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Landscapes The adventure of wedding photography in northern Arizona



Spring 2020

May You Live in Interesting Times Butterfly Burger Canyon de Chelly National Monument

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Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

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8 and love

Landscapes Northern Arizona’s stunning scenery offers the perfect backdrop for celebrations of love. Photographers throughout the region specialize in capturing important milestones for couples, but it’s about more than simply pointing a camera and getting that perfect shot.



22 Books become living, breathing art

31 Pack the car and head out to Canyon

in May You Live in Interesting Times, a juried exhibit currently on display in Northern Arizona University’s Art Museum.

MATTERS of TASTE 25 Lisa Dahl’s Butterfly Burger is an

indulgent addition to her awardwinning restaurant group.

de Chelly, located in the Navajo Nation outside of Chinle, Arizona, for a culture-heavy weekend trip.

MIND & BODY 34 Snoring in moderation is not cause for alarm, but accompanying symptoms such as irregular breathing may call for closer inspection.



30 Mead is believed to have close ties

35 House of Apache Fire in Red Rock

to ancient honeymoon traditions, and Arizona is home to five amazing mead producers, two of which are located in northern Arizona.

State Park has a storied history, and future plans to come.






Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine


Newlyweds Dalton and Alexa at Cathedral Rock in Sedona. Photo by Victoria Nabours.




EDITOR MacKenzie Chase mchase@azdailysun.com 928.556.2262

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine is published quarterly at 1751 S. Thompson St. | Flagstaff, AZ 86001

SALES CONTRIBUTORS Zachary Meier Lydia Smith Clare Nixon

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine is published by

ISSN: 1534-3804

Copyright ©2019 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations and other materials are invited, but will not be returned unless accompanied by a properly addressed envelope bearing sufficient postage. Publisher assumes no responsibility for lost materials or the return of unsolicited materials. Publisher assumes no responsibility for any materials, solicited or unsolicited, after six months from date of publication. Cover and entire contents of this publication are fully protected. Reproduction or use without prior written premission from the editor is strictly prohibited. Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine is not responsible for scheduled event changes. Any views, opinions or suggestions contained within Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine are not necessarily those of the management or owners.








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EDITOR’S NOTES ‌‘Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences,

penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou


in memory because I knew their story. In the cover story of this special wedding edition, Gabriel Granillo spoke to northern Arizona-based photographers Victoria

his past October, against a backdrop of lush palo verde trees and wildflowers at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Gardens, my friend James married his soul mate— pardon the tired cliché. Of the many weddings I have attended over the years, this was perhaps the most emotional. I lived with James and his brother for several months, during which time we formed our own little family dynamic. I was familiar with the

Nabours and Monica Saaty-Pizzi. Both enjoy getting to know the couples they photograph; they don’t simply show up on the wedding day and expect new clients to immediately be comfortable in front of the camera. Nabours and Saaty-Pizzi understand that each couple’s story is unique and they want to capture that to allow their clients to look back on their special day for years to come. For couples at any stage of the wedding planning process, I hope this issue helps inspire you. For the rest of our readers, I hope you enjoy learning about

heartbreak my friend had endured in the

the other places and events highlighted here, like May You Live

past, the ones who got away, the hope

in Interesting Times, a conceptual book art exhibit on display at

that somebody out there would truly see

Northern Arizona University’s Art Museum. Sedona also makes


several appearances outside of the cover story, with a feature on

By the time James and Jessica met, I had moved out of our house and he had moved down to the Valley for a new job.

Lisa Dahl’s indulgent Butterfly Burger and a look at the House of Apache Fire, typically closed to visitors. Until our summer issue, I wish you all well. Thanks for reading.

Still, I was overjoyed when I finally met her and saw how happy each made the other. As Jessica walked down the aisle under the sunset’s golden glow, I watched tears fall down James’ face and I knew they were embarking on a

MacKenzie Chase

long, joyful journey together. But this matrimony really stands out


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Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine


Favorites of the season from the area’s abundant offerings in art and entertainment


MASTERFUL ARRANGEMENTS Ardrey Auditorium, 1115 S. Knoles Dr.

FEB. 7- MAY 3 FRAGILE LANDSCAPES Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 423 N. Beaver St. The Open Doors: Art in Action Gallery presents its newest exhibit, Dispassionate Landscapes, wherein three renowned photographers document the complexities of land use on our fragile landscape. Together Tom Bean, Michael Collier and Ed Dunn ask the question: How can we best manage our forests, rangeland and public spaces to sustain life into the future? The exhibit will feature different discussions surrounding land during each First Friday ArtWalk through May, including talks by ranch managers, researchers, ecologists, local politicians and more. (928) 774-2911

Warmly welcomed back to Flagstaff after her triumphant debut with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra in 2015, Rachel Barton Pine performs Camille saint Saens’ virtuosic Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61, for Masterworks V. The tone of the Chicago violinist, playing a prized 1742 Guarneri instrument that is on permanent loan to her, is described as “an excellent glass of red wine—full-bodied, rich and complex.” 6:30 p.m. pre-concert conversation with FSO conductor Charles Latshaw, 7:30 p.m. performance. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (928) 523-5661.


