Monday, October 20, 2014



Frank Ybarra


The Valley has a roster of artists with a strong Arizona-themed repertoire, but Frank Ybarra – whose paintings adorn many posters and billboards trumpeting the Centennial – is uniquely suited to paint a fresh face on the state’s 100th birthday.


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James Sallis

novelist and teacher

James Sallis is a Renaissance man. Over the years, he’s worked as a musician, poet, translator, biographer, essayist, critic, magazine editor, creative writing teacher at Phoenix College and ASU, licensed respiratory therapist and science-fiction writer. For decades, he was also the best-kept secret in crime fiction – until his 2005 novel Drive was adapted into the acclaimed 2011 noir flick starring Ryan Gosling. Set in Phoenix, Sallis’ latest novel, The Killer Is Dying, is an oddly moving page-turner about a hit man’s last days. Driven, his sequel to Drive, will be published by Scottsdale’s Poisoned Pen Press in April. We caught up with the Arkansas-born Sallis, 66, at a favorite coffeehouse, across a battered wooden table obviously AWOL from an interrogation room.


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Richard B. Hall


Richard B. Hall is an artist with a sense of humor. Case in point: The oil can. While returning from a long road trip to Texas one day, the Mesa artist pulled over to the side of the road to relieve himself. Standing there, he spotted an old oil can beside a tree. That unassuming piece of refuse instantly captured his imagination and later became a prop for a painting.


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Sign of the Times


When Phoenix artist and preservation advocate Michael Levine shelled out $5,500 for 890 highway signs at a state surplus auction in 1999, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with them. Call it venture capitalism.

But as Arizona’s Centennial drew near, the investment paid off: In August, Levine took about 450 of the signs and, over six days, fastened them to the wall of his warehouse near Grant and Seventh streets, creating a gigantic 1912-2012 mural.


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Persian Prisoner


As Shahla Talebi prepared her undergraduate honors thesis at the University of California, Berkeley, she realized she could draw much of what she needed from personal experience. The topic of that thesis? Madness and death in prison.


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Comedy Clubs

Get your gritty, goofy, awkward and intense comedy kicks from these five stand-up spots around the Valley.


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Robert Fisher documentary

A new documentary explores the 2001 murder that rocked Arizona.

As a man fascinated by true crime, it’s no wonder director Charlie Minn is interested in Robert Fisher, the Scottsdale man who allegedly murdered his wife and two children, blew up his home, escaped to the Tonto National Forest near Payson and disappeared for more than 10 years, never to be found. Minn’s new documentary, Where Is Robert Fisher?, explores the man who shook Scottsdale forever.


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