Mr. P-Body: DJ and Bassist for Elvis Before Noon

Mr. P-Body, Phoenix DJ and bassist for Elvis Before Noon, photographed at his home in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Mr. P-Body, Phoenix DJ and bassist for Elvis Before Noon, photographed at his home in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Mr. P-Body
www.mrpbody.com

Mr. P-Body is a Valley music veteran, playing around town for more than 20 years in various bands and hooking up venues with dance-worthy tunes via his DJ sets. The Scottsdale resident currently plays bass in power pop band Elvis Before Noon, and you can catch him playing music at events and spots around the Valley, including Hotel Valley Ho and private parties.

Mr. P-Body talked about his musical beginnings, what he wishes crowds would keep in mind when it comes to DJs, and what he thinks of the Valley’s music scene. Catch him naming his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents moved out here when my dad got a teaching job in Phoenix. I was born in Louisville, Kentucky and moved here when I was 5.

I went to Alhambra High School. I went to college at Dillard University in New Orleans and ASU to acquire a business degree. I’ve been here since and love the city. It’s nice visiting other places, but I like living here because I like the fact it’s always changing and growing. Continue reading

Michelina DiSibio: Chef and Owner of Michelina’s Ristorante Costa Campagnia

Michelina DiSibio, owner of Michelina's Ristorante Costa Campagnia, photographed at her restaurant in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Michelina DiSibio, owner of Michelina’s Ristorante Costa Campagnia, photographed at her restaurant in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Michelina DiSibio
facebook.com/MichelinasRestaurant

Michelina DiSibio runs one of the tastiest Italian restaurants in the Valley, her namesake Michelina’s Ristorante Costa Campagnia. The Italian-born chef, 63, has been cooking since she was a little girl, and now her gorgeous, intimate, fresh flower-filled restaurant is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary this upcoming November.

Learn more about her restaurant by watching KAET 8‘s Check, Please! Arizona this Thursday, February 26 at 7 p.m. Get to know the Phoenix resident, who is in the kitchen every night the restaurant is open, better here. You can watch a video of DiSibio naming her five favorite reasons for loving living here in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

I arrived in the United States in1970 and lived in New Jersey for nine years. I was married and had two children. We came to Arizona in 1979 because we had visited and loved it and wanted to get away from the cold and snow. It’s been great.

I was born in Gesualdo, Italy and came to America when I was 18. My sister was married and living in New Jersey at the time. My dad convinced me to come here because he thought I’d have better opportunities here and didn’t want me to go to school in Italy. I worked in a factory in Newark and learned English within a year. Continue reading

Lauren Wise: Founder of Midnight Publishing

Lauren Wise, founder of Midnight Publishing, photographed at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Lauren Wise, founder of Midnight Publishing, The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Lauren Wise
twitter.com/MidnightWriting

Lauren Wise is a writing and editing machine, as a freelance writer for publications around the country, and as founder of her own Midnight Publishing, which provides editing, self-publishing and ghostwriting services for authors and businesses. The 30-year-old Tempe resident has helped edit more than 30 books, aiming to create industry experts with the power of the pen.

Wise is also a huge heavy metal fan and works with HeavyMetalTelevision.com as a host and record label contact. She shared why she’s passionate about writing and helping others hone their skills, as well as shared her most memorable moments as a journalist. You can also watch her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved here when I was 15 and went to Saguaro High School before attending ASU and getting my degree in journalism. My parents relocated, so I had to go with them. I was born in Hinsdale, Illinois, a little bit out of Chicago.

I spent my childhood all over South Florida and my early teenage years in Kansas. My dad designs golf courses, so that is why we moved so often — you go where the work is. Arizona is a perfect place for that, and the projects here he worked on include Grayhawk, Mirabel, Estancia and Whisper Rock. Continue reading

Josh Montag: Drummer for Scattered Melodies, The Wiley Ones and Ruca

Josh Montag, drummer for Scattered Melodies, Ruca and The Wiley Ones, photographed in his home studio, by Nicki Escudero

Josh Montag, drummer for Scattered Melodies, Ruca and The Wiley Ones, photographed in his home studio, by Nicki Escudero

Josh Montag
facebook.com/ScatteredMelodies

Josh Montag is one of the busiest guys in the local music scene, as drummer for bands Scattered Melodies, The Wiley Ones and Ruca. The 27-year-old Mesa resident works as a server at Pita Jungle, but his true passion is music, as is evident by the myriad shows you can catch him playing around the Valley.

