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Jimmy Boegle

Sunday, 13 January 2013 16:00

Snapshot: College of the Desert Street Fair

Temps in the 40s and 50s? Who cares?

The sun was out on Sunday, Jan. 13, so that meant the crowds still came to the College of the Desert Alumni Association's Street Fair. Several hundred vendors sold everything from children's toilet seats to handcrafted art to socks—just as they do every weekend.

The College of the Desert Street Fair takes place every Saturday and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (October through May) or 7 a.m. to noon (June through September). Fun fact: It'll also be open on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 18. 

The fair takes place at College of the Desert, at the intersection of Fred Waring Drive and Monterrey Avenue in Palm Desert. For more information, call 636-7957, or visit www.codstreetfair.net. And, of course, scroll down to see more pics!

What: The coq au vin

Where: Dish Creative Cuisine, 68525 Ramon Road, No. A-101, Cathedral City

How much: $27

Contact info: 832-6526; www.dishcreativecuisine.com

Why: It's moist. Oh, and it has bacon.

Dish Creative Cuisine opened last fall in a little shopping center on a stretch of Ramon Road that could best be described as ... spartan. But inside the little space, chef/owner Joane Garcia-Colson is doing big things. (Want a surprise? Google the chef. Yes, that's her. Quite a career change, no?)

The biggest thing of all may be the restaurant's signature dish, the coq au vin. I'll be honest: When this plate of food arrived, and I first pushed my fork into the cake-shaped cube, I was concerned that the coq au vin would be dry. After all, this chicken wasn't sitting in the red-wine reduction sauce (which was drizzled on the side), but was rather crafted into the aforementioned cake-shaped cube. But those concerns were unfounded: This tasty, savory dish was moist and beyond delicious.

And, yes, it's topped with bacon. Add several deliciousness points. The accompanying vegetables were all cooked perfectly, and there wasn't a single flaw with the entree.

Of course, the coq au vin only arrived after the appetizers and drinks that my friend Shann and I ordered ... and after about a half-dozen miniature chef's surprises—think a joyously never-ending series of amuse-bouches. They were all tasty, but the star of these complimentary treats was a nipple-shaped beet puff with a hard meringue-like shell, and an a delicious creamy interior. I do not even like beets, and I wanted more of these.

But the star of the meal was Garcia-Colson's coq au vin. Go. Eat it. Reservations recommended.

  

What's 32 pages, has a total of zero locally produced stories, and is most decidedly not read all over—because there's nothing in it to read?

The Desert Post Weekly, that's what.

This week's edition (Jan. 10-16) is notable in that there are a grand total of zero locally written articles. Zero. None.

The content in the issue, owned by The Desert Sun and its parent company, Gannett, consists of:

  • "The Burning Question," in which four people affiliated with the paper—people for whom I have a great deal of sympathy, as they're forced by Gannett to put their name on this embarrassment of a publication—disclosed their personal highlights of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. (However, the festival was only about halfway over by the time the DPW went to press. To which I reply: WTF?) After that 46 words (yes, I counted) were:
  • A quarter-page or so of events listings. Apparently, only five worthy things are happening this week in the Coachella Valley, because that's all that's there.
  • A page of music crap from USA Today that has no local ties whatsoever. (There must be no local bands in the Coachella Valley to cover. Oh, wait ...)
  • Two pages dedicated to mountains in Southern California from McClatchy-Tribune Media Services. Yes, mountains. Did you know that Southern California has mountains? In the winter? OMG!
  • Two Associated Press film reviews.
  • Three pages of movie listings. (At least someone presumably local took the time to type in the local theaters at which the films in question are playing.)
  • A page of classified ads, followed by 19 pages of legal notices. Those legal notices are presumably the reason why the DPW still exists: Gannett can pass notices that don't require publication in a daily from The Desert Sun to the much-lower-circulation DPW—saving a lot of money on newsprint in the process.
  • A crossword and a sudoku puzzle from King Features.

That's it. 32 pages, and the only local editorial content consists of five events listings, someone typing in theaters, and four answers to a premature question.

This bothers me, because I love alternative publications—I have edited two of them, worked at a third, and served on the alternative newspaper trade group's board of directors. Heck, I moved here to launch the one you're reading right now.

And the crud that the DPW has become chaps my figurative hide, because once upon a time, the Desert Post Weekly was an honest-to-goodness real alternative newspaper. 

It's hard to find, in public at least, a copy of the DPW from the first half of the Aughts, back when it was a real newspaper. (I tried; I contacted the Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Rancho Mirage public libraries, and was told they didn't have copies of the DPW, old or new.) DPW does not have a website (Let me repeat that so it can sink in: In 2013, there's a newspaper that does not have a website!), so there are no online archives to peruse.

However, the Internet does offer some documentation of the Desert Post Weekly before Gannett bought it and slowly started squeezing its life away. You can find a fair number of links and references to old stories, and the Wayback Machine has some snapshots of www.desertpostweekly.com back when it was an actual thing. A capture from Jan. 20, 2002, shows a preview webpage promising that the paper is about to go online, and includes a graphic with a rotation of old DPW covers touting stories about imprisoned women caught in the drug war; dowsing; the McVeigh execution; "America's obsession with reality TV" (a prophesy, perhaps?); "Will e-books replace the real thing?" (more prophesy); and gambling addiction.

In other words, real stories. In a real newspaper.

The paper carrying that once-proud name today is a sad joke, a paper in which there's no there there. If Gannett had any decency—and it does not, as the company has proven time and time again—it would retire the Desert Post Weekly with some dignity.

What: The Steve Special sushi roll, enjoyed as part of all-you-can-eat sushi

Where: Edokko Sushi, 69195 Ramon Road, Cathedral City

How much: $19.95 lunch, $23.99 dinner

Contact info: 328-7770; edokkosushicc.com

Why: Because you're hungry, and you looooove tasty sushi rolls

Look, Edokko Sushi ain't Nobu: You are not going to get fresh-off-the-boat toro here. Of course, you're not going to be shelling out $35 for a tiny portion of fish, either.

Instead, you are going to get a decent-enough selection of 30 or so rolls, 16 or so sushi options, and some appetizers (miso soup, gyoza, etc.), as much as you can shove down your gullet, for $19.99 at lunch, or $23.99 at dinner.

Indulgent? Maybe. Gluttonous? Perhaps? A smokin' deal? Absolutely.

The sushi pieces are just fine, but the real reason you will want to check out Edokko is for the sushi rolls: They're tasty, and they come to you fast when the sushi chefs are on their game (which they generally are). The one we most heartily endorse is the "Steve Special" roll—it's the first one on the list—which is quite simple, really: It's a California roll, topped with deep-fried shrimp and a tangy mayonnaise sauce. In an word, it's yummy.

If you're hankering for all-you-can-eat sushi, but you're weighed down by more moderate eaters, never fear: Edokko Sushi also offers an a la carte menu.

But you don't want that. You want all-you-can-eat. And you should start off with the Steve Special roll. 

Meet the Death Merchants! They consist of: William Evans-Phelps, aka “Chylite,” a 26-year-old Chicago native who has lived in the Coachella Valley for nine years; Kyle “Nolan” Holcomb, 26, a New Orleans native who moved to the valley when he was 5; Anthony Germaine Walker, aka “Lootenant,” 27, from Biloxi, Miss., who has spent the last seven years here after being relocated post-Hurricane Katrina; and David Lumpkin, aka DJ Lumps!, 26 and a Coachella Valley native.

Catch the Death Merchants this Friday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m., when they open for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St. in Indio. Tickets are $30 to $100; visit www.dateshedmusic.com for tickets or more information.

To hear more of the Death Merchants, visit www.youtube.com/deathmerchants or www.soundcloud.com/death-merchants.

What was the first concert you attended?

