Top Phoenix Arts and Culture Stories of the Week

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.

Strip Search Casting Call Brings Droves of Exotic Dancers to Stratus (NSFW)

What would happen if you got more than 100 strippers in the same room and started blasting hip-hop jams? Probably the same sort of wild scene that ensued last week at Stratus during the casting call for reality show Strip Search.

Dozens of ecdysiasts and exotic dancers from a variety of Valley strip clubs shook their bikini-clad booties, pulled off aerial moves on stripper poles, and made like they were extras in a Lil' Jon music video all evening at the West Phoenix rave venue.

Check out the slideshow of the stripper shenanigans and read the rundown of the night.

--Benjamin Leatherman

"Graffiti Free Phoenix" Pilot Program Kicks Off in July, Cites Property Owners After Third Clean-up

Come July, property owners in the neighborhood between 43rd to 59th avenues and McDowell and Camelback roads will be the guinea pigs of the city of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department's new "Graffiti Free Phoenix" pilot program.

Department employees describe the program as "simple" -- Graffiti Busters and Neighborhood Preservation inspectors will work together to track and remove tags, writing, and "gang-related" writing throughout the neighborhood. The city will provide educational materials and free color-matched paint for self-removal when a property is tagged, but when the fourth graffiti incident occurs on that property, the enforcement process will begin.

When a property is tagged for a fourth time, the owner of that property will receive a Notice of Violation and will have five days to remove the graffiti. After five days, a citation will be issued, the Busters will paint over the tags, and the case will go through regular code enforcement court process.

--Claire Lawton

Boutique Solie Opens in My Florist Center

After a relentless quick eats takeover of the intersection at Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road, there's a little glimmer of hope that not every inch of it will be consumed by the fast food dump (read: burgers, burgers, and, uh, subs).

The glimmer? That'd be Bethaney Soliere's Boutique Solie, a lovely little shop with an animal-friendly outlook that's freshly relocated from Scottsdale into a unit in the complex next to the former My Florist Cafe.

--Becky Bartkowski

Five Favorite Nora Ephron Movie Moments

Nora Ephron was a producer, director, screenwriter, journalist, novelist, playwright, author, and blogger best known for creating classic American romantic comedies and penning columns for New York magazine and Esquire and New York Times Magazine.

She died last week from pneumonia, a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia, at the age of 71.

Her long list of films include Silkwood, Heartburn, When Harry Met Sally..., You've Got Mail, Hanging Up, Lucky Numbers, and Sleepless in Seattle (to name a few). Take a look back at five of our favorite moments on her silverscreen.

--Claire Lawton

Grab a Golden Ticket for "Independents" Week

Frozen drinks, fireworks, and the inevitable hordes of Phoenicians (who hopefully packed some sunscreen) may make it easy for anyone to avoid flocking to one of the Independence Day hotspots, but in celebration of this Fourth of July, just try saying no to a sweet deal at many of our own local, independent shops and restaurants.

We're talking 20 percent off at more than 192 local businesses. Take that, slushie.

Check out the list of participating stores, a coupon link and more info.

--Claire Lawton

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

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Eric Tsetsi
Contact: Eric Tsetsi