Best Place to Find Famous People 2011 | Underground | People & Places | Phoenix
It's probably no huge surprise that Ladmo, the iconic host of Phoenix's historic kiddy TV program The Wallace and Ladmo Show, is buried here (at St. Francis Cemetery, 2033 N. 48th St.). Or that country music legend and former Phoenician Waylon Jennings' final resting place is right here in the East Valley (at Mesa Cemetery, 1212 N. Center St. in Mesa). But why in the world is Walter Winchell buried here?

Winchell, the famous American newspaper and radio commentator who died in 1972, is taking a dirt nap at Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery (719 N. 27th Ave.), right here in Phoenix. Winchell is credited with inventing the modern-day gossip column, co-founded the Cancer Research Fund, and retired here after his syndicated column was canceled in the 1960s. Although Winchell moved away from Phoenix to Los Angeles in the 1970s, in an attempt to revive his column and his career, his remains were shipped back to Phoenix after his death in 1974, and he was buried in the family plot.

Other celebs both notorious and noteworthy who have met their final rest here include former film star and Jack Ross Lincoln Mercury spokeswoman Acquanetta, who played exotics (and, in one memorable movie, Tarzan's girlfriend) in a string of 1930s Hollywood potboilers. She's resting forever somewhere in Ahwatukee, although almost certainly not on the sacred Indian burial ground she sold back to Maricopa County a number of years ago. Local hero Barry Goldwater, a five-term U.S. senator and Republican presidential nominee, is six feet under at Episcopal Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley (4015 E. Lincoln Dr.) — no surprise there. But who knew that Hadji Ali (known to friends and fans alike as Hi Jolly) is also buried here? Ali became a living legend when, in 1856, he led the camel driver experiment here, one of several men brought over by the government to transport cargo on the backs of camels across the arid Southwestern desert. In 1935, a monument to Hadji Ali and the Camel Corps was erected in the Quartzsite Cemetery in La Paz County (465 N. Plymouth Ave.). The monument is in the shape of a pyramid topped with a copper camel and is built from local stones. Top that, Ladmo.

To see an illustrated guide to where the bodies are buried, visit

Jennifer Goldberg
We've all been there. You're at Casey's, drinking what started out as one pint of IPA. It quickly turns to two and, then, God knows how many. What is certain is the raging flood of urine currently threatening to saturate your pants if you don't get up and do something about it. Pushing your way through the throng of bar-goers to make it inside seems impossible. Your only option? The blarney stone. This outdoor wall stained by the liquid leavings of countless drunks before you and shielded slap-dash by a piece of fence is your ticket to relief. Pee on the Blarney Stone knowing full well that the tremendous sense of happiness you experience will feel just as sweet the next time you have to take a leak.

Best Way to See the Art You Missed on First Friday

Third Friday

Downtown Phoenix's First Friday is the largest self-guided art walk in the country. For some, that is reason enough to steer clear. So, if you are more into the art than the scene, go when the crowds are thinner and the experience is about looking instead of being seen. Visit downtown Phoenix galleries on the third Friday of the month. You will still bump into friends, but you'll bypass the fire-breathing 20-somethings who crowd the streets on First Fridays.
During the humid March weekend of Art Detour, Modified Arts was a pretty cool refuge. The gallery's main door led into the main room (containing two artist-made video games) and a smaller room, full of computer-created graphic images by Jon Haddock. Each of Haddock's pieces was unlabeled and left visitors guessing which important moments in contemporary world culture were featured. The back wall and main room showed ceramic casts of toy guns by phICA's Laerte Ramos, a Brazilian contemporary artist, and a pair of all-too realistic ceramic sneakers on the floor, which definitely garnered a few double-takes.
Oh, how great things happen when creative minds collide. In January, Alan Fitzgerald, with the help of local artists Carol Panaro-Smith and James Hajicek, transformed an enormous dance studio into a gallery/workspace in Gilbert. Yes, Gilbert.

They founded the 7,000-square-foot space on photography education and built a number of classrooms for creative workshops and public lab space for alternative and digital processes. And then they put artwork on the walls. Since its January opening, Panaro-Smith has curated shows that include daguerreotypes, platinum/palladium prints, photogravures, and gelatin silver prints from local emerging and established photographers. Shes also secured loans of heavy-hitting historic photography collections from around the state.

The space provides accessible explanations of the art forms history and process, though youd be hardpressed to not bump into an employee, artist, or photography nerd (or pherd, as Panaro-Smith says) who wouldnt mind giving you a tour.

Editor's note: The content of this Best of Phoenix award has changed since its original version.

