Happening in Phoenix
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Few cities have grown faster and more dramatically in the past half-century than Phoenix, which in 2005 overtook Philadelphia to become the fifth most populous city in the nation.
It’s also larger in area than Los Angeles and the hub of a metro region that includes several other fast-growing metropolises, including Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and Glendale. But the “Valley of the Sun” is much more than a popular place to live—tourism here has taken off thanks to the bounty of lavish resorts, a cultural renaissance in downtown Phoenix, and some of the best shopping, dining, and recreational opportunities in the West. More recently, the region’s office of tourism has begun enthusiastically wooing LGBT travelers.
A highly contemporary metropolis surrounded by mountains and high desert, Phoenix is in many ways the last stronghold of the western frontier. The region is dogged by certain challenges prevalent in the West, such as rampant sprawl and sometimes oppressive smog. It’s also bone-dry here - only the Sahara is less humid than Phoenix’s Sonoran Desert. Most of the year, the weather is ideal for outdoor recreation, with winter highs in the mid-60s and spring and fall highs in the mid-80s. About the only period with blistering heat is summer, when daytime temperatures routinely climb into the low 100s (and many accommodations drop their rates precipitously).
In terms of gay-friendliness, Phoenix defies labels. This somewhat conservative capital city has long maintained strong Republican leanings, but some of the region’s most famous right-of-center politicians - including Sen. John McCain and the late Sen. Barry Goldwater - have expressed relatively accepting attitudes toward gays and lesbians. And somewhat surprisingly in 2006, this traditionally “red” state became the first in the nation to vote down a proposed ban on same-sex marriage. Phoenix has a highly visible GLBT community, and a huge number of queer bars, social organizations, and “family”-friendly eateries.
Visitors to this area have traditionally made a beeline for swanky Scottsdale, with its chichi hotels, lush golf courses, haute galleries, and sumptuous spas. However, Phoenix proper - which is home to most of the region’s GLBT bars and other businesses - has enjoyed a notable comeback of late, especially the once soulless downtown commercial center.
The action centers on Copper Square and its massively expanded convention center, plus dozens of trendy restaurants, high-end hotels, and fine performance venues. There are also a 24-screen cinema, several museums, and sports stadiums that host baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks and basketball’s Phoenix Suns. A cultural must is the outstanding Phoenix Art Museum, a dramatic green-quartz structure containing 19th-century European paintings, delightful artworks of the American West, and Abstract Expressionist masterworks. Two blocks north is the Heard Museum, a 1928 Spanish Colonial Revival hacienda containing the nation’s top collection of Native American art and artifacts.
Several peripheral residential neighborhoods have become gentrified of late, such as the Willo and Garfield Place historic districts. Of particular note is Roosevelt Row, a burgeoning mixed-use residential district that supports several excellent galleries as well as a wonderful bakery, Tammie Coe Cakes (stop in for a latte and a sweet treat or two). Speaking of baked goods, ardent pizza connoisseurs have been known to travel thousands of miles for a meal at Pizzeria Bianco, inside a historic building in the heart of the bustling Heritage Square section of downtown. Chef-owner Chris Bianco has been dubbed a pizza-making genius for his simply sensational wood-fired pies, including the Wiseguy (topped with roasted onion, house-smoked mozzarella, and fennel sausage). Just beware the long lines.
Vinophiles have taken a shine to Cheuvront Wine & Cheese Cafe, the brainchild of the city’s openly gay state senator, Ken Cheuvront. This happening place near the Phoenix Art Museum serves countless vintages by the glass and bottle as well as a long menu of stellar cheeses, salads, pizzas, and snacks. It’s a short walk down Central Avenue from here to reach the city’s premier gay bar, Amsterdam, an elegant lounge that’s part of a larger complex that includes Club Miami and Malibu Beach Bar. Other gay night spots within a short drive include the lesbian-favored Club Vibe, which replaced long-running Ain’t Nobody’s Biz and offers dancing, darts, and pool; the leather-and-Levi’s-oriented Phoenix Eagle; and the high-energy Karamba Nightclub. Gay two-steppers and country-western fans gather at Charlie’s, while fans of drag and karaoke get their fix at Burger Betty’s, an Aussie-themed gay restaurant and bar.
