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People & Places

  • BEST CLUB YOU CAN'T GET INTO

    Jackrabbit Supper Club - CLOSED

    With its lavishly tony décor soaked in red and black, talented DJs spinning Top 40 and rock mash-ups, top-shelf food and drinkage, performances by musical and burlesque acts, and plenty of chi-chi clientele, the Jackrabbit Supper Club is definitely the kinda E-Ticket club that exudes big-city splash. Since debuting last fall, it's not strange to see the place filled to… More >>
  • BEST SWEET ANTICIPATION

    Sprinkles Cupcakes

    Something's going up on the northeast corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads, and no, it's not another gas station. It's a cupcake shop! Well, you say, cupcake shops are as common as gas stations these days — and, hey, both are outrageously priced. You're right. We won't argue (in fact, a Sprinkles cupcake costs $3.25 — even more than a… More >>
  • BEST GUILT-FREE CHOCOLATE

    Tocasierra Spa & Salon at the Pointe Hilton

    If it weren't for sheer willpower, we'd all be sitting around on asses the size of Texas, eating bonbons, and frothing at the mouth like Homer Simpson. Mmm... chocolate. So you can imagine we were floored to discover a cocoa treat that has zero calories and zero fat at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak. Offered as part of the Tocasierra… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO COVET THE SWEET LIFE

    Covet

    Thanks to one of Old Town Scottsdale's newest boutiques, we'll gladly add some extra penance so we can atone for the lust we feel for Covet's Tretorn shoes, limited-edition Andy Warhol Factory Foundation Levi's, and one-of-a-kind Liz Saintsing painted bags. We're envious of owners Randy and Adrienne Kreb's excellent taste, and have been known to stare longingly at the Yoko… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY THE SWEET LIFE

    Neiman Marcus Last Call

    We love looking like a million bucks, especially if our champagne tastes can be sated on our beer budgets. That's why we've been braving traffic on the I-10 for ages so we can scour the racks at Neiman Marcus Last Call at Arizona Mills. Where else will you find purple Miu Miu pumps for $19.95? Or John Galliano for Dior… More >>
  • BEST GOLF BARGAIN

    The Estancia Club

    Okay, so a $170,000 golf club membership isn't usually considered a bargain, per se. But this isn't just any golf club — and not just any deal. You can save $30,000, old chap, if you join now.Not only will you save enough cash to buy your third wife's kid another car, but you'll also be able to snub the lowlife… More >>
  • BEST VANITY LICENSE PLATE

    PREENUP

    When a $100,000 car doesn't say enough about you, get a vanity license plate — de rigueur for the truly gauche, particularly if you live in some of our sweeter parts of town. We're partial to the oversharers. We chuckled at the blue Jag that advertises ISUE4U (we betcha do, buddy), but our favorite could easily belong to ISUE4U's client,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY A $500 BONG

    Trails

    We hesitate to give this store an award because it's popular enough, located just off Mill Avenue. Also, the chain does a fine job of promoting itself. But there's a reason we've been shopping here ever since it was called "Happy Trails" (which was before the Roy Rogers people threatened to sue the company).It's the people. Whoever makes the hires… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY AN INSANELY PRICED AUTOMOBILE

    Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction

    We've been assembling a killer "wish list" in anticipation of the day the Powerball numbers finally roll our way. Besides jetting off to Ibiza and purchasing the Copenhaver Castle on Camelback Mountain, we're gonna roll down to the yearly Barrett-Jackson Automotive Auction with a couple of briefcases bulging with hundies to snatch up a couple of the astronomically priced autos… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO RENT AN INSANELY PRICED AUTOMOBILE

    Rent-A-Vette

    If you aren't making it, try faking it. For instance, say you're some slick $30K millionaire (you know, the type who fronts an upscale lifestyle but makes about as much as the pizza delivery guy), who flaunts your faux fortune at Scottsdale clubs in the hopes of bagging a top-shelf honey. Since there's absolutely zero chance of you hooking 'em… More >>
  • BEST BET FOR FINDING YOUR DREAM HOME

    Jarson & Jarson Real Estate

    From all reports, there's only one answer to the question that goes, "Who do I talk to about finding the perfect home?" and that answer is Jarson & Jarson, a husband-and-wife duo whose high professional standards and superb support staff have made them the go-to couple for folks looking for the best nest. Scott and Debbie understand modern architecture and… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SPOT GIRLS IN BIG SUNGLASSES

    Hotel Valley Ho Pool

    The Valley Ho started encouraging bathing beauties to languish poolside in 1956, when it was the glamorous resort of choice for Hollywood celebutantes and Scottsdale's high society. Not much has changed in that regard, as any trip to their beautifully redone pool can attest — gorgeous ladies in Pucci swimsuits, protecting their eyes from the glare of the paparazzi flash… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SPOT BOYS WITH WAX JOBS

    The Agency

    Take one hot boutique hotel in downtown Scottsdale, and add a model agency. Stir oh, so gently. What have you got? An all-day (and night) parade of the Beautiful People. We love to watch the boys go by at the Mondrian, to and from The Agency, an on-site modeling firm with the motto, "With your brains and our beauty, imagine… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SPOT GIRLS AND BOYS AFTER A HARD NIGHT

    The Breakfast Club

    Out on the town in Scottsdale? You can expect to wait in a long line, even after the sun comes up, particularly if you want to get into the hottest brunch spot. We've been known to ditch The Breakfast Club on a Saturday morning — the wait's just too long for our delicate constitution — but if you're intent on… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SPOT HOT MOMS

    The Enchanted Playground

    We don't know what our parents did without the indoor playgrounds that have popped up at malls across the Valley. It's perfect: You push little Emily around the mall in the stroller 'til she screams bloody murder, then you buy her a soft pretzel and a lemonade (all these mall playgrounds seem to have pretzel stands strategically located), and rest… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SPOT NIPS AND TUCKS

    Trends

    Back in the day (i.e., the '80s and even some of the '90s), the highlight of each social season in this town came not during "season" at all, but in the middle of the summer, when Danny Medina — doyenne, as it were, of the society mag Trends — would make his grand entrance (at least once, literally carried by… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SPOT PEOPLE WHO NEED NIPS AND TUCKS

    Dirty Scottsdale

    We admit we're more than a little guilty of practicing the nasty act of schadenfreude (a.k.a. getting our kicks from the misfortune of others). While it's not exactly the nicest habit to possess, sometimes we can't help but snicker at human train wrecks.So it's no surprise we're fans of Dirty Scottsdale, the infamous blog devoted to trashing the city's debauched… More >>
  • BEST TRAVEL GUIDE FOR A CHOCOLATE-COVERED, BUTTERCREAM-FILLED, DEEP-FRIED TWINKIE WORLD

    It's A Sweet Life . . . Now!