Montag and his Scattered Melodies collaborator, Jake Johnston, are currently working on their second album, which will feature more than 30 musicians and different singers and guitarists on every track. Learn more about why Montag loves the drums, and watch him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was 6 years old when my family moved here from California. I was born in San Diego and lived in San Jose before coming here. I went to Mesquite High School and studied film at Scottsdale Community College before studying music business at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Continue reading

Tara Logsdon: Founder of DIE Bearmy and Multimedia Artist

Tara Logsdon, artist and founder of DIE Bearmy, photographed at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, by Nicki Escudero

Tara Logsdon, artist and founder of DIE Bearmy, photographed with her dog, Mixtape, at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, by Nicki Escudero

Tara Logsdon
twitter.com/DIEBearmy

Tara Logsdon feels a unique connection to inanimate objects. Teddy bears found face-down in thrift stores speak to her emotionally, and she rescues them and rehabs them, turning them into beautifully unique pieces of art with her DIE Bearmy teddy bear line. The artist makes one-of-a-kind stuffed animals for people around the world, and the bears have found their ways into the multimedia artist’s exhibitions. She’s made bears for celebrities, and is planning on creating one for actor Jeff Goldblum’s baby.

The 41-year-old Phoenix resident works as a production assistant for Martha + Mary, a venue development company with an arts focus, and at Jobot cafe in Phoenix on the weekends. You can see her bears in her upcoming art installation Bearial Ground at Frontal Lobe Community Space and Gallery in Phoenix February 6 through 20, and you can meet her at the opening reception this Friday, February 6 from 7 to 11 p.m.

Learn more about how Logsdon founded DIE Bearmy, and watch her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I grew up here and moved to Seattle to go to The Art Institute of Seattle. I graduated with a degree in multimedia and a minor in curation. From Seattle, I was moving to L.A. and had all my possessions stolen, and my insurance wouldn’t cover it, so I had to move back in with my parents. My son was 9 at the time, and he wanted to stay here because his grandparents were here, so we stayed. I ended up finding downtown Phoenix and moved into Holgas [artist living space].

I was born in Beatrice, Nebraska, and my parents moved out here when I was 5 years old. I went to Buckeye Union High School. Continue reading

Kim Haasarud: Founder of Liquid Architecture, Co-Founder of Arizona Cocktail Week

Kim Haasarud, founder of Liquid Architecture and co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week, photographed at the Hotel Valley Ho, by Nicki Escudero

Kim Haasarud, founder of Liquid Architecture and co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week, photographed at the Hotel Valley Ho, by Nicki Escudero

Kim Haasarud
twitter.com/MommyMixologist

Kim Haasarud never planned on making a career out of cocktails, but the Fordham University psychology grad and former entertainment industry pro turned what once was a bartending side job into titles such as cocktail author, Arizona Cocktail Week co-founder, and mixology consultant, as founder of Liquid Architecture. The 42-year-old Mesa resident has worked with big-name brands such as Applebee’s and P.F. Chang’s to perfect their cocktail menus and keep drinkers happy.

Haasarud is working on a new book she hopes to be released next year — all she’ll say is, “A blender might be involved” — and she’ll be at Arizona Cocktail Week February 14 through 21 — get details here. Learn what drives Haasarud’s passion for crafting the perfect drink, and check out a video of her naming her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

My husband’s family lives in Phoenix. I lived in New York for 10 years and in L.A. for eight. We got married and had two children, and we wanted to be close to grandparents and a major airport so we could be close to L.A., and we moved here in 2010.

I was born in Nacogdoches, Texas. That’s way, way East Texas, and I was mostly raised in Dallas. I also lived in Kansas City, Kansas, where I went to Blue Valley High School, before attending Fordham University in New York City, where I got my Bachelor of Science in psychology. Continue reading

Carlos Montufar: Flamenco Dancer and Instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida

Carlos Montufar, flamenco dancer and instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida, photographed at the Burton Barr Central Library, by Nicki Escudero

Carlos Montufar, flamenco dancer and instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida, photographed at the Burton Barr Central Library, by Nicki Escudero

Carlos Montufar
FlamencoPorLaVida.com

Carlos Montufar’s passion for flamenco is evident every time he graces a stage, as his turns, claps, stomps and facial expressions are fueled by a fervor he’s had since he was a child, and that has since made him one of the most prominent flamenco dancers in the Valley. The 31-year-old Phoenix resident studied the classic Spanish dance in New Mexico before bringing his talent back to the Valley, and now you can see him on stage with local flamenco company Flamenco Por La Vida (FPLV) Wednesday nights at Gallo Blanco and Saturday nights at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix.

