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Jimmy Boegle

What: The farro calamari salad

Where: Workshop Kitchen + Bar, 800 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $13

Contact info: 459-3451; workshoppalmsprings.com

Why: The variety of textures and flavors.

There are a lot of attention-grabbing items on Workshop Kitchen + Bar’s winter menu. A scallops dish with squid-ink risotto. Wood-charred Brussels sprouts. (An aside: Did Brussels sprouts become ubiquitous overnight, or what?) And the star of the show, the 30-ounce grass-fed rib eye, which is prepared sous vide before being grilled. (We endorse this steak, too, by the way, as long as there are at least four people in your party—and as long as the $77 price tag won’t give you a heart attack.)

Flying under the radar a bit, however, is arguably our favorite thing on the menu: the farro calamari salad with olive oil, red-wine vinegar, olives, tomatoes, herbs and lemon cucumber.

Some foods are just delicious; other foods are fun to eat. This salad is both: Delicious because the flavors work so well together (freshness from the cucumber; tartness from the vinegar; saltiness from the olives, etc.), and fun because of the whacked-out variety of textures. Crunchy (cucumber), slippery (oil), bouncy (calamari), chewy (farro)—it’s all there.

The portion is generous, too; it’s perfect for splitting with several friends, or as a main course for one. Actually … now that we think about it, this salad’s so fun to eat that it may be best to just order it for yourself. It’s best to avoid awkward I-don’t-want-to-share moments during a nice night out, after all.

Sunshine Week starts Sunday, March 10—so let’s celebrate by shining a light on the gifts received by Coachella Valley-area legislators.

Earlier this month, the California Fair Political Practices Commission released the 2012 Form 700 filings—aka “Statements of Economic Interests.” These documents contain all sorts of information—on investments, loans, etc.—but the most interesting disclosures involve gifts.

One area state senator received a five-digit trip to Brazil; the other received a trip to Australia and New Zealand. One local state assemblyman enjoyed free baseball tickets, while the other went to Disneyland on the house.

Here’s a list of all the reported gifts for four area state legislators.

 

State Sen. Bill Emmerson, District 23

League of California Cities: food and beverage, $19.16

Pacific Gas and Electric: food and beverage, $127.14 and $33.19

National Federation of Independent Business: food and beverage, $31.14

California Newspaper Publishers Association: food and beverage, $88.53

Comcast Cable: food and beverage, $134.82

California Dental Association: food and beverage, $21.22

California Citrus Mutual: oranges, $8.85

Eastern Municipal Water District: food and beverage, $25.12

CaliforniaState Floral Association: flowers, $16.95

CaliforniaHospital Association: food and beverage, $33

CaliforniaBuilding Industry Association: food and beverage, $60.74

HCC Life Insurance Company: food and beverage, $123.39

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan: food and beverage, $21.81

CalChamber: food and beverage, $32.31

Associated General Contractors of California: food and beverage, $38 and $82

NapaValley Vintners: food and beverage, $15.32

California Foundation on Environment and the Economy, “made a speech/participated in a panel,” $493.69 and $809.22

California Foundation on Environment and the Economy, “study travel project on energy issues" (trip to Brazil from Nov. 8 through Nov. 21), $13,846.46.

 

State Sen. Juan Vargas, District 40 (now in the U.S. House of Representatives)

ALS Association, Golden West Chapter: dinner, $63.16

CA Issues Forum: dinner with governor, $87.05

Neighborhood National Bank: dinner with Bob McGill, $50

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee: food and lodging, $420

Union Bank: California Bankers’ Association Dinner, $87

Western States Petroleum Association: dinner at The Kitchen, $323

Phillips 66: dinner at Ella, $77

SDG&E: emergency preparedness backpacks, $119

DCCC: luncheon, $83.50

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce: inaugural dinner, $140.58

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee: panel discussion, lodging (two nights), no amount given

Legislative Council, Parliament of New South Wales: ground transportation, meals and beverage, cultural activities (Nov. 10-15), $2,379

New Zealand Parliament: dinner, Nov. 15, $260

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority: transportation, lunch and souvenir, Nov. 16: $104

Christchurch International Airport Limited: dinner, Nov. 16: $227

(Note on the previous four entries: “Trip was sponsored by the California International Relations Office to Australia and New Zealand and was attended by myself and my wife.”)