With all the snazzy new resorts that have opened in Scottsdale and other outlying cities, it’s easy to forget that Phoenix itself is home to a pair of aces: the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore, and the intimate, old-world Royal Palms, both of which opened in the late ‘20s. The 40-acre Biltmore, with its gray, low-slung, angular buildings containing 738 guest rooms, lies in the shadows of Phoenix Mountain Reserve. There’s also fine golfing and an acclaimed spa. Set aside an evening to dine at Wright’s at the Biltmore, where such inventive regional American fare as milk-poached pork tenderloin with foie gras sauce draws fawning accolades. Many a diva whiles away a Saturday afternoon at the nearby Biltmore Fashion Park, strolling through high-end boutiques and snacking at trendy restaurants.
The genteel and cozier Royal Palms Resort and Spa could pass for a splendid private villa in Spain, with its fanciful stone paths meandering past fragrant gardens and citrus-tree-shrouded casitas decked in old-world antiques and tiles. The weekend brunch at T. Cook’s - best enjoyed on the sunny patio - is a Phoenix tradition, and the resort’s tranquil Alvadora Spa provides some of the most supremely relaxing treatments you can imagine, from Watsu water therapy to crystal-stone facials. Die-hard massage junkies should book one of the seven state-of-the-art spa suites.
In downtown Phoenix, the upscale Hyatt Regency Phoenix and the eight-story, moderately priced Best Western Central Phoenix Inn are solid options, all within a short drive or walk of area bars, restaurants, shops, and museums. A less obvious pick is the funky, gay-friendly Hotel San Carlos, a grand if faded 121-room Italian Renaissance-style lodging that’s allegedly haunted (by friendly ghosts). It’s definitely seen better days, but for the price, it’s a good bet with a convenient, central location - especially if you prefer quirky over glamorous.
Nearby Scottsdale abounds with more recently built resorts, from the supremely cushy Sanctuary Camelback Mountain resort and swish Four Seasons Scottsdale, to the sexy and hip Scottsdale Mondrian and retro-chic Hotel Valley Ho. In Chandler, consider the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass (which is expected to become a Starwood Luxury Collection property later in 2007), an attractive spread on the Gila River Indian Reservation, 20 miles southeast of downtown. The vibe here is low-keyed and unpretentious, thanks in part to the consistently genial employees. The much-lauded Kai restaurant and the transcendent Aji Spa remind you, however, that you’re staying at a truly splendid desert hideaway. An equestrian center offering trail rides and a campy ersatz frontier town called Rawhide (think stagecoach rides, goofy gift shops, and gunfightin’ reenactments) may help you to channel your inner cowgirl or -boy.
Greater Phoenix also has a handful of gay-oriented accommodations, which range from homey B&Bs to saucy clothing-optional retreats. Downtown’s gay-owned but mainstream Yum Yum Tree Guest House, in the hip and historic Willo neighborhood, occupies a 1920s school building with soaring ceilings and Mexican-tile floors. Shaded patios and gurgling fountains surround the Spanish Mission-style building, which also adjoins a relaxing pool area. A racier option is the Arizona Royal Villa, a nudity-permitted men’s compound with an impressively enticing pool, hot tub, and sunning area and rooms and suites in a variety of configurations. For $10, non-overnight guests can spend the day here swimming, tanning, and mingling with fellow sun-bunnies. It may lack the pizzazz of the Biltmore, but this frisky compound is the closest you’ll find in these parts to a Palm Springs-style gay resort.