In 2017, Robbie Fulks was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Folk Album (Upland Stories) and Best American Roots Song (“Alabama at Night”). Born in York, Pennsylvania, he learned guitar from his dad, banjo from Earl Scruggs and John Hartford records, and fiddle on his own. Since dropping out of Columbia College in New York City in 1982, he has gone on to create a long and storied career in music. Tickets are $15-$30. Doors at 7 p.m. www.flagartscouncil.org

FEB. 13-16 HUMANITY OF ART Various locations Back for its 18th year, the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival is a gathering of films and filmmakers and features not only movies—both short and full-length—but programming surrounding the festival including art exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art Flagstaff (MOCAF) and Firecreek Coffee Company. For a full list of films, locations and events, visit www. flagstaffmountainfilms.org

FOLK FROM FULKS Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd.

RECKON WITH THIS FORCE Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Fort Valley Rd.


Since opening in October of 2019, The Museum of Northern Arizona’s The Force Is With Our People has made both local and national headlines, with curators at MNA extending the exhibit until May, though it was originally scheduled to close in March. In it, Native American artists explore the impact Star Wars had on them and their communities. The exhibition features artwork from more than 20 different artists with more than 50 objects. MNA is open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (928) 774-5213 Spring 2020 namlm.com


LANDSCAPES The adventure of wedding photography in northern Arizona



t took Victoria Nabours six years to learn that wedding photography is not about getting the perfect shot. The 25-year-old northern Arizona-based photographer, operating under White Desert Photography, got her start in the field by assisting a wedding planner. When word came around that Nabours had a sharp eye behind the lens—Nabours has a Bachelor of Science in photography from Northern Arizona University—she started photographing small elopements and ceremonies. Just last year, she decided to make it her full-time job. She felt she was pretty good at what she was doing, which was capturing an important moment in peoples’ lives. This moment—marriage, or the act of committing to a marriage—is a 4,000-year-old institution. And to the individual couple, this moment will be remembered for the rest of their lives, framed and adorned on bookshelves and above living room sofas, gently placed into wallets and necklaces to be remembered daily. She tries not to think of how important all that is. “It used to be just about the pictures and getting the perfect shot. I don’t care about those perfect shots,” Nabours said. “It’s more about capturing what’s happening in front of me and sharing an experience with people.” Part of what helps Nabours create these experiences is through adventure sessions. These are engagement, anniversary or post-wedding photo shoots that require couples to get a little dirty and hike a few miles to a beautiful remote


Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine


Spring 2020 namlm.com


location like the End of the World in Sedona, the San Francisco Peaks or Cathedral Rock, which Nabours said she hikes with clients at least four times a month. That time spent hiking allows room for both the couple and Nabours to get to know each other, for the former to see that Nabours is not just “a stranger behind a camera,” but someone who cares about and wants to be involved in this moment. Nabours said she draws inspiration from late poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, who once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Nabours has taken this quote and made it the backbone of her photographic philosophy. “My drive and excitement for [photography] is bringing people into a beautiful place and taking pictures that they’re always going to remember and



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always have. For me, what I get out of it is sharing an experience with people that I’ve never met before, and I get to have this time with them and I get to know them, and then I get to give them something out of that experience. I think that’s the most rewarding thing,” Nabours said. Sure, people may be uncomfortable in front of the camera. If you were comfortable and already knew how to pose then you wouldn’t really need a photographer there, Nabours said. And that’s another benefit of these adventure sessions. It’s not just Nabours showing up and taking your photo. “I spend time with [my clients] that isn’t photography related. I always think of Friends when Chandler and Monica go to take their picture and he’s all awkward, being forced into that situation just to smile and pose,” Nabours said with a laugh. “Once people feel more comfortable with the fact that I’m a human being and not just a face behind a camera, I think it makes them more comfortable.” Adventure sessions are not the only route couples can take when planning their engagement or wedding photos. Although northern Arizona has a tight niche of photographers who specialize in special days such as weddings, “We all do things so differently,” Nabours said. “We have the same ideas about who we are and

Mormon Lake Lodge nestled amidst the largest stand of ponderosa pines in Northern Arizona just 30 minutes southeast of Flagstaff on the beautiful scenic Lake Mary Highway. Mormon Lake Lodge is the perfect location to have your beautiful wedding or an event, that you will remember for the rest of your life. Our tradition of dedicated service coupled with our western hospitality and charm allows for the successful combination of any event, large or small. Our staff works hard to coordinate each detail to ensure unforgettable memories you will never forget. We invite you to come out and experiment the rustic settings of Mormon Lake Lodge and the beautiful environment that surrounds it.

