Best of Phoenix®

Best Of 2000


  • + Ahwatukee
  • + Anthem
  • + Apache Junction
  • + Avondale
  • + Buckeye
  • + California
  • + Carefree
  • + Cave Creek
  • + Central Phoenix
  • + Central Scottsdale
  • + Chandler
  • + East Phoenix
  • + El Mirage
  • + Fountain Hills
  • + Gilbert
  • + Glendale
  • + Goodyear
  • + Higley
  • + Laveen
  • + Litchfield Park
  • + Mesa
  • + Nevada
  • + New River
  • + North Phoenix
  • + North Scottsdale
  • + Out of Town
  • + Outside the Valley
  • + Palo Verde
  • + Paradise Valley
  • + Peoria
  • + Queen Creek
  • + South Phoenix
  • + South Scottsdale
  • + Sun City
  • + Surprise
  • + Tempe
  • + Tolleson
  • + Unknown
  • + Waddell
  • + West Phoenix
  • + Youngtown
Map It

Food & Drink

Goods & Services

Megalopolitan Life

People & Places

Shopping & Services


Best Of :: Megalopolitan Life

Best TV Newscast

If you're like us, you're weary of local TV newscasts that somehow manage to be simultaneously stuffy and shallow. It's not like that with KTVK's NewShow, an informal yet informative experiment in local journalism and, yes, infotainment. This hourlong 10 p.m. newscast is led by real news, and then -- much like the progression of sections in a newspaper -- gets softer as the minutes fly by. Channel 3 is still the most fearlessly directed local broadcast operation, capable of grinding sacred cows into red meat. But it's the laid-back, whimsical sense of the NewShow that's most refreshing. It's a risky format, and we admire the chutzpah. The irrepressible Liz Habib, who's more hostess than anchor, sets the tone. She's a chameleonlike pro, able to convey empathy when she's reading the grave news yet maintaining a beguiling and impish mien when the show lightens up. The likable yet credible Mike Warren is Habib's trusty sidekick. The NewShow's exploration of Valley nightlife, music and alternative culture is a sensation with a younger demographic (dare we call it "alternative TV"?). Mike Chamberlin, meanwhile, is a sportscaster with conviction. He's not afraid to call a shovel a shovel, or tweak the barons of the Valley sports scene when the situation warrants. Sure, we'd like to see more investigative and enterprise stories on the NewShow -- the hourlong format pleads for it -- but the show is still in relative nascence. So we'll give the Channel 3 crew until the next Best of Phoenix to serve even more nutritious fare.

Readers' Choice for Best TV Newscaster: Liz Habib

Best View of Mill Avenue From Cyberspace

Last year, the award in this category went to the city of Tempe's official Web site, which offers wide views of Mill Avenue -- about the only street in the Valley where one regularly witnesses both foot and vehicular traffic.

This year, one Mill Avenue worker bee whose office affords an unobstructed view of the intersection at Fifth Street and Mill Avenue has one-upped 'em with a camera closely focused -- 24/7, updated every 30 seconds -- on a bench just outside Cold Stone Creamery ice cream and sweet shop.

Chow down, Tempe! You're on candied camera!

Best Morning-Drive Crybaby

Poor Dave wasn't very Smiley the day we tuned in to the New Guys morning show and heard him turn on the waterworks while reading a "Dear Dave" e-mail his girlfriend sent him. Not since the Hindenburg crash has such tear-drenched humanity dripped out over the airwaves. On hand to catch his deposits of grief was the nauseatingly reassuring Love Doctor, a Tuesday morning regular who told him it takes a strong man to cry on radio where no one can see you.

It did make the morning drive more riveting than the hackneyed "wacky" fare that he and his partner Greg Simms usually dream up (like polling listeners for "kissable news anchors," for instance), but frankly we're too cynical about radio in the year 2000 to think Smiley's weeping was anything but crocodilian in nature, especially since he snapped back into his "professional" voice so quickly you'd think Don Pardo just walked into the room.

Maybe a marketing group told him the only way to beat Dave Pratt and Howard Stern in the morning ratings was to get disaffected female listeners by becoming a sensitive weeping jock. Or maybe someone just shoved the latest Arbitron numbers under his nose and let the teardrops fall.

Best Waste of Breath

For one week each year, the already sex-soaked cable network MTV becomes MT&A, letting it all hang out for Spring Break, shot at some exotic location and featuring nubile college students humping and grinding and sometimes frolicking in nothing but shaving cream.

Suddenly, this year's fun in the Mexican sun was interrupted by an abstinence-only public service announcement approved by the Arizona Legislature, produced by the state Department of Health Services and funded with our tax dollars.

The ad featured head shots of a half-dozen Jennifer Aniston look-alikes, taking turns delivering the following lines:

"To all you guys out there who see me as just another sex story to brag about to your friends: reality check. You know that thing between your legs? That is not what makes you a man. Not now. Not ever. But don't worry. There's a solution for guys like you. It's called a blow-up doll. Personally, I'd rather keep my self-respect than sleep with you."

The commercial ended and the screen filled again with writhing, near-naked coeds in Cancún. Earth to Arizona Legislature: "Come again?"

Best Place to See Truly Baffling Performance Art

Would you expect anything less than bizarre from a gallery named after two vampire antique dealers from a Stephen King novel?

Opened in early 1999 by fledgling art czars Ryan McNamara and Andy Guzzanato, Barlow & Straker is the ne plus ultra of local performance spaces -- and it rarely performs below expectations with a lineup that's wild, weird and wacky -- but rarely fathomable.

Take, for example, last year's "Squeak and Clean," a performance by Phoenix artist Angela Ellsworth and collaborator Tina Takamoto. While Ellsworth exercised for two straight hours on a NordicTrack in a gigantic exercise ball hooked up to vibrating massagers (attached to large bars of soap, no less), Takamoto simultaneously scaled a gallery wall in rock-climbing gear and made gestural drawings with her feet.

Well, maybe you had to be there. We were -- and we're still trying to figure it out.

Best Naked Dancing People

Welcoming you to downtown's favorite live theater is a most unusual sight. There you'll find an even dozen men, women and children having a great old time dancing their days and nights away. And not a stitch of clothing on one of 'em. It must keep them young because they've been doing it for decades now and they never get any older. Since 1974, as a matter of fact. "Dance" is an installation by John Waddell that was originally in the courtyard of Phoenix Civic Plaza before moving to its current home at the Herberger. The statues are a particularly joyous bit of public artwork. They appear to be having a blast. But isn't it about time someone got them some sunscreen?


Best TV Newscast: NewShow
KTVK-TV Channel 3


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >