Nikki G.: Spoken Word Artist

Nikki G., Phoenix spoken word artist, photographed at Jobot Coffee in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Nikki G., Phoenix spoken word artist, photographed at Jobot Coffee in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Nikki G.
Facebook.com/NikkiGPoetry

Nikki G.‘s stage presence is hypnotic. The poet, who has performed all over the Valley, draws audience members in with passionate energy, giving her take on everything from sensuality to women’s issues. It’s no wonder she’s represented Phoenix on a national competition scale — her poetry is catchy, meaningful and animated.

The 38-year-old Phoenix resident and addiction therapist by day goes by Nikki G-Spot during her erotic performances, which are guaranteed to get you hot and bothered. She’s working on a book to be published at the end of this year, and has two professionally produced CDs available now — Erotic Symphony, Pt. 1: The Spoken Word of Nikki G. and Love, Lust & Heartbreak.

Catch her live at the HomeBase Poetry open mic every first Sunday at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel in Phoenix from 7-10 p.m. Check out her poetry at NikkiGPoetry.com, and listen to her works here. Read on for what inspires her work, and keep scrolling to watch her talk about her favorite parts about living in Phoenix.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved to Arizona in 2005. I had come here on vacation and stayed at a resort in Scottsdale in 2004, and I thought everyone was so friendly. If someone would have told me I would have moved here years ago, I would have said, “You’re joking. There’s no way I would pick that place.”

I was born in Washington, D.C. My parents are Jamaican immigrants who met in the D.C. area. My mom moved to California, so I went back and forth between the East and West coasts.

I got my undergrad in psychology from Argosy University and worked in mobile crisis and a mental health hospital here in the Valley before getting my Master’s degree in forensic psychology. I enjoy working in all areas of mental health and have a passion for helping people. Continue reading

Natalie Krishna Das: Pro Skateboarder, Founder of iLList Light Productions

Natalie Krishna Das, pro skateboarder, photographed in downtown Phoenix with her dog, Valkor, by Nicki Escudero

Natalie Krishna Das, pro skateboarder, photographed in Downtown Phoenix with her dog, Valkor, by Nicki Escudero

Natalie Krishna Das
facebook.com/NatalieKrishnaDas

Natalie Krishna Das is one of the most badass gals in the Valley. The 32-year-old Phoenix resident is a pro skateboarder, and she spends her off time surfing waves and snowboarding mountains. What makes the Los Angeles-born beauty even cooler: she’s the founder of the Arizona division of Falling Whistles, a nonprofit that brings exposure to war and the use of child soldiers in the Congo.

When Krishna Das isn’t busy holding up her title of 15th in the world for Women’s Pro Bowl Riding, she’s working on iLList Light Productions, the creative strategy, marketing and social media company she founded.

See some of her cool skateboarding moves here on her YouTube channel, and read on to find out how she became a beast in the bowls. You can also watch a video of her talking about her favorite reasons for repping the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved here when I was 16 for school and to live with my mom. I went to Ironwood High School and graduated from ASU with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. Continue reading

Steph Carrico: Co-Owner of The Trunk Space

Steph Carrico, co-owner of The Trunk Space in Phoenix, photographed at The Trunk Space, by Nicki Escudero

Steph Carrico, co-owner of The Trunk Space in Phoenix, photographed at The Trunk Space, by Nicki Escudero

Steph Carrico
twitter.com/TheTrunkSpace

The Trunk Space has hosted rowdy punk shows, moving poetry readings, sexy burlesque, and life-drawing sessions. For the past 10 years, it’s been a haven for all ages to come express themselves through art and music, featuring monthly art exhibits, touring and local bands and sideshow acts that inject a quirky feel into the Downtown Phoenix Grand Avenue space.

Thank Steph Carrico, who along with co-owner JRC, strives to cultivate a diverse line-up of entertaining acts. The 38-year-old Phoenix resident is a photography and 2D/3D design teacher at Metropolitan Arts Institute and a freelance photographer when she’s not running the space.

Get excited for new Trunk Space developments. The venue, which also features an artist-made gift shop and vintage photo booth, is getting an air conditioning unit this summer, and Carrico and JRC plan to expand their coffee bar hours to all day by summer, too. Carrico talked about her motivation for running the space, and keep reading to see a video of her talk about her favorite reasons for living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents brought me to Arizona when I was 9. My dad was a contractor, and we were living in northern Utah where it’s snowy. There’s no snow here, so they decided to move here because it was safer for him to work year-round.

I was born in Salt Lake City. Here, I went to Coronado High School and graduated Arizona State University with a degree in fine art photography. Continue reading

Jessie Johnson: Bully Mammoth Performer, Stand-Up Comedian

Jessie Johnson, Bully Mammoth sketch comedy troupe performer and stand-up comedian, photographed at The Gelato Spot in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Jessie Johnson, Bully Mammoth sketch comedy troupe performer and stand-up comedian, photographed at Gelato Spot in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Jessie Johnson
twitter.com/TheBullyMammoth

Jessie Johnson has been a restaurant manager for an Australian eatery, she’s been Tinker Bell, and she’s even been a little boy — all as part of local sketch comedy troupe Bully Mammoth, in which she’s the only female member. The 23-year-old Phoenix resident is a comedy veteran despite her young age, having gotten her sketch start performing with a troupe since back in high school. She’s also been performing stand-up comedy for the past two years and is gearing up to write for a new sitcom called The Palace, which she’s working on with her Scottsdale Community College peers.

Her love for mixing film with comedy is evident tonight, as she hosts a stand-up show and premiere of the six-minute short film she wrote and directed, called Charlie, at the Ice House Tavern in Phoenix. Head to the free show at 8:30 p.m., where you’re encouraged to dress up fancily, since it’s a Hollywood premiere theme. The show is part of the series of comedy shows she hosts there every first Monday. Catch her perform with Bully Mammoth Saturday, June 28, at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Read on for what inspires her comedy and to hear her talk about her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

Well, when a man meets a woman…(laughs) No, I was born here, so I’ve lived here my whole life. I went to Dobson High School and am now at Scottsdale Community College. I graduate next semester with an Associate’s (degree) in film.

Next semester, I’m working on a sitcom at the school, which will be produced by the film and theater department. There are three of us working on it right now in the writer’s room — Hunter M. Lewis, Steve Pursell and myself. Continue reading