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Top 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.

Burning Man: Phoenix Artists Take Gigantic Insects, Jack-In-The-Box Fetuses and Other Unique Art to the Desert At this very moment, more than 60,000 people are gathered in the sun-drenched wastelands of Nevada engaging in a gonzo cultural event that's unlike any other event in the world. They're participating in the annual Burning Man, a week-long celebration of art, music, fringe culture, and all things bizarre in midst of the Black Rock Desert.

One of the main attractions of the yearly event are the hundreds of gorgeously eccentric installations and sculptures - both large and small - that are constructed on the dusty playa where Burning Man is staged, creating a massive outdoor gallery filled with breathtaking and mind-bending art.

-- Benjamin Leatherman

Valerie Vadala Homer to Retire from Post as Director of Scottsdale Public Art fter 25 years with the Scottsdale Cultural Council -- the last 10 as Director of Scottsdale Public Art -- local art champion Valerie Vadala Homer announced she'll be leaving her post at the end of September.

"After almost a quarter of a century with the Scottsdale Cultural Council developing, nurturing and growing Scottsdale Public Art's exemplary program, I have decided to retire in order to spend more time with my family and to explore creative pursuits," wrote Vadala Homer in a release sent out by the Cultural Council.

-- Claire Lawton

Creative Mornings PHX to Debut During Phoenix Design Week A year ago, they were in just four cities, but local designers are getting ready to open a chapter (one of over two dozen new chapters across seven continents) in Phoenix. And they already have the first event in the books: a talk next month from Vice President and Creative Director at Moses Anshell, Jason Smith.

The first Creative Mornings PHX event will take place as a part of Phoenix Design Week, September 24 through 30.

-- Lauren Saria

We're Doomed: Scientists Discover Genitalia-Headed Fish Because what lies beneath can only get uglier, creepier, and more likely to suck on your toes when you fall off the side of the boat, scientists are releasing information about the Phallostethus Cuulong, found recently in Vietnam.

According to National Geographic and Lynne Parenti, curator of fishes at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., the Cuulong is now part of the Phallostethidae family (Phallostethus meaning "penis chest" in Greek).

The male and female Phallostethus Cuulong are the horniest of fish (probably second to the ghost shark recently found with a sex organ on its head) and mate almost instantly after birth.Parenti describes a number of the fish in a tank that when mating all "looked like little pair(s) of scissors, darting around the tank together."

-- Claire Lawton

Six Things Laurie Notaro Never Wants to Hear While Standing in Line at the Pharmacy (Again) There are certain places in a grocery store that are far more dangerous than others, and for the innocent, I'm not talking about the ice cream aisle. I'm talking about the partitioned part where the Vicodin lives.

True, if prehistoric birds attacked the store or if there were a hostage situation, I'd always pick Pill Land over the candy lane as a place to hole up, but in everyday, regular circumstances, it's a terrifying, naked place. This leads me to admit that I'm there constantly because I cannot get my inhaler, high blood pressure pills and my Ambien dolls coordinated at the same pick up, and as a result, I know everyone there on a first name basis.

--Laurie Notaro

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

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