Royal Palms Resort & Spa youtu.be
Arizona Biltmore www.arizonabiltmore.com
Arizona Royal Villa www.royalvilla.com
Best Western Central Phoenix Inn www.bestwesterncentralphoenix.com
Burger Betty's www.burgerbettys.com
Club Vibe www.clubvibe602.com
Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North www.fourseasons.com/scottsdale
Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau www.phoenixcvb.com
Hotel San Carlos www.hotelsancarlos.com
Hotel Valley Ho www.hotelvalleyho.com
Hyatt Regency Phoenix www.phoenix.hyatt.com
Karamba Nightclub www.karambanightclub.com
Phoenix Eagle www.phxeagle.com
Pizzeria Bianco www.pizzeriabianco.com
Roosevelt Row www.rooseveltrow.org
Royal Palms Resort and Spa www.royalpalmshotel.com
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com
Scottsdale Mondrian www.mondrianscottsdale.com
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa www.wildhorsepassresort.com
Tammie Coe Cakes www.tammiecoecakes.com
Yum Yum Tree Guest House www.yytguesthouse.com
The DJ-production drag duo known as Jawbreakers is asking people to take "Just a Taste" of their upcoming EP. That flavorful sample called "Boyfriend" is available now on digital platforms. If you're thinking, hey, didn't Ashlee Simpson have a song of the same name back in 2005? Yes, she did, but this version is a lot more club-friendly with an EDM edge.
The creative process has many layers as most dance songs do these days. It begins with the Jawbreakers producing the music then finding a voice to sing it. In this case, Amunda, formerly of the Australian group Operator Please. The song dismisses its punk roots and evolves into a banger bop with dancefloor disco sass much like its producers.
Kali Forni-Kate and Sabrina Babyslut are those producers and they call themselves Jawbreakers. But you can just call them Kali and Sabrina. Both are in their twenties but refuse to say on which end of the scale. What's abundantly clear is their love of pop culture and tapping into nightclub synergy.
They both live in Melbourne, Australia, or Naarm, as it is called by those who wish to respect traditional Aboriginal names. Kali lives in the southern area where modern artists and modern history collide. That is where the iconic Chapel Street is located. It's known for its shops, restaurants, and popular gay districts. Although they live a stone's throw away from each other, they always end up together.
"There’s a bunch of queer venues and events happening frequently and honestly any venue that books us and supports and uplifts the queer community is iconic in my opinion," Sabrina said.
JawbreakersAndrew Van Dorsselaer
Their pronouns are she and her when in drag, and they and him when out of it. We will refer to them mostly in the former for the purposes of this article. But ultimately they hate labels, "We both identify as queer and slowly trying to move away from labels as much as possible regardless of whether we are in or out of drag."
The two have been friends going on six years. They met each other while doing a Britney Spears tribute show at the deco-inspired historic Greyhound Hotel, now sadly demolished.
There’s a four-to five-year age gap between them; they met when Sabrina was 18 and Kali was 23. "I think we were surprised how instantly we clicked and that we had so much in common for a millennial and Gen Z," they explain. "From there we were inseparable pretty much trying to incorporate each other into every gig and then the rest is history."
In school, Sabrina studied costume design and music theory and she's played saxophone ever since she was seven years old.
Kali was a track and field athlete who admits to being, "a Uni drop out studying musculoskeletal therapy. I also love waterskiing, kneeboarding, and to be honest, still into Pokemon Go," she smirks.
Eventually they let their love of music and style win out over everything else. That makes sense because both have music in their blood. "I dead ass was in primary school listening to sonatas on my iPod Touch but I would listen to literally any genre of music as long as it was on 'Glee,'" said Sabrina who loves how technology has progressed the medium."Music has become a lot more synthesized but people have leaned into that embracing the electronic sounds."
"My dad is a jazz musician," adds Kali, "and mum was a dancer. [My] Sister was an opera singer so I grew up in a very musical industry going to interstate jazz festivals---and I played piano. I went through my pop diva 'Britney Spears in the zone phase,' to my emo My Chemical Romance phase and got my first Ministry of Sound CD when I was 10 years old, which is insane because I had so many CD’s with John Course’s name on them, and now [I'm] supported by his record label."
Which brings us to their latest project: the "Just a Taste" EP and their first single from that album, "Boyfriend." With so much creativity in their vains and drive in their hearts it's curious why they would choose to make an EP that averages four tracks per album rather than the longer format with three-times that.
