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Jimmy Boegle

Friday, 23 August 2013 08:00

The Lucky 13: Purple Reign's Jason Tenner

Jason Tenner, a 30-something from Las Vegas, is a dead-ringer for Prince—and he sounds a lot like the legendary and often-weird musical genius. His Prince tribute act, Purple Reign, will be rocking out the Rock Yard at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway in Indio, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 31. Helicopter will also appear at the 18-and-older show, and admission is free; in fact, Fantasy Springs’ free Rock Yard shows run every Saturday until midnight through October. For more information on Fantasy Springs, visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com; for more on Purple Reign, visit www.purplereign.net. Here are Mr. Tenner’s answers to The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Billy Idol and Faith No More.

What was the first album you owned?

Led Zeppelin IV.

What bands are you listening to right now?

No one in particular. (I’m a) radio surfer.

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

Country.

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

James Brown from the ’70s.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Classical.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Don’t really have one.

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

I don’t get lyrics stuck in my head. I always thought that was strange that people do. Songs will pop in, though, depending on what’s happening—like my own soundtrack to life.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Michael Jackson. He made me want to be an entertainer.

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

Prince: “What is the Purple Rain?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“I'll Fly Away,” from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.

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

Led Zeppelin 4.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Whatever makes (people) feel best about the world and themselves.

Bassist Tim Scott joins Kirk “Caliente” Sorenson on guitar, and Kelly Heldenbrand on drums to make up The Stepping Stones. How does one describe the band’s sound? “The often dark, haunting vocal melodies are interwoven with guitar work that crosses several boundaries—sometimes metal, sometimes alternative, always inventive,” the band’s webpage says. “The dynamic, percussive accents in the live performance will leave you guessing.” If you want to find out what exactly this means, head to Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., in Thousand Palms, this Saturday, Aug. 17, at 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more info on the show, call 760-343-2115, or visit www.myplanbbar.com. Scott, a financial planner and Southern California native who has lived in Palm Springs for a decade, was kind enough to take the time to answer The Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods played my prom.

What was the first album you owned?

Chicago.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Foo Fighters, The Beatles, and Polysics.

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

Gangsta rap.

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

The Beatles.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

1970s English punk.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Key Club (on the Sunset Strip). R.I.P.

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

867-5309!

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Style Council opened me up to jazz.

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

Kurt Cobain: “What were you thinking?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Too Much Too Young,” The Specials.

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

Nevermind, Nirvana.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Can't Have Fun” at www.thesteppingstonesrock.com.

What: Various pollo items

Where: El Taco Asado, 440 S. El Cielo Road, Palm Springs

How much: Varies; $9.75 for the combo No. 1 is a good way to go

Contact: 760-323-7544; eltacoasado.com

Why: This is not your normal Mexi-restaurant chicken.

Chicken. It’s often the least-heralded meat at Mexican joints, and for good reason: Beef does better with grilling; you can do a ton of interesting things with fish; and pork is … well, pork.

That’s not to say chicken is bad. It stews well, after all, and can absorb a ton of surrounding flavors—although it’s often presented in a shredded form, which turns off some people.

This leads us—and it should lead you—to El Taco Asado, located in a strip mall at Ramon and El Cielo roads. (Yes, Time Warner Cable is also in the strip mall. Yes, you’re allowed to boo.) At this popular Mexican restaurant (which is a sister joint of Taqueria Tlaquepaque on Sunny Dunes Road, and La Piñata Restaurante in Indio), in our minds, chicken is the star.

We tried the carne asada. We tried the tampiqueña steak. We even tried the beef tongue. All were fine, but then we tried the chicken—and we were hooked. The chicken you’ll find in the tacos, enchiladas, tostadas (all three pictured above as the combination No. 1), burros and other entrées here is not shredded. Instead, the flavorful and juicy (marinated, perhaps?) chicken comes in little chunks. It wouldn’t be right to call it cubed, as the li’l pieces come in various shapes and sizes, so we’ll call it cubed-adjacent.

It’s oh so good, so flavorful, and not the least bit dry.

Chicken—this splendid, in enchiladas and tacos at a Mexican joint. What’ll they think of next?

