Saturday, December 20, 2014

spotlight blog

Richie Moe

Mixology Mad Scientist

It’s not like mixology wunderkind Richie Moe just woke up one day and said to himself, “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat to mix up a batch of cocktails, pour them into tiny oak barrels, and let them bake in the Arizona sun for a month? And all the while, spritz the barrels with sea salt like they were seal pups?”

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Jeff Harwell

big cat handler

Jeff Harwell grew up with a pronounced cat fancy that eventually led to a full-time career – cavorting with African lions, Siberian tigers and other fearsome felines at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona.  

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Marvin Young

Desert-Dwelling Rap Pioneer

Rap music was supposed to be a fad. Even Young MC – the one-off hip-hop sensation best remembered for his 1989 hit “Bust A Move” – once fretted over the genre’s staying-power. “When I came out, the big thing was, how long will rap last?” says the rapper, whose real name is Marvin Young. “No one thought it’d go on like this.”

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Payton Curry


Payton Curry has made a name for himself in the Valley food scene – at times as much for his brash and bratty personality as for his formidable talent in the kitchen. Valley foodies will remember Curry airing the messy details of his divorce from Caffe Boa a year ago. But the former bad boy chef, whose Valley resume includes notable restaurants like Caffe Boa, Digestif, and Downtown pop-up micro-eatery Welcome Diner, says he’s cleaned up his act both personally and professionally. Curry’s rebellious tendencies are now strictly kitchen-centered, with his biggest vice being a twice-a-week farmers’ market habit.

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Matt and Erenia Pool


In eight short years, Matt and Erenia “Ernie” Pool have achieved total domination of the foodie circadian rhythm. First, they captivated early birds with the instantly iconic Matt’s Big Breakfast. Then they snared night owls with The Roosevelt. For the coup de grâce, they opened Giant Coffee: a gilded cage for cuckoo caffeine lovers. Along the way, the couple has been profiled on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and earned spots on countless Phoenix “Best Of” lists, from PHOENIX magazine to CNN. We caught up with the sweet, humble Pools over lattes and macchiatos at Giant Coffee, where they reflected on their burgeoning empire.

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Ann Meyers Drysdale

CEILING-SMASHING ROUNDBALL LEGEND Ann Meyers Drysdale moves a little slower nowadays, her knees stiffened by a lifetime of trips up and down the basketball court. But her steely blue eyes still reflect the intensity that made her the best women’s player on the planet in the late 1970s: a four-time All-American at UCLA, the first player drafted by the Women’s Professional Basketball League, and the only woman ever to sign an NBA contract (she got a tryout with the Indiana Pacers in 1980).

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That Medal-ing Kid?

Archery superstar Brady Ellison returns to the Summer Games with a No. 1 ranking and a renewed thirst for Olympic gold. 

It should come as no surprise that the most popular book-turned-movie this year, The Hunger Games, has inspired a new crop of young athletes. And they’re armed.

USA Archery reports record-setting enrollment in their youth divisions, with the number of cadets (ages 15-17) peaking at nearly every national event in the past two years. Maybe Hunger Games’ bow-wielding heroine, Katniss Everdeen, inspired them. Or maybe the football team was full. Regardless, Glendale native Brady Ellison can say he joined the sport before it was cool.

Read more: That Medal-ing Kid?