 

Assemblyman Brian Nestande, District 42

Edvoice: food and drink, $86 and $48

John A. Perez for Assembly 2012: food and drink, $23, $28, $50; gift—engraved box, $39; gift—glass bowl, $88

Comcast Corporation and Affliated Entities: food and drink, $32; Oakland A’s tickets, $175

Council for Legislative Excellence: dinner, $81

California Tribal Business Alliance: food/drink/entertainment, $66

City of Los Angeles: airport parking and shuttle services for official business only, OntarioAirport, $1,220

Institute of Government Relations: made a speech/participated in a panel, $1,376

Edvoice: made a speech/participated in a panel, $836

 

Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez, District 80/56

California Issues Forum: meal, $65.26

Walt Disney Company: Disneyland park tickets, $348

California Tomato Growers’ Association: meal, $233.74

Covanta Energy: meal, $50.21

FexEx: meal, $271.25

California Professional Firefighters: authentic fire helmet, $152

Comcast Corporation and Affiliated Entities, Including NBC Universal media: park ticket, $94.79

Barona Band of Mission Indians: meal, $85.17

California Democratic Party: meal, $67.71

John A. Perez for Assembly 2012: personalized green glass bowl, $85.80

California Latino Caucus Leadership Political Action Committee: caricature and frame, $79

Desert Hot Springs Chamber: meals, $50

At a time when locally owned coffee houses across the world are closing due to ever-expanding chains (like Starbucks and McDonald's), here’s some refreshing news: Palm Springs’ Koffi recently announced plans to open a third location in Rancho Mirage.

However, a quick look at the spot slated to house the new location, at 71390 Highway 111, reveals that any opening is likely months away.

Koffi’s original spot, at 515 N. Palm Canyon Drive, was opened by owners John Abner and John Strohm in August 2002. They doubled the size of the place in 2005, and opened the second location, at 1700 S. Camino Real (at Palm Canyon Drive, across Camino Real from the Ace Hotel), in 2008.

At the Camino Real location, a large “Road Map to Koffi” poster has for weeks announced that the Rancho Mirage location—in the building that was formerly home to Amici Italian Trattoria, just a bit east of the Rancho Mirage Public Library—is “coming soon.”

Abner and Strohm, through Koffi general manager Troy Neifert, declined to comment for this story.

Therefore, I swung by 71390 Highway 111 today to peek in the windows. The space—which features a cute outdoor patio area to the west—was vacant and largely stripped out, save for some construction materials, including some orange cones.

We’ll keep our eye on the announced new Koffi location, and will post updates when available.

Have restaurant news? Got a tip? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thursday, 07 March 2013 15:30

The Lucky 13: Zach Huskey of Dali’s Llama

Of all the Coachella Valley musicians who have walked The Lucky 13 gauntlet so far, Zach Huskey is the most mysterious. The Dali’s Llama vocalist/guitar-player told us his age was “40ish.” His day job? “Sorry, that’s classified.” Where does he live? “The desert.” Catch the man of mystery and his heavy-rock band mates at 9:30 p.m., this Saturday, March 9, for a “heavy night of music” at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. Admission is free; the bill also includes the Whores of Tijuana and Lazy Cobra. For more information on the band—which is still celebrating the release of its new album, Autumn Woods—visit www.reverbnation.com/dalisllama.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Plasmatics.

What was the first album you owned?

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Rust Never Sleeps.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Sleep, Down, Electric Wizard, The Sword, The Damned.

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

Rap and new country.

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

Jimi Hendrix or Black Sabbath, circa 1972.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Danzig.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas.

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

“She's like heroin to me, she cannot miss a vein,” The Gun Club, “She’s Like Heroin to Me.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

The Who’s Live at Leeds. Power and brains.

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

I'd ask Lemmy if I could have a blood sample.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Resolved” by Dali's Llama.

