Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tonight's The Night!

A blue moon is the name for an extra full moon that occurs in a quarter of the year which would normally have three full moons, but sometimes has four. Oddly, it is the third full moon in a season that has four which is counted as the "extra" full moon and called a blue moon. According to certain folklore, it is said that when there is a blue moon, the moon has a face and talks to the items in its moonlight.
According to another popular definition, a blue moon is the second Full Moon to occur in a single calendar month.
Whatever it is, get yourself out there tonight and have a chat with the man in the moon. Tonight he will hear you and perhaps even grant you a wish.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Davey's Hideaway...Love those Crab Legs

Hey, And Check This Out, Weekend Sanders

Thursday May 31 7:30 pm - OPENING NIGHT
Special Guest John Saxon

Cry Tough (1959)
DIR: Paul Stanley
John Saxon, Linda Cristal, Joseph Calleia, Don Gordon
The rise and fall story of a small-time Puerto Rican hood trying to go straight in Spanish Harlem, only to be sucked back into a life of crime by his ex-cronies. Tragic, well-done story of a poor minority youth trying to get his slice of the American dream, with fine performances by all. RARE!
Following the film, All-Acess Pass Holders will enjoy the Opening Night Celebration at the Camelot Theatre - No-Host Bar.

Friday June 11 10:00 am
Special Guest Jay Fenton (the film's restorer)
The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

DIR: Benard Vorhaus
Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, Richard Carlson
A true little gem of a "B" Noir about a window who has been hearing her dead husband's voice and is taken in by a phony spiritualist. There are enough twists in the plot to satisfy any noir fan.
Friday June 1 1:00 pm
Special Guest Stanley Rubin
Macao (1952)
DIR: Josef von Sternberg and Nicholas Ray
Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, William Bendix, Gloria Grahame, Thomas Gomez

Ex-GI on the lam from a petty charge in the U.S., gets his identity mixed up with a federal agent and ends up getting pursued by the men the fed was after.
Friday June 1 4:00 pm
Appointment With A Shadow (1958)
DIR: Richard Carlson
George Nader, Joanna Moore, Brian Keith, Frank DeKova
While trying to scoop a big story, an alcoholic writer becomes the target of murder. EXTREMELY RARE, ALMOST UNCHRONICLED NOIR, in which the late Palm Springs resident Nader puts in a stellar performance as an alcoholic.
Friday June 1 7:30 pm
Special Guest Rhonda Fleming
While The City Sleeps (1956)
DIR: Fritz Lang
Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, Vincent Price, Ida Lupino, Sally Forrest, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, George Saners
Newspaper owner offers big promotion to staff member who can catch a psycho-murderer. Offbeat thriller which is one of the most original and provocative noir newspaper films.
Saturday June 2 10:00 am
Special Guest Kathleen Hughes
Three Sad Bisters(1956)

DIR: Gilbert Kay
Marla English, Kathleen Hughes, John Bromfield, Sara Shane
A millionaire dies in an airplane crash, leaving his millions to his three daughters. One of the daughters doesn't want to share any of it, so she plans to get rid of the other two sisters. Sud'sd up garbage so blatantly bold it defies description. RARE!
Saturday June 2 1:00 pm
Special Guest Richard Anderson
No Questions Asked (1951)
DIR: Henry F. Kress
Barry Sullivan, Arlene Dahl, George Murphy, Jean Hagen

After his gold-digging fiancee dumps him for a richer man, an insurance investigator decides to go the easy route to riches by becoming a go-between for stolen merchandise for the mob. He soon finds it's not all that easy.
Saturday June 2 4:00 pm
Special Guest Alain Silver
Suture (1993)
DIR: Scott McGehee and David Siegel
Dennis Heysbert, Mel Harris, Dina Merrill, Sab Shimono
A son kills his father and tries to throw off the scent by killing his half-brother, trying to make the police think the corpse is his. The half-brother lives, however, and assumes his brother's identity, leading to myriad complications. A neo-noir throwback which is a complete throwback to true noir and a nove, perceptive film about identity. (The writers/directors have a running joke throughout the film, in that all characters constantly remark on the physical resemblance of the brothers, even though on is black and the other white.) RARELY SEEN AND TOTAL UNIQUE GEM!

