Features

Young Bucks

2016-05-30 | ImagesAZ | Youth


Photo Credit: Keri Meyers
Writer Stephanie Maher Palenque   In a world filled with video games, iPhones and other electronics, there are three North Valley families who are raising boys in what may seem like an alternate universe: the world of rodeo competition.   Barely tall enough to see over the steers they regularly ride, these boys put fear aside and work through their anxiety each time they climb into the metal chute and mount the 1,800-pound steers they will cling to for as long as possible — in front of crowds of hundreds. Thus far in their relatively short careers, they have attracted the respect and admiration of many audiences. And if local resident Rob Tremp has his way, they will sell the short documentary he produced to a network for reality TV development or a full-feature documentary based on three of these local “Young Bucks.”   Many believe that more than promoting bull riding and the rodeo circuit, these boys are promoting a lifestyle that some say is all but dead: the lifestyle of... More

A Piece of History: Cartwright’s Arizona History Dinners

2016-05-29 | ImagesAZ | Community


Photo Credit: Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House
Writer Amanda Christmann   In many ways, Cave Creek has escaped the pen strokes of time. Sports cars still share the road with horses and there are just as many Tony Lamas as there are Christian Louboutins. For well over a century, time has not managed to erase all that has made Cave Creek special, and if Cave Creek restaurateurs Eric Flatt and John Malcolm have their way, the history and lore that made it great will live on through stories and song.   Arizona has always been a place where people do things a little differently. Perhaps it’s something about the dry desert air that makes us feel a little more relaxed and closer to one another. We don’t have to sit in the glow of a campfire to connect through stories and common history; we just need to share a good meal, imbibe in a drink or two and make new memories while sharing old ones.   It’s not a stretch for a place like Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House to carry on Arizona traditions. The restaurant is named after the... More

The Next Stage: Desert Stages Theatre

2016-05-28 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle


Photo Credit: Desert Stages Theatre
Writer Rebecca Zaner   For more than 20 years, Desert Stages Theatre has called Scottsdale home. In 1995, auditions for its first production, “The Ugly Duckling,” were held in the parking lot of Scottsdale Fashion Square. Gerry and Laurie Cullity, co-founders and executive directors, auditioned 13 young hopefuls, all of whom were cast in the first of what would become more than 250 productions.   Gerry was a classically trained musician holding a master’s degree in fine arts from the Mason Gross School of Fine Arts. His career included jobs as an actor, director, playwright, lyricist and musician. Sadly, Gerry passed away a few years ago, leaving Laurie to continue the success of the theater alone. Laurie holds a bachelor’s degree in dance from Rutgers University and spent the majority of her life owning and operating dance schools.   “Gerry was a humble actor when we met in New Jersey,” Laurie shares of their beginning. “I was passionate for dance and musical theater.... More

Drive By Blessings: Helping Vets, Finding Hope

2016-05-27 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Writer Shannon Severson   Sometimes, the best remedy for a broken heart is reaching out to help others. Less than a year ago, Karynda and Brandon Kearns’ family was experiencing the hardest time of their lives. Their youngest sons, Owen and Aiden, were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after enduring severe emotional trauma. Karynda struggled to keep a brave face for her children, but felt they were all stuck in an endless cycle of painful thoughts.   “About three weeks after that trauma, I decided we needed to do something to get our minds off of our own difficulties,” says Karynda. “I went to the kids for ideas and they suggested we create ‘blessing bags’ to hand out to the homeless as we drove by.”   The boys designed a logo themselves, filled plastic zip bags with water, basic toiletries and snacks — and Drive By Blessings was born.   “When we focused on making the bags, we began to heal from what happened to us,” says Karynda. “By mid-July, we... More

Paper Dresses: Annie Lopez

2016-05-26 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle


Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Writer Donna Kublin   Over the past several decades, nationally exhibited artist Annie Lopez has consistently created new bodies of work exploring a variety of subjects. Through it, she presents a dialogue about race, stereotypes, the local art world, relationships and family, all done with a combination of frankness and humor.   A fourth-generation Phoenix resident, Lopez was recently honored with the 2016 Governor’s Arts Award for individual artist. Her work has been exhibited at museums across the country, including “Paper!” at the Phoenix Art Museum; “American Voices” at the Smithsonian Institution; “The Show” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe; “In Celebration: A Century of Arizona Women Artists,” which traveled throughout Arizona; and, most recently, “Cyanotypes: Photography’s Blue Period” at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. Two of her pieces are currently on exhibit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New... More