There aren't too many places in town where you can see glow-in-the-dark bikinis and have your jeans splatter-painted and signed by a professional artist. That's the magic of Poolside Gallery, the new pop-up run by Phoenix artists Jenny Ignaszewski and Kyle Jordre. Located on the first floor of the gutted and soon-to-be-remodeled Lexington Hotel and facing the hotel's swimming pool, the gallery serves as a studio space for both artists, meaning you're likely to find Jordre flinging paint on sneakers, mannequins, or canvases, even if it's not First Friday. When the monthly arts showcase rolls around, the gallery gets even cheekier with clever marketing signs that say "Oprah Giveaway," pointing you toward funky and eclectic abstract and conceptual art that's (almost) as thrilling as scoring one of the talk show host's Favorite Things.
It was up for only six short months, but the caliber of artists who showed their contemporary, conceptually based art was high. There are very few galleries in town where artists who do not work in a commercially driven manner can show. So when a pop-up experience like InFlux happens in Scotts­dale, we have to stand up, applaud, and celebrate the support for artists who have very few locations in which to show the art world what they are made of.
The ASU Art Museum is hard to miss — and the architect meant it that way. Nestled in the middle of a sprawling, desert-pink complex, the museum was designed by Antoine Predock in 1989. You wouldn't know it from the outside, but the main floor of the museum is underground. Inspired by desert architecture such as the Egyptian Valley of the Kings, Predock set a lofty goal: to create an oasis of art. After the visitor descends several sloping levels of steps, he or she passes into a cavernous antechamber where fountains cool and humidify the air and invite him or her to discover the secrets within. The galleries of the museum are arranged in three levels, and the space is full of hidden rooms. Predock intended for the space to be mysterious and for the layout to be a little tricky to navigate; this way, the experience of the museum is truly a process of discovery. We can tell you firsthand that it worked. We've lost track of the number of times we've gotten lost in this museum. Bonus hidden treasure: the tucked-away Jules Heller Print Study Room, home of the museum's encyclopedic collection of prints, including works by Rembrandt, Goya, and Whistler.
As the story goes, when the family of fashion icon Ann Bonfoey Taylor called the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to try to donate pieces from Taylor's incredible wardrobe, the Taylors were sent packing. To Phoenix.

Phoenix? This place is hardly the fashion capital of anybody's world — here we glue crap to T-shirts and call it haute couture. Ah, but we've got Dennita Sewell, who has curated the Phoenix Art Museum's fashion collection since 2000.

And that's how scruffy Phoenix came to have one of the year's sleekest fashion-based art exhibits, lauded everywhere from Elle to the New York Times.

Born and raised on a farm in Missouri, Sewell developed a passion for clothing early on. Both her mother and grandmother were expert seamstresses, and she majored in textile management at the University of Missouri. After that, she headed to Yale University for an MFA in costume and set design and eventually became the Collections Manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

And then she came to Phoenix, whose namesake art museum has a 5,000-item fashion collection — one of the best in the country, thanks to donations over the years from rich and famous vacationers.

Talk your way into a tour of the museum's underground, and you'll see a original 1966 Yves Saint Laurent Le Smoking suit, a handmade footman's livery (circa 1830s), and flashy platform boots formerly belonging to the band Steppenwolf.

Items are chosen for "how they're important for telling the fashion story of the era," Sewell says.

The vault is temperature- and humidity-controlled — and under tight security. No mothballs or chemicals are used to preserve the materials. Twentieth-century items are arranged alphabetically by designer, and everything before that is stored in chronological order. Accessories are grouped by type.

"Storage is a big undertaking and a huge endeavor, and it's very time-consuming and expensive," Sewell says, picking her way amongst tall columns of shelves stacked with long, flat boxes, each labeled with a picture of the garment within.

Inside the boxes, clothes are wrapped and stuffed with tissue paper to protect their form and thwart dust. Shoes are carefully arranged on shelves. Clothing made of heavy textiles rests on hangers in closets. Repairs and cleaning are kept to a minimum and only happen after a consultation with a local conservator in order to keep the items as true as possible to their original forms.

Turns out modern textiles are the hardest to keep. While their 18th- and 19th-century predecessors were made of pure, natural fibers that tend to be highly durable, the plastics and chemicals introduced in the 20th century have proved to be a challenge to preserve. Some items, like vinyl shoes, are essentially self-destructing — becoming brittle and losing their color over time.

"There's nothing you can put on them to preserve them; consistent temperature and humidity is the only thing that helps them survive," says Sewell, who refuses to name a favorite piece — even when pressed.

Times are tough for the fashion industry; the mass production of clothing has made couture less and less accessible to regular people and has put a strain on designers competing for an ever-limited clientele. Nevertheless, Sewell remains optimistic about the perseverance of the industry. "The wealthy will always seek ways to define themselves from other people," she says. "Couture is never going to die."

To see more photos of the Phoenix Art Museum's fashion collection, visit

It's tough to spend a lot of time in any of the galleries along Roosevelt Road or Grand Avenue on any given First Friday — and that's no fault of the artwork. Thousands of Phoenicians travel downtown for the monthly artwalk, and they move quickly through the galleries and streets. If you're looking to find a spot to discuss the work on the wall with a few local artists (or just a couple friends), try Bragg's Pie Factory. The space is huge, the artwork is always surprising, and there's usually a spot to park in the back alley. Bragg's typically opens its month-long shows on First Fridays (while more and more galleries now opt for Third Fridays) and it welcomes all media — from installations, sculptures, and design conferences to paintings, protest art, and piñatas. You might catch a few funny stories from the venue's owner and arts maven Beatrice Moore, and you're guaranteed to find yourself in the company of dozens of art fans and artists (some of whom have studios down the hall) who are more than happy to hang out.

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