BYLINE:  DIANE MARLIN-DIRKX

In all the frenzied circus of the calendar we’ve forgotten to speak to a very important subject.  Like, let’s talk Dress Code.  Especially as the triple-digit temps are moving our way, quiet as a stealth drone.  At last weekend’s Chill-chella fest, 95,000 patrons of the musical pop-pourri with bellies and abs tight as tambourines, enough tattoos to open an art gallery and with jingling and jangling belly-button rings ran for cover.  Anything would do to thwart the cold and drizzle:  hoodies, ponchos, shower curtains, garbage bags.  Not a pretty picture.  This week with searing heat warming up enough to curdle the sunscreen, when we asked a weekend fest-going friend what “mode du jour” was rattling her closet cage, she replied, “as little as possible seems to be the ticket.”  Yes, and make it comfortable. Or stay inside. Choices ahead.

BTW: Submit calendar events at least two weeks ahead to publisher@coachellavalleyweekly.com

Saturday, April 21, 9 am.  Shown to rave reviews in filmdom’s leading global festivals, the local Desert Film Society will present the west coast premiere of  Free Men at the Palm Springs Camelot Theatre at an yawningly early hour to accommodate the film’s introduction at 9:20 am and after-movie discussion.  However, they promise complimentary eye-opening refreshments.  This teaser is echoed by film critic Allan Hunter (Screen Daily) who called the tense thriller, “An eye-opener… absorbing drama…that engages both the heart and the mind.”  In French with English sub-titles, Free Men is set in German-occupied Paris where a young, unemployed Algerian earns his living as a black marketer, but when he is arrested by the French police agrees to spy on a Paris Mosque.  It stars Tahar Rahim with the “undeniable screen presence that recalls a young Robert DeNiro,” says Jordan Mintzne (Hollywood Reporter).  If they don’t serve popcorn, we’ll stage a revolution. Okay?

Saturday, April 21, 6 pm.  The Steinway Society of Riverside County will present international pianist and award winner Dr. Giorgi Latsabidze in Concert at a private home in Palm Springs. The complimentary evening for classical music buffs is a benefit for the children’s programs for the society.  Dr. Latsabidze will be performing works by the romantic Rachmaninoff and local Palm Springs composer Joe Giarrusso. Austrian critic Harald Heller profiled the pianist as “…not only remarkable for his technical brilliance but also for his high musical sensitivity.”  Latsabidze has performed in London at the historic Wigmore Hall, won an award in Italy for his score of the film Waltz-Fantasy, and founded Onward Entertainment, an independent film company in Los Angeles where he scored the company’s first film Twilight’s Grace  now gathering rave reviews at film festivals . He just returned from Taiwan where he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 with the Taiwan Symphony. Seating is limited.  For information and address, call 760-341-4130.

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Sunday, April 22, 11:30 am to 2 pm.  The National League of American Pen Women, Palm Springs Branch, invites the public to a Women of Distinction in the Arts Luncheon, Morningside Country Club, 39033 Morningside Dr., Rancho Mirage.  This prestigious local non-profit group affiliated with the national organization of women in the arts will honor Janice Lyle, Ph.D., former executive director at the Palm Springs Art Museum, consultant, and now Center Director of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage.    Proceeds from this fundraising luncheon will provide scholarships for selected graduating high school seniors who are pursuing an education in the arts.  Tickets, $70 per person.  Information, call Kathy Bjork, 760-567-3525; or email pspenwomen@gmail.com

Sunday, April 22, 6:30 pm. The 3rd Annual Opera Under the Stars Gala will honor local philanthropists Gayle and Chuck Hodges with this year’s St. Cecilia Patron of Arts Award sculpture created by internationally recognized artist Tim Shockley.  “Much of what the Hodges do is without fanfare, which is the way they prefer it,” says Arlene Rosenthal, OperaArts president.  There is plenty of fanfare in the festivity!  Truly under the stars, the gala begins on the Rose Lawn in front of the Emerald Ballroom at the Esmeralda Renaissance Hotel and Spa at 6:30 pm with chilled cocktails served among caressing breezes, an elegant sit-down dinner on a velvet carpet of sweet scented grass, accompanied by a musical program and soloists led by director Victoria Kirsch.  Fanfare at its most magical!  Tickets are $125 per person, or $1000 for a table of eight. For more information, call 760-323-8353, or go to www.operaartspalmsprings.org.

Wednesday, April 25, 11:30 am. The Indian Wells Athena Awards were named for the Greek goddess of wisdom, war and wit who “sprung” mythologically-speaking from the head of Zeus, fully armed.  The annual luncheon honors two women of extraordinary accomplishment in our local community at the Renaissance Esmeralda Hotel and Spa in Indian Wells. (Natch.) This year, the awards will go to Travis Erwin, U. of Oklahoma graduate, member of Delta Gamma, public school teacher, certified Public Accountant and real estate broker, who has been a volunteer, fundraising chairwoman, board member and president of too many organizations to mention here.  The Athena award will also be presented to Rose Tijernia-Swearingen, Ph.D., founder and executive director of Life’s Journey Center in Palm Springs, who has been called a gifted educator and therapist with three decades of extensive experience in addiction and recovery.  Individual ticket, $50, or $500 for a table of 10.  For reservations, call the Indian Wells Chamber of Commerce, 760-346-7095.