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14 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine


what we do, but everybody is so different from each other. It can be highly selective for clients to pick and choose who they want.” Take Monica Saaty-Pizzi. The 27-year-old photographer with Saaty Photography and lecturer in NAU’s photography and visual communication departments sees herself as more of a “photographic guide,” walking with couples hand-in-hand from engagement shoots to wedding ceremonies. Saaty-Pizzi said the wedding day is important, of course, but it shouldn’t be stressful. So she helps clients, as well as capturing special moments on camera, with formulating custom timelines and aligning themselves with the ins and outs of wedding preparation to make that special day a lot less stressful. Part of that process is building a relationship with her clients. “I leave a majority of my sessions almost feeling like a member of the family,” Saaty-Pizzi said. “I definitely don’t want to be a stranger with a camera showing up on one of the most important days of your life. So spending a lot of time together and working really closely and developing that trust and relationship well before the big day is a huge part of my process.” Ever since she was a kid, Saaty-Pizzi has been capturing moments through the lens of a camera, using

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expensive film rolls on staged photo shoots of her Barbies and stuffed animals. High school opened her up to landscape photography, and then Saaty-Pizzi’s time at NAU introduced her to the art of portraiture. Now she combines those two skills for engagement and wedding photographs that capture the beauty of both the environment and the individual. After more than 15 years working with a camera, philosophies can change, but one thing has remained a constant. “To this day, I love the excuse of picking up my camera and going for a drive and spending time outside. It is almost a daily occurrence for me still,” SaatyPizzi said. With regard to wedding photography, she fell into that by happy accident, making it her full-time gig about seven years ago. Part of what Saaty-Pizzi enjoys about the job is hearing

the stories of the couples—where they met, where they are and where they’re going. “It just brings me so much joy to hear the stories of each individual [couple] because we all have our own stories. And then to try and translate some really small moments in those stories, and some bits and pieces, in those [portraits] is really how I began,” she said. “It’s just a beautiful process to be a part of. I leave work every single day being in a better mood than when I got to work.” For both Nabours and Saaty-Pizzi, a majority of their clientele is based outside of Arizona, though they both have their share of clients based in the state, from northern Arizona, the Valley or elsewhere. Whether the couple are NAU alumni, revisiting the place in which they fell in love, or from Germany,

recapturing a scenic trip through the red rocks of Sedona, the northern Arizona landscape is a breathtaking place to capture that special moment of commitment and love. “This state is so beautifully diverse and we have these amazing landscapes that I think a lot of people fall in love with it, as I know I did. And they come back because it really resonates with them,” Saaty-Pizzi said. For more information about photography packages and rates from Victoria Nabours and Monica Saaty-Pizzi, visit www.whitedesertphotography.com or www.saatyphotography.com.


16 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine


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ith sweeping forest backdrops, cheerful creeks and the majestic San Francisco Peaks standing sentinel, there is no shortage of picturesque wedding venues to choose from in northern Arizona. Start planning for your big day by researching some of these options.





Abineau Lodge 1080 Mountainaire Road Situated among the ponderosa pines just six miles south of Flagstaff in mellow Mountainaire, Abineau Lodge is a full-service wedding venue that’s a go-to for nature-loving couples who want to have an intimate woodsy wedding. www.abineaulodge.com

at Flagstaff offers a spectacularly unobstructed view of the San Francisco Peaks and the pine canopy stretched out before it. www.thearb.org

The Arboretum at Flagstaff 4001 S. Woody Mountain Road Home to more than 750 plant species throughout the property’s greenhouses, gardens and natural habitats, the Arboretum

Arizona Nordic Village 16848 Highway 180 An off-grid getaway north of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona Nordic Village is nestled among ponderosa pine and aspen trees.

It’s an ideal destination for couples looking for a more rustic, back-to-basics wedding experience, without completely roughing it. www.arizonanordicvillage.com Arizona Snowbowl 9300 N. Snowbowl Road Snowbowl’s Hart Prairie Lodge and Fremont Restaurant and Bar accommodate

weddings for all seasons. With a built-in wedding arch, the terrace of the former offers a backdrop of picturesque pines and mountain meadows. At Fremont, adventurous brides and grooms can choose to ski their way down the “aisle” and exchange vows slope-side. www. snowbowl.ski/weddings DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel 1175 W. Route 66 With expert coordination and catering, and a choice of seven different event spaces, Flagstaff’s DoubleTree offers couples a fine-tuned experience for their wedding. Tie the knot surrounded by gorgeous views from the outdoor gazebo and host up to 400 guests for a reception in the Grand Ballroom. doubletree3.hilton.com Forest Highlands Golf Club 2425 William Palmer Weddings at Forest Highlands combine all the luxury and amenities of a country club with views of the San Francisco Peaks.