Chylite: Heavy D, when I was really young. I’ve seen Wu-Tang in Chicago, Twista, Juicy-J … but the most influential concert I went to was with my mom in Vegas—we saw the “Ladies First Tour” with Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé—mostly because of the artistic production that went into it.

Nolan: David Lee Roth at the Del Mar (Calif.) Fair, I went with my dad. It was the first display of “rock-star showmanship,” with karate kicks, Spandex and microphone-licking.

Lootenant: The first concert I ever attended was a Snoop Dogg concert in Mobile, Ala., where I actually opened up for Snoop at age 17.

Lumps!: The first concert I actually remember going to was a DJ Quik concert at the House of Blues in Hollywood when I was 17 or 18. I don’t know if that’s the first concert I ever attended or if that was just so monumental that I can’t remember anything else, but he played with a 13-piece band with a horn section, guitars and a rad drummer. I knew Quik was a genius, but that’s when I fell in love with the idea of a band playing behind a hip-hop artist.

What was the first album you owned?

Chylite: The first one I ever owned was something my mom gave me, because, ironically, she wanted me to stay away from the “gangsta rap”: Al Green’s Greatest Hits. The first one I ever bought, though, was Master P’s No Limit Compilation Vol. 3 (West Coast Bad Boyz, Vol. 3: Poppin' Collars).

Nolan: Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony’s E. 1999 Eternal. My mom got me the cassette tape on the way to visit Alcatraz! I had just been in an “extreme sporting accident.” I broke my arm and was in a cast. My mom hooked it up!

Lootenant: Master P, Ghetto Dope.

Lumps!: I remember when I was in middle school; one of my mom’s co-workers took me to his car to show me his new system he just installed. He was bumping Dr. Dre, Chronic 2001. I asked if I could borrow it so I could make a copy; he gave it to my mom to give to me, but she wouldn’t let me have it because of the lyrics. I actually stole that out of her purse and played it off like I didn’t know where it went.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Chylite: Besides the Death Merchants? As far as groups go, I’m into The Budos Band, Slaughterhouse; I am anticipating the next Clipse album.

Nolan: G.O.O.D. Music. I listen to a lot of Incubus. I’m into a lot of downbeat Audio-Technica like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd.

Lootenant: Kendrick Lamar, B.o.B., The Game, T.I.

Lumps!: Definitely listening to that new Jesus Piece album by The Game right now, and I have to listen to Death Merchants, because I mix and master everything we do.

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

Chylite: Country music, but not the new stuff; it’s the old-school country I just don’t enjoy.

Nolan: Dubstep. Being that I’m a performer, when there is a DJ onstage, I’m still waiting for the show to start, but it never happens. The music is cool, but far too much credit is given to “cut-and-paste" DJs.

Lootenant: Lame rap artists with no lyrical content who seem to sell millions of records.

Lumps!: I feel like, as a producer, I need to understand all genres of music. Especially with hip hop crossing over into so many different genres now, I have to look at what the average person likes and try to incorporate that into our music. I want to have something for everyone. I make beats using samples of electronic dance music, but I definitely do not listen to EDM, because I’m just not into that type of music. I’m more of an old-school/hip-hop head.

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

Chylite: If you would have asked me that question five years ago, I’d probably have said Jay-Z, but I don’t like the new Jay-Z. … Honestly, I’d probably want to go see Stevie Wonder.

Nolan: James Brown, The godfather of soul will never be imitated. He came to a local casino just before the time of his death, and I regret not seeing him.

Lootenant: Eminem.

Lumps!: When I was younger, I had tickets to see Run-DMC, Aerosmith and Kid Rock in Worcester, Mass. For some reason, we didn’t end up going, but I would have loved to see Jam Master Jay and Aerosmith rock that stage together.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Chylite: If I have two 12s in the back of the Suburban … probably some crazy metal music like System of a Down.

Nolan: I have one more embarrassing than the other. The first is Insane Clown Posse; I hold my head in shame. I’ll lose some cool points with this: I like Linkin Park. And New Found Glory is the least-gangster thing I do!

