People & Places

  • Best Urban Legend

    The Impending Fall of Phoenix

    Climate change will mean routine, human-killing temperatures of 130 and higher during the summer. All water sources will dry up, sparking extreme conservation efforts. Farming will become impossible. Wildfires will transform the state's forests and highlands into the ashen landscape depicted in The Road. Welcome to the vision of worrywarts like Will deBuys, author of a March piece on slate.com… More >>
  • Best Rooftop View of Downtown Phoenix

    The Icehouse

    We never turn down the opportunity to catch a rooftop view of the city, so when the chance to see Phoenix from the top of the Icehouse came up during an impromptu trip to the historic building now known for its contemporary art exhibitions, we bit. Little did we know it was going to take more than just a quick… More >>
  • Best Poet

    Alberto Rios

    We've had a culture crush on Alberto Rios for as long as we can remember, so we were delighted to see the ASU English professor and celebrated author honored with the position as the state's first poet laureate. Rios is a sweet, soft-spoken (both in person and in print) man with roots in Nogales. If anyone "gets" Arizona, it's him.… More >>
  • Best Hometown Girl Makes Good

    Aidy Bryant

    Thanks to Aidy Bryant, we'll never think of acupuncture or Mrs. Claus the same way again. Not since David Spade took his place as a cast member of Saturday Night Live have we had a hometown kid to wait up for (albeit only till 10:30). To be honest, our SNL viewing habits had waned. Then came Aidy — a Xavier… More >>
  • Best Cat

    Tardar Sauce (a.k.a. Grumpy Cat)

    We tried to see Grumpy Cat in person once. It was awful. And we say this only because the famous frowny feline of Internet fame wound up canceling. "Good," as we're sure she would say. The viewing was supposed to happen during an appearance by Tardar Sauce at last year's Great Southwest Scooter Fiesta in Gilbert before owner Tabatha Bundesen,… More >>
  • Best Beer Festival

    AmeriCAN Canned Craft Beer Festival

    We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Cans are the best package for beer. Easier to ship and recycle, faster to cool, better at protecting the beer from sunlight and oxygen, shotgun-friendly — the upsides abound. Also numerous are the reasons we selected AmeriCAN as this year's best fest. The beer, of course, is a big one, with… More >>
  • Best Culinary Festival

    Scottsdale Culinary Festival

    Bigger isn't always better but, not uncommonly, it is more fun. Every April, the Scottsdale League for the Arts puts on a weeklong culinary festival that draws thousands of attendees to dozens of events. It would take a team of rabid foodies to get to them all, but that's part of the beauty of this giant festival: You get to… More >>
  • Best Arts Festival

    Scottsdale Arts Festival

    Several generations of Valley art lovers have cut their creative teeth at this huge spring festival, where juried exhibitors from all over the country sell wares from paintings to sculptures to handcrafted toys and jewelry. In recent years, local food trucks have appeared on the scene, and with outdoor entertainment and a kids' craft section, you can indoctrinate a new… More >>
  • Best Craft Festival

    Crafeteria

    Georganne Bryant's been throwing her annual Crafeteria for only a few years, but it's already become a Phoenix holiday tradition, with good reason: No one curates a finer selection of Valley-based artisans than Bryant, whose stores Frances and Smeeks are testament to her impeccable taste and championing of the local scene. We look forward to seeing old friends, meeting new… More >>
  • Best Music Festival

    McDowell Mountain Music Festival

    No one would have blamed the McDowell Mountain Music Festival crew for throwing in the towel. Twenty-twelve was, after all, a bruising year for festival organizer John Largay and his staff: Last year, the festival competed against the massive Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in relatively nearby Indio, California, as well as Country Thunder in Florence, and MMMF's venue,… More >>
  • Best Film Festival

    Phoenix Film Festival

    Every city should have its own independent film festival, and even we were surprised by the talent at this year's Phoenix Film Festival. The weeklong event at Harkins Scottsdale 101 featured limited-release films — ranging from horror and sci-fi to comedies, love stories, and dramas — from all over the country. The best part was the post-screening Q&As with directors,… More >>
  • Best Independent Movie Theater

    FilmBar

    When indie film buffs and cult classic connoisseurs want to see their cinema on the big screen, there's no cooler destination than downtown Phoenix's FilmBar. The Roosevelt Row film house, which doubles as a bar, caters to a less-mainstream crowd of movie watchers, offering a selection of foreign, independent, old, new, and local films that might otherwise be hard to… More >>
  • Best Luxury Movie Theater

    iPic Theater

    In the age of online streaming, movie-watching has become an all too casual affair. For most of us, seeing the latest flick boils down to a Netflix account, microwave popcorn, and a pair of threadbare sweatpants. Which is why if we're going to put on real pants, we're going to go all out with our movie-screening experience. At Scottsdale Quarter's… More >>
  • Best Budget Movie Theater

