Best Local News Coverage of Cats 2012 | KPHO-TV | People & Places | Phoenix

Channel 5, KPHO, has a history chasing the mythical creature known as the chupacabra, but there seems to be another animal obsession going on at the TV news station — cats. KPHO's the only news outlet where you can find stories such as "Does cat behavior change with the seasons?" or "Hidden household cat poison." Then there was the time a local man filmed his house cat giving a high-five to a bobcat — and KPHO went on location to tell it like it is. In a story the KPHO anchor said "we just have to share," the TV station's coverage of high-fiving cats is absolutely incredible: three different videos about the high-five on the station's website, on-location reporting, an interview with the homeowner — and the homeowner's re-enactment — and the "backstory." And that's just one of the cat tales from the station's archive. Little does KPHO know, it's the dogs that rule, and the cats that drool.

Michelle Ponce and Damian Jim are local artists who have a long history of collaboration on small works and projects. And when the two connected over the concept of a stapled art zine, they knew they'd started something that could last a while.

This year, they launched Ziindi, a full-color quarterly zine dedicated to showcasing work by contemporary indigenous artists and providing a connection within the community. The first 16-page issue is full of work by local and regional artists, including ARMZ, Averian Chee, Jeff Slim, Shamie Encinas, Damian Jim, Bahe Whitethorne Jr., Jeremy Arviso, and Thomas Greyeyes.

"Plenty of native artists travel back to the rez, and they share their artwork here, but a zine is great way to offer something that will last a little longer to kids on the rez and in the city. We hope it'll be something they can take with them and something that will inspire their own work."

The group of ladies responsible for PoolBoy Magazine — a local hipster porn rag — joined forces as "cuntributors" in 2009 to create "an independent adult lifestyle magazine for badass women," and though they haven't printed an edition in a year or so, they've kept us plenty satisfied through their blog and Twitter feed. Here, in twitpics, dirty puns, and 140 characters, the founders update us on their latest male candidates (including Hump Day Hunks on Wednesdays), their roadtrip promotions, their thoughts on Mommy Porn, and the best penises of the 2012 Olympics. The ladies say they'll be publishing a second issue of PoolBoy sometime this fall, which, if we're lucky, will include a similar glossy collection of good-looking (but also normal) 20- and 30-somethings who meet the "PoolBoy" requirements. And if we know anything about how to keep track of their latest updates, releases, and, yes, pool parties, we'll be glued to their Twitter feed for the release date.

Thanks to the photo-sharing application Instragram, we can see through the lens of Phoenix photographer Alyssa Aragon. The 24-year-old has an endless stream of local images — late-night parties and concerts, street art, architecture, and portraits of this city's well-known creatives — that keeps us busily scrolling through her everyday routine. Aragon started taking photos a few years ago for her friend's custom car shop, Kreepin Kustumz, and started bringing her camera to late-night events she had on her calendar, including weekly DJ nights at downtown's Bar Smith and Tempe's Yucca Tap Room. Her photography venture, New.Era.Gone, provides a fresh look at this town, and through Instagram, we can see them all in real time.

If you happen to be someone who buys into the oft-mentioned crackpot prediction that the end of civilization as we know it is less than three months hence, December 21 will be a dark day indeed. Although most experts have dismissed the notion that the impending end of the Mayans' Long Count calendar means the end of days, you're likely busy hustling your angsty ass off making sure there's enough non-perishable food and ammunition stocked up. As the National Geographic reality show Doomsday Preppers indicates, you're far from the only soul who's hurriedly planning ahead for whatever havoc potential Armageddon might unleash. Local comedian and performance artist Kevin Patterson has been documenting his own preparations via his hilarious WordPress blog "How to Get Ready for the Apocalypse" to provide a satirical chronicle of his preparations for doomsday and beyond. While his entries are written in tonuge-in-cheek fashion, Patterson claims honestly to believe in the prophecy and fills the blog with genuine survival tips mixed in with the jokes. Such knowledge includes instructions for a solar oven, plants and animals that are edible (such as cacti and gophers), where to seek shelter, and which particular songs would be appropriate to listen to as death rains down from the skies, including Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself." We suggest adding some REM to that list, Kevin.