Lootenant: Justin Bieber.

Lumps!: I love that cheesy ’80s music—A-ha’s “Take on Me” and Eddie Murphy’s one-hit wonder “Party All the Time.”

What’s your favorite music venue?

Chylite: To perform at, I’d say The Date Shed. They have that green room with the stripper pole, and the lighting is impeccable. To actually go and see a show, The Key Club (in West Hollywood), because no matter where you are, VIP or downstairs, it’s all cool.

Nolan: The Glass House (in Pomona). I have yet to investigate how to book that venue, but one of my goals is to perform there.

Lootenant: The main stage at the Coachella festival.

Lumps!: I love playing at The Date Shed; it’s a smaller venue, so it’s more personal, and it’s at home.

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

Chylite: I have two. “Put in work like a Death Merchant, dope as fuck, meth burnin’, exorcist lyricist got em hurlin’ with their heads turnin’,” by Nolan Lowlife; and, “If they don’t want it with ya boy, then why they testin’ me? I told them haters I don’t like Patron; I drink V.S.O.P,” by Lootenant.

Nolan: Something I live by: “Hustlers never sleep, and sleepers never hustle,” “8 Rulez” by Lil’ Flip.

Lootenant: “My city lookin’ like a warzone; I’m in the hood wit’ a pocket fulla stones, they ain’t seein’ me dog, I’m so far gone, get a pair of binoculars, tell ’em watch my throne,” by Lootenant.

Lumps!: I have the hook of that song from DJ Drama, “My Moment,” stuck in my head. “Tired of livin’ day to day like everything is alright; every night just one thing on my mind. Just waiting on that moment.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Chylite: Jay-Z. He always personified that a dope-boy demeanor, refined, and is simply a businessman.

Nolan: Steve Miller Band. I’ve been with both of my parents to two different Steve Miller concerts; there are so many different layers of instruments and music. That band showed me what the magic of music can do.

Lootenant: Nas’ "Ether." This was one of the biggest diss tracks of all time. Even though Jay-Z had way more clout than Nas, Nas didn’t back down; he stood his ground and came out on top of one of the most controversial battles in hip-hop history.

Lumps!: Dr. Dre. This goes with my favorite album of all time, Chronic 2001, by Dr. Dre. Everything that went into that album, and anyone who was involved with that album, artists and production-wise, was just amazing. It changed my life. I fell in love with hip hop.

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

Chylite: I couldn’t ask an artist an artistic question—like, I’m a rapper, so I couldn’t ask another rapper how they stay relevant. I’d like to ask Trey Songz if he really likes kissing men. I really want to ask all these rappers: When they coming out the closet? Stop fakin’!

Nolan: I would ask Eminem for an hour of his time.

Lootenant: Dr. Dre: “When is The Detox really coming out, and what the hell are you waiting on?!”

Lumps!: I would ask DJ Quik if I could have permission to do an updated, 2013 version of “Pitch in on a Party,” and have him collab with me on it.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

Chylite: I want something epic—no sad songs; I want there to be a party, blunts lit, bottles pourin’ out and the song “Black Republican” by Jay-Z and Nas playing in the background.

Nolan: Frank Ocean, “Dust.”

Lootenant: Tupac, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”

Lumps!: Lil’ John, “Get Low,” as I’m being buried.

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

Chylite: Jay-Z, Reasonable Doubt.

Nolan: Tupac, All Eyez on Me.

Lootenant: 50 Cent, Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

Lumps!: Dr. Dre, Chronic 2001.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Chylite: “Completeness” by Chylite! Or any of the Death Merchants solo or group songs.

Nolan: John Lennon, “Imagine.”

Lootenant: Death Merchants, “The Introduction.”

Lumps!: People need to hear every Death Merchant song we have released. They’re all amazing. But one in particular, the song “Food Chain,” stands out to me the most. (Scroll down to hear it.)

