Stacey Gordon: Founder of Puppet Pie, Puppeteer with Die Puppet Die

Stacey Gordon, founder of Puppet Pie and puppeteer, photographed at her Puppet Pie studio in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Stacey Gordon, founder of Puppet Pie and puppeteer with Die Puppet Die, photographed at her Puppet Pie studio in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Stacey Gordon
www.puppetpie.com

Stacey Gordon believes people should never grow up, and that they should always strive to inject imagination, creativity and fun in their lives. What better way to do that than by using puppets? As founder of Puppet Pie in 2006, Gordon creates one-of-a-kind puppet creatures she sells and uses in theater performance, as co-founder of the puppet theater and puppet improv troupe Die Puppet Die. The 37-year-old Phoenix resident has had a love for puppets since a young age and now travels to conventions and festivals around the country spreading her passion for the art form.

You can catch her performing as Claire the sheep in the Settlers of Catan-based web series The Bob & Angus Show, sponsored by the board game company Mayfair Games. The new series starts this Thursday, October 1, and you can view episodes at www.thebobandangusshow.com.

Watch Gordon’s puppets live in action this Friday, October 2, and Saturday, October 3, at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater at 8 p.m. She performs with Die Puppet Die there every first Friday and Saturday of the month, other than summer months.

Kids can take a mask-making workshop with Gordon on Saturday, November 14, in conjunction with the Grand Avenue Festival and Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts — check out www.puppetpie.com for more details.

Gordon, who has made thousands of puppets, has a presence at local arts festivals, and can puppet-ize anything from mirrors to chalkboards, talked about why she has made puppetry her career. You can hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video below.

What brought you to Arizona?

My husband got a job down here right after we got married, and we moved here in 2001 from Littleton, Colorado.

I grew up in northern California in a really small town called Ripon. I met my future husband while visiting a friend in Colorado and moved there after high school to go to community college and was going to study education. I ended up going on the Disney College Program in Florida, shadowed the puppetry department there, and decided to skip having student loans and dive straight into puppetry and theater. Continue reading

Danielle Victoria: Founder of Danielle Victoria Music Foundation

Danielle Victoria, founder of the Danielle Victoria Music Foundation, photographed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Danielle Victoria, founder of the Danielle Victoria Music Foundation, photographed at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Danielle Victoria
www.dvmusicfoundation.com

Danielle Victoria knows the power of music, having played piano since she was only 5 years old and having a strong passion for the art form. The 17-year-old Scottsdale resident founded the Danielle Victoria Music Foundation in March 2015 to help provide music education to Arizona’s underprivileged students, by working with local arts and educational organizations to offer needs-based scholarships for music education.

Victoria talked about why she felt helping kids through music education in Arizona is important, and you can hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

After living in New York, my parents decided to relocate to Arizona in 2007.

I was born in Malaysia and switched between London, Hong Kong, and Malaysia for my first seven years due to my parents’ work. My family then moved to New York and lived there for two years before moving here to Arizona. This is our eighth year here, and I currently attend Desert Mountain High School as a senior and International Baccalaureate student. Continue reading

Stacey Grondahl: Owner of We Do Men — A Male Concept Spa

Stacey Grondhal, owner of We Do Men -- A Male Concept Spa, photographed at her spa in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Stacey Grondahl, owner of We Do Men — A Male Concept Spa, photographed at her spa in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Stacey Grondahl
www.wedomen.com

Stacey Grondahl is the self-proclaimed “Boss Lady,” as owner of We Do Men — A Male Concept Spa in Old Town Scottsdale since 2012. The 29-year-old Phoenix resident and her staff “manhandle” clients, beautifying and relaxing them through massage, facial and brow services. Guys instantly feel comfortable in the unique spa environment, which features local art and music by classic artists such as Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Patrons may take advantage of the spa’s Sake Bomb special during September, which features Pumpkin Sake Bomb and Sake Bomb peels for $50 and $70 each, saving clients up to $21 per treatment. In November, the spa celebrates its three-year anniversary with a party November 12, which includes educational aspects about products and specials throughout the spa. In December, catch Grondahl at the Jackalope Art Fair in Phoenix.

Year-round, the spa offers male-centric eco-friendly beauty and relaxation products in its shop. Grondahl shared her beauty philosophies, and you can hear her name her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

It was a disability that brought me out here in 2011 to go to the National Laser Institute. I came out here to restart my career and grow as a spa professional. In California, you can’t be a laser tech without being a doctor or a nurse, which is interesting because they have no skincare background. I came out here and have never looked back.

I was born in Williston, North Dakota, and I grew up in Bakersfield, California. Continue reading

Cristin Davis: Stand-Up Comedian

Cristin Davis, stand-up comedian, photographed at The Duce in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Cristin Davis, stand-up comedian, photographed at The Duce in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Cristin Davis
www.monkeypantscomedy.com

Cristin Davis is hosting a very unique comedy contest for local comedians this fall, one where the winner will get a bigger prize than is almost ever offered in Valley contests: a car. Sure, it only cost a little more than $400 at an auction and is broken in many ways, but it runs.

The 40-year-old Tempe resident is a stand-up comedian himself and hosts an open mic every Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. at Monkey Pants in Tempe, called Up in Them Guts Comedy. The contest is the same day and time as the open mic for nine weeks starting Thursday, September 17, and up to 50 comics can enter through Sunday, September 13 for $16.43 — find more information here.

Davis shared why he’s passionate about stand-up comedy and gave his advice for new comics. See him watch his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised here. I’ve been here my entire life and have never lived anywhere else for any extended period of time.

I went to Greenway High School and junior college, before getting some record deals and music opportunities. I toured around the world and made a living at it for a few years before starting my professional career at 30.

The first band I got a record deal with was called Big Shot All Star. We got a record deal with Mammoth Records, which was owned by Disney. Disney shut them down, so we lost our deal.

After our record deal fell flat, I got hired in a band called Trick Turner. I was in Trick Turner for a year, and we were on RCA Records. After touring for a year, RCA got a new president and cleaned house. Even though we sold over 350,000 records and had the number seven alternative hit of 2002, they dropped us from the label.

I got into marketing and am a marketing automation software consultant now for a company called Digital Pi. I consult businesses on their business process practices and do digital marketing based on online behaviors. Continue reading