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

Machine Head, Deep Purple.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

"Bad Dreams" by Dali's Llama. (Scroll down to check out the video.)

What: The lunch buffet

Where: Monsoon Indian Cuisine, 555 S. Sunrise Way, No. 107

How much: $8.99 Monday through Friday; $10.99 Saturday and Sunday

Contact info: 325-2700; www.monsoonindianrestaurant.com

Why: The variety of delicious flavors.

Buffets get a bad rap—and there are indeed bad buffets out there, featuring drying, congealing entrées dying a nasty death on steam tables, plus wilting lettuce and nasty sugar-bomb desserts.

I implore you: Don’t go to buffets like that, no matter how hungry you are. You can do better.

Instead, head to Monsoon Indian Cuisine. Every weekday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and every weekend from 11:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (when you’ll pay $2 more, for some mysterious reason), you’ll find a varying selection of about nine delicious entrées; some basic salad; lovely chutneys; and gulab jamun (think moist doughnut holes with the flavor of rosewater) and kheer (rice pudding) for dessert.

Then there’s the naan, which the folks at Monsoon bring to your table fresh and piping-hot from the kitchen. We especially recommend the garlic naan, garlic breath be damned.

On a recent visit, I loaded basmati rice on my plate, and topped that with chicken tikka masala (featuring a “creamy tomato-based gravy”); chicken curry; lamb meatballs; and a huge vegetable samosa. This big plate of food did not take long to finish off. (Hey, don’t judge. It tasted really excellent.)

If you’re more into the veggie side of things, no worries; beyond the samosas, the buffet often features tasty treats like palak paneer (a cheese, spinach and pea dish), aloo gobi (a cauliflower and potato entrée) and other non-meat offerings.

Even though all of these yummy entrées are offered on a buffet table, never fear: There’s very little drying, congealing or wilting happening at this lunch buffet.

And since it’s a buffet, it’s OK to go back for seconds. Or thirds, even, if one of the entrées fits your particular fancy. Just be sure to save room for the gulab jamun and the kheer. 

To readers of the Coachella Valley Independent, the big “iSun Investigation” that ran in the March 3 Desert Sun was not really news at all. 

On Feb. 15, the Independent, in a piece by Saxon Burns, reported that Coachella Valley taxpayers will be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars due to questionable bond-issuance decisions by leaders at two area school districts. 

Here’s a selection from that piece, headlined “Generations of Valley Taxpayers on the Hook for Hundreds of Millions After School Districts Issue 'Irresponsible' Bonds”:

When it comes to government these days, maybe, to quote an old Cole Porter song, "anything goes."

Two area school districts, Coachella Valley Unified (the east valley district that runs public schools in Indio, Coachella and points east) and Desert Community College (aka College of the Desert), are among the hundreds in California that have used financing known as capital appreciation bonds, or CABs, to fund construction projects.

These bonds differ from more-traditional cousins in that payments can be put off for years—sometimes decades—allowing districts to save face by not raising property taxes, at least in the short term.

However, interest compounds during those years, and when the bill comes due, many districts—and, therefore, taxpayers within those districts—will be socked with explosive costs. …

Warning bells were raised last year when the Voice of San Diego website, assisted by retired journalist Joel Thurtell, reported that Poway Unified School District would be shelling out a cool billion over 40 years for $105 million in borrowing to renovate buildings. This set off a flurry of coverage from The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times (which published a database of the state treasurer's figures on CABs) and other news outlets.

The fact that things aren't quite Poway bad for our local cases might come as cold comfort. In 2010 and 2012, Coachella Valley Unified School District issued CABs worth slightly more than $35 million. Repayment will set the district back $186.3 million over more than 30 years. …

The Desert Community College District, which serves the College of the Desert, issued nearly $96 million in CABs in 2007, with repayment totaling just north of $430 million over 38.6 years.

Some 16 days later, here are the first two graphs from the piece in The Desert Sun:

A Coachella Valley community college and public school district have engaged in a bond strategy that will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars more than they borrowed by the time the debt is paid off in more than 30 years.