Saturday June 2 7:30 pm
Special Guest Carroll Baker
Something Wild (1961)
DIR: Jack Garfein
Carrol Baker, Ralph Meeker, Mildred Dunnock, Jean Stapleton
Dark study of a rape victim falling in love with would-be attacker Meeker. From the frying pan into the fire.
Sunday June 3 10:00 am
Port of 40 Thieves (1944)
DIR: John English
Stephanie Bachelor, Richard Powers, Lynn Roberts, Russell Hicks
A woman murders her rich husband for the inheritance so she can marry her playboy boyfriend, then kills him, afraid he might talk, which leads to two more murders. Perhaps the first female serial murder film, THIS MAY BE THE ONLY PRINT IN EXISTENCE.

Sunday June 3 1:00 pm
Special Guest Warren Stevens
The Price of Fear (1956)
DIR: Alber Biberman
Merle Oberon, Lex Barker, Gia Scala, Warren Stevens
A successful career woman goes to any lengths to cover up a hit-and-run accident. ARCHIVAL PRINT; EXTREMELY RARE!
Sunday June 3 4:00 pm
Bewitched (1945)
DIR: Arch Oboler
Phyllis Thaxter, Edmund Gwenn, Hentry K. Daniels, Addison Richards
On the eve of her engagement, a demure young woman develops a split personality and murders her fiancee. Little shown, obscure, unsettling pshchological melodrama that is perhaps Hollywood's first delving into schizoid psychosis.

Sunday June 3 7:30 pm
Blackmail (1969)
DIR: Lesley Selander
William Marshall, Adele Mara, Ricardo Cortez, Grant Withers

Perhaps the only print in existence, this film is a MUST SEE! Perhaps the worst tough-guy-private eye movies ever made, you will laugh all the way through the bad acting, worse dialogue, and pedestrain direction. It's so bad it's good. Marshall plays private eye Dan Turner, trying to solve Curtiz's blackmail problem. Republic cast Marshall (a former singer with Fred Waring's band) to piggy-back on the success of the transition of Dick Powell to tough guy Philip Marlowe with hilarious results.
Followed by Wrap-Party - for All-Access Pass Holders at the Camelot Theatre in the Cinema Lounge. Complimentary Hors d'oeuvres, No-Host Bar

Get With the Program, So to Speak

May 30, 2007
TV Review 'Hidden Palms'
Pretty Faces With Plenty of Troubles, and Secrets
“Hidden Palms,” the new series from Kevin Williamson making its debut tonight on CW, may be the first teenage soap opera visually dedicated to mid-20th-century Modernism. Remove the sex, sociopathology and possible filicide, and you will still be left with a quite inspiring home design show.
Set in Palm Springs, the last patch of Southern California this genre hasn’t yet trammeled, the look is all Eames benches, Barcelona chairs and geometric patterns. The mood is severe, but the colors are happy. Mr. Williamson has created a sick world, but one for which you wouldn’t mind having the swatches.
The clich├ęd aesthetic choice of so many single art directors, midcentury Modern isn’t necessarily the easiest signifier of typical American family life, and that is precisely the point. The families on “Hidden Palms” don’t convene at the table or watch movies together or talk about SAT scores or college admissions. The show is set during the summer, but still there is no evidence that any of the 17-year-olds in it actually go to school.
What kind of people decide to bring up children in Palm Springs anyway? As the resident satanic charmer explains to the newcomer in town, “It’s all retired grays, gays and streets named after dead people,” he says. “People come here to die.”
The charmer is a high school junior named Cliff Wiatt, played by Michael Cassidy, an actor so good at conveying sham authenticity that even when he sniffs, it doesn’t quite feel as if he means it. His mission is to keep at bay the new arrival, the economically named Johnny Miller (Taylor Handley, who, like Mr. Cassidy, is a veteran of “The OC.”)
Johnny begins to suspect that Cliff might have had a hand in the death of Eddie, a teenager who once lived in Johnny’s new house. And it isn’t as if Johnny doesn’t have a whole big pasta bowl of problems already. In another life he wore crew-neck sweaters and his hair neatly combed back. He cared about math and lived someplace where it rained. But then his sweaty, gin-drinking father killed himself, sending Johnny down the road to addiction, then rehab, then unbuttoned shirts and a coiffure in the mode of Jarvis Cocker.
“Hidden Palms” is high soap opera, a kind of “Masterpiece Theater” of unjustifiable television, which means that there won’t be anything quite so much fun to watch all summer. It takes its suspense seriously. It doesn’t tease your attentions so much as kidnap them, with many of the tropes of Mr. Williamson’s auteurism: the love triangles, suspicious deaths, bloody Halloween costumes and nods to gag horror. For the uninitiated, Mr. Williamson created the “Scream” films and “Dawson’s Creek,” and “Hidden Palms” seems the inevitable hybrid of his opposing impulses toward satire and sincerity.
“How does it look?” Cliff’s mother asks him when he’s removing the bandages from her plastic surgery. “It’s bruised,” he responds. “But it looks like the noses two noses ago.”
If I were watching “Hidden Palms” as a 16-year-old, I’d be grateful for whatever parents nature gave me, their refusal to let me drive the Jeep Cherokee be damned. It is hard to think of another television show of this kind that has portrayed mothers and fathers so perversely.
Ultimately, “Hidden Palms” derives its creepy tension from the question of how morally debased the show’s parents will actually prove themselves to be. At best they are dangerously attached or uncommunicative; at worst, criminal, lecherous and pedophilic.
It is a good thing, then, that they haven’t aggressively reproduced. The show is certainly true to the demographic realities of Palm Springs: not a single one of the young people appears to have a sibling. In some sense, “Hidden Palms” marks a radical departure in popular culture’s depiction of only children, who for the better part of the last two decades have been depicted as self-reliant superstars or geniuses (Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rory Gilmore.)
The teenagers on “Hidden Palms” make a strong case for benighted arguments that only children are socially maladjusted, neurotic, disturbed. It seems fairly certain that “Hidden Palms” received no subsidies from the Population Council.
CW, tonight at 8, Eastern and Pacific times; 7, Central time.
Kevin Williamson and Scott Winant, executive producers. A Lionsgate Televison production in association with Outerbanks Entertainment.
WITH: Taylor Handley (Johnny Miller), Gail O’Grady (Karen Hardy), Sharon Lawrence (Tess Wiatt), D. W. Moffett (Bob Hardy), Amber Heard (Greta Matthews), Michael Cassidy (Cliff Wiatt), Ellary Porterfield (Liza Witter), Tessa Thompson (Nikki Barnes) and J. R. Cacia (Travis).