    Super Saver Cinemas 8

    One of the most important assets to any good movie theater is the popcorn. Super Saver Cinemas 8 has great popcorn. Oh, yeah, and tickets are just $3 every day except for Tuesday, when they're only $1.50. There are eight movies running at any one time, ranging from children's fare to horror flicks. So, if you don't want to pay… More >>
  • Best Drive-In Movie Theater

    West Wind Glendale 9

    Drive-in theaters are reminiscent of a bygone time — and West Wind Glendale 9 is no exception. But there is nothing outdated about this West Valley theater, which features state-of-the-art digital projection, first-run movies, a game room, and a gourmet snack bar. General admission tickets are $6.75 per person, but only $4.75 on Tuesday, during Family Fun Night. Admission for… More >>
  • Best Director

    Elise Salomon

    It was really no surprise to hear that Elise Salomon's documentary Los Wild Ones won her the best documentary award at the 2013 Phoenix Film Festival. This locally raised girl's knack for capturing raw emotion while telling the story of the Latino rockabilly record label Wild Records certainly is impressive for a new filmmaker. However, her work as a producer… More >>
  • Best D-List Actor Freak-Out

    Jason London

    You know you're a D-list actor when you have to tell the cops arresting you that you're a rich and famous actor, and then you have to add, "Fucking look me up, bitch!" That's what Jason London did in Scottsdale earlier this year, right before he took a steaming dump in the back of a Scottsdale police car. London, who's… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Devon Nickel in Equus at Nearly Naked Theatre

    Devon Nickel's been around Valley theater a while (not too long — he's a relatively young man), including in Nearly Naked and Phoenix Theatre's co-production of Spring Awakening in 2012 and NNT's acclaimed Blood Brothers in 2009. He sings beautifully enough that he could be routinely cast doing only that, but that isn't what happens, because he acts at least… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Shawna Franks in Uncle Vanya at Space 55

    Some performers are like the J.D. Salinger of acting — hard to catch. (Usually it's because they're working very hard doing other things that generally are none of your business.) But one of Shawna Franks' conflicts, as artistic director of Space 55 Ensemble, understandably eats into her available time to appear in plays. We're happy when we do get to… More >>
  • Best Prop

    Charles Dickens' hairbrush in A Christmas Carol

    One of the signs of great work in theater or film is that enough time and effort have been invested to make inanimate objects like clothing, furniture, dishes, and books feel as real as the characters do. Give those props and dressings a chance, and they'll enhance the art. (Give them too much leeway and they'll upstage the biggest star.) We… More >>
  • Best Equity Theater

    Arizona Theatre Company performing at Herberger Theater Center

    A handful of Valley theaters operate under year-round contracts with Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers. Actors Theatre, one of our favorites, does amazing work, employs scads of local artists, and was chewed up and spit out by the economy in February. (But will return next month.) The states's largest professional theater, Arizona Theatre Company, travels… More >>
  • Best Black Box

    Space 55 Ensemble

    To be the best crappy little dump at which to see live theater, you have to present astonishing, diverse work that showcases excellence from writers, performers, directors, and designers. And if that were all that Space 55 does, it would have earned this award. However, the seven-year-old company and venue also hosts workshops for writers and performers, touring events from… More >>
  • Best Community Theater, East Valley

    Hale Centre Theatre

    To be honest, we're always a little skeptical of anything billing itself as "community theater." That is, we were until we saw a production at Hale in downtown Gilbert. Last year's The Secret Garden was so good that we took our family — and some family friends — to see Annie. Equally impressive. This summer, when we took the kids… More >>
  • Best Community Theater, West Valley

    Theater Works/Peoria Center for the Performing Arts

    If you enjoy being mesmerized by action-packed adventures, wooed by wistful romances, or cracked up by side-splitting comedies on the big screen, imagine seeing it all happen in front of you — live and in person. There's no better place to experience it all than at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, in the heart of the city's downtown.… More >>
  • Best Encore

    Topia by Ballet Arizona

    Last year, we left Ballet Arizona's Topia with stars in our eyes. When the original piece by company artistic director Ib Andersen was announced to play again in 2013, we told anyone who'd listen that they had to see this beautiful ballet. This beautiful ballet that's performed in a parking lot. Yeah, a parking lot. On the perimeter of the… More >>
  • Best Erin Go Bragh

    The Irish Cultural Center

    One of the last things anyone would expect to see in Sand Land — home of rocks, cactus, snakes, lizards, and more rocks — has to be a 12th-century Norman castle that looks as if it popped out of a picture book about Ireland. But damn if there isn't one on Central just north of Roosevelt Street near downtown. Well,… More >>
  • Best Tourist Attraction

