Leslie Barton: Stand-Up Comedian

Leslie Barton, Phoenix stand-up comedian, photographed at Giant Coffee in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Leslie Barton, Phoenix stand-up comedian, photographed at Giant Coffee in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Leslie Barton
www.facebook.com/lesliebarton87

After less than a decade performing stand-up comedy in the Valley, Leslie Barton has become one of the scene’s most prominent players. The 50-year-old Phoenix resident produces the Hashtag Comedy Corner weekly comedy show on Tuesday nights at Grand Avenue Pizza Company and performs improv every Monday at The Rock in Phoenix in the Workin’ It Out show. She’ll be making people laugh during the Big Pine Comedy Festival in Flagstaff, October 8 to 10, and you can catch her performing at Crescent Ballroom this Wednesday, September 2, as part of The Switch comedy show.

When she’s not performing stand-up, Barton manages Bragg’s Factory Diner in Phoenix. She also is a visual artist who has shown her artwork at the First Friday artwalk in downtown Phoenix, and you can see her video work in an installation in one of the bathrooms in AZ/88.

Barton shares her journey as a stand-up comedian and has tips for aspiring stand-up comedians, and you can hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

My parents. We moved here from Colorado because my mother had a job here, and I’ve lived here since seventh grade. I graduated from Thunderbird High School and went to Phoenix College, then went to school at Al Collins Graphic Design School and got my degree in art and design.

I was born in Fort Lee, Virginia, and my family moved around a lot because my parents were in the Army. I’ve also lived in Illinois and northern California in San Francisco. Continue reading

Dave Ference: Owner of Ference Photography

Dave Ference, owner of Ference Photography, photographed at Gilbert High School, by Nicki EScudero

Dave Ference, owner of Ference Photography, photographed at Gilbert High School, by Nicki Escudero

Dave Ference
www.ferencephotography.com

Dave Ference is passionate about capturing the best shot for his clients, whether he’s working on family portraits, model photos for a portfolio or corporate photography. As owner of Ference Photography, Ference works with individuals and businesses around the Valley and strives to create a relaxed environment that brings out the best in those he photographs.

The 45-year-old Gilbert resident, who is also a baseball coach at Gilbert High School, talked about his best photography techniques and gave advice to everyday photographers. You can also hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised here. I went to Gerard Catholic High School and got my degree in graphic design from Northern Arizona University. Continue reading

Tim Yokley: Drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine

Tim Yokley, drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine, and Weird Is the New Cool, photographed at his home in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Tim Yokley, drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine, and Weird Is the New Cool, photographed at his home in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Tim Yokley
www.timyokley.com

Tim Yokley is a pro behind a drum set, playing for thousands of music fans across the country and in town as drummer for For the Love, The Wednesday Machine, and Weird Is the New Cool. Yokley is also a tour manager and recently completed a summer tour with big names including Katastro, Dirty Heads, Pepper, and Aer. He heads back out with Katastro, Ballyhoo!, and Pepper this fall for a U.S. tour — find dates here.

The 30-year-old Phoenix resident had a career in real estate for 10 years before leaving to pursue music full-time a couple years ago, and he also plays with cover bands throughout the Valley. Yokley talks about what it’s like to be a professional musician and why he’s so passionate about the industry, 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’ve lived here my whole life. I was born in Phoenix and went to Camelback High School. I went to school for Microsoft networking and A+ certification and went to Glendale Community College for business. Just one of the reasons why I love living here and have stayed is because I’m a huge bass fisherman, and Arizona has some great lakes and tournaments. Continue reading

Michelle Penington: Painter

Michelle Penington
www.michellepenington.com

Michelle Penington‘s paintings are whimsical works full of narratives, often with bright colors bursting through her landscapes and figure pieces. The self-taught artist, a 41-year-old Cave Creek resident, transports viewers around the world in the locales she depicts, and her art often evokes positive feelings with evident passion shining through.

The artist recently had a six-month exhibition at the ASU downtown Phoenix campus library, and she’s exhibiting her work at Desert Broom Library in Cave Creek beginning this September. Those who are interested in her art may visit her studio by appointment (head here for more information), and Penington is available for commissions. Learn more about her inspiration, and hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’ve lived here almost 20 years. My family moved here from New Mexico because of my husband’s job, and his brother lived out here, so we thought we’d try it. I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Dana Point, California. Continue reading

Scott Neff: Co-Owner of As You Wish Pottery

Scott Neff, co-owner of As You Wish Pottery, photographed at the Tempe Marketplace location in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Scott Neff, co-owner of As You Wish Pottery, photographed at the Tempe Marketplace location in Tempe, by Nicki Escudero

Scott Neff
www.asyouwishpottery.com

Scott Neff is thrilled to have left the corporate world to have a more personal touch in his business, as he has co-owned As You Wish pottery painting studios with his wife, Lori, for the past eight years. As You Wish has seven locations throughout the Valley, where patrons may choose items such as mugs and vases, paint them, and have them fired and glazed for home use.

Neff, a 50-year-old Chandler resident, is excited for the business to celebrate its 20th anniversary this September, with various specials leading up to the anniversary weekend September 18 to 20, when the studios offer $2 studio fees (usually $6-$8) and gift card raffles. Learn more about the special deals throughout the month on the As You Wish Facebook page here. In August, visitors to As You Wish can get half-off all glass fusing projects, including bowls, vases, nightlights and jewelry that are fired in the studio kilns.

Neff shared his advice for aspiring business owners and why he’s passionate about As You Wish, 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 here. I grew up in the Arcadia area and was part of the last graduating class of Scottsdale High School in 1983.

Growing up, I was involved with all old-school Valley of the Sun things. When I was a Cub Scout, I went to The Wallace and Ladmo Show and won a Ladmo bag. When I was a teenager, I worked in the ice cream parlor at Legend City, and I sold T-shirts at Compton Terrace. Continue reading