"'With this EP we’re showing a few different sides of our musical personality ranging from pure pop to more club focused songs and we really wanted to give the listeners ‘Just A Taste’ and use this EP as a metaphorical tasting platter," they explain. The idea is to show their audience they are musically diverse, but still have something succinct. "Since this is our first body of work we're putting out, it would be risky to do a full album. It's better to dip your toe in and see what works and what needs tweaking before releasing an album, which is a huge undertaking."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
Once they had the music track for "Boyfriend" laid down, they needed to find a singer who could not only bring a freshness to the vocals, but also understood what the DJs were trying to do. Upon the advise of Joel Siviour from Seismic Talent, they found that female voice in Amunda, an indie artist who used to sing for the popular Australian band Operator Please.
"Since the original track is a pop rock song from the 2000s we knew we needed something in that realm, so when we were introduced to Amunda we knew it would be the perfect fit because she herself had some big hits with Operator Please which had that pop/alt/rock kinda vibe to it. The track was pretty much done before we sent it to her and we were just looking for a topline and when she agreed to be a part of the project we let her have free reign with the topline and we were so obsessed with what she came back with!"
The completed project was perfect they say. "Boyfriend" is the epitome of who they are, "it’s a high energy dance track that just makes you want to get up and party and have fun! It shows how much we love pop culture referencing the iconic queen Ashlee Simpson but how we recontextualized the track for today's music climate. In the music video you truly get to see us and become part of (what I like to call) the Jawbreaker Cinematic Universe which is just this bubble gum pop world we live in and serve some iconic Y2K looks and be the biggest Y2K divas we can be."
Andrew Van Dorsselaer
That's no exaggeration. The video which recently released on YouTube proves it. Bubblicious colors, mod culture designs and 60s era couture, Jawbreakers is just like Kali's Pokedex: ready to evolve. Groovy chic and pink hair showcase the talent of these pop rocks. And the land down under is eating them up.
"The LGBTQIA+ community in Australia is sooo supportive," Sabrina says. "Every city has such an uplifting community that gets behind their up-and-coming artists in queer spaces. From painting, to acting---the sex and drag industry---the community is so insanely supportive. Like, we couldn’t imagine being straight because like there's no community and they don’t hype each other like the LGBT community does."
Jawbreakers is only beginning their reign. With "Girlfriend" finished and the "Just a Taste" EP dropping on April 1, 2022, the duo are poised for stardom. They aren't taking anything for granted either.
"We also have been so lucky to be offered some incredible gigs that are coming up this year. Now that borders are open we are about to head on an Aus tour starting at St Kilda Fest, and then heading on the Summer Camp Tour with a killer queer lineup. We also plan to get back in the studio and keep making new music. We truly are just ready to make the most out of all the opportunities we have been blessed with and do the most to make anyone who has supported us proud."
You can listen to Jawbreakers' debut single "Boyfriend" on digital music platforms and watch the video below.
Their full EP "Just a Taste" will release on April 1, 2022.
Jawbreakers - Boyfriend (ft. AMUNDA) (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
Mental health impacts how you think and feel, affecting all aspects of your life. It also determines how you handle your stress and make important choices. Having good mental health is important for all ages, from children to elders. Here are the most effective ways to boost your mental health.
Staying positive may be easy when you're happy, but it gets more difficult as you encounter stress. Staying positive is something you'll have to learn how to do, but it gets easier with time. Ultimately, it's up to you to see the silver lining when something stressful happens. For example, if you lose your job, you might consider it an opportunity to find a career you enjoy.
Staying positive is all about balancing positive and negative emotions, but it doesn't mean you won't ever feel down. It's important to feel your emotions so you can address them and move past them. However, how you manage those emotions once you feel them depends on you.
Practicing gratitude allows you to actively acknowledge the good things in your life. Practicing gratitude might look different for everyone, but it's typically easiest to keep a gratitude journal that you write in every day. Your journal can be a list of everything you're grateful for, including your family, friends, pet, and even coffee. Don't worry about repeating things in your journal; it's important you continuously recognize the things that make you happy.
Practicing gratitude allows you to see your life in a different light. When you take the time to sit down and think about things that make you happy, you can focus on the positive instead of the negative.