    Cosanti

    You can drive more than an hour north of the Valley for a somewhat anticlimactic visit to Paolo Soleri's pie-in-the-sky Arcosanti, or you can pay homage to the late artist and visionary with a quick stop at Cosanti, his bronze bell factory tucked in the heart of Paradise Valley. Chances are, that's what Aunt Mildred from Michigan is after, anyway… More >>
  • Best Spoken Word Series

    Lit Lounge

    Portland artists made their own personalized deck of playing cards. Austin has a cupcake truck. In Los Angeles, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an art installation. And Phoenix? We're just home to that grumpy cat. Around these parts, we have a tradition of spending way too much time complaining about what other cities have instead of making… More >>
  • Best New Gallery

    Combine Studios

    If you veer slightly off the beaten path of First Friday in downtown Phoenix, you might run into Combine Studios, a new gallery located inside the former two-story Holgas building on Roosevelt Row. The building originally was a hotel in the '60s and '70s, fell into disrepair in the '80s, and was scooped up and turned into Holgas, a creative… More >>
  • Best Gallery

    Lisa Sette Gallery

    When talking about the Scottsdale art scene, or the state of the art community in the state, it's impossible to leave Lisa Sette out of the conversation. The local tastemaker has a long history in the community — starting with a degree from Arizona State University and a gallery in her own living room during college. Sette's always been an… More >>
  • Best Pop-Up Gallery

    Apache & Honeysuckle Gallery

    Without illustrators, this world would be a lot less interesting. Illustrators speak in pictures and images — transforming written language into shapes and colors and translating sentences and stories into creative works of art. In February, designer and illustrator (and New Times contributor) Joshua Rhodes, who goes by Subtle Takeover, and wife/photographer Sarah Rhodes — together, they're known as Arrow… More >>
  • Best Public Art

    James Turrell's Air Apparent

    James Turrell's Air Apparent is still quiet. Though the artist continues to enjoy international recognition for his work with light, his installation at ASU's Tempe campus near the light-rail stop on Rural and Terrace remains a relatively undiscovered gem in the desert. Air Apparent is one of many Skyspaces, which Turrell has been making since the '70s. Designed with the… More >>
  • Best Temporary Public Art

    Luster Kaboom's FunHouse at Scottsdale Public Library

    Whenever Dave Quan comes town, we know he's up to something creative. The artist (who also goes by Luster Kaboom and is a New Times contributor) moved to New York last year, but he comes back to his hometown every once in a while to paint a new mural or collaborate with old friends. In April, the artist came back… More >>
  • Best Mural

    Rebecca Green's Storybook Mural on The Lodge

    When Rebecca Green's work started popping up around Phoenix, we knew the art scene was in for a treat. The illustrator and painter is from Michigan, but when she landed in Phoenix, she took the local art scene by storm, showcasing work at The Lodge on Grand Avenue as well as GROWop Boutique and Palabra on Roosevelt Row. In March, the… More >>
  • Best Graffiti Artist

    NAIM

    As with most graffiti writers (at least those who choose to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble), the artist who goes by NAIM manages to keep his identity secret, his signature well known, and his NAIM — er, name — hard to forget. You might have seen NAIM's four-letter autograph painted in thick white letters on an industrial… More >>
  • Best Emerging Creative Duo

    Cavin Costello and Claire Aton of The Ranch Mine602-571-3016 www.theranchmine.com

    Nothing's quite like a couple. There's a creative drive and energy that can't be matched, and there's often a little competition that makes everything more interesting. In the case of Cavin Costello and Claire Aton, the results are breathtaking. The two emerging creatives come from different backgrounds. Costello graduated with a master's in architecture from Northeastern University, driving from the East… More >>
  • Best First Friday Hangout

    The patio behind Drive-Thru Gallery and 1Spot

    We won't judge if you need a quick break during your First Friday route — when the art season is in full swing, it can be pretty hot out there, and we won't go into the bongo players, fire breathers, or slushy drinkers who likely are blocking the entrance of the gallery you were hoping to check out. It's best… More >>
  • Best Letterpress Haven

    Pyracantha Press at Arizona State University

    Pyracantha Press isn't easy to find, but once you wind down the staircase in the Art Building on ASU's massive Tempe campus, hang a sharp left, and find either a printmaking student or kind professor to let you into the door, you'll want to remember its location — and find a way to sign up for a few credits. The underground… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Photography

    ASU Art Auction at First Studio

    If you've ever wanted to get your hands on a photograph by Mark Klett, Betsy Schneider, Carol Panaro-Smith, James Hajicek, or an up-and-coming photography student, you won't want to miss ASU Photographers' Association's annual auction. It's here, at First Studio in downtown Phoenix, where hundreds outbid each other on large-scale and tiny works that feature a variety of subjects, compositions,… More >>
  • Best Stop on Art Detour

    Sarah Hurwitz's "Everything I have ever wanted to own"

    For her last exhibition as a member of Eye Lounge in downtown Phoenix, Sarah Hurwitz had ambitious plans. No surprise. During her time in the art collective, the local multimedia artist transformed the gallery into an interactive meat shop, a science lab, a jungle, and a gem show with her paintings and sculptures, and in March, she took to the… More >>
  • Best Use of Bullshit

    Safwat Saleem's "Pardon Me, but WTF?"

