Tuesday, September 23, 2014



¶lim¶Notorious Joe

You know Joe. But do you know the Elvis-busting, opium-seizing, Sinatra-singing, racially-profiled Notorious J.O.E.?.

“Is this safe? Am I going to get shot here?”

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has arrived to have his portrait taken at Legend City Studios near Van Buren Street and Fifth Avenue. Historically, this area has been heroin-hawking, hooker hotel heaven, heavily decorated with graffiti and the glitter of broken glass. Presently, it’s transitioning into a hipster-approachable haunt where you can usually walk around in daylight without worrying about somebody shooting you.


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Gang-nym Style

Arizona’s definition of a “street gang” has helped fight crime in the Valley – but can it be applied fairly?

In late 2011, a bar fight broke out on Prescott’s famed Whiskey Row between members of the Iron Brotherhood Motorcycle Club and an intoxicated man who made the mistake of asking the club president about patches on his vest.


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Turning the Tables

Following a hate-motivated attack, DJ and gay activist Austin Head sets his sights on a political career.

Two hours after midnight on November 9th of last year, Austin Head and a friend were on their way home from a bar near Central and Osborn in Phoenix. Head was riding a bike; his friend was walking. Except for an expensive cab ride, these were the only responsible options – they’d put down a few drinks, and public transport wasn’t available at that hour.


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Painted Desert

While art scenes in cooler-climate cities thrive during the summer, Valley venues must find creative ways to entice audiences.

Imagine a creative commons area where people linger over coffee and pastries at café tables while listening to saxophones swooning from an outdoor stage. Their faces reflect bright hues of green, blue and purple from nearby rectangular light boxes – digital kiosks where crowds clamor to hear poets recite their works and watch dance troupes perform. 


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The Fat Lady Winged?

While Valley theaters carve out next season, Arizona Opera is hatching a long-term plan to adapt Zane Grey’s classic Western Riders of the Purple Sage into a sweeping musical epic. Think opera and Westerns are a shotgun marriage? Composer Craig Bohmler says look closer. 


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Tragedy. Comedy. Solvency.

Valley stages take stock after Actors Theatre’s lost season.

None of the Valley’s major theaters is doing Fiddler on the Roof this season. Not literally, anyway. Metaphorically, every season is a precarious fiddling exercise for Valley stages.

Last spring, after 26 years of showcasing homegrown talent with a sly, intellectual take on live theater, Actors Theatre of Phoenix took a tumble, suspending its final two shows and vacating its long-standing spot in the Herberger Theater Center. Though ATP – which plans to return this fall – isn’t “suspended” the way John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign is suspended, the lost season illustrates the unique challenges posed by the Valley’s somewhat prosaic theater tastes.


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What Would Jesus Legislate?

A powerful but low-profile Christian advocacy group in Scottsdale quietly works to transform the American legal system.

T  his past March, hundreds of journalists, activists and pundits packed into 1 First Street in Washington, D.C. to watch the Supreme Court consider arguments on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).


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