wednesday, Dec. 11. $35. At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966;

Exquisite Potential—from Dezart Performs

In 1979, Alan Zuckerman decides his son is special. Very special. In fact, Zuckerman announces his son is the Messiah. Of course, skepticism abounds. 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, through Sunday, Dec. 1. $22; $18 students, seniors and military. At the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-322-0179;

Indian Wells Theater/CSUSB Palm Desert Tribute Concerts

Neil Diamond and Connie Francis take the stage at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. Celine Dion is joined by the Xavier College Prep Choir at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20. $40 for first three rows; $35 for the remainder of the house. At the Indian Wells Theater at CSUSB Palm Desert, 37500 Cook St. 760-341-6909;

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play—from Palm Desert Stage Company

This holiday tradition is performed as a 1940s live radio broadcast in front of a studio audience. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 15. $25 general; $23 IPAC friends and seniors; $15 students with ID; $11 children. At the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., Indio. 760-636-9682;

Lone Star, Laundry and Bourbon—from the Desert Ensemble Theatre

James McLure’s two one-act “1959 Pink Thunderbird” plays are set in small-town Texas, and focus on the life of Roy, a Vietnam veteran. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 20 and 21; 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 21 and 22. $22; $18 students, seniors and military. At the Palm Springs Womans Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Road, Palm Springs. 760-565-2476;

Married Alive—from Desert Theatreworks

A new musical about the ups and downs of marriage focuses on two couples: excited newlyweds, and bored not-so-newlyweds. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 15. $25; $23 students and seniors. At the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert. 760-980-1455;

Million Dollar Quartet

This Tony Award-winning show is inspired by the famed recording session in which Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins came together for one special evening. 8 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, Nov. 26, 27 and 29; 2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30; 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1. $35 to $95. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told—from the Desert Rose Playhouse

The Old Testament is re-imagined from a gay/lesbian point of view. In other words, instead of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden is home to Adam and Steve, as well as Jane and Mabel. When banished from the garden, they decide to invent civilization—starting with brunch, of course. 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, through Sunday, Dec. 22. $25 to $28. At 69260 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage. 760-202-3000;

The Nutcracker, by Moscow Classical Ballet

Tchaikovsky’s holiday dance classic is performed by the “Ballet Star Factory” and accompanied by recorded music. 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18. $29 to $29. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;

On Thin Ice—from Script2Stage2Screen

Darrell and Dee examine their lives in this play of truth-telling and coming out, written by local playwright Don Clarkson. 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7. $10. At the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage. 760-345-7938;

Shrek the Musical—from the Palm Canyon Theatre

The antics of the ogre with the heart of gold are translated to a stage musical! 7 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Friday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 22. $32. At 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-323-5123;

Someday at Christmas With Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack

A toe-tapping good time is promised at this holiday show featuring both Rat Pack songs and holiday favorites. 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14; 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15. $25 to $75. At the McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert. 760-340-2787;

The Story of My Life—from Coachella Valley Repertory

CV Rep gets into the musical game with this tale of lifelong friends Alvin and Thomas. As time tests the bonds of their relationship, best-selling author Thomas calls on his own stories of Alvin to figure out where things went wrong. 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday, from Wednesday, Dec. 4, through Sunday, Dec. 22. $35 preview (Dec. 4 and 5); $40 regular; $50 opening night (Dec. 6). At the Atrium, 69930 Highway 111, No. 116, Rancho Mirage. 760-296-2966;

A Tuna Christmas—from the College of the Desert Dramatic Arts Company

In the third-smallest town in Texas, Christmas is celebrated with a highly competitive annual lawn-display contest; the production of A Christmas Carol is jeopardized by unpaid electric bills; and the town is being terrorized by the infamous Christmas Phantom. 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7; 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. $15 general; $10 COD students. At Theatre Too on the College of the Desert campus, 43500 Monterey Ave., Palm Desert. 760-776-7370.

What: The Tom Yum Soup

Where: Le Basil, 72695 Highway 111, No. A10, Palm Desert

How much: $4.95 (chicken) or $6.95 (shrimp); hot pots also available

Contact: 760-773-1112;

Why: The flavors are amazing.

I love soup. No matter the time of year, and no matter how freaking hot the weather gets, I am up for a bowl of tasty, delicious soup—and one of my favorite soups, when done right, is tom yum.