Karrie Trengove and Laura Baca Cocktailing at The Coral Sands

Karrie Trengove, Mary Leinhard, Stacey "the Gangsta" Wilson

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dinah Won't You Blow...the girls to Davey's Hideaway

Ruby's new ride, "Dinah", is really the ONLY way to hit the desert night air. Here we are on our way to Davey's Hideaway for a wedge with blue cheese dressing...Yum. Paris, Laura, Nancy and Ruby are just high on life. May is grand.

Sanders (Thelma and Louise) Marcie Gilbert and Ann Reese

What a life here at The Sands...All this and bicycles too. Thanks to The Sands Man for seeing to all of the bikes being in shape we can ride til our heart's content. Thanks as well to Mr. Jamie Kabler for generously donating this fab Surf Chick rocks.

I Think Nancy Erickson likes The Sands

Sunset from the Courtyard of The Sands is one of everyone's favorite moments here. We are fortunate to have a view up without the ugliness of wires and poles (our neighborhood of Las Palmas had the resources to bury them)...Mt. San Jacinto, one of Southern California's most majestic mountain peaks, is directly west and within close view.

These Desert Nights gusseying up to go to Davey's Hideaway

These warm Desert Nights revving up for Davey's Hideaway...just a short drive away from The Sands in that precious lil' Convertible, "Dinah"...How does it get any better than this?
Thank you, Pam, for your generous gift certificate to Davey's in honor of Paris' 40th.

Poolside Antics with Ms. Baca at The Coral Sands

Monday, May 28, 2007

It's The Start of a Great Day Here At The Coral Sands...a little Cowgirl Coffee

Sander Ann Reese Finding her Bliss

A True Sanders Family...Paris Renfrow, Laura and Lolli Baca


Karrie Trengove and Ruby Montana at Copleys for Paris 40th

Let's see...I had the Halibut...but the best thing was this Palm Springs night Desert Air and the beautiful women (body and Soul) that this Paris Renfrow pulled together to celebrate with...Bombay martini up with three olives, please. The service was extra fine and the setting unbeatable there at Copleys.

Nancy Erickson, Ann Reese, Marcie Gilbert and Laura Baca

Brunch is served in The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Suite...These girls not only look good...They can cook. From left to right...Nancy Erickson (Oakland)...Ann Reese (Minneapolis)...Marcie Gilbert (L.A.)...Laura Baca (Seattle)...French Toast, Scrambled Baca, Sausages and Fruit...yum...fuel for hooping around the pool at The Coral Sands.