The Athlete’s Home

2016-05-25 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle


Photo Credit: The Athlete’s Home
Writer Lara Piu   Healthy living communities have been popular over the last 15 years, with homeowners now enjoying miles of walking, hiking and biking paths throughout communities like DC Ranch and Anthem, in addition to fitness centers and classes, pools, golf, medical complexes and more.   Now in other cities, the trend has made its way inside the home, with new home builders marketing wellness properties. Canyon Ranch in Tucson, for example, offers new homes designed to mimic its iconic destination spa. And in Chicago, new homes by Evolutionary Home Builders monitor and evaluate health and track stamina and performance.   In search of their own health and lifestyle-centric home, local architect, general contractor and real estate broker John Landry and his wife, Kim, took matters into their own hands. Not wanting to move out of the neighborhood they loved, they took their existing home down to the slab and started from scratch, all to create a new home catered to their... More

Dog is My Copilot

2016-05-24 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Brandon Tigrett
Writer Peni Long   With a magnanimous mission and a memorable name, Dog Is My Copilot (DIMC) has saved thousands of animals’ lives, flying abandoned pets to new furever homes across the country.   Combining their talents and a shared passion for helping the helpless and bringing hope and happiness to animals and families, DIMC co-founders Judy Zimet and Peter Rork have created a process to identify and retrieve unwanted animals in one part of the country and fly them to other states with a greater demand for adoptable pets. It’s a job that requires dedication, coordination and, of course, funding, but it’s one that has resulted in saving more than 4,000 animals since June 2012 — a number that is amazing in itself, but even more meaningful when compared to the estimated 10,000 animals euthanized daily across the United States because no one in their home area wants them.   For Zimet and Rork, it’s all about making a bigger dent against that number.   “By understanding... More

Meet the Osborn Family

2016-05-23 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Photographer Jim Osborn
Writer Lara Piu     “I can’t believe that I almost lost the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Christy Osborn, referring to her husband, Jim.   Their 34-year comeback love story began on a USA Volleyball open division volleyball court in Oklahoma, where they were both competitive players. Christy had caught Jim's eye, but she had a boyfriend who attended every match. That fateful day, Christy showed up alone; Jim struck up a conversation with her and learned that they had broken up. After the match, they both attended a tournament party, but he found Christy surrounded by five guys.   “So I took her hand and said, ‘Let’s go for a walk,’” he recalls. On that walk, he told her, “I’m going to marry you some day.”   He stuck to his promise; Jim proposed, and the young couple married nine months later.   On their wedding day, Jim’s uncle advised, “Now Jimmy-Don, I am going to make you the same offer your dad gave to me,” in his... More

From Pumpkin Picasso to Sand Sculptor; Ray Villafane Returns

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community


Jaw-dropping, how-did-he-do-that hand-sculpted pumpkins are just a slice of life for pumpkin sculptor Ray Villafane. His display at Carefree’s Enchanted Pumpkin Garden last October attracted more than 30,000 people and many major media outlets across the country. Attendees witnessed more than 400 pounds of pumpkins carved by the lord of the gourds.    This month, Villafane returns to Carefree Desert Gardens and the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion to create a bigger bang with life-size sand art sculptures.   “I’ve always wanted a sandbox,” says Villafane. “Sand is a fun medium that allows you to do something on a large scale, and since most people have played in the sand, it’s familiar.”   In the planning stages as we speak, Villafane says he’s shooting for creating a bald eagle or an owl chasing down an elusive and very quick rabbit. This piece has a footprint that is 8-feet wide, 5-feet deep and 6-feet tall.    Villafane will start on a larger piece in the center of... More

A Sense of Place; Bob Bacon

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Lifestyle


Seated in the expansive, yet intimate living room of the award-winning Bowman House in North Scottsdale, I met with its celebrated designer, Bob Bacon. My objective was to gain insight into the philosophy and career of this distinguished designer who has for several decades been involved with high-end planned developments, world-class resorts, exclusive golf communities and premier custom homes.   Aware that I was feeling more relaxed and serene than usual while conducting this interview, wanting only to sink back into the sofa and put my feet up, I was curious why I was having that reaction. Through our conversation, it became evident — it was part of the genius of Bacon’s design, principles and process.    The process began when Boulders residents Carol and Bill Bowman approached Bacon after he had completed the Boulders Resort and asked him to build them a custom home that evoked the feelings they have when they are among those magnificent boulder formations and... More