His real name is Philip Maag, and the Cathedral City resident works in agricultural sales for his day job—but area music fans know him as Philvis, the lead vocalist (who also handles guitar, blues harp and ukulele) for The Deadbeat Daddies. Catch the Daddies at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 5—just as you can every first Saturday—at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111 in Palm Desert. There's no cover, and the Daddies will be joined by The Buzz Jumpers. Check out The Deadbeat Daddies' Facebook page for more info.

What was the first concert you attended?

The Doobie Brothers.

What was the first album you owned?

Led Zeppelin II.

What band or bands are you listening to right now?

JD McPherson.

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

Rap.

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

Janis Martin.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Writing music.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Irvine Meadows (now known as the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, Calif.).

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

"I'm gonna shadow my baby. ... Find out where my money goes," from "Shadow My Baby" by Glenn Barber.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Elvis and Led Zeppelin, as they introduced me to rockabilly.

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

Buddy Holly: Where did he get his sound and ideas from? They were different and fresh for the time.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"Sleep Walk," Santo and Johnny.

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

Led Zeppelin II.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Our new original, "Livin' Doll."

Thursday, 29 November 2012 17:00

The Founding of the 'Independent': The Reaction

While most people in the Coachella Valley have yet to learn about the founding of this fine publication (which, given the sorry state of the newsmedia in the valley, is no surprise), the Independent's launch has been covered substantially in Tucson, Ariz. (the soon-to-be-ex home of the founder, aka yours truly) and in alternative-newsweekly circles.

Here are some links to some of that coverage:

Tucson Weekly, 'Weekly' Editor Jimmy Boegle Leaving Paper at End of Year, Heading to the Coachella Valley: "Boegle, 37, has seen the impact of alt-weeklies, both while growing up and working in his hometown of Reno, Nev., and during his 10-year stint with the Weekly, a publication he argues has played a significant role in Tucson’s arts community since its launch in 1984. He hopes the Coachella Valley Independent will be the publication that helps spark a similar blossoming there."

Tucson Weekly, Danehy: Yet another 'Weekly' editor will be departing soon—but Tom will miss this one: "Jimmy's leaving us to start (along with his partner, Garrett) his own paper in the Coachella Valley part of California. The Coachella Valley, best known for its rowdy springtime music festival, has an official motto of 'At Least We're Not Imperial Valley.' It sounds like more of a challenge than an opportunity to me, but I certainly wish him the best."

TucsonSentinel.com, 'Weekly' editor Boegle leaving to found Palm Springs news site: "The 37-year-old Boegle said he plans to launch a print version of the Independent in the fall. The plan's been in the works for a while, at least in a conceptual way; Boegle first registered the domain name in 2007."

Inside Tucson Business, 'Tucson Weekly' editor Boegle to launch Palm Springs pub: "(Boegle) had his eye on the project for years since putting together a business plan to launch the alternative publication in a market that doesn’t have one."

Association of Alternative Newsmedia/Altweeklies.com, 'Tucson Weekly' Editor Jimmy Boegle Leaving to Launch New Publication: "With the Coachella Valley Independent, Boegle will attempt to bring 'honest-to-goodness ethical' journalism to the areas surrounding Palm Springs."

 

Monday, 12 November 2012 08:50

Introducing the Coachella Valley Independent

Ever since I was an intern at the Reno News & Review in the summer of 1996, I have been something of a newsweekly nerd.

Every time I’d visit a new city, I’d scour newsracks and bookstores for the local newsweekly. I love the mix of hard-hitting local news, compelling commentaries and unmatched arts-and-culture coverage.

Sometime in the mid 2000s, I visited the Coachella Valley for the first time, when my significant other and I came to visit a friend. I did my usual find-the-newsweekly thing … and I couldn’t find one. There was the Desert Post Weekly, a weak Gannett-owned faux-newsweekly in which the locally produced stories could be counted on one hand. There was The Desert Entertainer, which seemed to specialize in coverage of events that took place at the local casinos. And that was it.