Fans of 2-year-old country-rock band R Buckle Road have a lot of reasons to be excited. For one thing, the band has a new release slated for November. For another, fans will have plenty of opportunities to see the group in action—including one this Saturday, Aug. 10, at Schmidy’s Tavern, 72286 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. The music is slated to begin at 9 p.m., and there’s no cover. For a complete list of shows, find the band’s Facebook page. The band’s Greg Vincent, of Bermuda Dunes, was kind enough to take The Lucky 13 quiz—and here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

Molly Hatchet and the Outlaws.

What was the first album you owned?

Aerosmith, Toys in the Attic.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Blackberry Smoke, Jamey Johnson, and R Buckle Road

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

Hip hop is “dope,” apparently … so says my son Jake. I don’t really get it, but every once in a while, it kinda works.

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

Frank Sinatra, Led Zeppelin or Hank Sr.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

The ’80s’ long list of one-hit wonders is always great!

What’s your favorite music venue?

Red Rocks (Amphitheatre in Colorado) is my dream stage

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

They come and go, but I just wrote a song called “Let’s Do This.” It’s pretty stuck right now. Please make it go away. :)

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Tuesday’s Gone” made me want to learn how to play a guitar.

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

I’d ask Ronnie Van Zant how he stumbled into “Free Bird.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Tuesday’s Gone” will work at my fun-eral.

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

One More From the Road, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Willie Nelson’s Greatest Hits (and Some That Will Be) is a very close second.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Wow, I wish it was Nov. 15. R Buckle Road has a live record droppin’ … and I’d say anything off of that! But until then? “Can’t You See” from the Marshall Tucker Band … that one makes you feel good! (Scroll down to hear it.)

CPK’s Palm Springs Location to Make Way for Construction

Every time we walk by the California Pizza Kitchen at 123 N. Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs, we wonder: Given that it’s part of a mall that is now mostly demolished, what will be the restaurant’s fate?

We asked the CPK folks that very question. Spokesman Jeffrey Dorman responded via email: “According to Clint Coleman (CPK’s chief development officer), CPK will be closing the Palm Springs restaurant in late October/early November as the development gets to the phase where they need to demo the building.”

As for the future, Dorman said that the company is in “negotiations” for a space in the mall that will replace the Desert Fashion Plaza, and hopes to re-open in downtown Palm Springs sometime in the third quarter of next year.

In other words, for about a year, local CPK fans will have to make the trek to the chain’s other Coachella Valley location—on El Paseo in Palm Desert—to get their fix.

More info can be found at www.cpk.com.

Coming Soon: The New York Company Restaurant

A sign has gone up at 1260 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs—most recently the home of Brushfire Grille and 911 Saloon—announcing that the New York Company Restaurant is coming soon.

A spelling-challenged Craigslist help-wanted ad offers a few more details: The “fine dining restaurant with a full bar” is slated to open in September.

We’ll share more details as we get ’em.

Local Restaurants Nab ‘Wine Spectator’ Accolades

A number of valley restaurants have been honored by Wine Spectator magazine as having top-notch wine selections.

According to the Wine Spectator website, the awards “recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.”

No valley restaurants were among the 73 “Grand Award” winners. (These restaurants generally offer 1,500 wines or more—wow.) However, two were among the 850 to earn the Best of Award of Excellence: Cuistot in Palm Desert, and Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs. “These lists typically offer 400 or more selections, along with superior presentation, and display either vintage depth, with several vertical offerings of top wines, or excellent breadth across several wine regions,” the magazine’s website notes.

Quite a few area restaurants were among the almost 2,900 honored with the Award of Excellence (meaning that they offer at least 100 well-chosen wines): Circa 59 at the Riviera, Europa Restaurant at the Villa Royale, Zin American Bistro and The Steakhouse at Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs; Desert Sage Restaurant and Piano Bar, Morgan’s in the Desert, and Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill in La Quinta; Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage; Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Pacifica Seafood Restaurant, Ristorante Mamma Gina, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, and Mitch’s on El Paseo Prime Seafood in Palm Desert; and Sirocco at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells.

Get more info at www.winespectator.com.

Get Some Learnin’ on French Wines

Speaking of wine: Total Wine and More, which recently opened at 72338 Highway 111 in Palm Desert, is offering some schooling on French wines.