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Couples can choose from three stunning ceremony spaces, each with their own unique charm. www.fhgc.com/weddings Frontiere at Rogers Lake 9485 Forest Service Road 231 Frontiere at Rogers Lake is a memorable place for couples to host their special event with spectacular views of Flagstaff’s mountains. Overnight and day options are offered, allowing couples to set up the rustic, outdoor space to suit their needs. The rental season is May 1 through September 30. www. frontiereatrogerslake.com The Gardens at Viola’s 610 S. Route 89A An expansion of Viola’s Flower Garden nursery, this venue is surrounded by tranquil forest views. The large outdoor patio overlooks the nursery adding views of blooms and greenery depending on the season. www. flagstaffweddingvenue.com

High Country Conference Center 201 W. Butler Ave. From the most sophisticated to the simplest of weddings, the professional team at High Country Conference Center will cater to any couple’s vision. Indoor and outdoor function spaces allow for versatility, from the 800-capacity ballroom to NAU’s historic North Quad directly to the south of the conference center. www.highcountryconferencecenter.com/specialevents Little America Hotel 2515 E. Butler Ave. Flagstaff’s most beloved hotel is an excellent option for small or large weddings, accommodating up to 400 guests. The hotel’s Grand Ballroom at nearly 6,000 square feet is spacious and contemporary, and its large windows provide plenty of outdoor views. flagstaff.littleamerica.com Mormon Lake Lodge 1991 Mormon Lake Road

The rustic Mormon Lake Lodge, located 30 miles south of Flagstaff, offers beautiful forest views and a choice of two outdoor ceremony locations. www. mormonlakelodge.com Museum of Northern Arizona 3101 N. Fort Valley Road Celebrate your love and the wonders of the Colorado Plateau with a wedding hosted at the Museum of Northern Arizona. A variety of venues throughout the campus are available to rent. www.musnaz.org Thonager’s on Kiltie 2640 W. Kiltie Lane Surrounded by woods in the charming and serene Equestrian Estates, Thornager’s has been a site for weddings and events for 30 years. The venue has a tented outdoor ceremony spot and a warm reception hall with wood floors that invite plenty of dancing. www.thornagers.com/ weddings Weatherford Hotel 23 N. Leroux St. At the historic Weatherford Hotel in downtown Flagstaff, couples can enjoy a wedding as unique as their love. Venue options within the hotel include the Zane Grey Ballroom, third floor ballroom and balcony, and the Gopher Hole. www.weatherfordhotel.com


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SEDONA‌ Agave of Sedona 1146 W. State Route 89A Sedona’s premier wedding and event venue, Agave offers couples and their guests breathtaking panoramic red rock views from all outdoor areas. www. agaveofsedona.com Amara Resort and Spa 100 Amara Lane Amara resort accommodates weddings large and small, with an attentive planning team weaving every moment from “I do” to “Farewell” into a string of enchanting memories. www. amararesort.com

L’Auberge de Sedona 301 Little Lane L’Auberge specializes in unforgettable weddings. Whether it’s an elopement or a celebration with 150 close friends, there’s a package available for every couple. www.lauberge.com Enchantment Resort 525 Boynton Canyon Road Located in the heart of Boynton Canyon, Enchantment Resort offers a number of picturesque venues in which to host this momentous occasion. www. enchantmentresort.com

CORNVILLE‌ D.A. Ranch Estate Lodge & Vineyards 1901 Dancing Apache Road Located among the vineyards and with stunning mountain views, D.A. Ranch offers a unique and memorable setting for northern Arizona weddings. www.daranch.com Page Springs Cellars 1500 N. Page Springs Road Wed among the vines of Page Springs and enjoy a feast prepared with locally sourced organic meats and produce at this venue in Cornville. www.pagespringscellars.com The Vineyards Bed & Breakfast 1350 N. Page Springs Road Lush nature backdrops await couples at The Vineyards Bed & Breakfast. As a bonus, owner Tambrala is available to take the reins and help plan every other aspect of the wedding day to ensure it runs smoothly. www. thevineyardsbandb.com

CAMP VERDE‌ Cliff Castle Casino Hotel 555 W. Middle Verde Road On the edge of northern Arizona wine country and just south of Sedona, Cliff Castle Casino is ready to transform its 4,600-square-foot event center into the perfect backdrop for couples looking for a centrally located wedding venue. www. cliffcastlecasinohotel.com

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the ARTS

‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ opens at NAU Art Museum

“Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream” by Aaron Wilder. PHOTOS BY MACKENZIE CHASE 22 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine


“Raising Hackles” by Karen Baldner.

“Oleander” by Daniel Mayer.

hen was the last time you took a good long look at a book—even if you didn’t read the words? When was the last time you opened a book and felt like you were diving into the pages, enveloped by the sheets of paper themselves as they unfolded into different worlds and depths? The New York Times recently published a comic showcasing different types of readers, such as neglectful, picky, voracious. Here’s one they left out: aesthetic. Perhaps you prefer to experience your books as works of art, as a collector or critic. Visitors to book art exhibition May You Live in Interesting Times, on display through April 18 at the Northern Arizona University Art Museum, will feel like they are stepping into the pages of the artist’s active imagination as they view 3D media pieces constructed from the pages of books. Think Alice in Wonderland plus your favorite baking show where books are the only ingredient. Books aren’t exactly an artifact just yet, but we are seeing them around less and less. A book itself even without alteration is becoming a work of art. Or wasn’t it always? Or won’t it forever be? “Another Side” People have been usby Karen Baldner. ing books to create art for thousands of years dating back to ancient Egyptian papyri, Korean scrolls and Mesoamerican codices. The private correspondence of ancient Thebes—present-day Luxor, Egypt—scribe Heqanakht lives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The printed word is not just something to flip through but a work of art that stands on its own. May You Live in Interesting Times offers a buffet of books with their hearts on the operating table, wide open and ready to be viewed. One piece resembles a cracked geode, the kind one might find at a Grand Canyon souvenir shop. Another looks like a fold-out map of immigration, telling the story of a family’s journey. The NAU Art Museum asked for submissions relating to environmental challenges, politics, immigration and

Spring 2020 namlm.com


“Feeding our Daughters” by Evelyn Wong.

If you go “Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream” by Aaron Wilder. race, and the featured group of artists delivered. German artist Karen Baldner utilizes drum leaf binding, lithography on handmade paper, text transfer, piano hinge binding, handmade paper with stenciled text and more unique materials and binding techniques. Human and horse hair are reoccurring motifs in much of her work. One of Baldner’s submissions to May You Live in Interesting Times is a 10-foot piece made of 500 pages bound with piano binding, the kind that stretches out and unfolds like an accordion. The result, titled “Letting Go,” is a big hairy caterpillar filled with book pages, revealing an otherworldly gorgeous and tactile story. Michele Bury serves on the board of the Universal Human Rights Initiative. Her contribution to the NAU Art Mu24 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

seum exhibit is described as an interactive way for people to engage with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Marcia Cohen offers a lovely artist’s statement about color, noting that “color is omnidirectional” for her submission of “Color File #1.” Sonia Farmer uses erasure poetry to create “A True & Exact History,” using Richard Ligon’s A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados (1657) as her source material. Montana-based author and editor AB Gorham’s comprehensive website portfolio is full of clear images featuring experimental work like the “Moldy Book Project.” For this piece, Gorham crafted a handmade cover for a book before dipping it into—again, homemade—deep fry batter and sealing it in a container

May You Live in Interesting Times is on display at Northern Arizona University’s Art Museum, 620 S. Knoles Dr. in Old Main, now through April 18. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Visit www.nau.edu/artmuseum for more information.

for three weeks. She even has a piece inspired by the patterns of the carpet in a Nevada casino. “Whipstock” and “Lilt” appear in the Flagstaff exhibit. Flagstaff ’s active author and lit scene, as well as casual observers, will be well impressed by this exhibit curated by Dr. George Speer and Lisa C. Tremaine. There are so many different ways to communicate the text in a book to the viewer. This is only a quick overview of literature’s artistic potential and some of the artists who make up May You Live in Interesting Times. May your books be interesting, too.



An elevated experience from Chef Lisa Dahl



he humble burger’s appeal lies in its affordability, portability and customizable form. But who created the hefty handhold? Some believe a meatball stand owner flattened his product and served it between bread Winter 2020 namlm.com


If you go Butterfly Burger is located at 6657 State Route 179, Suite B1, in Sedona. Hours of operation are noon-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call (928) 862-4448 or visit www. butterflyburger.com for more information. Price range: $$-$$$

slices, while others think the concept is owed to a hotdog substitution in Hamburg, New York. Still, Texans believe it evolved from a breakfast patty with glazed onions sandwiched between French toast. Regardless, these ideas helped build a $129-billion industry. Lisa Dahl’s posh Butterfly Burger in Sedona is the latest comer to a hungry market. A sleek, marble bar with amber lighting and a rose-gold mirror presents a lux lounge billing more than 40 bourbons and spirits, accessible via the rolling library ladder. Exotic faux alligator booths add classy contrast to roughhewn planks of mushroom wood, cobblestones and bold butterfly imagery. Of the couture lounge, Dahl said, “The popularity of a burger made well and elevated experience isn’t for the masses—it’s indulgent and sublime with a top shelf cocktail and jazz setting the stage for a sultry experience.” Dahl is a successful stalwart of the red rock culinary scene. Her 20-year career began with Dahl & DiLuca Ristorante Italiano—still drawing national attention—adding Cucina Rustica, Pisa Lisa, Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill and, in September, Butterfly Burger, becoming the area’s largest restaurant group. The James Beard House featured chef is self-taught, claiming Top Chef in Arizona at the 2018 Foodist Awards. Recently named in the Best Chefs of America Hall of Fame Award by National Elite, Dahl gathered wide attention grilling against Bobby Flay on the

