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Top Five Phoenix Arts and Culture Stories of the Week

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If Bob Ross were alive today, he'd be painting happy little trees all over the place in ecstatic fervor for all the arts and culture happenings in Phoenix. To help you see the forest for the trees, here's a recap of the top arts and culture stories of the week.

NBC "Close" to Signing Deal with Two New Comics for SNL -- Including Phoenix's Aidy Bryant

Three stars of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" will bow out of the show before the upcoming 38th season, including Andy Samberg, Kirsten Wiig, and Abby Elliot, which means there are a few funny slots to fill before the show kicks back off in mid September.

And if all goes as planned, comics Aidy Bryant and Tim Robinson will fit the bill.

Bryant grew up in Phoenix (her mom Georganne Bryant, owns Frances and Smeeks on Central Avenue and Camelback Road), has a theater degree from Columbia College, is a Second City alum, and performs with her comedy troupe at Annoyance Theatre comedy club and iO Chicago Theater.

Robinson is also a Second City alum, is from Detroit, and is scheduled to appear on CBS's "Friend Me."

See some of Bryant's comedic performances.

--Claire Lawton

Five Favorite Looks Spotted at Fashion's Night Out

For Fashion's Night Out, Valley dwellers turned up in their chicest, sleekest duds. We snapped away at the fashionable frolicking at Scottsdale Fashion Square and The Saguaro's after party and found plenty of trend-conscious attendees.

Check out our five favorite looks from Fashion's Night Out 2012.

--Becky Bartkowski

Beeline Dragway: A Decaying Blast From Phoenix's Racing Past

The barren land surrounding the Beeline Dragway outside of Mesa can be a quiet place. Pay a visit to the decaying racing facility, which closed more than 35 years ago, and you might hear the sound of the wind blowing through its abandoned timing tower or the whisper of traffic from the nearby Beeline Highway, which inspired the bygone track's name.

Had you visited back in the day (specifically a 15-year stretch during the '60s and '70s), the place was alive with the roar of souped-up engines, squealing tires, and the clamor of thousands gathered in its grandstands, as the Beeline Dragway was one of the premier racing destinations in the Valley.

Take a tour through Beeline Dragway.

--Benjamin Leatherman

ASU Art Museum Hires Curator Julio Cesar Morales

A year after John Spiak left his curating post at ASU Art Museum for gig in California, the museum staff announced they'll be welcoming a new curator in September.

Julio Cesar Morales is an artist and a well-seasoned curator. He comes from the the Yerba Buena Center for The Arts (YCBA) in San Francisco, where he served as adjunct curator and founder of the PAUSE II Practice and Exchange, which commissioned and supported artists from around the world to showcase process-based exhibitions.

Find out more about ASU Art Museum's new curator.

--Claire Lawton

Laurie Notaro and the Perfect Red Chair

It was the grandest red chair I had ever seen.

The lines of the wings flared out at precise, perfect angles; the brass tacks lining the edges upholstered in a dark, deep red boucle were flawlessly aligned; the arms rolled slightly, as if going too far in one direction would be unforgivable.

I loved this chair.

But it was too late. I had already pledged my allegiance to the antique dressing table that was displayed in the window of St. Vinnie's, my favorite thrift store. I had unabashedly lusted for a three-mirror table for most of my adult life, and I couldn't have found a more perfect one than if I had rubbed my own belly and made a wish.

The cashier had my debit card and a "SOLD" sticker was slapped on one of the mirrored panels before I even looked over and saw the glorious chair.

Read Laurie Notaro's full story and her quest for the perfect red chair.

--Laurie Notaro

Don't forget to check out Jackalope Ranch's continuing series, 100 Creatives.

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