    Phoenix comic Maggie Hunts knew something was wrong when her family started hiding Oreo cookies in the dishwasher and embarrassing trickles started running down her leg. When Hunts was in her twenties, she learned she had diabetes. Ever since, she's been on a quest to turn the D-word into laughs and a new way of living."There's hope for us! Yay!"… More >>
  • BEST WEIGHT WATCHERS LEADER

    Gretchen

    We're quite certain she has a name, but we know her only as Gretchen — sort of like Madonna. Or Prince. Because this woman is truly a rock star of the weight-watching world. There's nothing really special about Weight Watchers, one of the oldest and most ubiquitous diet programs in the country. You go to a meeting once a week,… More >>
  • BEST POLITICAL FACE-LIFT

    Cindy McCain

    We used to make it a hobby of sorts, collecting glowing references to John McCain in the national media. It got so obvious that for a while, his deliciously bitchy staff used to send copies along, just to be sure we didn't miss anything. Sadly, we had to take up beading when the B.J.s stopped coming for our state's senior… More >>
  • BEST POLITICAL MAKEOVER

    Maria Baier

    Maria Baier locked, as of press time, in a heated run-off battle for control of Phoenix City Council District 3 – is, by far, the most interesting candidate of the year, and we include all national political figures in that assessment.For one thing, she's a staunch conservative backed by an unlikely but powerful lobby, the firefighters. That could have… More >>
  • BEST POLITICIAN

    Congressman Harry Mitchell

    Hey, the man sent J.D. Hayworth packing. It doesn't matter if he fails to do anything else for two whole years; Arizona and New Times readers everywhere owe him big time.… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD

    Max Crumm

    Okay, so his name sounds like the punch line to a joke about local theater, but Phoenix native Max Crumm made us all proud when he took home top honors as one of two winners of NBC's You're the One That I Want this past March. The show went looking for male and female winners to play the leads in… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL MAKES GOOD

    Jordin Sparks

    We admit we were bowled over by 17-year-old Jordin Sparks from the moment she first performed on this perennial pop music fest, but we were so busy being crushed out on Melinda Doolittle that we forgot to root for our hometown girl.That is, until Week 5, when Miss Thing stood there in an evening dress, belting out the most exciting… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL MAKES SUPERBAD

    Emma Stone

    We can't stop thinking about Superbad, the late-summer smash starring Seth Rogen and Jonah Goldberg of Knocked Up fame. (Another of our favorite summer movies.) That blood, those drawings... Okay, sorry, we're digressing. Go see it. Here's another reason: How cool is it that one of the Superbad girls hails from Scottsdale? Super-cool, we say! It seemed as though, mere… More >>
  • BEST CELEBRITY LOOK-ALIKE

    Debra Rich Gettleman

    We're not 100 percent sure that Kate Walsh (of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice fame) has never been to north Scottsdale, but if you think you've seen her wandering around Kierland Commons, chances are good that it wasn't her. Debra Rich Gettleman — a Valley resident with the same red hair and an uncanny resemblance, both in face and figure,… More >>
  • BEST POWER COUPLE

    John Spiak and Cassandra Coblentz

    In Phoenix, it's not six degrees of separation — it's more like two. This summer, those two degrees got cozier when John Spiak, a curator at the Arizona State University Art Museum, married Cassandra Coblentz, a curator at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Originally from Orange County, Spiak has been an arts-scene cheerleader for more years than many of… More >>
  • BEST POWER COUPLE THAT SPLIT TOWN

    Gary Lowenthal and Susan Cedar

    We are sad to report that two of our area's brightest lights recently packed up and moved to that snooty little one-horse town known as Santa Fe, New Mexico. So why the "Best of"? Just because Lowenthal and Cedar, a husband-wife team with big, big hearts, deserve recognition and thanks for what they added to our community. We remember seeing Lowenthal… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO FIND YOUR PLACE

    www.cenpho.com

    Okay. So you've just moved to Phoenix, and you want to know where the action is. Or you've just moved back here after a decade away, and you're in search of a cool coffee house and an authentic taco stand in your part of town. You know the sweet life is out there, somewhere — but where? Look no further… More >>
  • BEST DOWNTOWN STREET

    Fifth Street, between Roosevelt and Garfield

    If you've ever wondered where most of the people are heading when they're heading downtown, chances are it's toward Fifth Street in the Evans-Churchill Neighborhood. While the block-long stretch of road between Roosevelt and Garfield Streets has always been popular with the masses on First Friday and other big nights, the area has gotten even more crowded in recent months… More >>
  • BEST DOWNTOWN BEHIND-THE-SCENES MAKER

    Cindy Gentry

    Cindy Gentry's a mover and shaker, but only in the best use of the term — no bone-crushing handshakes or slaps on the back from this lady. Two years ago, Gentry started the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, which turned an empty lot near First Street and McKinley into a bustling Farmers Market. Thanks to her tireless efforts, Saturday-morning shoppers find… More >>
  • BEST DOWNTOWN BUILDING TO POKE YOUR HEAD INTO

    Great Arizona Puppet Theater

    In recent months, we've heard about at least two local historic Mormon churches abandoned to the bulldozers. That makes us more grateful than ever to the Great Arizona Puppet Theater, and the folks who restored it. If you watch HBO's Big Love, you might think some sort of divine intervention (or at least comic relief) led to a group of… More >>
  • BEST CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS TO POKE YOUR HEAD INTO

    Empire Southwest

    What? Heavy machinery as art? In a building off the 60, in Mesa? Trust us. Empire's HQ is way cool, using construction-related materials from copper ore rock mulch (trucked in from a client's mine) to "sheep's foot compactor drums," placed sideways on stone pillars to mimic Stonehenge. From the salvaged bulldozer stabilizer arms (now supporting a garden awning) to the… More >>
  • BEST BUILDING WE CAN'T WAIT TO POKE OUR HEADS INTO

    Tempe Center for the Arts

    From the outside, it looks like a spaceship, but the buzz around town is that the new Tempe Center for the Arts is out of this world. The building is so new that as of press time, there hadn't yet been a formal performance, and we couldn't find a parking spot for the family preview day. But we heard from… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF URBAN CIVILIZATION

