Best Dancer 2017 | Liliana Gomez | Megalopolitan Life | Phoenix

A round of applause for Liliana Gomez. The dancer and choreographer is one of the Valley's most omnipresent performers, one who always seems to be organizing festivals, teaching kids, and championing her fellow creatives. It surprised exactly nobody when Gomez took home a Mayor's Arts Award for her contributions to the community in 2015 — nor when she nabbed an Artist Award from the 2017 Governor's Arts Awards. Over the summer, she brought the first-ever BlakTina Dance Festival to Phoenix, putting the spotlight on work by black and Latinx choreographers. What's next? We'd put money on another well-deserved award or two.

When Phoenix City Council member and stalwart fiscal conservative Jim Waring discovered that his sunglasses had gone missing, police launched an in-depth investigation to find the culprit. They watched surveillance video from the Phoenix Public Library's Mesquite branch, where the $300 prescription lenses had disappeared from the men's bathroom. They identified a suspect, described in police reports as wearing "a desirable hip pack (better known as a fanny pack)," and traced the license plates of cars leaving the library. They even tested DNA from a camouflage hat that the alleged thief had left behind. But despite all that, the sunglasses are still at large. Shortly after the Arizona Republic's Alia Beard Rau reported on the saga, a novelty Twitter account titled @JimsSunglasses popped up. "It's an insurance fraud. He buried me in the desert," the Twitterer explained.

It's no secret that we're pretty big fans of designer Kelsey Dake Rushing's work. The artist was a Big Brain finalist back in 2013 and one of our 100 Creatives the year before that. After a stint living in the Pacific Northwest, the illustrator, whose work has appeared in the New York Times and McSweeney's, returned to Phoenix. And since then, we have been borderline obsessed with her Insta — and her terrier, Truman. Follow along for in-progress drawings in her uniquely grotesque cartoonish style, as well as desert scenes and personal snapshots. And if you're in the market for a second string of updates from Dake Rushing, she started an account under @kelseyrushing, her married name, that's dedicated to her house-rehabbing projects. Come for the DIY tips, stay for the impeccable design choices.

We don't know who maintains this one, or how we heard about it, or even if anyone will pick it back up now that school has started again, but we love the simple idea behind @asusleeps, which is this: Take photos of members of the Arizona State University community sleeping. Not in their beds. On couches, in class, anywhere a little shut-eye is not encouraged. It's harmless (well, probably most of the time) and hilarious and we totally volunteer to man this one if the last person's done. Or asleep.

After pestering U.S. Representative Trent Franks for months, Indivisible Surprise chapter president Wendy Garcia finally got her sit-down with the conservative politician, and she was sure to share every moment of it on Facebook Live. Before entering a private room for a health care roundtable, Garcia and others were told not to take photos or videos during the meeting. Garcia coyly stood her iPhone upright between her hands as she sat across from the Republican and grilled him on his politics live on her Facebook page. Halfway through the 40-minute sit-down with Franks, his assistant asked Garcia if she had been filming the entire time. She answered truthfully. Franks said he knew and dismissed the incident, but the assistant later took Garcia aside to scold her. Smile! You're on Candid Camera.

You think Donald Trump invented the term "fake news"? Sad! Phoenix's own Paul Horner mastered the art of the hoax years ago. With the help of his Super Official News website and all-too-clickable share buttons across the internet, the late prankster duped countless social media users (and a few news outlets) into believing an array of pop culture-centered lies. They include but are certainly not limited to: a Banksy street art work discovered in Roosevelt Row, the world's biggest Starbucks opening downtown, and Bill Murray embarking on a party tour of the continental U.S. None of 'em are true, but boy, are they more amusing than "real news" headlines.

We aren't saying that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer. But we're not not saying that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer. While several have taken credit for the conspiracy theory that ran rampant through the internet during the 2016 presidential election, meme-obsessed Valley dwellers know whom to thank for the ridiculous, hilarious, and preposterous notion that Cruz could be the evasive NorCal murderer who claimed to have killed 37 people. Tempe's own Jonathan Novak runs the "Ted Cruz Is the Zodiac Killer" Facebook page. And we are reasonably sure that Novak isn't the Zodiac Killer. So, there's that.

Pick me! Pick me! That was former state Senator Kelli Ward's not-so-subtle message when she suggested that she ought to replace ailing Senator John McCain. Never mind that McCain has insisted he'll remain in the Senate, despite the fact that he has glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. In her comments to an Indiana radio show — awkwardly delivered just days after McCain's diagnosis — Ward appealed to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who has the authority to appoint someone to an open Senate seat. She added that McCain should "step away as quickly as possible." There's no love lost there — McCain trounced Ward when she challenged him in the 2016 Republican primary. Ward has yet to give up on her senatorial dream. Until that call comes from Ducey, Ward plans to face off in the 2018 primary against Arizona's other senator, Jeff Flake. Looks like she might just have the backing of a certain POTUS.

Forget for a moment about Donald Trump and the pardon. Finding out that ex-lawman Joe Arpaio had become a convicted criminal was sweet. Not to mention that Arizona U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton made the right call. Arpaio certainly did have contempt for the 2011 ruling by another federal judge that under his leadership, the sheriff's office discriminated against Latinos. For many, that ruling was a disappointment because it left Arpaio in power. Even when voters kicked the sheriff out of office in November, many wanted more. And more came on July 31, with Bolton's decision following a bench trial that Arpaio was guilty of a crime. At the least, and despite the fact that it was only a misdemeanor, the conviction symbolized the idea that justice had finally been served on a corrupt bigot of a sheriff who had gotten away with his crimes for far too many years. Even Trump's pardon can't take that away.

It's not a bird or a plane — it's a public official's middle finger. State Representative Don Shooter swears he was just scratching his nose, but video from news channel KTVK shows the representative staring at the camera and smiling as he scratched his nose multiple times with his middle finger back in April. Observers say Shooter, who represents Arizona's 13th district, blatantly and intentionally used the forbidden finger while making eye contact with a reporter doing an investigative piece involving him. Good for you, Representative Shooter. We've often dreamed of doing the same.

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