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

Aaron Johnson: Owner of Lawn Gnome Publishing, Phoenix Poetry Slammaster

Aaron Johnson, owner of Lawn Gnome Publishing in downtown Phoenix, photographed at the store, by Nicki Escudero

Aaron Johnson, owner of Lawn Gnome Publishing in downtown Phoenix, photographed at the store, by Nicki Escudero

Aaron Johnson
twitter.com/LawnGnomePub

Aaron Johnson has always loved the quirky side of life, forgoing a desk job for more creative endeavors. The Phoenix native and resident, 30, has lived in an artist commune at the Firehouse and was the first crepe slinger at Jobot Coffee Shop in downtown Phoenx, but now he’s the owner of a shop he’s always wanted to open: independent bookstore and printing house Lawn Gnome Publishing, also downtown. Johnson, a longtime slam poet, says the inspiration for Lawn Gnome came from his love of the independent bookstores he visited throughout the country during his travels as a performance poet, and now his literary haven has celebrated its 1-year anniversary. But Lawn Gnome isn’t just for interesting reads — the charming shop (which boasts more than 20 volunteers) also hosts nightly events, ranging from scientist presentations, to storytelling, to slam poetry. Johnson is still writing poetry, too, and he’s the slammaster for the Phoenix poetry slam team that will head to the National Poetry Slam this August. And while he’s not spitting rhymes or managing the store, Johnson designs flyers — he created more than 100 last year. Read on for how Lawn Gnome came to fruition, as well as to hear five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born here in Phoenix, and I’ve traveled a lot of places since, but I always come back. I have family and friends here. Continue reading