In recent years, both the College of the Desert and the Coachella Valley Unified School District have issued capital appreciation bonds as portions of larger voter-approved borrowing plans. The college and school district used the borrowed money to build new facilities, but the resulting debt — and its escalating interest rates — will linger long after the buildings lose their shine.

The Desert Sun piece, by Brett Kelman, goes on to basically report what the Independent reported, although he did add some nice bits of detail (for example, Kelman broke down what the College of the Desert’s interest payments are slated to be, whereas we didn’t).

He also made one fairly significant mistake: He incorrectly credited nonprofit news orgs The Bay Citizen and California Watch for “uncover(ing)” the story.

While California Watch and The Bay Citizen have indeed done a bang-up job of covering the capital appreciation bond issue, giving them credit for having “uncovered” the story is just plain wrong.

Here’s the anatomy of how this story came to be—first in the Independent, and then in The Desert Sun:

• As we mention above, retired journalist/current blogger Joel Thurtell (translation: unpaid journalist) started covering the financial debacle that is capital appreciation bonds way back in May 2012. While his context was a specific school district, as also mentioned above, he did ring a warning bell about these bonds throughout the state. On May 1, 2012, he wrote: “Let’s hope the California Legislature scraps this abomination. In Michigan 19 years ago, we found that CABs are good only for the handful of bond underwriters, bond attorneys and financial advisers who promote them to enrich themselves at public expense.” 

• On Aug. 6, 2012, news website Voice of San Diego did a piece focusing on Poway. This led to some national attention, from CNBC and other outlets. (It should be noted that Thurtell was apparently upset with Voice of San Diego for not crediting him; VOSD did a piece on that matter, as well as the national attention, here.)

You’ll note that VOSD editor Andrew Donohue writes: “There’s been no concerted effort to act like we were the pioneers. Nor do I believe we have claimed that the information contained within it came to light only as a result of our investigation.”

In other words, VOSD presumably didn’t run the piece under a silly tag like “iSun Investigation.”

• On Aug. 22, California Watch’s Erica Perez did a story noting the coverage of both Thurtell and VOSD. In it, she started expanding the scope of the matter beyond Poway, pointing out the obscene payback amounts some other community college districts were facing in California. 

• On Nov. 29, the Los Angeles Times did a piece on the bonds, presenting them as a true statewide problem. Most valuably, the Times—using data from the state Treasurer’s Office—also published an online database of districts in the state that had issued capital appreciation bonds. 

(Interestingly enough, the Times wound up running a correction on the piece: They initially credited VOSD, without crediting Thurtell, for breaking the news on Poway. Props to them for later amending the piece to credit Thurtell.)

• The Times piece—and the database, especially—led to all sorts of coverage, including localized coverage. In Northern California’s Humboldt County, for example, my friend Hank Sims, of online news source the Lost Coast Outpost, did a story discussing that county’s school districts which had issued capital appreciation bonds. A heads-up from Hank is how I first learned about the Times database, and therefore the Coachella Valley angle.

(Side note: The daily in Eureka, Calif., credited the Lost Coast Outpost for first publishing the information locally—something the folks at The Desert Sun felt no need to do.) 

California Watch did more, expanded coverage (some of which was used in The Desert Sun piece); The New York Times did a piece on the bonds in California.

With the Coachella Valley Independent fully up and running after the first of the year, I asked Saxon to look into the Coachella Valley angle after Hank’s tip. That’s how, to my knowledge, we became the first valley publication to report on the matter.

I am very happy The Desert Sun did their piece; this is an important story that Coachella Valley taxpayers need to know about. But to call this as an “investigation” without properly crediting the journalists who really exposed this matter—especially Joel Thurtell—is wrong, plain and simple.

This Saturday, several hundred folks will descend upon the Sand Acre Estate, and they’ll all have one thing in common: They’ll all be wearing red dresses.

Yep. All of them.

Tickets to the second-annual party, which benefits the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, are $85, or $75 for center members. It takes place from 7 to 10 p.m., Saturday, March 2, at the Sand Acre Estate, 953 N. Avenida Palmas, in Palm Springs. For tickets or more information, call 416-7790, or visit thecenterps.org.