Laura Baca, Nancy Erickson and Mary Lienhard at Copleys for Paris' 40 wonder they're smiling...if you just looked at the appetizer list at Copley's you would be smiling too.
Charred Prawns and Scallops over sweet and creamy corn puree, truffle scented shiitake Mushroom Dressing...
Hawaiian Ahi Tacos...Tuna Tartar, Avocado, Green onion tossed in Ginger Soy Dressing...Presented in a sesame Miso Shell and Topped with Tobiko Caviar...Need I go on...

Paris Renfrow's Bash Continues with Leigh Turner and Nancy Erickson

The Ganster and the Hoopster Stacey Wilson and Leigh Turner

Saturday night Paris Renfrow's special dinner celebration at one of Ruby's favorite dining haunts..."Copleys" The food is superior and the outside dining under that beautiful desert willow and the water feature...oh, my...and to boot it was Cary Grant's place before it's transformation to a restaurant...hope you saw our earlier tribute to the man...go back in the blog if you haven't...Stacey Wilson and Leigh Turner are having a good time. I love you guys...but about the red wine stain in C2...

Paris Renfrow demonstrates another Sander's floating technique in The Sands Pool

Floating pink wings and Green noodle...Noodling has an all together new meaning here at the Sands. Get your ducks in a row, Sanders.

Now this Mama can Hoop...(Sander Leigh Turner)

The Gangster of Love...Ms. Stacey Wilson in the Pool at The Sands

"The Gangster of Love", Stacey Wilson, caught barging in the pool a floating "technique" known to most Sanders. You go Gangsta...

Part of This Sander's Day (Laura Baca) is to get both body and brain going...


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Paris Renfrow and her partner, Laura Baca, celebrate

I am always pleased to see Faithful Sanders, Paris Renfrow and Laura Baca arrive at The Sands. Here they are kicking off Paris' Birthday Evening at Citron. Citron is a hipster's arena...and lord knows these girls are the poster children for Hip...Happy Birthday Paris Renfrow...we love you both here at The Sands...and Lolli too.


PARIS RENFROW gathers friends to bring in 40 in Palm Springs

It's a big night and Paris Renfrow knows it. She is ringing in 40 big ones and and has enjoyed each and every one of them. To help her ring the bell, buddies gathered from all over...from left Karrie Trengove, Mary Lienhard, Stacey Wilson, Leigh Turner, Nancy Erickson, Paris herself and Laura Baca...Paris and Laura had helped Ruby ring in the new year with Loyal Sanders David Staskowski and Brian Brock so it was finally here...another monumental occassion to gather. Happy Birthday Paris. Here the girls are posing at trendy bar/restaurant Citron at The Viceroy. This is one of Ruby's favorite places in The Springs.

Sander PARIS RENFROW celebrates her 40 years Saturday, May 26th in the Roy and Dale Suite

Faithful Sander, Paris Renfrow, turned 40 at The Sands on MAY 26TH...FRIENDS FROM EVERYWHERE TURNED UP TO HELP HER find her inner child...Here she is pictured with her dog, Lolli Baca and buddy Stacey Belle Wilson. There was dancing in the kitchen for sure.

Jay Jones Birthday Celebration continues at Dale's Lost Highway

Jay Jones (far left) followed by Jamie Kabler, Bobby and Shari Applebaum. Jay's Birth continued it's celebration into the wee hours on Friday night at Dale's Lost Highway...Thank You Dale...(you may remember that I was making a lemon pie last Sunday night for Jay's actual birthday) ...mountains of pulled pork sandwiches, Cones of French Fries with basil mayo, wild mushroom quesadillas...Would you Look at that cake and champagne. A good time was had by all.

Diana Phillips Artisan Chocolatier Product Par Excellence

Yum Yum Yum....