26 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

Food Network and appearing on Travel Channel’s Food Paradise. Hailing from the Midwest, where the family vied to barbecue the best burger on Sundays, Dahl still tests her skills. She entered the Scottsdale Burger Battle with a Latin version of the American model to win the People’s Choice award in 2016, and in 2017, she earned 2nd Runner Up. When it comes to the title of Burger Master, Dahl said, “I take it about as seriously as a heart attack.” In 2018, she netted the Judges’ Choice with a funky, mushroom-rich entry. The logistics and prep of the contest are difficult, and she was thrilled to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” in her wins. Dahl believes flavorful, well-made burgers are worthwhile. This is

Spring 2020 namlm.com


evident in eight-ounce patties served medium rare, though marinating and further prep delivers moistness even when well done. The burgers are cooked over wood, an active challenge that sears a patty perfectly. A higher consciousness for meat in feed and humane treatment also matter to Dahl. Butterfly’s menu boasts a dozen signature burgers with whimsical titles. The art is in the layering of ingredients. The Butterfly Burger begs a bite with Manchego, all-natural pepper bacon, guacamole and chipotle aioli on an artisan bun. The Oui Oui Monsieur is a patty melt, smothered in charred onions, Gruyere and Dijonnaise sauce on grilled caraway rye, served with a side of onion jus. Dahl’s burger award wins also compete for attention: Funghi Sublime, smothered in sautéed mushrooms and finished with imported truffle Gouda and Dijonnaise; Gringo with white aged cheddar, Louis remoulade, shredded romaine lettuce and crispy onion strings; and Waco Kid, featuring 4 Roses Bourbon with maple, caramelized onion and

28 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

bacon confit with Dijon sauce, all on artisan buns. It’s hard to believe Dahl was nearly banished from the family as a teen when she became a vegetarian, but it inspired a grain patty still headlining her meatless menu. The Hipster dresses lentil-walnut sofrito with oven-roasted Campari tomato jam and pimento aioli on a whole grain bun. Royal Beet grills organic beet steak with house teriyaki and roasted garlic-herb chevre with organic arugula. Fries are the top side order and Street Frites plays up yucca strips smothered with queso fundido, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. Others include Supreme Mac ‘n Cheese, Quinoa Confetti Salad and Three-Seed Cilantro Slaw. Stylish salads, like the Green Goddess Cobb and Atun Parfait, may tempt healthy eaters to stay green. Still, ice cream is a dream alongside a burger, and Dahl’s milkshakes, in standard or boozy fashion, like Luscious Lemon with limoncello sorbet, vanilla bean gelato and cookie crumble, are a slurp from heaven. The wares at Butterfly Burger are classic, but creativity transforms them, as the name implies. “With a good story and quality, burgers are crowd pleasers,” Dahl said.

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Drinking Horn Meadery

There is nothing quite like celebrating love during spring in the high deserts of Arizona. As plants awaken from their winter slumber and flowers begin to unfold, the ever punctual honeybee begins its warm-season task of creating its sticky sweet nectar. As flowers follow the thaw so does a honeymoon follow a wedding, and if we look deeper into the history of the honeymoon we find an ancient beverage known as mead. A wine-like beverage made from honey, water and yeast, mead is thought be the oldest fermented drink, dating as far back as 3000 BCE. According to www.meadist.com, “Within many cultures, including Welsh, German and Scandinavian, mead was often consumed during the wedding celebration as a toast to the bride and groom. After the wedding the couple was given enough mead to continue the toasting for one month following the wedding, or one cycle of the moon.” The drink is slowly working its way into the mainstream, and Arizona is home to five amazing mead producers, two of which are located in northern Arizona.

Flagstaff, AZ A business born from matrimony, owner Evan Anderson brewed some mead for his own wedding. Every drop brewed was drunk at the festivities and Evan decided that if people wanted to drink his mead he needed to start a business. Focusing on using local and naturally sourced ingredients such as honey from Mountain Top Honey, Drinking Horn Meadery specializes in making small batches of quality product. Traditional Mead: Orange blossom honey 13% ABV Beautiful straw color, clear as a sunny day with notes of citrus from the honey but no cloying sweetness. Dry finish with lingering floral character. Elderberry Mead: Flagstaff wildflower honey 13% ABV Sweet and tart gooseberry on the nose with a honey undertone. Acid on the palate followed by a semisweet honey character that is lifted and cleansed by carbonation. Black Cherry Mead: Orange blossom honey 13% ABV Beautiful ruby color with perfect clarity. An aroma of fresh

30 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

and dried cherries with light honey. Semi-sweet mead with flavors of sweet stone fruit and a tart acidic finish.