    Pei Wei Asian Diner

    Warning: What you are about to read might be very upsetting. If you are faint of heart or have an unnatural obsession with meaningless, ugly Phoenix buildings, please move on to the next category.We love the new Pei Wei/Starbucks compound at Seventh Avenue and McDowell. There. We said it.Now let us explain. For months, we avoided the corner. We knew… More >>
  • BEST GRAND BUILDING

    Bragg's Pie Factory

    Anyone who wants to argue that the downtown arts scene isn't going anywhere can just shut their pie hole, after the first Friday in September. That's the night that Beatrice Moore and Tony Zahn opened their newest building to the public, for a sneak preview. The 15,000-square-foot Bragg's Pie Factory is quiet and cavernous, the walls a bright white, and… More >>
  • BEST STRIPPED-DOWN STRIP MALL

    Yourtown Redevelopment

    If you've lived in Phoenix for any substantial amount of time, you've witnessed an overabundance of strip malls.Don't hate them; they're a way of life. We must love them, coddle them, and appreciate strip malls for all the glorious things they can offer.Too much effort for you? That may change with the help of Sloane McFarland, who has decided to… More >>
  • BEST CAMPAIGN DIGS

    Phil for Phoenix

    Phil Gordon doesn't have the best taste in town. That honor goes to his wife, Christa Severns. So maybe she's the one who decided the mayor should set up his re-election shop in the former 307, a one-time transvestite bar just east of the way-cool monOrchid gallery that has stood largely empty for years. We're not too interested in the… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL NUTBAR

    Kent Knudson

    How does one become Greater PHX's best local nutbar? After all, the Valley's a veritable can of Planter's, what with all these right-wing loonies, Minutemen, and anti-immigrationists runnin' around. But Kent "Cow Killer" Knudson (a convicted felon for shooting someone else's cow on his property) gets the nod because as "chief cook and bottle washer" for 9/11 Truth AZ, he's… More >>
  • BEST BIG, FAT WHITE SUPREMACIST

    J.T. Ready

    J.T. Ready's the Ernst Roehm of the East Valley, the Hermann Goering of Sand Land, the two-ton titan of AZ white supremacy. Ready's rep was already dirt after his disastrous campaign for Mesa City Council in 2006, wherein it was revealed that he'd fudged his CV a tad, omitting the fact that he'd been court-martialed twice while in the Marines… More >>
  • BEST V-DAY VAMPIRE

    Tiffany Sutton

    Talk about your bloody Valentines. Tiffany Sutton, 23, outdid them all by allegedly trying to drink the blood of paramour Robert McDaniel, 46, back on February 14 of this year. According to police reports, after a night of boozing, meth, and sex, Sutton asked McDaniel if she could tie his ass up.McDaniel, being a male of the species under the… More >>
  • BEST DUI

    U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker's stop at the Birds Nest

    The sweet life indeed. U.S. Airways CEO Doug Parker banked more than $11 million in his most recently reported compensation package. So, it's understandable that Parker would use a few of those hard-earned pennies to buy himself a cold one this past January 31. After all, Parker had just lost a $9.8 billion bid to take over Delta Airlines.Problem is,… More >>
  • BEST MOPED NERDS

    The Tom Cruisers

    Although mopeds will never be as hip and sexy as the Vespa, we decided to embrace the nerdy cool of the geeky vehicle after we started seeing members of the Tom Cruisers ambling around Tempe on their motorized velocipedes. Consisting of 15 or so twentysomething guys and other college-age males, with nicknames like "Designated Wizard" and "Gunther Pleasureman," the clique… More >>
  • BEST ATTEMPTED SHAKEDOWN OF TOM CRUISE

    David Hans Schmidt

    As much as we dislike Tom Cruise, we really love to loathe the so-called "sultan of smut" and all-around arrogant local blowhard David Hans Schmidt. So much so that when word reached us about how the Scientologist screwball and actor played a part in getting Schmidt thrown in the federal lockup on charges of alleged attempted extortion, our revulsion toward… More >>
  • BEST CHEESY PUBLICITY STUNT

    Sheriff Joe's "Inmate Idle"

    Just when we thought ol' Joe Arpaio couldn't get any fruitier, the Maricopa County Sheriff came up with something that out-cheesed even the legendary pink underwear he forces inmates to wear in Tent City: an "Inmate Idle" competition in which non-violent offenders would sing bad karaoke in hopes of winning, uh, nothing. Media instantly went ga-ga for the gag. Maybe… More >>
  • BEST UNLIKELY CHAMPION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT

    Heart Attack Grill - CLOSED

    Heroes come from the strangest places. For instance, about a year ago, when Valley restaurateur Jon Basso opened the doors of the Heart Attack Grill — where sexy young waitresses dressed as naughty nurses serve up über-greasy burgers like the "Triple Bypass" and "Quadruple Bypass" — the eatery entrepreneur never thought he'd wind up battling the government and becoming the… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER

    Cari Gerchick

    When writing about public-information officers, we're often reminded of the late baseball pitcher Lefty Grove, who won 300 games in his career despite throwing only about as hard as an average high-schooler. Someone once asked Lefty how in the world he'd been so successful when he threw so slowly."I guess I just try to keep their eye off the ball,"… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWSCASTER

    3-TV's Patti Kirkpatrick

    We can't stop watching Patti Kirkpatrick. We've tried switching. We tried Kent on 5 and Lin Sue on 12. Couldn't make it to the first commercial. We even tried Fox 10 News, but Troy Hayden is just a Patti Pretender. We want our Patti, and thanks to Channel 3's groovalicious variety-hour news format, we can have her for two whole… More >>
  • BEST SYNDICATED COMIC STRIP

    F Minus

    A few years ago, the only place you could peep the screwball Far Side-style sarcasm of Tony Carrillo's comic F Minus was in the pages of ASU's student newspaper, The State Press, where the Tempe ink-slinger churned out single-panel strips filled with twisted visual puns and perversely ironic situations. (Two of our favorites back in the day featured a Golfland-like… More >>
  • BEST GIG POSTERS

    The Rhythm Room

    For some local concert promoters, creating a flier for an upcoming gig is a quick and dirty operation, usually consisting of an hour in Photoshop followed by 90 minutes at Kinko's running off copies. Not so with the folks at the Rhythm Room.The cats at Bob Corritore's jazz and blues joint turn out some quality posters plugging their upcoming gigs.… More >>
  • BEST YOUTUBE CLIP

    Matt Weddle from Obadiah Parker performing "Hey Ya!"