Artisan Chocolatier and Pony, Diana Phillips Debutes at The Sands

The Fabulous Ms. Diana Phillips swept in on Wednesday with boxes in hand. The brilliant Artisan Chocolatier had arrived at her concept of presentation and product after a good deal of research. I must the word that comes to mind. She is quite proud to bring this dream to your doorstep and mine. Her website will launch in about two weeks time. Watch this place for that moment. I will chase this post with another photographing the product. It will be a must order cherished gift. We love you, Princess Pony.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Cub reporter Libby Knudson files this report from the big world:

Mon May 21, 12:03 PM ET
LONDON (AFP) - A pair of gay flamingos have adopted an abandoned chick, becoming parents after being together for six years, a British conservation organisation said Monday.
Carlos and Fernando had been desperate to start a family, even chasing other flamingos from their nests to take over their eggs at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in Slimbridge near Bristol.
But their egg-sitting prowess made them the top choice for taking an unhatched egg under their wings when one of the Greater Flamingo nests was abandoned.
The couple, together for six years, can feed chicks by producing milk in their throats. "Fernando and Carlos are a same sex couple who have been known to steal other flamingos' eggs by chasing them off their nest because they wanted to rear them themselves," said WWT spokeswoman Jane Waghorn.
"They were rather good at sitting on eggs and hatching them so last week, when a nest was abandoned, it seemed like a good idea to make them surrogate parents."
Gay flamingos are not uncommon, she added.
"If there aren't enough females or they don't hit it off with them, they will pair off with other males," she said.

Ruby Says, "Good Morning, Sanders" in her jammies

Everyone seems to Enjoy sitting poolside at The Coral Sands

My Sweet Daddy, Mel, kept a vigil poolside at The Sands every evening that we were lucky enough to keep him around. What a wonderful place to contemplate where you've been and where you're going. We love you Mel.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lejo: Accordion

Coming to you LIVE from K-Rube on the Green Formica

Sunday Night Video

Joshua Tree in the News

TCS Cub Reporter Susan "Q" Able sends this dispatch from some eastern newspaper:

