Kippi Leonard Infuses the Desert into Her Art
Seeking adventure nine years ago, Kippi Leonard liquidated her interior design company, then explored Italy, solo. This led her to her true calling. “It’s where I met myself for the first time,” she says.” It was the bravest thing I ever did. I haven’t looked back since.”
Leonard’s life changed the moment she saw Michelangelo’s discarded carvings at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. “It overwhelmed me,” she says. “He started with nothing, then made something so incredible, and with practice he ended up in a museum.”
Inspired by what she had seen, for the next three weeks Leonard immersed herself in art, visiting museums, galleries and Italian architecture throughout the country.
Returning to Camas, Washington, her hometown, and determined to create a new future as an artist, she purchased charcoal and pastels. First she drew people, places and things, but her discovery of inks made her art come to life. “My art reflects my heart and personality,” she says.
Her abstract paintings, which have broad appeal, are described as ethereal and grounding. Brigitte Lehnert, co-owner of Flow Modern Gallery at Palm Springs says, “She uses layered materials of oil, oil pastels, charcoal, desert sand and a sgraffiato technique to cut back into the paintings to reveal what is underneath. The paintings have depth and texture and are both strong and light.”
Emotional Place: MAD.KAT Art Gallery Opens With a Retrospective of Paintings by Owner Kim Tolman
“Devil and Scorpion” by Kim A. Tolman
MAD.KAT Art Gallery will open July 29 in Rancho Mirage. Owned and managed by artist Kim Tolman, the gallery’s name comes from the first letters of Modern Art Design, Kim Assing Tolman.
Tolman was born and raised in Germany, and has been painting since her teenage years. She met and married her husband, Russ, in Germany, and became an established artist there before moving to San Francisco 22 years ago. She worked hard to establish herself in the U.S., and ended up winning awards for her work as a production and scenic designer, working with multiple theater companies and corporations including Disney, Universal Studios, McDonald’s, DreamWorks, Pepsi and L’Oréal.
Despite her success, she longed to get back in front of a canvas.
Jazz, Elevated: Idyllwild Arts Hosts the 29th Jazz in the Pines Festival and Student Clinic
The John Daversa Big Band is one of the big-name performers at this year’s Jazz in the Pines.
The annual Jazz in the Pines Festival is returning to Idyllwild. From July 3-15, a flock of jazz musicians will head up the mountain—led by three-time Grammy Award-winning trumpeter John Daversa and his Big Band.
The event serves as a fundraiser for Idyllwild Arts and its summer program. Idyllwild Arts is an internationally acclaimed arts high school for gifted young artists in music, dance, theater, film, fashion design, visual arts and creative writing. Ticket sales support scholarships for students whose families cannot afford the school’s tuition.
“Every environment has its own vibrations; the mountains in Idyllwild are on sacred lands,” Daversa said. “The honesty and humanity of the place comes out in the music, which inspires people. You will leave the festival feeling better than when you came.”
History, Fashionably: The Palm Springs Cultural Center Hosts Designer Aneka Brown’s Third Annual Juneteenth Event
Aneka Brown: “One month, I was a size 6, and then I’d blow up to a size 16. The lack of chic, vibrant, exciting fashion led me to design garments to fill that void.”
In 2021, June 19—a day known as Juneteenth—became a federal holiday. It commemorates the proclamation freeing slaves in the United States following the Civil War, but until recently, many Americans had never heard of it.
This year, the Palm Springs Cultural Center is celebrating Juneteenth a little early: The Third Annual Juneteenth Celebration will take place from 2 to 8:30 p.m., Sunday, June 11. The festivities will include food, fashion, local vendors, artists, music, a youth learning-activities station and much more. Richard Pryor Jr., the son of comedian Richard Pryor, is slated to be at the event, signing copies of his book, In a Pryor Life.
This Juneteenth celebration came to Palm Springs through the efforts of fashion designer Aneka Brown, owner of Aneka Brown Designs.
All Access: Rubine Red Gallery Shows the Behind-the-Scenes Photos of GoGo’s Drummer Gina Schock
Gina Schock is best known as the drummer for the The GoGo’s—and a 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
She’s also a photographer and author, and the Rubine Red Gallery in Palm Springs will be featuring some of her limited-edition photographs and memorabilia from four decades with one of the most successful all-female bands ever. Made in Hollywood: The Photography of Gina Schock of the GoGo’s will open on Saturday, April 8, with a reception featuring Schock.
The band—which also includes Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar and vocals), Charlotte Caffey (guitar, keyboard) and Kathy Valentine (bass, guitar)—wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, which was rare for an all-woman band when The Go-Go’s arrived on the scene in the late 1970s.
Healing Drums: Numerous Music Legends Participate in a Benefit for the Raven Drum Foundation
Rick Allen and Lauren Monroe are the founders of the Raven Drum Foundation.
