Best Place to Snag an Authentic All About Eve Poster 2008 | Femmes Fatales & Fantasies Art Museum & Gallery | Shopping & Services | Phoenix

The following nugget of wisdom was drilled into us the minute we signed our first mortgage: Take care of your house because, someday, it'll take care of you. Weeeelllllll, maybe. If you live in Connecticut. Or Monaco. Here in Phoenix, homeowners are shackled to the fickle fortunes of a Wild West, boom-and-bust economy. Yee-haw.

This nugget of wisdom was drilled into us pretty much the day after we dumped all our money into a house: Diversify. Don't be a boob and hold on to those two remaining shekels like grim death. Rub 'em together in the hopes they'll go forth and multiply.

A surprising number of the smart shekels these days are going into . . . movie posters? Yep, the burgeoning collectibles sub-genres known as ephemera and Hollywood have come together with a boom in recent years, escalating the Golden Age poster market to ludicrous heights. Crazy, perhaps, but when you think about it, posters exude a lot of natural charm as collectibles: 1) many are rare, because they were considered expendable (a.k.a. ephemeral) in their day; 2) the most coveted — Casablanca, The Mummy, etc. — contain archetypal pop-culture images that transcend eras and styles; 3) many people practice "theme living" these days, and a collectible poster or two can really spiff up that home-theater room; 4) it's Hollywood, baby; everything sells.

Mark, Sherry, and Brandy Goldberg of Femmes Fatales are collectors and resellers of the vintage beauties, which they display in a remodeled 3,000-square-foot building on Scottsdale's Main Street drag. (Much of the funding for the swank spot comes by way of Mark, a founding partner at the personal-injury law firm Goldberg & Osborne, a.k.a. "The Eagle." See how Mark diversified, students?)

About 200 of the clan's 1,500-poster collection — spanning the 1920s to the present — are on view at any given time. Prices vary, but the tags usually start at $200-ish and can run to five figures. Ouch, right? Well, that's not so out of whack with what the "real" art in downtown Scottsdale brings, and it's not even close to the six figures the rarest of the rare posters net. (The record, as of this writing, is $690,000 for a 1927 Metropolis.)

For their part, the Goldbergs play mostly to the "theme" crowd. Therefore, they stock common works powered by high-watt superstars like Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Errol Flynn, Brigitte Bardot, and Robert Redford. They can also hook you up with top-notch restorers and framers, and will even use their connections to help you find that highly elusive poster you didn't know you couldn't live without.

Because musicians are some of the most competitive folks we know in the creative community, a music store founded and operated by these people may sound kind of intimidating. But even folks who are starting or playing in their first band will feel welcome at Musicians Discount. The spacious store in the Poca Fiesta strip mall that once housed Tower Records specializes in brand-name new, used, and vintage guitars. There's a quiet room where you try out any of the store's instruments by plugging into a variety of amps and jamming out. The shop also sells the most affordable effects pedals in town as well as sonic odds and ends such as speaker cable and recording gear, all at reasonable prices.

These cats, in business since 1927, definitely know what they're doing when it comes to headstocks, fret boards, whammy bars, and all of that other fancy talk about guitars.

Even if you don't speak the lingo, you can still find yourself a kickass acoustic or electric guitar during the store's monthly swap meet. For the past 16 years, folks have been gathering at Ziggie's to buy, sell, trade, and upgrade guitars and other stuff, including amps, straps, and cases. Trade gear every first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon.

Aside from being one of the few truly independent record stores in town, Eastside's always had a reputation for satisfying eccentric tastes. Sure, you can go to the mall for that copy of Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds (Eastside will have it, too), but where do you go when you're looking for Lydia Lunch's spoken-word manifesto Oral Fixation or a copy of the 1996 U.K. import Jitter Juice, by now-defunct goth rock band 12 Rounds? Chances are, Eastside will have whatever you're looking for, and if they don't have it, they can order it. The in-store selection isn't the largest (four rows of CD bins, as opposed to the dozens found at most chain stores), but Eastside's CD bins are treasure troves of underground tunes, right alongside the usual Top 40 suspects.

Of course, Zia offers more in trade than in cash (after a recent sale, they offered us $57 in trade credit or $39 in cash), but they also pay more for CDs than any other place in town (some places, like a particular bookstore chain that also sells used CDs, will offer only pennies on the dollar). The clerks are pretty savvy, too, so as long as you're not trying to pass off some beat-up copies of Debbie Gibson records or Danzig bootlegs without covers, you're likely to get a pretty good bang for your buck.