Superstition Meadery Prescott, AZ Passion, excellence and the best ingredients are combined at Superstition Meadery, resulting in some deliciously unique beverages. Since its founding in 2012, the meadery has embraced a spirit of experimentation, often collaborating with other businesses within the craft beverage industry. Tahitian Honeymoon: Arizona wildflower honey and whole Tahitian vanilla beans, aged with medium toasted oak staves 13.5% ABV Golden in color and absolutely clear. Aromas of warm vanilla and brandy with hints of caramel and light oak. Safeword: Arizona mesquite honey and dark Belgian candi sugar, aged in bourbon barrels 13% ABV This Barrel-Aged Dark Strong Mead has a deep amber-red color with aromas of honey, chocolate and light roasted coffee. The flavor is sweet caramel complemented by bourbon with

characters of vanilla and light coconut, finishing with deep oak characters and coffee. Aphrodesia (Batch 21): Arizona wildflower honey and California Cabernet grapes, aged in oak barrels 13% ABV Deep ruby color that brightens as light is shone through the glass. Aromas of light honey, vanilla and spice. The flavor holds deep complexity of dried, dark stone fruit, some alcohol, and a finish reminiscent of Montmorency cherries. All of these meads are available online or directly from the meaderies. Some brands can be found at well-stocked beer and wine stores. Visit www. drinkinghornmeadery.com and www.superstitionmeadery.com for more information and to see which stores carry this traditional wedding beverage in your area. Adam Harrington is the owner and operator of High Altitude Home Brew Supply and Bottle Shop in Flagstaff, Arizona, where customers can purchase ingredients to brew their own batch of mead. The shop can also supply their events with everything from mead to beer.


The red rock and ancient wonders of Canyon de Chelly



round a decade ago, I abandoned attempts to describe the awe-inducing exposures of Navajo Sandstone. Efforts to harness in words sinuous ribbons of rock at The Wave at Coyote Buttes, the enveloping folds of Antelope Canyon and the soaring walls of Glen Canyon never matched the transcendent feelings that overtook me in their presence. I relived this old struggle when I walked slowly to the edge of Canyon de Chelly. I contemplated the twin pillars of Spider Rock, rising more than 800 feet from the floor of a 1,200-foot-deep red-rock canyon. What words might hold together to describe these rising spires from the heart of an archaeological treasure trove? Spider Rock appears like an oracle in a fantasy novel our hero needs to climb to seek wisdom. The formation belongs high on the list of Arizona’s most important landmarks. It stands as sacred ground to the Navajo and as a stunning geologic wonder—and one that should draw more people to visit and contemplate it. Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “duh shay”), its sister gorge Canyon del Muerto and all of its formations reside in a tucked-away corner of the map. It lies 75 miles north of Interstate 40 in the heart of the Navajo Nation. From Flagstaff, it takes around three hours one way to drive there. When visitors arrive, they find a national monument of significant proportions. It offers a quiet space to contemplate the geology, plants and animals of this high-desert jewel. Around 850,000 people make the monument a destination each year, compared to the six million-plus who trek to Grand Canyon annually and millions more who flood other Southwest national parks. People who arrive at the monument in the springtime likely have some viewpoints all to themselves—complete Spring 2020 namlm.com


with the greening of the cottonwoods and farms that line the canyon and contrast with its earthy hues. From Flagstaff, Canyon de Chelly works as an ambitious day trip, but is best experienced as an overnight or weekend jaunt. A triple bill of the two rim drives along de Chelly and del Muerto and the White House Trail prove a must, and visitors can also make time for a Jeep tour or horseback ride along the canyon floor with a private guide. Whatever the plan, binoculars will come in handy to scope out the dozens of visible ancient ruins trussed in the cliffs throughout the monument. The larger and more intact ones have helped elevate Canyon de Chelly’s status as an archaeological marvel. “White House, Antelope House and Mummy Cave are perhaps the most viewed and photographed multi-storied pueblos found in the canyon,” Josh Ramsey, monument archaeologist, said in a recent email interview. “Despite very limited preventative or corrective maintenance and reconstruction, all three of these large pueblos still retain significant structural stability. The preservation of these villages is a testament to the engineering feats accomplished during the 11th through 13th centuries in the Four Corners region.” The larger ruins are joined by a significant list of smaller archaeological sites that the Navajo Nation and National Park Service have partnered to protect. Around a third of the monument has been inventoried, and “extrapolating the recorded site densities to non-inventoried portions of the monument would result in an estimated 6,000 archaeological sites,” according to Ramsey. The Canyon de Chelly experience also interweaves the beauty and wonder of the place with the tragedies that haunt its walls. In the early 1800s, the Spanish fought with and killed Navajo in Canyon del Muerto—from the Spanish word for death. This includes a landmark known as Massacre Cave, where 110 Navajo were killed in 1805. The ranger talk on the night I spent at the monument was on the Navajo Long Walk, and how that dark chapter of American history is interwoven into the narrative of the canyon. It also marvels visitors to see how the human story of the canyon continues to evolve, as Navajo families still call it home, living and cultivating along the canyon floors. “While cliff dwellings are a primary tourist attraction, it is the integration of Navajo customary uses of the land that makes Canyon de Chelly unique,” Ramsey said. “These Navajo families are responsible for the creation of many of the park’s most fundamental resources including its expansive cornfields, melon patches, alfalfa fields, trail systems, charcoal drawings, pictographs and petroglyphs, sheep and horse corrals, water diversion features, granaries, peach and apricot orchards and habitation structures.”

