Valentines Day in The Desert

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Valentines Day – the day of expressing your affection to that special someone in your life.  Love is already vibrant in Indian Wells and not just on February 14th.  The residents and visitors LOVE the surrounding mountains, ever-present sun, and variety of festivals and events that take place year-round.   What better way to show love to your significant other than by spending Valentines Day in the place you love.

With Valentines Day falling on a Sunday this year, it allows an entire day to spend time with that special someone.  Let this list of ideas springboard you into a day neither of you will forget.

To start the day off, the two of you should feel relaxed. Forget the stresses that life throws at you every other day and treat yourselves to an afternoon at the spa.  Whether it’s a relaxing massage, manicures or pedicures, these three spas are some of the most peaceful locations to relax in sweet serenity.

Agua Serena Spa at Hyatt

Spa Esmeralda at Renaissance Indian Wells

The Well Spa at Miramonte Resort

The Spa at Desert Springs

Palm Springs Yacht Club

Alright, now that you are relaxed, it’s time to get some endorphins flowing.  The truth is, not everyone is spoiled with sunny weather and balmy bliss in February.  Even though it’s right in your back yard, you may not usually take the time to explore Palm Canyon or stroll through the Botanical Gardens hand in hand.  Today is the day! Besides, you’ll want to work up an appetite for dinner tonight.

Dinner time! Hopefully you had a post-hike shower and freshened up for a candle lit dinner.  These restaurants are noted for their exquisite food, spectacular atmosphere, and a must-come-back dining experience.

Vicky’s of Sante Fe

Vue Grille and Bar

Purple Room

Tropicale

Melvynes Restaurant & Lounge

Make cheers in abundance and cherish the time together.  Also, don’t forget to order dessert. Happy Valentines Day!

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BRIAN CULBERTSON PLUS MINDI ABAIR AND THE BONESHAKERS STAR IN 2016 DESERT LEXUS JAZZ FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY THE CITY OF INDIAN WELLS

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Brian Culbertson plus Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers have just been announced as the talent lineup for the 2016 Desert Lexus Jazz Festival presented by the City of Indian Wells, a premier concert event in the Coachella Valley for the past 17 years will be held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Saturday, May 7. Abair, a two-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist, and The Boneshakers will open the evening at 7:00 p.m. followed by Brian Culbertson at 8:30 p.m.

Brian Culbertson grew up near Chicago, Illinois, loving genre-crossing jazz-pop artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Chicago, and 2015 Desert Lexus Jazz performers Tower of Power. In 1994, Brian self-produced his debut album, Long Night Out, and 15 albums later he still continues to be a leading voice in contemporary jazz, funk and R&B. Culbertson has been in the studio writing songs for a new funk record, due out this September. Collaborations on the upcoming album include sessions with Chance Howard, St. Paul Peterson, Sheldon Reynolds and several more stars.

“I can’t wait to bring the funk to the Desert Lexus Jazz Festival for the first time!” said Culbertson.

In a career that spans seven solo albums and countless collaborations, Mindi Abair has made her mark on several genres, including jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul, funk and more. The saxophonist/vocalist has made scores of friends along the way, including The Boneshakers at the Newport Beach Jazz Festival, when Abair hopped on-stage to perform with the band. The impromptu performance transitioned into a full-length album, Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers Live in Seattle, which was released on September 25, 2015.

“I can’t wait to come back to Indian Wells with my band The Boneshakers,” said Abair. “We are ready to give you a show you’ll never forget. The setting is amazing, and everyone in Indian Wells has made me feel so welcome for so many years that it feels like home, which always gives my show here a special magic.”

The event will be held under the Indian Wells Tennis Garden’s shade pavilion, offering seating for 2,000 patrons. In addition to music, the evening will also feature an assortment of food, wine and art. Reserved and Table seating is available and gates open at 5:30 p.m.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with the Indian Wells Tennis Garden team once again for this signature desert event, said CV 104.3’s Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald, co-founder of Wendy Jayne Productions, Inc. “We’ve started a great tradition of wrapping up music month in the desert. Desert Lexus Jazz has had strong support over the years, and we are excited to keep growing this event and upping the experience for our loyal patrons in 2016 and the years to come.”

Desert Lexus Jazz is a presentation of IWTG and Wendy Jayne Productions, Inc.

For more information and to buy tickets online starting February 18, visit www.iwtg.net or call the Indian Wells Tennis Garden Box Office at 760-200-8000, 800-999-1585.

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5 Minutes With… Helen du Toit of Palm Springs Film Festival

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The 27th annual Palm Springs Film Fest began on Jan. 1 and will continue until Jan. 11. The City of Indian Wells caught up with Artistic Director Helen du Toit to discuss the history of the festival, fondest memories and more!