Taste of Italy in Cave Creek

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community


Cave Creek residents Tamara and Elias Corey are as fresh and sparkling as the prosecco they import from the wine country of Northeast Italy. Their enthusiasm for that region, its people and the wines for which it is famous is contagious.   “Unless you have been to Italy, you have never tasted fresher prosecco,” says Elias. “Ours is delivered as soon as it is bottled, directly from the wineries to Arizona by air freight. No one else is doing that.”   On May 21, the Coreys will be presenting their 2015 Col Vetoraz Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG for a tasting at Brix Wines in Carefree — a perfect time to sample what may become your go-to summer beverage.   Coincidentally and independently, their Prosecco Superiore was discussed in an article on Northern Italy wineries in the April 2016 edition of Wine Spectator and rated 88 points and best value.   While prosecco comes in a range of styles, the Coreys specialize in sourcing those of quality and complexity levels... More

Let Grace Reign

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community


In December 2011, I drove my Prius down the winding dirt roads of Rio Verde into the wilds east of Scottsdale, curious dust following me as my small tires groaned around corners that were more suitable to horses and pickup trucks. My GPS was confused by the washes and trails, and I was running late in a place where time is kept to the beat of hooves and the angle of the sun.   What I found at the end of that road was a ranch that so impacted me that it took me days to write a story for Images Arizona that I thought could do it justice.    Reigning Grace Ranch, the sprawling but unpretentious home of 33 rescued horses and a few other furry faces, was a true labor of unconditional love.    At Reigning Grace, Chris and Amanda Moore had not only taken on horses that had been rescued — some from situations of neglect or trauma, some as retired race horses, some from homes that could no longer support them and some from wild herds whose territory has been encroached on by human... More

Go with the Glow; 7th Annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Community


When Cave Creek restaurateur Eric Flatt, owner of Tonto Bar and Grill and Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House, and Scott Clifton of Aerial Solutions first discussed the idea of holding a hot air balloon glow event to attract families and raise money for local charities, they could not have dreamed of how many people would travel from all over the Valley and beyond to come to the event.   “The response has been incredible, from both the business community and the visitors who come here,” Flatt says. “It’s such an honor to be part of something that has been embraced by so many people.”    The festival has become the largest yearly event in Cave Creek, bringing thousands of patrons to local businesses and packing the town with excitement. This year, Flatt and his staff are once again working with Aerial Solutions to put smiles on faces and a glow in the hearts of kids young and old at the seventh annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival.    This year’s event will be held... More

A Father's Medical Mission; Bill Krissoff

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


This year, Anthem’s always moving Memorial Day Ceremony at the Anthem Veteran’s Memorial will feature a keynote speaker with a story of uncommon family sacrifice. Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Krissoff will share his remarkable story on May 30 at 10 a.m. at Anthem’s “A Day of Remembrance: Memorial Day Ceremony 2016.”   In December 2006, Krissoff and his wife, Christine, received the news every family of a service member dreads: their eldest son, 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff, a Marine counterintelligence officer, had been killed by a roadside bomb while conducting combat operations near Camp Fallujah Army Base in Iraq. He was 25 years old.   Nathan had been a scholar athlete; he and his brother, Austin, both competed internationally with the U.S. Junior National Wildwater Kayak Team. He was an accomplished classical pianist, violinist and poet. He had been student body president at a demanding California prep school and earned a degree in political science from the highly... More

When in Jerome

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Art


While Hollywood has its iconic sign sprawled across a hill that overlooks the city of movie star dreams, here in Arizona, the town of Jerome has its initial “J” prominently and proudly displayed on Cleopatra Hill, overlooking the Verde Valley. Whether you plan a day trip (only an hour and a half drive from North Phoenix) or a comfortable weekend stay at one of their cozy bed-and-breakfasts, inns or hotels, Jerome is always an intriguing place to visit.    At more than 5,200 feet in elevation, Jerome is considered a “mile-high” town. Because it’s a bit cooler than the Phoenix area during the summer months, the town’s activities — such as evening Art Walks on the first Saturday of each month — continue on, making it a great place to come and beat the summer doldrums. In addition to the art galleries, there are fine boutiques to shop in and tasty restaurants in which to catch a meal or a coffee, all housed in historic original buildings. There is weekend entertainment at... More