Saturday, April 18, 2015



Vine Before Its Time

Arizona’s modern love affair with wine is barely 30 years old, but their courtship dates back to the 16th century.

Stephen Schwartz waited years to drink the label-less bottle of wine he’s holding in his hands. When the time finally comes, he’s almost too afraid to open it. “How do you taste a wine like this?” he asks. “You certainly don’t ask your wine-loving friends over. To tell you the truth, I


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Celluloid Sendoff

Cudia City is remembered as much for the Hollywood glamour it bestowed on the fledgling desert city as the Westerns produced there. Located at the northwest corner of Camelback Road and 40th Street, the replica frontier town was a well-trafficked film and TV production spot from 1939 until it was redeveloped in the 1960s. 


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Spaghetti Western

Situated on a Wild West movie set, Cudia Restaurant attracted Hollywood stars and foreign dignitaries – but none outshone its host, Italian nobleman Salvatore Cudia.

If a restaurant is a reflection of the talents and charisma of its owner, Salvatore P.B. Cudia set a high bar for fine dining in Phoenix for almost two decades. Already an accomplished sculptor, painter, photographer, musician, inventor, voice coach, and movie director, Cudia was also fluent in six languages by the time he entered the Valley’s hospitality


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Road to Ruins

Centuries-old Indian cliff dwellings offer a secret link to the Valley’s pre-Columbian past. And they’re only a four-mile backcountry hike away.

The eastward sprawl of modern Phoenix ends at the foot of the hot, red Superstitions, where our streets and sidewalks dare not climb. Ancient suburbanites were not so easily deterred. Fleeing the bustle of their society’s business district, now mostly submerged below the waters of


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From Russia, With Milk

Members of an Amish-like religious sect from Russia made Glendale their home 100 years ago.

Obscure religious groups for $500, please, Alex. The answer is: “Members of this class of Russian sectarians, known for drinking milk on Orthodox fasting days, settled in Glendale, Arizona, in the early 20th century.”
If you didn’t answer “Molokans” – excuse me, “Who were the Molokans?” – don’t feel bad. According to Andrei Conovaloff, the group’s dogged local historian, many Molokan descendants wouldn’t get the question right, either. A hundred years after a small influx of Molokans – maybe a thousand or so, at its peak – settled in the West Valley to farm, almost all that remains of the community is the boarded-up hovel that served as their church. “I’m guessing there may be as many as a thousand descendants in Arizona today who know they’re of Russian descent, and who may or may not know the term Molokan,” says Conovaloff, 63. “And if they do, it’s probably as a misnomer.”


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Fail Blazers

Can a sports team fail because of too much success? Of all things, an undefeated inaugural season helped doom the Phoenix Blazers semi-professional football team – a squad so dominant, fans simply tired of seeing them.


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Sol Survivors

The original Phoenix Suns were barnstorming semi-pro footballers who enjoyed success on the gridiron and abject failure away from it.

Rabid basketball fans inhabiting Planet Orange are often surprised to learn the first Phoenix Suns game started with a kickoff – not a tipoff – and occurred more than a decade before the NBA team made its 1968 debut. In this bizarre-but-true alternate Suns universe, the team kicked field goals instead of shooting them, and the only dunks they saw


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