Featuring Appearances by
Ruth Nolan has been Professor of English, Creative Writing and Native American Literature at College of the Desert since 1999, and advises the campus literary magazine, Solstice. A former Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service seasonal firefighter in the California Desert District and western U.S. (1982-1987), she is on sabbatical this academic year, working on the book project "Fire On the Mojave: Stories from the Deserts and Mountains of Inland Southern California." She also writes about California desert culture for several publications, is editor of the critically-acclaimed anthology No Place for a Puritan: the Literature of California's Deserts, and is the author of the poetry book Ruby Mountain (forthcoming in 2016 from Finishing Line Press). Her fiction is included in LA Fiction Anthology: Southland Stories by Southland Writers (Red Hen Press 2016). She is a 2014 graduate of the UCR Palm Desert Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts M.F.A. program, and holds her M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University. Ruth is the proud mother of a grown daughter, Tarah, and has two young grandsons, Baby Simon, 2 1/2 and Luke, 3 months, and enjoys hiking and exploring the desert outdoors with them all, especially now, during the 2016 wildflower superbloom.
Nathan Brown grew up in the freezing winters and humid summers of the Midwest, just north of Indianapolis in Indiana. He attended Indiana University and graduated less than two years ago with a degree in journalism, which brought him to the Coachella Valley for his first full-time job covering high school sports for The Desert Sun. When heâ€™s not on the sidelines of a high school athletics contest, Nathan is likely on the hiking trails somewhere in Southern California or sitting on his couch planning his next adventure. He also enjoys playing golf, riding his bike, and training to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He hopes to one day step foot in all 58 national parks, with 13 already crossed off.
Maggie Downs is a columnist, essayist and journalist in Palm Springs who has worked in print and online media for more than 15 years. She was a syndicated columnist for Gannett Newspapers (known now USA Today Network) and a metro reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer. After moving to California, she became a features reporter and weekly lifestyles columnist for The Desert Sun. She holds a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and an MFA in creative nonfiction from University of California Riverside-Palm Desert. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the BBC, Smithsonian, Eating Well, and The Rumpus, among other publications. Downs is also a coach with the Coachella Valley Storytellers Project.
Kurt Cyr is a designer, architectural aficionado and founder of Salon for the Parched, a monthly gathering for creative thinkers based in Palm Springs. He is also a founding member of Makerville, a collective of six makers who have recently established a studio compound in the hills above Palm Desert. His love of Palm Springs led him to create, Palm Springs Mod Squad â€” an architecture and design tour company. Kurt developed the popular ModEats, a witty cooking demo/presentation as part of Modernism Week a few years ago. Martini Madness is further development of the connections between mid-century architecture and its food and drink. Currently he is foraging the juniper berries found at Makerville to craft his own bespoke gin. He also is working on a cookbook inspired by his ModEats presentations when he isn't escorting Modernists around Palm Springs.
As a band tour manager for more than 15 years, Rick Marino was always eager to explore the hidden gems and roads less traveled in the cities he visited. Late-night concerts and life on a tour bus didnâ€™t allow for that, though. Now devoting only part of his time to touring with rock stars, Rick has launched a new career: hosting a travel TV show called State x State, airing on the PlanesTrains+Automobiles (thePTA.com) network, part of Deltaâ€™s in-flight entertainment. A resident of the desert, he spends his free time exploring the many beautiful places within reach. You can read his travel column, Road Trip Rick, in DESERT magazine.
July 17, 2016
Ruth shares the story of how she ended up on a mountain, on fire, working with a hotshot crew overcoming her internal challenges.
July 17, 2016
In Nathan's tale of adventure, a change of mind is what lead him to greater adventures.
July 17, 2016
Maggie shares how an adventure in skydiving helped her deal with a tragedy in her life.
July 18, 2016
Growing up, Kurt dreamed of the beautiful rooms he would one day design. In his story of the surprising places we find ourselves, he shares the funny turn of events that brought him back to a familiar space.
July 18, 2016
Rick spends a lot of time on the road, but an unexpected stop lead him down a much more exciting road than he planned.