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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

During the month of December, there are more than enough events to keep you entertained—whether you’re in the Christmas spirit or not.

The McCallum Theatre has a great list of Christmas-themed events. At 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5, enjoy a special Christmas presentation from the Vienna Boys Choir. One of the best known boys’ choirs in the world, the group’s various incarnations perform about 300 concerts a year. Fun fact: The boys in the choir are around the ages of 10 to 14. Tickets are $37 to $77. Locals will take the stage at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, in a show being assembled by Best of Coachella Valley radio personality Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald of CV 104.3 called “A CV Christmas.” The show will feature Kal David and Lauri Bono, Ronnie King, Brightener, John Stanley King and others. Tickets are $27 to $67. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, Johnny Mathis will be bringing his 60th anniversary Christmas tour to the McCallum. You can’t go wrong with Johnny, especially when he’s singing Christmas tunes. Tickets are $67 to $137. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some good stuff onstage in December. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2, Celtic Woman will be performing a Christmas-themed show as part of the “Home for Christmas: The Symphony Tour.” Celtic Woman has made a name for itself by performing Celtic music that’s mixed with folk and new-age sounds. The group’s Christmas repertoire is very popular and has added to Celtic Woman’s success. Tickets are $49 to $89. If you aren’t in the Christmas music mood … at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, there will be a performance by ARW (Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman). These three members of YES hadn’t performed together in 25 years, so this is one tour you’ll want to catch if you’re a rock music fan. Rick Wakeman made the Moog what it is today in rock music, and Trevor Rabin’s guitar-playing is legendary in prog rock. Tickets are $39 to $79. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, the Goo Goo Dolls will be returning to the Coachella Valley. I’ve mentioned how annoying it was hearing the song “Iris” over and over during my junior and senior years of high school … and my high school even made the song part of my prom. Ugh! Tickets are $49 to $79. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple of events worth mentioning. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, Penn and Teller will be stopping by. Originally known for magic shows that included comedy, the duo stepped it up for a television show on Showtime called Bullshit!, which featured the duo taking on a variety of subjects, from Sept. 11 conspiracy theories to bottled water and beyond. Tickets are $45 to $65. Looking for something to do on New Year’s Eve? At 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 31, bring in 2017 with Huey Lewis and the News. Huey is a big part of one of my more tortured childhood Christmas memories: I once asked for a Metallica album … and received his Sports album instead. Boo, Huey! Boo! Tickets are $105 to $125. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Spotlight 29 has a couple of intriguing December offerings. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, former Supertramp vocalist and songwriter Roger Hodgson will be performing. He wrote most of Supertramp’s most well-known hits, which have sold more than 60 million records, so this should be a pretty good show. Tickets are $45 to $65. At 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 91 and 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10; and 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, Spotlight 29 will be hosting its Winter Gathering Pow Wow. This Native American custom includes dancing, singing, visiting and the renewing of old friendships. This event is free and family friendly.Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566www.spotlight29.com.

After an epic summer, Morongo Casino Resort Spa’s entertainment schedule has slowed down just a bit—but there are a couple of great December shows worth mentioning. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, Morongo will be opening the Drum Room, a new bar and lounge on the 26th floor of the hotel. The grand opening will feature some great cocktails and appetizers in the venue, which has great leather seating and huge windows offering stunning views of the desert. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, there will be a performance by the Charlie Daniels Band. If you’ve never seen the Charlie Daniels Band, trust me: Mr. Daniels puts on one hell of a show, even though he’s 80 years old and has survived prostate cancer—with a pacemaker installed in his chest to boot. He was a highlight of Stagecoach in 2013. Given this is Christmas, you can expect some Christmas tunes mixed into his Southern-rock set. Tickets are $25 to $35. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has some events in December you shan’t miss. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, Hanni El Khatib (upper right) will be returning to Pappy’s after a stunning sold-out show earlier this year. Hanni El Khatib denied being a blues man when I interviewed him last year, but blues and hard rock are definitely part of his sound. This show is a must-see. Tickets are $15 to $20. At 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 22, it’s locals’ night when The BrosQuitos and Yip Yops play Pappy and Harriet’s. This is a much-deserved gig for both local bands—groups with bright futures ahead of them. Admission is free. After the presents have been opened, and the holiday hangover has set in, get yourself to Pappy’s at 8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 26, for the Evangenitals. The Evangenitals is one of the best bands to see when you’re sad—because you’ll enjoy a lot of laughs at the no-holds-barred humor. Oh, and be sure to stay until the end when the band does its own personal rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Admission is blessedly free. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Purple Room has a fine December schedule. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9,and Saturday, Dec. 10, the Kinsey Sicks will be bringing a holiday show, “Oy Vey in a Manger!” to the Purple Room. The Kinsey Sicks is known as “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet” and is named after the Kinsey scale—with six meaning “exclusively homosexual.” Formed in 1993 in San Francisco, the group has earned a reputation as one of the LGBT community’s most entertaining and hilarious groups. Tickets are $30 to $45. At 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 16, the Martini Kings will be performing. Back in October, when I was at Pappy and Harriet’s for Paul McCartney’s show, I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Marsico of the Martini Kings. He was once a sideman for Bob Dylan, and he told me some fascinating stories from those days. The Martini Kings have a sound that modernism fans will love—and the group should turn in a great Christmas show. Tickets are $25. Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has announced a December show you’ll want to mark down on your calendar. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, Dali’s Llama will be performing, along with other great bands such as Supersonic Dragon Wagon; an old group including Zach Huskey of Dali’s Llama, Hot Beat Pussy Fiend; and Sleazy Cortez. Admission is free! The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

