Sunday, May 24, 2015

spotlight blog

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.

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Ian Kennedy


A year ago, Ian Kennedy was largely unknown to rank-and-file Arizona Diamondbacks fans. The D-backs were coming off two straight last-place finishes in the National League West, and few players were generating breakout buzz.

Things couldn’t be more different this year. As the team kicks off its 2012 season, Kennedy takes the hill as one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, and expectations for both him and the Diamondbacks are the highest in years.

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Tex Earnhardt

Auto Dealership Owner

Interviewing Tex Earnhardt feels a bit like stepping onto the set of one of his iconic TV commercials. Dressed in his trademark Western garb – boots, blue jeans, long-sleeved printed shirt and wide-brimmed hat, which he immediately removes to reveal an impressive silvery mane – Earnhardt looks and sounds like the same straight-shooting cowboy he plays on TV. Then there are Hal and Jim Babe, Tex’s sons and fellow TV pitchmen, who are roped in for a cameo appearance after Tex spots them walking down the hallway. The only thing missing is one of the massive longhorn steers that Tex sits on when he declares, “And that ain’t no bull.”

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