CVIndependent

Mon03182019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

This whole process started back in August, when voting began in the first round of the fifth annual Best of Coachella Valley readers’ poll.

Now, after three months, two rounds of voting and ballots from more than 1,300 people, we’ve come to the glorious end of the process: Here are the results of the Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019!

From all of us here at the Independent: A huge, sincere thank you to all of the readers who voted. We realize that this is not an easy ballot to fill out—almost 130 categories is indeed a lot— but because you took the time to do so thoughtfully, the slate of winners and finalists presented here is truly impressive. It’s diverse; it’s valley-wide (even including representation of the high desert); and it shows how truly great the people, places, organizations and businesses are that call the Coachella Valley home.

Now, it’s time to celebrate. Please join us at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 12, at Copa Nightclub—your selection this year as Best Nightclub—244 E. Amado Road, in Palm Springs, for the Best of Coachella Valley Awards Party. All of the winners present will receive certificates and have an opportunity to say thank you; after that, your Best Local Band selection, Avenida Music, will take the stage and perform. I hope to see you there.

Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists … and welcome to the Best of Coachella Valley 2018-2019!

—Jimmy Boegle, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Arts

 

Best Art Gallery

CODA Gallery

 

Runners up:

2. Heather James Fine Art

3. Shag

4. Beatnik Lounge

5. Michael Weems Collection

 

Best Indoor Venue

McCallum Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. The Show at Agua Caliente

3. Fantasy Springs Special Events Center

4. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

5. The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Best Outdoor Venue

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Empire Polo Club

3. Fantasy Springs Rock Yard

4. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

5. Rancho Mirage Amphitheater

 

Best Local Arts Group/Organization

McCallum Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. The Coachella Valley Art Scene

3. La Quinta Arts Foundation

4. Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre

5. CREATE Center for the Arts

 

Best Local Band

Avenida Music

 

Runners up:

2. Frank Eats the Floor

3. Mega Sun

4. The Flusters

5. Sunday Funeral

 

Best Local DJ

DJ Day

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Alex Harrington

DJ PWee

4. Sugarfree

5.Pedro Le Bass

 

Best Local Musician

Matt King

 

Runners up:

2. Giselle Woo

3. John Stanley King

4. Justin Ledesma

5. Nick Hales

 

Best Local Visual Artist

Sofia Enriquez

 

Runners up:

2. Elena Bulatova

3. Nancy Worthington

4. Cristopher Cichocki

5. Marconi Calindas

 

Best Movie Theater

Century La Quinta and XD

 

Runners up:

2. Mary Pickford Is D’Place

3. Century The River and XD

4. TIE

Camelot Theatres

Regal Rancho Mirage Stadium 16 and IMAX

 

Best Museum

Palm Springs Art Museum

 

2. Palm Springs Air Museum

3. Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert

4. Coachella Valley History Museum

5. Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

 

Best Producing Theater Company

Palm Canyon Theatre

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Repertory Company

3. Desert Rose Playhouse

4. Desert Ensemble Theatre Company

5. Coyote StageWorks

6. Dezart Performs


Life in the Valley

 

Best Local Activist/Advocacy Group

Boys and Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Animal Shelter

3. LGBT Community Center of the Desert

4. Desert AIDS Project

5. L-Fund

 

Best Gym

World Gym

 

Runners up:

2. 24 Hour Fitness

3. EOS Fitness

4. Planet Fitness

5. In-Shape

 

Best Yoga

Urban Yoga

 

Runners up:

2. Power Yoga Palm Springs

3. Yoga Central

4. Bikram Yoga Plus

5. Bikram Yoga Palm Desert-El Paseo

 

Best Bowling Alley

Fantasy Springs Bowling Center

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Lanes

3. Canyon Lanes at Morongo

4. Yucca Bowl

 

Best Sex Toy Shop

Skitzo Kitty

 

Runners up:

2. Not So Innocent

3. Gear Leather and Fetish

4. Q Trading Co.

 

Best Auto Repair

Ramona Tire and Service Center

 

Runners up:

2. Andy’s Auto Repair

3. Lou’s Automotive

4. Downtown Shell Palm Springs

5. Singh’s Automotive Repair

 

Best Car Wash

Quick Quack Car Wash

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Car Wash

3. Executive Car Wash

4. Airport Quick Car Wash

5. Desert 100 Percent Hand Car Wash

 

Best Plant Nursery

Moller’s Garden Center

 

Runners up:

2. Vintage Nursery

3. Bob Williams Nursery

4. Lotus Garden Center

 

Best Pet Supplies

PetSmart

 

Runners up:

2. Petco

3. Bones ’n’ Scones

4. Pet Oasis

5. PoshPetCare

 

Best Annual Charity Event

Palm Springs Pride

 

Runners up:

2. Desert AIDS Walk (Desert AIDS Project)

3. McCallum Theatre Annual Gala

4. Evening Under the Stars (AAP-Food Samaritans)

5. Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards (Desert AIDS Project)

 

Best Place to Gamble

Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa

3. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

4. Morongo Casino Resort Spa

5. Spotlight 29

 

Best Local News

KESQ News Channel 3

 

Runners up:

2. KMIR Channel 6/NBC Palm Springs

3. CBS Local 2

 

Best Local TV News Personality

Bryan Gallo, KMIR Channel 6/NBC Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Karen Devine, KESQ News Channel 3

3. Patrick Evans, CBS Local 2

4. Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3

5. Haley Clawson, KESQ News Channel 3

 

Best Radio Station

Jammin’ 99.5

 

Runners up:

2. Q102.3 Classic Rock

3. Mix 100.5

4. 93.7 KCLB

5. Big 106

 

Best Local Radio Personality

Bradley Ryan, Mix 100.5

 

Runners up:

2. Jeff Michaels, Q102.3/Big 106

3. Bill Feingold, KNews 94.3 FM

4. Randy Houston, The Big 106

5. Joey English, KGX 99.1 FM/920 AM

 

Best Bookstore

Barnes and Noble

 

Runners up:

2. TIE

Rancho Mirage Library Book Nook

The Book Rack La Quinta

4. Sagebrush Press

 

Best Retail Music/Video Store

The Record Alley

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Springs Vinyl Records and Collectibles

3. Vista Music and Video

 

Best Comics/Games Shop

Game Stop

 

Runners up:

2. Desert Oasis Comics

3. Comic Asylum

4. HooDoo!

 

Best Hotel Pool

Fantasy Springs Resort Casino

 

Runners up:

2. The Saguaro

3. Riviera Palm Springs

4. Renaissance Palm Springs

5. Arrive

 

Best Urgent Care

Eisenhower Medical Center Urgent Care

 

Runners up:

2. Desert Oasis Urgent Care

3. Executive Urgent Care

4. TIE

Centro Medico Urgent Care

MedPost Urgent Care

 

Best Indoor Fun/Activity

Escape Room Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. Get Air Trampoline Park

3. Laser Oasis

4. Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym


Valley Professionals

 

Best Doctor

Dr. Lisa Bodon

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Timothy Jochen

3. Dr. Amanda Curnock

4. Dr. Geoffrey Block

5. Gennady “Henry” Nosovitsky, PA

 

Best Eye Care

Milauskas Eye Institute

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. David Esquibel (Desert Vision)

3. Dr. Greg Evans (Evans Eyecare)

4. Old Town Optix and Optometry

 

Best Dentist/Orthodontist

Hospitality Dental and Orthodontics

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Frank Hernandez (Hernandez Dental)

3. Dr. Larry Kunkle (Palm Desert Dental Center)

4. Dr. Natalie Le (Palm Springs Modern Dentistry)

5. Dr. Ray Cros (Cros Dental)

 

Best Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Mark Sofonio

 

Runners up:

2. Dr. Timothy Jochen

3. Dr. Suzanne Quardt

4. Dr. Natalie Driessen

 

Best Attorney

Walter Clark

 

Runners up:

2. Barbara Barrett

3. Christopher Heritage

4. Emily Benjamini

5. James Jackson

 

Best Air Conditioning Service

TIE

Comfort Air

General Air Conditioning

 

Runners up:

3. Nexgen Air Conditioning and Heating

4. Blair Heating and Air

5. On Call Air Conditioning and Heating

 

Best Personal Trainer

Jaime Jimenez

 

Runners up:

2. Brandon Wertz

3. Ted Guice

4. Francisco Serrato

 