The Date Shed has one event in December worth mentioning. At 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2, there will be a performance by Too Short (below). During the ’90s, when the whole East Coast-West Coast rap thing was going full-force, one man worked with both 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G.—and that was Too Short. While his lyrics are about pimping not being easy (Has it ever been easy?), and “bitch” is nothing but a word to him, he’s a legend of the genre. Tickets are $25. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe Street, Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

Published in Previews

Kal David is a white guy from the South Side of Chicago—but, man, can he play the blues.

Kal—aka David Raskin—appears at Oscar’s Café and Bar with the Kal David Trio on Monday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. for “Blues and BBQ” when he’s not off touring the world. He also plays regularly at the Purple Room.

One interesting fact about Kal David: He played in a band called Kal David and the Exceptions, which included Peter Cetera, who went on to join the band Chicago, and Marty Grebb, who went on to join The Buckinghams.

“Peter was in my band and was my bass-player, and I like to kid around and say I taught him everything he knew,” Kal David said during a recent interview. “He came to me fully skilled, and we were just kids. I was just out of high school, and he was still in high school. I, of course, was alongside him through his career, and I remember when he was invited into that band, which was called The Big Thing and eventually became Chicago. They didn’t have a bass-player, and after Peter and Terry Kath buried the hatchet, given they didn’t get along, Peter came into the band, and he was great.

“When Terry passed away, I did call them and offer my services, as did a number of people who were considered for the position, but they went for a longhaired younger guy named Donnie Dacus at the time. They did what they did, and that’s great.”

David has had a successful career on his own, and has collaborated with a number of larger-than-life musicians.

“I have performed several times with B.B. King, and I could say that he was my first idol,” David said. “I looked at that man playing guitar standing in front of a band, and I said, ‘I want to do that when I grow up.’ Meeting him was spiritual, and no one has a bad thing to say about Mr. King. He was IT as far as I’m concerned.

“I shared the stage many times with Stevie Wonder, opening for him, and (we also had) a few jam sessions. He was one of my first idols, and I still revere him. It’s as if the hand of God came down, pointed at him, and said, ‘You!’ I admire many of the guys I’ve played with, too, and I’ve had the privilege of playing with guys who have gone on to do other great things.”

When I asked David which of his records was his favorite, he asked me if I had kids, and implied that choosing a favorite album would be like choosing a favorite child. However, he then talked about the experience of making his latest album, Living the Dream, with his partner, Lauri Bono.

“We found ourselves in Germany, and we were offered the chance to go into the studio,” he said. “This was all with German musicians, and I called my drummer in New York and asked if he could join us in Germany. He came over and did the record with us. It was a great experience, and I told the studio owner, who is also an organ-player and the engineer, that it was the best experience we ever had in a studio. … Anytime anything was getting tense at all or people were questioning what was going on, the owner would invite us upstairs to eat. There’d be 14 of us taking in a meal.”

David is loyal to Gibson guitars and always plays his sunburst Gibson Firebird onstage.

“I’ve played a Gibson Firebird since the ’60s,” David said. “Eric Clapton was a Gibson guy for many years, and when I first saw him, was playing a Gibson SG. Then he became a Fender guy, for some reason. I can see why, because those Fenders stay in tune: You can throw them down the stairs, and they’ll still be in tune. I actually own a Fender Telecaster, but I can’t seem to get away from my Firebird. I saw Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones playing one, and I saw one in a store, and the guy told me to try it out, and there’s nothing like it. It’s my sound.”

After living in Los Angeles for many years, David said that he and Lauri Bono were attracted to the Palm Springs area for the same reason that many others are.

“I discovered Palm Springs because of the weather,” he said. “I used to come out here whenever I could just to take a couple of days off from the crazy Los Angeles scene. I came out here with Lauri one time, and we actually had four days to spend in Palm Springs in a row, and it was like a big deal. I had the chance to look around at some real estate, and I said to Lauri, ‘You think we could make it out here?’ After we moved here, I was commuting back and forth to Los Angeles, sometimes twice a week. But I did eventually find work out here, and it’s cool. It’s very cool.

“I didn’t know what to make of it at first. Usually, my band is Lauri and me and two other guys. I have a pretty good Rolodex of great players I work with, and now I have a more steady band, which is called The Real Deal. I got called to play this gig (at Oscar’s), and it didn’t feel like it was going to be a suitable place for me, Lauri and a band. We like to make a certain amount of money, and this was on Monday, and I quoted them a price for my trio, and they went for it. I discovered that just playing with the trio and without Lauri, I could do any tune I could think of, or even take requests. I really enjoy the casualness and the looseness of playing here—it’s like a jam with my guys, the Kal David Trio.”

For more information on Kal David, visit www.kaldavid.com.