Daniel Levitin on Why Being Organized Is More Important Than Ever Before

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© Arsenio Corôa
Daniel Levitin's at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix this week.

Daniel Levitin was in his 30s when he went back to college and got a degree in cognitive psychology, launching the career that has made him a best-selling author. His first book, This Is Your Brain on Music: Understanding a Human Obsession (2006), spent more than a year on The New York Times Bestseller List.

Not that Levitin was a slacker before that. He'd racked up more than a dozen gold and platinum records as a music producer and consultant, working with Steely Dan, Blue Oyster Cult, and Stevie Wonder. He also did pretty well as a stand-up comedian and joke writer, performing at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco with Robin Williams and at comedy clubs in California. And he played bass in a San Francisco punk band that opened for Bad Religion.

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Tom Cotter on Lucky Breaks and America's Got Talent

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Courtesy of Tom Cotter
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there.

And no one knows this better than Tom Cotter. The New York comedian came in second to a troupe of dancing dogs on the seventh season of ABC's America's Got Talent. Since then, he's been riding out his runner-up success, restocking his arsenal of quick one-liners, and taking his show on the road. Up next is Phoenix, Arizona.

We caught up with Cotter before his upcoming shows in the Valley to discuss talent, timing, and the dogs that still give him nightmares.


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Jamie Kilstein on Performing in Phoenix, Panic Naps, and Politics

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Courtesy Jamie Kilstein
Jamie Kilstein is making his voice heard.

The progressive left-wing comedian can be found sharing his thoughts on war, abortion, gun control, rape culture, religion, veganism, and mainstream media coverage on stage at New York comedy clubs, on his comedy album, What Alive People Do, on his political podcast with Allison Kilkenny, Citizen Radio, and on the pages of their upcoming book #Newfail set for release October 14.

This weekend Kilstein and improvist John Frusciante will perform at Playhouse on the Park to deliver a one-night only show that's part stand-up, part improv, and all parts politcal.

We caught up with Kilstein about how he got here, where he's going, and what's in store for Phoenix.


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Scottsdale Author Nicole Zangara on How to Make and Maintain Female Friendships

Categories: Books, Interviews

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Courtesy Nicole Zangara
From an early age, Nicole Zangara knew she wanted to help people.

"I was always that girl who was like, 'let's talk about our feelings,'" she says.

It make sense, then, that she would follow in her mother's footsteps, becoming a licensed clinical social worker with a focus in helping women in their relationships -- particularly the interpersonal connections of female-only friendships. She wrote a book to that effect, Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, ($12.95 available from Changing Hands Bookstore and other sellers) a mix of anecdotes and advice that was released in 2012.

"I was at that age where I was looking at friendships changing a lot and thinking, 'what the hell is going on?' I learned to put a voice to that [with the book]," she says. "I wanted to put a voice to something that a lot of women don't talk about."

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Sarah Hubbell to Share Interior Design Tips at Lowe's in Scottsdale

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Evie Carpenter
Get your design on this weekend with Sarah Hubbell and Lowe's.
Listen up, HGTV lovers. If you've been feeling like your home decor is stuck in a rut or are starting fresh in a new space, grab your pens, notepads, and color swatches and head over to Lowe's of Scottsdale this weekend to get some style tips and tricks from Emma Magazine's Sarah Hubbell.

As a part of its Style Saturday series, Lowe's is bringing the local style maven to share budget-friendly design tips, personal consultation, and a hands-on project with guests. The event is free to the public and guests will go home with a potted succulent they will plant during the event.


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Anwar Newton on His San Diego Comic-Con Shroom Freakout

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Yosef Rodel
Anwar Newton during a stand-up act

San Diego Comic-Con is an exhausting, chaotic mess. Going to panels and rubbing elbows with folks dressed up like Doctor Who and Game of Thrones characters sounds fun, but in reality, you spend most of your time waiting in lines. It's a bit absurd when you think about it.