Meanwhile, Garrett and I started to fall in love with the place—the culture, the mountains, the diversity, and so many other things.

I decided to look into starting a real newsweekly in the Coachella Valley. Over several years, I crunched numbers, did interviews and got bids; I put together a business plan; and in the spring of 2008, I presented the plan to Wick Communications, the company I have worked for since November 2001, and for which I have been the editor of the Tucson Weekly since January 2003.

My plan was to start a print weekly, the Coachella Valley Independent, with a staff of about seven folks—in other words, I wanted to hit the ground running. However, the budgeted first-year financial loss—in the neighborhood of a quarter-million bucks—was unappetizing to the Wick folks, and understandably, they said no, especially since the economy was at that point showing sides of weirdness. Several months later, we’d all begin to realize that weirdness was actually the first manifestations of the Great Recession.

In the years since, I have visited the Coachella Valley several times every year, falling in love with the area a little more each time. During every trip, I’d think of that business plan. And I’d pick up every publication I could find. Some publications—the Desert Star Weekly and then later, the Coachella Valley Weekly—came. Others—like the LGBT-focused The Bottom Line—went. While some of the valley’s publications had their positive moments (as well as not-so-positive ones), I learned some of them were selling editorial articles to advertisers—and not labeling those articles as advertorials. That, combined with the continuing mediocrity of the daily Desert Sun, was disheartening.

As it stands right now, if a Coachella Valley reader wants honest community news coverage, or an unbiased food review, or just good, compelling writing, where can they go?

Enter the Coachella Valley Independent.

I, along with my partner, Garrett, have decided it’s time to make the leap. I have given my notice at the Tucson Weekly, and in January, we’re moving to the Coachella Valley so I can dedicate myself to the Independent full-time. We’re winging it as we do this on our own; the plan is to spend a good chunk of the year building up the publication online, and if all goes well, in the fall, we’ll launch a print version.

Seeing as we’re building this from nothing, there will be growing pains. We started the website from scratch, and as of now, it’s probably about one-third built. (Call it our very, very beta version.) Most of the content currently on the site is nowhere as in-depth as the content will be when we’re here full-time. And we’re doing this on a budget that makes the word “shoestring” sound generous.

But we’re going to pull this off. We love good, honest, true, fun journalism, and the positive effect it can have on communities. As we say on the (very, very beta version’s) “about” page: “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. For example: Some other publications in this valley do puff-piece reviews or feature stories on advertisers to make said advertisers happy. We will never, ever do that. If we lose an advertiser due to an unflattering story, a negative review or something else, so be it.”

Welcome to the Coachella Valley Independent.

Thursday, 01 November 2012 16:42

The Indy Endorsement: Shanghai Reds Fish Tacos

What: The fish tacos (Baja fried or grilled)

Where: Shanghai Reds, inside of Fisherman's Market and Grill, 235 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

How much: $3.95, or $2.95 during late-night happy hour (8 p.m. to close)

Contact info: 322-9293; www.fishermans.com/shanghaireds.php

Why: Because of the tortilla. Trust us.

These tacos aren't exactly a secret around these parts--they're perennial honorees in the Desert Magazine Best of the Valley competition (not that you should necessarily value such honors all that much)--but we're surprised at how many valley residents don't know about the delights at Shanghai Reds, the bar/casual area tucked behind Fisherman's (which also has a location in La Quinta).

The taco's ingredients are not that unusual: The taco includes white fish, topped with pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, citrus and a tasty white sauce. What makes these fish tacos special is the wrapping--namely, the tortilla. It's a thick corn variety that spends a moment or three on the grill before meeting its contents, and that maize/char/yummy flavor ties the whole package together.

Somewhere along the line, far too many Americans settled for tortillas that are mere packaging--flavorless vessels to deliver flavor to one's mouth. Shanghai Reds reminds us that it's not supposed to be that way--and proves that a good tortilla can make oh so much difference.