Montufar works as a teacher’s assistant for Madison Rose Lane Elementary during the day, working for the special education department, converting print to braille. He also works as an instructor with FPLV, teaching flamenco Monday nights at 5th Row Dance Studios in Phoenix — find more information here. Read on for why Montufar loves flamenco, and to hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born in Monterey Park, California and moved to El Paso, Texas when I was 6. I came to Phoenix when I was 17 to study drafting at High-Tech Institute. I wasn’t a fan of the school, so I transferred to Glendale Community College to get my associate degree in arts and humanities. Continue reading

John Schieffer: Painter and ‘Bearly Escaped’ Author

John Schieffer, Valley painter, photographed at his home studio in Goodyear, by Nicki Escudero

John Schieffer, Valley painter and author and illustrator of Bearly Escaped, photographed at his home studio in Goodyear, by Nicki Escudero

John Schieffer
twitter.com/JohnSchieffer

John Schieffer‘s paintings inspire double-takes, as their photorealistic qualities make the images look lifelike. The 42-year-old Goodyear resident crafts colorful works, often modeled after objects he photographs, from dice and jacks, to martinis and toy dinosaurs. Art lovers can view his work at Scottsdale’s Bonner David Galleries, where he is represented and has a special exhibit March 26 through April 6.

Schieffer is also a children’s book author and illustrator, having self-published his book Bearly Escaped, featuring his paintings, in 2012. The book follows escaped circus animals as they interact with the human world and can be found here.

Schieffer talked about what inspired him to be an artist and about his artistic process, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved to Arizona in 2006 from Connecticut. I was born in Waterbury, Connecticut and lived most of my life in Prospect, Connecticut. My wife and I had vacationed out here once and saw the great real estate and loved the climate. We were getting sick of the New England winters, which can be pretty harsh. Continue reading

Pavle Milic: Co-Owner of FnB, Founder of Los Milics Wine

Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB, Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants, photographed in front of his Los Milics wine label at Arizona Wine Merchants in Bodega Market, by Nicki Escudero

Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB, Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants, photographed in front of his Los Milics wine label at Arizona Wine Merchants in Bodega Market, by Nicki Escudero

Pavle Milic
twitter.com/FnBAZ

Pavle Milic has been a fervent force in the Valley’s dining scene, with more than 25 years of experience in Arizona’s restaurant industry. The Colombia-born, 42-year-old Chandler resident has worked at Phoenix’s Racho Pinot, Cowboy Ciao and Royal Palms, as well as restaurants in New York City and Napa Valley. He now co-owns FnB restaurant in Scottsdale, as well as next-door Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants. He has his own wine label, Los Milics, and hosts brunches on Rabbit Island with Desert Splash Adventures.

You can hear Milic on the online radio station he founded, MyAzNowRadio.com, where he interviews notable professionals in the Valley. Read more to learn how Milic became a formidable player in Arizona dining, and keep reading to watch a video of Milic naming his top five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was 15 when I came to Arizona. My stepdad became partners with Franco Fazzouli, who owns Franco’s Italian Café in Scottsdale. We moved here in 1987 to open up Franco’s Trattoria in Scottsdale. I went to Saguaro High School and Scottsdale Community College, and got a degree from the Academy of Broadcasting in Phoenix in communications and broadcasting.

My dad defected communist Yugoslavia in 1962 and wound up in Colombia, where he met my mom, and I was born. We moved to Queens, New York when I was 11 because my mom wanted to live here. Continue reading

Jake Friedman: Founder of Four Chambers Literary Magazine

Jake Friedman, founder of Four Chambers literary magazine and publishing house, photographed at his home in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Jake Friedman, founder of Four Chambers literary magazine and publishing house, photographed at his home in Phoenix, with art by Carol Roque in the back left and his own drawing on the right, by Nicki Escudero


Jake Friedman
twitter.com/FourChambersPhx

Phoenix is home to a literary magazine that features proficient writers from all over the world, as Four Chambers culls quality prose, poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction and more to fill up its pages. Four Chambers was founded in 2013 by Jake Friedman, a 25-year-old Phoenix resident who started the magazine when he saw the need for an outlet for high-quality independent writing in the Valley. Now, Four Chambers is slated to release its third issue this upcoming spring — the last issue had more than 1,100 submissions. The magazine, now with an editorial staff of 20 people, is expanding as a publishing house with a new Phoenix Art Museum-themed chapbook it is currently accepting submissions for.

Friedman, who works as a server at Phoenix Public Market Café, talked about how he started Four Chambers, as well as five of his favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

It was more or less of a whim. I had just finished my undergrad degree in English and philosophy at a small liberal arts college called McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. My best friend was moving out here with her boyfriend to get her master’s. I wasn’t really doing anything in Maryland, so I figured I’d come out here with them, and moved in 2011. I was born in Laurel, Maryland. Continue reading