Spring has sprung…for sure! Great weather abounds. So, get out, look around, and visit and explore all that your Historic USO Building, 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd. has to offer in local history and entertainment.

Stop in and greet our new Gift Shop Manager, Joe Di Pina, a long-time volunteer who has performed just about every task there is in keeping our great building running! We are now utilizing his considerable talents in our busy Gift Shop. Drop in and let Joe show you great gifts for the whole family (it’s not too early to shop for Mom!)…including new, locally hand-crafted jewelry, hats and t-shirts, books, DVD's, toys, and, of course, the fabulous See’s Candy collection. While you are there, check out the fascinating local history lovingly preserved in our hallowed building. Carol and Craig Porter and Liz Babcock, and all the hard-working volunteers are the guardians of our valley's history on display throughout the building, and outside in our Veterans Memorial Building, also open to the public for viewing (hosted by one of our friendly volunteers.) Are you aware that the original city jail is located on our property? Supervised “visiting hours” at this...um, intimate venue of incarceration are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., our normal hours of operation.

As always…the Historic USO Building comes to life every non-flex Friday (April 13 and 27) with the sound of (rock) music at the wildly popular Open Mic Night. A ridiculously cheap $2 admission fee (kids 12 and under are FREE when accompanied by a paid adult) and…thrifty eats and libations, make for a very affordable night out at the valley’s favorite indoor “block party!” Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the musical merriment blasting off at 7. Party Hardy!

The Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert’s April meeting takes place on Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m., at the Historic USO Building. Well-known resident and local representative of the Cherokee Community of Central California, Little Deer Durvin will be on hand to present a special film, “Te Ata,” about Native American (Chickasaw nation, now Oklahoma) performer Mary Thompson Fisher. Having studied theatre at Oklahoma College for Women, and later, at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, “Te Ata,” (Fisher’s eventual stage name meaning “Bearer of the Morning,”) embarked on a Broadway career, eventually deciding to concentrate on Native American songs and stories to great success. This lead to a performance for President Roosevelt and the king and queen of England in 1939. Her career lasted 60 years, earning her many prestigious honors. She eventually was named Oklahoma’s Official State Treasure. For more information on the free public event, please call 760-375-8456.

Just two more who-dunnits are waiting to be solved at the latest Classic Movie Night series, “Crime Scene.” Still left standing in the notorious lineup are James Cagney and Bette Davis. The series continues next Wednesday, April 18 at the Historic USO Building, and runs through May 2. James Cagney portrays a hardened criminal possessing a bizarre mother fixation, a violent brain malady, and a well-developed trigger finger. He keeps his “moll,” Virginia Mayo, in constant terror, and FBI agent, Edmund O’Brien, in constant pursuit in this 1949 crime classic to be screened on Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. This series winds up on Wednesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. with the grand dame of the cinema, Bette Davis, starring as twins...who are less than sisterly and not above a simple murder or…two! This juicy 1964 film noir entry will lead us into the Sixth Annual “Summer of Movie Magic,” beginning Wednesday, May 16 at 7 p.m. (For film titles, call: 760-375-8456, or pick up a schedule in the lobby.) This summer season, we will be alternating family-friendly films with Universal Studios horror classics every week (except for Wednesday, July 4) through the summer, up to Wednesday, August 8.

The third Thursday of the month brings us the popular Veterans Monthly Breakfast, our way of giving a big “Thanks!” to our brave vets and their spouses. A sumptuous free breakfast and lots of camaraderie are the order of the day (this month: Thursday, April 19) from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Historic USO Building We salute you, Vets!

“Swing into Spring! …and make sure you bring your favorite dancing shoes to the next Big Band X-Press gala to be held on Saturday, April 21 at the Historic USO Building. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m., but get there early (at 6:30) for a dance lesson from master toe-tapper, Ken Sanger. Admission at the door is just $10 per person, and delicious edibles and a no-host bar await dancers inside. What a swinging way to celebrate Spring!

Enjoy an awesome April…at your Historic USO Building!