Maestro Michael Christie joined the Phoenix Symphony eight years ago and promptly coined his own magical mix of music and multi-media theater. Christie – whose resumé includes stints with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Australia – introduced Arizona audiences to the works of numerous living composers and the now-popular Intermission Insights, a halftime Q&A with featured musicians.
Stand Up Scottsdale! Funnyman
Comedy is rooted in pain, they say, so little wonder Howard Hughes does it for a living. During one particularly trying stretch of his pre-showbiz life, the Stand Up Scottsdale! owner and performer got divorced, suffered a stroke, and buried his beloved dog. More recently, Spike TV and Bar Rescue paid a visit, resulting in a nationally televised sparring match in which host Jon Taffer accused Hughes, in essence, of being a bummer onstage.
cardinals signal caller
The merry-go-round of mediocrity that was the Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback position mercifully ground to a halt in the offseason. Out: Kevin Kolb, Max Hall, John Skelton and three years of failed leadership at the game’s most important position. In: a Heisman Trophy winner with a proven track record of pro success.
upwardly mobile MAYOR
Two years after defeating Republican Wes Gullet in one of the bloodiest Phoenix mayoral races in recent memory, Greg Stanton is all smiles. The former District 6 councilman and deputy attorney general rides into the second half of his term on plenty of ups (e.g. a bullish economy, being named “Best Elected Official” by the Capitol Times) and few downs (e.g. having his nose broken at a Phoenix Mercury scrimmage).
Sportswriters have called Phoenix Mercury rookie Brittney Griner “the greatest women’s basketball player of all time” on more than a few occasions – high praise indeed for someone who has yet to play a minute of professional basketball. But maybe superlatives are warranted when you’re a 6-foot-8, three-time All-American whose 18 career dunks at Baylor University were more than every other female player combined in the history of the NCAA.
Philanthropic Jewelry Mogul
Born into a family business that dates back to 1634, Alfredo J. Molina was destined to be a jeweler. After fleeing Cuba in 1967 on the heels of the Cuban Revolution, 7-year-old Alfredo and his family settled in Chicago. Following the path of his ancestors, the tyro gem merchant went to work on a jeweler’s bench to learn the trade from his grandfather.
Tony Duncan has been jumping through hoops for more than 20 years, but not quite like the rest of us.
The 27-year-old from Mesa won his first adult title at the 21st Annual Heard Museum Hoop Dance Championship Contest in Phoenix February 6. He previously won the teen title four times, but with the adult crown, he took home a grown-up prize of $3,500. “I’ve been dreaming of winning the hoop dance since I was about 5 years old,” Duncan says.