Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Jimmy Boegle

Bassist Angel Chavez, 27, and his Wooden Nomad band mates have been spending a lot of time in the Coachella Valley as of late. The heavy-rock band recorded their new album, The Sound of Earth, in Palm Desert. Now that the album’s ready for public consumption, Chavez and company will be making the drive up from Oxnard to play a show at Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails, 32025 Monterey Ave., in Thousand Palms, at 9 p.m., Saturday, March 16. Also slated to be on the bill are Brain Vat, In the Name of the Dead, and Facelift. For more on Plan B, visit, or call 343-2115. For more on Wooden Nomad, visit or

What was the first concert you attended?

Suicidal Tendencies.

What was the first album you owned?

Van Halen, Van Halen.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Greenleaf, Truckfighters, Soundgarden, and Kyuss.

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

I don’t get the Justin Beaver dude, or whatever his name is …

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

I can’t wait to see Alice in Chains. Their new album (slated to be released in May) will be promising.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Adele. Ha ha ha; she’s rad, though!

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Roxy (in West Hollywood). It’s a crazy place to play.

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

“You want it all, all or nothing,” from “All or Nothing,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Kyuss. Raw rock ’n’ roll with a killer singer. Haven’t been the same since.

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

Tom Petty: Exactly how many takes to record “Refugee”?

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

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

Superunknown by Soundgarden.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“100 Degrees” by Kyuss. Because that’s where we’re headed! Palm Desert! (Scroll down to hear it.)

In December 2006, I flew from Tucson, Ariz., to Boston for a job interview.

The Boston Phoenix—one of the most venerable and respected alternative newsweeklies in the country—was looking for an editor, and my application had caught the Phoenix’s collective eye.

The part-day I spent in Boston was one of the most intense of my life: If memory serves, I had six separate interviews, with a total of 13 people, over a 6 1/2-hour span. If that wasn’t mentally grueling enough, I had to go through that gauntlet on three hours of sleep, because my flight into Boston was delayed.

It became apparent during the interviews that some of the managers there felt that I, as the editor of a paper in little ol’ Tucson, was too small-time for the Phoenix; I knew before setting foot on the plane back home I would not get the job. I was fine with that, even though I had—and have—great respect for the Phoenix.

That weird, exhausting December 2006 day came to mind today, when the owners of the Phoenix announced that the paper was ceasing print publication immediately, and that next week’s online edition would be its last.

The news was heartbreaking to me. I love alternative publications; after all, I quit my fantastic gig in Tucson after a decade to move to the Coachella Valley and launch the Independent, so this area could have a real, honest-to-goodness publication in the alt-weekly vein. This news should be heartbreaking to everyone who loves good, edgy, fun journalism.

In a news release announcing the closure, Phoenix executive editor Peter Kadzis—with whom my first interview was on that December 2006 day—hit the figurative nail on the head, as he explained that although the Boston Phoenix was closing, its sister newspapers in Portland, Maine, and Providence, R.I., would remain in business.

“I started reading the paper when I was 14 years old and had the fun and challenge of running it for 20 years or so,” Kadzis said. “Political Boston, arts Boston, just won’t be the same. We are a textbook example of sweeping market-place change. Our recent switch to a magazine format met with applause from readers and local advertisers. Not so—with a few exceptions—national advertisers. It was the long-term decline of national advertising dollars that made the Boston Phoenix economically unviable. Providence and Portland, however, don’t suffer from that problem. The local advertising market is sufficient to support those publications. You can see why Warren Buffett favors small market papers over their big city brothers and sisters.”

It’s a shame that, essentially, the Phoenix became too dependent on non-local advertisers to succeed. And it’s a crying shame that Boston won’t have that strong, alternative media voice any more (although the smaller Dig Boston, owned by my friend Jeff Lawrence, lives on).

Diverse media voices are important to a community. I have seen this firsthand; in my hometown of Reno, Nev., I was lucky enough to edit the Reno News & Review in my mid-20s, and watched the arts scene grow in Reno along with the paper. I saw it in Las Vegas, where I worked for CityLife. And I saw it in Tucson, where the Tucson Weekly is, in every way, an important piece of the fabric of the community.