Best Chiropractor

Jim Cox

 

Runners up:

2. Daryl Richardson

3. Nazemi Chiropractic

4. Vincent Savarese

 

Best Real Estate Agent

Barbara Carpenter

 

Runners up:

2. Bob Ross

3. Paul Zapala

4. Valery Neuman

5. Michael Benthall

 

Best Electrician

Desert Pro Electrical

 

Runners up:

2. Hegge Electrical Contractors

3. Electrician4Hire

4. Collins Electrical Services

 

Best Public Servant

Rep. Raul Ruiz

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta City Councilman Robert Radi

3. Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon

4. Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia

5. Palm Springs City Councilman Geoff Kors


Fashion and Style

 

Best Clothing Store (Locally Owned)

Oooh La La

 

Runners up:

2. Bobby G’s

3. Trina Turk

4. Wil Stiles

5. Grayse

 

Best Resale/Vintage Clothing

Revivals

 

Runners up:

2. Angel View

3. Goodwill

4. Plato’s Closet

5. Unity Home

 

Best Furniture Store

Mathis Brothers

 

Runners up:

2. Revivals

3. Ashley HomeStore

4. Mor Furniture for Less

5. West Elm

 

Best Antiques/Collectibles Store

Misty’s Consignments

 

Runners up:

2. Victoria’s Attic

3. The Estate Sale Co.

 

Best Jeweler/Jewelry Store

Tiffany and Co.

 

Runners up:

2. El Paseo Jewelers

3. Leeds and Son

4. Hephaestus

 

Best Hair Salon

J. Russell! The Salon

 

Runners up:

2. Brush Palm Springs

3. Dishwater Blonde Salon

4. Wondercuts Inc.

5. Alankara, an Aveda Lifestyle Salon

 

Best Spa in a Resort/Hotel

The Spa at Desert Springs (JW Marriott)

 

Runners up:

2. Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa

3. Two Bunch Palms

4. Miracle Springs Resort and Spa

5. Feel Good Spa at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

 

Best Day Spa (Non-Resort/Hotel)

Revive Wellness Center

 

Runners up:

2. Studio M Salon and Spa

3. Desert Serenity Float and Spa

4. Bliss Chakra Spa

 

Best Florist

My Little Flower Shop

 

Runners up:

2. Indio Florist

3. The Flower Company

4. Mami’s Floral Boutique

5. Vaso Bello Celebrations

 

Best Tattoo Parlor

Bloodline Tattoo and Body Piercing

 

Runners up:

2. Anarchy and Ink Tattoo

3. Oasis Tattoo and Body Piercing

4. Strata Tattoo Lab

5. Solid Tattoo

 

Best Eyeglass/Optical Retailer

Costco

 

Runners up:

2. Milauskas Eye Institute

3. Desert Vision Optometry

4. America’s Best

5. Panache Optical Gallery


Outside!

 

Best Public Garden

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Sunnylands

3. Moorten’s Botanical Garden

4. Shields Date Garden

5. El Paseo

 

Best Place for Bicycling

Joshua Tree

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Creek Loop

3. Bear Creek Path (La Quinta)

4. Palm Canyon Epic

 

Best Recreation Area

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. Mount San Jacinto State Park (Top of the Tram)

3. Tahquitz Canyon

4. Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area

5. Cathedral City Town Square

 

Best Hike

Bump and Grind Trail

 

Runners up:

2. Tahquitz Canyon Trail

3. La Quinta Cove to Lake Cahuilla Trail

4. Ladder Canyon Trail

5. South Lykken Trail

 

Best Park

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Civic Center Park

3. Ruth Hardy Park

4. Demuth Park

5. Sunrise Park

 

Best Outdoor/Camping Gear Store

Big 5 Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Dick’s Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart

 

Best Bike Shop

Palm Springs Cyclery

 

Runners up:

2. Joel’s Bicycle Shop

3. Tri-A-Bike

4. BikeMan

5. Pedego Electric Bikes

 

Best Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

Runners up:

2. Big 5 Sporting Goods

3. Yellow Mart

 

Best Public Golf Course

Desert Willow Golf Resort

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Desert Country Club

3. SilverRock Resort

4. The Lights at Indio GC

5. Classic Club Golf


For the Kids

 

Best Playground

Palm Desert Civic Center Park

 

Runners up:

2. La Quinta Civic Center Park

3. Demuth Park

4. Ruth Hardy Park

5. Ironwood Park

 

Best Place to Buy Toys

Target

 

Runners up:

2. Walmart

3. Mr. G’s Toys and Expressions

4. The Lumpy Bunny

 

Best Kids’ Clothing Store

Old Navy

 

Runners up:

2. The Children’s Place

3. Carter’s

4. Gap

5. Crazy 8

 

Best Restaurant for Kids

Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Runners up:

2. Shakey’s Pizza

3. Red Robin

4. Old Spaghetti Factory

5. Laser Oasis

 

Best Place for Family Fun

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

 

Runners up:

2. Boomers

3. Laser Oasis

4. Get Air Trampoline Park

5. Escape Room Palm Springs

 

Best Place for a Birthday Party

Chuck E. Cheese’s

 

Runners up:

2. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

3. Laser Oasis

4. Get Air Trampoline Park

5. Shakey’s Pizza


Food and Restaurants

 

Best Casual Eats

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Eureka!

4. TRIO Restaurant

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Caterer

Lulu California Bistro

 

Runners up:

2. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

3. Katherine King Catering and Special Events

4. TRIO/Liquid Catering

5. Lynn Hammond

 

Best Diner

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Goody’s Cafe

3. Keedy’s Fountain Grill

4. Rick’s Restaurant

5. Sunshine Café

 

Best Organic Food Store

Trader Joe’s

 

Runners up:

2. Sprouts Farmers Market

3. Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods

4. Whole Foods

5. Nature’s Health Food and Cafe

 

Best Delicatessen

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. TKB Bakery and Deli

3. Manhattan in the Desert

4. Real Italian Deli

 

Best Custom Cakes

Nothing Bundt Cakes

 

Runners up:

2. Over the Rainbow

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

5. Jensen’s Foods

 

Best Desserts

Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

 

Runners up:

2. Nothing Bundt Cakes

3. Pastry Swan Bakery

4. French Corner Café

5. Over the Rainbow

 

Best Ice Cream/Shakes

Cold Stone Creamery

 

Runners up:

2. Ben and Jerry’s

3. Great Shakes

4. Lappert’s Ice Cream

5. Kreem

 

Best Date Shake

Shields Date Garden

 

Runners up:

2. Hadley’s

3. Oasis Date Gardens

4. Great Shakes

 

Best Frozen Yogurt

Yogurtland

 

Runners up:

2. Tutti Frutti

3. Beach House

4. Jus Chillin’

5. Eddie’s Frozen Yogurt

 

Best Bakery

TKB Bakery and Deli

 

Runners up:

2. Aspen Mills

3. French Corner Café

4. Carousel Bakery

5. Peninsula Pastries

 

Best Barbecue

Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Jackalope Ranch

3. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

4. Smoke Tree BBQ

5. Zobo and Meester’s

 

Best Burgers

Café 54 at Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

Tyler’s Burgers

Grill A Burger

Eureka!

Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Veggie Burger

Native Foods Café

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

4. TIE

Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Sandwich

TKB Bakery and Deli

 

Runners up:

2. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

3. The Sandwich Spot

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Real Italian Deli

 

Best Pizza

Bill’s Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza Bar and Grill

3. Blaze Pizza

4. Giuseppe’s Pizza and Pasta

5. Piero’s PizzaVino

 

Best Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

 

Runners up:

2. Wingstop

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

4. Smoke Tree BBQ

5. Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Bagels

Panera Bread

 

Runners up:

2. Townie Bagels

3. Sherman’s Deli and Bakery

4. Manhattan in the Desert

5. Bristol Farms

 

Best Smoothies

TIE

Fresh Juice Bar

Jamba Juice

 

Runners up:

3. Juice It Up

4. Koffi

5. Palm Greens Café

 

Best Buffet

Café 54 at the Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Grand Palms Buffet Agua Caliente

3. Fresh Grill Buffet at Fantasy Springs

4. Oasis Buffet at Spa Resort Casino

5. Potrero Canyon Buffet at Morongo

 

Best Local Coffee Roaster

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Coffee Co.

