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Phoenix Comicon 2015: Top Five Custom Cocktails

1 Jun
Part of the special

Part of the special “Villains Ball” menu at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, on deck the weekend of Phoenix Comicon only.

The new trend at this year’s Phoenix Comicon was artisanal cocktails. It seemed like all the bars surrounding the massive fanfest were offering character-themed libations. Here are our five favorites.

5. The Black Widow (Province at Westin): Espresso, Bailey’s, Frangelico, Grand Marnier

4. Sonic Screwdriver (District American Kitchen & Wine Bar): Conch Republic rum, Bogle Essential Red, pineapple juice

3. Don’t Be a Pussy (Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour): Horchata milk punch with Olmeca Altos tequila

why so serious

Why So Serious?

2. Why So Serious? (Icon Lounge at Renaissance Hotel): Gin, cucumber, lemon, rosemary

Sinister Powers

Sinister Powers

1. Sinister Powers (Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour): Powers Irish whiskey, vanilla liqueur, fresh lemon, ginger beer


Ameri-Can Canned Craft Beer Festival 2015

17 May
beer fest crowd

Happy hopheads at the 2015 Ameri-Can Canned Craft Beer Festival

Beer wonks get the ultimate adult play day at the Ameri-Can Canned Craft Beer Festival. It’s like Disneyland, but with can cozies and hop vines instead of Mickey Mouse ears and roller coasters. This year’s event took place from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, at lovely Scottsdale Civic Center Mall park, and it was pure beertopia. More than 120 vendors from around Arizona and the U.S. pitched their tents and poured a variety of brews, ranging from ubiquitous piney IPAs to malty chocolate stouts. Food vendors fit finely into the festival — Honey Bear’s BBQ, Arizona BBQ and a food truck slinging grilled cheese sandwiches, in particular, helped festivalgoers soak up the suds.

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Five Favorite Female Musicians

8 Mar

In honor of International Women’s Day, here’s a list of my top five favorite female musicians. Be forewarned – most of them are not for the faint of heart, and could be considered downright scary by some people. (Grace Jones barely missed this list.)

Yoko Ono (Wikimedia Commons)

Yoko Ono (Wikimedia Commons)

5. Yoko Ono: OK, I know she’s not technically a “musician,” I know that a lot of people still think she broke up The Beatles, and I know some people dislike her so much they might have already stopped reading. But let’s put aside the off-key, shrieking “art rock” and The Beatles debate and look at one, very important thing: Her continued custodial respect of John Lennon’s musical legacy. When was the last time you heard a John Lennon song selling cars or hamburgers? Seriously, if you’re one of those people that judges Yoko Ono about The Beatles and her relationship with Lennon (I can’t blame anyone for criticizing her “singing,” though – it almost makes my ears bleed), go watch any interview she’s done in the past 20 years. When John Lennon was murdered, she didn’t go on a mourning tour or take a widow’s throne (hell, she hasn’t even written a book); she quietly raised their son and made sure her late husband’s art was seen in galleries and his music kept out of commercials.

4. Lynn Breedlove: The singer of defunct San Francisco dyke punk band Tribe 8 made jaws drop every time the band played some small club in the Midwest, where I lived as a teenager and traveled around to see them. She regularly removed her shirt while performing – not to be sexy, but because it gets hot onstage, and guys can take off their shirts and not get arrested, so why couldn’t she? (She got arrested a lot for exposing her breasts). Another staple of the Tribe 8 show was Breedlove pulling a strap-on dildo out of her pants and castrating herself, then flinging the lopped-off dong into the crowd. Did I mention my crust punk male friends loved this band? I’m not kidding. The skinheads, not so much. When they showed up at a show, Breedlove always challenged them to fight outside the venue after the show. The skins never met the challenge on any night I was there, but there were never more than three of them to the band’s 50 or so fans, so that may have had something to do with it. Plus, I think they secretly liked the show.

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Top 12 Tweets #LaserTwitter Imposed on Brandville During Super Bowl Week

2 Feb

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog, a subversive, Phoenix-based group called ONOMOLY took over some headspace in Downtown Phoenix the week of Super Bowl XLIX, projecting Twitter updates with the hashtag #lasertwitter onto a large banner on the roof of an empty warehouse. They were seen by thousands of people crammed into the core of Phoenix for Super Bowl celebrations, and reportedly ticked off Bud Light by invading its wallspace on the outside of the Hotel Palomar. Here’s our favorite dozen #lasertwitter projections:

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Ten Most Creative Song Titles (a.k.a. “Cool Decemvir”)

3 Apr

Let’s face it: most song titles suffer from severe cases of sameness and paralytic obviousness. This can be blamed partly on the traditional muse trios of poetry and rock ‘n’ roll: love, death, and poetry; and sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, respectively. Hence, a lot of different songs with the same titles: “Love Song,” “Cocaine,” “Rock and Roll.”

But I also pass the buck to the bands for not brainstorming a bit more. Sometimes, the song title is irrefutable for lack of lazy lyrics: when you’re singing “under my umbrella, umbrella, umbrella” or “crimson and clover” over and over, you can’t get too creative on the sleeve. Rihanna could’ve called “Umbrella” something else, like “Subliminal Possession” (there’s evil in that thar song, according to this wacky website ), and Tommy James could’ve titled “Crimson and Clover” something like “Meaningless Hook in a Teenage Seduction,” but people would just call them the “Umbrella” song and that “Crimson and Clover”song anyway.

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My Mad Libs Greatest Hits

26 Jan

photos by E. Groves

“Although we believe ourselves to be suspiciously civilized, most of us are really buttholes at heart because we still believe in broken-down-raggedy-ass superstitions that began while man still lived in whispers.”

Without Mad Libs, my friends and I would probably never write or say things like that. It’s the wacky, almost-completely-lacking context of Mad Libs stories that makes them so ridiculous — and sometimes riotously funny. I’ve probably done more than a hundred Mad Libs with my friends and neighbors. Sometimes, I’ve sat around spouting off random words with friends to fill-in-the-blanks for hours on end, and we’d laugh so hard reading our Mad Libs aloud. There were plenty of moments we laughed until our sides ached and tears were streaming down our faces. It’s in the spirit of friends and off-the-cuff fun that I present My Mad Libs Greatest Hits, culled from my thirteen Mad Libs books dating back I-don’t-know-how-many-years, and written with about a dozen different people.

Here are but 20 of the silliest, strangest sentences (completely out of context, of course):

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Ten Somniloquous Statements

10 Jan

I’ve talked in my sleep since I was a child. Many mornings, I would wake up to stories from my parents about what I’d said in my sleep in the night before. My mom likes to tell the story of how I barely survived meningitis of the brain when I was an infant, and underwent a battery of brain tests by various doctors, who told my mother that my brain “never slept.” I’m not sure what that means. But apparently, my mouth rarely rests, either.

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