Of course, el Museo also offers the requisite coffee-table books, art prints and gear dedicated to the supposed George and Martha of Mexican art, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. But in our opinion, it's the folk art that makes this place most firme.
Long ago dubbed the "Road to Nowhere," the Sun Valley Parkway was built in the mid-1980s as the centerpiece of a real estate development project that collapsed in typical Arizona fashion. The only thing that has ever come true from all the real estate hype for the area now annexed by Buckeye is the parkway.
A sign stating "No Service Next 35 Miles" signals the start of the parkway that lies about 12 miles east of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, off Interstate 10. The sign also gives the green light to floor it, which we did. After a few minutes, the old truck wound up to 102 mph, not bad considering the 198,500 miles on the engine (1994 Dodge Dakota, V-6).
Besides the obvious temptation to ramp up the RPMs, the road is a favorite for cyclists with its wide shoulders and paucity of traffic. The parkway bisects the Hassayampa Plain, offering vast expanses of relatively untouched Sonoran Desert landscape marred only by a jangle of crisscrossing, high-tension power lines.
Craig Counsell is the shiniest role model of the lot.
Undersized and undertalented, Counsell seems to have nothing going for him except heart, an undying work ethic and an exceptional understanding of the subtleties of baseball.
There are a lot of guys in Double A with more natural talent. But because he's Craig Counsell, he's a consistent big-league batter capable of playing any spot in the infield on any day with Gold Glove acumen.
And like the superstars, he always seems to pull out a hit when the Diamondbacks most need one. Unfortunately for the D-Backs and their fans, Counsell suffered an injury in August and will be unavailable for the postseason. Still, if the Snakes repeat as world champions this year, Counsell will have been one of the biggest contributors to their success.
Yes, the toilets are old and concessions stands are limited, but for pure football fans, the proximity to the field and clean site lines can't be beat.
When the fans are fired up, the stadium generates a roar that spills down Mill Avenue and blots out the jets flying into Sky Harbor Airport. The stadium was built during Arizona State University's golden era of football under the direction of former coach Frank Kush, after whom the field is named.
It's a beautiful football stadium, plain and simple.
Despite the Cardinals' derisive feelings about Sun Devil Stadium, the National Football League Players Association last year named the stadium the fifth best facility in the NFL. If the Cardinals simply played a few night games in September and October, there would be no need for a new facility.
The Fiesta Bowl, which will host the national championship game this year at Sun Devil Stadium, will look back on its days at Sun Devil Stadium and realize those were the best of times.
Walsh's résumé has some noteworthy quirks: While attending the University of Arizona, he was team manager for the fabled 1988 basketball team that went to the Final Four. Then, in the early 1990s, his gutless bosses at KTAR radio fired him after he criticized the pathetic Arizona Cardinals from his vantage point as roving reporter. His public axing from the Evil Land of Bidwill turned out to be fortuitous, for Walsh and Valley sports fans alike.
As if that weren't enough, the company has launched Madstone Films, a new-style studio that funds new works by up-and-coming young filmmakers. Movie fans will want one of Madstone's annual membership kits, which offers discounted tickets and invitations to special screenings and receptions. Let's go to the movies!
And we can't help but notice how dapper he looks in his tuxedo (in fact, we're reasonably sure he never wears anything else). His credentials aren't bad, either: He's conducted at Carnegie Hall and lived in Austria, where he worked at the Landestheater Linz opera house. His current repertoire includes serving as chorus master for the Santa Fe Opera, conductor for the Oklahoma City Symphony's "Discovery" concert series and music director for the Phoenix Symphony Guild Youth Orchestra. Ah, a real Renaissance man.
Rock us, Amadeus.
Luckily for listeners, KUPD's management got bored with Dave Pratt too. In early September, they replaced him with the relatively young, inexperienced DJ from the floundering sort-of-alt-rock station The Zone.
The show started slowly thanks to 9/11 and KUPD's mistake of teaming Holmberg with a doormat of a Hooters girl for a sidekick. But as the new team jelled, and as laughing at edgy, dark, gloriously twisted jokes became okay again, the Morning Sickness took off.
Now Holmberg and crew are the second-highest-rated morning show in Phoenix behind Howard Stern. And their numbers have been just as good as, and sometimes better than, Pratt's, who had 20 years to build his audience.
Now Holmberg just needs to overcome Stern. It should happen. Day in, day out, Holmberg puts on a much better show.
In its eight years in existence, the sprawling Peoria Sports Complex has become the northwest Valley's magnet for an incredible array of events. One weekend, you can see the Goo Goo Dolls, the next you can watch Japan's best professional baseball players duking it out on the Complex's numerous state-of-the-art baseball diamonds. Because of all the activity, the Complex, in the last three years, has become a draw for all sorts of hotels and restaurants.
You can watch Little Leaguers bashing it out most any weekend. Old guys can attend fantasy camps in which they get to play with their major league heroes. The facility even hosts an Easter egg hunt, besides numerous other community festivals. And it's home-team ground for the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres for Cactus League play.
More so than anywhere in the Valley, you can show up at the Peoria Sports Complex on any weekend and expect to be entertained.