    Weddle's acoustic cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" was one of the most widely viewed YouTube clips in not just Arizona, but the world.The video — which splices clips from Outkast's video with footage of Weddle performing the song — has been viewed more than a million times by people all over the world, including as far away as Australia and… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL MYSPACE FIND

    Disposable Hero

    For a street graffiti artist, anonymity is of paramount importance. One might assume that to stay incognito, the visual vigilantes would avoid exposing Web sites like MySpace. Not so for Phoenix's Disposable Hero. The dude's art is everywhere and you've likely seen his anime-inspired panda posters, since they're stuck to almost every abandoned building in Phoenix and Tempe. This panda-pasting… More >>
  • BEST INDIE CONCERT PROMOTER

    President Gator Presents

    Big-time Valley concert promoters Live Nation and Lucky Man Productions boast dozens of employees, boffo budgets, multimillion-dollar venues, and connections to a slew of chart-topping acts across the country. So what does the smaller-scale indie-show organizer President Gator Presents have going for it? A one-man promoting powerhouse named Jeremiah Gratza, that's what. The 24-year-old scenester constantly impresses us with his… More >>
  • BEST RECORDING STUDIO

    Mind's Eye Digital

    As a producer and engineer, Mind's Eye owner Larry Elyea's got a resumé that's hard to beat. His local credits include albums by some of Phoenix's best acts — Jimmy Eat World, Eyes Set To Kill, Authority Zero, DJ Radar, Fred Green, Gin Blossoms, Reubens Accomplice, Digital Summer, Trik Turner, and 32 Leaves' Welcome to the Fall, which landed at… More >>
  • BEST NEW LABEL

    onewordlong

    Influenced by a background in performance art as well as the massive number of original musical performances he's booked as co-owner of the Trunk Space art gallery and performance venue, downtown Phoenix artist JRC began this independent DIY label in 2006.The onewordlong project focuses on sound art, found sounds and spoken word, and is truly a hands-on effort as JRC… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL PODCAST

    Geek Method

    The truth about podcasts is that most of them suck. Modern technology made it possible for any jerk off the street to broadcast himself, but most people just don't belong behind a microphone. Luckily, we discovered Geek Method, a good answer to a slow workday. The pair of dudes behind the show are a couple of self-proclaimed computer nerds. Their… More >>
  • BEST INTERNET RADIO STATION

    Radio Free Phoenix

    You know a radio station is free from crappy, corporate play lists when it airs a weekly show called "Zappa Universe," honoring the music of Frank Zappa. Or when it plays The Earps, an abrasive, local cowpunk band, right after classic-rock fogies like The Marshall Tucker Band. Or when listeners play DJ and pick a pile of weekend songs (and… More >>
  • BEST RADIO TALK-SHOW HOSTS

    Johnjay and Rich

    Women across the Valley are talking about this morning duo, and it's easy to see why. From sisters on spring break pimping each other out for cash, to a local woman busting her parents as swingers on Mother's Day, Johnjay and Rich take the time to listen to their callers — and they have a persistent charm that has allowed… More >>
  • BEST RADIO DJ

    Jonathan L

    Jonathan L's been around the music industry for a long time, and it's not unusual to hear him drop a series of names on his radio show, "The Lopsided World of L," that would probably make even vaunted music journalists like Chuck Klosterman and Neil Strauss jealous. L's hung out with the likes of Frank Black, PJ Harvey, and Joan… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS DJ

    John Gambadoro

    If a Philly cheesesteak had a mouth, it would be John Gambadoro. The transplanted East Coaster has been peppering the Valley airwaves with his singular Jersey accent ("Did the Cah-dinals make the right choice? We might never know for shoe-ah") and acid tongue for more than a decade. In December '06, Gambo and his partner, Mark Asher, left their longtime… More >>
  • BEST SPORTS MORNING DRIVE RADIO SHOW

    Doug & Wolf, 5 to 9 a.m. weekdays

    On January 1, 50,000-watt behemoth KTAR dropped a bomb on the Valley radio scene, moving its news division to FM 92.3 and creating an all-sports, all-the-time format on the AM. As part of the aesthetic remodel, newly hired KTAR program director Ryan Hatch made two crucial moves. He snared longtime XTRA-AM 910 sports-talk champs John Gambadoro and Mark Asher for… More >>
  • BEST HIP-HOP MORNING DRIVE RADIO SHOW

    Da Nutz on Power 98.3 FM

    They're the saltiest set of nads you'll never taste. Well, unless you get lucky at one of their public appearances. They are, literally, Da Nutz: Joeyboy and JPhilla, rulers of mornin' FM, and two of the nastiest pole-waggers on the air. They're notorious for their "dirty-dirty" segments, where callers put their baby-daddies or baby-mommas "on blast" for a variety of… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION FOR CLASSICAL MUSIC

    KBAQ 89.5 FM

    A National Public Radio member station, KBAQ offers something for the classical connoisseur and the interested explorer alike. Fringe fans have a place to hear selections from popular composers like Mozart, Wagner, and Chopin, and symphony junkies can hear works by newer or lesser-known composers like Amy Beach, Manuel De Falla, and Hugo Alfven. Whether you want to hear some… More >>
  • BEST RADIO STATION FOR NEW COUNTRY

    KMLE 108 FM

    Sure, they still play the likes of Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, and Keith Urban, but the DJs at KMLE also follow the scent of fresh cuts by emerging country artists like Dusty Drake, Trent Tomlinson, and that blond beauty Taylor Swift (Swift's so hot that we can even forgive the heavy rotation of Jack Ingram's country cover of Hinder's "Lips… More >>
  • BEST RELIGIOUS RADIO STATION

    KLVK 89.1 FM (K-Love)

    This station says its programming is "positive and encouraging," and its goal is to "spread the Gospel" through mass media. This is some gospel we can get into. The Christian frequency's programming is packed with an eye toward reverence and redemption — news and weather broadcasts include coverage of things like Arizona church kids participating in the International Folk Dance… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SPEND SUNDAY MORNING

    Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church

    We gotta tell you something, sister: You haven't been to church until you've been to Pilgrim Rest. This isn't about a particular religion. We are talking strictly soul. The church, which has been a staple in the Eastlake Park neighborhood of Phoenix for years, is standing-room only on Sundays, with a line out the door. The walls thunder with the… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO GET HAMMERED WITH JESUS

    "Pulpit" by Kjel Alkire at eye lounge

    Third Friday art walks may not be as bumpin' as First Fridays, but the one thing we love about them is the free-flowing wine and beer at most galleries. It's a great way to booze your way into the weekend, courtesy of the artists. But no one offered a better way to get nailed in 2007 than Kjel Alkire at… More >>
  • BEST-KEPT BATHROOM SECRET

