Best Comeback 2013 | Rebecca Jimenez | People & Places | Phoenix

Who can forget Guadalupe Mayor Rebecca Jimenez's 2008 showdown with a sputtering, enraged Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Though the square-mile town of Guadalupe is inhabited almost exclusively by American citizens of Mexican and Yaqui descent, Arpaio and his racial-profiling boys in beige went on the hunt for "illegals" and ended up harassing ordinary people who happen to have brown skin. Arpaio did this under false pretenses, so Jimenez informed Arpaio he needed to go. He nearly burst a blood vessel, promising to be back the next day, "full force," but he retreated to a staging area outside of town. A victory, yes? Sadly, the narrow-minded political elite in that burg were mad that Jimenez had ticked off Arpaio. Jimenez lost her job in the aftermath and eventually withdrew from public life to have another kid. This year, Jimenez ran against pro-Arpaio mayor Yolanda Solarez and won after a hard-fought, door-to-door campaign. She's one of the good people in public life, which is why we're proud to say, "Welcome back, Mayor."

Polished yet approachable. Experienced and savvy. The kind of guy who could bust some bad guys, then stop by Durant's for a martini on the way home from work. That's U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales, who is so good at what he does, he was re-appointed to the post by President Barack Obama, even though he's a Republican and originally was appointed by President George W. Bush.

He runs a tight ship with a crack team of deputy U.S. Marshals who protect judges and the courthouses, transport dangerous prisoners, and hunt down fugitives from justice. Formerly the head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety's Criminal Investigations Division, he has the résumé needed to take over that bloated, corrupt behemoth of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and transform it into a modern, professional law enforcement agency. Will he ever get the chance? Well, Sheriff Joe Arpaio can't live forever. At least we hope he can't. And there's always the 2016 election.

We defended him in 2011 after he got his his first DUI, but Mark Grace, star first-baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees, got a second DUI last August in Scottsdale, the scene of his original bust 15 months earlier. When he was popped again, he was accused of driving on a suspended license and without the required interlock device from his first conviction. Grace was publicly sorry after the first run-in with the law (he professed then to be scared straight by the event), and we believed him. But it turned out he merely was sorry for getting caught. He's again expressed regret over disappointing his family, friends, and fans with the second. But, Mark, what were you thinking? We're not sure how much money you've got in the bank, but it's got to be many millions after a lucrative baseball career with the Chicago Cubs and the D-backs, followed by years of working as a TV color analyst. Grace's last two-year contract with Arizona was worth $6 million. Dude, take a taxi or even hire a limo to cart your drunk ass home from your bar of choice. Duh! Not that drunk driving should be tolerated, but it's understandable, at least, when poor schmucks drive home inebriated from their neighborhood drinking establishments. But when a rich, famous dude gets caught doing it twice, well, that's just pathetic.

Despite the second lapse, Mark hasn't fallen from, um, grace with his employer completely. The career .303 hitter's not making the big bucks in the broadcast booth anymore, but he's laboring as a minor-league hitting instructor for the Snakes after his four-month stay in Tent City, reduced from a possible year. He's lucky to have such an understanding boss! We hope he's getting some substance-abuse therapy, and if not, that he wises up next time he decides to have a few outside the confines of home.

When jet-set multimillionaire Michael Marin fell on hard times in 2009, the former Wall Street trader and lawyer decided to torch his Biltmore Estates mansion when a huge balloon payment came due. Marin made his famous escape from the house in scuba gear, as he rappelled down a rope ladder. Fast-forward to June 2012, and Marin was found guilty of arson of an occupied structure (since he torched the home with himself inside), a crime that carries a penalty on par with second-degree murder. Shortly after the verdict was read, Marin appeared to cover his mouth as he appeared shocked. Moments later, he was on the ground, convulsing, and eventually fell unconscious before being declared dead at a local hospital. Turns out when he put his hand to his mouth, he popped in a cyanide pill — which he'd bought on the Internet — and killed himself right there in the courtroom.

Marshall Shore is Arizona's self-proclaimed hip historian, and we wholeheartedly agree, as this smart, stylish guy more than lives up to the title. With informative tours — like his ghostly trips, Winnie Ruth Judd excursions that lead attendees through the story of her infamous trunk murders, and Retro Spectacular presentations on such aspects of Phoenix history as the Valley's notable neon signage and Midcentury Modern architecture — he's a bubbly wealth of information. When Shore isn't guiding newbs through the annals of Copper State trivia, you can find him behind the counter at The Clarendon Hotel serving as a liaison to the city's must-see destinations. Swing by the front desk for his recommendations; he'll be the hip one in teal glasses and colorful vintage duds.

You gotta give this station credit for being the single most solid monument to the greatest American invention since the airplane or peanut butter: rock 'n' fucking roll. But, yeah, yeah, you've heard those same old Aerosmith hits a hundred times on other stations. On KSLX, not only do they do some serious crate-digging, but they'll shoot you little factoids that educate and remind you why you love the Rolling Stones the way you do. And if the Lunchtime Theme Park and Sunday night's The Deep End shows weren't enough, there's always Six O'Clock Stoner and Gettin' the Led Out.

Thankfully, KSLX also tends to censor out the older stuff that was popular way back when but never was actually good (sorry, Mötley Crüe). So screw anyone who says this rock is just for dads. Without the jams that KSLX pays tribute to, your pops wouldn't have been able to seduce your mom and you never would've been born.

Jim and Amy Adkins are no strangers to the spotlight. Jim has fronted the emo rock outfit Jimmy Eat World since 1993. But when the married couple opened up their 1956 ranch house for show on the "Left of Central" Modern Phoenix Tour, folks got an inside look at the couple's Midcentury Modern lifestyle in a well-preserved gem. The Adkins' home is a sprawling beauty and especially gorgeous compared to some of the remodeled homes featured on the tour. With 1950s tile in its bathrooms (including some sporting the oh-so-covetable Franciscan Starburst pattern), one of which boasts an original tub, sinks, and toilet all in pink, a stone fireplace, and lovely built-in cabinetry, it was one stop on the tour where we wanted to linger as long as possible.

Best Vintage Downtown Building to Poke Your Head Into


Lauren Cusimano

When downtown Phoenix dwellers want a $5 martini and a good dose of history, the answer is simple — go to Hanny's. The former department store turned fire-testing facility turned Mad Men-style restaurant and cocktail lounge is the perfect example of developers' attempts to repurpose and resurface Phoenix's endangered historic buildings. Originally built and designed by architects Ryal Lescher and Leslie Mahoney in 1947, then later renovated by owner/developer Karl Kopp and commissioned by Janice Leonard, Hanny's holds a curious assortment of historic throwbacks and modern twists. There's the mezzanine floor, showcasing original signage from Hanny's dearly departed department store days, the upstairs level, which houses a cluster of former dressing rooms transformed into minimalist bathrooms, and, of course, there's the basement. Though the underground space is almost entirely gated off, unsuspecting visitors will be surprised to find a dimly lit table of baby dolls waiting for them just beyond the fence. Creepy? Maybe. Unexpected? You bet. But it's peculiar details like this that keep us coming back to Hanny's — well, that and the cocktails.

If you're headed to explore the Arizona Room at Burton Barr Library, we recommend you block out an afternoon (or two). The small cove inside the massive library in downtown Phoenix serves as a bank of local knowledge and history. The collection features maps, books, magazines, and newspaper clippings that explain Southwest culture — past and present. Be prepared to brush up on your local trivia, including facts and figures in art, the military, archaeology, transportation, environment, tourism, culture, and resources.

Among the Arizona Room collection's highlights: Phoenix aerial surveys taken as early as 1968, more than 1,200 biographies, correspondence from newspapermen and Rough Rider James H. McClintock, telephone directories, high school yearbooks, census data, Fort Verde records, Arizona Territory Interior Department appointment papers, Sanborn maps, and a vertical file of endless information stored in the back by subject and name. Told you you're going to need some time.

Phoenix is home to an innovative museum that has no comparison. Not only is there nothing like it in the United States, but the Musical Instrument Museum here even surpasses the one in Brussels that inspired it. The MIM has hundreds of instruments from every corner of the Earth, of course, with displays for more than 200 countries and territories, complete with listening samples. It also has a music theater and interactive room, where playing with the exhibits is encouraged, as well as music memorabilia from rock stars and other celebrity musicians from the past century or so. They have guitars played by Elvis Presley, an original theremin build by the inventor himself, and the piano played by John Lennon when he composed "Imagine." The Artist Gallery features a collection of customized microphones used onstage by singers like Rihanna, and there's even a marijuana-leaf-decorated mic used by Snoop Dogg. There are also displays for Arizonan music, such as tributes to locals who hit the big time, including Linda Rondstadt, Waylon Jennings, and Russell "Big Chief" Moore, a Pima Indian who played with Louis Armstrong.

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