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Fri11222019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Disco queen France Joli is coming to the Copa on Friday, March 9—and the singer, known for her disco hits “Gonna Get Over You” and “Come to Me,” plans on debuting a brand-new gay-anthem medley that evening.

Joli said she had just finished recording the new 10-minute-long medley, which will feature current and classic dance-club hits, when we spoke over the phone. She asked me not to reveal the songs she will be covering—but I will say there wasn’t one hit she mentioned that didn’t make me want to dance. During her show, she also plans to sing her disco hits, while showing off her vocal range with some ballads—all while telling a few stories.

This won’t be Joli’s first time in Palm Springs—in fact, the Montreal native performed last year at the Desert AIDS Walk, early in the morning with the sun in her hair. She also shot the video for her 2012 hit “Hallelujah” in the High Desert.

“This place grounds me, and I hope to move here when I am ready to slow down on my performance schedule,” she said.

A precocious child, Joli said she never had any doubts about her ability to take the world by storm. At age 15, she invited producer Tony Green to produce her first album. He took her up on it, and “Come to Me” was written for her the next day. Her fearlessness is something she attributes to her mother, who encouraged her to always “get on the bus and see where it takes you.” She was just 4 years old when she told her mother she was going to be a singer—and took on Barbra Streisand as her first vocal teacher, listening to her records, learning every song and practicing nightly.

I asked Joli if she’d ever met Streisand; she said she hadn’t, although she did get to meet another of her musical heroes: Michael Jackson, on the set of the video for “Beat It.” She said he called her over, leaned in and started singing “Come to Me” in her ear; she describes it as one of the greatest moments of her life.

Commemorated in the 2003 documentary Where Ocean Meets Sky is Joli’s breakout performance at Fire Island Pines. Donna Summer had to cancel her show due to illness, and Joli was brought on as her replacement—and so began her love affair with the gay community. In her first American performance, the 16-year-old went onstage at 2 a.m., with 5,000 gay men opening their arms and hearts to her.

Joli said she was deeply affected by the AIDS epidemic. She said, with a shaky voice, that most of the people she sang for on Fire Island were taken from her and the rest of the world. She talked wistfully about the people she lost personally—as well as the long-term survivors who are thankfully still in her life.

Although she said she didn’t want to get political, Joli said she couldn’t help but be concerned about the backward direction in which the world seems to be heading.

“My mantra is: ‘The only time it’s necessary to go backward is when you are about to jump forward,’” she said.

France Joli will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, March 9, at the Copa Palm Springs, 244 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $25. For tickets or more information, visit www.eventbrite.com.

Published in Previews

It’s time to celebrate the beginning of the end of summer with some great events!

