Best Queer Musical Icon 2018 | The Doyenne | Nightlife | Phoenix

The Doyenne is a certifiable legend. A songwriter, producer, electronic musician, rapper, alt-R&B sensation, and dance-music machine, Syeed DiJon Poole has been freaking out the squares and wrecking house shows for years as The Doyenne. The Doyenne had been a fixture at shows at the old Trunk Space and Funny World, often playing alongside musical polar opposites like Dinosaur Love, Space Alien Donald, and Sugar Skull Explosion. What The Doyenne shares with those bands is a love for dressing up, a willingness to be abrasive and confrontational with the audience, and a contempt for milquetoast indie-rock culture. Shows should be parties, and few people know how to start one better than he does. What also made The Doyenne stand out when he got started (and what continues to make him a relevant and exciting presence in the Valley) is his openness about his sexuality and identity. The Doyenne doesn't give a fuck if he makes you uncomfortable, and his frankness onstage and off served as an inspiration for people to let their guards down and not be afraid to express their own sexualities.

Choreographed dance numbers, edgy animation, and breathtaking cinematography are the stuff that great music videos are made of, but not necessarily the ones produced by local bands. Well, unless the band is Captain Squeegee, whose gleefully excessive music videos utilize these elements to create unforgettable viewing experiences. The indie rock/jazz fusion act have released a series of uniquely over-the-top short films set to their singles. Each was helmed by a different local filmmaker, featured high production values, and was filled with visually dynamic flourishes that were equally brilliant, beautiful, or just plain bonkers. The first several videos featured songs from the band's 2013 album To the Bardos!, starting with a colorful Claymation romp through human history ("Inevitable"). Then came "The Factory," where frontman Danny Torgeson pranced around as the ringmaster of a psychedelic circus. Captain Squeegee later topped themselves in size and spectacle with "Dually Noted," which involved the vocalist attending an audition for an America's Got Talent-esque reality show but somehow winding up in hell fighting Baphomet. Their most recent video, "Our Children," was even more bizarre, with robotic go-go girls, a Delorean, and Torgeson submerged in a life-size lava lamp. Because that's just how Captain Squeegee rolls.

If it's Wednesday and you've got a craving for a mojito, a panini, and some brain-busting trivia, there's no better place to get your fix than at Carly's Bistro. Each week, the trivia fans at Carly's tackle a different theme. Some nights it's general trivia; other times, the entire evening is devoted to The Office, Parks & Recreation, Jurassic Park, DC comic books, and all sorts of other pop-culture mainstays. Teams are encouraged to dress up in theme-appropriate gear; while attending a Sex and the City trivia night at Carly's a few months ago, we were wowed by teams showing up in their favorite Carrie Bradshaw ensembles. And the quizmaster is no slouch: She dug in deep, asking questions that threw even obsessive SATC fans for a loop. The great food and drinks at Carly's are just an added bonus to an evening of stimulating and competitive trivia.

We're not always fans of fake news, but when it comes to our favorite local comedy show, we're more than willing to make an exception. Hosted by a brilliant duo of Valley comedians, Anwar Newton and Michael Turner, This Week Sucks, Tonight! turns the lounge of Crescent Ballroom into a revolving showcase of local stand-up talent, with guest comedians joining the powerhouse hosts to tease out sometimes dark and always hilarious truths about current events in politics, entertainment, music, and more. Sure, you can also catch Newton and Turner at Valley Bar's monthly comedy event Literally The Worst Show Ever, but with this free spectacle every Thursday night, why wait?

Live music during a film screening used to be commonplace. You'd roll into a nickelodeon to watch the latest Melies or Murnau joint and there'd be an organist in the room, hammering away at the keys to soundtrack the action on-screen. There are still groups today that are keeping the silent film score tradition alive, and one of the more active groups is right here in Phoenix. The experimental music collective of Pete Petrisko, Jocelyn Ruiz, Jim Dustan, Eric Hunter, and Vic VOID hold one-night-only screenings at FilmBar, where they perform original scores to film classics like Alice in WonderlandThe Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and The Penalty. Combining old-timey instrumentation with radio sounds, haunting samples, and modern noise, RPM creates compelling and timeless soundscapes. They also put out albums of original music, create bold music videos, and do live concerts that integrate typewriters, Butoh dancing, and butterflies trapped in envelopes as part of the action.

