Best Twitter Account 2022 | AZ Right Wing Watch | Megalopolitan Life | Phoenix

It wasn't detectives who found Luka Magnotta, a murderer on Interpol's most wanted list, 10 years ago. It was social media users with a little free time and a penchant for amateur sleuthing. AZ Right Wing Watch has pledged to do the same here in the Grand Canyon State. The 2020 presidential election was the most-followed American election in history, and Arizona was at the center of the political paradigm shift that ensued. As the alt-right drifted further toward radicalism, AZ Right Wing Watch wasn't the hero Arizona asked for, but it became the hero we needed. With the entire world abuzz about American politics, the anonymous tweeter established their successful watchdog operation on Twitter, an account that has now amassed more than 15,000 followers. The self-styed "unprofessional" and "random local" claims to be from "The Fiery Infernos of Hell, Arizona." Apparently, said fiery infernos are rife with great tips about right-wing corruption for journalists across Arizona. Keep doing God's work, soldier.

Our fair state is a wonderland of stunning natural beauty, from the red rocks of Sedona and the epic Grand Canyon to the brown-hued Grand Falls and the simple joys of wildflower season in the desert. Not that we get to see much of it in person, what with metro Phoenix being the concrete jungle it is. But when we get tired of setting our sights on buildings and freeways, we check in with the Instagram account of the Arizona Highways, the venerable magazine that's been showing our best features off to the world since 1925. There, we can feast our eyes on everything from storm photography to snow-dusted images of the high desert in winter. It not only gives us inspiration for our next weekend getaway, it makes us truly appreciative of all Arizona has to offer.

TikTok, like any social media platform, can be used for good, for evil, or simply as a distraction. Scroll on the app long enough, and you'll run across countless local influencers (legit and wannabe) just dying to tell you about Scottsdale's hottest new restaurant. That's fine, we suppose, but when we think about a local TikToker who we truly respect and want to keep up with, we think of the woman behind the Leftover Gains account. She goes by Lefty, she's a veteran, and her content is part accountability, part call to action about local police and the ongoing challenges faced by people experiencing homelessness in metro Phoenix. Whether she's filming the sweeps that Phoenix Police routinely do in the Zone (a homeless encampment downtown), or chronicling her frequent trips around town to stock free community refrigerators, she advocates for some of the city's most vulnerable citizens with passion and intelligence. We can find the next cool bar on our own, thank you very much. We'd much rather have our FYP filled with people trying to make Phoenix a better place.

Head to Old Town Scottsdale any night of the week, and you can't miss them: roving packs of young women, often identifiable as a bride-to-be and her friends by matching sashes, themed T-shirts, and/or coordinating cowboy hats. The uptick in bachelorette getaways held in Scottsdale was noticed by no less than the New York Times, which published an article in June about the phenomenon. As of 2021, Scottsdale was the second-most-popular destination for brides and their bridesmaids (just behind Nashville), sparking a cottage industry of people who decorate the incoming women's Airbnbs with wedding-themed decor and bachelorette-specific events companies. Though we've heard some longtime Old Town barflies complain about the bachelorettes, we don't mind when we see a group walk through the door of our watering hole du jour: They pump money into the local economy, they bring good energy to even the emptiest bars, and if nothing else, the people-watching is epic.

Arizona has produced its fair share of celebrities, but not many can say they've won the highest honor in the world of cinema. The latest is Mesa native Troy Kotsur, whose revelatory performance as a struggling fisherman in the 2021 film CODA earned him the 2022 Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Kotsur is the second Arizona native to win an acting Oscar (the first was Emma Stone for La La Land in 2017), and more importantly, he's the first deaf man to win one. In his signed acceptance speech, Kotsur thanked his "hometown of Mesa, Arizona," and declared, "This is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community [besides being the name of the film, CODA stands for children of deaf adults], and the disabled community. This is our moment!" Since his win, Kotsur's face has appeared on banners in downtown Mesa and Mayor John Giles gave him the key to the city, solidifying his status as the east Valley city's favorite son.

