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Another public perk in the pipeline for playhouse puppet masters

By   /   April 7, 2014  /   9 Comments

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Alternative title: What’s that stench coming from Theatre 29?

Twentynine PalmsWhen will it stop?  It will not stop. I don’t think cronyism and patronage is a threat anymore. It is a promise.

On April 8, the 29 Palms City Council will consider the approval and acceptance <wink, wink> of a Simi Dabah sculpture for Theatre 29.  The pork kings are in line for another city benefit. The installation cost of the sculpture is estimated to cost $1,500 or less.

To recap the obvious, these “ungrateful spoiled brats” – Theatre 29 leaders — are so  hubris they massaged city council in the right places to take out a staggering bond debt for a state of the art performing arts theater for their the exclusive use of Theatre 29. All done absent any studies. After that, the drain on public funds just never ended. “Come out, come out, where every you are.” What is the real story how this came about? This cries out for more exposure, transparency and sunlight.

Is this caricature Napoleon or Gary Daigeault? Sure takes on the character of Daigneault.

Is this caricature Napoleon or Gary Daigeault? Sure takes on the character of Daigneault.

Isn’t it obvious that Twenynine Palms has a small shadow government consisting of a few local opportunists (and *Machiavellians)? who are always first in line for public entitlements? And who get what they want, when they want off the backs of hardworking taxpayers and from sheep on the council. The problem at city hall: no one caring about public safety or taxpayer. 

See below for an image of the sculpture and placement at the theater.

FACT: The playhouse is a city building for the absolute and exclusive use Theatre 29.

FACT: There are many other city facilities and buildings that cry out to be enhance by this sculpture.

FACT: Simi Dabah sculptures are non-representational sculptures. His entire works are left untitled, inviting the viewer to interpret the work.

FACT: Any approved public entity may select a sculpture from this collection for installation on their site under Mr. Dabah’s Donation Program.

FACT: The sculpture has no name.

FACT: After acquisition, the unnamed sculpture in question was given the name “Drama Face” by whom?

QUESTION: Isn’t this an insult to the sculpturist who doesn’t wants his work named (he wants people to use their imaginations)?

FACT: A reasonable, prudent person would not name an artist’s work when the artist invites the viewer to interpret his unnamed work.

FACT: The sculpture is definitely not — in any freaking way — A representation of a “drama face” (see below).

QUESTION: Who initiated the selection of the sculpture for the benefit of the theater?

QUESTION: Who invented the unlikely misnomer “drama face“? Are theater puppeteers once again pulling strings to get what they want?

FACT: The sculpture is better suited to be installed at the Community Center or another city structure or facility for everyone to enjoy.

FACT: Simi Dabah’s sculptures are primarily donated for city facilities throughout the U.S.

QUESTION: Is this another rubberstamp project projecting the illusion of transparency when it appears before the city council agenda?

Conclusion:  It’s abnormal for nonprofit organizations to continually feed off city-public funds. Preferential treatment of one nonprofit is pretty shabby. Sometimes, officers and incorporators actually take over the organization for their own purpose and end up corrupting it. This is what has happened at Theatre 29. I’ve represented many nonprofit organization and have worked with many more as a consultant and as a legal advocate. And I’ve incorporated many and watched they grow and flourish. The few that misuse public funds usually have had legal action brought against them in a taxpayers’ law suit. It’s time for the city to have a good housecleaning!

Disclaimer: Theater 29 Palms as a whole is not being criticized. Its many talented volunteers and regulars members work very hard year around to produce entertainment at the playhouse. It’s the petty hierarchy that is dragging Theatre 29 through the mud.

Below is a photoshoped picture of the sculpture (04-08-2014 Staff Reports). Really… is this misnamed drama face a publicity stunt to convince toddler on the city council it belongs at Theatre 29?


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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. michaelv michaelv says:

    just a quick note. maybe they are conceding defeat on the PP fiasco and are trying to appease the theatre group with a piece of art which they in turn immediately slander the artist by naming it. What the hell, 13K for a horse and miner, what’s another 1,500 thrown in for something else.
    If your going to be in the red, might as well do it right.

  2. ironman ironman says:

    Hi, While I like Mr. Dabah’s work very much and can appreciate his generosity especially to a town that isn’t loaded with cash, I do have a problem with this.
    As admirable as his gestures are it undermines those of us who are good working artists trying to make a living at this or at least be able to sell so that we may be able to afford enough materials to make the next piece.

    My mentor once said, “Want something for nothing, ask an artist!” and while I have donated work over the years to causes I believe in, I have become more discriminating as to where I donate.
    I only donate 2d objects, I will not donate a piece of sculpture I spent 100+ hours and a few hundred dollars in materials on.


    • Thanks Ironman for speaking up. The local circle of artist that get their way what they want, when they want of public funds from city council toddlers has got to stop. It’s about time an artists speaks up. Thanks again and good luck.

      • ironman ironman says:

        Hi Branson,
        Right now I live in Silver City NM but I want to get out of here and JTree is on my list, high on my list.
        I’m from NYC, Brooklyn to be exact and believe me I will always speak out.
        I’m heading over there on Friday and hope spend a few days there and meet some artists.
        Thanks for the positive feedback, at least I know there’s one kindred spirit over there.

        • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

          Hi Ironman,

          Good to have you out here.

          However be forewarned should you decide NOT to be part of the current artist power elite – the “Inn Crowd” you will be shunned and stymied at any attempt to sell your art.

          You will either get in “lock step” with them or you will fail in 29 Palms and more than likely in Joshua Tree as well.

          Good luck.

          Steve Spear

        • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

          Ironman. Go to the “Joshua Tree Art Gallery” Joshua Tree Ca wesite. They are open Saturdays and Sundays. Their e-mail is “joshuatreegallery.com”. They are holding an April Show Opening Reception Saturday the 12th from 6-8PM. Let us know what kind of reception you get.

        • Ironman, keep in touch. Let us know what you think about J.A. It’s a great place to live and work. I’m sure you are familiar with the Sun Runner Magazine…

          It pretty much covers much of what is going on out here and elsewhere.

          Artist as a whole are usually shut out of city functions and from the local newspaper. Steve is right about that. In no time at all you will be in touch with many of the artists in the Morongo Basin of communities (Yucca Valley, J.T., 29 Palms — and all the many unincorporated desert rural communities.

          Btw, what sort of art are you involved in?

          Take care.

  3. ironman ironman says:

    Hi Larry, I’ll be at that opening on Saturday, just look for the short bald guy with the white goatee who looks lost.

    Hi Branson, My primary medium is welded steel sculpture but I love color so I also paint and I write poetry.

    Hi Steve, I’ve never been one to get in lock step with anyone because to me, that seems to be an anti creative position to take but I do know one thing, I will find kindred spirits in JTree.

    Thank you all for your replies.

    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      Hi Jeff, How was your visit to Joshua Tree? Were you able to get to the 29 Palms Art Gallery?

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