Being the 27th Palm Springs Film Fest, could you talk about how the event has evolved over the years?

The festival was founded by Mayor Sonny Bono with the hopes that it would drive tourism to the desert in what was then the slow season. In its second year, Darryl Macdonald, the founder of the Seattle Film Festival, was brought down as Director of Programming and Darryl invited me to work here as well, initially in Hospitality then in the Publicity department. Darryl’s reputation gave a huge boost to the festival and his programing proved to be a big draw to audiences. He took a few years out in the mid-90’s and the festival faltered somewhat. Harold Matzner brought it back from the brink, and invited Darryl back in 2003, this time as Festival Director. Darryl brought in an experienced team and spent years fine-tuning the event. I re-joined the programming team in 2004 and took over as Artistic Director seven years ago.

Harold and the Board of Directors have developed the Black Tie Gala into a world class awards show, the media impressions of which have dramatically raised international awareness of the festival and now make us a key stop in Oscar® campaigns. In addition to supporting the festival, the BTG has also enabled us to increase our year round educational and community outreach programs. Meanwhile strong programming has steadily built a loyal audience and we now have the 3rd largest attendance in the US, which is especially surprising considering that we are based in a small town. With 70% of our audience coming from outside the Coachella Valley, the Palm Springs International Film Festival has a major impact on tourism.

What is your fondest memory of past Palm Springs Film Festivals, and how long have you been involved with the event?

I have so many fond memories of the film festival, but mainly the audience response and the wonderful filmmakers we have hosted over the years. My favorite part is always witnessing the connections made and how people are moved by so many of the films we show. One personal highlight was back in the early 90’s when I met the magnificent Marcello Mastroianni, star of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. He was one of the most charming men I have ever encountered – and a big flirt! And despite his stardom, he was humble and gracious. It was a privilege to have met him.

As we approach the final weekend of the festival, what should fans expect? Any go-to activities?

Asif Kapadia, the director of the Oscar® short-listed documentary AMY – about Amy Winehouse – will speak along with Amy’s Winehouse’s friend and manager following the screening on Thursday evening. Closing weekend has a plethora of wonderful films from around the world. Tickets have been selling very well but audiences report that many of their favorite films are those they knew nothing about in advance. So take a risk on an unknown film!

Could you talk about any films to make its debut at the PSFF that went on to be award-winning?

Departures from Japan was hardly on anyone’s radar when it came to Palm Springs IFF, but after it won the audience award here, it went on to win the Oscar® for best foreign language film. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Starbuck were also massive hits here and went on to great success – both being remade in English by Hollywood  - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo directed by David Fincher and produced by powerhouse Scott Rudin and Starbuck produced by Steven Spielberg. So our audience clearly has their collective finger on the pulse!

What makes the Palm Springs area a great place to host an event of this magnitude?

The glorious mountains and the sunshine – even though there was little evidence of that yesterday. But it’s back this morning! The people of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley are also great hosts and enthusiastic film-goers. We love our desert.

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5 Minutes With… Frank DiSalvo of Indian Wells Resort

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In honor of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, we spoke with local entertainer Frank DiSalvo of Frank’s Place Restaurant and Lounge in the Indian Wells Resort. DiSalvo talked about his favorite Sinatra memory, his favorite Sinatra song to perform and more!

City of Indian Wells: What can patrons that visit Frank’s Place at the Indian Wells Resort expect to see this month?

Frank DiSalvo: Saturday night (Dec. 12) is going to be a really great night. We’ll have a lot of live music. Sunday night will be a culmination, because we have a 16-piece big band, the Ted Herman Big Band. I will be doing all Sinatra for two hours, all the hits. It will be as Las Vegas as we can get! No one else will have that kind of deal in the Valley. We’ve got a 16-piece big band, and it is hot! It will be a presentation that is surely one to remember.

CIW: Could you tell us your favorite Rat Pack Drink?

FD: I like the Frank Sinatra, which is the Jack Daniels on the Rocks. Of course the Sammie Davis Jr. is the Jack and Coke, and the Dean Martin is the Martini. But, if I had to pick, it would definitely be the Sinatra.

CIW: When did you begin your career as an entertainer?

FD: I’ve been a professional entertainer for 50 years, including 45 behind the guitar. And I had some friends who would say, “You know, you kind of look like Frank.” During that time, a big-band up north heard me at an event and they asked if I could go a Frank Sinatra tribute. I said sure! I did about three events in Northern California. When I came down to the desert, I did a one-man showed called “Frank DiSalvo doing the Sinatra Show” just to get people in.

CIW: Do you focus entirely on Sinatra, or do you sing songs from the entire Rat Pack?