The Independent recently spoke with Shann Carr, the center’s volunteer coordinator (full disclosure: Shann is a friend), and learned five things worth knowing about the Red Dress Party.

1. OK, about the dresses: This event is not about drag queens; it’s for everybody. In the past, Carr says, some folks have expressed reservations about attending, because getting all gussied up in dresses is not something they do. And that’s the point, Carr says. “Ninety-seven percent of the men and women who come would never wear a dress. That’s what gives it a ridiculous, fun feeling.” The result is a non-stuffy cocktail party that benefits a fine cause. “There’s no dinner; there are no political speeches,” she says; in fact, the only real speaker will be a volunteer at the center who’s the mother of a gay kid.

2. There’s help for men or women out there who want to go, but are clueless about makeup, hair, etc. It just so happens that the center’s next-door neighbor (both are located at 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive) is the Champion Institute of Cosmetology, and from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Champion’s students (supervised, of course) will be available to help for an affordable fee. Call 322-2227 to make an appointment.

3. The red is for a reason. Center representatives have recently been visiting area schools with an anti-bullying campaign, and the red dresses represent solidarity with anyone who has ever been humiliated or bullied—and hence left red-faced.

4. The venue is kind of awesome. The Sand Acre Estate was reportedly Marilyn Monroe’s favorite Palm Springs hangout back in the day—and it’s an utterly gorgeous place for a party, Carr says.

5. The emcee is also kind of awesome. Michael Holmes will be one of the few dudes present who is comfortable wearing a dress. He’s known for playing Judy Garland in his The Judy Show, a parody of the parties Garland used to host at her home in the ’60s. “He’s beautiful; he’s smart; he’s talented,” promises Carr. His main job as emcee will be to run the contest at the party: Guests will be honored in the categories of Sexiest Dress; Best Marilyn; Best Team Effort; Most Outrageous; and Best Couture (whatever that means).

In any case, Carr encourages attendance by everyone who wants to enjoy a fun, non-pretentious three-hour cocktail party—while helping out a great cause.

And to repeat, it’s not about drag queens.

“It’s about people who never do drag; they’re doing it for charity,” Carr says.

It’s time for funk! Israel “Izroc” Andrade, 37, brings said funk as the lead guitarist for the What the Funk Hip-Funk All-Stars. The Indio native and current Cathedral City resident spends his days as the director of operations for an audiovisual company. This Saturday night, March 2, Andrade and the rest of What the Funk will join DJ Paul Z, DJ J Sizzle, Wyte Gye, DJ Guy Worden, Boycott Radio and DJ Crux with MC Manny G at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., in Indio. Admission to the “Rock the Funk” show, which runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., is $5; a portion of the receipts will go to families of local law-enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty. For more information on What the Funk, track the band down on Facebook or Reverbnation; for more info on the show, visit www.dateshedmusic.com.

What was the first concert you attended?

Megadeth, seventh grade, a small show in Riverside. My uncle took me.

What was the first album you owned?

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, age 6.

What bands are you listening to right now?

I listen to a lot of stuff, right now I'm into Die Antwoord. Crazy African rap group.

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

I can pretty much get down to anything except country.

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

The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

’70's yacht rock … shhhhhh!

What’s your favorite music venue?

The old Blockbuster Pavilion in San Bernardino. Locally, though, the Tack Room Tavern.

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

“Shine bright … like … a … diamond” (from Rihanna, “Diamonds”). Thanks; now it’s in my head again.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Sublime. There’s something about Bradley Nowell’s lyrics and delivery. And the eclectic style; it definitely changed my life. It’s just pure emotion.

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

Jimi Hendrix: "How do you do it?"

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Jimi Hendrix, “If Six Was Nine.”

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

It’s a toss-up between Jimi Hendrix, Axis: Bold as Love, and the Beatles, Abbey Road. Hmmmm. Abbey Road’s “Oh! Darling!” is the song of my wife and me!

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Mamacita” from What the Funk ... ha ha. Shameless plug. (Scroll down to hear it!)