At 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8, the store will hold its “Romancing the Rhône” class and tasting. A news release promises “a journey through Avignon, Orange and Nimes to experience some of France’s most legendary wines, such as Côte-Rôtie and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.”

The class is $25, and it will go for about two hours. Seating is limited, as they say; call 760-346-2029 for reservations.

Friday, 02 August 2013 15:30

The Lucky 13: Ron Cameron, DJ at Bar

Sacramento native Ron Cameron, 44, describes himself as an “artist, actor, writer, designer, DJ, etc.,” and a quick look at his website reveals that his description just begins to scratch the surface. But as for the “DJ” part: You can catch the Palm Springs resident every other Monday at Bar, 340 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. His next show will be Monday, Aug. 12. Find more deets at www.facebook.com/Barwastaken.

What was the first concert you attended?

Oh, man, it was probably by accident in the late 1970s when I was a kid: either Bo Diddley at Cal Expo state fairgrounds, or some other retro ’50s band at the Sacramento Raceway drag strip. My first intentional concerts were hardcore punk shows in downtown Sacramento, starting in 1981.

What was the first album you owned?

Spacemen, Music for Batman and Robin LP, Roulette Records, 1966. I got it on a shopping visit to a thrift store with my mom when I was only 4 years old. It probably explains my adventurous musical tastes in later life! A real mind-bender, for sure.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Well, since I’m a DJ, I listen to thousands of artists on a regular basis. I still listen to a lot of the same stuff I got when I started collecting music back in the 1980s. Lately, I’ve been regularly listening to The Delgados, Neil Young, Broadcast, Lee Scratch Perry, Ride, The Seeds, Donovan, The Clash, Jimi Hendrix, Autolux, Creation Rebel, Grandaddy, Bob Dylan, Dub Syndicate, Kaleidoscope (UK), Mutabaruka and any of Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound production stuff. Current bands would be Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tame Impala, Django Django, The Oscillation, Flying Lotus, DJ Food and stuff like that. Those are just off the top of my head.

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

I’m scared to death of the overly trendy so-called genre “dub-step.” … I’ve been researching dub since the ’80s; dub is nothing new. It started in Jamaica in the early 1970s and morphed into DJ-toasting by the late ’70s and then crossed the pond to New York and became rap and remix culture. So what is “dub-step”? Somebody please enlighten me! I’m a-scared …

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

Current would be The Black Angels, I haven’t caught them yet! Defunct would be The Clash, because they are my all-time-favorite band, and I never bothered to see them when they were around. They even played at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in 1982, and I skipped it, because it seemed like too big of a deal back then. I was only comfortable with the tiny hole-in-the-wall punk clubs when I was young.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

My last guilty pleasure was in the mid 2000’s with M.I.A. (Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam). She was super-popular in the dance clubs at the time, and I’m not a dance-club kinda guy. I loved her style, her sound, her fashion and her cover artwork.

What’s your favorite music venue?

I dunno … just places I’ve ended up in the past decade. In Los Angeles, I’d say Echoplex, Troubadour, and Silverlake Lounge. In San Diego, a mainstay has always been The Casbah. In San Francisco, it’d be Slim’s, and Bottom of the Hill. Around here, I’ve only been to Pappy and Harriet’s up in Pioneertown.

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

So many song echoes, so little time. I have a lot of favorite lyrics, but none that really stuck in my cranium. It’s usually the rhythms and beats that firmly lodge themselves.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

So many have been life-altering at certain phases of my life: Neil Young, Catherine Wheel, Jimi Hendrix. But I think the biggest revelation was when I first heard DEVO in 1979. They almost made me dump my complete musical knowledge up to that point, which consisted mostly of hard rock and heavy metal. So DEVO opened my mind to other new music like The B-52’s, The Specials, Buzzcocks, Wall of Voodoo and The Clash. That all happened in 1980 for me when I was in the sixth- and seventh-grade. I’d say The Clash was probably just as important as DEVO for me, as far as making me look at the world in an entirely different way from then on.

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

I’ve been very fortunate over the years to be able to interview some of my favorite bands for various magazines, so I got to ask those people some important questions. I still haven’t interviewed Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale of DEVO yet, I almost did a few years ago, but the magazine folded right when I was starting to prepare the piece. Maybe I’d ask Neil Young: "What next?"