    Safwat Saleem is trying to make sense of the bullshit. The local artist and designer is from Pakistan and known for using his own sense of humor and artwork to explore and explain politics, culture, and relationships. In response to 9/11, Saleem created a series of artwork titled "A Bunch of Crock," which visualized and interpreted quotations from politicians about… More >>
  • Best Shit Show

    Amy's Baking Company

    "Ugly," "loser," and "moron" may not be the first words that come to mind as a way for a restaurant owner to speak to an unhappy customer, but in 2010, Amy Bouzaglo, of the now infamous Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, chose to use them anyway. The bit of press the incident received was nothing compared to what was to… More >>
  • Best Bathroom

    The Yard

    Since Sam Fox's The Yard opened earlier this year, the Central Phoenix restaurant complex has been drawing out our playful side with more than 1,400 square feet of patio space for all sorts of drunk gaming. And though you might think your best bet at meeting your next date will be while you're bopping about playing ping-pong and generally boozing… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood

    FQ Story

    Downtown Phoenix is home to some of the best neighborhoods in the Valley. Our pick for the best is FQ Story, just west of Seventh Avenue south of McDowell. It's one of those neighborhoods where nobody, except those who live there, drives through. So the tree-lined streets are quiet and filled with quaint little Craftsman bungalows, English Tudors and ranch-style… More >>
  • Best Home Tour

    Willo

    Each year, the Willo neighborhood blocks off its streets, rolls in the food trucks, and throws open its doors to the rest of Phoenix. There's a reason this downtown Phoenix neighborhood has been named one of the best cottage neighborhoods in the country. In a city where most of the houses are cookie-cutter replications of each other, with slightly different… More >>
  • Best Modern Architecture Tour

    Docomomo

    Though the name rolls right of the tongue (say it with us: do-co-mo-mo), Docomomo gets its name from quite a mouthful: International Working Party for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement. Per its website, it's an international organization with a U.S. chapter that works toward the documentation and conservation (do-co) of buildings, sites, and… More >>
  • Best Fashion Designer

    Tiffe Fermaint

    It seems fashion designer Tiffe Fermaint is never not working. She released the first installment of her 2013 collection, which was inspired by digital technology, in February and a glam-meets-futuristic swim line in May, and Fermaint started stitching up a children's line in between. Oh, yes, did we mention she worked a full-time job at H&M and was pregnant with… More >>
  • Best Fashion for a Good Cause

    The Shine Project

    Now, it is true that most nonprofits do not include hair tutorials on their websites. But, hey, maybe they should. Because the ladies behind The Shine Project prove that you can do good and look good at the same time. They employ underprivileged kids from all kinds of backgrounds to make pretty bracelets — hand-stamped, chain-linked, bejeweled — and use… More >>
  • Best Food for a Good Cause

    The Joy Bus

    As many people know — many more people than we'd like — fighting cancer is tough. There are countless appointments to make, medications to be administered, and, in short, a laundry list of things that become more important than grocery shopping and food. But one local do-gooder, Jennifer Caraway, set out to help by founding the nonprofit organization The Joy… More >>
  • Best Fashion Blog

    Phoenix Style Collective

    Not unlike Phoenix Fashion Week's aim to create relationships between up-and-coming designers and buyers, Phoenix Style Collective works to connect the city's clothes-minded. With news, boutique haps, and an annual conference, PSC's blog proves to be a go-to for those looking to become a part of the Valley's style scene, whether they're well-dressed tastemakers or business-minded entrepreneurs. The bloggers behind… More >>
  • Best Lifestyle Blog

    CherylStyle

    Cheryl Najafi isn't crazy about being compared to Martha Stewart — but it's hard not to think of the Arizona home-entertaining guru in relation to the ultimate domestic goddess. Both pride themselves on throwing beautiful parties in well-run homes. But where Stewart's a hyper-planner, Najafi's more laid back (she also isn't too crazy about cooking). With a focus on DIY… More >>
  • Best Music Blog

    PHX Literal Music Reviews

    Let's be honest, if there is any type of blog there are too many of in Phoenix, it's music blogs. And after a while, there isn't much left to say, is there? There is a finite number of active bands, after all. Yet, PHX Literal Music Reviews is different, in the same way that Rocky Horror is different from Rocky. First… More >>
  • Best Food Blog