Watching the birth a brand-new publication has been one of the weirdest, yet coolest experiences of my life.

It’s been one fascinating trip after another. Fighting with the website’s template during the build. Explaining to people, or trying to explain to people, what the Independent is. (“It’s like an alternative newsweekly, but it’s updated daily, and it’s online-only—except for the quarterly we’re printing, starting the first week of April, and we’ll probably increase print frequency later … oh, hell, just go read our mission statement.”) Watching the unique visitors go from single-digits per day to double, and to triple, with four digits just around the corner.

It’s been frustrating and awesome and bizarre and rewarding.

Now that the Independent has a fair number of actual readers (including you, and I thank you for that), we’ve started to get that most vexing of all things to an editor: reader feedback.

One on hand, reader feedback is the most important thing to an editor. We do what we do for our readers, and if our readers aren’t responding, then how in the hell do we know people are reading?

On the other hand, a lot of (but certainly not all) reader feedback is … well, inane at best, and horrifying at worst.

If you’ve ever perused the comments on a large newspaper website, you know what I am talking about. Ignorance! Racism! Name-calling! It’s all there!

Anyway, I wanted to take some time to address two bits of reader feedback we’ve received in recent weeks.

So, the poorest school district in the desert and our only community college found ways to educate the most underserved in the desert … and your point is? Students at (Coachella Valley Unified School District) need help. (College of the Desert)? Guess what, it's the only way a lot of locals can get training and education while staying in the desert. I don't see your point. Biased reporting, too. After all, isn't there another side to these bonds? As in, what are they being used for? Oh, that's right. Construction of new campuses, offering more opportunities for locals. But I can see why you'd leave that out—after all, it wouldn't fit your sensational agenda here.

Krystal Herrera, on "Taxpayers on the Hook for Hundreds of Millions After School Districts Issue ‘Irresponsible’ Bonds”

I appreciate this comment from Krystal (despite her misplaced barbs), even though … well, it shows that she misses the point of Saxon Burns’ story, which we posted on Feb. 15.

I think it’s splendid that our community is investing in schools. Krystal’s right when she says College of the Desert is the best way for locals to get an education without leaving the Coachella Valley. And she’s right when she says students at the Coachella Valley Unified School District need help.

So the issue is not that these school districts issued bonds to bring them much-needed money for much-need construction projects. The issue is the fact that the way in which these schools issued these bonds is literally going to cost us taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than needed.

College of the Desert and CVUSD could have issued more-traditional bonds and gotten the same amount of money upfront. The problem is, the districts (and, therefore, the taxpayers within those districts) then would have started paying that money back right away. That could have meant tough choices for school administrators if the economy did not continue improving.

Instead, these administrators sold capital appreciation bonds—a type of bond that does not need to be repaid right away. But in exchange for that flexibility, more money—a lot more money—needs to be paid back, over a longer period of time. It’s like buying something with a credit card with zero interest at first—and a ridiculously high interest rate down the line.

In this case, College of the Desert and CVUSD used that credit card knowing that they weren’t going to be making those payments until the ridiculous interest rate kicked in. And we taxpayers are the ones who are getting screwed in the process.

As I said, I really appreciated Krystal’s comment. On the flip side, there’s … this, presented here unedited, which recently appeared in my email inbox with the subject line “CV INDEPENDANT”:

Dear Sir(s);

With great enthusiasm I welcome you to the most media cluttered place on the planet. For a valley of around 300K, there now seems to be a publisher for every 100 residents. I live in LA and I have property in the CV. We have about half of the publiishers here that the CV has.

Oh, and by the way, love your line about 'indepedent journalism', free of the influence from our advertisers. I have a lifetime in publishing and, if you haven't already experienced it, having your biggest advertiser quit because of something you published is the most embarrassing and company-killing thing I can think of. You don't have any advertisers...so, either you will alienate your advertisers or you are independently wealthy and don't need them. Nice line, but complete bullshit.

Let me tell you a cool little story. When I was a young advertising representative I walked into a local car dealership and asked for ads. The GM looked at me and said, 'You know young man, I see or talk to about 50 of you guys a week. If all you publishers and ad people were buying customers, I wouldn't be in the sad shape that I am in.'

