Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

An enthusiastic and community-minded crowd packed The Hood Bar and Pizza—the choice of Independent readers as the valley’s Best Dive Bar—on Friday, Dec. 15, for the Best of Coachella Valley 2017-2018 Awards Show and Party.

Hosted by Jimmy Boegle and Brian Blueskye of the Independent, the awards portion featured a couple dozen winners coming onstage and thanking readers for voting them as the valley’s best—but only after Boegle emphasized the importance of supporting honest, ethical local media.

Following the awards, The Flusters—voted Best Local Band two out of the last three years—capped a busy week by performing to an enthusiastic crowd.

After The Flusters’ set, DJ Tommy Locust spun before the after-party launched with the spooky organ tunes of Herbert; he was followed to the stage by Sunday Funeral and Black Water Gospel.

Below are some photos from the event, by Independent contributor Kevin Fitzgerald. Congratulations to all of the winners!

Published in Snapshot

Meet Tommy Locust. You can catch him spinning most weekends at Chill Bar Palm Springs, where he’s the resident DJ and marketing jedi. He’s a lifelong Southern Californian and former Mr. Palm Springs Leather who’s been a DJ for 14 years. He’s also a huge comic-book nerd—and you can see him performing as DJ Deadpool on most Saturdays for the next month or two. (Full disclosure: He’s also an Independent contributor.) For more information, visit

What was the first concert you attended?

No Doubt, the Tragic Kingdom tour, in Devore, Calif.

What was the first album you owned?

Dookie, Green Day.

What bands are you listening to right now?

The Flusters. I don’t really like a lot of bands right now; they’re one of the few ones I like.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

I feel like I get every kind of music there is. I give every kind of music a huge chance, and I haven’t found anything I really don’t like. My personal taste in music is vastly eclectic, ranging from old Southern hymnals to Europop from the ’90s.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Queen. The band was one of the best live acts of all time.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Spurline on Arenas Road. It lets me get old-school my gay on, and I love the crowd participation.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Scorpion Room at Chill Bar Palm Springs! I’m biased, but the musical performances there have been magical. So far, my favorite has been by Jennifer Corday.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Shoop shoop ba-doop, shoop ba-doop, shoop ba-doop ba-doop ba-doop,” Salt-N-Pepa, “Shoop.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Queen. Freddie Mercury is the best male singer who ever lived. He inspired me to be out, loud and free.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

Mumford and Sons: “I understand needing to evolve as an artist, but why would you change your sound so much, to the point where it’s unrecognizable, alienating your fan base which helped you change the music industry?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“A Kind of Magic,” Queen.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

The soundtrack from Kill Bill: Volume 1. A lot of that has to do with me being a huge movie freak.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Deadpool Rap” by Teamheadkick. It’s a rap about Deadpool that breaks the fourth wall like only Deadpool can. “Merc with a mouth …” (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

This weekend, downtown Palm Springs is being taken over by Pride.

It’s been an amazing couple of years for Greater Palm Springs Pride, and the LGBT community in general. The festival’s move from Palm Springs Stadium to downtown last year was a huge success. In fact, organizers say Palm Springs Pride is now the second-largest pride celebration in California, bested only by San Francisco Pride. After the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality earlier this year, there is a lot to celebrate.

One of the most recognized symbols of the LGBT community is the rainbow flag. The flag was designed in 1978, with a lot of revisions since. Its colors represent the diversity of the LGBT Community, and it has been used for pride marches and equality-related protests.

For Palm Springs Pride this year, I thought I’d reach out to a handful of local LGBT community entertainers and leaders, and ask them one simple question: What comes to mind when you see a rainbow flag?

“The rainbow flag is a sense of pride, a sense of community, a sense of unity of where we are, where we have been and where we are going. Color Our World With Pride! Celebrate! Don’t be afraid to show some color.” —Bella da Ball

“When I see the rainbow flag, I am reminded of our community’s great diversity—diversity in our race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion and so on. We’re white, black, Latino, Asian and Native American. We’re men, women and transgender. We’re Christian, Jewish and Muslim. I’m reminded in bold, beautiful color that we are more than LGBT, but we represent everything between those letters.” —Darrell Tucci, Chief Development Officer, Desert AIDS Project

“Anal sex! No, I’m just kidding! My answer is simple: I always think of gay pride and community.” —Jersey Shore

“I remember marching with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus down Broadway. It was my first time since coming out late. It started to rain, and we had a giant rainbow flag. You can imagine what it looked like when over 100 guys tried to take cover under the flag and still walk down Broadway looking fierce!” —Jeffrey Norman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, McCallum Theatre (and an Independent contributor)

“To me, the Rainbow Flag is a celebration of the uniqueness and beauty of both the LGBT individual and the collective community. Each color is spectacular on its own, yet when woven together in community, it’s even more majestic.” —Mike Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, the LGBT Community Center of the Desert

“When I see a rainbow flag, I think of unity, love, strength, a sense of belonging, and, of course, pride.” —Tommy Locust, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2014 and Chill’s house DJ (and an Independent contributor)

“People scramble to deem the flag irrelevant and (say) that this sort of demonstration of pride isn’t necessary, and many pretend that no one is struggling anymore. The history of the flag makes me feel grateful to be alive in a time where so much has changed for us and that an argument like that could even exist.” —Shann Carr

“Comfort, equality, progress. Lives were lost in order to have this flag erected. They are just colors to some, but for me, it’s so much more. I know if I see the pride flag displayed in businesses, I feel a comfort in knowing I can feel safe and will not be judged on my sexual preferences.” —Marina Mac

“To me, it means that the queer are here! On a serious note, the rainbow flag represents LGBT friendliness, and LGBT community is present and proud. Many places around the world, (LGBT people) can’t hang flags, and when one is present, it means that being gay is normal, OK. We are here, just like any other person.” —DJ Femme A

“I see pride, dignity, respect, hard work, love, compassion, diversity and equality. Over the years, the rainbow flag has been a symbol of pride in our community. It signifies the strength we have had to stay grounded! The colors are the diversity we enjoy, sharing equal respect for those who do not have the foresight into moving positively into the future.” —James Bork, Mr. Chill Leather 2016 and second runner-up, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2016

Published in Features