Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee shows off Phoenix talent (VIDEO)

This past weekend, I went to one of the coolest Arizona music events I’ve ever experienced: the Sidepony Express Music Festival in Bisbee, Arizona.

I had never been to Bisbee, which is a little more than three hours away from Phoenix. The artsy town has a population of around 6,000 people, with an Old Bisbee historic center featuring art galleries galore, independent restaurants, and historic ghost-filled hotels. I stayed at the Copper Queen Hotel, which was super-charming, and (sadly) I have no ghost encounters to report.

The Sidepony Express Music Festival featured more than 60 musical acts in more than a dozen venues, ranging from a coffeehouse, to a dive bar, to a tiny single room in one of those historic hotels. It provided an opportunity for Phoenix music lovers to check out impressive acts from the state and beyond in super-intimate settings, and the fact the festival was free should make it an annual destination to put on your calendars now.

Festival organizer Anamieke Quinn, whom you can learn more about here on Phoenix People, played in several acts, from the band she fronts, Treasurefruit, to playing in Scattered Melodies and Sara McAllister Duo, pictured below.

SaraMcAllisterDuo

Check out videos from all three of those bands below:

I was really impressed with Melissa Reaves, a singer-songwriter who came all the way from North Carolina to perform. See a couple of her performances below:

WuT from Phoenix was also a lot of fun to watch.

Wut

He was soulful and had really meaningful lyrics, including a touching song dedicated to his mother. See a video of his performance below:

Here’s a clip of indie band Where Are All the Buffalo?:

And one of Paper Foxes:

And finally, an artist who brought me to tears when I heard her perform, the uber-amazing Korbe Canida.

Korbe Canida at the Sidepony Express Music Festival

Her songwriting is better than famous pop stars, and her voice is angelic. Check out a clip of her here:

Besides taking in all the great music, walking around Bisbee was a trip in itself. The town is the quirkiest I’ve ever experienced. Shops commemorate the ban of plastic bags in the area by adding them to the doorway:

Bisbee, AZ

A free store is in the middle of town, where people can drop off unwanted goods and pick up ones they need, surrounded by resident-art-covered walls like these:

Bisbee, AZ

Bisbee2

Empty storefronts retain life, by keeping things like these in their windows:

Bisbee, AZ

People dance in the streets. A lot of the people you encounter seem a little high — or, at least, like they used to get really high at some point in their lives.

I loved the galleries in Bisbee. I purchased a print of In the Club by Howard Kline, whose bright and colorful watercolors are incredibly appealing to me. I love that he integrates his musician history into his paintings by showing off musical themes in a lot of his works.

'In the Club,' by Howard Kline in Bisbee, AZ

I also loved Vixen Fine Art Metal Gallery, run by, indeed a vixen, Breanna Curry. Curry creates striking, colorful metal art, including really cute mirrors using reclaimed bottles. One of her works is pictured below, and you can learn more about her here.

Vixen Fine Art Metal Gallery in Bisbee, AZ

I am so happy I finally checked out Bisbee and would highly recommend it for a fun get-out-of-town trip. Fine more things to do in the town here.

Paper Clouds Apparel: make your clothing matter

I’ve been a huge fan of Paper Clouds Apparel for years now, as it’s one of the coolest T-shirt companies I know — and it’s based in Phoenix!

Paper Clouds Apparel

Every two weeks, four new designs are introduced, and they’re all made by individuals with special needs. Half the profits from the company go back to special needs charities — founder Robert Thornton has helped raised more than $27,000 this year, which I love! This new campaign features art by Logan, a special needs teen, and profits benefit a scholarship fund the teen has helped create, to benefit special needs individuals who need education assistance. Check out the designs here.

Here are some designs I’ve loved wearing recently.

This world peace shirt was created by Heather, a Special Olympics participant with Pradar Willi Syndrome:

Paper Clouds Apparel

This hilarious dinosaur shirt is by Bronson, with autism:

Paper Clouds Apparel

This owl design is by 12-year-old Zoey, with autism:

Paper Clouds Apparel

This butterfly top was designed by McKenna, who lost her battle to brain cancer when she was 7 years old:

Paper Clouds Apparel

Have you bought something from Paper Clouds Apparel? Tweet me @nickialanoche with a pic of your gear!

Phoenix Fashion Week features standout designers

Every year, Phoenix Fashion Week brings more than 20 emerging and established designers to the runway, and I checked out some new fashion this past Thursday and Friday at Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Resort.

Phoenix Fashion Week

Phoenix Fashion Week

There were definitely some standouts. I’ve already been a fan of local casualwear line State Forty Eight for about the past year. The line features hoodies, polos, off-the-shoulder long sleeve shirts, hats and more, all donning a cool Arizona-branded, “State Forty Eight” logo. Check out some styles below, get to know founder and designer Nicholas Polando here, and find their styles, starting at $22 for adult garments, here.

State Forty Eight

StateFortyEight1

I was really impressed with Scottsdale-based designer Misha Mendicino, a designer with a great cause. Her resortwear line heavily features elephant prints, and 5 percent of the profits go towards David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which focuses on wildlife preservation and anti-poaching efforts.

Her colorful styles were beachy and breezy, looking oh-so-comfortable while making a statement with bold patterns. I would have worn any of her garments and am excited there’s such great talent right here in Scottsdale. Check out some of her styles, with sales starting at $35, below, and purchase here.

Misha Mendicino

Misha Mendicino

Misha Mendicino

Albert Andrada brought stunning couture gowns. His works were ornate, one featuring feathery shoulder pads, and many Asian-inspired styles with bold sleeves. There were studded jackets, 3D skirts, sequins and toga-like styles. It was a beautiful show to watch and included dresses perfect for a red carpet affair. See some styles below, and visit his collections here.

Albert Andrada

Albert Andrada

Albert Andrada

Bri Seeley, from Los Angeles, brought soft and feminine styles. Many of her dresses reminded me of something Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine would wear. While some styles were a little conservative, most of the pieces seemed like they could fit in perfectly in any woman’s closet. Find her here, and check out some styles below.

Bri Seeley

Bri Seeley

Bri Seeley

Dolcessa, from Las Vegas, brought sexy swimwear to the catwalk. The wraps and bikinis were gorgeous — it’s easy to see why they’ve been featured extensively in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for the past four years. See some below, and purchase here.

Dolcessa

Dolcessa

Dolcessa

Phoenix Fashion Week concludes tonight. Find more information here.

Scandalesque performs Sexy Sci-Fi at Phoenix Center for the Arts

Local burlesque troupe Scandalesque created nerdvana heaven this past weekend when they took the Phoenix Center for the Arts stage for their Sexy Sci-Fi show. Characters such as Yoda, Flash Gordon and Barbarella came back to life in a very sexy style, as Scandalesque’s talented troupe of dancers, aerialists and singers donned provocative costumes to give sexy twists to beloved names in science fiction.

Scandalesque at Phoenix Center for the Arts

With sassy drag queen hostess Aimee Justice, the troupe, which also featured some studly guys, powered through two hours of song-and-dance performances, showing off why the art of the tease is so scintillating and giving a diverse audience glimpses of pasties, tummies and fishnet stockings throughout.

Scandalesque at Phoenix Center for the Arts

I love how the burlesque troupe reinvents classics in a hip way, and the acrobatics and fire play are always impressive. They’re a hard-working group who strives to put on a professional, well-rounded show, so check them out if you never have for a unique form of entertainment in the Valley.

Scandalesque at Phoenix Center for the Arts

See more photos from the show below. The troupe performs in Vegas for the October 31 Fetish & Fantasy Halloween Ball. Learn more here.

Scandalesque performs at Phoenix Center for the Arts

Scandalesque at Phoenix Center for the Arts

Scandalesque at the Phoenix Center for the Arts

Scandalesque at the Phoenix Center for the Arts

Bad Water Brewing Tap Room in Scottsdale serves exclusive beers

There’s a new bar with a speakeasy feel in Old Town Scottsdale.

Bad Water Brewing  in Old Town ScottsdaleWalk along Brown Avenue and peek in the salon-filled street to find Bad Water Brewing, a bar that balances its beers with fancy charcuterie boards and sleek, masculine furnishings that are part upscale sports bar, part minimalist hangout for those simply looking for a tasty brewskie.

Bad Water Brewing  in Old Town ScottsdaleThe spot serves three craft beers, only distributed in Arizona: a lighter-than-usual IPA; a strong in alcohol, light-in-taste saison; and a caramely Western lager that was probably my favorite of the three (all $5 each). IPAs usually scare me because of their strong taste, though I’m attracted to the high alcohol content, so it’s great this fruit-forward IPA went down smoothly and still hit the spot at 5.5 percent alcohol. The saison, with an orange spice tinge, had a whopping 6 percent alcohol percentage, while the lager with a smooth finish had 5 percent. I was impressed with all these local brews, and our knowledgeable server did a great job at explaining the nuances.