    Pen & Fork

    We love Gwen Ashley Walters' food blog, Pen and Fork — mostly for her incredible smoothie recipes and photos (can we coin the term Smoothie Porn right here and now?) and because it helps us keep up on her writing for Valley publications like Phoenix Magazine and Edible Phoenix. But even more than that, to be honest, we just love… More >>
  • Best Zine

    Roger Calamaio's Sour

    A great zine doesn't have to be some monthly Xerox rag full of bad art and poor grammar from self-indulgent poetry majors unleashing their verbal fury. This years' Tempe Zine Convention, which was held in a small shed in downtown Tempe, revealed several promising writers and artists displaying their work in small-press quantities, usually bound and printed by the artists… More >>
  • Best Digital Magazine

    Emma Magazine

    Being a 20-something with Martha Stewart-esque aspirations is no easy lot. For starters, most of us don't have multimillion-dollar companies, our own TV channels, or enough pertinent knowledge to fill numerous bestselling books. Sarah Hubbell realized this, and that's why she founded Emma Magazine for "city mamas, nesting newlyweds, and budding entrepreneurs." The publication goes up online monthly, and print-on-demand… More >>
  • Best Local to Follow on Instagram

    Joe Johnston

    Where the rest of the world saw a perfect place for tract housing and strip malls, Joe Johnston, the mastermind behind Gilbert's Agritopia community, saw an opportunity for urban farming and green spaces. It almost goes without saying that this guy has a special way of looking at the world, and thanks to the photo-sharing app Instagram, we get a… More >>
  • Best Local to Follow on Twitter

    @FakeJanBrewer

    Parody Twitter accounts are easy to forget when there aren't that many jokes to be had at the expense of the person being parodied. Obviously, a parody of Governor Jan Brewer gives you plenty of material to work with, and nearly 20,000 tweets later, @FakeJanBrewer — also known as "Jan Brewer's Balls" — has proved that one true. Between tweeting… More >>
  • Best Vomit-Inducing TV Commercial

    Go Daddy

    Scottsdale-based company Go Daddy broke from its traditional model for Super Bowl advertising this year, instead creating one of the most disgusting ads in recent memory. Usually, Go Daddy just shows off the good-lookin' chicks, and tells you to head to the website to see the stuff that's "too hot" for television. If only we could be so lucky this… More >>
  • Best Made-for-TV Trial

    Jodi Arias

    Local and national media, especially CNN's HLN, which stars loudmouth court pundit Nancy Grace, had in Jodi Arias an enthusiastic volunteer star for a four-month reality series that earned record ratings. Arias' epic murder trial had everything that voyeurs, gossips, and just plain curious computer users could want, starting with the terrific decision by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry… More >>
  • Best TV Channel for Arizona Political News

    Comedy Central

    With many of the local TV news stations all too willing to plant their lips upon the butt cheeks of politicians across the state, there's one TV network that's not afraid to expose their frequent disservices to the taxpayers. Unfortunately, that network is called Comedy Central, and Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report… More >>
  • Best TV Journalist

    Dennis Welch, KTVK Channel 3

    Dennis Welch is a well-respected newsman who has covered Arizona politics for more than a decade on a variety of platforms — print (East Valley Tribune), online (the late Arizona Guardian), and most recently on television (KTVK Channel 3). Before the veteran reporter started co-hosting 3TV's Politics Unplugged in June 2012, he was part of a team that launched the… More >>
  • Best TV Newscaster

    Steve Irvin, KNXV Channel 15

    Sometimes, the best attribute you can hope for in a TV newscaster is the ability to avoid annoying the viewers. ABC 15's Steve Irvin has that down pat. Three channels down, you'll find a mustache with an ego. Two channels before that, a bit of a doofus. Irvin, who's been at ABC 15 for more than a decade, keeps things… More >>
  • Best Radio Personality

    Beef Vegan, KWSS 93.9 FM

    Few people in Phoenix's indie music scene try as hard as Beef to promote local shows, local artists, and local characters. His morning show, The Morning Infidelity, regularly exhibits the best, and sometimes worst, that our little hipster populace has to offer. Beef himself seems at the top of the mast, neither steering nor calling shots, but merely reminding folks… More >>
  • Best Radio Morning Show

    Holmberg's Morning Sickness

    In 2006, Holmberg's Morning Sickness hosts John Holmberg and Brady Bogen were given a warning from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office — for a second time — that they could face animal cruelty charges for encouraging acts of animal abuse and bestiality. Said warning came after the two men paid a listener a cool $550 to eat peanut butter off… More >>
  • Best R&B/Hip-Hop Radio Station

    The Beat (KNRJ 101.1 FM)

    Hip-hop is probably dead and that's sad. But if you're looking for a place to relive the glory days, 101.1 The Beat will resurrect you. Rarely will you hear any Auto-Tuned noise or irreverent songs about Molly or any caterwauling from Drake. Instead, the aim of Ramses Ja, the station's music director, is to reach back into the past while looking… More >>
  • Best Blues/Jazz Radio Station

