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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.

Nine Hottest Halloween Costume Trends of 2012

There's about a month left until Halloween dawns, which means you have that long to conjure up a killer costume for yourself. And while that might seem like all the time in the world, don't put things off, bub, especially since someone else might just snatch up the particular mask or outfit you desperately need to complete whatever ensemble you eventually decide upon.

If you need some assistance in figuring out what to wear, we've consulted with the staff at some of the Valley's best mom-and-pop Halloween emporiums - including Easley's, Bubbles of Joy in Mesa, and the Mardi Gras Costume Shop in Scottsdale - for some advice on what the most popular hottest and trendiest costumes this year, which includes plenty of colorful characters from blockbuster films, TV shows, and pop culture.

Check out the complete list of hot Halloween costumes.

--Benjamin Leatherman

Best of Phoenix 2012: Get Scientific with Our Interactive Periodic Table

Shortly after we resurfaced from last year's underground edition of Best of Phoenix, we dove into the Valley's research centers, laboratories, and archives to put our city under the microscope.

This year's Best of Phoenix tells stories of local inventions, strange theories, and scientific processes with photographs, videos, and illustrations that we found fit best (and most naturally) on an interactive periodic table.

--Claire Lawton

Vintage Apparel, Sewing Supplies, Paper Goods, and a Newsstand Just Added to The Biltmore's UNION (Coming Soon)

Since the masterminds behind UNION announced a series of locally owned micro-boutiques and eateries opening soon at the Biltmore Fashion Park, we've been scoping out parking and drumming our fingers.

UNION will be home to 18 spaces run by Phoenix entrepreneurs and creatives in a 7,200 sq ft space between Stingray Sushi and Seasons 52. The shops, scheduled to open in early November, include Frances, Paris Envy, and Citrine Beauty Bar. And UNION representatives recently gave us 14 more reasons to ooooh and aaaaah (and check out the parking one more time).

--Claire Lawton

Laurie Notaro on Recipe Theft, Cheap Toilet Paper, and Not Being Invited to a Close Friend's Party on Facebook

I wasn't on the invitation list.

I checked twice, three times. I was sure that I was just so used to seeing me that I had skipped it out of habit. The list was long, full of faces that I knew. A long line of faces that had eaten party food at my house and had pulled a beer I had paid for out of a cooler on my back porch.

And on this long list of Facebook invitees for a birthday of someone I considered a very good friend, mine wasn't one of them.

'Mark Zuckerberg is an asshole,' I immediately thought. The last thing I ever wanted in my life was social transparency! I want to stay in the world where I think that the people who like me like me and the people who hate me like me, too. I don't need to know the truth! I can't handle the truth. Who can?

Read Notaro's full story about her beef with Facebook invites.

--Laurie Notaro

Cycle: Arizona's Teen Mountain Bikers to Wreak Havoc in New High School League

With its diverse and challenging terrain crossing from rocky deserts to pine covered forests, Arizona is one of the truly great states for mountain biking. Now, it's one of only nine states in the US to have an official high school mountain bike racing league.

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) recently announced the Arizona High School Cycling League at Interbike in Las Vegas. The Arizona's league's inaugural season will kick off in 2013 with four races, two in the Valley, one in Tucson and one in Prescott.

--Jason Franz

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

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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