Vision Gallery
Want an original piece of art but can't afford the hefty price tag? Enter the Art-o-mat, a restored vintage cigarette machine that poops out handcrafted art pieces as if they were gumball-machine trinkets. The project began in 1997, when North Carolina artist Clark Whittington displayed his black-and-white photos like old-school ciggies. People loved them so much that the display became a permanent fixture and the idea blossomed into a national network of machines (though this is the only one in Arizona). Pop your cash in the slot, pull the old-timey plastic knob and out comes a work of art from the project's huge roster. Most are pretty amusing. Recent sightings at the slick chrome machine include Bearded Bunnies by William Hessian, Victorian vignettes, and Julie Graces' "Peep Show" secret spy mini-telescopes. You're obviously not going to get a Van Gogh-quality oil painting here, but for $5, any piece of art better than a line drawing is a steal.
Blue Martini Lounge
So you've had a couple of drinks and someone hands you a microphone while a canned instrumental track of your favorite '80s song starts to play. You're ready to tear it up, but it's hard to feel like a rock star when you're following a bouncing dot across a TV screen. If you really want to feel like a superstar (or just a glorified drunk), get onstage at Blue Martini Lounge on a Monday night, when local cover band The Instant Classics will back you up. This solid, seven-piece band has an extensive repertoire of songs, from Lady Ga Ga and Pat Benatar to Bob Seger and Snoop Dogg. They even have a keytar player with a mohawk, so you can rock that Flock of Seagulls song. The audience at Blue Martini is generally very enthusiastic and supportive, and they'll cheer for you whether you burp into the microphone or not. And if you get up there to croon Sinatra's "My Way" and find yourself frozen with stage fright, never fear — there are three singers in The Instant Classics who'll be happy to make it sound like you're just, uh, harmonizing.
Those Christian Louboutin kicks looked damn cute when you saw them on sale at Barney's — and even cuter when you wore 'em — but honestly, that's hardly practical footwear for an evening of walking around Old Town. Easy on the eyes, murder on the feet. Since your pocketbook's emptier than Lady Gaga's head, following your latest shoe-gasm, we've got a suggestion that's equally chic and cheap: Hop aboard one of the four Bunny Rides street-legal golf carts puttering from club to club. Operated by entrepreneur Aaron Lipson, these eight-passenger rides provide complimentary jaunts (although tips are appreciated) from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday night. Decorated in electric pink livery and pumping out Top 40 tracks via built-in stereos, Bunny Rides are hard to miss, even after dark. Lipson's crew cruises a service area encompassing Old Town (which stretches south from Chaparral to Thomas roads, and east between 68th Street and Hayden Road), which means schlepping slews of drunken divas and dudes to danceterias, as well as back to nearby hotels. "People get loud and crazy, girls show their boobs, you name it," Lipson says. "It's like a party on wheels." Some caveats: They won't take you home, and those appearing to be overintoxicated aren't permitted to ride. "We don't wanna get sued if people fall out," he says. Besides, why risk the chance of scuffing up your $500 babies? Reach Bunny Rides at 602-405-2106.


Best (Smoothie) Boost: Jamba Juice

Best New Restaurant: Jimmy's of Chicago

Best Mexican Restaurant: Los Dos Molinos

Best Italian Restaurant: Oregano's Pizza Bistro

Best Thai Restaurant: Thai Basil

Best Indian Restaurant: Delhi Palace

Best Japanese Restaurant: Ra Sushi

Best Chinese Restaurant: Flo's

Best Vietnamese Restaurant: Little Saigon

Best German Restaurant: Haus Murphy's

Best French Restaurant: Vincent on Camelback

Best Mediterranean Restaurant: Pita Jungle

Best Brewery: Four Peaks Brewing Company

Best English Pub: George & Dragon Pub

Best Irish Pub: Rosie McCaffrey's Irish Pub

Best Pizza: Oregano's Pizza Bistro

Best Chocolate: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Best Gourmet Bakery: Sprinkles Cupcakes