    KJZZ 91.5 FM

    This local jazz and blues station, also home to national NPR broadcasts, has been entertaining Arizonans since 1985, when Rio Salado College bought the station. A wide variety of genres fall under the umbrella of jazz, and KJZZ manages to play them all — even though jazz takes over the airwaves only in the evenings from 8 o'clock on. From… More >>
  • Best Alternative/Rock Radio Station

    KWSS 93.9 FM

    We don't even miss The Edge 103.9 anymore, may it rest in peace. That's because we have KWSS. After finally switching to a high-powered frequency earlier this year, KWSS is making more strides than ever in bringing the Valley its banquet of alternative, local, and just plain incredible music. Where else can you hear songs by Love, Palms; Bogan Via; Kongos;… More >>
  • Best Country Radio Station

    KNIX 102.5 FM

    Between the two brand-name country radio stations in the Valley, there's only one that's recognizable from year to year. KNIX doesn't cycle through personalities, as Ben and Matt are still handling the morning show, Billy Michaels still takes care of the afternoons, and that fella in the barrel still shows up every now and then. Now, we understand the fact… More >>
  • Best Sports Talk Radio Show

    Doug & Wolf, KTAR 620 AM

    Doug & Wolf might be the only sports talk show in the Valley that takes time for "Basin-onians" to get used to. After you figure out why former Arizona Cardinals fullback Ron Wolfley is screaming over Pantera's "Walk" or telling a story over a Dr. Dre beat, and after you find out what "FOOSHAW" is, and why you would want… More >>
  • Best News Radio Station

    KJZZ 91.5 FM

    We're not necessarily proud to admit it, but we pretty much get our daily news from two sources these days: Facebook and KJZZ. Which means just one source. But what a source. From NPR's Morning Edition to the last few minutes of Fresh Air, we listen all day long. We sit in parking lots waiting for the ends of stories.… More >>
  • Best Public Information Officers

    Karen Arra, Vincent Funari, and Kelly Vail, Maricopa County Superior Court

    On an average weekday, Karen, Vincent, and Kelly are regular Johnnys-on-the-spot, obtaining court documents for us and answering just about any silly question about the forced parade of accused killers, rapists, child torturers, thieves, and gangstas moving through the court system. But the trio really shone during the epic Jodi Arias murder trial, which ran all the way from January 2… More >>
  • Best Power Couple

    Greg and Nicole Stanton

    Few political figures have been stronger advocates for the LGBT community than Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and wife Nicole, an attorney and partner at one of the Valley's top law firms, Quarles & Brady. The couple was named Man and Woman of the Year by Echo Magazine, and these two do more than just talk about LGBT rights — Nicole… More >>
  • Best Divorce

    Steve Nash

    You remember Steve Nash, the former Phoenix Suns star who ruined his career by going to the Los Angeles Lakers. Well, not quite, because he continues to make an arena-load of dough — he signed a three-year, $27 million deal with L.A. when he bolted the Valley of the Sun. The Lakers outright sucked last year (though not as much… More >>
  • Best Son

    Tanner Flake

    Boy, there's nothing that says "Happy Father's Day" better than the media discovering that your screen name in an online game is "N1ggerKiller." That's the present Republican Senator Jeff Flake's second-youngest son got his old man, and that wasn't the only thing the 15-year-old had online. On Twitter, he complained about his "Jew" friend taking credit for his jokes, and… More >>
  • Best Politician

    Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

    The "best" politicians are those who have mastered the fine art of telling competing interests what they want to hear. Outwardly, these charlatans appear sincere, forthcoming, practical, while in reality, they are as trustworthy as Mephistopheles. Locally, when it comes to political deception, it doesn't get much better than Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. A Republican, he ran to the hard… More >>
  • Best Political Pimp

    Constantin Querard

    Far-right political consultant Constantin Querard has always sold himself as a true believer, one willing to prevaricate his butt off and break every rule in the book as long as an ideologically correct candidate (from his point of view) gets elected. Over the years, he's backed wingnuts like recalled, disgraced ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce, House members Carl Seel and… More >>
  • Best Brain Fart

    Governor Jan Brewer

    During a March appearance on Fox News, Arizona's finger-wagging, reporter-slugging, erroneously Obama-endorsing granny governor blundered once again. She appeared on the conservative television network complaining that the release of undocumented immigrants in Arizona from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody was a way for the Obama administration to "punish" the state — a ridiculous statement given that undocumented detainees had… More >>
  • Best Unsung Hero

    Carolyn T. Lowery

    Carolyn T. Lowery has been an outspoken and refreshingly honest crusader for the black community in South Phoenix for decades. Her unabashed, tell-it-like-it-is persona is probably why she hasn't won any of the various political campaigns she's run in since the 1980s, including a few races for the Arizona state senate. She's too honest to be a politician. But, she's at… More >>
  • Best Lefty Protester