Friday, April 27, 7 pm. His Girl Friday, a screwball comedy of a film if there ever was one, starring Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant will be presented by The Desert Classic Film Society as part of the  Women in Classic Film series at the Bijou Cinema in Yucca Valley.  You’d think there would be no time for a trot out for refreshments when film historian Christopher Perry gives a mini-lecture on women in the industry, but no.  It’s revealed that his lecture is not so “mini!” There were more women working behind and before the cameras during Hollywood’s Golden Age than there are today.  Actresses, editors, writers, directors, producers, you name the job and a woman was unreeling her work in film in every category and adding to her resume!  During the intermission, hand-tinted glass slides of female stars from the silent era will be shown.  What a roster!  Don’t worry if you don’t know their names, these women are stellar pioneers who have left a great legacy that won’t be forgotten.  For information and to join the society go to www.meetup.com/DESERT-CLASSIC-FILM-SOCIETY.  Tickets per person, $5.  Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. Call Christopher Perry, 760-365-0475.

Friday, April 27 – 29.  Spend the weekend with the whole fam-damly at the Ace Hotel’s summer camp Crafting Community!  It’s the third year of a 3-day extravaganza of activities:  Interactive art workshops, storytelling and S’mores under the stars and bonding with the loved ones!  Workshops include underwater photography, succulent gardens and how-to’s from customizing t-shirts and sneakers, henna tattoos, leatherworking, creative cookies and macramé. Get those bodies moving with skateboarding, relay races, obstacle courses and a ping-pong tournament?  Start your morning with yoga!  End the day around the campfire!  The Crafting Community package is $820 for adults and 1 kid and includes a 2-night stay in a Standard King or Double room, access to all activities.  Enjoy a Friday night taco dinner, Saturday/Sunday continental breakfast, and a custom Crafting Community tote bag filled with goodies. Additional humans (any size, any age), $135 added to package price, plus taxes and resort fee.  Must be booked by phone.  Call 760-325-9900.

Saturday, April 28, 9 am to Noon, and evening auction 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  Artists are warming up their brushes!  The “Desertscapes Paint-out” will be presented by the Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) and the California Art Club (CAC) in a phenomenally picturesque area of Joshua Tree known (by those in the know) as the Joshua Tree North Wildlife Linkage, 2,125 acres of desert flora and fauna, including the desert tortoise, bobcat, fox, coyote and fabulous flurries of feathered birds in a natural desert habitat.  All will be ready for the close-up as painted by experienced, renowned artists whose work will be auctioned off that very evening!  The mission of the MDLT and CAC is to protect and preserve the desert habitat while capturing its natural beauty in the moment and certainly in the “raw!” Participating artists are Elaine Mathews, Terry Masters, Diane Best, Veronique Branger, Esther Shaw, and others.  For a schedule of events, go to www.desertscapes.net.  More information at www.mojavedesertlandtrust.org, or call 760-366-5440.  Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG) is at 61607 Twentynine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree, CA.

Saturday, April 28, 7 pm.  Steel yourself for curtain-up on the play Lush” written by Valerie-Jean (VJ) Hume as a “reading theatre” experience at the Rancho Mirage Tolerance Education Center, 35-147 Landy Lane, Rancho Mirage.  The historical drama tells the genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous in an honest, sometimes cruel story of how the scourge of alcoholism, a progressive, often fatal, but always destructive disease was always considered “a guy-thing.”  In the 30s, socialite Mary Mann struggled against the affliction, but found herself living on a park bench until she faced her demons and with the founding of AA was named its “First Lady.”  Full houses and standing ovations greeted the work at the Betty Ford Center, Indio Performing Arts Center and ABC Recovery Center.  “Lush” has garnered 5 Desert Theatre League awards.  At a time when one of every ten Americans can be considered an alcoholic, this is must-see theatre at its most brutal and beneficial.  Suggested donation, $25.  For reservations or information, call Melisse Banwer, 760-328-8252.

Sunday, April 29, 4 pm.  Hold on to your gee-tars Coachella/Stagecoach pop-rocker-festers, here come new musical vibes grown right here at home.  The annual New Music Concerts of the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra announces that the 2012 concert features legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson who will team with So Percussion in The Barnsdall Gallery Theatre.  There will be premieres from composers Thompson, Chen Yi, Idyllwild Arts Music Director Peter Askim and the world premiere of the orchestral version of wildly experimental 20th century composer John Cage’s “Credo in US.”   Written in 1942, this was the first work to utilize live radio or pre-selected recordings, producing performances in which no two are alike.  The concert is a fundraiser for the William M. Lowman Concert Hall Building Fund. Tickets are available online at www.itsmyseat.com/IAF, at presale rates of $10 for students and $20 for adults.  At the door, the tickets will be $15 and $25 respectively. Patron ($150) and Benefactor ($250) tickets are also available, with VIP benefits.  Idyllwild Arts Academy, 52500 Temecula Dr., Idyllwild, CA.  Call 951-659-2171, or go to www.idyllwildarts.org.

Saturday, May 5, 6:30 to 9:30 pm.  Cheers to the Living Desert for “Saving Wildlife One Beer at a Time,”  which is the mission for the 3rd annual Brew at the Zoo, one of Southern California’s most popular beer festivals.  It’s a hot How-to, and How not-to celebrate America’s finest brews benefitting the zoo’s care for over 500 animals, 1600 protected acres and scholarship programs for thousands of visiting school children. Map it out:  Over 3 live music stages, over 1500 guests expected, 40 vendors, beer and wine pairings with delicious appetizers (including veggy options) and desserts. Non-alcoholic beverages are offered along with premium wine and beer. Themed areas include Paradise Cove, Discovery Ale House, Eco-Luxury Safari Lounge, HPE Sustainability and Leadership Award, Home brew demonstrations, Hangover Prevention Center, Big Brew Raffle, animal encounters.  A VIP Lounge has even more enticement.  Tickets are $40 member, $55 non-member.  VIP Lounge, $175. Bring ID: Open to adults 21 and up.  Children, infants and strollers are not permitted.  Taxi’s available. Call 760-346-5694, ext. 2121.

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