The New York Times

May 20, 2007
Where the Rebel Meets the Road in Joshua Tree
Photo by Lisa Keresz
For all its desert toughness, the Joshua tree is a delicate creature. With a fibrous, almost hairy trunk and elbowed limbs crowned with spearlike leaves, it bears the solemn dignity of the truly freakish. It can live for nearly half a millennium — no one knows for sure, as it has no real bark, and hence no ring structure by which to count the years — but can survive only at certain altitudes and within a narrow band of climatic variation. It is sorrowfully inept at reproducing.
Scientists tell us that a long-extinct species of giant sloth once fed on Joshua tree flowers and fruit and, in its slothful meanderings, dispersed the plant’s seeds around much of what is now the American Southwest. The trees’ current range, the theory goes, is a much-reduced map of the habitat of their symbiotic pal the sloth. But giant sloths no longer wander California, and the Joshua trees’ range shrinks with the years, the wildfires and the rising temperature of the earth.
Ecosystems are interdependent. What is true for the Joshua tree is true as well for the human communities strung along the highway that stretches above the northern edge of the 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park. This odd corner of California’s high desert is changing fast. The suburbs are encroaching — one long band creeps along Interstate 10 from the Pacific to Palm Springs, sending tendrils of tract housing north and south.
The cities are sneaking in, too. Real estate booms and art-world trends in New York and Los Angeles echo across mountains, rivers, valleys. Williamsburg and Silver Lake are on the march. They both wear hiking boots. They ditch Palm Springs, bored by its luxury spas and too-green fairways. They slip up the Twentynine Palms Highway and climb into the mountains. They feint north to Pioneertown, the 1940s Western-movie stage set, then — skipping Yucca Valley, with its chain-store doldrums and endless parking lots — drop down into Joshua Tree, a dusty little town at the edge of a gorgeous wasteland 125 miles inland from Los Angeles. Here they find a certain “spiritual, poetic, let’s-come-together-and-change-the-world kind of feeling,” as one recent arrival put it. They like it, and drop a couple of new galleries and a wine shop in their wake.
This is America, and cheap real estate has always been part of the deal. Successive populations of Indians came and went here for centuries. Then the gold hunters arrived. In 1938, Congress began signing over five acres of desert land to anyone willing to construct a cabin on it. City dwellers grabbed the plots up, built shotgun shacks, forgot about them. The government took its parcel, too: a giant expanse of what would become the national park to the south of the highway, and to the north another large plot — 932 square miles — for the military in Twentynine Palms, a few miles east of Joshua Tree. Today it’s the largest Marine base in the world. Every United States Marine en route to Iraq stops off here for a month of desert combat training. As an old veteran explained to me, “It’s the best place to do artillery in the world.” On quiet mornings, you can hear the low thud of the guns from 20 miles away.
People came for their health. They came, like the Marines, so they could shoot their guns without having to answer to their neighbors. They came to get away from neighbors. They came because they didn’t fit anywhere else, because the desert has room for even the most oddly contoured sensibilities.
There are rocks — big ones, lots of them — so climbers came, hikers too. George Van Tassel, an aviation engineer, landed in the desert in 1947 at a place called Giant Rock in Landers, a sandbox of a town a few miles northwest of Joshua Tree. Six years later, a spacecraft arrived from Venus, according to Van Tassel, and took him aboard. The Venusians taught him how to make a machine that would extend the lifespan of living cells. He spent the rest of his days building it — an extraordinary domed structure that he called the Integratron. Van Tassel died in 1978.
Nancy Karl came in 2000, dropping out of “a tightly wound metro life” in the Bay Area to buy the Integratron with her sisters. Most weekends the Karls offer “Public Sound Baths” for $10. (You lie on the floor while one of the sisters coaxes music from a series of differently pitched crystal bowls. The vibrations radiate around the dome and between your bones — there’s something to this.) “Inside the building there’s a significant spike in the earth’s magnetic field,” Karl explained. “It’s a very, very juicy spot.”
Hippies came to the area, artists, writers and musicians, too. There was no one to judge and nothing to do. Gram Parsons came here and died: he ingested the wrong amount of morphine and tequila in Room Eight of the Joshua Tree Inn. Today musicians drop in at Pappy & Harriet’s, the old cowboy beer-and-ribs joint up the road in Pioneertown. I once saw Robert Plant join the Thrift Store All-Stars, Pappy’s Sunday-night regulars, for two impromptu sets. I rented a cabin in Joshua Tree last year in which, rumor has it, Parsons, Steve McQueen, Keith Richards and friends used to party. It was wildly overpriced, but the grounds retained traces of its hedonistic past: weird, decaying sculptures, hippie spray paint on the old water tank.
It’s not just the emptiness that draws people to this place. It is also the beauty. The sky goes on forever, and it is almost always blue. When the sun is at its peak, the hills are drab and brown. At dawn and dusk, the colors come out: greens, pinks, yellows, purples. The light bends everything.
Noah Purifoy came to the desert in 1989. He had started doing assemblage after the 1965 Watts riots, sculpturing art from the wreckage. He wanted to work on a giant scale impossible in Los Angeles. A friend donated two and a half acres in Joshua Tree. (The artist Ed Ruscha, who has a place near Pioneertown, later donated five more.) For the next 15 years, Purifoy crowded his land with sculptures cobbled from the detritus of desert life: bathtubs, bed frames, PVC pipe, vacuum cleaners, bicycle wheels. Purifoy died in 2004, but his work still stands. Themes recur: gallows, crucifixion, time. Visual puns take the edge off. A certain desert sadness pervades. This is not the bright desert of optimism, renewal, mythic self-invention. It’s the desert of cracked laughter, plans gone awry, the whimsy of eternity — all the old American pains abandoned to the sand.