    Sheila Ryan

    Peacenik Sheila Ryan is an inspiration to all lefty activists in the Valley. A valiant member of the anti-war group Women in Black, she's a nearly ubiquitous presence on the front lines here in Phoenix, fighting for justice. Whether it's a demonstration in support of whistleblower Bradley Manning, the Occupy Movement, or a march against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Ryan's sure… More >>
  • Best Bad News Bears-Style Soccer Coach

    Sal Reza

    Phoenix human rights champion Sal Reza is known for leading massive marches against Arizona's racist Senate Bill 1070 and against bigot-boy Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but did you know he's a badass soccer coach as well? Yep, even human rights champions have some free time, and in Reza's, he coaches the coed soccer team at Esperanza High School, a charter school… More >>
  • Best Pro-Immigrant Activist

    Lydia Guzman of Respect-Respeto and the Arizona League of United Latin American Citizens

    Civil rights activist Lydia Guzman's tireless efforts on behalf of undocumented families, her liaisons with the media, and her dogged pursuit of evidence of racial profiling by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office have made Maricopa County and Arizona a better place and helped bring about the ACLU's win in Melendres v. Arpaio. In the Melendres decision, federal Judge G. Murray… More >>
  • Best Watershed Moment in Arizona Politics

    Federal Judge G. Murray Snow's ruling in Melendres v. Arpaio

    "We do not racial profile," the MCSO's upper echelon has claimed over and over again, while winking at its nativist supporters. In court, the MCSO's lawyers claimed there was no proof of racial profiling. The plaintiffs? They weren't profiled or discriminated against. The ton of stats showing that they do target Latinos for stops and hold them for longer? Flawed,… More >>
  • Best Comeback

    Rebecca Jimenez

    Who can forget Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez's 2008 showdown with a sputtering, enraged Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Though the square-mile town of Guadalupe is inhabited almost exclusively by American citizens of Mexican and Yaqui descent, Arpaio and his racial-profiling boys in beige went on the hunt for "illegals" and ended up harassing ordinary people who happen to have brown skin. Arpaio… More >>
  • Best Lawman We Wish Were Sheriff

    U.S. Marshal David Gonzales

    Polished yet approachable. Experienced and savvy. The kind of guy who could bust some bad guys, then stop by Durant's for a martini on the way home from work. That's U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales, who is so good at what he does, he was re-appointed to the post by President Barack Obama, even though he's a Republican and… More >>
  • Best DUI

    Arizona Diamondbacks' Mark Grace

    We defended him in 2011 after he got his his first DUI, but Mark Grace, star first-baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees, got a second DUI last August in Scottsdale, the scene of his original bust 15 months earlier. When he was popped again, he was accused of driving… More >>
  • Best Suicide

    Michael Marin

    When jet-set multimillionaire Michael Marin fell on hard times in 2009, the former Wall Street trader and lawyer decided to torch his Biltmore Estates mansion when a huge balloon payment came due. Marin made his famous escape from the house in scuba gear, as he rappelled down a rope ladder. Fast-forward to June 2012, and Marin was found guilty of… More >>
  • Best Phoenix Historian

    Marshall Shore

    Marshall Shore is Arizona's self-proclaimed hip historian, and we wholeheartedly agree, as this smart, stylish guy more than lives up to the title. With informative tours — like his ghostly trips, Winnie Ruth Judd excursions that lead attendees through the story of her infamous trunk murders, and Retro Spectacular presentations on such aspects of Phoenix history as the Valley's notable… More >>
  • Best Classic Rock Station

    KSLX 100.7 FM

    You gotta give this station credit for being the single most solid monument to the greatest American invention since the airplane or peanut butter: rock 'n' fucking roll. But, yeah, yeah, you've heard those same old Aerosmith hits a hundred times on other stations. On KSLX, not only do they do some serious crate-digging, but they'll shoot you little factoids… More >>
  • Best Modern Phoenix Tour Stop

    The Adkins House

    Jim and Amy Adkins are no strangers to the spotlight. Jim has fronted the emo rock outfit Jimmy Eat World since 1993. But when the married couple opened up their 1956 ranch house for show on the "Left of Central" Modern Phoenix Tour, folks got an inside look at the couple's Midcentury Modern lifestyle in a well-preserved gem. The Adkins'… More >>
  • Best Vintage Downtown Building to Poke Your Head Into

    Hanny's

    When downtown Phoenix dwellers want a $5 martini and a good dose of history, the answer is simple — go to Hanny's. The former department store turned fire-testing facility turned Mad Men-style restaurant and cocktail lounge is the perfect example of developers' attempts to repurpose and resurface Phoenix's endangered historic buildings. Originally built and designed by architects Ryal Lescher and… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a Vintage Treasure

