Big Brain Awards 2013

Today, the site attracts about 150,000 unique visitors a month and boasts endorsements from singer Julieta Venegas and Carla Morrison, a former Phoenician who fronted beloved indie band Babaluca before heading to Mexico and picking up two Latin Grammy Awards for her latest, Déjenme Llorar. Club Fonograma was an early booster of Morrison's work.

Club Fonograma brought Reyes to the atención of MTV, Pitchfork, and NPR Music. The latter approached him about contributing to its Alt.Latino blog in 2011. Club Fonograma does have its detractors, he says, noting that though dozens of Latin American music blogs have popped up in the wake of Fonograma's success, many criticize the site for being written in English. It's a grievance Reyes is keenly aware of.

"I could love to have a bilingual site," he says, "but I don't have the resources right now. When I started the site, it was partially to work on my English. It was a very personal blog."

Lightning Octopus
Lightning Octopus

Location Info


The Monarch Theatre

122 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Category: Dance Clubs

Region: Central Phoenix

The site's roots may be in the personal, but it's become a destination for music fans looking to get a glimpse into what feels like a whole other world of kaleidoscopic pop sounds. The site creates exclusive MP3 mixes, which have proved to be big hits.

"People love them," Reyes say. "In fact, I haven't made one in a while, and people are starting to get impatient, saying 'When's the next mix?'"

Demand is a good problem to have, no?

"Yeah," Reyes says, with a beaming smile. "I better make one soon." — Jason P. Woodbury


Ziggy Kennedy has a hard time defining the focus on his Internet radio program Dust Circuit Radio, but he's certainly enthusiastic about trying to pin it down anyway.

"I guess we focus on Americana and roots," the jovial 41-year-old laughs. "I sometimes say, 'If it has a banjo in it, I'll probably play it.'"

But Dust Circuit Radio is hardly strict about its roots format, just as likely devoting time to thrashing rock 'n' roll or spiraling shoegaze. It's an anything-goes format, but instead of alienating listeners, it's quickly attracted them. The 24-hour stream consists of pre-recorded segments, live shows, and an archive of "DCR-approved songs." Kennedy features a cast of hosts in the DCR HQ (his house), including shows hosted by his wife, Kerry Kennedy, Mills End frontman Jeff Bump, Shain Mayer, and World Class Thugs player Jim Bachmann. (Kennedy calls Bachmann's show, "Ripsnort Radio Hour," DCR's "finest program.")

Kennedy launched the site ( with local musician Jason McGraw in October 2012. McGraw since has departed, but Kennedy's kept up, surviving strictly on donations, mostly from the very bands that Dust Circuit Radio plays and the kindness of musicians like Carol Pacey. ("Dust Circuit wouldn't exit without Carol," he laughs.)

"People do beautiful stuff if you just give them a chance," he says, his voice still betraying his Oklahoman ancestry.

He's been in Arizona for 11 years, playing in local bands and impressing himself in Phoenix culture, and while Dust Circuit Radio plays a lot of Phoenix bands, there's music from all around the world featured on the station.

"My motivation was to be a conduit to unite fans with bands and bands with listeners, without a commercial agenda," says Kennedy.

Listenership varies, Kennedy says, from 80 listeners to 500, depending on the show and time. Unsurprisingly, Kennedy's freeform format hasn't attracted a lot of advertisers, but that doesn't bother him. The station occasionally features sponsors, but mostly he likes to keep it free and wild. The music — even bumper music and show intros — is cleared directly by each band played. "We play stuff that's a little blue, maybe askew," he says. "No need to involve the FCC or BMI."

The station has recently begun broadcasting live from events at local watering holes like the Ice House Tavern and Yucca Tap Room (at the time of publication, DCR was set to live broadcast all 14 hours of the infamous Valley Fever Quarantine at the Yucca). The live events fit the social nature of his broadcasts. "People plan BBQs and parties around our shows," he says. "People put it on in their shops and just let it play for hours."

Dust Circuit Radio's format may be hard to define, but that's part of what makes it thrive, Kennedy says.

"We cuss, we make strange references," he says, still laughing. "Our fans get turned on, big money gets turned off." He wouldn't have it any other way. — Jason P. Woodbury


Jonathan Simon has a tendency to geek out. A lot. You can tell when it's happening, as the 32-year-old blogger usually sports a boyish grin when discussing things he's passionate about, such as space ("I'm a big solar system nerd"), Super Nintendo, and sci-fi novels (Nick Harkaway's post-apocalyptic tome The Gone-Away World is a fave).

He wears an even bigger smile when gushing about a particularly favorite subject: the joys of local geek culture. Over the past three years, he's explored, chronicled, and celebrated homegrown nerd-dom in the Valley on his renowned blog Lightning Octopus, (

Since launching in 2010, Simon's exhaustively championed the imaginative efforts of like-minded local comic book scribes, fantasy authors, indie auteurs, and countless creatives of a geeky kind. He also has given the lowdown on nerd-oriented events throughout Arizona.

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OK wow, lets roll that beautiful bean footage!


He sounds like a future famous designer.  I liked reading about him.  Much luck and success to him in his future in design and hopefully I'll see his clothes in the best shops in the future.

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