What song would you like played at your funeral?

I’ve seriously never thought of that; I’m still clawing my way to the top. I hope that I have at least 40 more years to come up with that selection. Maybe something ethereal like Spacemen 3, “Transparent Radiation,” or their offshoot, Spiritualized, “Feel So Sad.” Or would that be too heavenly cheesy?

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

Impossible question there, buddy. I could maybe narrow it down to five: The Clash, Sandinista!, for its 3 LPs worth of genre-hopping. Catherine Wheel, Chrome, for its sheer soul-wrenching cinematic power. Neil Young, After the Gold Rush, for its simplistic humaness. The Wedding Present, Seamonsters, because the guitars just sound so great. Finally, Steel Pulse, True Democracy, because everyone needs some good, uplifting, yet provocative reggae in their lives. There are so many more, but those are just off the top of my head right now; ask me tomorrow.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Whatever’s NOT on Top 40 radio right now!!!

What: The gazpacho

Where: Tinto, inside the Saguaro, 1800 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $11

Contact: 760-322-1900; www.jdvhotels.com/restaurants/california/riverside-dining/tinto

Why: The smoothness.

A friend recently told me that she has thus far avoided Tinto—the Iron Chef-owned “Basque wine bar” restaurant inside the Saguaro Palm Springs—because she finds the menu “a tad scary.”

I am blessed (or perhaps cursed, if you consider my waistline’s perspective) with the ability to eat and enjoy almost anything (as long as it’s … y’know … good). However, I do understand that not everyone is like me, and a menu featuring all sorts of unfamiliar words that seem loaded with unnecessary x’s (like “pintxos” and “gatxuxa”) may be a tad scary to some.

However, to this friend and any others who may be intimidated by Tinto’s menu, I say this: You have nothing to worry about, because one of the best things on said menu has a name that we’ve all heard before—gazpacho.

There may be no better time and place on Earth to enjoy chilled soup than Palm Springs in August, so I highly recommend this glass of deliciousness. Other than a bit of bread (for consistency and flavor) and spices, this gazpacho is vegetable heaven, with tomato, peppers and a bit of fresh avocado leading the way. It’s so tasty and refreshing that you may find yourself engaging in a Pavlovian bit of drooling when driving by the multicolored former Holiday Inn that is the Saguaro.

I’ll now give you a home-cooking tip: When we were trying to re-create the gazpacho ourselves at the Independent test kitchen (i.e., our apartment), we stumbled across a video on The Desert Sun’s website of Tinto owner/chef Jose Garces making the gazpacho.

In the video, Garces doesn’t share the exact proportions he uses, and gazpacho he makes is not the exact version on the current Tinto menu. Nonetheless, the video was helpful enough to lead us to gazpacho joy. In fact, by tweaking the gazpacho to our own preferences, our home version tastes even better than Tinto’s version, at least to us.

But one thing we haven’t been able to replicate successfully is the smoothness (even though we have a serious blender at home). The gazpacho at Tinto is creamy, silky, yummy.

So, friends, don’t be afraid. Tinto’s gazpacho is there to cool you and comfort you. Go.

Gannett—the nation’s largest newspaper company, and the owner of The Desert Sun—today laid off dozens, if not hundreds, of employees across the country.

The Independent has heard from a source that up to a half-dozen Desert Sun staffers, including one person from the news side—an editor—were let go today.

Emails sent earlier today to publisher Mark Winkler and executive editor Greg Burton have not received a response as of this writing.

A Facebook message sent to the veteran editor who was reportedly laid off has also gone unreturned.

As of 5 p.m. Pacific time, Gannett Blog’s Jim Hopkins had received reports about a total of 202 layoffs and position-eliminations at 36 Gannett operations across the country.

(Update 6:20 p.m.: Commenters at Gannett Blog are pointing out that a fair number of the people who were laid off are longtime Gannett employees—and therefore on the higher end of the pay scale. The same goes for the Desert Sun case, presuming our source is correct: The editor who we're told was laid off has been with the company for not quite two decades.)

Gannett corporate spokesman Jeremy Gaines confirmed that layoffs were going on to media watchdog Jim Romenesko via this bit of corporate-speak “Some USCP (U.S. Community Publishing) sites are making cuts to align their business plans with local market conditions.”

While local market conditions may vary, Gannett has been slashing newspaper staffers at its operations across the country for about a decade now. And the results, as daily-newspaper readers can see, have not been pretty.

Witness The Desert Sun: While the newspaper still has a lot of hard-working and talented employees, some coverage areas are undeniably weak. Just one example: In some recent weeks, the paper’s “Weekend” entertainment section, published on Fridays, has been completely devoid of locally written copy: Other than locally produced listings, the content has come entirely from wire services. The same lack of locally produced stories has afflicted the Desert Sun-owned Desert Post Weekly at times.

Of course, Gannett is not the only newspaper company making cuts these days. Just yesterday, Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer, owned by Advance Publications Inc., cut around 50 newsroom employees, and later this month, the venerable daily will trim home delivery to just four days per week.

In a somewhat cruel twist, employees were warned layoffs were coming, and told to wait at home for a call during a two-hour window. If a call came, they’d receive severance information; if a call didn’t come, they presumably were still employed, and should report to work like normal.

At least the poor folks at The Desert Sun who lost their jobs today presumably didn’t have to suffer through such a stressful indignity.

Have more information? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

It’s almost August, and that means that the Coachella Valley cultural scene is entering its deadest time of the year.

Nonetheless, there are still a lot of things going on: Movies and music can be found in surprising abundance throughout the month.

But when it comes to theater—forget it. The local companies pretty much ignore the month of August. Perhaps they’re prepping for the 2013-2014 season; perhaps they’re taking a much-needed break. Whatever the reason, August is, by far, the slowest theater month in the Coachella Valley.

Still, a few local companies are at least throwing us Coachella Valley theater-lovers a bone or two this month. Here are some shows worth your attention.

Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 3

The brand-new Desert Theatreworks has big plans for 2013-2014: The company has four full shows slated for the season, ranging from an Agatha Christie whodunit to a musical set in a trailer park.

But the fine folks at Desert Theatreworks are offering the valley a nice appetizer before the main course: This summer, they’ve mounted a couple of one-weekend shows. This coming weekend, they’re following up July’s Up (The Man in the Flying Chair) with A.R. Gurney’s comedy Sylvia, a play about a man, a woman and the dog (played by a human running around on all fours!) that comes between them.

Catch Sylvia at 7 p.m., Friday; and 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, at the Arthur Newman Theatre in the Joslyn Center, 73750 Catalina Way in Palm Desert. Tickets are $23 to $25. Call 760-980-1455, or visit www.dtworks.org.

Saturday, Aug. 10

We admit we’re biased on this one: VJ Hume—you may know her as Valerie Jean, and those of us at Independent World Headquarters know and love her as our theater reviewer—wrote, directs and stars in LUSH!, her play about Marty Mann, the first woman who participated in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Catch a readers’-theater performance of LUSH!, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Palm Springs Womans’ Club, 314 Cahuilla Road in Palm Springs. Tickets are $10, and the proceeds benefit Michael’s House, a Palm Springs recovery center. Call Zigi at (760) 464-2138 for reservations.

Saturday, Aug. 10

OK, we admit a little biased on this one, too: Shann Carr is a dear friend of the Independent. Plus she’s funny as hell—and you can see this for yourself when she performs her standup comedy (the news release calls it “debaucherous comedy and intimate storytelling; that sounds about right) at the Desert Rose Playhouse, 69620 Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, also at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10. Tickets are $20; call 760-202-3000, or visit www.desertroseplayhouse.org for those tickets or more info.

Saturday, Aug. 17

Take two magicians—Mark Kalin and Jinger Leigh (“their skills in levitation are sure to haunt and mystify the kid in all of us,” the press release promises), and add in a comedy/magician, Jeff Hobson (“a combination of Liberace and Don Rickles,” the aforementioned release alarmingly claims). And what do you have?

You have the Carnival of Wonders!

We’re not exactly sure what all of this means, but the show has had successful runs in Reno, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, so it may be a nice of entertainment at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at The Show, at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. Tickets are $30 to $60. Get tickets or more info at www.hotwatercasino.com or 888-999-1995.

Pictured below: Local legend Shann Carr.