Those two deserts have always existed side by side (though “always,” in Southern California, can represent a very short span of time), often within the same person. To get a look at that brighter desert, and what the future holds, I contacted the artist Andrea Zittel, who lives part-time near Purifoy’s place. Her work — sleek collapsible “homestead units,” for instance, inspired by the desert cabins — is as clean-lined and new as Purifoy’s is rooted and dusty. Zittel came to Joshua Tree because “I was curious to find out if there was a way to create a vital intellectual and creative climate for a contemporary arts scene outside of a cultural capital like New York or L.A.,” she said. “I remember giving the place a pretty hard sell to all of my friends back then.” Zittel suggested that I talk to her friend John Simpson, a real estate agent.
Simpson’s office is on Joshua Tree’s main drag, next door to the Crossroads Cafe and Tavern, where rock climbers load up on pancakes. It is not far from a new shop that sells wine, artisanal cheeses and vintage cowboy boots, or from the battered pink communal piano on the sidewalk outside the health food store. Simpson, a former Angeleno with a rugby player’s build, sat behind his desk. He is fairly representative of the region’s latest settlers, and their bright hopes. “I used to work in a suit and tie in a high-rise building and live the corporate life,” said Simpson, wearing a T-shirt and jeans. “It was kind of driving me nuts.”
He is working on developing an “eco-friendly campground and spa,” where “people can experience being outside and learn about the desert but have their comforts, too” — which will include massage therapy, pools to soak in, plasma TVs. In the meantime, Simpson sells real estate, mainly to a niche market of artists, architects and designers.
He arrived at the tail end of the boom. In 2003, only 15 of the nearly 300 properties sold in Joshua Tree cost more than $100,000. You could buy a shack for less than the price of a new car. Then word got out. Prices shot up. When Simpson opened shop in 2005, the market was still, he said, “on fire.” (It has since slowed down.) People who had never visited the desert were buying lots sight unseen. Many of the buyers came from L.A., San Francisco and New York. The boom took the area by surprise, but it wasn’t hard to understand. Ecosystems are interdependent. Housing costs in and around big cities were astronomical. Even successful artists could barely afford a studio, much less a vacation home. So what that it could be infernally hot, that there were no decent restaurants and that you had to check your shoes for scorpions — land was cheap, JetBlue tickets even cheaper.
And the area had been getting a lot of press. In 2002, Zittel organized the first High Desert Test Sites show, inviting artists (most of them from out of town, which raised some hackles locally) to erect installations at sites scattered about the desert. For a few days a year since then, art students, gallery owners, scenesters and journalists have arrived, maps in hand, sniffing out the next big thing. Like attracts like.
A new wave of artists and designers bought property here; designers, too. Stephanie Smith bought a homesteader’s cabin and called it Ecoshack, now a lab for her L.A.-based environmentally conscious design company. The L.A. architecture firms Taalman Koch and Marmol Radziner & Associates are building glass-and-metal prefab homes. Galleries are opening from Joshua Tree all the way to Wonder Valley, 10 miles past Twentynine Palms on the very edge of nowhere. The Red Arrow Gallery opened in Joshua Tree last year. “The price was right, and the air is clean,” said Katie Shaw, the owner. She shows photography and drawings, is planning a film program, and works three jobs to keep it all going. “It’s just nonstop.”
At the moment, though, Shaw is depressed about the Home Depot in the works just down the road from her gallery. And for every sleek architectural prototype built here, another block of tract housing goes up, leaving John Simpson worried that Joshua Tree will soon resemble the places that he, and his clients, intended to escape. “If this area was built out to its full zoning, we’d have 100,000 people here. We have 8,000, 9,000, and it’s starting to feel full.”
The desert might be changing, but it was never timeless. The old desert dwellers wrinkle their noses at the newcomers — “It’s a lot of artists,” one Joshua Tree native said to me, “I mean, a lot of artists” — but the old prospectors didn’t think much of the homesteaders, either, and the American Indians, well, no one asked the Indians.
Earlier this year, I hiked up the sandy wash behind the cabin I was renting. As it snaked uphill, the wash turned into a steep canyon. I scrambled over boulders, hoping no rattlesnake was sunning itself near my reaching fingers.
At last a valley opened up beneath me, uniformly ocher in color, apparently bare of vegetation. Down below, I found that the earth was not barren but covered with low, dry grasses, the occasional creosote bush and, every few yards, remains of a Joshua tree. They had died in a fire 12 years before, hundreds of them.
Many experts believe the culprit was the grasses. Fires don’t usually spread in the high desert — there’s not enough ground cover.
But sediment from L.A. smog has enriched the soil with nitrogen, allowing nonnative grass to take root. Ecosystems are interdependent. Lightning strikes that once would have burned out in a few yards now can spread for miles. Joshua trees are bad at reproducing and can take centuries to grow.
By the time I noticed that the sun was getting low, I could no longer find the canyon I’d climbed up in. I spotted another wash beneath me and, hoping it would take me down toward the highway, hustled toward it. I weaved between the boulders until, about 20 yards in front of me, I saw a mountain lion. It saw me first, then turned and ran. It leapt from rock to rock with extraordinary grace and disappeared.
Mountain lions hunt by pouncing on their prey from above. This one ran off in the direction that I still had to walk, and rocky precipices hung every 15 or 20 feet over my path. But it was almost dark, and I could guess no other way home. Feeling foolish, with a rock in one hand and a pocket knife in the other, I walked on, shouting obscenities, hoping to scare it off. I doubt that I intimidated it, but I didn’t see it again.
For weeks, I didn’t know what to make of the encounter, and still don’t, except that from the vast, denuded valley to the fleeing lion, I couldn’t have asked for a starker image of wildness on the run, and me alone, pitiably human: lost, dumb and ill equipped to deal with the danger or the beauty of this place.
I’ll tell you one more story, because all is not lost. Even with Home Depot on its way, some things won’t change fast. I was hiking home another day, not far from where I met the lion. The sun was setting. I hurried along as the daylight dimmed and the earth turned pink. The shadows disappeared. Then, without warning, the world grew bright again. Gold and fuchsia spilled from the sky. Eventually the cloud cover shifted or the sun withdrew too far, and darkness fell again, but for a minute the earth stayed bright, the desert lit up like an amusement park. I couldn’t move an inch.