Bad Water Brewing  in Old Town ScottsdaleWe ordered a vegetarian Noble Stave charcuterie board (there’s also a vegan one, sans meats and cheeses), normally $15. It came with a scrumptious blueberry goat cheese, brie, gorgonzola, pistachios, almonds, olives, peppers, artichokes and more. It was definitely artfully presented and included some fancy cheeses, but I was disappointed there were only three flat lavash crackers. It came with three long, hard grissini crackers that were difficult to spread anything on, and overall, the offerings were a little sparser than I’d expect for the price.

Bad Water Brewing  in Old Town ScottsdaleMy favorite part of the board was definitely the blueberry goat cheese. I’ve never had anything like it and would have enjoyed an appetizer featuring just that. The ingredients all went well together, though I would have loved more lavash.

As for atmosphere, the vibe was relaxed and would make for a great spot for industry folk looking to unwind after working in the area. I just wish there were some purse hooks on the high-tops, since there was nowhere to put mine except for on my lap, on the floor or on the table.

Bad Water Brewing  in Old Town ScottsdaleI wouldn’t say I would go there just for the appetizers, but the cheap-in-price, high-in-quality local brews are attractive, and it’s nice to have the charcuterie boards (six to choose from, starting at $11), to whet your palate before heading to dinner.

The spot features a 16-seater private room that will be used for educational beer events and that can be reserved for parties, a cool aspect to the venue.

Bad Water Brewing  in Old Town ScottsdaleThe thing I enjoyed most about Bad Water was its unique beer selection, also including seven drafts and 10 bottled beers from guest breweries, including a favorite of mine, the Lumberyard Pale Ale from Lumberyard Brewing Company in Flagstaff ($6.) Learn more about Bad Water Brewing here.

The Airborne Toxic Event and In the Valley Below rock Marquee Theatre (VIDEO)

Last night at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, The Airborne Toxic Event and openers In the Valley Below put on a really energizing, fun show. There was anthemic rock, catchy grooves and dance-y melodies that had the crowd clapping and singing along all night.

In the Valley Below at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, ArizonaI was really impressed with The Airborne Toxic Event’s new song, “Wrong.” It was powerful and beautiful and made me instantly fall in love.

The Airborne Toxic Event at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, ArizonaCheck out videos from both bands below — it’s easy to become a fan.

‘Last Comic Standing’ Live Tour brings Joe Machi amazing-ness

I am not a huge fan of reality shows, but I got sucked in to this season of Last Comic Standing. I’ve always loved stand-up comedy, so in terms of vapidness, this is one of the better reality shows out there, I suppose. Host J.B. Smoove and the cast of mentors, including Wanda Sykes and Jay Leno, were entertaining in addition to the comics. I got to see the top five finalists live for the Last Comic Standing Live Tour last night at Mesa Arts Center.

Lachlan Patterson at 'Last Comic Standing' Live Tour

While each comic on the show decently held their own, there were two stand-outs: the winner, Rod Man, and my absolute favorite, Joe Machi. It’s challenging to be entertained by comedy when you’re watching it through a screen, and you aren’t surrounded by people laughing right beside you, but Joe was hysterical every time he appeared on the show.

Joe Machi at the 'Last Comic Standing' Live Tour

Machi reminds me of a little of the restaurant mascot Big Boy, just much, much paler. He’s totally shy and awkward off stage, but on stage, he tells really shocking jokes. Given the TV show only featured appropriate-for-TV-audiences comedy, that he could get away with some of the material he did was awesome. For example, one of his jokes involves Thomas Jefferson and Barack Obama – you take it from here.

I love Machi’s deadpan sense of humor and am highly anticipating when he comes for a solo show, but I got a taste of his non-PG material at last night’s show. The top five comics from the show – also including Lachlan Patterson, Nikki Carr and Rocky Laporte – each had about a 20-minute set. Seeing the comics live and uncensored was 100 times funnier than watching the TV show, since they didn’t have to hold back at all and could really be themselves.

Rod Man of the 'Last Comic Standing' Live Tour

I was highly impressed with opener Nikki Carr, who did a hysterical bit about male anatomy and really let loose. Her R-rated material made her a standout in the night, and I was really glad I got to see her excel with edgy material.