Just like the Phoenix was in Boston. That important piece of fabric just got ripped out of Boston. And in its place will be a gaping hole.

The lesson here for those of us outside of Boston is this: Support good, ethical local media. Good, strong, entertaining journalism can make a community better.

I recently met with a local advertising-agency head; he was kind enough to take the time to allow me to introduce him to the Independent. At one point, our mission statement came up, and I spoke a bit about how I believed in quality reporting and writing, as opposed to the regurgitated-press-release-style of writing that’s far, far too prevalent in the Coachella Valley today.

He responded that while creative types like himself appreciate good writing and reporting, most businesses who are spending advertising dollars don’t care; instead, they care about getting their message out to the right customers, period, no matter the quality of what surrounds their ads.

I told him that while I was confident the Independent would indeed be a good fit for his clients’ customers, I was banking on the fact that I believe readers and advertisers still want quality journalism, too.

I hope to God I am right; I am betting my personal financial future on it. While, at first glance, the closure of the Boston Phoenix worries me, Peter Kadzis’ words about applause by readers and local advertisers—combined with the fact that the papers in Portland and Providence live on, and will even be adding staff—give me hope.

In the 1970s, Madame was all the rage.

The sassy ol’ broad—accompanied by her puppeteer, Wayland Flowers—was a regular on Solid Gold. (Yes, that Solid Gold; she often chatted with the guest performers.) She was also a regular on Hollywood Squares, even taking over center square from time to time after Paul Lynde left. She was on Laugh-In. She even had her own show, Madame’s Place, in 1982-1983

She was a star. A big star.

When Wayland Flowers died of AIDS-related cancer in 1988, the puppet diva, of course, went into retirement. She had a brief comeback tour several years ago, and is today on the arm of a new puppeteer, comedy/commercials/TV veteran Gary Holland.

In other words, Madame is out to become a big star yet again.

Her biggest comeback gig so far: She’ll be doing “White Carpet commentary” during the White Party’s main event, on Saturday, March 30, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. During White Party weekend (March 29-31), presenter Jeffrey Sanker will deem Madame to be the “Dame of White Party 2013.”

Ticket prices for the White Party weekend events vary, and prices go up after Friday, March 15. For tickets and details, visit

In advance of Madame’s big comeback, the Independent was honored to interview her via email.

Other than a brief comeback several years ago, you’ve been largely missing from the scene since Wayland Flowers passed away in 1988. What have you been up to all of these years?

I've been up to everything, honey! I took some much needed "Madame-time" to find myself. I traveled around and met plenty of men, but I just couldn't find the right hand to go up my dress. It was like a way-more-fun version of Cinderella. I tried many, many men on for size, and now I've found my prince—but that isn't going to stop me from sampling the talent at White Party, of course.

Have you been to a White Party before?

Never! But everyone looks fabulous in white (but then, I guess, no one is really wearing much of anything at this party, anyway).

You’re providing “White Carpet” commentary at the White Party. What will you be looking for in terms of fashion?

The less, the better! This is Palm Springs in the spring at the White Party—shirts are not necessary! Even the burliest bears in town should let the air hit their fur. Fashion for this party can be tricky, of course; you need looks that can go from pool to night, which is not easy to pull off. Speaking of, you need something that's very easy to actually pull off! All those fireworks just have a way of setting off sparks at the party.

Someone mentioned to me that you’d be doing commentary in a style similar to that of Joan Rivers. Do you think you and Rivers have much in common?

I love Joan, but I think I bring a younger perspective than she does. Though, who doesn't? Joan Rivers is so old that her birth certificate is written in hieroglyphics. Joan and I both speak our minds; we don't hold back. We both take the same all-in approach to our commentary that we do to our plastic surgeries.

What will YOU be wearing to the White Party?

My gown will reflect my personality: sparkling, expensive and loose as hell.

I am sure someone as fabulous as you are has been to Palm Springs before. What do you think of the town? Any likes or dislikes?

I’ve been coming to Palm Springs for many years. I love a town that sleeps late and drinks early. I like that Botox is delivered to your door along with the morning paper. Any time of day, you can drive by the Movie Colony and watch the gardeners trim the pool boy. The restaurants serve appetizers that resemble the local residents … crispy brown on the outside, and tender on the inside. I love hitting the bars, 'cause this is the desert, and one must simply stay hydrated!