3. Joshua Tree Coffee Company

 

Best Coffee Shop

Koffi

 

Runners up:

2. Starbucks

3. IW Coffee

4. Ristretto

5. Joey Palm Springs

6. Sip Coffee House and Juice Bar

 

Best Breakfast

Broken Yolk Café

 

Runners up:

2. Elmer’s

3. Wilma and Frieda’s

4. Keedy’s Fountain Grill

5. Rick’s Restaurant

 

Best California Cuisine

Lulu California Bistro

 

Runners up:

2. Acqua California Bistro

3. Kaiser Grille

4. TRIO Restaurant

5. Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms

 

Best Brunch

Café 54 at the Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Wilma and Frieda’s

3. Broken Yolk Cafe

4. Escena Lounge and Grill

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Chinese

P.F. Chang’s

 

2. JOY at Fantasy Springs

3. City Wok

4. Bobby Mao’s Chinese Kitchen and Bar

5. New Fortune Asian Cuisine

 

Best Greek

Greek Islands Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Nina’s Greek Cuisine

3. Athena Gyro

4. Evzin Mediterranean Cuisine

5. Koutouki Greek Estiatoro

 

Best French

Le Vallauris Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Si Bon

3. L’Atelier Café

4. Cuistot Restaurant

5. Joey Palm Springs

 

Best Indian

Monsoon Indian Cuisine

 

Runners up:

2. India Oven

3. Sam’s Indian Food and Pizza

 

Best Italian

Nicolino’s Italian Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Ristorante Mamma Gina

3. Ciro’s Ristorante and Pizzeria

4. Il Corso

5. Venezia Restaurant and Pizzeria

 

Best Japanese

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse

 

Runners up:

2. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

3. Shogun Restaurant

4. Shabu Shabu Zen

5. Otori Japanese Cuisine

 

Best Korean

Maru Korean B.B.Q. and Grill

 

Runners up:

2. JOY at Fantasy Springs

3. Umami Seoul

 

Best Sushi

Dragon Sushi

 

Runners up:

2. Okura Robata Grill and Sushi Bar

3. Sam’s Sushi

4. Misaki Sushi and Grill

5. The Venue Sushi Bar and Sake Lounge

 

Best Seafood

Fisherman’s Market and Grill

 

Runners up:

2. Café 54 at Augustine Casino

3. Pacifica Seafood Restaurant

4. Mitch’s on El Paseo

5. Roy’s

 

Best Steaks/Steakhouse

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

 

Runners up:

2. LG’s Prime Steakhouse

3. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

4. The Steakhouse at the Spa Resort Casino

5. Chop House at Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Thai

Thai Smile Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. My Thai

3. Pepper’s Thai Cuisine

4. Le Basil

5. Thai House

 

Best Vietnamese

Pho Vu

 

Runners up:

2. Rooster and the Pig

3. 533 Viet Fusion

4. Fuzion Five

5. Watercress Vietnamese Bistro

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Native Foods Café

 

Runners up:

2. Palm Greens Café

3. Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

4. Wildest Greens

5. Luscious Lorraine’s

 

Best Upscale Dining

Spencer’s Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Morton’s The Steakhouse

3. Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge

4. Wally’s Desert Turtle

5. Johannes

 

Best Outdoor Seating

Jackalope Ranch

 

Runners up:

2. The Tropicale

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Spencer’s Restaurant

5. Copley’s on Palm Canyon

 

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Café 54 at the Augustine Casino

 

Runners up:

2. Lulu California Bistro

3. Eureka!

4. King’s Highway at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Mexican

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

3. Rincon Norteno

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. La Tablita

 

Best Salsa

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. Rincon Norteno

3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Pueblo Viejo

 

Best Burrito

Las Casuelas Terraza

 

Runners up:

2. Chipotle

3. Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

4. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

5. Casa Blanca


Spirits and Nightlife

 

Best Beer Selection

Yard House

 

Runners up:

2. Burgers and Beer

3. The Beer Hunter

4. Eureka!

5. Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

 

Best Local Brewery

La Quinta Brewing Co.

 

Runners up:

2. Coachella Valley Brewing Co.

3. Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse

 

Best Place to Play Billiards

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. The Beer Hunter

3. Neil’s Lounge

4. Big Rock Pub

5. Red Barn

 

Best Cocktail Menu

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. TRIO Restaurant

3. Tonga Hut

4. Seymour’s

5. Truss and Twine

 

Best Craft Cocktails

TRIO Restaurant

 

Runners up:

2. Bootlegger Tiki

3. Seymour’s

4. Purple Palm Restaurant at the Colony Palms

5. Truss and Twine

 

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar/Club

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge

 

Runners up:

2. Chill Bar Palm Springs

3. Hunters

4. Blackbook

5. Bongo Johnny’s

 

Best Happy Hour

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Stuft Pizza

3. La Quinta Cliffhouse

4. Lulu California Bistro

5. Jackalope Ranch

 

Best Dive Bar

The Hood Bar and Pizza

 

Runners up:

2. Neil’s Lounge

3. Red Barn

4. Plan B Live Entertainment and Cocktails

5. Score

 

Best Margarita

TIE

Las Casuelas Terraza

Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill

 

Runners up:

3. Blue Coyote Grill

4. El Mirasol

5. Rio Azul Mexican Bar and Grill

 

Best Martini

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. Sullivan’s Steakhouse

3. Lulu California Bistro

4. Purple Room Palm Springs

5. Zin American Bistro

 

Best Nightclub

Copa Palm Springs

 

Runners up:

2. The Nest

3. Zelda’s

4. Hunters

5. Costa’s Nightclub at the JW Marriott Desert Springs

 

Best Sports Bar

TIE

The Beer Hunter

Burgers and Beer

 

Runners up:

3. Big Rock Pub

4. Playoffs Sports Bar

5. Smokin’ Burgers

 

Best Wine Bar

Mastro’s Steakhouse

 

Runners up:

2. La Fe Wine Bar

3. Dead or Alive

4. Zin American Bistro

5. Counter Reformation at the Parker Palm Springs

 

Best Wine/Liquor Store

BevMo!

 

Runners up:

2. Total Wine and More

3. Desert Wines and Spirits (Go Deli)

4. The Wine Emporium

5. Larry’s Gourmet Market and Deli

 

Best Bar Ambiance

The Tropicale

 

Runners up:

2. TRIO Restaurant

3. Dead or Alive

4. Paul Bar/Food

5. Counter Reformation at the Parker Palm Springs

Published in Readers' Picks

Let’s face it: When you think “shopping mall,” you don’t think “cool cultural events.” Yet for the past three years, that’s exactly what’s happened at the Westfield Palm Desert with the popular and ever-growing STREET event.

STREET takes food, art, music and fashion—and incorporates it all into one fantastic event. This year’s fourth annual STREET on Friday, Nov. 2, features a music lineup including The Flusters, Ocho Ojos, C-Money and the Players, DJ Day, the Yip Yops and the Academy of Musical Performance. On-site food vendors include Stuft Pizza, The Grilled Cheese Truck, Jo Jo’s Grill-A-Dog, Baby’s Bad Ass Burgers, Ramona’s Express and Royal Red Velvet Cupcakes. Interactive art exhibits by YMCA of the Desert and Flat Black Art Supply will highlight the event.

STREET is different this year in one big way: The Coachella Valley Art Scene is no longer involved. But during a recent phone interview with Franchesca Forrer, the marketing director for Westfield Palm Desert, she said she hopes to work with the Coachella Valley Art Scene and its CEO, Sarah Scheideman, in the future.

“I have hopes that they’ll emerge in some other entity,” Forrer said. “We’re actually going to be working with Sarah on social media and doing events. So stay tuned, because they’ll be involved again, or at least Sarah will.”

Where did the idea for STREET come from?

“(Our former GM) was looking for something different to do on the property that would tie in with some of the retailers we have that are edgier and cool—that have some of that street edge, like Hot Topic and Vans as an example. She saw the third-level parking deck; this is one of the highest levels in the desert that has panoramic views of the mountains and the city of Palm Desert. I wanted to do something that celebrated the art that’s tied into the Coachella Valley, but also offer things such as food, fashion, food trucks, music and all of the things we love about street culture in one space.”

Forrer explained what people can expect to find at STREET.