We who live in metro Phoenix already knew the good work that Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson was doing in the field of the arts. Until late last year, she was an Institute Professor in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, where she founded the Studio for Creativity, Place, and Equitable Communities, where students learn how to integrate arts, culture, and design into community planning. Then, in December 2021, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 13th chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, the federal agency that grants money to arts and culture programs across the country. Jackson is the first African-American and first Mexican-American to serve in the role, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love for the arts. "I'm definitely going to tap into that sense of the arts being critical to healthy communities and to a healthy society," she told the Washington Post in her first interview after being confirmed. She added, "There is a power of the arts that allows us to, encourages us to, be curious, to hold nuance, to have the kinds of thoughtful deliberations and a view on humanity that I think is so critically important." We couldn't agree more, and we can't wait to see what Jackson does in her new role.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art stands out for consistently delivering the unexpected, whether it's the replica of an artist's living room or a mobile home trailer purchased by an artist at a local swap meet. The museum excels at introducing metro Phoenix audiences to creatives working in other cultural hubs while also spotlighting works by artists with Arizona roots or artists working in Arizona. Curators strike a delightful balance of showing works by emerging and established creatives, and the museum has demonstrated by its exhibitions a commitment to elevating the voices of women artists and BIPOC artists. The museum also creates and hosts fun community experiences, such as trivia nights, screenings of films by ASU students, and artist talks, fostering a sense that the museum is a community space for learning, growth, and creativity rather than a building designed to merely house and show works of art.

Galleries get a bad rap in some circles, especially from those who assume that traditional art venues are stuffy places filled with art that's hard to understand and impossible to afford. Art One gallery in Old Town Scottsdale counters that model by presenting an eclectic assortment of affordable artworks in a casual, friendly setting where you don't have to worry about being intimidated because you're not an art expert. The gallery has a large storefront window, so passersby can always see art as they walk down the street, and more pieces are often displayed outside the gallery during the day, which makes art feel even more relatable. Art One is the best place to see works by emerging and established artists, including many you won't see on the beaten path of Phoenix's downtown arts scene. On any given day, you might see a work by one of the Valley's most prolific muralists, a piece by a well-known local artist that differs radically from their typical style, or a piece created by a talented high school or college student. The gallery also shows works by students at Autism Academy. It's a perfect place to discover local talents before they hit the big time.

For more than two decades, the "Chaos Theory" exhibition has been one of Phoenix's best-loved arts traditions, in part because it brings together a stellar lineup of some of the Valley's most renowned artists for a night of not just artwork, but also vibrant conversations and pop-up music performances. It's typically held on First Friday in October, but that didn't happen in 2020 when, like everything else, it was canceled due to the pandemic. But organizer and artist Randy Slack brought "Chaos Theory" roaring back in October 2021 with works by more than 70 artists, most of whom are already part of the unwritten "who's who" list of metro Phoenix creatives (or rapidly rising stars). It's a night when artists take time to appreciate each other's work and people from art bigwigs to the merely art-curious gather in one place to celebrate the city's creative side — without having to pay a dime for the experience. After all that COVID-19 isolation, "Chaos Theory" was an exhilarating way to reenergize the Phoenix creative scene.

Odds are, you don't spend a lot of time thinking about how art influences or reflects the world around you, or how it affects your own perceptions and perspective. ASU Art Museum gave visitors a compelling glimpse of the ways historical images have fostered and reinforced ideas, policies, and practices related to incarceration with this exhibition featuring works by a dozen artists who drew from carceral culture in their own communities in and beyond Arizona. The exhibition perfectly meets the current times, in which advocates decry the rise of the prison industrial complex amid dwindling resources for education, family support, mental health care, and other community needs. The exhibition filled every gallery at the museum, signaling the significance of the issue, and the museum even added prompts for reflection to stairways and other spaces. Thoughtful programming supplemented the exhibition, giving community members opportunities for learning, conversation, and action, proving that art exhibits can be powerful catalysts for change.

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