Erick Biez: Stand-Up Comedian

Erick Biez, Valley stand-up comedian and comedy show host, photographed at The Turf in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Erick Biez, Valley stand-up comedian and comedy show host, photographed at The Turf in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Erick Biez
www.facebook.com/erickbiez

Erick Biez is responsible for bringing established and new comedians from the Valley and across the country to local stages, as the 31-year-old Phoenix resident and stand-up comedian hosts comedy nights at various bars and comedy clubs throughout town. Catch him hosting Monday Night Comedy at The Turf  in Phoenix every Monday from 10-11:30 p.m., a show that features both local and national comedians. He also runs Copper Comedy at Copper Blues in Tempe and the New Faces of Comedy shows at Stand Up Live and Tempe Improv. Beginning Thursday, September 3, he starts up a new comedy show at Valley Bar in Phoenix, with co-producer Anwar Newton.

When he’s not facilitating laughs on stage, Biez serves hungry diners at Mother Bunch Brewing in Phoenix. He shares his tips for beginning and veteran comedians below, 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 was born outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to Flagstaff in 2002 to study writing for TV and film at Northern Arizona University. After college, I moved to Chicago for a year, then moved back to Flagstaff, and then moved to Phoenix in 2010. Continue reading

Courtney Cotter King: Singer-Songwriter

Courtney Cotter King
www.courtneycotterking.com

Courtney Cotter King is one of the Valley’s most talented singer-songwriters, with a beautiful soulful voice and adept songwriting ability spanning genres ranging from pop to progressive rock. The 23-year-old Gilbert resident has written more than 100 songs and released three albums since she was in junior high school, and she performs at venues throughout the state when she’s not making polished music videos for her singles.

King is signed to local record label Fervor Records and is available for hire for special events such as weddings. She also teaches piano lessons and plays house parties for donations, which you can read more about below. Keep reading to see her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

My ancestors came to Arizona, and my family has lived here for years. I was born here and went to Mesa High School. After high school, I attended a summer music performance program at Berklee College of Music before I studied audio production at Mesa Community College. Continue reading

Marshall Shore: Arizona’s Official Hipstorian

Marshall Shore, Arizona's Official Hipstorian, photographed at The Clarendon in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Marshall Shore, Arizona’s Official Hipstorian, photographed at The Clarendon in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Marshall Shore
www.marshallshore.com

Have a question about Arizona history? Ask Marshall Shore. The 48-year-old Phoenix resident has immersed himself in Grand Canyon State days of yore since he arrived in the Valley more than 15 years ago, and he is a public speaker educating various groups around the state on what makes Arizona so special. Shore is known throughout the Valley as “Arizona’s Official Hipstorian,” as he blogs for the Arizona Oddities website, leads tours in various cities as a representative of organizations such as Arizona Humanities Council, sits on the board for historical cemetery Pioneer Cemetery, and hosts events such as the Underground History night every second Sunday at 7 p.m. at Valley Bar in Phoenix.

When he’s not schooling the state on Arizona history, you can meet Shore behind the bar at Café Tranquilo at The Clarendon. Catch him hosting a trivia night this Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore, and head to Grand Avenue in Phoenix Friday, September 4 to visit art shows he helped curate: Hot Summer Nights at Chartreuse (1301 N.W. Grand Avenue) and the 10th Annual Grid Show: Art About Art at The Trunk Space.

Keep reading to gain Shore’s insight into Arizona history and to watch him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in Arizona in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved from New York City to Phoenix about 16 years ago. My partner and I had sort of a slumlord for a landlord, there was a rat in the apartment, and then there was a fire. It was time to move, and we chose an adventure.

For our current home, we wound up buying a 1950s Phoenix ranch. That was one of the goals and perks of moving to Arizona: we could get a mid-’50s ranch. The criteria is that it had to be as original as possible, close to the light rail. We wound up in the area just south of Camelback on 19th Avenue.

I was born in Indiana, in a small farm town of about 25 people, called Odell, with two roads and one stop sign. I realized at an early age it wasn’t where I wanted to grow up. As soon as I could, I got myself through college and then moved to New York City, as a librarian with the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library for about a decade, before coming to Arizona. I did my undergraduate at Purdue in communications and my masters in library science at Indiana University. Continue reading

Mia McPoland: Blood and Bone Marrow Donation Awareness Activist

Mia McPoland, 12-year-old blood and organ donation activist, photographed at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Mia McPoland, 12-year-old blood and bone marrow donation activist, photographed at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Mia McPoland
www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/MiaMcPoland

Mia McPoland, a 12-year-old from Chandler, is turning her struggle with an extremely rare disorder into a mission to increase blood and bone marrow donation throughout the state. As an infant, McPoland was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan anemia, a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome that causes her to not produce red blood cells. As a result, she has received monthly blood transfusions since her diagnosis, while she also deals with Turner syndrome.

As an activist, the spunky student works with several local nonprofits, as well as serves as an honorary assistant coach for the Phoenix Mercury women’s basketball team, to raise awareness for the causes so close to her and her family. She has been hosting blood drives since she was in kindergarten and is an activist for organizations Be the Match, HopeKids, Camp Soaring Eagle, and PeppedUp!

Besides donating blood every 50 days to help patients like McPoland, you can show support by participating in the September Champ 5K on Saturday, September 19, to benefit children’s cancer causes. The event will also feature a blood drive — visit www.septemberchamp.org for more information.

Read on to learn more about McPoland, and you can check out a video where she names her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born here. I’m going into seventh grade at Santan Junior High school. Continue reading