FD: I will do songs from the entire Rat Pack! I will primarily do Sinatra but will break off into the others as well. The Rat Pack was a huge section of Sinatra’s life, so it’s very pertinent to do songs from all of these guys.

CIW: Could you share your favorite Frank Sinatra memory?

FD: In the early 50’s, Sinatra lost a good amount of his popularity. And he begged the producers from the film “From Here to Eternity” for a part in the movie. He was amazing in that film He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and that turned his career around. He put his heart and soul into that movie, and it blew everyone away. That is probably one of my fondest memories of Frank Sinatra.

CIW: What is your favorite Sinatra song to perform?

FD: I really have no favorites. They are all great! But whenever someone asks me to sing a Sinatra song, my first thought is [singing] “I’ve Got You Under My Skin!” This is always the first song that comes to mind.

CIW: Thanks, Frank!

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HAPPY HOUR HEATS UP THIS SUMMER AT THE VUE IN INDIAN WELLS

Although summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, at the Indian Wells Golf Resort’s lively VUE Grille & Bar, Summer Happy Hour is already in full swing from 3 p.m. until close.

On tap seven nights a week, the VUE’s super popular Happy Hour draws Greater Palm Springs area visitors and locals for fantastic specials on beer, wine, classic cocktails, plus hand-crafted signature drinks. Patrons can also enjoy 25 percent off deliciously fresh sushi rolls. Rotating nightly specials at the VUE include 50 percent off all bottle of wine on Thursday nights, $15 Flat iron steak with pommes frites on Fridays, and a savory multicourse prime rib dinner every Saturday night.

To learn more about sensational summer specials as well as the Bottomless Champagne Brunch Buffet offered every Sunday, visit www.vuegrilleandbar.com. For more details, call (760) 834-3800.

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RENAISSANCE INDIAN WELLS RESORT & SPA CELEBRATES FOURTH ANNUAL GLOBAL “DAY OF DISCOVERY” WITH FREE MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS

On June 11, Join 160 Renaissance Hotels Around The World As They Help Guests Discover Incredible Local Experiences

WHO: Natalie Emerson, Vera in August Photography – Interactive Instruction on Exploring the World through the Lens of Your Smartphone

WHAT:  Small Camera, Big World: Using Awesome Mobile Photography to Document Your Travels
In this interactive two-hour course, local fine art photographer Natalie Emerson of Vera In August Fine Photography will teach participants the skills needed to improve their own mobile photography. This complimentary roving class will visit several areas of the resort, as participants learn composition, lighting, and editing techniques to catch the eyes of Instagram and Facebook followers and turn the average mobile photo into a work of art. Participants will practice with three subjects: portraits, nature, and food at the resort. Admission is complimentary for guests and local residents, with reservations required due to capacity.

Reservations: 760-836-1286. Participants with reserved attendance are asked to park in the resort parking structure and enter via the pool breezeway

WHEN:  Thursday, June 11, 2015
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
44400Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, CA 92210
                      760-773-4444, http://www.renaissanceindianwells.com

WHY: Renaissance Hotels is known around the world for helping travelers discover unexpected resort and cultural experiences, and on Thursday, June 11, 2015, the brand’s fourth annual global “Day of Discovery” will offer exclusive local experiences to take place simultaneously at 160 Renaissance Hotels in 40-plus countries around the world. This year’s Day of Discovery also marks the official launch of the brand’s evening programming, in which Renaissance Hotels will encourage guests and locals to make time for the #5to9 when their 9 to 5 or day of play is done. This will come to life via new signature after-hours experiences at Renaissance Indian Wells and elsewhere, to evoke the local neighborhood and introduce new nightly bar rituals transitioning into an evening of discovery.

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THE BNP PARIBAS OPEN IS BACK IN INDIAN WELLS

Tennis fans, get ready for all the excitement you’ve come to expect at the BNP Paribas Open, the largest ATP World Tour and WTA combined two-week tennis event in the world. When this year’s tournament officially kicks off at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Monday, March 9, 2015, you’ll see a phenomenal player field with many former BNP Paribas Open and Grand Slam Singles Champions including—on the women’s side—World No. 1 Serena Williams.

A wide slate of fan-friendly events and activities are scheduled for the tournament, which runs through Sunday, March 22. Once again, the City of Indian Wells presents the March 13 “Salute to Heroes,” a special ceremony that recognizes veterans, military personnel, police and firemen following the first evening session match on Stadium 1.