    The Roosevelt Tavern - CLOSED

    We love The Roosevelt. Great décor, beer, wine, and food — it was a no-brainer to add it to our rotation when Matt Pool opened for business last year. We don't always love the line for the, ahem, facilities, in which we inevitably find ourselves after a couple of rounds of libations. Sure, you can always strike up a diversionary… More >>
  • BEST ART ON THE WALLS OF A MEN'S ROOM

    Dos Gringos Scottsdale

    Usually, the unwritten code of conduct for the urinals in every men's room is eyes forward at all times. But we'll understand if you find it hard to keep your peepers straight ahead while doing the deed in the boys' bathroom at fratboy heaven Dos Gringos in Old Town Scottsdale.Hey, before you say anything, we ain't claiming you're trying to… More >>
  • BEST ART ON THE WALLS OF A WOMEN'S ROOM

    George & Dragon

    The ladies' loo at this British pub is like a work of lowbrow community art, with bright red walls, sickly, mellow-yellow hospital hallway lighting and a cheap, faux Deco mirror with a glued-on frame made of glass aquarium rocks — half of which are missing. British currency (which depicts the queen's big mug, of course) is glued here and there… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MAKE YOUR MOVE

    Yayoi Kusama mixed-media installation at Phoenix Art Museum

    We know a date at the art museum is about as fresh as talking astrology at a bar. But take your date to Yayoi Kusama's You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies mixed-media installation with LED lights at Phoenix Art Museum and you will be sure to dazzle your date into a quick first kiss. The… More >>
  • BEST MUSEUM YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO

    West Valley Art Museum

    Making the haul to Sun City for a visit with Gramps will be much more pleasant if you make a pit stop at the West Valley Art Museum. We discovered this little gem and couldn't believe that such refinery was hiding in the hinterlands.The gorgeous, modern building houses a permanent collection of more than 4,000 pieces that range from expected… More >>
  • BEST PUBLIC ART

    McDowell Gateway

    Too often, public art means dancing naked ladies or portrait statues of important figureheads. But Michele Stuhl's white-painted steel arch, which looms over McDowell Road between 16th and 17th streets, focuses on location by mimicking the cityscape of surrounding buildings and an abstracted picket fence at the apex, bringing to mind the surrounding residential areas. On a clear day, the… More >>
  • BEST GIANT STEEL FRISBEE

    The Arizona 9/11 Memorial

    Anyone remember what this big-ass steel Frisbee at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza downtown was supposed to be for? Yep, it's the much fought-over Arizona 9/11 memorial, the one the right-wingers railed about and implied was traitorous during the 2006 gubernatorial donnybrook between Len Munsil and Janet Napolitano. Now the goofy Funyun-lookin' object has quietly slipped into much-deserved obscurity.No one gives… More >>
  • BEST COMMUNITY MURAL

    Guadalupe Youth & Young Adult Program

    We reckon the town fathers of Guadalupe must be passing out paint by the bucketful, as many of the buildings along its main drag of Avenida del Yaqui are decked out with murals or other brushed-on decorations of some form or another. Not that we're complaining or anything, as the rough-around-the-edge-style renditions of Christ's crucifixion or commemorations of the town's… More >>
  • BEST ONGOING MURAL

    Cherry Bombin* Angry Girl

    There's a chance your artistic tastes might not be ready for the huge collaborative mural that adorns the outside wall of Jesika Jordan's gallery and record store at the .anti_space building in downtown Phoenix. If so, we can't really blame you, as a Pepto-pink backdrop filled with chrome-like graffiti script and shiny mech-style robots laying waste to skyscrapers isn't for… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE INSTALLATION ART

    The Icehouse

    A towering, 13-foot-high pyramid of stacked Chinese shipping boxes. Several liquid-powered robot gongs lined up in a row creating a clamorous cacophony of noise. A gigantic woven rubber and metal cage suspended like a spider web from the walls and containing a punky performance artist. These are just a few unusual examples of the edgy, outrageous, and inspiring installation art… More >>
  • BEST NEW PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION

    Rising Phoenix

    Ed Mell's Rising Phoenix, a Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture commissioned work completed in December 2006, explores the legend of the Phoenix bird that gives our lovely town its namesake. The 40-inch-tall bronze statue, bordered by the beautiful Historic City Hall structure to the east and the Calvin Goode Building to the west, is perched atop a four-foot tall… More >>
  • BEST NEW GALLERY, NATIONAL ART

    SOCA Gallery

    In the real estate game, location is everything. Mortgage banking executive Terri Rundle knew that when she opened SOCA Gallery and the neighboring antique shop, Vircille. Named for its prime location just south of Camelback Mountain, the lofty building features burnished gold walls, cathedral ceilings, and killer acoustics for the musicians that flock to play at the fab space's corporate… More >>
  • BEST NEW GALLERY, LOCAL ART

    Windup Gallery

    Make all the jokes you want about Mesa, but do it fast because pretty soon, the place won't be so easy to poke fun at. Things are happening over in the East Valley and we're not talking about new strip malls or good fabric stores, either.If you happen to cruise Mesa's main drag downtown, you may notice a local art… More >>
  • BEST NEW STOP ON FIRST FRIDAY

    HoodRide Bodega & Route 123

    A mere six months ago, Derrick Pacheco's HoodRide and Paul Moncrief's Route 123 were just ordinary home-based art galleries that shared a duplex on Fifth Street in downtown Phoenix's Evans-Churchill neighborhood. But since then, the pair joined forces and re-created their pads into a kickass compound of coolness that's become a hot hipster hangout during First Fridays.The building now sports… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN ON
    FIRST FRIDAY

    .anti_space - CLOSED

    The Roosevelt sidewalk on First Fridays is so overcrowded that we sometimes feel like we're on a subway, having to cram ourselves among hundreds of other bodies to get anywhere. At maximum capacity, the concern shifts from people-watching to avoiding a mass trample.Time to hop off that stretch and hit .anti_space, a happening conglomerate of galleries, studios, and shops on… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PARK ON FIRST FRIDAY

    The Paper Heart

    It's not so close to Roosevelt Row, but if you plan on hitting Grand Avenue galleries on a First Friday artwalk, there's no better place to park than in the lot of The Paper Heart. In addition to being the only gallery on the strip with a parking lot that includes more than five spaces (there are at least 25… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO HEAD NORTH ON FIRST FRIDAY

