Lists

The Most Read Phoenix New Times Arts Stories in 2019

Alex Winter (left) and Keanu Reeves (right) on location at the Circle K at Hardy Drive and Southern Avenue in Tempe in 1987. Scenes where Bill and Ted first encounter Rufus (played by the late George Carlin) were filmed outside of the store.
Alex Winter (left) and Keanu Reeves (right) on location at the Circle K at Hardy Drive and Southern Avenue in Tempe in 1987. Scenes where Bill and Ted first encounter Rufus (played by the late George Carlin) were filmed outside of the store. Courtesy of Phillip Caruso
click to enlarge Clifford David (left) as Beethoven and Keanu Reeves as Ted in a scene filmed at the now-demolished East High School — a half-mile from Honey Bear's BBQ. - COURTESY OF PHILLIP CARUSO
Clifford David (left) as Beethoven and Keanu Reeves as Ted in a scene filmed at the now-demolished East High School — a half-mile from Honey Bear's BBQ.
Courtesy of Phillip Caruso
Strange things were afoot in Phoenix culture this year.

There was the 30th anniversary of the movie about time-traveling teenagers, as well as a tribute to the mall they filmed it in. Speaking of tributes, a pinbar with decor inspired by David Bowie opened its doors, a mural dedicated to Prince debuted, and Valley residents constructed elaborate illuminated displays dedicated to a man in a red suit and his eight reindeer.

It wasn't all nostalgia and salutes, though. Those who report the news became part of it for a variety of reasons, and we reported on how Amada Cruz drove docents out of Phoenix Art Museum.

Here's a look at our top 10 arts and culture stories of 2019:


click to enlarge A scene from season four of  Schitt's Creek. - POP TV
A scene from season four of Schitt's Creek.
Pop TV
10. Schitt's Creek Schittiest Moments

"As the series progresses, there is just something endearing about the Rose family that has made audiences laugh, cry, and cheer along with them in earnest. Alexis graduates high school! John helps Stevie run the hotel! Moira and David sing together!"

click to enlarge A victim of The Breach at Sanctum of Horror in Mesa. - AJ EISAN
A victim of The Breach at Sanctum of Horror in Mesa.
AJ Eisan
9. The 14 Best Haunted Houses and Halloween Attractions in Phoenix

"These commercial haunted houses don’t have the market cornered on giving folks thrills and chills. The Valley is teeming with numerous DIY haunts that die-hard Halloween fanatics create at their homes."

click to enlarge Alex Winter (left) and Keanu Reeves (right) on location at the Circle K at Hardy Drive and Southern Avenue in Tempe in 1987. Scenes where Bill and Ted first encounter Rufus (played by the late George Carlin) were filmed outside of the store. - COURTESY OF PHILLIP CARUSO
Alex Winter (left) and Keanu Reeves (right) on location at the Circle K at Hardy Drive and Southern Avenue in Tempe in 1987. Scenes where Bill and Ted first encounter Rufus (played by the late George Carlin) were filmed outside of the store.
Courtesy of Phillip Caruso

8. The 30th Anniversary: How Phoenix Played a Role in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure


"Just as the movie’s time machine, a phone booth, descended from the sky, fans of the film still descend upon the store a few times a week. Some come dressed as the characters from the movie, including Bill and Ted and Rufus. Others just want to get photos to post on Instagram or other social media platforms or re-enact scenes from the movie, including asking the store’s employees if they know when the Mongols ruled China."

Maggie Keane's massive Prince mural. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Maggie Keane's massive Prince mural.
Lynn Trimble

7. Maggie Keane Paints Massive Prince Mural in Phoenix


"Take note, Prince fans. Phoenix is now home to a massive mural paying homage to the famed singer and songwriter, who died in April 2016. It’s the work of Maggie Keane, an artist who never saw Prince perform live but has long-embraced his music and creative impulses."

Amada Cruz has been named the new director and CEO of the Seattle Art Museum. - PHOENIX ART MUSEUM
Amada Cruz has been named the new director and CEO of the Seattle Art Museum.
Phoenix Art Museum

6.
Nightmare at the Phoenix Art Museum: Docents Are Fleeing, Donors Drying Up

"Three longtime Phoenix Art Museum docents are enjoying their weekly walk along the canal in a tony Paradise Valley neighborhood. Their names might be Kathi and Martha and Jan, or perhaps Mary-Alice and Dana and Mark. They won’t say, because they’re afraid of what Amada Cruz, the 57-year-old museum director, will do to them if she finds out what they have been saying about how they hate what she’s made of their museum."

click to enlarge Former Channel 3 newscaster Brandon Lee details his descent into addiction in his new book. - BRANDON LEE
Former Channel 3 newscaster Brandon Lee details his descent into addiction in his new book.
Brandon Lee

5. Anchor's Away: Newscaster and Recovered Addict Gets to Be Brandon Lee Now

"Writing a book had always been part of his recovery plan, newscaster Brandon Lee said last Tuesday. 'I thought when I hit five years of sobriety, I’d have enough credibility to write about it,' he explained from a corner table in a midtown bar. He’d been sitting there nearly 20 minutes, but no waiter had stopped by to take his order. Lee wanted a club soda."

click to enlarge Park it here, Santa. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Park it here, Santa.
Benjamin Leatherman

4. Phoenix's Best Christmas Lights and Holiday Displays in 2019

"The Valley is about to get lit. The holiday season is upon us. There will be alarming levels of holiday music being played, nonstop schmaltz on the TV, and everything turning red and/or green.

Oh, and holiday lights will be switched on pretty much everywhere from now until New Year’s Day. We’re talking lots of lights. And we’ll be enjoying every minute of it."

click to enlarge Chuckie Duff of Stardust Pinbar. - CHARLES BARTH
Chuckie Duff of Stardust Pinbar.
Charles Barth
3. Stardust Pinbar Opens This Weekend in Downtown Phoenix

"Hence all the amusing and unique aspects of the spot, including a secret entrance, a ’70s-style illuminated disco dance floor, a furry DJ booth, Bowie-esque decor, and plenty of pinball machines that patrons can play."

click to enlarge Midday Friday, Metrocenter is a ghost town. - ANN NEWMAN
Midday Friday, Metrocenter is a ghost town.
Ann Newman

2. Mall Out of Time: Visiting What’s Left of Metrocenter, Phoenix’s Last Great Shopping Mall

"Ann remembered when kids in this part of town had nothing better to do than hang out at the mall, eating and watching movies and maybe doing a little shoplifting. Spencer’s Gifts. 5-7-9. Hickory Farms, where Ann and her friends went for free samples of Gruyere and kielbasa. She remembered how exciting it was to see Metrocenter as the setting for the movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure."

Kari Lake - KSAZ-TV
Kari Lake
KSAZ-TV
1. We Asked Phoenix Comedians to Roast Kari Lake

"We wanted to continue the laughter in response to Fox 10 news anchor Kari Lake's, uh, candid observations about Phoenix New Times, which were revealed last week after they were caught on a camera she didn't know was rolling."
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil