Things To Do
For free monthly updates, event invitations and exclusive deals, sign-up for our newsletter!
Ashlea Deahl, Adam Klawonn and Stephanie Paterik
March, 2008, Page 98
Photo by Jeff Newton
Eric Torres, 33, may be one of the most wildly imaginative artists in Phoenix, and he only just discovered it last year. That’s when the graphic designer set to work on a project just for himself, in which he created a series of prints using only eight shapes. With those eight shapes, he created a world called Rynaga and a cast of characters who populate it. His whimsical animations are inspired by Scandinavian, Spanish and Japanese folk art, as well as modern day pop art, like the flat 1960s Disney animation, Old Maid playing cards and early Nintendo games. See his work beginning March 31 at Two Doors Down gallery in Tempe.
Drop that steaming cup of Starbucks (not on yourself, of course) and head over to Mario Martusciello’s place near Scottsdale Airpark.
Martusciello spent the past several years honing his craft as a barrista in Seattle while moonlighting as a rock drummer (or vice versa). Now this Valley native imports coffee beans from all over the world and roasts them to order for places like Andreoli’s Italian Grocer and others.
Walk-ins might discover Mario and his small crew roasting and bagging coffee to rock music, grinding break room blends for local businesses or hosting a tasting (or sometimes all of the above, depending on how much coffee they’ve had by 1 p.m.).
For a fee, Mario is willing to host a caffeine addict or two for a private, hour-long session on the secrets of roasting coffee. (Hint: It has nothing to do with Starbucks.)
7302 E. Helm Dr., Ste. 1002, Scottsdale, 480-656-3551,
The Phoenix Symphony Rocks Led Zeppelin
Not everyone can up and buy tickets to see the world’s most influential rock band reunite for a show in England. Fortunately for us, the Valley’s elite classical musicians brought the music across the pond.
Last fall, local concert promoters for Live Nation booked the Phoenix Symphony, with the backing of an amplified band, to tear through classic Led Zeppelin hits like “Kashmir” and “The Immigrant Song” for two concerts. At one show, the entire string section actually whipped out Bic lighters for “Stairway to Heaven.”
Forget Beethoven and Mozart. “When we first came on stage, the audience gave us polite, almost classical applause. Then we hit the first note and they realized it was a rock show,” creator/guest conductor Brent Havens said in a recent press release.
The last show was January 18 at Dodge Theatre Downtown. A Live Nation spokeswoman said promoters have not yet scheduled another round of Zep concerts, but The Phoenix Symphony is known for other clever acts. Later this month, the orchestra will bring classic hits from Elton John and Billy Joel to the stage with their performance, Piano Men.
TJS Custom Drums
Tom J. Schultz has been playing and fixing drums since the ’60s. But in 1992, he decided to go pro with his own line, TJS Maple Passion Custom Drums. Tom says he thought of the name because drummers “froth at the mouth” over maple drums.
Schultz, 58, handcrafts them himself from a barn behind his east Mesa home for drummers behind acts like George Benson and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. Even the Suns’ Gorilla beats a TJS drum. The pieces come fully assembled with up to 30 layers of maple shells curled inside to create their unique sound.
TJS’ popularity is growing. Drummers can now find this locally made gem in Valley music stores, including Milano’s Music in Mesa. Even Chad Smith from rock band 311 carries Schultz’s line in his North Hollywood drum shop.
“It’s like a hobby gone crazy,” Schultz says.
Your favorite bartender may pour the perfect three-fingered Crown-and-Coke or flip a bottle of Skyy like it’s a flaming baton, but how many can channel a Samurai swordsman to prepare your drink? The barkeeps at Scottsdale’s newest Japanese hot spot, Roka Akor, will be doing just that, donning machete-like ice saws to hack away at big blocks of ice kept at the bar, ensuring one-of-a-kind cubes for everyone’s glass (and a nail-biting experience for patrons).
Tricks aside, the bar also boasts a unique drink that puts sake to shame. Shochu, a distilled Japanese spirit similar to vodka in taste, is served up in a variety of infusions, including blood orange, raspberry, pear and bois bande, a natural aphrodisiac.
The London-based restaurant (Scottsdale is only the second location in the world) hopes to be an all-around success in a sea of Valley sushi joints, serving up fresh seafood and traditional Robata-grilled fare – with other cool touches like fresh-ground wasabi tableside – but we recommend grabbing a seat at the bar for an extra cool experience.
7299 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-306-8800,
© 2007 Copyright Phoenix Magazine 15169 N. Scottsdale Road Suite C310 Scottsdale Arizona 85254
Travel & Outdoors
Best of The Valley
Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine
Advertise With Us
Web Site Design