    Garfield Galleria

    If you've grown weary of tromping and stomping down Roosevelt Row or Grand Avenue during the monthly artwalks, set your sights less than a mile northward, at this two-story bunker along McDowell Road.With eight different studios and galleries, Garfield Galleria offers just as much artistic action as its cousins, all contained within a single structure. Downstairs, the twin photo collectives… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DITCH A DATE ON FIRST FRIDAY

    Roller Derby Fundraising Bake Sale

    Ask any CenPho hipsters and they'll tell you — First Friday is a great place to take a date. It's free, it's downtown, and you'll know pretty quickly if your taste in all things visual might be a match. On those nights when it's not a love connection, do not fear; ditching your date has never been easier. Mosey on… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN ON THIRD FRIDAY

    five15 Arts

    Third Friday has a more laid-back vibe than its big brother, First Friday, but sometimes it leads to antisocial art viewing. If you're looking to see art, check out some folks and get a little face time of your own, there's no better spot to hit than five15 Gallery. The place has the downtown arts gig down with rotating artists… More >>
  • BEST STOP ON ART DETOUR

    Gypsy Village

    With apologies to the hard-working artists of the downtown Phoenix scene, the grooviest thing going at this year's Art Detour wasn't found in any of the galleries dotting Roosevelt Street or Grand Avenue. Nope; instead, our favorite place during the annual three-day artwalk was a raucous ramshackle collection of cardboard and wood shacks occupying a garbage-strewn vacant lot next door… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO FIND UP-AND-COMING ARTISTS

    ASU Harry Wood Gallery

    A small gallery at ASU is the best place to catch art students at the end of their academic careers — and at the top of their games. In other words: the master's thesis show.With a studio on-campus and materials and tools provided by ASU, it may be the most convenient and economical art cough-up of these artists' careers. And… More >>
  • BEST ART AT A HAIR APPOINTMENT

    The Root Salon

    It's nothing new for a hair salon to put art on the wall. But don't be mistaken. These folks don't know just hair. The Root Salon actually doubles as a real art gallery — with works that are so compelling, you might just shell out an extra couple of hundred bucks to bring one home, in addition to the fee… More >>
  • BEST FILM NOIR ART

    Rachel Bess

    If Barbara Stanwyck blew you away — as she did poor Fred MacMurray — in Double Indemnity, or if you just dig Veronica Lake's swell combover, you'll love the art of Rachel Bess.Her paintings are dreamy polychromatics that shimmer like black magic, capturing a surrealistic netherland inhabited by funereal femmes fatales and... dead bugs? Yep. Bess' vocation may be art… More >>
  • BEST STREET ARTIST

    The Mac

    Is it possible that the street artist known as The Mac is our Raphael, our Rembrandt, our Bouguereau? Despite the fact that his blue Madonna with palm trees appears on the corrugated garage door of a tattoo parlor, or that his portrait of Marcus Garvey is on the side of a building in Watts, The Mac's works have a touch… More >>
  • BEST DOWNTOWN DOG

    Starflash

    She's been a guest on downtown's one and only talk show, Grand Avenue Live!, as well as the Uncle Sku's Clubhouse performance art show. We once spotted her occupying a booth along with the other boozehounds at one of downtown's best dives, the defunct Pete's News Room. She was the only non-human allowed to use the bathroom at Thought Crime,… More >>
  • BEST ART CLASSES

    Phoenix Center for the Arts

    Most of us writerly types are quite challenged when it comes to tying our own shoes, much less trying to create a work of fine art. But that doesn't stop us from trying, which is why we're glad we've found our art groove at this downtown Phoenix haven, located in the back of a former church a few hundred yards… More >>
  • BEST TRADE

    MADE art boutique

    Cindy Dach is a smarty-pants. She knows that when it comes to a downtown Phoenix business, it's not enough to build it — if you want people to come, you've got to get creative. So along with cute merchandise (most of it crafted by local artists) the owner of MADE has found other ways to draw a crowd. Dach has… More >>
  • BEST CRAFTY MOVE

    Phoenix Craft Mafia

    For years, we've watched with envy as other cities have built cool crafting communities, groups of people obsessed with things like glitter, beads, and yarn. When, we wondered, would we get our own craft mafia, like the one founded years ago in Austin, Texas? We got our answer this spring, with the creation of the Phoenix Craft Mafia. From their… More >>
  • BEST TREASURE HUNT

    Beadventures

    Cheryl Cobern-Browne's got the dream life — if you love beads and travel. We do. For our money (and we've spent plenty on both) there are few pleasures greater in life than just the right shiny trinket and just the right overseas trip. Cobern-Browne cleverly combined the two and created a business, leading tours that have included South Africa (Zulu… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WEAR YOUR ARTY HAT

    Scottsdale Arts Festival

    We love the Scottsdale Arts Festival because, unlike other outdoor art shows (which have proliferated with alarming frequency in the 37 years since Scottsdale started their own), this is a quality act. More than 200 artists are featured each year, and while you may find a stray ceramic tissue-box holder or something that looks like your third-grader's art project, for… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO WALK THE STREETS OF SCOTTSDALE IN THE DEAD OF SUMMER

    Thursday Night Artwalk in July

    Scottsdale's artwalk is still a booming tourist business in the nicer months, but where local coolios are concerned, it's become the too-pretty stepsister of First and even Third Fridays. And yes, it's tough to park and fight the rush of snowbirds on Thursday evenings in January and February, which is why we like to hit the streets of Scottsdale in… More >>
  • BEST SUMMER ESCAPE WITH THE KIDS

    Harkins Summer Movie Fun

    Even if you have a backyard pool to dip the kids in hourly, summertime is not a fun time, in these parts. That's why we're so grateful that someone in the Harkins family came up with the idea for a summer movie series. For $7, you get a pass to 10 movies, one a week for the whole summer. Kid… More >>
  • BEST SIGN OF FALL

    Roosevelt Row Harvest Festival

    We can't wait for October 19. Not just because there's a slight chance that, by then, temperatures will have dipped below 100 degrees. (Usually, around here, it's boiling hot 'til Halloween, when the temperature drops 50 degrees in a day, forcing all the kids to cover their costumes with heavy winter coats.)No, we're excited for this year's Roosevelt Row Harvest… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WALK OFF THANKSGIVING DINNER