Legendary drummers Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Cult) and Rick Allen (Def Leppard) will host a special high-priced event at the GoodNoise Studio in Palm Springs on Saturday, April 1, to raise funds for the Raven Drum Foundation.
The event will start with a healing drum circle, and will end with a live performance by the founder of the Raven Drum Foundation, Lauren Monroe, a vocalist, songwriter and healing-arts educator. She started the foundation with Allen, her husband, in 2001 to support veterans, first responders and trauma survivors.
Desert Vibe: Renowned Photographers Share Their Views of Modernism in an Exhibit at UCR-Palm Desert
“Modernist Couple Behind Glass” by James Schnepf.
More than 200 people attended the opening of a remarkable exhibition of photography on Friday, Feb. 10, at the UC Riverside-Palm Desert Center. The photos feature some of the finest examples of 20th-century architecture, lifestyle, abstracts and designs.
The Modernists: The Influence of Midcentury Modern Design on Photography brings together acclaimed local photographers and two Australian photographers, and will be on display through Friday, April 28.
“It is a stunning representation of both modern architecture and the talent of artists,” said Robert Webster, of MidMod Facade, who attended the opening. “As artists and collectors ourselves, my wife and I loved the visual texture that the artists presented in the show.”
Worthy Citizen: Legendary Drummer Alvin Taylor Fights for Justice for Section 14 Survivors
Alvin Taylor: “I remember coming home when I was 10 years old, and seeing my house and the other houses being destroyed. We lost everything.”
He’s played with Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, Cher, Jimi Hendrix and Elton John. He once stayed at George Harrison’s home to record an album. Little Richard heard him play at the age of 14 and purportedly said, “Honey, when I heard you play the drums, my big toe just shot straight up in my boot. It made me want to scream like a white lady!”
This happened when Alvin Taylor was working as a hotel busboy, and he was called upon to sit in with Soul Patrol; the regular drummer was too drunk to play. Also in the audience that night: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billy Preston.
Painting With Vision: Palm Springs Native Tom Boatright Is One of the Featured Artists at the Next La Quinta Art Celebration
Local artist Tom Boatright has been selected as one of the featured artists at the March edition of the La Quinta Art Celebration, taking place at the city’s civic Center Campus from Thursday, March 2, through Sunday, March 5.
Ranked as the top arts event in the nation by Greg Lawler’s Art Fair/Sourcebook, the Art Celebration has strict criteria for applying artists: They must have exhibited previously in galleries, and they must be able to create their own outdoor gallery. Submissions are judged by independent jury members. About 200 artists are selected among more than 1,100 applications.
Art, Literacy, Life: Tools for Tomorrow Wants to Help Kids at More Coachella Valley Elementary Schools
Tools for Tomorrow is changing the lives of children in Coachella Valley. The local nonprofit provides art education with a literacy focus via its afterschool programs at public elementary schools.
TFT is hosting a fundraising gala, “A Night at the Moulin Rouge,” at the Agua Caliente Rancho Mirage on Monday, Feb. 27.
In the United States, 7.6 million children are alone and unsupervised after school, according to the Afterschool Alliance. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, more than 11 million kids in the United States live below the federal poverty line. In the Coachella Valley, more than 80 percent of public school students are eligible free-lunch programs, meaning their families are either at or near the federal poverty level, according to TFT.
Kitschy, kooky, and cool: Local couple has chronicled it all, collected it on a new website
Ready for a weekend adventure or just curious about what you see as you trek throughout the Coachella Valley? Jane and Grant Guy have you covered.
Jane and Grant Guy pose by their Chrysler 300 in northern Palm Springs. A roadside wonder they’ve chronicled on their website looms behind them.
A chance encounter with a 150-foot pink dinosaur familiar to many in the Coachella Valley led two Palm Springs transplants to take more than 130 adventures. The adventures are chronicled on a website that serves as a guidebook to all things kitschy and kooky in the desert and beyond.
Why was Elvis all shook up? Indio resident has theory
Elvis Presley was banned from making TV appearances because of his “wild” antics on The Milton Berle Show in June 1956. But why did he act that way?
BY CAT MAKINO • INDIO • AUGUST 31, 2022
Elvis Presley performs on The Milton Berle Show in June 1956.
Elvis has left the building, but some of the mystery surrounding him may always linger. A valley resident, however, thinks she has the answer to one nagging question.
Rewind: Anyone who has watched the new biopic about the musician knows he was banned from making TV appearances because of his “wild” antics on the Milton Berle show in June 1956. But why did he choose to act that way?
Enter Sandy Stewart of Indio who says “The reason he performed so wildly on the show was he was singing to me.”