I have tried this hot-and-sour soup at Thai restaurants far and wide, and I have come to the conclusion that it’s easy to make a good version of this soup—but it’s difficult to make a great version. Well, I am elated to report that Palm Desert’s Le Basil has produced a really great version—one of the best I’ve ever had.

The “big” ingredients—the moist chicken, the tasty mushrooms, the texturally satisfying tomato pieces—were all perfect, but it was the “little” ingredients in the broth that made this soup so splendid. The liquid is home to a variety of spices, lime, lemongrass and other flavor-producing goodies.

Wait, is that fish sauce I taste? Why, yes, I think it is. And all of it works in perfect harmony.

Most of the other dishes we had at Le Basil were also quite enjoyable. An honorable-mention endorsement goes to the Le Basil crispy fish salad ($12.95), which successfully merged chunks of deep-fried white fish with apple, onions, (far too few) cashews and a lemon dressing. On paper, that combination may make you go: “Huh?!” But on the plate, it was a big hit.

However, the tom yum was the undisputed highlight. While I’ll gladly slurp down soup in 117-degree weather, I understand that not everyone feels the same way. But, hey, the Coachella Valley’s “cold” season is here—so get thee to Le Basil, and enjoy the tasty warmth of the tom yum. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: You’ll be glad you did.

Sleazy Cortez is “a newish three-piece band in the Coachella Valley,” according to the band’s only-occasionally updated Facebook page. “(The band features) rock and riffs, psychedelic funk and beyond, with a strong focus on improvisation. DIG IT.” Dig it yourself at 9 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, at Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., in Thousand Palms. There is no cover. Also on the bill: Right On, Right On. For more information on the band, check out that aforementioned Facebook page; for more on Plan B, visit One of those three Sleazy Cortez members is Indio’s Derek Timmons, 29, who installs Murphy beds by day, and plays around town in bands including Sleazy Cortez and the Town Troubles by night. Here are Timmons’ answers to The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Nine Inch Nails and A Perfect Circle in St. Louis, 2000.

What was the first album you owned?

Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, was probably the first cassette I purchased for myself after thoroughly absorbing my parents’ Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Queen, Elton John, Van Halen, etc. … Dang, I might have purchased Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer first, actually. D’oh!

What bands are you listening to right now?

New albums I’ve been hung up on are the latest ones by Baroness, Red Fang, The Sword, Clutch, Rob Zombie, Hank III, Vista Chino, Blaak Heat Shujaa, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Monster Magnet. I’ve been on a Misfits kick as of late, too, and posthumous Hendrix.

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

Most pop, especially pop country; emo; and hip hop with no musicians present.

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

I am super-stoked to see Monster Magnet on Nov. 27 at House of Blues in L.A., especially now that they have Chris Kosnik from The Atomic Bitchwax on bass.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Can’t even admit to it.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Right now, The Hood in Palm Desert, to be honest. That’s where I’ve been getting my musical rocks off the most lately.

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

“Can’t get you out of my head,” by Kylie Minogue.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Kyuss, among others. But when I bought (Welcome to) Sky Valley on cassette from the Piggy-Banc Pawn Shop in Vincennes, Ind., after band practice one day in high school, I found a kind of music that I didn’t even realize was what I had been attempting to play in my garage.

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

“Like, how’d you get so awesome at playing the bass, bro?” to Les Claypool.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Hmm. “Break on Through (to the Other Side)” by The Doors? Or maybe it would be more fun for my family and friends if it was “Everything Dies” by Type O Negative. Or maybe “Buried in the Backyard” by Cannibal Corpse.

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

That’s a tough one. ZZ Top’s First Album? That’s not my favorite at all, but it is a damn good one. Sky Valley from Kyuss? The Elephant Riders or Jam Room from Clutch? Suck on This from Primus? La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 from White Zombie? This is an unfair question.

What song should everyone listen to right now

“N.I.B.” by Primus with Ozzy from Nativity in Black II. (Scroll down to hear it.) Or better yet, something by someone playing at your local bar—especially if it happens to be Sleazy Cortez, Town Troubles, Robotic Humans or Las Feas.