    ZooLights

    Every Thanksgiving, the Phoenix Zoo kicks off several weeks of enchanted evenings with the opening night of ZooLights. The event, a quintessential "Phoenix thing," raises funds for wildlife conservation and children's programming at the zoo, and it's a nice, quiet way to decompress one more time before the holiday frenzy.The landscaping and lagoons are charming. The light displays are ooh-inspiring.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE FOR JEWS TO GET TRASHED ON CHRISTMAS EVE

    Mazelpalooza

    If you're a WASP, you have a pretty good idea about where you'll be on the night before Christmas, but you've probably never given much thought to what your non-Christian pals will be doing. Don't bothuh, bubalah — they're doing fine. A coalition of Jewish singles organizations led by Tribe sponsors this annual hoedown, which features off-the-hook drinking, dancing, and… More >>
  • BEST ODDBALL CHRISTMAS DISPLAY

    Christmas Fantasy House

    David Chuchla, the enigmatic dude behind this annual display, is one of those silent do-gooders who'd rather let their munificence do the talking. (In other words, he doesn't return phone calls.) We can't fathom why he spends so much time — and so much of his own moolah — erecting this gargantuan ode to joy, which is located in a… More >>
  • BEST MODERN-DANCE PRODUCTION

    A Vampire Tale

    Vampires are soooooo cool. Always have been, always will be. But they've been getting even more lovin' of late. In Underworld, sexy Kate Beckinsale had us drinking tomato juice by the gallon to quench our blood lust. Wesley Snipes made us wish we were undead ninjas in Blade. Best-selling Valley author Stephenie Meyer had us reaching for the Scotties with… More >>
  • BEST PLAY DATE

    Childsplay

    Phoenix has so many theater companies, it's hard to know where to start. So take our advice, and start at birth (well, maybe around 4 or 5) with Childsplay. The Valley's professional children's company has been around for 30 years, serving up dozens of kid-friendly plays and musicals that never pander to their audiences. Which is why parents and children… More >>
  • BEST EQUITY THEATER

    Actors Theatre

    True, Phoenix is home to only a handful of professional theater companies. Thus, Actors Theatre is on a short list of troupes with access to bigger budgets, better venues, and better performers. No matter, because what truly sets this company apart, time and again, is its choice of material.For more than two decades, AT has wowed us with material that… More >>
  • BEST COMMUNITY THEATER

    Nearly Naked Theatre Company

    Okay, so their Night of the Iguana sucked like mad. Yet Nearly Naked continues to offer not only some of the highest-quality productions in town, but some of the most daring, least-often-produced material Phoenix has ever seen, as well. What's more, Damon Dering and the other stalwarts at Nearly Naked, which is now a resident company at Phoenix Theatre, continue… More >>
  • BEST THEATER RISK THAT PAID OFF

    Scream Queens: The Musical

    It's been a long time since it was considered clever to spoof obscure science-fiction films in wacky stage musicals. But tiny Artists Theatre Project (their friends call them @Pro) managed last season to prove that, sometimes, everything old can be new again. The company's Scream Queens: The Musical worked well in spite of the fact that an all-girl camp tuner… More >>
  • BEST AFTERNOON AT THE THEATER

    In a Glass House

    When you step inside the lunchtime theater space at the Herberger in downtown Phoenix, you never know what you're getting (unless you've pre-ordered lunch; then you can be sure of your turkey sandwich). On a hot August afternoon, we had a particularly memorable experience, watching James E. Garcia's new work, In a Glass House, about the life of former Arizona… More >>
  • BEST DINNER AND A SHOW

    Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre

    We never thought we'd ever see anyone, anywhere, do the Siamese ballet "The Small House of Uncle Thomas" and make us like it, until we blundered into a superb production of The King and I at this East Valley dinner theater. Broadway Palm is part of a chain of similar venues, and its stock in trade is the usual warhorses… More >>
  • BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LOCAL ACTOR

    Christopher Haines in Frozen

    Christopher Haines' portrayal of a monstrous, self-absorbed serial killer was so intense and so terrifying that one local director sent regrets that he, unnerved by Haines' performance, fled at intermission. Bryony Lavery's award-winning play about a little girl's death at the hands of a depraved pervert isn't an easy one to sit through, to be sure — a fact that… More >>
  • BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FORMER PHOENICIAN

    Judy Kaye in Souvenir

    Judy Kaye's victory here is no mean feat when one considers that local favorite Bob Sorenson, who made his move to the New York stage a couple of years ago, scored raves playing a German transsexual and survivor of Communist Berlin in Arizona Theatre Company's I Am My Own Wife. But we're still chuckling over former Phoenician Kaye's performance as… More >>
  • BEST THESPIAN TO KEEP AN EYE ON

    Ron May

    While many of his compatriots struggled this past year to act, direct, run a credible theater or even just handle publicity for one, Ron May proved himself a quadruple-threat actor/director/artistic director/publicist who excelled at each of those tasks. As founding artistic director of Stray Cat Theatre, May (whose day job is the audience services coordinator at Actors Theatre) is responsible… More >>
  • BEST PERFORMANCE BY A GROWN MAN WEARING SIZE-13 MARY JANES

    Neil Cohen in iTheatre Collaborative's Bad Seed

    He wore a dirndl and platinum braids. He threw tantrums and fistfuls of excelsior. He even did a little soft-shoe, and won the hearts of a dozen different audiences when Bad Seed performed at the Herberger early this summer.He's Neil Cohen, a man who isn't afraid to play Solitaire in a giant, rick-racked party dress before hundreds of people. Lucky… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BE GAY

    Phoenix Pride Festival

    The big gay weekend in Phoenix always starts with the Saturday-morning parade, where everybody from local group "Dykes on Bikes" to parents carrying signs proclaiming pride for their gay kids marches through downtown from Third Street and Virginia. Once the festival gates open, the park plays host to a plethora of activities, with multiple stages and outdoor dance floors, karaoke… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRLS WHO WEAR THONGS

    Blue Thong Society

    We'd like to tell you that these society ladies are wrinkled biddies who cast off their walkers, strip down to their unmentionables, and break a couple of hips doing a bawdy striptease. Sorry, sickos. The women of this national charitable organization are more likely to burn their bras than flaunt them. Children of the '60s, they've retained their activist mindset… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL WHO WRITES NONFICTION

    Judith L. Pearson

    Virginia Hill was an American do-gooder who came from wealth and lost a leg during a hunting accident — an unlikely combination for someone who would go on to become one of World War II's most decorated spies. Tempe-based Pearson relates Hill's fantastical tale in The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy (Lyons Press,… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL GIRL WHO WRITES FICTION