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino has some big names scheduled for September. Funny man George Lopez will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6. The Mexican-American comedian’s impressive career has included his own talk show, several sitcoms and various other acting credits. Tickets are $39 to $99. If that’s not a big enough name for you, sit down, because Diana Ross will be returning to the Coachella Valley for a performance at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20. The former Supremes singer is a Motown legend and R&B powerhouse. At 70 years old, she’s still going strong. Tickets are $49 to $109. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 800-827-2946; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple of excellent events worth mentioning. The first one: Janelle Monae is performing at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12. The psychedelic soul singer has performed at Coachella, won six Grammy awards, and supported many artists on various tours. Hers is not typical R&B music by any means. Tickets are $45 to $75. Peter Frampton (right) will take the stage at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19. If you were a child of the ’70s, you definitely were enveloped in the music of Peter Frampton. It’s been said that everyone once owned his record Frampton Comes Alive, because it came with free samples of Tide in the mail. Tickets are $50 to $70. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa has an event in September that you definitely shouldn’t miss: The legendary Engelbert Humperdinck (below) will be appearing at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19. The British crooner’s career goes back to 1956, and he enjoys a large following of female fans of all different ages. Legend says that he has more notches on his bedpost than Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead and Gene Simmons of KISS. Tickets are $59 to $69. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club has some great things going on during September. On Friday, Sept. 12, and Saturday, Sept. 13, the Ace Hotel will host Beer Culture: Craft Beer Weekend. There will be more than 20 craft breweries on hand, including the local big three: Coachella Valley Brewing Company, La Quinta Brewing Co., and Babe’s. There will be live music from Tijuana Panthers, Beach Party, RT n the 44s, and Pearl Charles and the Pipes Canyon Band. Prices vary. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The Copa in Palm Springs is offering an impressive lineup in September. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6, the Copa will host American Idol contestant Melinda Doolittle. Doolittle finished third during the show’s sixth season and almost always received praise from the judges. Tickets are $27.50 to $37.50. Drag legend Charles Busch will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20. Busch is also known as a playwright and a singer. Tickets are $35 to $65. Nita Whitaker, a vocalist who has shared the stage with Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27. Tickets are $25 to $40. The Copa Palm Springs, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.coparoomps.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has had an excellent summer and has an awesome schedule coming up for the fall. In September, Pappy’s is hosting one event you don’t want to miss: The reunited Cibo Matto will be appearing at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 28. The indie-rock band fronted by two Japanese women, Yuka Honda and Miho Matori, reunited in 2011 after almost a decade-long breakup. Yuka Honda worked with Damon Albarn as part of the animated band Gorillaz. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza has a big fall and winter ahead, according to The Hood’s booking man, Jack Kohler. John Garcia of Kyuss will be having his album-release party at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 5. This is the celebration of his self-titled solo album, which has been getting good reviews. Admission is $15. Now for some shameless self promotion (although it’s for a good cause): My second NestEggg Food Bank Benefit Show will happen at 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13. Scheduled performers include The Yip Yops, Burning Bettie, Sunday Funeral and The Hellions. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. The Voodoo Glow Skulls will be returning to The Hood at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19. Also on the bill will be local band Machin’. Admission is $5. At 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27, Arizona punk outfit Authority Zero will be dropping in. Admission is $10. The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-636-5220; www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Published in Previews

The season is in full swing, so there are plenty of great March events to talk about—and this is the last hurrah before the craziness of Coachella and Stagecoach set in next month.

The McCallum Theatre will host some amazing theater events during the month of March; you can read more about that in our Arts & Culture section’s theater listings. Thankfully, there are some great music events as well. Michael Feinstein (right) will be stopping by for performances at 8 p.m., Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8. Feinstein was mentored by the late Ira Gershwin, and he’s been labeled as the “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook.” This is one you won’t want to miss. Tickets are $65 to $105. Jazz-vocalist Steve Tyrell will be appearing at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 22. Tyrell makes vocal pop classics cool for modern audiences—and has been doing so for more than 40 years. Tickets are $45 to $85.McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa has a couple of events that should be, in a word, huge—on back-to-back nights, no less. At 9 p.m., Friday, March 21, Everybody Loves Raymond stars Ray Romano and Brad Garrett will be performing. The TV show focused on the Barone family, and was based on the real-life experiences of Romano and some of the show’s production and writing staff. It was a huge hit during its entire nine-year run on CBS—in large part due to the talents of comedians-turned-actors Romano and Garrett. Tickets are $65 to $85. In a rather spectacular booking, Liza Minnelli will be coming to the desert at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 22. The daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli has made quite a name for herself both musically and on the big screen. More recently, she became a hit on TV as well, thanks to her hilarious portrayal of Lucille 2 on Arrested Development. Of course, she’s also famous due to some personal issues, including alcoholism and a strange marriage to David Gest, who filed a lawsuit against Minnelli for alleged physical abuse. (The suit was later dismissed.) Still, she’s a true icon—and an inspiration for many famous drag performers! Tickets are $80 to $120. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino will host great events throughout March that should draw big crowds. At 8 p.m., Friday, March 7, Daryl Hall and John Oates will be playing. Hall and Oates are icons of ’80s pop music, best known for “Maneater” and “You Make My Dreams.” Meanwhile, video-game lovers know them thanks to the appearance of “Out of Touch” on the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack. Tickets are $49 to $79. R&B superstar John Legend will be stopping by at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 22. While many modern “R&B” singers don’t really have a lot of R&B in their music, Legend is a genuine soul singer with elements of Motown and Stax Records in his sound. In 2010, Legend and The Roots teamed up for the album Wake Up, which was a huge hit. Tickets are $49 to $89. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

