Best Casino 2014

First place: Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa

Agua Caliente presents music acts the McCallum Theatre can’t afford to present. Just as impressively, its show room, called The Show, feels like a McCallum-quality theater – only twice as big. That’s a combination that’s difficult for other casinos to beat. 32-250 Bob Hope Dr., Rancho Mirage, (760) 321-2000,

Second place: Fantasy Springs Resort Hotel & Casino 84-245 Indio Springs Dr., Indio, (760) 345-2450,

Third place: Spa Resort Casino, 401 E. Amado Rd., Palm Springs, (760) 883-1000,

-Bruce Fessier

Best Desert Sun Personality 2014

First place: Bruce Fessier

Bruce Fessier is the plasma that courses through Palm Springs – holding the city’s secrets in suspension until it’s time to commit them to words on a page. He has been reporting with ink and byte from The Desert Sun for more than 30 years and it should not surprise anyone that readers of Desert Magazine voted him favorite Desert Sun personality. Like Homer, he is a historic poet weaving the narratives of Bono and Marx with Bogert and Milanovich. He molds Hollywood tales and political rumors into stories of pain and perseverance, destruction and discovery. And if you met him at Vons, he would disarm you with laughter. He is a true gentleman and precious journalistic jewel.

Second place: Denise Goolsby

Third place: Xochitl Pena

-Greg Burton

Best Live Music 2014

First place: Las Casuelas Terraza

This restaurant’s Palapa patio on bustling Palm Canyon Drive screams old Palm Springs with its palm frond roof. Hot Rox and the P.S. Sound Company add a ’70s vibe with classic rock for dancing nightly and/or afternoons. 222 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, (760) 325-2794,

Second place: McCallum Theatre, 73-000 Fred Waring Dr., Palm Desert, (760) 340 2787,

Third place: The Nest, 75-188 Hwy. 111, Indian Wells, (760) 346-2314,

-Bruce Fessier

Best Live Theatre 2014

First place: Coyote Stageworks

This professional theatre company distinguished itself among theater companies belonging to the Desert Theatre League in October by winning 15 Desert Stars Awards, including best dramatic production for “Tru” and best professional musical revue for “Suds.” They also featured local stars such as Lucie Arnaz, Lorna Luft and Kaye Ballard in “The Women.” Coyote Stageworks will begin its next season in January in the Annenberg Theater of the Palm Springs Art Museum. (760) 318-0024,

Second place: McCallum Theatre, 73-000 Fred Waring Dr., Palm Desert, (760) 340 2787,

Third place: Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre 69-930 Hwy. 111, Suite 116, Rancho Mirage; (760) 296-2966,

-Bruce Fessier

Best Local Band 2014

First place: Art of Sax

Art of Sax was once again voted Best Local Band largely because of its danceable smooth jazz sounds. Leader Will Donato has a solo career that takes him around the world, but you can catch him with Art of Sax every Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. until midnight at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa and on Sunday evenings from 5-9 p.m. at the Riviera Palm Springs. Follow their schedule by calling (909) 820-3975 or going to

Second place: Heatwave Jazz and Show Band

Third place: John Stanley King Band (760) 409-7751,

-Bruce Fessier

Best Movie Theater 2014

First place: Regal Palm Springs Stadium 9

The Regal scored an upset this year by not only beating the Camelot Theatres, but its sister Regal theaters in Rancho Mirage and Indio. Must be something about its location on Tahquitz Canyon Way. 789 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, (760) 323-4466,

Second place: Cinemas Palme D’Or, 72-840 Hwy. 111, Palm Desert, (760) 779-0730,

Third place: Camelot Theatres 2300 E. Baristo Rd., Palm Springs, (760) 325-6565,

-Bruce Fessier

Best Photo Op 2014

First place: “Forever Marilyn”

It would be difficult to walk past the “Forever Marilyn” statue in downtown Palm Springs and not find someone posing under her skirt, or sitting atop her crimson-lacquered toes. In a world of camera equipped smart-phones, Marilyn is nearly begging to have her photo taken with anyone who will oblige. For about the last 18 months the 26-foot-tall statue has been temporarily on display in downtown, the rugged San Jacintos at her back, and has been the subject of seemingly endless photos. The subsequent sharing of the photos via social media has translated to a viral, crowd-sourced ad campaign for Palm Springs in unimaginable proportions, making the city that much more recognizable the world over. 101 N. Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

Second place: Top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs, (760) 325-1449,

Third place: Indian Canyons, 38-500 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs, (760) 323-6018,

-Skip Descant

Best Place to Take Kids 2014

First place: The Living Desert

Both children and adults can enjoy hours of delight and education exploring The Living Desert’s 1,200 acres of exhibits and natural desert landscape. The setting includes dozens of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians from around the globe all within a spectacular botanical garden. 47-900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert, (760) 346-5694,

Second place: Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert 71-701 Gerald Ford Dr., Rancho Mirage, (760) 321-0602,

Third place: Soak City Waterpark, 1500 S. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, (760) 327-0499,

-Skip Descant

Best Radio Personality 2014

First place: Victor Cruz, KDES

People love to call in dedications to Cruz each weekday from 3 to 7 p.m., and Cruz always responds with a favorite song.

Second place: Casey Dolan and Kristen Kelly, KCLB

Third place: “Bulldog” Bill Feingold and Kevin Holmes, KNWZ

-Bruce Fessier

Best TV Personality 2014

First place: Jenifer Daniels, CBS Local 2 Daniels anchors the Local 2 morning team from 5 to 7 a.m. So obviously Desert Magazine voters are getting up pretty early in the morning to get their television news. Second place: Gino LaMont, KMIR Third place: Karen Devine, KESQ -Bruce Fessier