Good company: A Palm Springs dance studio provides transformative experiences for performers, audiences, and its founder
This month, Nickerson-Rossi Dance put the finishing touches on a 6,000-square-foot state-of-the-art dance theater — the only one in Coachella Valley. It’s so intimate that one almost feels as if they’re dancing with those on stage.
A darkened theater. On stage is a dance performance, and in the audience, watching intently, is a grieving young man who was orphaned at the age of 17. Faced with the possibility of a lifetime of medication prescribed by a therapist, an epiphany dawns as a response to what he is seeing on stage.
Cars are the stars of Palm Springs-based YouTube show
Creators Del Johns and Denny Adams share their love of the city’s cars and culture in a show started 18 months ago after a cruise down Tahquitz Canyon Drive.
Classic cars? Palm Springs history? Mid-century architecture? There’s something for nearly everyone on a channel combining all three that’s gaining a devoted following on YouTube.
Betsy Enzensberger Creates “Pop Art”
A six-foot tall rainbow ice pop drips on the floor at Delta’s new Sky Club at LAX. It’s called Happiness on a Stick and is a creation of Palm Springs pop artist Betsy Enzensberger.
The realistic pops have gained worldwide attention. ”It reminds people of the good times,” Enzensberger says. “It’s our first sweet taste that brings back fun memories as a kid. The joyful moments.”
From prison to Palm Springs: How artist’s work landed here is a tale of triumph, forgiveness
Fulton Leroy “Mr. Wash” Washington in the Palm Springs Art Museum’s workshop space. Photo: Graeme Flegenheimer, Palm Springs Art Museum
Beaten up in a race-related gang riot in Florence Penitentiary in Colorado. The reason? Who sits where in the dining hall. In Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas, rumors and suspicion that he was an undercover agent spread among the other prisoners because he had drawn a picture that had been seen by a reporter and featured on the cover of the local paper.
Fulton Leroy Washington (“Mr. Wash”) learned the lessons about making art in prison the hard way after being convicted and sentenced to life without parole in the late 1990s for a non-violent drug-related crime of which he maintains he is innocent.
Photography Legend: An Exhibit With Michael Childers’ Works—Both Old and New—Christens a New Yucca Valley Gallery
The inaugural exhibition of the nonprofit Hi-Desert Cultural Center at its Joshua Tree Gallery of Contemporary Art, in collaboration with ARTCO, will feature works by legendary photographer Michael Childers and Gordon Clark through Sunday, March 13.
EMERGENCE features Childers’ newest body of work, Nude Fusions (2021); photos of celebrities Andy Warhol and Grace Jones; and selections from his LA Drag Ball (1974), the famous drag party with costume designers, set decorators, industry professionals, and creative people Childers shot for Italian Vogue. There are also photos of the Palm Springs White Party series (2002) that have never been shown before.
The Whimsical, Manicured Desert: Morongo Valley Artist Snake Jagger Is Part of October’s Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours
Frank Sinatra has been aninspiration to many singers and musicians. But did you know Frank Sinatra’s garden has been an inspiration for art?
Yes, it’s true: Desert artist Snake Jagger’s art takes its cues from the yard at Ol’ Blue Eyes’ Palm Springs house, where his father worked as a valet.
“Sinatra’s yard was so manicured; everything was neat and tidy. Every rock, shrub and cactus was in its place,” says Jagger. “It was this wonderful setting, and it became my interpretation of the desert—a manicured desert.”
Cybele Rowe Makes Joshua Tree Homebase for Bold Artworks
Hundreds of inspiring large- and small-scale sculptures dot the two and a half acres of Cybele Rowe’s property near Joshua Tree. The ceramics, concrete, bronze and wood stand among the cactus, shrubs and Joshua trees, creating a unique visual experience across the desert landscape.
Her newest piece, standing in her backyard, is a massive white bull. Rowe says it’s filled with the emotions that she’s currently experiencing: “How I feel; living, breathing, smelling, touching, all the senses; sadness, happiness,” she says. “I am the inner landscape and it comes out.”
Meet party/event DJ MODGIRL
For DJ MODGIRL, aka Kellee McQuinn, music must have a great groove and melody that take hold of her heart, and catchy lyrics with a funky bassline. “I love disco, funk, soul, Swing & Rat Pack, the 80s, old school hip hop and some new stuff that has a nod to the old stuff,” she says.
Born in New Jersey, she lived in LA for 20 years, and has been a Palm Springs resident since 2017. “The best decision I’ve ever made. The people, the parties, the pools, the Palm Springs way of life – I love it all,” she said. DJ MODGIRL has been dancing since her mother, a dance teacher and a musical theater director, was pregnant with her while directing Guys & Dolls. “Whenever she rehearsed the number Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat, she had to actually sit down because I was doing triple time tap in her stomach – in perfect rhythm, of course!” she laughs.