Big Brain Awards

Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona: 2014 Urban Legend Award, Urban Vision

In honor of the fifth annual Big Brain Awards, New Times is recognizing five Urban Legends, established creative pioneers who have made Phoenix a better, cooler place.

Leading up to the Big Brain Award announcement and Artopia on April 25, Jackalope Ranch, Chow Bella, and Up on the Sun will profile the legends. Up today: Kimber Lanning, who is receiving the award for Urban Vision.

Kimber Lanning has always looked at Phoenix through rose-colored glasses. And that is a very good thing. From her earliest days as a record store owner, Lanning wanted more for this place, looking to the urban core while others focused on strip malls and little pink houses stretching past the city's limits.

But that doesn't mean Lanning hasn't stretched -- particularly when it comes to bringing her urban vision into sharp focus. In her early 20s, she says, she got sick of driving to LA to see her favorite bands. So she decided to figure out how to get them to come here.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at