Kathleen Madigan on Why She Admires Joan Rivers, Doesn't Fight With Lewis Black, and Could've Predicted the Ferguson Tragedy

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Natalie Brasington
Kathleen Madigan is scheduled to perform on Friday, September 19, at Talking Stick Resort.
Stand-up comic Kathleen Madigan has never been shy about skewering herself. In fact, she can be both candid and clever when joking about her drinking habits, gambling habits, lack of ambition in the gym, Irish-Catholic upbringing, or perpetual singlehood while onstage or in her most recent special, the hilarious Netflix special from last year, Madigan Again.

The comedienne also gets especially snarky when riffing on pop culture and topical issues, except when it comes to certain current events of a tragic nature.

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Beth Cato on The Clockwork Dagger, Her Debut Steampunk/Fantasy Novel

Categories: Books, Interviews

Evie Carpenter
Author Beth Cato shows off a little bit of the fashion of the steampunk world she created within The Clockwork Dagger.

You wouldn't expect to find a magical healer, spies, assassins, and a quirky young gremlin in Buckeye, Arizona. But that's exactly where debut novelist Beth Cato created the fantastical steampunk world of her book, The Clockwork Dagger.

In Cato's take on Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, Octavia Leander, a powerful "medician" who uses her magical powers to heal others in her war-torn world, thought the airship she was traveling on was just transporting her to her first mission. When she discovers the airship is full of those plotting a deadly conspiracy, a cabin-mate with too many secrets, and a handsome steward who may be one of the Queen's spies or assassins known as the Clockwork Daggers, Octavia must fight to save herself, the ones she cares about, and possibly her entire world.

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T.J. Miller and Rick Bronson on Stand-Up, Silicon Valley, and Phoenix's Newest Comedy Club

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Josh Chesler
Comedian T.J. Miller, left, and owner Rick Bronson are hoping to create one of the country's top comedy scenes in Phoenix with the freshly opened House of Comedy.

T.J. Miller might be best known as Erlich Bachman from the HBO television show Silicon Valley, or for his movie roles, like his supporting role in She's Out of My League or "getting yelled at by Michael Bay on the set of Transformers," but there's much more to him than being "the guy from Our Idiot Brother." Miller's favorite way to perform is in the form of live stand-up, and it's not something he'll stop doing anytime soon.

"People might come out because they think, 'Oh, that guy's funny as Erlich,' but some of them will hopefully leave thinking that I'm funny as a comedian," says Miller, who's performing at the grand opening of Rick Bronson's House of Comedy in Phoenix all weekend. "Some other people will probably just leave really confused, but that's okay, too. This is like, 'Hey, come and hang out with me,' and you get a whole different experience that you'd never get from watching TV or anything. Whereas that's just a TV show to entertain you."

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Paul Mecurio on Paul McCartney, Wall Street, and Advice for Future Comedians

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

Courtesy Stand Up Live
Paul Mecurio performs at Stand Up Live Thursday, September 4, through Sunday, September 7.
Paul Mecurio likes to keep his plate full.

At present, the mergers and acquisitions lawyer turned comedian writes for the Daily Show With Jon Stewart -- a gig he's had for more than a decade that's earned him an Emmy and a Peabody Award. He produces his own podcast, The Paul Mecurio Show, performs his own stand-up, and has at least three potential television shows in development.

We caught up with Mecurio in between his many jobs to talk about Paul McCartney, Wall Street, and his advice for future comedians.

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

© 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

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

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

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

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

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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