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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.

Laurie Notaro's Seven Reasons Why Phoenix is Better than Portland

Editor's Note: When architect and community activist Taz Loomans announced she was moving to Portland, we added her to a long list of Phoenicians who've decided to pack their bags and head to the Pacific Northwest.

And then we called Laurie Notaro.

Notaro is a best-selling author and frequent New Times' contributor. She lived in Phoenix for more than 30 years before moving to Eugene, Oregon. And while she's spent plenty of time in Portland, she still thinks Phoenix is better. Here's why.

--Claire Lawton

Nine Must-See Mardi Gras Parties in Metro Phoenix

The Cajuns have a particular phrase to describe having a memorable time and it goes something like, "Laissez les bons temps rouler." While our French Creole is a tad bit rusty, the saying roughly translates to "Let the good times roll," whic is what plenty of people around the Valley will be doing over the next few days in honor or both Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday.

Mardi parties will take place starting now through Fat Tuesday next week, and we've got a rundown of nine places where you can score some beads (either by flashing some naughty parts or otherwise) and have a Hurricane or three.

--Benjamin Leatherman

Five Must-See Movies in (And Around) Phoenix This February

Load up on your snack of choice, bucko. You have some movies to see. Here are five flicks and festivals you don't want to miss this month.

Bloody Hero International Film Festival @ Phoenix Center for the Arts Sounds like a horror fest, but don't let the "bloody" party of Bloody Hero Independent Film Festival scare you off. Open to all genres of independent film, Bloody Hero will showcase a selection of feature, short, student, and animated, films from around the world.

Check out the complete list of must-see movies in February.

--Becky Bartkowski

Phoenix Comicon Kicks Off Its Annual Badge Art Contest

Geek-minded artists of Arizona, better grab your pencils and pens and get busy working on those killer sketches of Ironman, Doctor Who, or other such icons of sci-fi, comic books, and pop culture. The folks behind Phoenix Comicon are currently seeking submissions for their annual badge art contest, and - as always - the competition is gonna be fairly fierce.

As with previous editions of the contest, hundreds of local artists from throughout the state will submit their finest drawings and computer-generated etchings to Comicon organizers, who will determine which pieces are cool enough to adorn the various staff and attendee badges for this year's event (which takes place over Memorial Day weekend).

Find out how to enter your sketches here.

--Benjamin Leatherman

The Five Best Wes Anderson Commercials

Those who enjoy film director Wes Anderson's visual style, witty dialouge, and sepia-soaked color schemes -- well, they just get it. Some people, actually a lot of people, don't. There's very little middle ground on the subject, which is why he might not be a natural choice to direct commercials for national ad campaigns.

But that hasn't prevented companies from paying him to produce spots completely soaked in all aspects of his signature style. There are plenty out there, but we gathered a few of our favorites for the five best Wes Anderson-directed commercials to date.

--Lauren Saria

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