The Pictures From Eden website promises “the kind of music that’ll take you back to the good ole days of sold-out stadiums filled with giant power anthems and heart-pounding rock.” See what the quartet means by that at 9 p.m., this Saturday, Nov. 16, at Schmidy’s Tavern, 72286 Highway 111, Suite J3, in Palm Desert. Rob Lawrence and Eric Taylor—two Lucky 13 veterans—are also on the bill; there’s no cover. Two members of Pictures From Eden were kind enough to recently endure the Lucky 13: Paul Brian Cotterell, 36, a desert resident since 1992; and Tom Collins, 38, about whom Cotterell says he’s “still not sure if he knows where he is now.” (Cotterell also warned us about Collins’ sense of humor, for what it’s worth. You'll understand when you read his answers below.) Get more info on the band at, or

Paul Brian Cotterell

What was the first concert you attended?

First concert was with my parents: Julio Iglesias (snort).

What was the first album you owned?

Michael Jackson, Thriller.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Imagine Dragons, OneRepublic, Pink and odds and ends on the radio.

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

Still don’t get the Justin Bieber phenomena. Did I miss something?

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

Guns N’ Roses would be No. 1 (circa ‘91, NOT G N’ R today).

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Techno, house or dubstep.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Haven’t been in person, but seen a ton of awesome shows on TV from Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado—looks AMAZING!

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

“Live and Let Die,” Paul McCartney.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Nirvana. It got me through high school.

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

Slash: “How are you still alive?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Dr. Feelgood,” Mötley Crüe.

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

Appetite for Destruction, Guns N’ Roses, tied with several others: Nirvana, Nevermind, Ozzy, No More Tears, and Aerosmith, Pump.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Alive,” Pictures From Eden, official release on Nov. 22.

Tom Collins

What was the first concert you attended?

Robert Johnson and the Crossroads.

What was the first album you owned?

Dave Brubeck Quartet, “Take 5.”

What bands are you listening to right now?

Pictures From Eden, and (pan flutist Gheorghe) Zamfir.

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


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

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?


What’s your favorite music venue?

Carlsbad Caverns.

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

“You’re in the jungle, baby, you’re gonna diiiieeeeeeee,” from “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns N’ Roses.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Caveman. Helped (me) keep time.

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

Fritz Freleng: “How did you come up with all those characters?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”

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

Beethoven’s 5th.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Pictures From Eden, “Somewhere in My Mind.” (Hear it below.)

What: The Pork Schnitzel, Salzberg Style

Where: Café Scandia, 356 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $17.95; also includes soup and salad

Contact: 760-327-2036;

Why: It’s moist yet not greasy, with lots of flavor.

The good folks at Café Scandia have not put that much effort into signage.

The signs outside look like someone went to Home Depot, bought some stick-on letters, and hastily placed them on the signs’ surfaces. Ironically, the restaurant could use some good signage: It’s in an easy-to-miss spot tucked away in a small, easy-to-miss Indian Canyon Drive shopping center. If not for a small A-frame sign on the sidewalk, I’d have never known Café Scandia existed.

However, chef Erik Pedersen and company do put effort into their food—and this is a very good thing.

The comfy, if no-frills, restaurant (look at the plate above for the very definition of “no frills”) offers no appetizers and just a dozen or so entrées, all of which come with a salad (which is small and … well, frill-less) and a cup of soup included in the price, which is $16.95, $17.95 or $18.95. In other words, there are even no-frills prices—though the fresh seafood of the day and an occasional special may deviate from those frill-less norms.

When the pork schnitzel is this fantastic, though, who needs frills? The cutlet had been tenderized and coated in a batter that was moist without being greasy. It was all topped with a brown gravy that looked, well, generic. But the resulting combo of meat, breading and sauce was perfect.

While the accompanying vegetables and mashed potatoes were decidedly ho-hum, a round of applause goes to the red cabbage, which brought acid and sweetness to the schnitzel party that made the entrée better.

The schnitzel and cabbage was simple. Down-home. And to use the phrase just one more time: no frills. But, oh, was it delicious!

The 2013 Palm Springs Pride Festival, held at Sunrise Park on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3, drew tens of thousands of people over two days.

Temps in the low '80s greeted attendees, who perused booths offering everything from underwear to animal adoptions to newspapers (including more than 1,600 copies of the Coachella Valley Independent), and enjoyed performers ranging from Richard Simmons to Berlin.

When we had more than one person manning our booth, Independent editor Jimmy Boegle wandered through the festival to take some pictures of the goings-on. Check out the photo gallery below.