Shann Carr

On the bar at Lulu—one of Palm Springs’ biggest and most popular restaurants (and a personal favorite of mine)—is a sign in a silver picture frame.

“We have an excellent selection of non-Russian vodka,” the sign reads, just below an image of a rainbow-colored martini.

Lulu is one of a number of bars and restaurants that are participating in a boycott of Russian vodka that is getting bigger and bigger by the day.

It’s a boycott that is well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it isn’t well-thought-out.

The roots of the boycott lie, in part, in a call by Dan Savage, a pundit, author and sex-advice columnist who is the editorial director of The Stranger, one of the Independent’s alt-media brethren, in Seattle. On Wednesday, Savage wrote a post on The Stranger’s website titled “Why I’m Boycotting Russian Vodka.” In the post, he chronicles increasing government-sanctioned anti-gay movements in Russian, including bans on gay-pride celebrations and violent attacks on LGBT groups and individuals. These horrendous actions have led many to call for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in Sochi, Russia.

Savage points out that many of us can’t really participate right now in an Olympics boycott, since the vast majority of us aren’t planning on traveling to Sochi for the games. However, many of us do drink vodka. And therefore, he argues, we can send a message by forgoing Russian booze.

“If you drink a Russian Vodka like Stoli, Russian Standard, or any of the other brands … switch to another brand from another country, or even a local brand from a local distillery,” Savage writes. “Stoli is the iconic Russian vodka and it's returning to Russian ownership in 2014. Other brands like Russian Standard should also be boycotted. Do not drink Russian vodka. Do not buy Russian vodka. Ask your bartender at your favorite bar—gay or otherwise—to DUMP STOLI and DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA.”

There’s no doubt that the well-intentioned boycott is growing. There’s also no doubt that the boycott is gaining attention.

Attention from Stoli, that is: The company is understandably concerned, and has issued a statement to the world condemning Russia's actions and promoting LGBT rights.

Of course, anyone who has attended any large LGBT event in recent years already knows that Stoli is engaged and supportive of the LGBT community. In fact, Stoli actually employs an LGBT brand ambassador, Patrik Gallineaux. (Full disclosure: Patrik is a friend.)

You can speculate that Stoli may cares more about LGBT dollars than LGBT rights. (After all, we gays love our vodka, don’t we?) You can also criticize Stoli for its over-glorification of twinks and single-digit-body-fat-percentage younger men in its LGBT-themed promotions. (But that’s a column for another time.) But you can’t deny that Stoli has done more to engage, support and be visible in the gay community than any other liquor brand, foreign or domestic—and that is a very good thing.

A recent lesson on the consequences of boycotts can be found in the state to our east. After the state of Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer made the anti-immigrant SB 1070 into law in 2010, a group of musicians, led by Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha, organized the Sound Strike, a movement that discouraged bands from performing in the state of Arizona. In time, an impressive list of musicians ranging from Maroon 5 to Steve Earle to Ozomatli signed on with the Sound Strike.

Sound Strike was undeniably well-intentioned. After all, SB 1070 was a terrible, horrendous law with racist roots.

On one hand, Sound Strike was a success—for a period of time, a number of acts indeed cancelled concerts in Arizona, and/or refused to schedule dates there.

On the other hand, Sound Strike was a failure: The right-wing Republicans in the Arizona Legislature and notorious officials such as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Gov. Jan Brewer didn’t care one whit about Sound Strike. They continued to fight on behalf of SB 1070 all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected much of the law in 2012.

In other words, while Sound Strike had a profound effect on, say, fans of Ozomatli in Arizona, and well-meaning progressive nonprofits like the Rialto Theatre, it had no effect on the people who were responsible for SB 1070 becoming law.

Sound Strike eventually fizzled out, more or less, but only after harming at lot of people who were—like the Sound Strike organizers—opposed to SB 1070. (The boycott cost the nonprofit Rialto at least six figures.)

I see the same thing happening with this ill-advised Russian-vodka boycott. There's no doubt that this boycott could hurt the most gay-engaged liquor brand in the U.S. I also have no doubt that Vladimir Putin and other anti-gay leaders in Russia will suffer neither harm nor a crisis of conscience over this boycott.

That’s why when I head to downtown Palm Springs tonight for a cocktail, Stoli will be the liquor in my glass.