Pretty much every historic neighborhood has some kind of website or newsletter (or both), detailing the history of the 'hood and notifying denizens about upcoming yard sales and kiddy parades. But The Joan D'Arc Crusader is about a west-side street that is neither historic nor likely to play host to any home tours — and yet we can't stop reading it. It's a homespun, genuinely affectionate tribute to a 50-year-old neighborhood, full of neighbors' favorite remembrances of Joan De Arc Avenue, the final street built in 1961 in the Surrey Heights subdivision near 19th Avenue and Thunderbird. Photographs, editorials, and essays about Mad magazine — who could ask for more from a neighborhood newsletter?

Sure, a hefty chunk of our desert population gets by on board shorts and flip-flops. But fashion in Phoenix is much more than that. Case in point: Style Tutor. At the helm of the burgeoning fashion blog are Kristy Roschke and Jennifer Woolsey — teachers by day and a two-person fashion authority by night.

What sets them apart from the rest of the fashion-forward and trend-relevant blogosphere? In spite of getting giddy over luxury labels like Lanvin and Louis Vuitton, these two bloggers are budget-conscious (Woolsey admittedly is devoted to digging through bins at Last Chance) without sacrificing good taste. By keeping tabs on cutting-edge couture in addition to what's hitting the racks at H&M, the duo serves up tips on how to embrace of-the-moment looks without breaking the bank.

Dominic Armato may be the kind of person who writes his personal blog's "about" page in the third person, but we can forgive him this minor atrocity because the rest of his blog is just that good. He checks all the boxes of a quality food blog: terrific photos, insightful commentary, and a nose for seeking out dishes and restaurants that might be off the radar for most. Though he posts only about once a month, the entries are uniformly meaty, extensive, and well researched. It's great credit to a food blog when reading it makes you feel famished.

Armato has been on the Phoenix food scene for almost three years, and in that time he's built quite a following. What's more, he's proved himself to be a speaker of the foodies, founding a forum called PHXfoodnerds and fostering an active community of fellow Phoenicians who are passionate about food and particularly dedicated to supporting worthy local businesses. In fact, he even gave a presentation on the topic at Ignite Phoenix's inaugural food event. He used his time to try to rally support for his "food army" which would sally forth to fight for good food in the most productive way possible: voting with their dollars at local businesses deserving of greater recognition.

Calling it "a Latin Pitchfork" (as some have done) doesn't really convey exactly what makes Club Fonograma, a Phoenix-based Ibero-American pop culture site, so special. Carlos Reyes, an occasional contributor to New Times' music section, mans a staff of volunteer bloggers and critics to shine on a light on the vibrant, pulsing sounds of Spanish-language pop, indie rock, and electro. Comparing the site to Pitchfork only works on superficial levels (it sure is pretty) — as Club Fonograma draws a thick black line connecting the sounds of Latin "nowness," like Juan Cireol, Arcangel, and Linda Miranda, with similarly fresh non-Latin acts (dubbed, lovingly, "outsiders" by the site) like Danny Brown, Azealia Banks, and M.I.A. With a crisp aesthetic and even crisper writing, Club Fonograma deserves more than a quick Pitchfork comparison.

We suppose it's not entirely fair to single out Pavle Milic — frontman at most every local foodie's favorite restaurant, FnB — for this award. But it is true that he's the one who asked the question. It was such a simple question. Or so it seemed. Then again, here at Best of Phoenix, we know better than anyone that there are no simple questions — or answers — when it comes to naming favorites.

Milic's status update: Mama just moved here from New York and is requesting shrimp fried rice for lunch, so who makes the best in town??

Let's just say that, as it turns out, Phoenix foodies take their fried rice very seriously. This topic got hotter than the June day Milic posted it. By the end of the debate, there were 92 comments on that status update, many restaurant suggestions, and several arguments — including over the finer points of New York fried rice versus Hong Kong fried rice versus Los Angeles fried rice versus San Francisco fried rice. (We're not kidding.)Even after Milic announced that he'd taken his mom to Jade Palace in Scottsdale (she liked it), the debate continued with several more dozen comments and a couple of figurative fist fights. In the end, chef Charleen Badman, who co-owns FnB with Milic, made her own phenomenal version of shrimp fried rice for a late-night supper at the restaurant — and finally shut everyone up.

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