Julianna Curtis: Co-Founder of Scandalesque, aka Lady Fontayne

Julianna Curtis, Lady Fontayne and co-founder of Scandalesque and Vega Arts & Entertainment, photographed at Heritage Square, by Nicki Escudero

Julianna Curtis, aka Lady Fontayne and co-founder of Scandalesque and Vega Arts & Entertainment, photographed at Heritage Square, by Nicki Escudero

Julianna Curtis
twitter.com/Scandalesque

Julianna Curtis knows the power of a confidently sexy move, whether it’s the swing of the hips or a strut down a stage. Seductive dance doesn’t just entertain, it empowers those who do it, invigorating them with poise and assurance that translates off-stage, too. As co-founder and performer Lady Fontayne of Scandalesque, and co-founder of Vega Arts & Entertainment, Curtis has been entertaining Valley burlesque lovers for more than a decade, with highly polished choreographed shows and stunning dance moves at events around town and across the country.

Curtis, a 34-year-old Phoenix resident and massage therapist-by-day, disperses a roster of more than 50 performers to Valley events, with quarterly Scandalesque shows that command huge crowds. Scadalesque also offers classes, including burlesque, pole, aerial and stretch/dance conditioning.

You can catch Curtis in action at a Sexy Sci-Fi show by Scandalesque at Phoenix Center for the Arts Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27.

Read on for what inspires this beauty to share her talents with the Valley, and scroll down to watch a video of her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born in Mesa, the seventh child in a family of eight. I went to Gilbert High School and attended Scottsdale Community College. I got into the modern dance company at SCC and two other modern dance companies there after. I have been a vocalist in several bands and started my companies here.

Now that I’m a mommy, and my daughter starts pre-school and my son starts kindergarten this August, I know Phoenix will be a home base for me for years to come. Continue reading

Tracy Perkins: Founder of Strawberry Hedgehog

Tracy Perkins, owner of Strawberry Hedgehog vegan soaps and beauty products, photographed at her headquarters in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Tracy Perkins, owner of Strawberry Hedgehog vegan soaps and beauty products, photographed at her headquarters in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Tracy Perkins
facebook.com/StrawberryHedgehog

Tracy Perkins was sick — literally — of the beauty products she was used to. The longtime vegetarian-turned-vegan turned her frustration for animal testing and health issues caused by mainstream brands into creating her own soaps in 2003. After popular demand for her soaps from friends and family, she launched her business Strawberry Hedgehog in 2007, while balancing life as an adjunct geology professor.

The 32-year-old Phoenix resident has seen her business take off, now selling her products around the world and in Whole Foods across Arizona. She’s still an adjunct professor at Phoenix College but is looking to expand her business from a one-woman show to a bigger operation. Read about some of her products here, and meet her for a distilling workshop Thursday, July 17, from 6-9 p.m. at her Phoenix headquarters.

Learn how she crafts her handmade wares below, and keep scrolling to watch her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was a Navy brat, and my dad got stationed in Yuma around ’90. I came up to Phoenix to go to ASU in ’99. I got my undergrad degree in women’s studies and religious studies, and my Master’s is in geological science.

I was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, then lived in Key West, Florida before moving here. Continue reading

Steve Weiss: Founder of No Festival Required

Steve Weiss
facebook.com/NoFestivalRequired

Some of the best films shown in the Valley come courtesy of Steve Weiss, whose No Festival Required film showings have brought cutting-edge and impactful independent movies to art galleries and theaters across the Valley since 2002. The 58-year-old Phoenix resident is a photographer who also worked professionally in the film world, and started NFR when he saw a need for high-quality film showings. Now, he’s the resident programmer at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and is working on series at Phoenix Center for the Arts.

This week, you can catch two of his events. The first, Thursday, June 19, starts at 7:30 p.m. at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and includes two films about American suburban living, Gimmie Green and Wagonmasters. Then, Sunday, June 22 at 1:30 p.m., he shows Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense at Phoenix Center for the Arts.

Read on for where his passion for film comes from, and keep scrolling to hear him name five of his favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised here. My parents came here in the late ‘40s when my father became the first full-time dentist at the Arizona State Prison in Florence. My parents were initially interested in Arizona and moved from New Jersey to come here.

I went to Camelback High School and got a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from ASU. Other than living in Phoenix and attending ASU, I went to San Francisco Art Institute for a year and then returned there after I got out of ASU in 1978 for a total of three months. I’ve been back here ever since. Continue reading

Marcelo Dietrich: Filmmaker, Writer/Director of ‘The Horologist.’

Marcelo Dietrich
twitter.com/MarceloDietrich

Marcelo Dietrich loves telling stories, teaching, and inspiring, and he does it all through movies, as a screenwriter, director and actor.

The 37-year-old Chandler resident recently released a documentary on a talented 16-year-old dancer with Asperger syndrome, in partnership with Dancers and Health Together, Inc., called Dance Your Asperger’s Off. The touching documentary brings awareness to what it’s like to have Asperger’s, and how art such as dance can positively affect someone with special needs.

This Saturday, June 14, he premieres a short film, The Horologist., as an Official Selection at the Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival. The film is a condensed version of the first act of a feature-length screenplay of the same name, and Dietrich hopes the short film can be used to get funding for the feature-length.

Dance Your Asperger’s Off is also at the fest on Saturday, June 14. Find more information about the film festival here, and keep reading to see what drives Dietrich, who has written, produced or directed more than a dozen films and documentaries. Keep scrolling to see him talk about his favorite reasons for living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents moved here from Thermal, California when I was 3 years old, and I grew up in Tempe. Continue reading

Bob Brenly: Arizona Diamondbacks Broadcaster, Former Manager

Bob Brenly, Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster and former Arizona Diamondbacks World Series-winning manager, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Bob Brenly, Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster and former Arizona Diamondbacks World Series-winning manager, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Bob Brenly
twitter.com/DBacks

Bob Brenly helped create one of the coolest moments in Arizona history: when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001, as manager of the team. His friendly demeanor and honest approach as a Diamondbacks broadcaster translated to the field as the leader for the championship-winning team, and now the 60-year-old Scottsdale resident is back in the booth, calling games as a color commentator for FOX Sports Arizona.

The former San Francisco Giants catcher offered his insight to this year’s Diamondbacks team and how he’s evolved as an announcer. Keep reading to see a video of him talk about his favorite reasons for living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’ve been here since ’97, when I first took the job to come here and broadcast back in ’98. (Former Chicago Cubs announcer) Thom Brennaman was made the play-by-play voice here, and Thom and I had a relationship for years. He said, “Hey, why don’t we both go down to the desert and put the band together down there?”

That’s what brought me to Arizona, but, of course, I had been coming here for spring training since 1976 or ’77 (as a player), so I was familiar with the Valley, too. Continue reading