Monday, September 22, 2014

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Don’t Kai for Me, Arizona

Culinary prince Michael O’Dowd – creator of the state’s most celebrated restaurant – leaves his castle for new digs Downtown.


“I need to keep creating, pushing,” Michael O’Dowd says. “If I can’t create anymore, then it’s time to roll.”

 

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A Need for Steed

Champion mounted markswoman Annie Bianco-Ellett knows her shoot.

It’s Sunday morning at the Arizona State Championships of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association. One after another, the cowboys and cowgirls ride and shoot. While they wait for the signal, their restless mounts execute tight little circles, seeming almost to pirouette with eagerness. At last the buzzer sounds, and the contestants gallop into the covered arena at Horseshoe Park in Queen Creek, toward a diagonal row of 10 tall white pylons, each with a red or blue balloon on top.

 

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A Farewell to Layups


With a bloody Republican primary behind him, U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake sets his eyes on the prize.

Jeff Flake is no Steve Nash, but the six-time Arizona congressman – and former starting small forward for the Snowflake High School Lobos – held his own against President Barack Obama in a much-publicized, invite-only Beltway pickup game in 2009.  “That’s the nice thing

 

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Strictly Ballroom

Charlie Levy rode the indie-music revolution to the top of the Valley’s concert promotion biz. Now he has a venue of his own.

Sitting in Crescent Ballroom’s industrial-chic lounge on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon in June, with retro R&B playing over the speakers and a late-lunch crowd sipping cocktails, owner Charlie Levy fields texts and fires off emails constantly, at one point thinking aloud, “How do you think [country singer] Pat Green would do here? I am emailing him now. How much would you pay to see [Texas legends] The Flatlanders? Would you pay $25?”

 

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Lucia Schnitzer of Luci's Healthy Marketplace

BACK OF THE HOUSE

The philosophy behind everything in Luci’s Healthy Marketplace is retro, from the décor to the all-natural “real” foods on the grocery shelves, in the grab-and-go food section and at the café.

It’s all about “what it was to be American back in the ’30s and ’40s,” says Schnitzer, who owns Luci’s with husband Ken. “That meant local businesses…. Everything was organic and fresh.”

 

Read more: Lucia Schnitzer of Luci's Healthy Marketplace

Todd Graham

ASU Head Football Coach

With a bible on his desk and a picture of Tom Landry on the wall, Todd Graham calls himself a teacher first, but his current job description, arguably, is that of salesman. Arizona State University’s new head football coach is trying to sell the idea of a rejuvenated program to fans, recruits and boosters – a program mired in mediocrity and thuggish behavior during the five-year reign of former coach Dennis Erickson.

 

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Project Greenlight

A Valley movie mogul is helping return filmmaking to Arizona – backed by a trove of shipwrecked Spanish emeralds.

Ruben Arizpe prides himself on the ability to pick a good script. During his career in movie financing, the Valley-based dealmaker helped marshall into existence such blue-chip blockbusters as Jerry Maguire and The Horse Whisperer.

 

Read more: Project Greenlight

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