BEST LOCAL GIRL MAKES GOOD 2006 | Linda Cobb, the Queen of Clean | People & Places | Phoenix
How a retired woman made her fortune by recommending that one bathe the dog in Massengil, we'll never know. But we've gotta give Linda Cobb props. Not only can you see the self-named (and trademarked) Queen of Clean regularly on Good Morning Arizona (KTVK-TV, Channel 3), she appears on HGTV, the D.I.Y. Network there's no stopping her! Once a staple in your local Walgreens, her collection of books is now published by Simon & Schuster. She does make the rounds on the speaking circuit, dispensing advice, but we're quite certain that, no, she won't come over to your house with her mop, even if you pay her big bucks.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. So he was born in Minnesota and grew up in Chicago. Big freakin' deal. Since his dad lives in the Valley, and he has come for repeated visits in the past year or two, the big funny guy counts as one of ours. Getting pulled over in Scottsdale last December on a suspicion of driving drunk, Jennifer Aniston in tow, only seals the deal. What could be more Arizona than narrowly avoiding a DUI? Best part of all: Vaughn got busted by the Scottsdale PD, not Sheriff Joe, thereby sparing us the horror of having to listen to Old Joe's senile rantings on Entertainment Tonight for days on end. We knew we liked this guy!
The ongoing redevelopment of downtown Phoenix has been something of a love-hate thing for us. We're down with revitalizing our city's urban core, but for every new posh loft and upscale eatery that debuts in and around Copper Square, cool places like Emerald Lounge and Newman's get shuttered. Which is why we're holding onto The News Room for dear life. It's a dope dive that's a little rough around the edges, because of its shabby decor and working-class regulars, but it's also one of the few downtown drinkeries that values character over kitsch. There ain't no highfalutin mixed drinks or overpriced bar food here, just plenty of cheap beer and booze, a jukebox, a pool table, and old-school bowling games. As the ultimate sign of hipster acceptance, punky and funky scenesters from the nearby arts district have started stopping by the joint, rubbing elbows with grizzled retirees and construction workers. You'd better get down there soon before Mayor Phil Gordon and company decide to raze it in favor of some ugly urban renewal project.
Hilary Griffith is not your typical beauty queen. Yes, she's a broadcast journalism major and she twirls a baton. But she also spins an amazing tale all true of what happened to her one night in November 2004, her sophomore year at Arizona State. A man broke into her Tempe apartment and raped her at knifepoint. Hilary has made it her cause to educate others; she's even taken part in a program sponsored by the Arizona Department of Corrections, in which victims visit prisons to share their stories with inmates. We can't imagine how hard that must be, and for that we applaud Hilary. She's definitely royalty in our book.
Lauren Cusimano
If there was ever an excuse to mosey on down to Roosevelt for something other than the gallery scene, Carla Wade and John Logan's funky bistro is the reason. The arty couple opened the cozy eatery and wine bar to satisfy a need to feed hungry lunch folks and the libation-seeking arts crowd. A four-by-six-foot customized Steven Yazzie painting overlooks the bar, and rotating First Friday exhibits hang next to the funky sky-blue-and-tangerine-painted walls. Enjoy a wide selection of cheap domestic beer, affordable wine, and an assortment of luxurious imported beers, including three variations of Chimay, and the full-bodied Trappistes Rochefort, a Belgian creation brewed by Trappist monks. The bistro serves up southern European and Mediterranean fare ranging from healthful salads and soups to yummy appetizers (the Trio with three types of hummus) and grilled panini sandwiches on ciabatta we suggest the Ex-Patriot (turkey, Brie, tomato, and onion relish) and the Tuscan (sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, spinach and provolone with pesto). A full week of entertainment includes local bands Colorstore and Fatigo gigging on Tuesdays, a $3 wine special and live jazz by Alan Jones on Thursdays, and DJs spinning beats on Fridays and Saturdays.
Until this, the closest we'd come to knowing anyone whose work had appeared in The New Yorker was the time our friend Doug was a finalist in the caption-writing contest on the magazine's last page. That was cool, but this was cooler: Picking up the January 16 edition of the magazine and seeing a full-page drawing by Tempe artist Jon Haddock, illustrating a short story by Samantha Hunt (and she's from Arizona State University, another local connection!). Even now that he's been in The New Yorker, our favorite comic son remains humble and sweet and so talented.
Lauren Cusimano
Here's an Irish-themed pub that's got everything non-leprechauns need to unwind after a long day at the office (or to get fugged up with friends on the weekends). There's a bar, of course, stocked with all sorts of brews and beers, usually served by the pint. There's a jukebox, stocked with country, pop, hip-hop, and rock. There are a couple of pool tables, and a couple of dartboards. The bar hosts karaoke and live music, and one of the most packed St. Patrick's Day parties in the Valley. But best of all, the walls are decorated with neon beer signs; the green felt on the pool table is faded and worn; the floor is almost always sticky; and the booths and tables are often full. The whole place gives off the vibe of a well-loved, über-used drinkin' hole.


Lisa Albinger

Over the past year, you may have been wowed by painter Lisa Albinger's stunning depictions of relationships gone wrong, womanhood, and growing up with scoliosis. Her work's been on view at monOrchid, Studeo Tad and Soul Invictus. But did you know that Albinger's painted women and rabbit guides some housed in the private collections of Tori Amos, The Cure's Robert Smith, and fantasy author Charles de Lint were not created using the quintessential brush, but from household items purchased at Target? In college, the Wisconsin-born and -bred artist painted large format canvases up to four by six feet using palette knives and a few large brushes. When she began showing in Milwaukee museums, the gallery owners told her everyone loved the work, but the pieces wouldn't fit in the area's small homes. Unable to dance around on the smaller format, the only answer was to downsize the tools; hence, the birth of the cotton swabs and paper towel method, which has created a more intimate exchange between Albinger and the canvas, while adding a unique scratchy/wispy/playful touch to her work. She uses the occasional brush for face detail and still visits the local art supply stores for oil paints but after a trip to Target, she's got cash in her pocket for the really high-quality oils.
A newer addition to the swanky section of 67th Avenue just south of the Loop 101, Oggi's features a tempting mix of homemade brews and grub as inviting as it is reasonably priced. The real plus: All the drinks and eats can be enjoyed while taking in any and every sporting event via the 21 huge TVs that pepper the main room. Much more than a stinky dive with a boob tube, Oggi's is classy, clean and boasts as great a staff as its menu. Many drinkers will gravitate toward Oggi's home-brewed Paradise Pale or the Sunset Amber Ale, which is a bit darker, and richer than the pale. We got stuffed on Oggi's personal-size pizza the Slam Dunk, like "hot wing pizza" complete with spicy wing sauce and spicy marinated chicken, was wicked good. Located right off the freeway, Oggi's is a great place to grab a quick drink after work, or plan a weekend visit to take advantage of its DirecTV's Sunday Ticket.


Josh Wiley

Joshua Dean Wiley was already known locally for his serene, high-color landscapes and lively abstracts before busting out big with a national distribution deal that brought his bright, metallic-tinged paintings to department stores all over the U.S. The 34-year-old Iowa transplant's work can be found in Target, JC Penney, Bed Bath and Beyond, Linens 'n Things, and Mervyn's, although local art collectors still seek out his one-of-a-kind work, too. Good news: When he's not preparing a new line of mass-market prints for the unwashed masses, Wiley is still making gorgeous paintings and his giant Plexiglas hanging wall sculptures. Look for him at smart local galleries and at a Mervyn's near you.

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