Rocky, Lachlan and Rod Man were all on par with how they performed on the TV show, but Joe was, of course, my absolute favorite. It was notable of the five, he came out to the most applause, and I was so excited to “woo” and cheer him on – which he thrillingly responded to.

I loved that most of the comics brought mostly new material to their sets, showing off a refreshing new side viewers hadn’t seen before. Going to the live show is definitely worth it for both fans of the show and comedy lovers in general.

Learn more about Joe Machi here.

Your Art Party in Phoenix a unique painting party

I am really, REALLY loving public painting parties. It’s great to use your brain when you go out, and it’s neat to have something so cool to take home with you when you’re done.

I’ve hit up The Brush Bar in Scottsdale, and I recently discovered Your Art Party in downtown Phoenix. The space is super-intimate, with a capacity of 14 people, and it’s BYOB, so you can bring as much beer and wine as you want to imbibe while you’re painting.

I had a blast when I went to paint this sunset recently.

Your Art Party in Phoenix, AZ

Everyone in the class was super-friendly and chatty and made you feel like your friends instantly. Our teacher, Mandie, was absolutely hysterical, and the painting was simple enough for everyone in the room, even a pre-teen in our group, to paint successfully.

I’m excited for a private party I’m hosting there next month and think it’s so cool you’re able to fill the space yourself for only $25 a person. Find more information on Your Art Party here.

O.H.S.O. Eatery + Distillery a great dog-friendly restaurant

You’ve got to love dog-friendly restaurants. Dogs just inject more joy into any situation they’re in, and whenever I can hang out with my pughuahua, Chico Hombre, I’m thrilled.

Chico Hombre at O.H.S.O. Eatery + Distillery in Scottsdale.

Chico and I headed to the new O.H.S.O. Eatery + Distillery in north Scottsdale, where servers deliver fresh water bowls to tables with pooches on the patio, along with a bag of treats to keep them busy while you get your pub and grub on. Each table has a carabiner you can tie your leash to, and Chico had a blast entertaining the guests around us.

Sip on a brewskie from the extensive beer list featuring dozens of options, or get a mimosa ($6), like I did. For dinner, my companion loved his turkey burger and fries ($12),

Turkey burger at O.H.S.O. Eatery + Distillery in Scottsdale.

while my grilled cheese on ciabatta with avocado and tomato and a side salad ($12) was might tasty.

Grilled cheese at O.H.S.O. Eatery + Distillery in Scottsdale

The patio had fans to cool people off, and the staff was super-friendly and professional. The Arcadia location of O.H.S.O. has always been one of my faves, and I’m stoked they’ve opened one in Scottsdale.

Download the O.H.S.O. app to reserve a brew-your-own-beer night with your friends. It’s $50 to reserve a spot, but you get a $50 gift card to come back and drink your creation. How awesome is that?

Learn more about O.H.S.O. here.

Topgolf in Scottsdale fun for non-golfers, dogs

If you ever wanted to golf with Fido by your side, Topgolf in Scottsdale is your place.

Topgolf in Scottsdale

The recently opened driving range lets you bring your canines along for the ride, who can relax on cushioned couches as you bounce off balls into targets throughout the range.

Its dog-friendliness isn’t its only draw. Anyone will have fun at Topgolf, whether you’re a pro with the sticks or not. Each hole has its own misted and fanned lounge area, with servers delivering drinks and food as you compete against your friends.

Topgolf in Scottsdale

There are full bars on both golfing levels, as well as a rooftop bar, and fire pits and extra lounging areas give a great view of Valley sunsets, making it a bonafide Scottsdale rooftop bar contender.

Topgolf in Scottsdale

For those who do golf, up to six people can compete against each other to score points by hitting balls into one of the netted areas. Rates are hourly, after you pay a $5 membership fee. It’s $25/hour between open-noon, $35/hour between noon-5 p.m. and $45/hour between 5 p.m.-close. Divided by a group of six, that’s not too bad, and I loved it as a new fun alternative to group bowling.

Something I wasn’t a fan of was that woods and drivers are not allowed, only irons. A driving range where you can’t use your driver?! Yep.

Apparently too many people were hitting the ball over the fence into Talking Stick Resort area. Bummer.

Still, it’s pretty darn awesome to hit balls in cool air to Top 40 music. Learn more about Topgolf here.