“As events grow, so do the number of partners, which makes it all the better, because it’s bigger and better each year,” she said. “The event is sponsored by the city of Palm Desert, which has been extremely generous and supportive of this event, which is great to see. The event is curated by Flat Black Art Supply; they have been working with artists all year, and these artists come from all around Southern California and San Francisco. There’s a giant spray can that will be interactive, and there’s much more interactive art sponsored by Flat Black Art Supply. In addition, the YMCA of the Desert is on hand to help us with kids’ crafts, and we’re going to be doing everything from bubble art to wire sculptures, and making our own graffiti T-shirts and bandannas. People can come and work with graffiti spray cans and help artists make large-scale murals. It should be a lot of fun.”

STREET has grown significantly over the past three years, Forrer said.

“STREET has become an official art setting and is listed as a public art tour by the Convention and Visitors Bureau,” she said. “We had around 1,500 people the first year, and last year, we had just under 5,000. It’s great to have a free event for all ages; that’s part of the appeal. I think there’s something to be said about an event where we invite the locals, but we also invite our visitors.”

The mall doesn’t seem like a place where you’d find a lot of local music, but the Westfield Palm Desert has actually worked with many of the STREET performers before.

“Having the Academy of Musical Performance speaks to two things,” Forrer said. “One, we are a community gathering space for families as well as a place to shop and dine, and two, we love all kinds of music, including rock and how great it can be done by teenagers in a School of Rock style. A lot of the artists this year, we have had play in the mall at special events and retailer openings. Some of the bands have made contact with some of the major brands, which is the link between art and fashion.”

STREET will mark the first time the Palm Desert band Yip Yops has played a local show in about a year; the group has been focused on shows out of town.

“Their career trajectory has just blossomed,” Forrer said. “They’re playing really solid Los Angeles spots now, and this is the first time they’ve been back to the desert in about a year. It’s great to see them come home.”

Forrer said she hopes STREET continues to grow.

“We want to focus on doing more sculpture, because we believe that’s an important piece we want to bring into the (shopping) center,” she said. “We know that shopping is a very different experience now. It’s completely about experiences now, and to document that moment that you couldn’t have online, that you have with your family and friends. I think that art and music coming into the center will be part of that experience.”

STREET starts at 5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 2, at the Westfield Palm Desert, 72840 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.westfield.com/palmdesert/entertainment/the-street.

Published in Local Fun

Representatives of many of the Coachella Valley's top businesses, groups and organizations gathered on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Copa Nightclub for the Best of Coachella Valley 2016-2017 Party.

The revelry was the culmination of a process that started back in August, when first-round voting in the third annual Coachella Valley Independent readers' poll began. The top three to five vote-getters in each category then moved on to a second round of voting, which took place through October. The results were announced at CVIndependent.com on Nov. 28 and in the December edition of the Independent

Held at Copa, the Best Nightclub winner, the party was hosted by Independent editor/publisher Jimmy Boegle. After the awards, Best Local Band winner Venus and the Traps treated the audience to a set.

Below are pictures from the evening, by Independent contributor Cory Courtney. Enjoy!

Published in Snapshot

Various local DJs and EDM artists have come and gone in recent years—and all the while, DJ Day has continuously been turning in fantastic performances both locally and around the world.

Palm Springs native DJ Day—aka Damien Beebe—is the winner of the first Best of Coachella Valley Legacy Award.

During an interview in 2013, Beebe said that he grew up as a latchkey kid in Palm Springs, raised by a single mother. He learned how to DJ on a one-piece turntable from Kmart he got for Christmas one year. Locals who have watched DJ Day for years will tell you they remember that one-piece turntable setup, which he rigged so he could scratch while a boombox played a cassette in the background.

During a recent interview, Beebe explained what made him want to become a DJ.

“Going back to like 1988 or 1989, hearing people like DJ Jazzy Jeff was a major influence on me,” Beebe said. “There was an album put out by the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff called He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper, and it was a double album, and one whole side was dedicated to just the DJ. Before that, hearing the scratching on Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit’—that was definitely the first time I really went, ‘Holy shit, what is that sound?’ It was totally foreign and unique. Hearing that made me get infatuated with the sound of scratching. From there, I tried to get anything I could with scratching in it so I could learn.”

Beebe said that one-piece turntable became the tool he used to learn all of his scratching techniques.

“I would come home from school and just listen and try to come as close as I could, trying to emulate,” he said. “I would scratch old Charlie Brown records or anything that I had, like my mom’s old records—any kind of phrase or any sound I could use. I would hold the tape and the phono button down like an on/off switch or a fader. It was all by ear.”

There was not much of a hip-hop scene in Palm Springs while Beebe was growing up, but he still managed to find local influences.

“There was Club Z, which was this crazy 18-and-over club,” he said. “They did have some dope DJs in there. There were people I have to give props to—people like Fonzo and Ellis—and there were different DJs out here who influenced me, for sure.”

Beebe talked about his first major public failure—and what he learned from it.

“This is the thing that separates my era from today’s era: Back then, a lot of DJs would be at house parties. There was a guy named Renee who was a really dope DJ. The Filipino community out here also had a lot of good ones, too. I remember after a year or two of using my ghetto fucking turntable and tapedeck in my room, I never learned how to work turntables and a mixer. I went to a house party, because I felt confident enough, and I got up on the turntables—and it was like putting a monkey in a spaceship. I didn’t know what I was doing with the fader or anything like that. I completely fell apart, and it was totally terrible. I got booed in front of a fucking house party full of people outside. I still remember the moment, and someone came and pulled me off the turntables.

“I went to my friend’s house that night; (the friend had been at the party), too, and I remember seriously vowing I would come back and show everybody what the fuck is up. It’s those moments when you either fold and give up, or it makes you push harder and stronger by walking through that kind of fire.

“Now, with digital DJing, someone can just buy some shit and become a DJ overnight. Those kinds of lessons and trials to improve are lost.”

Beebe explained how he came across one instrument he often plays on his records.

“In 1999, there was a guy out here selling a Fender Rhodes piano for like $25, and now they go for way more than that,” he said. “One of the keys was broken, and it was a heavy antiquated electric keyboard. It was the sound that was in all of the records I had growing up, including Bob James’ ‘Take Me to the Mardi Gras,’ which is the basis of ‘Peter Piper’ by Run-DMC. I was excited to get that and just toyed around with it, learning by ear. I’ve gotten more serious with it during the last year, trying to actually learn it better.

“My dad played and learned by ear, so maybe there’s some kind of weird genetic shit going on. I just like to be student of all and master of none in terms of music.”

As a touring DJ, Beebe has seen it all. He talked about one time he was on tour with People Under the Stairs.

“I went on tour with them as a support act and to open the shows,” Beebe said. “The first show we did was in Santa Barbara—and someone stole my laptop off the stage the first night. They posed as photographers, got onstage and took anything they could grab, and my laptop bag ended up being one of those things. First night of the tour! Luckily, I had brought a bag of records with me—and that’s one of the benefits of having that foundation.

“I ended up getting it back. I tracked the guy who stole it down, and he was all apologetic and shit. Life is fucking weird!”

DJ Day has traveled around the world, to places as far-flung as Russia, Brazil, Israel, China and Japan. He admits there are times when he finds himself at a loss for words.

“The first time I went to Russia, I went completely alone—no tour manager or anyone else,” he said. “I get to the gig, and the first meal I have in Russia is a chicken quesadilla. That set the tone of weird shit out of the gate. The gig is in this old bomb shelter, and it’s a nightclub. It’s all funk and soul, and all vinyl that this one other guy is doing. The crowd is singing this fucking obscure soul song. The entire room erupted singing this song called ‘Blind Alley’ by the Emotions, which is not even a song American people know. It was so weird to be in Russia, in a bomb shelter, and hearing people sing an obscure soul song. That was really cool to see.”

Published in Features

After six years at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, DJ Day has decided it’s time for his popular weekly ¡Reunion! party to come to an end.

He recently announced that the sixth-anniversary edition of ¡Reunion! on Thursday, March 31, will be the final show.

“Honestly, after six years every week, which is something like 320 nights, it begins to take its toll,” DJ Day said during a recent interview in Palm Springs. “Long story short, I just got burnt out on the whole nightlife thing. It’s run its course, and I’d like to start doing something else. I want to get back into recording music, and I’m ready to move on as a person and just take a different path in my life. It’s been great, but it’s also a very trying thing.