White Party organizer Jeffrey Sanker is set to bestow upon you the title of “Dame” at the party. Do you know what in the world that means? And how do you feel about it?

This is the nicest time anyone has ever referred to me as a "dame." I hope I can use my title of honor to be a beacon to the young and misguided. Any hot young thing in Palm Springs this weekend should just head over to my room if they need a little "guidance" from their honorable Dame! Also, if it's good enough for Helen Mirren, it's perfect for me.

Many of the younger White Party participants may not be familiar with your style. Describe yourself to them.

I love to go out and have a good time, and then laugh about it onstage the next night. I call things as I see them, and I don't like to let anyone off the hook, especially celebrities. I'm a consummate entertainer at heart, and I really know how to put on a show. I will admit to lip-syncing, though, but unlike Beyoncé, I have a good excuse for it.

You have a growing presence on Facebook and Twitter. How easy was it for a veteran performer such as yourself to embrace these new media?

Twitter and Facebook are just the most wonderful things! I can talk directly to my fans from the comfort of my iPhone. I love that I can be anywhere just twiddling on my twitter … and also be using social media!

Finally, I need a drink. You recently appeared on Watch What Happens Live! and served up cocktails to Andy Cohen. What’s Madame’s fave cocktail?

I enjoy my spirits, and I'm not one to discriminate. Women always look good with a martini glass in hand, so martinis are at the top of my list, but sometimes, I need a good tequila to get my party started. I'm not a lady who will turn down a free drink, so I'd say my fave cocktail is the one sent by the handsomest gentleman in the bar!

This Friday at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino, swing will be the thing.

“Swing” is the name the ABC Recovery Center’s Annual Firestone Award Gala, starring the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and honoring John Schwarzlose, the CEO of the Betty Ford Center.

Kate Burke, of the ABC Recovery Center, said the event is part-fundraiser, part-celebration, and part-awareness-raiser—and the fact that this is the center’s 50th anniversary makes the event even more significant.

“We want to say, ‘Look, over 50 years, we’ve become a trusted member of the recovery community,” she said. … “This work is blood, sweat and tears. There plenty of tragedies in our line of work. People don’t work here for the money; they work in recovery because there’s hope, and lives can be saved.”

The Firestone Award—named after Ambassador Leonard K. Firestone, a co-founder of the Betty Ford Center, and a major contributor to the expansion of ABC—was first given to Betty Ford back in 1999. Therefore, it makes sense to now honor Schwarzlose, a friend of the late Ambassador Firestone.

“It seems only fitting, given the 30th anniversary of the Betty Ford Center and ABC Recovery Center's 50th, that John's tireless commitment to recovery would be honored,” said ABC president and CEO J. David Likens in a news release. “ABC has had a very special kinship with the Betty Ford Center over the past 30 years; and that is something to celebrate!"

The event starts at 6 p.m., Friday, March 15, with dinner and the silent auction. (Actually, that’s only partially correct; the silent auction is already under way at Music and dancing get going at 7:30 p.m., courtesy of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, who were at the front of the ’90s swing revival with their big hit, “Zoot Suit Riot.”

The event takes place at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway in Indio. Tickets are $100, and are available by calling 342-6616.

Attendees will also have a chance to participate in a “Perinatal Auction,” in which bidders can fund baby showers for new mothers who are in recovery at ABC.

“We want to embrace the spirit of Ambassador Firestone in giving out this award,” Burke said. 

Monday, 11 March 2013 11:00

The Earthquake: Twitter Responds

Well, as we all know, there was an earthquake this morning. It was a magnitude 5.2, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Or maybe it was a swarm of 5.1 quakes. Ooops, just one 4.6.

We'll get back to you when the USGS finally makes up their mind.

After we checked for damage to Independent World Headquarters (and there was none, save one somewhat frazzled cat), we did what any modern journalists would do: We got on Twitter to see what was going on.

Scroll down to see what we found.

What: The farro calamari salad

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

How much: $13

Contact info: 459-3451;

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

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?


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;

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.