The Alwun House is approaching its 40th season, and yet it still feels like a well-kept secret. An oasis of freaky performances and fine art in the middle of the Garfield neighborhood, owner/curators Kim Moody and Dana Johnson have kept Alwun House going strong. Some of its events, like the annual Exotic Art Show, have become must-attend happenings in town. But the Alwun House is more than a place to see erotic paintings: — it's also the best outdoor theatrical venue in town. Putting on burlesque shows, flesh suspensions, steampunk cabarets, stilt-walking expos, variety shows, and an "erotic poetry festivus," the Alwun House is a premier destination for seeing some skin in a classy way and being wowed by sword-swallowers, fire-spinners, and people contorting their bodies into shapes that would make a pretzel wince. The tasteful rock formations and gardens in the back help lend an intimate and natural air to the decadent proceedings. They're also one of the reasons why the Alwun House, when it's not a sideshow zone, is a popular venue for Phoenix artists who want to get married in the backyard.

Being a live artist at a nightlife and music event can sometimes be a tough gig. You've got to transform a canvas into a masterpiece in only a few hours, all while dealing with gawkers, constant interruptions, and inebriated patrons armed with reduced inhibitions and the most insipid of questions ("Hey, whaddya painting?"). Local artist Kelley Boesel, better known as Haboobs, manages to excel at the task and has done so at a variety of local parties, shows, and DJ nights. Back when Motown on Mondays was a regular thing, Boesel busted out with evocative portraits of the same R&B, funk, and soul legends being bumped on the sound system, legends like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Rick James. She did the same at last summer's tribute party for the late Sharon Jones at Crescent Ballroom, painting a stunning rendition of the dearly departed singer. Boesel's work also can be spotted at certain Tempe Art A Gogh-Gogh or Blunt Club sessions at Yucca Tap Room, or even adorning the house of homegrown hip-hop superstar Futuristic, who tapped her and other local artists to decorate the exterior of his crib. We're pretty sure that was an easy gig.

Picture this: A throng gathers for a monthly celebration in downtown Phoenix that's a free-for-all of cutting-edge art, burgeoning musicians, underground sounds, interactive installations, and rampant creativity. First Friday, right? Nope. Instead, all this action is unfolding at the Full Moon Festival, a multigenre mix of music, art, and culture that coincides with the monthly celestial event and is a bit more free-spirited than any local art walk. According to co-founder Jonathan Luther, the festival is aimed at fostering and showcasing budding creatives looking for exposure. "Our goal is to make it the No. 1 platform for local Phoenix artists to get their name out there," he told Phoenix New Times earlier this year. And it's doing so by offering multiple stages at each edition for up-and-coming bands, performers, and DJs, as well as ample space for newbie painters to create live art or sell their works. It's also one helluva party, filled with art cars, a silent disco, and other illuminating fun.

The life of a concert poster is ultimately short and tortuous. As a piece of ephemera, its brief existence is spent stapled to walls or lashed to utility poles before being torn down and tossed away once its usefulness has ended. The exquisite concert posters made by Hamster Labs, however, don't deserve this cruel fate, and are worth saving long after their particular event is over. Designed by local graphic artist Quinn Murphy, these pulchritudinous prints are true works of art, capturing a particular band's sound and verve through eye-catching imagery, illustrations, or iconography. Rich in textures and awash in vibrant colors, Murphy's creations utilize a variety of artistic styles, ranging from fanciful realism to stark minimalism, to grab your attention. His poster for metal act The Sword's show at The Rebel Lounge in March, for instance, featured a badass portrait of a screaming Medusa head teeming with slithering snakes. Other efforts are silly (like the playful placard for the Flying Burrito Festival) or downright strange (a Banana Gun show poster starring a mushroom-riding cowpoke), but are nonetheless memorable. And if anyone has an extra copy of Hamster Labs' Phoenix Rock Lottery 2018 poster, which depicted the event's 24-musician lineup as a stack of cassettes, we'll totally buy it off you. Seriously. We've already got wall space picked out.

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