Scottsdale International Metrocenter Auto Museum to Open in February

It may be hard to believe, but one of the world's best vintage auto museums is not in Phoenix, but in Fairbanks, Alaska. With more than 100 cars dating back to the 1890s, including some original prototypes, steam-powered cars, and a Ford Model -T that converts into a snow cat, the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is an impressive place.

But local car enthusiasts--and there are plenty here; just look at the Barrett-Jackson collectible auto auction turnout--need not travel 3,500 miles and endure 40 below zero temperatures to marvel at some amazing automobiles.

Instead, head over to the Metrocenter Mall where a new lease brings Arizona's largest vintage car museum under its roof, beginning Monday, February 11.

See also:
- Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale 2013: Opening Day
- We're Doomed: Georgia Man Puts a Zombie Hunting Truck Up for Sale on eBay

More »

Aaron Johnson's Zine Collection

Tye Rabens
Aaron Johnson proudly sorts through a crate of zines.
Roosevelt Row's Lawn Gnome is about to be infused with owner Aaron Johnson's personal collection of self-published zines from authors all over the globe. 

The 29-year-old is an internationally traveled slam poet and fixture of the downtown Phoenix art scene -- and he's a longtime zine aficionado.

Since 2004, the wordsmith says he's self-published five zines of his own work, helped over 40 others get published, and amassed around 300 zines in his personal collection. As Johnson builds more shelves into his used bookstore, he says that the collection will be stocked, priced, and ready for visitors to buy.

More »

Phil Smithers' Green Bay Packers Man Cave

Categories: Collections
phil smithers packers collection.jpg
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
Phil Smithers and the wealth of Green Bay Packers memorabilia in his garage.
It isn't hard finding someone who's a fan of the Green Bay Packers these days, especially since the NFL powerhouse is in the midst of one of its best seasons in history (and is currently riding a 14-1 record into the upcoming playoffs).

The real trick, however, is finding the true Packers fanatics who have lived and died with every single game during both the good and bad years. Someone like Phil Smithers. The 49-year-old Mesa resident (and Wisconsin native) has been a rabid follower of The Pack since birth. So it comes as no surprise that he's transformed the two-car garage of his large home into a green and gold-covered man-cave and shrine to the team.

More »

Native Seeds/SEARCH Opens Arizona's First Seed Library in January

Categories: Collections, News
If you're looking to expand your garden or want to soak in the essence of our natural landscape, you'll want to check out the brand new library at Native Seeds/SEARCH

The Tucson-based non-profit maintains one of the world's best bioregional seed banks (currently home to more than 1,900 accessions of native, arid lands-adapted native crops). 

According to a release from the organization, the library will function much like a book-lending library; members check out seeds, grow their own plants, and "return" seeds harvested from their plants to the library that can then be used by other members. 

More »

Renetto-Mario Etsitty's Teapots and Vessels

Categories: Collections
mario etsitty -  teapot collage.jpg
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
A glimpse at Renetto-Mario Etsitty's various teapots.
Space is at a premium inside the historic Garfield district home of Renetto-Mario Etsitty. Racks of dishes and stacks of chairs dominate his living room along with numerous long tables and shelves filled with knickknacks, a library of books, and plenty of DVDs. 

While most of this stuff is used during late-night banquets the gourmet chef and artist puts on for the downtown crowd every First Friday, there's also a huge variety of artwork in Etsitty's living room, including a tall wooden cabinet that's filled with his collection of antique and vintage teapots. 

More »

Bradford Whicker's Beer Museum

Categories: Collections
scottsdale beer museum collage.jpg
A sampling of what's inside the Scottsdale Beer Museum.
fter finishing an ice-cold can of brew, standard operating procedure for most beer drinkers usually involves tossing it away, either over your shoulder or into the trash. (Of course, it you're a manly man, it might also mean crushing that bad boy while unleashing an thunderous belch for added effect).

Bradford Whicker, however, does things a bit differently. If the brew is a rare import, microbrew, or of the exotic variety, its can will be gently rinsed out and placed in the garage of his south Scottsdale home. The 41-year-old isn't hoping to get some cash in exchange for the aluminum, mind you, but is simply adding to his growing collection, what he calls the Scottsdale Beer Museum.

More »

Teresa Villegas' Loteria Paintings and Collection

teresa villegas_sized_300.jpg
Teresa Villegas in her home studio.
When Teresa Villegas took her first trip to Mexico in 1985, she discovered something that would become a major motif in her future art works: Loteria, a Mexican card game similar to Bingo.

Since then, the Phoenix artist has visited Mexico dozens of times, created a series of paintings of Loteria cards, and accumulated several different Loteria decks.

Loteria decks contain 54 cards, often accompanied by an image and a piece of poetry or prose that describes the image.

Villegas owns several copies of the traditional Loteria deck, which Pasatiempos Gallo, S.A. de C.V. (or Don Clemente, LLC in the US) began manufacturing in 1887. But Villegas also has some unique artisan decks, similar to her own "updated" version of Loteria, which Don Clemente manufactured until 2008.

More »

Marky Staltari's Classic Pinball Memorabilia

Categories: Collections
pinball collection.jpg
photos by Colin Lecher
A few of Staltari's machines. (Staltari asked not to be pictured for the article.)

Marky Staltari's affinity toward all-things pinball isn't difficult to explain. The punk rock guitarist of local band Janitors of Anarchy cites pinball's controversial history; the game spent a large part of its history banned in major US cities and was a symbol of rebellion in classic Hollywood movies.

Marky Hellspite, as he's known in the band, says he started collecting pinball machines and memorabilia in the '90s out of nostalgia: "[The machines] are the ultimate toy."

More »

Devyn Repka's Decorative Bakewear

Categories: Collections
Devyn Repka stands in front of her pan collection, which is housed in her garage.
photo by Jessica VanZalen
All this talk of holiday baking over on Chow Bella has made us a little hungry. So when we heard of a local foodie's growing baking pan collection, we bit.

Check out the What are You Baking? series with recipes, and while your pan's in the oven, check out a few of Devyn Repka's.

Devyn Repka
was bored with her gloomy garage, so she turned to her pile of pans. 

As a pastry chef and graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Repka's gathered a variety of decorative baking pans -- from Rugrats and Big Bird to flowers and T-shirts -- and keeps them on display.

More »

Gary Fox's Vintage License Plates

Categories: Collections
license plate collection.jpg
photos by Colin Lecher

In 1978, Gary Fox moved to Arizona from Wisconsin, and brought his car and license plates along with him. He needed to switch over to Arizona plates, though, so he headed over to the Motor Vehicle Division.

One problem: The state workers wanted his old Wisconsin plates, and Fox wanted to keep them as souvenirs. He was handed a screwdriver.

Fox begrudgingly turned over one, and then slipped the other behind his back. The MVD employee didn't notice that Wisconsin law required a front and rear plate. Fox still has the one he hid, which is now part of his collection of about 1000.

See some of Fox's vintage license plates after the jump...

More »