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Previews

12 Dec 2014
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Itzhak Perlman has captivated classical-music audiences as a violinist, conductor and teacher for more than five decades. He’s easily one of the world’s most-recognizable classical musicians, and easily sells out venues around the world. In fact, he did just that here in the Coachella Valley: He’ll be performing a sold-out show at the McCallum Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 20. Born in Tel Aviv, in the British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel) to Polish immigrants in 1945, he showed an interest in music as early as the age of 3. “I just remember a specific violinist who inspired me—Jascha Heifetz,” Perlman said during a recent phone interview. “The sound just drove me to say, ‘I want to do this!’ but I don’t remember the specific piece.” He said an oft-told story—about how he was supposedly rejected by the Shulamit Conservatory at the age of 3 because he was too small to…
05 Dec 2014
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When announcements started to pop up for two different gay men’s choruses last year, many people wondered why a not-so-large area like the Coachella Valley had two such choruses. Turns out the groups have different philosophies—and the two choruses are offering two very different holiday shows this year. The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus—the older, more established organization—will be doing a modernism-themed show. “The theme of our show this year is A Mid-Century Modern Holiday, said Doug Wilson, the artistic director of the Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus. “If you look at midcentury architecture, it’s usually thought of being from 1945 to 1965, and we looked at the music written during that time period. We’re doing ‘Winter Wonderland,’ ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’ and ‘You Better Watch Out.’ We’re doing a lot of the songs that are really familiar to everyone. We’re also doing three Elvis Christmas…
05 Dec 2014
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The Desert Winds Freedom Band—the area’s LGBT-friendly concert band—is known for its fantastic Christmas shows. See for yourself when the band performs Joy: A Holiday Celebration at 2 p.m., this Sunday, Dec. 7, at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs. During a recent interview, founder Gary Moline discussed the beginnings of the Desert Winds Freedom Band. “We started out as a community band in 2001, as a gay-friendly group,” Moline said. “We started out as a concert band—symphonic winds, which is like an orchestra without strings.” Under artistic director Dean McDowell, the group performs various programs throughout the year. “We put on four major concerts a year; we have usually a holiday concert, a spring concert, and a summer concert at the Rancho Mirage Library,” Moline said. “The only marching we do is once a year, for the Pride Parade. We invite other members from other bands in the area to…
08 Dec 2014
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John Robbins is best known as a drummer for the local band Sunday Funeral, although he’s actually a talented multi-instrumentalist. The musician has accomplished much despite his eyesight: He’s completely blind in one eye, and only has a small percentage of his vision left the other. He recently wrote a book about his journey, Echo of Sight. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 27, he’ll host a release party and book-signing at Schmidy’s Tavern in Palm Desert. The party will feature performances from Burning Bettie, Bridger, Blasting Echo and Boycott Radio. Robbins is originally from the San Francisco area and has lived in the Coachella Valley since 2001. He plays the guitar, ukulele, piano and drums, but his main passion these days is writing. “I’m always writing,” Robbins said during a recent interview. “Even when I’m out, I’m always writing on my cell phone. … I have an idea; I write…
05 Dec 2014
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The Evangenitals are known for their funny name and their amusing songs. Now they’re known for their genius: The band’s Moby Dick; or, The Album is an amazing collection of songs based on Herman Melville’s 1851 classic. See them bring the smarts and the funny when they stop by Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace on Friday, Dec. 26. Juli Crockett Feldman has done a lot of different things in her 39 years. She’s been an amateur boxer and a theater director. She’s pursuing a doctorate in media and communications. She’s a wife and mother—and, oh yeah, she fronts the Evangenitals. During a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, she talked about how the idea for the band was originally sort of a joke. “Our very first show was Christmas night in 2003. It was our first open-mic appearance that we measure it from,” Crockett Feldman said. “It was at Mr.…
01 Dec 2014
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The Coachella Valley has finally cooled off, and it’s time for the holidays! Per usual, December is one of the slower non-summer months in terms of entertainment, but there are still some great local events to consider. At 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6, The Festival of Lights Parade will take over Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs, with lighted floats, equestrians, cars and celebrities. One suggestion: Dress warm. Get more information at psfestivaloflights.com. The Ace Hotel and Swim Club has some great events worth noting. At 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5, the Amigo Room will host Katie Burden. Originally from Colorado, she moved to Los Angeles in 2012 and formed a band which released its first EP in June. Admission is free. At 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 12, the Fullerton psychedelic band Cosmonauts will stop by. Again, admission is free! Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon…
17 Nov 2014
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Before there was rock ’n’ roll, pop music topped the charts—and Neil Sedaka was one of the biggest pop stars in the world. Then came the British Invasion and a decline in Sedaka’s career. However, he eventually found his way back to the top—and Sedaka will be stopping by the McCallum Theatre for two shows, on Saturday, Dec. 6, and on Sunday, Dec. 7. Sedaka’s musical roots go back to his childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. His father was a cab-driver, and his mother eventually took a job in a department store so she could pay for a piano, after his music teacher sent a note home suggesting he had an obvious musical gift. “My parents never had to force me,” Sedaka said during a recent phone interview. “I practiced six hours a day as a child. I loved the piano.” He eventually won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of…
07 Nov 2014
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I stopped at The Hood Bar and Pizza one day a while back to chat with Jack Kohler, the Hood’s booking agent (and War Drum’s front man). He told me I absolutely had to see the band playing that night, Jeffertitti’s Nile. I went to the show, and sure enough, Jeffertitti’s Nile turned in an unforgettable live performance. The band is returning to the valley, this time at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, on Friday, Nov. 14. The Los Angeles-based band is fronted by Jeffertitti, aka Jeffertitti Moon, aka Moon Flower. You may recognize him as the touring bassist for Father John Misty. The independent music press has raved about Jeffertitti’s Nile, and the band has been praised by devout underground music fans. During a recent phone interview, Moon Flower estimated that Jeffertitti’s Nile formed about five years ago. “It’s changed a lot over the years,” Moon Flower said.…