    Diana Gabaldon

    Diana Gabaldon is the kind of person you really want to hate but can't. She's talented and rich and brain-surgeon smart, but she also posts fudge recipes on her Web site.Wait, there's more. She has a master's in marine biology from Scripps, once wrote comic books for Walt Disney Productions, and created a better scientific computation mousetrap between teaching classes… More >>
  • BEST AUTHOR ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

    James Nulick

    National Book Award-winning author William T. Vollmann called Nulick's 2006 book Distemper a "beautifully written catalog of various kinds of unhappiness." High praise, indeed, and a sublime understatement. The literary debut by the Iowa-born, Valley-based Nulick is a hallucinatory, pitch-black love story — set in Phoenix — that incorporates references as far afield as Hitler, Marilyn Manson, Warhol, Nabokov, Kafka,… More >>
  • BEST BRAT

    Barbara Park

    Suddenly, it seems, Arizona is home to some of the trendiest children's authors around. Stephenie Meyer, author of the oh-so-addictive vampire romance series that begins with Twilight, lives here. Robin Brande, whose Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature inspired Changing Hands bookstore to have its first-ever book-launch party, hails from Tucson.Brande and Meyer write books for young adults. There's… More >>
  • BEST ADVERTISING

    IKEA's Living Room on Wheels

    It's not every day you see an entire bedroom cruising down the I-10 at 60 miles per hour. True, we've all seen our share of beds and dressers dangling and dropping from pickup trucks on crowded Valley freeways. But we mean an actual entire bedroom here, folks, cruising intact down the freeway and not chunking into pieces on the asphalt.A… More >>
  • BEST USE OF A VALLEY FREEWAY IN A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

    The Kingdom

    Traffic on Loop 202 can be a major bitch sometimes. On any given workday, our commute along the East Valley artery is plagued with rampant gridlockery and loads of dumbass drivers who cause our blood pressure to shoot skyward. We've come dangerously close to road rage a few times but, thankfully, we've never resorted to tossing grenades into the gas-guzzling… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO GO TO THE MOVIES

    Ciné Capri

    Now that we've all grieved over the paved paradise where the old Ciné Capri used to stand in Phoenix, and moved on to newer pastures in North Scottsdale, Dan Harkins surprises and delights us once again. In the new Tempe Marketplace at Rio Salado and Loop 202, a second star is born. Nearly identical to the theater complex at the… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO CATCH A B-MOVIE

    Andrea Beesley-Brown's Midnite Movies

    We've finally figured out what downtown Phoenix really needs: a good old-fashion repertory film house. Some kinda old school theater à la the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin or the Loft in Tucson, where we can kick back and screen cult classics, Russ Meyer's outrageous oeuvre, vintage cinematic epics, or other trashy filmic gems that can only be fully appreciated when… More >>
  • BEST FREE OUTDOOR FILM SERIES

    Reels & Wheels

    There are several free, outdoor film series in the Valley every year, so why Reels & Wheels? Two things: 1) demo, 2) environment. Tempe, at least around ASU, is cool. It's the only place in the Valley other than downtown Phoenix that has street people, which lends a certain urban savoir-faire to the area — like Times Square before Giuliani.… More >>
  • BEST FREE OUTDOOR MUSIC SERIES

    Concerts Under the Stars

    On the rare occasions when our elected officials get something right, they nail it — as with Concerts Under the Stars. The monthly live-music hoedown provides a cultural oasis in our Sargasso Sea of summer, offering up casual, Bic-flickin' outdoor performances by some of the Valley's best pop and rock bands at a very nice price.… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO WATCH A MONSOON

    Burton Barr Central Library

    With global warming shortening monsoon season and the urban heat island forcing storms out of central Phoenix, we've had to get creative in order to feed our storm-chasing fever. Until we're all carbon neutral, we'll head to the Burton Barr Library on Central Avenue to watch the monsoons unfold.Take the elevator to the fifth floor of Will Bruder's architectural masterpiece.… More >>
  • BEST ENTRANCEWAY

    Way Cool Hair Salon

    The hepcat hair salon and bizarre boutique of stylist Tad Caldwell has something of an arty bent to it, as the funky follicle fortress also functions as a gonzo gallery of sorts for local photographers, painters, sculptors, and fashion designers. So it's only fitting that its ultra-eclectic entranceway resembles a piece of assemblage art writ large.The surreal storefront of Way… More >>
  • BEST PARKING SPOT

    Starbucks at 24th Street and Camelback

    In our automobile-infested metropolitan oasis, parking spots are hardly at a premium, and yet we circle the lot endlessly in search of that perfect space to rest our ride. We shop for a spot that meets our criteria for location, shade, safety, and accessibility, and are prideful when we acquire or forfeit a prime spot. You can't do better than… More >>
  • BEST SMILE

    Dr. Jeff Mix Orthodontics

    This may sound like an award for a high school cheerleader, but we wanted to give a well-deserved nod to a smile that will brighten anyone's day (or night). When the sun starts setting, check out Dr. Jeff Mix's office on Central and you'll see a smirk unlike any other in town. Above the front entrance perches their glowing logo… More >>
  • BEST JUDGMENT

    Ronald Reinstein

    We've sat in more than a few courtrooms over the years (as observers, thankfully, not as defendants — at least most of the time), so we feel confident that we can fairly "judge" which guy or gal in those old-school black robes is the best around. And isn't it just our (and the community's) lousy luck that the gentleman we… More >>
  • BEST DEATH

    Robert Comer

    So, you're arguably the most heinous murderer and most feared prisoner ever to hit the state of Arizona, the guy who made Charlie Manson look as benign as, say, Mayor Phil Gordon. Along your two-decade-long road to possible execution by lethal injection, you decided in the privacy of your own home (a prison cell in Special Management Unit II, that… More >>
  • BEST LAND THAT TIME FORGOT

    Downtown Apache Junction

    Driving through downtown Apache Junction feels like you've somehow tripped your way through some ungodly warp of the space-time continuum, ending up in some small backwater Western town from 50 years ago. Take the Superstition Freeway (U.S. Highway 60) and head 30 miles east until you've reached the ass-end of the Valley, and proceed north on Idaho Road until you… More >>
  • BEST PROOF PHOENIX IS STILL PSYCHO

    Phil Gordon's Phoenix

    Alfred Hitchcock had a thing for both birds and word games, so our fair-feathered city provided him with the perfect location for the opening of his now famous Psycho. Unlike the mythical bird for which Phoenix is named, however, Psycho heroine Marion Crane didn't exactly rise from the ashes reborn, which is why local developer/gadfly Michael Levine thinks Crane pretty… More >>
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