“When I first started out, I talked to someone who had a weekly in Portland, and she said, ‘It’s not easy. You’re going to have stretches of good times and stretches of bad times.’ It’s been up and down lately, but it’s on an upswing right now, so I figured it was time for me to leave on a good note.”

For the past few months, DJ Day’s good friend and regular guest at ¡Reunion!, Aimlo, has not been present.

“(Aimlo) is moving away and hasn’t been coming since the end of last year. For the past three months, he’s been doing his own thing and gearing up for the move,” DJ Day said.

DJ Day, whose birth name is Damien Beebe, said the decision was completely his own, and that Ace Hotel management was surprised to learn about his decision, yet was supportive and understanding. He said he will continue his last-Saturday-of-the-month Highlife party at the Ace.

“The Ace Hotel didn’t even see this coming. I’ve been kicking around the idea for a year, and in my gut, something told me it was time to move on and do something different,” he said.

DJ Day said one of the things he enjoyed the most about ¡Reunion! was the vibe that could often be felt in the room—something I experienced myself many times.

“Trying to Rolodex through six years’ worth of shit is insane. There have been some crazy times, from people dancing on tables to trying to put money in my underwear,” he said. “The best times were (when the crowd was) willing to take a chance and trust me musically, and it creates this reciprocal feeling in the room where everyone is on the same vibe together. It’s a church-like vibe, and everyone has the same spirit going through them. It’s the best feeling I can get through music and playing other people’s music.”

¡Reunion! has featured many amazing guests. The first ¡Reunion! I attended was in 2013 during Coachella, when Flying Lotus showed up and performed a surprise set in the Amigo Room.

“There have been times when I didn’t even know who was in the room just hanging out,” DJ Day said. Lykke Li was in there chillin’ one night in a booth; Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine was there one night, and just other random people. You never knew who would be at the Ace.

“During the first two years, we’d have special guests once a month. Jeremy Sole (of KCRW radio) put together this flier, and I was trying to remember all of the people who came through, but it’s a pretty big list of folks. I just wanted it to be a place where people could come and hang out … and be comfortable. That’s why it’s ‘¡Reunion!’—it’s a place for people to come together. I wanted to create a good vibe, and I’m proud to say we never had any fights or dumb shit happen in six years.”

Along with Aimlo, the aforementioned Jeremy Sole was a regular guest at Reunion, and other local DJs such as Pawn, Pedro Le Bass, JF//Discord and Independent resident Alex Harrington often joined the party. There has always been a spirit of collaboration and openness.

“I’m very happy to be part of anyone else’s success, or give people a platform to do their art of playing their music when they never had (a platform) before,” DJ Day said. “I love being part of the community here and being part of the future of young people. For me to give a hand to anybody, it’s a great thing.”

Despite DJ Day’s busy touring schedule—including various international trips—he always came back home to play at ¡Reunion!

“I was on tour in Europe, and I remember coming back one night (and) getting off the plane at LAX,” DJ Day said. “I went home and showered, and went right to ¡Reunion!, because DJ Nu-Mark was playing that night. I wanted to go and just make sure everything was cool. My wife was like, ‘What the fuck you doing?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, I gotta be there.’

“What has taken its toll, in an emotional sense, is going overseas and playing for like 4,000 people in Tokyo, and coming back home to no love. It’d be like, ‘Where the fuck is everyone?’ I felt like people were starting to take this shit for granted, and it was like old reliable: ‘Oh, I’ll go next week,’ and next week becomes next month and on and on. Then you’re relying on the hotel guests, and that can fluctuate.”

DJ Day said ¡Reunion! has been a true learning experience, because he never knows what kind of crowd and vibe each Thursday night will bring.

“I have to be on my toes for whoever is there,” he said. “Some nights, it’s been straight party shit; other nights, I’m playing Portishead at fucking midnight. It just depends.”

DJ Day has talked about how much effort he put into his record Land of 1000 Chances, which was released in 2013. He said he’s a much different artist now than he was back then.

“Whatever music I choose to make now is coming from a totally different perspective, life-wise and internally, than where I was at that time,” he said. “That was a culmination of events that were going on behind the scenes both within myself and other areas of my life. That record addressed some of them, and I put my heart and soul into that record. I’ll still do that with the next one, but it’ll be from a different place. … I think I’ll be more of an optimist, and my taste has evolved and changed.”

What does DJ Day see himself doing on Thursday nights after the final ¡Reunion! show?

“Watching Better Call Saul on the DVR,” he joked. “No, actually, I don’t know. It’s going to be weird, and it’s going to be an adjustment. I’d like to spend more time with my family. That’s what I really want.”

DJ Day said he’s not sure what the future will hold for Thursday nights at the Ace.

“I’ve been there since Day 1—I used to do sets by the pool, so I’ve actually been there seven years,” he said. “I offered to find a replacement for me, whether it was Aimlo or Pawn, to continue that night, given they know it, but they might go in a different direction and do something completely different.”

DJ Day said he feels very thankful as six years of ¡Reunion! come to a close.

“I couldn't have done this without my man Aimlo, who's been there from Day 1, and my Ace Hotel family who have been nothing short of awesome,” he said. “I also want to give a tremendous thanks to all of the artists who've played ¡Reunion! and everyone who's come out and supported us throughout the years. Much love to you all.”

The Reunion Six-Year-Anniversary Farewell will take place at 9 p.m., Thursday, March 31, at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Admission is free. For more information, call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/palmsprings. Below: DJ Day with Alex Callego.

Best Pastries

Peninsula Pastries

The cute little shop at the end of Palm Springs’ Sun Center strip mall isn’t a place to go for a co-worker’s last-minute birthday sheet cake, nor is it a place that serves trendy cupcakes.

No, this place is something much more unique.

Owners Helene and Christophe Meyer import flour from France to make classic French baked goods like croissants, turnovers, tarts and baguettes. Yes, there are cakes, but they’re on the fancy side—think chocolate ganache, lemon-raspberry and Grand Marnier.

On most days, bread is available fresh from the oven at 1 p.m., but on Saturdays and during the peak of season, you may want to order ahead to avoid the disappointment of arriving at the bakery—and finding your favorite variety sold out.

—Jeff Clarkson


Best Local Musical Collaborator

DJ Day

DJ Day (Damien Beebe) has been holding down Thursdays in the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club with his ¡Reunión! nights for several years now. While the DJ and producer is probably best known for ¡Reunión!, he’s gained a worldwide fan base due to his travels.

He’s also well-known for one other thing: He truly believes in the spirit of collaboration. For starters, he often shares his for ¡Reunión! night with other local DJs, such as Aimlo, Pawn and Pedro Le Bass.

Earlier this year, I interviewed Aloe Blacc, who has worked with DJ Day in the past. “He’s a great human being, and working with him is very easy,” Blacc said about DJ Day. “We both love the same music, and we speak the same language. He sends me examples of music and songs he’s really interested in, and I try to make music that he’ll like. One of the markers I use in the studio is, ‘Do the musicians I’m working with really like this, and will my real friends like this?’ It’s not all the time that I hit that mark; sometimes I take a lot of risks, but for the most part, I think I’m making my buddies and DJ Day proud.”

Far too many DJs these days have a “me first” attitude. DJ Day does not—and that’s a beautiful thing.

—Brian Blueskye


Best Band Transformation

CIVX

It’s been a turbulent couple of years for local band CIVX.

The group played its first show in early 2014, and basically achieved overnight success: CIVX won a slot at the downtown Palm Springs Tachevah Block Party in 2014, and found itself playing Coachella just a few days later.

But all good things eventually come to an end. Earlier this year, CIVX parted ways with frontman and bassist Nick Hernandez. Guitarist Dillion Dominguez took over lead vocals—a move that forced CIVX to reshape its sound and write new material. The remaining members recruited Dominguez’s jam buddy, Clay Samalin—originally a guitarist—to replace Hernandez on bass.

The results of all these changes: CIVX came out on top, playing a session for Jam in the Van, releasing a cassette that included new single “In Trance,” and turning in some fantastic live performances. Dominguez has come a long way since stepping into the role of frontman, while Joel Guerrero’s drumming has become tighter and more intense.

Our prediction: CIVX will continue to make great strides in 2016. We can’t wait.

—Brian Blueskye


Best Community Ambassador

Clifton Tatum, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015

The leather community is full of sort-of-but-not-really contradictions: On one hand, the community has a very sexual and kinky focus. On the other, it’s service-oriented; you’d be hard-pressed to find many groups that do more fundraising for fantastic local causes.

