the untitled artist bowling league

Cosmic bowling is so last year. Now the hot thing on the lanes is to actually start your own league. Case in point: a group of Valley art types who started bowling just to hang out with friends, and are quickly expanding into several teams. It all started when Neil Borowitz, an exhibit designer at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art who used to work at the Heard Museum, wanted to get together with friends, including Melissa Martinez, who works at the Heard and used to be at SMoCA. Neil gathered some SMoCA folks, and Melissa brought the Heard people. ASU Art Museum and Roosevelt Row followed and now, the sky's the limit! "Honestly, we're very flexible," Melissa says. "It's not like a rigid team structure." Knowing those creative types, we're inclined to believe her. We hear they have some pretty interesting team names, too, but Melissa's not telling.
There are dozens of reggaeton nights around town, but Saturdays at Jackson's was the first (it started in 2002), and it's still the largest, drawing an eclectic crowd that sometimes includes celebrities like national reggaeton sensation Pitbull, and Wu-Tang Latino Records CEO Ray Acosta. Every week, hundreds of people flood the three dance floors at Jackson's to hear everything from hip-hop to salsa; most of the reggaeton action goes down in the main room, where various DJs spin everything from reggaeton hits like Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina" to lesser-known songs by up-and-coming reggaeton artists like Mr. Phillips and Omawi Bling. The dance floor is usually packed with hip-shaking hotties by midnight, but if you can't find a spot on the dance floor, you can just do what everybody else does, and dance where you stand.
Folks who like to get their sweat on along to the deeper world beats of Brazilian, salsa, and merengue have been filling up the funky dance floor at downtown Mesa's Club Cabo. The "Afro" refers to Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian, and the baile is Portuguese for "dance party," and both merge when DJ Seduce tantalizes and marinates eardrums with an eclectic mix of deep soulful house, chill-out downtempo, and funky world beats. The weekly shout-out to lovers of world music happens each Thursday night.
Picture a bunch of shivering folks willingly waiting in line during the middle of the night, exchanging friendly banter and warm coffee. Now, strip away the consumer-obsessed IKEA feel and the Cabela's "real American" quality and you've got the bookworm diehards awaiting the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association (VNSA) book sale, held annually during the second weekend of February. The largest book sale west of the Mississippi features a 50,000-square-foot nerd oasis filled with more than 600,000 books, including $2 hardcovers and $1 paperbacks, as well as videos, CDs, audio tapes, records, maps, and puzzles. The warehouse is broken up into sections ranging from classics and cookbooks to history/war/politics and foreign language reads. The rare and unusual section where we've found a first printing of Tolstoy's War and Peace for $10, an out-of-print history of ASU from 1960, and bizarre literature such as 1920s white supremacy propaganda is definitely our favorite. Shopping carts are provided, but they go fast (usually in about 10 minutes), so it's a good idea to bring your own bags. If you don't want to brave the Saturday chaos, come back on Sunday, when most books are half-price. There is a fairground-parking fee, but admission to the sale is free, with proceeds benefiting local nonprofit human service agencies.
We know that Bob Marley preached a world filled with one love through spiritually uniting music, but sometimes other soul music pioneers like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and D'Angelo are seriously slept on. That's why Karlie Hustle, a mover-and-shaker in the soul and hip-hop scenes, created the Groove Candy Night weekly lounge night. The Power 98.3 DJ represents dusty grooves while keeping microphone yammering to a minimum. The backbone of the series is most definitely the DJs, including resident emcee DJ M2, who spins classics mixed with neo-soul, reggae, and hip-hop, from The Roots and Common to Erykah Badu and Goapele. Wrap your fingers around a cocktail, feel the love, and unwind to some groove therapy each Wednesday night.
The granddaddy of microcinema, No Festival Required, has brought underground films sans the censorship of distribution, festival rules, or economics to Modified Arts during each first Sunday evening for the past three years, and counting. The films run the artsy gamut of comedy, drama, documentary, and experimental works, whether it's during February's annual Arizona Statehood Show that showcases local filmmakers, the sublime Lunafest featuring all women directors, or the scathing rap short film of the U.S. administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina in "George Bush Don't Like Black People." The motion picture series is also featured during select Sunday afternoons at the Phoenix Art Museum. You won't have to navigate the commercial megaplex to enjoy a No Fes flick.
What happens when a human resources manager, a fitness director and an accountant read a lot? Lit chicks! Kim Novotny, the HR gal, gathered a couple of friends together a while back and created a Web site devoted to reviewing good books. Novotny lives in Anthem, but she and the other literate chicks dream of someday traveling to Chicago to tell Oprah all about their site! Whether that happens or not, we're just happy to read their smart, succinct, honest reviews with Top 10 lists including authors we, too, love, like John Irving, David Sedaris, and Harper Lee. We see they've got Martha Beck on there, too. A wise move, considering she, too, is from the Valley and writes for O Magazine. Maybe we'll see the lit chicks on TV yet.
This swank soul food eatery and cocktail bar, with its African-themed paintings, sexy lighting, and heavy alcoholic pours, sets the ideal atmosphere for local musicians to jam out groove-oriented standards and originals in the cozy and crowded lounge. The music is geared toward straight-ahead aficionados and provides a great introduction to jazz newcomers. Players known to sit in include the infectious organist "Papa" John DeFrancesco (father of esteemed Hammond B-3 organist Joey), the fireballing percussionist Dowell Davis, and funky bass guitarist Mike Howard. If the high-energy sonic chops whet your appetite, sink your teeth into the catfish dinner entree, a honking fillet served with your choice of two sides such as collard greens, candied yams, and dirty rice. The restaurant also features a Sunday jazz brunch from noon to 2:30 p.m. and more beats until 4 p.m. before the free lounge jam burns down the house from 7 to 11 p.m.
Jamie Peachey
Stroll near the Scottsdale Center for the Arts on a Thursday night and you'll hear an ambient blitzkrieg of up-tempo and accessible sounds. Then let your ears be the guide and continue past the official performing arts center to the funky Orange Table cafe, nestled in a hard-to-find-if-you-blink cranny, where Trio Oro jams out modern and original compositions embodying elements of free jazz and breakbeats. Since March 2005, Rob Moore's fiery snare and cymbal wallops, Jacob Koller's brooding keyboard comps, and Andy Jones' moody bass riffs have been attracting eager listeners. Sometimes the band plays inside. Other times they post up just outside the cozy outdoor patio, perfect to soak up the atmospheric sounds while sipping on a $2 Red Stripe or Fat Tire, grubbing on sandwiches and sweets, or grabbing a late-night caffeine fix. Feel the fusion.
Each year, established writers and hopeful scribes descend on the ASU campus for several days of intensive writing instruction, readings, panel discussions, and book signings. Participants can rub elbows with published authors during a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry classes, ranging from screenwriting and political poetry to gender-identity fiction and travel writing. During the evening break, authors and conference participants journey down to the Mill Avenue bars to yuk it up about the writing life over cocktails, culminating in evening readings and book signings in Old Main's Carson Ballroom. In the past, featured authors have included novelist Joyce Carol Oates, essayist A.S. Byatt, poet Tim Seibles, and This American Life contributor Sarah Vowell. There's a hefty $300 registration fee, but enough tutelage and inspiration for at least a couple of chapters of that book you're writing. Write on!

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