At Spotlight 29 Casino, comedy trailblazer/legend Joan Rivers will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 1. An amusing personal story: I used to work at the now-late Borders Books and Music in Rancho Mirage, and Rivers stopped by there for a book-signing in 2009. At the time, she was being filmed for the documentary A Piece of Work. Well, I wound up in the film, with her sharing an amusing tidbit about Carol Channing while she personalized a copy of her book for me. Now 80, Rivers’ mouth is as filthy as ever, and she looks like a walking plastic-surgery miracle. Thankfully, she’s also as funny as ever. Tickets are $35 to $55. Country-music star Kenny Rogers will also be stopping by Spotlight 29, at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15. The star of the ’80s film Six Pack is also well known for that song about how to be a good gambler; perhaps you should listen to it for advice if you plan on gambling that night in the casino. Tickets are $55 to $75. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace has yet another busy schedule during the month of March. If you’re in the mood for blues, The Record Company will be performing at 8 p.m., Friday, March 14. They’re a group of young, modern-day blues musicians, but trust me: You will enjoy their traditional blues style and sound. I highly suggest listening to their song “Baby I’m Broken” if you want a little preview. Admission is free. The Black Lips will be stopping in at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 20. The Atlanta band is a throwback to the days of psychedelic rock, with a low-fi twist—and an unorthodox live show. Vocalist Cole Alexander often vomits during performances due to a medical condition. Other outrageous live antics have included chickens, setting instruments on fire, and a variety of other things that could have them arrested. Tickets are $18. In the midst of an impressive comeback due in part to audiophiles who seek out rare records and then share information about them online, Linda Perhacs will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 29. Perhacs released a trippy psychedelic folk anthem in 1970 titled Parallelograms, which has since been rediscovered by the millennials. The album featured haunting folk anthems that went the way of an Alice Coltrane album at times; “Hey, Who Really Cares?” is enough to give one the creeps. Now, 44 years later, she’s releasing her sophomore album, called The Soul of All Natural Things. Tickets are $15. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com.

The Date Shed has a couple of intriguing events booked in March. If you had a great time at Tribal Seeds show in February, you may want to attend the Fortunate Youth show at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 8. The Los Angeles-based reggae outfit has played some high profile reggae festivals and has toured with Tribal Seeds and The Expendables. Tickets are $10. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15, Cleveland rap legends Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (right) will be stopping by. As a native Clevelander, I remember when E. 1999 Eternal dropped in 1995, and you’d hear “1st of tha Month” and “The Crossroads” playing on every car stereo. “1st of tha Month” would also go on to be hilariously referenced in Chris Rock’s stand-up comedy routine. Plus there was the unforgettable moment in MTV Music Awards history when law enforcement showed up to arrest Bizzy Bone. Tickets are $40 to $100. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

The Copa Room has some worthy events occurring in March. Comedienne Heather McDonald will be performing at 8:30 p.m., Friday, March 14, and 8 p.m., Saturday, March 15. McDonald has regularly appeared on Chelsea Lately and is now a best-selling author thanks to her memoir, You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again. Tickets are $20 to $45 with a two-drink minimum. If you’re a fan of the Broadway musical Rent, catch Adam Pascal (below) at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 20, and Friday, March 21. Pascal, who played the HIV-stricken Roger Davis in the original cast, is also a talented rock musician. He played Eddie in SLC Punk, and Jack Black’s nemesis, Theo, in School of Rock. Tickets are $20 to $45 with a two-drink minimum. The Copa Room, 244 E. Amado Road, Palm Springs; 760-866-0021; www.coparoomtickets.com.

The Purple Room in Palm Springs will be hosting an Academy Awards screening party at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, March 2. The screening will be part of The Judy Show, and there will be a “purple carpet,” mock paparazzi and a six-course dinner included with admission. Proceeds will go to the AIDS Assistance Program. Tickets are $75. The Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-322-4422; www.purpleroompalmsprings.com.

Published in Previews

IW Club Becomes Vue Grille and Bar

There’s good news for lovers of fine food and drink in the Coachella Valley: The restaurant formerly known as the IW Club has changed its name—and stepped up its game.

The restaurant, located at the Indian Wells Golf Resort at 44500 Indian Wells Lane, officially changed its name and concept on Thursday, Dec. 5. Hundreds of people came out that evening to celebrate the change at the city-owned venue, at a party that included food, cocktails, beer from La Quinta Brewing Company, and live music in the resort’s brand-new events pavilion.

Why the change?