On one hand, the community is dominated by gay men; on the other, the Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert recently held a brunch for women during Leather Pride.

Here’s what I mean by sort-of-but-not-really contradictions: Why can’t a group that focuses on kink and sex also focus on helping others? Why can’t women be at home in the leather community?

Until this year’s Leather Pride, which took place in early November, the local leather community’s official ambassador was Clifton Tatum—a strikingly handsome, muscled, 57-year-old retired Department of Corrections counselor. Tatum perfectly represented the not-really dichotomy of the local leather community: He is sexy as all hell, and looks mighty fine in a jock strap—and he cares, deeply, about the Coachella Valley. He cares so deeply, in fact, that he spent his title year tirelessly raising funds for four local LGBT-youth charities.

In the end, he raised more than $20,000—and bemoaned the fact that he didn’t raise more—all while representing the leather community with class and style in both mainstream and not-so-mainstream circles. (Full disclosure: I helped him at several fundraising events.)

Christopher Durbin, the newly crowned Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2016, has big shoes to fill—figuratively and literally.

—Jimmy Boegle


Best Attention to Detail

Shabu Shabu Zen

A confession: I was disappointed that Rancho Mirage’s Shabu Shabu Zen, the 2014-2015 Best Japanese winner, did not repeat its first-place finish in this year’s Best of Coachella Valley. I mean no disrespect to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse, this year’s winner—a restaurant at which I have had numerous wonderful experiences over the years—when I say that Shabu Shabu Zen is my go-to Japanese restaurant in the valley.

Here’s why: The attention to detail at Shabu Shabu Zen, presided over by the always-gracious Miho Suma, is unparalleled. The quality ingredients that go into the various Japanese hot-pot preparations look and taste amazing. The service offered by Suma and her staff is flawless. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find a speck of dust anywhere in her restaurant.

I remember being blown away one day when she talked to me about making her own ponzu sauce. Ponzu sauce is generally just soy sauce and citrus; if Shabu Shabu Zen bought pre-made ponzu sauce, Suma would probably save both time and money—and 99.999 percent of her customers probably would neither notice nor care. Yet she makes her own—because details matter.

As a result of this fantastic attention to detail, not only is Shabu Shabu Zen one of the best Japanese restaurants in the valley; it’s one of the best restaurants, period.

—Jimmy Boegle


Best Way to Spend a Monday Night

Trivia With Bella da Ball at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

If you’re looking for the staff of the Coachella Valley Independent after 9 p.m. on any given Monday night, chances are you’ll find us in the Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club, sipping cocktails and scribbling answers to random trivia questions on a dry-erase board.

The weekly trivia nights are presided over by Palm Springs’ hostess with the mostess, the fabulous Bella da Ball (aka Brian Wanzek). The crowd varies from week to week, depending on whatever’s happening at the Ace (and whatever’s happening in town in general); the mix is roughly 50 percent locals, and 50 percent out-of-towners. Some nights are calm and breezy; other times, the crowd can get a little rowdier than you’d expect a crowd to get at a trivia contest.

Then there was that time a bunch of liquored-up employees of a So Cal brewery wandered into the Amigo Room for trivia after a company meeting. It’s probably a good thing Bella wasn’t armed.

Anyway, admission is free, and the top teams always win prizes—usually a $50 gift certificate to the Ace. Try it … and see if you can knock off the Independent and Friends Team. Good luck with that.

—Jimmy Boegle


Best of Coachella Valley 2015-2016: Readers’ Picks

Best of Coachella Valley 2015-2016: Best Local Band: The Flusters

Best of Coachella Valley 2014-2015

Published in Staff Picks

After a period of indie success, Aloe Blacc has finally broken into the mainstream—and he’s done so in a big way.

His collaboration with Avicci on “Wake Me Up” went to No. 1 in 22 countries. He’ll be performing at Morongo Casino Resort Spa this Friday, Oct. 23.

During a recent phone interview, Blacc—who grew up in Orange County—extolled the virtues of music education.

“It was really important,” Blacc said. “Learning how to play an instrument helped give me a better understanding of musical movements—learning classical music especially. It gave me a very melodic mind, and I think that’s what helps me write melodies for my lyrics.”

Blacc’s music is indeed very melodic. His music combines jazz, hip hop and soul, while his songwriting abilities have earned him praise throughout the music world. His first album, 2006’s Shine Through, was given high ratings by critics. His second solo album, 2010’s Good Things, was a commercial and critical success, selling more than 1 million copies.

“I think the success of Good Things came from the resurgence of retro music,” he said. “Plus the single ‘I Need a Dollar’ was the theme song to the TV show on HBO How to Make It in America. Those things helped really make that album relevant at that time.”

In 2007, Ace Hotel Palm Springs’ resident DJ, DJ Day, collaborated with Blacc on a song called “Closer.”

“I’ve known DJ Day for more than a decade,” Blacc said. “He’s a great human being, and working with him is very easy. We both love the same music, and we speak the same language. He sends me examples of music and songs he’s really interested in, and I try to make music that he’ll like. One of the markers I use in the studio is, ‘Do the musicians I’m working with really like this, and will my real friends like this?’ It’s not all the time that I hit that mark; sometimes I take a lot of risks, but for the most part, I think I’m making my buddies and DJ Day proud.

“I value DJ Day’s opinion. I think it’s important for a DJ to not to be doing what everyone else is doing, and that’s what makes him one of the best DJs in the country. ”

His success with Avicii on the mega-hit “Wake Me Up” in 2013 launched Blacc fully into the mainstream. While performing in the Mojave Tent at Coachella in 2014, he drew a bigger audience than the tent could hold.

“I didn’t expect that at all,” he said about the song’s incredible success. “Luckily at the time, dance music was really taking off and becoming the pop music of the modern day. Lyrically, I think was able to capture something that resonated with a lot of people around the world. I think that’s why people choose to play it so often, remix it or cover it.”

In November 2014, Blacc wrote an opinion piece for Wired magazine on the subject of streaming services; he said these services are killing the music industry because they do not adequately pay artists. He explained that he only received about $4,000 after splitting Pandora royalties three ways for “Wake Me Up.”

“The (industry players) all have different stakes in the game,” he said. “The record labels are the ones who have already invested in Spotify and the other companies, and they prefer not to be too public about income, because they’re part-owners. They don’t distribute the funds to the artists equally. There are also the performing-rights organizations that collect for every song that’s streamed, and they’re bound by government entities. The Department of Justice limits the amount of money that an artist can make with a song they write that gets streamed, which is absolutely crazy. You go to the grocery store, and the store can sell apples for any price they want, and this court is coming down and saying, ‘Aloe Blacc, you can’t sell your song for as much as you want. We’re going to tell you it’s only worth this much. In fact, we’re not even going to consider the market; we’re just going to tell you what it’s worth.’ I think it’s really pitiful. I think it will change, but it’s going to be very slow. I don’t have the same amount of money the Koch brothers have to pay the right people to change anything.”

Blacc said he has new material in the works.

“I’m working on my next album,” he revealed. “I’m writing new songs and trying to figure out the sound for the next album. For me, everything starts with the songs. A capella, over the piano, over the guitar—and if it’s good, it’s going to get produced. I’m trying to determine what format I’m going to produce it in.”

Aloe Blacc will perform at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23, at Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, in Cabazon. Tickets are $55 to $65. For tickets or more information, call 800-252-4499, or visit www.morongocasinoresort.com.

Published in Previews

The airwaves of Los Angeles’ KCRW reach into the Coachella Valley at 89.3 FM, so you may have heard the work of Jeremy Sole, a delightfully eccentric DJ who plays salsa, disco, jazz, soul and blues.

You may have also heard him at DJ Day’s ¡Reunión! Show, held Thursdays at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club; Sole is a regular guest.

Sole has had an extensive career as a DJ and radio host. He’s performed at Coachella and has been around the world with some big names; in fact, he was the last DJ to open a show for Ray Charles. He’s also worked in the studio with Ms. Lauryn Hill, and has remixed David Bowie, Femi Kuti, Thievery Corporation and many others.

During a recent interview at the Ace just before he took over the mixing board from DJ Day, Sole began with the story of his childhood in Chicago.