Get into the habit of practicing gratitude by writing in a journal for at least five minutes a day. In addition, writing in your journal at night can help you relieve stress so you can easily fall asleep. t your job, so you must do something you love or have a passion for—being at a job you despise can make you feel like you're wasting your life, which can make you feel depressed. Additionally, having a stressful job can impact your mental and physical health.
If you find yourself feeling drained just at the thought of going to work, consider why your job situation makes you feel down. You might find that you enjoy your job but have a toxic workplace. No matter the case, it's up to you to get out of any job situation that makes you feel stressed or burned out.
Setting goals gives you something to work towards. Then, when you accomplish those goals, you'll feel a sense of purpose that's unbeatable. Setting goals gives you a reason to get up in the morning and stay productive and active all day long. Your goals can be career-based, health-based, or even home-based. For example, you can have a goal for weight loss while also having one to get a promotion by the end of the year.
Whatever your goals are, make sure you also set an action plan that helps you accomplish those goals. You may even have to break your goals up into smaller goals so you can keep accomplishing small tasks until you reach the ultimate goal.
Spend Time With Others
Even if you're an introvert, spending time with others can boost your mental health because it allows you to take your mind off of other things going on. Not only that but your friends and family are your support network, so you'll always have someone to talk to when you're feeling stressed.
Don't Forget About Your Physical Health
Taking care of your physical health can improve your mental health. Your body and mind are connected; the other will be impacted when one doesn't feel well. You can focus on your physical health by:
- Being active
- Getting quality sleep
- Eating well
Find a Purpose
Giving yourself a purpose in life will allow you to wake up feeling energized. Not to mention, it allows you to find something you're passionate about so you can feel connected to the world and yourself. Your purpose in life won't be the same as someone else's. For example, your purpose in life might be your pets or children, while someone else's will be their passion for their hobbies or career.
If you don't know what your purpose is yet, spend time thinking about the things you enjoy. Many people find careers they're excited about while others wake up so they can enjoy their hobbies. It doesn't matter what your purpose is; just make sure it gives you a reason to wake up every day and helps you manage daily stresses.
Take Care of Others
Focusing on others allows you to get out of your head. Whether you volunteer at the local pet shelter or take care of your grandmother, you'll have something to do that makes you feel connected. Not only that, but you'll be able to keep a schedule of helping others that not only makes you feel good but helps others.
Reconsider Your Job
You spend eight or more hours a day at work. If you notice that you've been feeling anxious or depressed for a while, it might be time to seek help from a psychologist or an in person or telepsychiatrist. These professionals can help you learn how to cope with stress while providing you with medication to improve potential chemical imbalances. Seeing a professional is not something to be ashamed about; it's something you should be proud of. Getting the help you need can improve your life and make you feel happier.
Boosting Your Mental Health
There are many ways to boost your mental health. It's up to you to find the ways that work best based on your schedule and needs. For example, while getting a puppy can give you a sense of purpose, it's not a good idea if you're never home. Finding ways to improve your mental health might take experimentation, but you can find something that truly works for you with a little patience.
About the Author
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.
Did you know January 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day?
According to Google, the history of chocolate cake goes back to 1764, when Dr. James Baker discovered how to make chocolate by grinding cocoa beans between two massive circular millstones. A popular Philadelphia cookbook author, Eliza Leslie, published the earliest chocolate cake recipe in 1847 in The Lady's Receipt Book.
Many of us would love chocolate cake the be celebrated every day of the year, but to officially celebrate its national day, a Chandler-based restaurant, The Double Dutch Kitchen and Cocktails, is offering a free slice of its handmade Chocolate Cake with the purchase of a sandwich or entree.
Their chef-crafted chocolate cake is topped with white chocolate and berry coulis. The Double Dutch Kitchen and Cocktails is a locally owned and operated New American gastropub serving comfort food with a modern and elegant twist. It is located at 1890 W Germann Rd # 1, Chandler, AZ 85286.
For more information about The Double Dutch, please visit www.thedoubledutchaz.com or call (480) 758-5856.