“A lot of people had heard of (the IW Club),” said Scott Winant, the director of food and beverage at the restaurant and resort, “but the word ‘club’ gave off a private connotation. The main premise is to let everybody know it isn’t a private country club, so to speak.”

Indeed: The restaurant is open to all for both lunch and dinner seven days a week (as well as brunch on Sundays, of course).

Executive chef Cale Falk has reconfigured the menus to emphasize a farm-to-table approach, with the use of many local ingredients. Prices, while certainly not cheap, aren’t astronomical, either: Most lunch dishes are in the $15 range, while dinner entrées range from $21 to $38 (for a prime filet mignon).

I was fortunate enough to sample several of Falk’s new dishes at a private media lunch a couple of days before the grand opening, and everything we tried—including the aforementioned filet—was splendid. Other highlights included the Jamie Farms beet salad (pictured above), with “beet soil,” goat-cheese dressing and honey pearls ($15); a seabass dish with Manila clams, pork belly, potatoes, carrots and a sauce that made the plate into a deconstructed seafood chowder, of sorts ($29); and the Medjool dates with gorgonzola, apple and honey ($12).

Yum.

Winant said that Vue is hosting three different concepts under its one roof (and assorted patios, one of which will soon be covered for year-round comfort): an upscale, fine-dining area; a gastropub/bar area, featuring the craft-cocktail creations of local bar veteran Javier Santana; and a sushi bar/lounge featuring the work of sushi chef Akio Naito.

At that media lunch, I got to try some of the fish Naito was offering, and it was amazing. But that isn’t even what I am most excited about regarding the new Vue: It’s those cocktails being offered at the gorgeous bar. The Coachella Valley has been slow to catch on to the craft-cocktail craze that’s sweeping the nation, and Vue has one of the most intriguing drink selections I’ve found in the valley. Santana’s bar menu includes five different types of Manhattans, for starters; if rye or whiskey isn’t up your alley, perhaps something refreshing like the white linen is: It includes Bombay Sapphire gin, St. Germain, lemon and cucumber. The specialty cocktails all cost $10 or $11—or a downright reasonable $7 or $8 during happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m.

One carryover from the IW Club days: Vue offers live music six days per week.

For more information or reservations, call 760-834-3800, or visit www.vuegrilleandbar.com.

Thai Smile Palm Springs Now in New Digs

Thai Smile Palm Springs, the popular restaurant that called 651 N. Palm Canyon Drive home for years, has finally moved to its new location at 100 S. Indian Canyon Drive.

The move into the spot at Indian Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon Way has been in the works since at least May; a representative back then told us that owners hoped to have the new and bigger location open by August. Obviously, that projected opening date was overly optimistic—but Thai Smile management wisely made a deal to stay in their old spot as long as they needed. In fact, only several days passed between the old location closing, and the new one opening its doors.

So far, so good at the new location: On a recent evening, the wait for takeout orders was running at least 45 minutes.

Call 760-320-5503, or visit www.thaismilepalmsprings.com for more information.

Paradiso Closes Its Doors

Paradiso, the newish Cathedral City restaurant known for its pastas and its all-you-can-eat pizza on Monday nights, closed its doors rather suddenly in late November.

Mike Ramos and Chip Yarborough opened the restaurant, at 35903 Date Palm Drive, last spring. After a summer closure during the month of August, the restaurant reopened on the Monday of Labor Day weekend, and seemed to be gearing up for the height of season. However, around Thanksgiving, everything regarding the restaurant went silent, without any explanation: Its Open Table reservation system went offline; there were no more Facebook updates; and the restaurant’s voicemail system became full and stopped accepting new messages.

If we receive further word on what happened, we’ll pass it along. In any case, we’re sad to see this locally owned spot go so soon.

In Brief

The Copa Room Palm Springs, at 244 E. Amado Road, the sister nightclub of The Tropicale restaurant, officially opened its doors with a “soft opening” and a packed house on Wednesday, Dec. 11; watch www.copapalmsprings.com for more info. … The Miramonte Resort and Spa, 45000 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells, has named Adam Votaw—a veteran of restaurants both large and small around the world—as its new executive chef. … Here at Independent World Headquarters, we’ve been getting inundated with news releases about various Christmas Day dining options around the Coachella Valley. We don’t have space to list specifics, but chances are, one or more of your favorite dining spots will be open; that’s one of the advantages of living in an area beloved by tourists. No need to eat duck at the Chop Suey Palace here! Call or visit the website of your favorite restaurant to learn more.