    Arizona Room at Burton Barr Central Library

    If you're headed to explore the Arizona Room at Burton Barr Library, we recommend you block out an afternoon (or two). The small cove inside the massive library in downtown Phoenix serves as a bank of local knowledge and history. The collection features maps, books, magazines, and newspaper clippings that explain Southwest culture — past and present. Be prepared to… More >>
  • Best Place to See Vintage Music Memorabilia

    Musical Instrument Museum

    Phoenix is home to an innovative museum that has no comparison. Not only is there nothing like it in the United States, but the Musical Instrument Museum here even surpasses the one in Brussels that inspired it. The MIM has hundreds of instruments from every corner of the Earth, of course, with displays for more than 200 countries and territories,… More >>
  • Best AM Oldies Station

    KAZG 1440 AM

    We're not quite sure when all the FM oldies stations in town started venturing into the 1970s and '80s during airtime, but when we want to shimmy and shake to the classics, we skip over the FM dial and go right to 1440 AM. "Arizona Gold" captured our hearts with a selection of everything from classic oldie favorites like "Twist… More >>
  • Best Vintage Film Series

    Silent Sundays

    Downtown's Orpheum originally served as a silent movie house. Before its 1990s restoration, the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society raised funds to sponsor the installation of a huge Wurlitzer assembled from vintage parts. Occasions to hear this gorgeous monster in action are rare. One of our favorites is Silent Sundays, when a virtuoso organist… More >>
  • Best Vintage Dorm

    Manzanita Hall

    Sometimes, we drive by Gammage Auditorium, beautifully perched on the southwestern tip of ASU's Tempe campus, and wonder how long it will be till someone notices that the iconic theater has fallen into pale pink disrepair and tries to tear it down. That won't be easy, given that Gammage was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, but you know Phoenix — someday… More >>
  • Best Vintage Arms

    Arizona Military Museum

    Don't know your M1895 "potato digger" from a Howitzer? Get the Bushmasters mixed up with the Rough Riders? Think the Buffalo Soldiers hunted buffalo? Then a trip to the Arizona Military History Museum may be in order. This award-winning museum, operated by the nonprofit Arizona National Guard Historical Society and run by the irascible and ever-knowledgeable retired U.S. Army Colonel… More >>
  • Best FM Oldies Station

    KOOL 94.5 FM

    KOOL FM really cuts the crap, playing every good song released before 1990. Unless you have no heart, you can appreciate hearing The Cars followed by Cyndi Lauper followed by Rod Stewart, and you'll be singing along like an idiot as you swerve all over the 51. Even the officer who demands your license and registration might give you a… More >>
  • Best Vintage Blog

    Vintage Phoenix

    Whether you're a visual learner, a bit of a history buff, or simply someone who wants to share old memories, you should be following Dave Driscoll's blog, Vintage Phoenix. Driscoll curates the crowd-sourced site with user-submitted historic photos of the Valley of the Sun, revealing what the metropolis once was. A quick scan of the page reveals shots of such… More >>
  • Best Vintage Sign

    The Diving Lady

    The Diving Lady is the last of her kind. The famed neon sign was erected in 1960 to draw traveling folks to the Starlite Motel and its pool with a woman shown diving, in three animated stages, into a pool. In 2010, her continual high dives came to a halt (though the pool had been filled in long before) when… More >>
  • Best Vintage Hotel

    Hotel Valley Ho

    The hotel scene in Scottsdale thrives today, for sure, but we have fond memories of bygone days. Remember the Safari Resort? Or Paradise Valley's Mountain Shadows? There's one vintage Scottsdale hotel that has more than stood the test of time — Hotel Valley Ho. Built in 1956 and revamped in the 2000s, it's a delightful mix of old and new,… More >>
  • Best Architecture Legend

    Frank Lloyd Wright

    He designed more than a thousand structures, many of them right here in Arizona. Frank Lloyd Wright is an international institution (in 1991, the American Institute of Architects dubbed him "the greatest architect of all time"), but he's also, in many ways, our own. The world-renowned architect, interior designer, educator and author left behind a dozen distinct buildings here, among… More >>
  • Best Vintage Architect

    John Douglas

    The Heard Museum. The Desert Botanical Garden. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. And our own New Times Building. If you've seen them, you've seen the notable design and renovation work of architect John Douglas. Eighty-five national and local design awards attest to his success with creating buildings both beautiful and unusual (like the North Mountain Visitors Center, with… More >>
  • Best Street Time Forgot

    Old Litchfield Road

    A nearly two-mile stretch on Old Litchfield Road, between Indian School Road and Bird Lane in the West Valley, is guarded by palm and citrus trees standing like attentive soldiers on a carpet of grass. It's a slow-moving street of elegant brick homes with deep setbacks, shrouded with trees. Many of the homes with red-tile rooftops share a common backyard… More >>
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