Did I say we take Pets at the Coral Sands?

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Precious Jay Jones...Brilliant Interior-decorator-what-would-our-places-look-like-without-him-sweetest-guy-in-the-world-fellow-okie-boy-I-Made-this-Lemon-Meringue-Pie-for-YOU-because-You-Give-to-everyone-else-Happy Birthday...Dear...Sweet...Man...Mr. Jones.

TCS Provides a Rare R U Hip Hint

No, no, no.

THIS is Ani diFranco:

Friday, May 18, 2007


My dear friend and loyal Sander, Bruce Collick (one of these very handsome men...the one in the front in the black shirt) on his wedding day in Livingston, Montana, at The Train celebrating another year...just that much more in the bank of life. This Nuclear- Physicist- fly- fishing- tinkerer-white -water -kayaker-pardner-extraordinaire-daddy-too-figure-anything-out-never-an-asshole-someone-you-always-want-on-the-ship-when-it-is-going-down-cause-then-it-won't-go-down...A BIG OLE HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU over there in Berlin. We love you, Beuce.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tinky Winky Mourns Jerry Falwell

Fighting back tears, little Tinky Winky met the media this afternoon to address the intense speculation that he and Dr. Falwell had a relationship "like a man has with a woman."
"It's true!" Tinky blurted between tears of rage and sorrow. "I always kept a picture of my precious wife in my handbag." Tinky and Dr. Falwell had been secretly married in the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas shortly before The Moral Majority started its anti-Tinky camapign to disuade them from going public with their relationship.
When asked how he was doing, Tinky replied, "I'm blue."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Numa Numa

My ass.

Little Dogs Hit the Big Track--250 Chihuahuas Vie to Be the Fastest

We have cub reporter Allison Gegan to thank for this story!

Janine DeFao, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, May 13, 2007

Photos by Lance Iverson

In the end, it was Clarabelle by a nose.
This being a Chihuahua nose, it was a close race in the regional finals of the search for America's fastest Chihuahua Saturday in a San Bruno mall parking lot. .

The Boulder Creek ankle-biter tore 35 feet down the fake turf to the finish line -- where her owner, Kristel Krepelka, was enticing her with a plastic container of turkey hot dogs -- in a mere 2.69 seconds.

But very few of the preliminary heats required a photo finish. When the gates opened, most of the nearly 250 pint-size competitors ran in circles, veered off course, stopped to sniff each other or even take a potty break in the middle of the track. Seabiscuit must have been rolling in his grave.

The famed thoroughbred used to race on the same spot, now the site of The Shops at Tanforan, and his statue graces the parking lot. With a grand prize of a free trip to San Diego in September to compete against 14 other regional champs, some Chihuahua owners spent months training their racers, using shoe boxes as starting gates and running them down hallways to reward treats.
Saturday, there was some human elbowing at the starting gates and at least one disputed judge's call, but few of the hundreds in attendance seemed particularly intense about the third annual PETCO Unleashed Races. Then again, it's hard to take seriously a legion of diminutive yappers with names like Precious, Baby, Chico, Peanut and Napoleon dressed in tutus, sweaters, fur-trimmed jackets, necklaces and sunglasses, and tucked inside their owners' jackets, purses and strollers.

"You get a particular type of crowd," said Kathleen Sanders of San Francisco, whose Minerva was decked out in a red dress with flames licking the sides. Asked what type, she elaborated: "Insane." Sanders spent the week convincing her co-workers to lift a mail bin off her pup so she could race the halls of their video game company.

Sherryl Lavin of Castro Valley entered her 2-year-old Bobby for the second time, but kept his sister Maggie, dressed in a Tinker Bell T-shirt, on the sidelines. "She's not real bright. We call her the cheerleader," said Lavin, as she pulled the pair in what looked like a wheeled suitcase.

"The poor dogs," said Cupertino resident Bonnie Helton, whose 5-month-old pup, Ellie, failed to cross the finish line. "This is all about the humans."

E-mail Janine DeFao at
This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

RUBY MONTANA'S PINTO PONY (El Reno, Oklahoma, 1953)

We Do Allow Pets at the Sands...