Phoenix comedian Anwar Newton dealt with said absurdity by taking hallucinogenic mushrooms and chronicling his experiences in texts to his girlfriend. While Newton initially thought it was a good idea, it quickly turned into a bad trip. Newton had a bit of a freakout, thanks to people in rabbit costumes, giant buttholes, and a Pro-Palestine protest. His text messages have since gone viral via Imgur.

I caught up with Newton to discuss his bad trip and why he thinks San Diego Comic-Con has spiraled out of control.

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Omar "RoxRite" Delgado Macias on B-Boy Culture's Positive Impact Worldwide

Categories: Dance, Interviews

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Red Bull
Omar "RoxRite" Delgado Macias in Singapore in 2013.
Omar Delgado Macias' career as a b-boy dancer has taken him a few place. As a matter of fact, the performer known as "RoxRite" has battled and busted out his slick moves and fancy footwork on six different continents and in dozens of cities around the globe, such as Tokyo, Moscow, Johannesburg, and Sydney.

And in many of those locations, the world-renowned b-boy has beaten the best of the best to claim first place victories, which is something he's become famous for over most of the last two decades. As of this writing, Macias has notched at total of 85 tournament wins during his 19-year career -- including winning the prestigious Red Bull BC One world championships in 2011 -- and he's made it a major goal to eventually hit 100.

In the meantime, however, Macias is busy spreading knowledge and awareness of b-boy culture around the world and getting others involved in the art form. And he'll be doing just that this weekend in Phoenix.


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Wrestling Legend Bill Goldberg on What It Takes to Be a Real Man These Days

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Courtesy of Clickjab Entertainment
Bill Goldberg is scheduled to appear at Clickjab Wrestling Fan Fest on Saturday, July 19, in Phoenix.
Bill Goldberg is what you'd call a "man's man." He spent the early part of the 1990s smashing bodies in the NFL before transforming into a professional wrestler and doing much the same, mowing down opponents and becoming a legend in both the WWE and its now-defunct competitor, World Championship Wrestling.

And since leaving the ring a decade ago, the grappler formerly known as "The Man" has parlayed his fame into following many of his multifaceted passions in life (most of which are of a masculine nature) such as starring in action-packed films like The Longest Yard and Half Past Dead 2, serving as an MMA color commentator, opening his own gym, and hosting such cable TV shows as Garage Mahal and Biker Build-Off, owing to his love of muscle cars, automotive culture, and racing.


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Comics Artist and Mesa Native Mike Mayhew on The Star Wars

Categories: Comics, Interviews

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Mike Mayhew
A glimpse at Mayhew's artistic contribution to The Star Wars.

As big as the Star Wars expanded universe is, few people can say that they have actually had the opportunity to work on a project related to the beloved sci-fi franchise. Even fewer still can say that they got to work on bringing George Lucas' original vision to life. Comics artist Mike Mayhew, who was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona, was one of those few lucky individuals who had the chance to do just that. Mayhew recently wrapped up his work on The Star Wars, a special eight-issue run of comics from Dark Horse. The series was written based on the original draft of Lucas' script for Star Wars, which underwent massive rewrites in order to make it to the big screen.


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Tempe Author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo on Why Young-Adult Books Are for Everyone

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Courtesy Elizabeth Maria Naranjo/Evie Carpenter

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo is a petite woman with long, black hair that today she's pulled back, save for a few wisps that frame her face. She's personable, but not bubbly, and passionate without being overbearing. She alternates between sips of water and coffee and she is, as she'll later admit, understandably nervous -- this is her first face-to-face interview to promote her first book, The Fourth Wall.

The 235-page piece follows a young girl, Marin, who adopts lucid dreaming (a dream in which one is keenly aware he or she is actively dreaming) as a way to escape reality after her mother's death. She creates a safe haven, devoid of memory and sadness, but the dream becomes a nightmare, and something inside of it doesn't want her to wake up.

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