Best Place to Buy Vinyl and a Turntable to Play It On

Revolver Records

Revolver has a small amount of CDs for sale, but the store's forte is vinyl records — rooms upon rooms of them. There's an entire room of records filled with jazz platters, and rows of rock records, too. Hell, we even found two copies of the 1972 post-Jim Morrison Doors record Other Voices, with guitarist Robby Krieger and keyboardist Ray Manzarek splitting vocal duties. Thankfully, Revolver also has vinyl listening stations, which saved us from purchasing the album out of sheer curiosity. In addition to its voluminous library of records, Revolver is also one of the few places in town where you can buy turntables — and not just any old turntables, either. Revolver sells USB turntables, which allow listeners to plug the turntables into their computers and record and rip their vinyl albums in a digital format. Now that's music geek love.

About once every month, a hall that's normally reserved for bingo and pasta dinners is transformed into a place where rare dusties and cheap-o wax cylinders in every musical genre possible sell for reasonable prices. The heavy hitters of the local vinyl scene — including Revolver Records, Tracks in Wax, Arizona's unofficial music archivist Johnny D, and up to 40 individuals with record collections numbering in the 30,000-title range — sell crates of LPs and 45s. You can even bring your own portable record player and sample albums before deciding to buy. Admission costs $5 between 9 and 9:30 a.m. and $2 thereafter.

We would head to the southeast corner of Guadalupe and McClintock just to go to Changing Hands — or Trader Joe's, or China Max, or even Baskin-Robbins, but now we're happy to report we have yet another reason to hit the south Tempe strip mall. Hoodlums, the record store smoked out of the Memorial Union at ASU by a recent fire, is graduating to a spot just a couple doors down from Changing Hands. Now we can shop for books and music, and we're looking forward to joint projects from the two businesses, like a recent event featuring the author of 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.

We like the sound of that!

Problem: Your dog stinks. Auxiliary problem: You're can't stomach overpriced groomers who slap those pink bitch bows on your pal's collar even though he's a pit bull named Butch. There is a solution, and the "green" chain Wag N' Wash pioneered it at its six stores in Colorado, Illinois, and right here in Phoenix, on the Seventh Avenue Curve.

For a thrifty $13 to $17 — depending on your choice of Basic, Premium, or Ultimate Wash — you get a roomy, stainless-steel work space and all the bells and whistles you could possibly need to rinse out the reek. These include temperature-controlled sprayers, brushes, combs, professional-strength dryers, and personal-grooming products such as cream rinse, skin moisturizer, and no-more-puppy-tears shampoo. Two other things to note: 1) You don't have to clean up after yourself. They do it. 2) They don't carry pink bows.

The 20-gallon fish tank we bought for our children three years ago is a regular Garden of Eden, where lots of going forth and multiplying goes on, and death is a stranger. We owe it all to Pets Inc. Things weren't always this good. We were worried when we set up the tank — we knew anything that doesn't bark or meow when it's hungry had a low probability of survival. Sure enough, two die-offs occurred in the first year — including a major one while we were on vacation that left all but two fish floating on the surface.

With the help of the friendly staff at Pets Inc., we soon had a lively tank full of fish again. The staff hooked us up with a better pump system than we'd been using, and they also imparted the key knowledge that we should change the charcoal filter now and then. We selected a bunch of mollies, a pencilfish, a big suckerfish, and some others whose names are hard to recall. And we got new decorations for the tank, including a scale model of the Roman Coliseum and lots of faux sea ferns. We found the prices at Pets Inc. to be very reasonable — the fish and stuff cost less than a nice seafood dinner for two, that's for sure. Amazingly, we haven't had to buy fish in two years because the mollies are so randy.

Even one of the pre-die-off fish, Spot, is still wiggling his tail. When we're ready to move up to a bigger tank, or maybe try our hand at saltwater fish, or find replacements for the Third Great Extinction that is yet to come, we see no reason to go elsewhere.

Pets Inc. remodeled last year and added more shelf space, more products, and an above-ground pond to show off its new line of pond plants, koi and turtles. The large store also specializes in reptiles, and has an impressive menagerie of lizards, snakes, and tarantulas. Even if you don't buy anything, Pets Inc. is great for looky-loos who just want to treat their kids to a free mini-zoo experience.

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