“There were no musicians in my family, per se,” Sole said, “but I think from a really early age, my parents realized how much I loved music. My mom would always make a playlist of what she was going to play when she picked me up at school. I’d get in the car, and it would be ultra-corny, like Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out.’ It started being really thematic, where every moment of my life had a song to go along with it.”

Inspired by the hip-hop movement in the ’80s, Sole began DJing, in addition to skateboarding and doing graffiti art. He described himself as a “punk” when it came to his home life and school—and he eventually left both for a garden apartment that he shared with several of his friends, which led to him DJing house parties, some of which helped him and his roommates pay the rent.

“We would draw up fliers and go to Kinko’s. In fact, most of the next 10 years back then was spent at Kinko’s,” Sole said. “When we did those house parties when I was 15 years old, we promoted them to other high schools. We’re talking about ’89 or ’90, when there was a big gang problem in Chicago, and we’re promoting in public schools. Schools are assigned primarily based on where you live, and one school would be one gang, and another school is another gang. We had a room full of people where if I didn’t keep them dancing, they were going to be fighting. It did a beautiful thing to me: I realized that music is a great unifier.”

Sole explained that DJing, to him, involves knowing what to play, how to present it, and being able to inspire a crowd. While I was in the same room with him, I could tell that Sole is good at reading both individuals and crowds.

“I’m a sensitive dude,” Sole said. “I have to be to tap into those energies around the room. If multiple people are not on board with my vibe for whatever reason, that’s fine. If there are people who are making fun of me, or they think it’s dumb, I’m picking up on that, too. … I delineate between being a service DJ and the art-oriented DJ.”

Sole eventually got married and moved to Pomona, Calif. He began to throw loft parties that Sole said were attended by “everyone,” including metal heads, punk-rockers and others who don’t often attend dance parties. He also spent a lot of late nights in L.A., which strained his marriage at the time, he said.

His first DJ residency in Los Angeles led to his work with KCRW, an NPR affiliate.

“I was DJing at the Temple Bar in L.A., which was a great club and is now unfortunately gone,” Sole said. “They really did usher in a lot of new and amazing music at the time that has since blown up. Temple Bar opened up a second club nearby, and this one was going to be an all-DJ-based club. They let me pick a night, and I said, ‘How about Fridays?’ They said, ‘Well, we kind of have to book the people who play the hits and pay the bills on Fridays, so how about Thursdays?’ So I did Thursdays. I was blessed by having scenarios where people were coming just for what I was doing. (It turned out) the people who played Fridays weren’t just people who played the hits, but big DJs in town—one of which who happened to be Jason Bentley.”

Bentley is now the music director at KCRW.

“I didn’t even listen to the radio, and I didn’t know he worked at KCRW. One day, I got a call from Anne Litt at KCRW, and she asked, ‘Have you ever had any urge to be on the radio and do a radio show?’ I said, ‘Honestly, no, none at all. I don’t even listen to the radio—no offense to you or your station.’ She said, ‘I think you’ll find that we’re quite the different kind of radio station. Nobody tells you what to do. In fact, you’ve already been vetted, and we’ve been watching your career.’

“It took me awhile to realize how special KCRW really is; The New York Times said it’s one of the most popular radio stations in the world. KCRW is founded on the idea of eclectic radio. If you’re the hard-rock station, there’s no doubt that people are going to tune into that, but this is for everybody, and everybody might not like everything all the time. So we don’t have to just be eclectic; we have to be constantly eclectic.”

Sole’s eclectic taste, style and talent has led to him doing things he never imagined himself doing, such as performing at Coachella and touring around the world. However, Sole remains humble and modest—a man who wears his heart and creativity on his sleeve.

“My success and my career is not just that I’m playing onstage, but that I’m playing on stage with ‘that band,’” he said. “That’s what’s big for me, and I can’t believe I can say that. DJ Day would consider me a friend, peer and equal, but he was a hero to me for so long, so maybe that’s the propulsion that made me realize that I have something to offer, too.

“You’ll always hear me brag that I have the coolest friends in the world; the people I know blow me away constantly. How they chose to surround themselves with me is beyond me.”

Not going Coachella? You’re far from alone; most of us can’t afford the cash or the time it takes to go to the festival.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a taste of what Coachella has to offer: A number of local venues throw affordable parties and events before, during and between the Coachella weekends.

We asked representatives of a variety of venues what they had planned. Some declined to tell us, at least as of our late-March press deadline—perhaps because they didn’t want to let the cat out of the figurative bag too early, or perhaps because the details had not yet been finalized. For example, we’ve heard rumors that venues including Bar, Clinic Bar and Lounge and others may hosting some great parties and events, but we couldn’t get the details. (Watch CVIndependent.com for news.)

Here are four great events about which we have the details.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co’s Pre-Coachella Warehouse Party

We admit we’re a little biased about this one, because we’re sponsoring it: On Saturday, April 5, from 3 to 8 p.m., Coachella Valley Brewing Co. will host a party featuring two stages of music, live art, great food and—of course—delicious beer.

Independent contributor All Night Shoes (Alex Harrington), with the help of with Phonetix Entertainment Group, has assembled an impressive DJ lineup that includes Synthetix, Ivanna Love, Femme A, RowLow and CreamSFV. Caitie Magraw and Michael B. Perez will create a live work of art in the midst of the festivities, too. The $35 ticket includes four CVB beers, and proceeds will go to EcoMedia Compass, a group working to restore and promote awareness of the Salton Sea.

Coachella Valley Brewing Co. is located at 30640 Gunther St., in Thousand Palms. Get tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/594166.

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Pappy and Harriet’s has announced a fantastic series of events going on before and during Coachella, and there may be more to come: Robin Celia, one of the owners of Pappy’s, told me one additional event may be announced in April; watch the Independent Facebook page for details.

Here’s what we already know: At 7 p.m., Thursday, April 10, the Afghan Whigs will play an outdoor show on the eve of their Coachella appearance. The Afghan Whigs announced their reunion earlier this year, along with news that they are recording new material. The show’s opener is Brody Dalle, the former frontwoman of the Distillers, and Queen of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme’s wife; she’s currently working on her debut solo album. Both of these acts should bring the house down! Tickets are $30.

Later that night, at 11:30 p.m., Goat and Holy Wave will be playing an indoor show; tickets are $15.

The good news: At 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, Little Dragon and The Internet will play an outdoor show. The bad news: The event is already sold out.

Pappy’s is located at 53688 Pioneertown Road, in Pioneertown. Call 760-365-5956, or visit pappyandharriets.com.

The Hood Bar and Pizza’s Coachella Kick-Off Party

The Hood Bar and Pizza has scheduled two shows by Mickey Avalon, at 9 p.m., Thursday, April 10 and Thursday, April 17. Avalon is a white dude from Hollywood who raps about drugs, prostitutes and his sexual escapades; he has a rather strange appearance that includes eyeliner and makeup. If you’re feeling brave enough to check this one out, and you’re 21 or older, tickets are $15. There are no pre-sales, so it’s first-come, first-serve.

The Hood Bar and Pizza is located at 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Call 760-636-5220, or visit www.facebook.com/thehoodbar.

Desert Gold at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club

Desert Gold is returning for 2014—even though we reported just the opposite in our print edition, due to incorrect information we had received. The festival will take place Thursday through Monday, April 10-14 and April 17-21

The free mini-festival will feature events curated by Festival NRML, described by the Ace as “a crucial convergence point between emerging artists from Latin America and the rest of the world.” Kindness will be doing a DJ set at a pool party from noon to 6 p.m., Friday, April 11. Later that day, Stronghold with Jonas Acunas will take place in the Amigo Room at 10 p.m. Festival NRML will hold pool parties on Saturday and Sunday both weekends from noon to 6 p.m. From noon to 6 p.m. on both Sundays, The Do Over will take over the Commune with barbecue, booze, and a lineup of mystery musical guests. (You need to RSVP on The Do Over’s website at www.thedoover.net/dodesert14 for these parties.)

DJ Day will be doing his usual Reunion shows in the Amigo Room on both Thursdays, and there’s no doubt he’ll have some special guests in what they are referring to as “Reunion Kickback.”

The Ace Hotel and Swim Club is located at 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, in Palm Springs. Call 760-325-9900, or visit www.acehotel.com/desertgold.

The summer heat is finally subsiding—and that means the Coachella Valley is starting to come alive with events.