Best Place for a Frozen Treat: Cold Stone Creamery

Best Coffee House: Lux Coffee Bar

Best Seafood: The Salt Cellar Restaurant

Best Sushi: Ra Sushi

Best Deli: Chompie's

Best Steak House: Durant's

Best Fine Dining: Durant's

Best Wings: Native New Yorker

Best BBQ: Honey Bear's BBQ

Best Hamburger: Five Guys Burgers & Fries

Best Hot Dog: Ted's Hot Dogs

Best Sunday Brunch: The Farm at South Mountain

Best Downtown Lunch: My Florist Café

Best Place for a First Date: House of Tricks

Best Place for a Twilight Drink: Sanctuary

Best Wine Selection: Postino Winecafé

Best Margarita: Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill

Best Martini: Blue Martini

Best Hangover Breakfast: Matt's Big Breakfast

Best View: Rustler's Rooste

Best Patio Dining: The Farm at South Mountain

Best Restaurant for Kids: Rainforest Cafe

Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Udupi Café

Best Vegan Restaurant: Green


Best Protector of Our City: Phoenix Police Department

Best Superhero: Steve Nash

Best Fight for Justice: New Times

Best Costume Shop: Easley's Fun Shop

Best Place to Tone Up: LA Fitness

Best Place to Soup Up a Getaway Car: Vivid Racing

Best Place to Sharpen Your Fighting Skills: AZ Combat Sports

Best TV Newscaster: Mark Curtis

Best News Station: KSAZ Fox 10

Best Alternative/Rock Radio Station: X103.9 FM

Best Country Radio Station: KMLE Country 108

Best R&B/Hip-Hop Radio Station: 104.7 KISS FM

Best Blues/Jazz Radio Station: 95.5 KYOT

Best Radio Morning Show: Johnjay and Rich

Best Golf Course: Biltmore Golf Club

Best Spa: Dolce Salon & Spa

Best Salon: Dolce Salon & Spa

Best Bookstore: Changing Hands Bookstore

Best Hiking Trail: Echo Canyon -- Camelback Mountain

Best Hotel Pool: JW Marriott Desert Ridge

Best Independent Film Theater: Harkins Camelview 5

Best Place to Get Pierced: Club Tattoo

Best Tattoo Shop: Club Tattoo

Best Paintball: Tempe Paintball

Best First Friday Hangout: The Roosevelt

Best Place to Buy Vintage Clothing: Buffalo Exchange

Best Place to Buy Antiques: Brass Armadillo

Best Place to Buy Wine by the Bottle: Total Wine & More

Best Casino: Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino

Best Annual Event: Arizona Renaissance Festival

Best Pet Groomer: Wag N' Wash

Best Health Food Store: Sprouts

Best Med-Spa: Red Mountain Med Spa

Best Mall or Shopping Center: Scottsdale Fashion Square

Best Yoga Studio: Urban Yoga

Best Comic Book Shop: Atomic Comics


Best Place to Find a Damsel in Distress: Dos Gringos

Best Place to Witness a Costumed Pub Crawl: Mill Avenue

Best Rooftop View: Clarendon Hotel

Best Bar Concept: Sandbar

Best Nightclub: Axis/Radius

Best Local DJ: DJ Rocko

Best Weekly Dance Night: Thursdays at Margarita Rocks

Best Dance Floor: Devil's Martini

Best Latin Club: Sky Lounge

Best Blues or Jazz Club: The Rhythm Room

Best Place to Buy Local Music: Zia Records

Best Venue for National Acts: Dodge Theatre

Best Venue for Local Acts: Marquee Theatre

Best Music Festival: Country Thunder

Best Place to See a Comedy Show: The Comedy Spot

Best After-Hours: Charlie's

Best Country and Western Nightspot: Harold's Cave Creek Corral

Best Bar for Watching the Game: Zipps Sports Grill

Best Sports Bar: Zipps Sports Grill

Best Dive Bar: Bikini Lounge

Best Gay Bar: Amsterdam

Best Lesbian Bar: zGirl Club

Best CD Store: Zia Records

Best Pool Hall: Mill Cue Club

Best Local Band: Whiskey Six

Best Bar for Conversation: Casey Moore's Oyster House

Best Beer Selection: The Lost Leaf

Best Specialty Cocktail: White Rabbit at SideBar

Best Wine Bar: Postino Winecafe

Best Place to Be Seen: W Hotel

Best-Looking Bar Staff: Tilted Kilt

Best Place to Find a One-Night Stand: Dos Gringos


Best Happy Hour: R Bar at Camelback Inn

Best Art Supply Store: Arizona Art Supply

Best Sunday Omelet: Buzzberry

Best Gluten-Free Restaurant: Nourish

Best Country Club: Arizona Country Club

While bizarro their name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, it doesn't seem to be hurting !!! (CHK CHK CHK). The group, which originally formed to play an all-night party in Sacramento, has been called one of the most inventive dance-punk bands around. Their catchy tunes will infiltrate your noggin and are sure to make people bounce around vibrator-style on the dance floor. But what else would you expect from a band with a clear love of exclamation points? Lead singer Nick Offer recently told that the Brooklyn-based group jumped on board the dance/rock train in time to reap the rewards. "There's an evolution of dance in indie rock right now," he said. "It's so much easier now than it was. Our first couple years, we used to get shit for yelling at the audience to dance. It felt like, at the time, it was a wall that needed to be hurdled or broken down."
Sun., Sept. 5, 8 p.m., 2010
Join fashion historian Jane Trapnell Marino as she deconstructs the designs by Adrian Adolph Greenberg, a 1940s costume designer for the Metro Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio.
Wed., June 2, 7 p.m., 2010

"Coming Home Again" @ Practical Art

DoPho artist Morgan McNally exhibits mixed-media sculptures that features "abstract interpretations of home and the inherent emotions of the journey to find your place in the world."
Sept. 1-30, 2010

"Driven to Paint: Landscapes by Mark Zillman"

California artist Mark Zillman exhibits trippy road-trip paintings at Phoenix Airport Museum, Terminal 2.
April 23-Oct. 18, 2010

"Fauxvism: Landscapes and Portraits from Video Games" by James Barnett

Barnett loves video games so much that he uses the ultra-realistic graphics as inspiration for his fauvist style paintings.
Mondays-Fridays. Starts: Sept. 17. Continues through Oct. 31, 2010
"In the Mood" brings WWII-era fashions to Phoenix. Read the full review here.
Wednesdays-Sundays. Starts: April 3. Continues through Aug. 15, 2010

Best Of Phoenix®