And, when checking out all the excitement at the BNP Paribas Open, be sure to stop by the City of Indian Wells outdoor booth in the Tennis Garden plaza. We’ll have a Twitter Mirror onsite for you to tweet a “selfie” and show the world what a wonderful time you’re having in our sun-drenched, phenomenal tennis facility. We’ll also have a variety of special resort giveaways on hand for visiting fans:

Other BNP Paribas Open highlights include:

  • March 7 BNP Paribas Open Kids Day from 1-4 p.m.
  • Free admission on March 9 and 10 for main draw ceremonies
  • Fila’s informal fashion show on March 12
  • Esurance’s swing cage for fans in its exhibitor booth
  • March Emirates Day in which 10,000 red hats will be handed out at the gate, youngsters can participate in a kid’s clinic, and fans have the chance to win a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Dubai during the Ball Flight promotion
  • The fun also includes live entertainment, daily player autograph signings, shopping, and much, much more.

For a full listing of 2015 BNP Paribas Open events and activities, visit www.bnpparibasopen.com!

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VUE GRILLE & BAR DELIVERS THE ULTIMATE EPICUREAN EXPERIENCE

When my friends and I crave a superb meal in a sophisticated setting, combined with the most sensational scenery the Coachella Valley has to offer, we often head over to VUE Grille & Bar located in the upscale clubhouse at the Indian Wells Golf Resort.

Executive Chef Cale Falk helms the kitchen with a generous portion of culinary creativity, serving up an innovative farm-to-table menu that always features the freshest ingredients, with many locally sourced. The sublime Lobster Mac & Cheese—on both the lunch and dinner menus–is a local favorite—and there are several starters and entrees from which to choose. You can also graze on the small plate selections, as well as succulent rolls, sushi and sashimi at the popular sushi bar. Falk has recently added new items to the menu–like Alaskan Halibut and New Zealand Lamb Rack with a chestnut puree–that have received rave reviews at the restaurant’s seasonal wine dinners (the next one featuring Francis Ford Coppola’s winery is set for March 27.

Speaking of wine, the VUE offers an expansive wine list consisting of more than 150 domestic and international varieties, with 30 wines by the glass. Reserve a space at one of the VUE’s popular wine tasting events (next one is March 13) where you can sample and purchase award-winning vintages from several fine wineries.

You’ll find a lively setting in the VUE Bar adjacent to the main dining room with its multiple flat-screen televisions “in the round.” The action usually ramps up at Happy Hour when patrons can take advantage of daily drink and appetizer specials, craft cocktails and beer.

- Jan Silver Maguire

For menu details, hours of operation, and more, visit www.vuegrilleandbar.com

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Feel the Warmth in Indian Wells

It’s only January and you’re already sick and tired of dealing with blinding snowstorms, frigid temps and the prospect of the long, cold winter ahead. We’ve got the perfect plan. Book a winter getaway today to Indian Wells, California, a sunny slice of paradise in the Southern California desert, and only a half-hour drive from Palm Springs International Airport.

Wintertime in the desert, or “high season” as the locals call it, is famously abuzz with excitement, nonstop recreational activities, and renowned annual special events. And Indian Wells’ very convenient location in the heart of the Coachella Valley makes our luxurious hotels and resorts the ideal places to stay for world-renowned special events like the Humana Challenge Golf Tournament, Modernism Week, BNP Paribas Open, Fashion Week El Paseo, Indian Wells Arts Festival, Coachella, Stagecoach, Desert Lexus Jazz Festival at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and many more.

Click here to learn more about Indian Wells’ award-winning resorts, destination spas and special winter deals and packages.

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CITY OF INDIAN WELLS PRESENTS INAUGURAL INDIAN WELLS PRO-AM INVITATIONAL

IFirst the LG Skins Game, then Big Break Indian Wells on the Golf Channel – now Indian Wells, California is set to unveil an exciting new golf tournament to be played on the Indian Wells Golf Resort’s championship Players Course on Saturday, January 31, 2015.

Professionals and amateurs tee off with an 11 a.m. shotgun start – pros in a stroke play format and amateurs in a one best ball shamble. Amateur players can unleash their competitive streaks with entertaining activities like hole-in-one, closest-to-the-pin and long-drive contests (with prizes of course!). The pros play for their share of the $10,000 cash purse, a $2,500 skins game eligibility, and the coveted title of Indian Wells Pro-Am champion with Champion’s Trophy. Winning amateur teams receive awards and prizes including golf packages to some of the finest golf resorts in the nation.

Entry is $1,200 per team and includes: 18-hole playon the renowned Players Course and shared cart withGPS; use of the practice facility; an amateur tee giftpackage; a delicious barbecue before the tournamentwhile players are warming up; and a festive awardsreception cocktail party, complete with music, hostedwine tasting, and hors d’oeuvres.

Don’t miss the 2015 debut of the Indian Wells Pro-Am Invitational. For complete details, click here.

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