Of course, one of the month’s most exciting events is the Coachella Valley Independent’s Official Launch Party, starting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Clinic Bar and Lounge in Palm Springs. We’re celebrating the launch of our monthly edition and the one-year anniversary of CVIndependent.com with a hosted bar from 6 to 8 p.m.; a live art exhibition by Ryan “Motel” Campbell (read more about him in the Arts & Culture section); and a set by Independent resident DJ All Night Shoes. Admission is free, so there’s no excuse for you not to attend! Clinic Bar and Lounge, 188 S. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-864-4119; www.clinicbarps.com.

The McCallum Theatre will host Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9. Edie Brickell will be joining the fun. Considering how much acclaim the funnyman has received for his recent music albums, this should be quite a show. Tickets are $65 to $125. McCallum Theatre, 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert; 760-340-2787; www.mccallumtheatre.com.

The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa’s The Show is the home of numerous great events in October. Fans of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, take note: Daniel Tosh is bringing his stand-up show here for a sold-out performance at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5. While Tosh is known for mocking ridiculous Internet video clips on TV, his stand-up shows are full of witty sarcasm and political incorrectness … which is pretty much what his video-clip musings include, too. Lovers of ’80s music will be flocking to see Bryan Adams at 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 20. (I personally believe Bryan Adams is aging in reverse, as he keeps looking younger and younger.) The “Summer of ’69” singer has been on a “Bare Bones” tour in 2013, during which he’s been turning in acoustic performances of his hits. However, it doesn’t appear that will be the case when he comes to the Coachella Valley—which is a relief, because an acoustic performance of “(I Wanna Be) Your Underwear” sounds like a terrible idea; tickets are currently $50 to $80. Back to comedy: Lewis Black will be performing at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. Expect Black to be his usual, no-holds-barred self; no part of the political spectrum is safe from his rants. Tickets are $50 to $100. The month of November will start out hilariously, as Wanda Sykes performs at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1. (Perhaps the lovely lesbian will drop in on Palm Springs Pride that weekend!) Tickets are $35 to $65. The next day, The Show will host The Moody Blues, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2. The legendary English prog-rock band has sold more than 70 million albums—and has been around for almost 50 years! If those facts don’t make you want to go see them, I don’t know what else to say. Tickets are $55 to $100. The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, 32250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage; 888-999-1995; www.hotwatercasino.com.

The Fantasy Springs Resort Casino is packed with big names this month. Country star Trace Adkins, who performed at Stagecoach in April, will be returning to the valley to perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11. In May, he released a new album, Love Will … . This will be a great show for those who saw him at Stagecoach and want to relive the experience; tickets are $39 to $79. If there’s one show you don’t want to miss at Fantasy Springs this month, it’s Sheryl Crow, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12. After nine Grammy awards, a slew of hit singles, and the release of her new album, Feels Like Home, back in September, Crow is still going strong. Go figure; some predicted she’d be a mere one-hit-wonder back in 1994, when “All I Wanna Do” was playing all over the place; tickets are $49 to $99. Not many music stars are hotter right now than Mr. Worldwide, aka Pitbull, who will be performing at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. Considering the success Pitbull has had with his most-recent album, Global Warming, and the sold-out performances he’s played around the world, you should get your tickets early—if they haven’t sold out already, they’ll cost you $69 to $129. Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio; 760-342-5000; www.fantasyspringsresort.com.

Spotlight 29 has a fun show booked for those who are feeling nostalgic for the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Women of Soul concert at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, will feature En Vogue, Lisa Lisa, Even “Champagne” King and Jo Jo of the Mary Jane Girls; tickets are $25 to $45. Country-music fans should be happy to know that Josh Turner will perform there at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25. He’s touring behind his latest album, Punching Bag, which features the recent hit single “Time Is Love”; $45 to $65. Spotlight 29 Casino, 46200 Harrison Place, Coachella; 760-775-5566; www.spotlight29.com.

Morongo Casino Resort Spa doesn’t have a lot of music booked at the moment—but one show that’s on the schedule should be a real treat: At 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, Morongo will host WAR. While nearly every member of the original lineup has departed, the band is still going strong. With hits such as “Low Rider,” “Summer” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” WAR still has audiences around the world craving live performances; tickets are $20.25 to $26.75 via Ticketmaster. Morongo Casino Resort Spa, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon; 800-252-4499; www.morongocasinoresort.com.

If you feel like traveling off the beaten path, Pappy and Harriet’s continues to book great bands while cooking up the barbecue. We have room to mention just three of many shows this coming month. In the fall of 2010, Pappy’s hosted Bright Eyes front-man and king of the hipsters Conor Oberst. I was one of the attendees crammed into the restaurant for Oberst’s performance, which featured the Felice Brothers as his backing band; it was a marvelous show. Well, Conor is coming back for another performance with the Felice Brothers, at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10. He’ll be performing on the outdoor stage this time—but the show is nearly sold out, so you’d better buy your tickets now. Get there early so you can watch the Felice Brothers open (sans Conor); they are one of the best modern folk-revival bands out there. Tickets are a steal at $20. The Day of the Dead is the date for Pappy and Harriet’s annual Halloween show, at 9 p.m., Friday, Nov. 1—featuring Joshua Tree’s very own Gram Rabbit. It’s worth the trip to celebrate the spooky holidays with the Royal Order of the Rabbits while taking in the band’s psychedelic electro-pop sound. Tickets will be $10 at the door. If that still isn’t enough music for you, Pappy’s will be hosting a performance by alt-country/Americana singer Lucinda Williams at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2. I remember hearing Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” everywhere when I was a senior in high school in 1999. She and her rustic style of Americana have come a long way since; tickets are $30. Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Road, Pioneertown; 760-365-5956; pappyandharriets.com.

Also in the high desert: The Eighth Annual Fall Joshua Tree Music Festival will take place Friday, Oct. 11, to Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Joshua Tree Lake Campground. The festivities will include performances by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Scott Pemberton, The Last Internationale, and many others. A three-day festival pass is $100, and single-day passes are $40 to $60; camping space is also available for a separate fee. Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Road, Joshua Tree; www.joshuatreemusicfestival.com.

Just down the road, Zena Bender will be throwing a fundraiser for Radio Free Joshua Tree at the Sky Village Swap Meet in Yucca Valley at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9. The online radio station, started by Ted Quinn and Michael Roark, has been showcasing local music and a variety of programs—all streaming for free. Of course, Ted Quinn will be performing, as will Rex Dakota, Anthony Dean, The Nobodies and others. Admission is a $10 suggested donation. Sky Village Outdoor Marketplace, 7028 Theatre Road, Yucca Valley; 760-365-2104.

Back down in the valley, The Date Shed will feature a performance by Helmet at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12. Helmet is a highly influential alternative metal band, quite popular in the mid-to-late ’90s, often mentioned in the same breath as the Melvins, Tool, the Deftones and System of a Down—but don’t call them a “nu-metal band.” Tickets are $20. The Date Shed, 50725 Monroe St., Indio; 760-775-6699; www.dateshedmusic.com.

DJ Day informed me that in addition to his weekly ¡Reunion! shows at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club (10 p.m., each Thursday), he will be adding a monthly show called Highlife, on the last Saturday of every month: Catch it on Saturday, Oct. 26. When I asked DJ Day what will be different, he said Highlife will offer more of a party vibe, adding: “I doubt I’ll be playing Tame Impala and African funk on Saturday nights.” Admission is free. Ace Hotel and Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; 760-325-9900; www.acehotel.com/palmsprings.

The LGBT Community Center of the Desert will be throwing the annual Center Stage gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30. The gala will start with a cocktail reception and silent auction. Later, enjoy a concert by The Voice finalist Frenchie Davis, emceed by Alec Mapa from AMC’s Showville. Tickets are $85 for members of the Center, and $100 for nonmembers. Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs; call the LGBT Community Center of the Desert at 760-416-7790; www.thecenterps.org.

The new Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs is slated to open on Friday, Oct. 4, and it will be the spot for BB Ingle’s Annual Halloween Party. Ingle will be teaming up with Troupe Productions for the party at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31. It will feature a Monster Rock Ball as in previous years, but Troupe Productions and Ingle are promising to take the party to a whole new level this year. Tickets start at $40. Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs, 150 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs; get tickets at www.feartastic.com.

Submit your music information to Brian Blueskye at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Previews

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