Best Song 2022 | 'Monica Lewinsky' | Nightlife | Phoenix

The best anthems for a time/movement are often entirely accidental. Case in point: "Monica Lewinsky," from Phoenix-born pop singer Taylor Upsahl (who performs as UPSAHL). Did she intend to release it right around the Supreme Court leak and subsequent reversal of Roe v. Wade? Maybe not, but you couldn't have better timing if it was plotted by Michael Crichton. But the song's debut in such a time of great social upheaval only made it all the more compelling and downright catchy. Sure, you could brush this off as just another electro-pop-leaning "you go girl" anthem — and it's certainly got that kind of energy (see the shoutout to Miley Cryus, and the reference to that infamous Bill Clinton testimony). But the song's just as much about how we portray and engage women in modern media, and UPSAHL weaponizes those trite stereotypes to condemn a society that readily uplifts as much as it needlessly condemns the actions of women. All of that together — the blunt and the beautiful, the ironic and the earnest — is why this song is a powerful anthem of our weird little world; the fact that it's from a talented Phoenician is icing on the cake.

Deliver us from rock 'n' rollers who take themselves too seriously. Isn't playing music supposed to be fun? Tempe power trio The Black Moods always seem to be having a good time, and no more so than in their recent music video for "Youth Is Wasted on the Young," a track off their 2022 album, Into the Night. Lead singer and guitarist Josh Kennedy, drummer Chico Diaz, and bassist Jordan Hoffman brought the party to Combs High School in San Tan Valley for the video shoot. All the members of the band play both faculty and students: Kennedy's a pigtailed blonde girl flirting with her classmates, Hoffman plays a gym teacher who gets pelted by dodgeballs, and Diaz portrays both an uptight Spanish teacher and the stoner kid who harasses him. The video culminates with the trio getting chased out of the school A Hard Day's Night style and performing for the students, showing the next generation of Black Moods fans just how much fun it is to be a rock star.

This Westgate Entertainment District nightspot is like the decadent theme park of your boozy dreams where childhood thrills get a grown-up twist. The fanciful lights of the carousel-shaped bar beckon patrons inside the 5,800-square-foot establishment to play carnival-style games or high-end arcade machines while sipping fruity cocktails garnished with cotton candy. Or, they can writhe to Top 40 and hip-hop hits on a dance floor surrounded by video game-themed murals. There's also bingo games on Mondays and beer pong tournaments on Wednesdays, both offering bar cards and other prizes. And the menu includes french fries served in miniature Ferris wheels, fair-inspired snacks like deep-fried candy bars, and overly indulgent milkshakes adorned with churros or cheesecake slices. It's not unlike a 21-and-over version of Pinocchio's Pleasure Island, only you might wind up with a hangover the next day instead of a set of donkey ears and a tail.

Lauren Cusimano

An open elevator shaft, a cage full of dolls, trick mirrors. Were it not for this genuinely bizarre decor, Hanny's would be your run-of-the-mill, stylish-but-straightforward downtown lounge. You can find the restaurant and bar in an austere concrete building on First and Adams streets. It's a spacious hangout, with a kitchen that's open late and a decent steak sandwich. But it's the longtime art installations that draw many curious visitors to Hanny's — and it's worth taking a tour through the space to appreciate the Annabelle-esque ornamentation. The hall-of-mirrors bathrooms are straight from the circus (and don't forget to take a trip down to the basement to visit the dolls). It'll make a date more interesting, that's for sure.

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