Published in Restaurant & Food News

GREEK ISLANDS CAFÉ MOVES UP THE STREET; DÉLICATESSE COMING SOON

After not even a year at 117 La Plaza in downtown Palm Springs, Greek Islands Café has moved up the street to the spot that used to house Mykonos Greek Restaurant.

You can’t miss new digs, at 139 E. Andreas Road, thanks to the bright-yellow building. Even cooler than the building, though, is the restaurant’s gorgeous courtyard. I stopped in a couple of days before the “official” Nov. 16 grand opening for lunch, and was completely enchanted by the lovely space. (At one point, a tiny kitten zoomed under my chair!) And then there’s the food: The gyro sandwich I had was fantastic.

For more information, call 760-413-3811.

It appears Greek Islands’ move has set off a game of restaurant musical chairs: There’s now a sign in the restaurant’s old La Plaza space that touts the expected January 2014 opening of Délicatesse, a restaurant offering German meats, gourmet cheeses, French pastries and other European goodies. The fare will be available for in-house dining, for take-out and on party platters.

Yum! We’ll keep you posted.

THE COPA SET TO OPEN IN DECEMBER

The Copa—the sister nightclub of the ever-popular restaurant Tropicale, which sits right next door—should open its doors at 244 E. Amado Road in Palm Springs sometime in December.

An email went out to The Tropicale’s regular customers on Nov. 20 promising that the Copa’s opening was “just a couple of weeks away,” and referring folks to www.copapalmsprings.com. That website is chock full of information: “In a throwback to old Palm Springs’ nightclubs, the Copa is fashioned around an elevated performing stage and a stunning U-shaped bar lined with leather barstools, upholstered booths and gilded cocktail tables,” it promises.

It seems The Copa will offer a series of themed nights: “Stardust Swingers,” with swing, jazz and ballroom dancing on Monday; pop and country classics on Wednesday; music from the ’70s and’80s on Thursday; modern club nights on Friday and Saturday; and salsa/Latin dancing on Sunday.

Cliché alert: But wait; there’s more! Further sleuthing led to another website, www.coparoomtickets.com, which is selling tickets to performances by actor/comedian Leslie Jordan (Peanut!) on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 19 through 21; comedian Judy Tenuta on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27 and 28; and other performers going into January.

Since this is the restaurant news column, we should mention that The Tropicale’s full menu will be available at The Copa.

Watch the aforementioned websites for more details.

MIRAMONTE GOES GAGA WITH GINGERBREAD

Like gingerbread? Then you’ll want to check out the Miramonte Resort and Spa’s Gingerbread Village, debuting Friday, Nov. 29.

Varied gingerbread buildings—all of which must be at least 51 percent edible—will be on display in the Tuscany Foyer starting at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29. They were all made by kids, adults, businesses or pro bakers/chefs who entered a contest for a good cause: The proceeds are being donated to the Desert Cancer Foundation.

Catch the Gingerbread Village through Dec. 26. It’s just one of the many holiday events taking place at the Miramonte, at 45000 Indian Wells Lane, in Indian Wells.

Visit www.miramonteresort.com/holidays.php for more.

IN BRIEF

Wang’s in the Desert, at 424 S. Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception on Thursday, Nov. 21. … Las Casuelas Terraza, at 222 S. Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, is getting into the holiday spirit by offering pomegranate guacamole. We’re not sure that regular guacamole needed sprucing up, but this “seasonal tradition” will be available through December, or as long as pomegranates are in season. … Chez Pierre Bistro is latest incarnation of Pierre Pelech’s eponymous restaurant, and it’s now open at 74040 Highway 111, at Portola Avenue, in Palm Desert. It replaces his old Town Center Way digs. Get more info at www.chezpierrebistro.com. … Oscar’s Café and Bar, 125 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, celebrated the opening of its remodeled dining room with a ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, Nov. 20. … The dates have been set for Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week: May 30 through June 8, 2014. The 2013 incarnation was 17 days long, which means the 2014 version will be a week shorter. Find more info at www.palmspringsrestaurantweek.com.

Published in Restaurant & Food News