Good luck!

Ben Dover

Remember what I said above about “inane at best, and horrifying at worst”?

This is in response to the Independent’s mission statement, which, in part, reads: “We believe in true, honest journalism: We want to afflict the comfortable, and comfort the afflicted. We want to be a mirror for the entire Coachella Valley. We want to inform, enlighten and entertain. We will never let advertisers determine what we cover, and how we cover things. In other words, we will always tell it how we see it.”

Well, apparently, Mr. “Dover” took umbrage with said statement. And he's about 100k short on the number of people here. Anyway, here’s my response to him:

“I appreciate you reading the Independent, and encourage you to keep doing so. As for the line about independent journalism, Google me, or ask around Tucson journalism circles, or ask around alternative journalism circles, and you'll find that I practice what I preach.

“I hope the Independent's brand of journalism and ethics can heal your cynicism a bit, too. :)”

So, there you go. Keep the feedback coming, folks; we’ll run that feedback, sometimes with responses, periodically in our Opinion section. And, as always, thanks for reading the Coachella Valley Independent.

If you walk by Allan Havey on the street, chances are he’ll look familiar—but you won’t know why he looks familiar.

Here’s why: Over his long and varied career, he’s been in a TV show, in a movie or on a talk show (or three) you’ve seen.

He played himself on Louie C.K.’s groundbreaking show Louie. He was on an episode of Up All Night last year. He encountered Kramer on an episode of Seinfeld, and threatened to kick Larry David’s ass for throwing something in his trash can on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He had a non-trivial role as an FBI agent who convinced Matt Damon’s Mark Whitacre to wear a wire in the 2009 film The Informant!

You may have also seen him on Letterman, or in Will Smith’s Hancock, or as a commentator on Countdown With Keith Olbermann, or even hosting his own show, Night After Night With Allan Havey, for three years on the cable channel that would later become Comedy Central.

But despite all these varied (and undeniably cool) roles, Havey says his favorite thing to do, career-wise, has always been standup comedy.

“I really like performing live,” says Havey, who will be bringing his brand of personal, observational comedy to The Improv at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino tonight (Friday, Feb. 22) and tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 23). “I enjoy the ease. I mean, it’s not easy, but it’s uncomplicated. I don’t have to depend on anyone else.”

The St. Louis native says he always wanted to be in show business, and went to Miami-Dade Community College to learn about acting. He says his first-ever acting role came in a musical version of Frankenstein at the college.

“I went to all Catholic, white schools growing up,” he says. “At college in Miami, the diversity was amazing.”

While Havey cites comedy as his primary love, he says he’s always tried to keep his time on the club circuit down to 12 to 15 weeks per year. For example, after this weekend’s shows at Fantasy Springs, he’ll be off for a month before his next show, at The Improv at Harrah’s Las Vegas, according to his website.

“I make less money, but I am able to audition for parts, and work on my act, and enjoy life,” he says.

He also says that these days, it’s tougher for an established-but-not-big-name comedian to get good club gigs.

“No matter who good you are, there are always younger comedians,” says Havey, 58. “And club owners—not all club owners—say, ‘Why should I pay this guy three grand when I can pay a kid $1,250?, and get the same crowd?' But the shows aren’t as good.”

Havey says he’s played Fantasy Springs before, and that he’s always enjoyed the audience there.

“It’s a great crowd,” he says. “It’s a good mix of people. Any time you’re in a casino, you get a good mix of people. There are young, old—it’s a good demographic.”

When Havey is asked what the audience can expect from him this weekend, he declines to offer any “sneak previews.”

“You’re gonna laugh,” he says. “It’s a good show.”

Allan Havey performs with Brant von Hoffman and Dylan Mandlsohn at The Improv Comedy Club at Fantasy Springs, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway in Indio, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22 and 23. Shows at The Improv take place every Friday at 9 p.m.; and Saturday at 8 and 10 p.m., through Saturday, April 13. Tickets are $20. For tickets and a complete schedule of upcoming shows, visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com, or call (800) 827-2946.