32 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

If you go Canyon de Chelly is located almost 200 miles northeast of Flagstaff. Admission is free, and visitors are welcome yearround. Accommodations include Thunderbird Lodge and a campground in the monument. Nearby Chinle also has hotels and restaurants. Learn more at www.nps.gov/cach, or www. nps.gov/hutr for Hubbell Trading Post.

During an overnight trip to the monument with my family, Sunday morning offered a chance to explore the edges of Canyon del Muerto. The only traffic jam came when a young sheepherder led his flock across the road. The quietude of Antelope House Overlook offered a chance to study the farms on the canyon floor while scoping out the ruins built along the stony seams. Antelope House proved a stunner and highlight of the del Muerto drive, with its remains of towers and kivas that stir the imagination into conjuring the once-thriving village. While traveling to or from Canyon de Chelly, a stop at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in Ganado opens a portal into a different time period. The Park Service maintains the trading post much as it had been in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Visitors can take a brief tour of the Hubbell home, which feels like a time capsule. The space, art and furniture of the home are so preserved you expect one of Hubbell’s children to run around the corner, or to smell one of Mrs. Hubbell’s pies baking in the oven. Barn animals and gardens abound, to add to the sense of living history. Navajo weavers also demonstrate their craft in the adjacent visitor’s center—a wonderful addition to a weekend adventure of cultural exploration.

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Do you snore? ‌A TREVA LIND

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)‌

lthough people joke about snoring, doctors are less inclined these days to make light of loud Zs. The reason: What keeps your spouse awake might signal more serious health issues. Snoring should get checked if it gets louder and has symptoms such as gasps for air or interrupted breathing. Health experts are less concerned about what’s called primary snoring—generally limited to a steady rhythmic sound that might get you elbowed to move. “There are basically two types of snores,” said David Swanson, supervisor at Providence Holy Family Hospital’s sleep clinic and a respiratory therapist. “One is just a rhythmic type of snore and usually the volume level stays about the same.” With that, you typically won’t snore or the sound softens if you move from your back to side. “The other type of snoring, which about 75% of people who snore will have, is obstructive sleep apnea along with that snore. That’s more like a crescendo-type snore where the volume gets louder and louder, then all of the sudden you don’t hear anything for a while because the airway is closed.” That scenario sounds like a loud snort. Nearly 30 million U.S. residents have obstructive sleep apnea that involves repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Warning signs include that crescendo snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. “It’s important to keep track of symptoms in addition to the snoring,” said Dr. Michael Cruz, an ENT physician with Spokane Ear, Nose and Throat. “Do you wake up gasping? Are you getting restorative sleep?” Interrupted breathing could last 10 seconds or longer, Cruz added. Is sleep beneficial or are you chronically tired and take daytime naps? Can somebody watch for irregular breathing patterns during sleep? Does it look like you’re struggling to breathe? How you answer may determine if you need to seek medical help. “That would be time to send them to a sleep doctor or sleep lab,” Cruz said. Discuss snoring concerns with a primary care physician, who might refer you to a sleep doctor. A specialist or primary doctor will likely call for a sleep test. Many patients now do those overnight in the home with a portable device. Obstructive sleep apnea, which can reduce the amount of oxygen the brain gets, may be a risk factor for stroke along with other concerns. 34 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

“With OSA, there’s increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and you’ll gain weight a lot easier,” Swanson said. “You’ll get up and go to the bathroom more often at night because the drop in oxygen level can actually affect the kidneys. There’s poor memory, difficulty concentrating. “Another reason a person should go talk to a doctor is if they have other co-morbidity issues such as heart problems, atrial fibrillation and extreme obesity.”

Why do you snore?

“Snoring in simplest terms is vibration of tissue,” Cruz said. “The most obvious tissue that would vibrate when somebody is snoring is the uvula or the back of the palate that hangs down.” Insurance companies don’t recognize primary snoring during restful sleep as a medical condition. “They’ll often describe that snoring as a social nuisance but not a medical condition.” During sleep, throat muscles relax. Sometimes, the tongue falls back in the mouth and partially blocks. The greater the obstruction in the airway, the louder snoring gets. Bigger health concerns involve severe snoring and when the airway collapses, causing obstruction of airflow, said Dr. Gregory Belenky, professor with the Sleep and Performance Research Center in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. “You worry about snoring if it’s not just snoring but it’s clear the snoring becomes severe, the airway collapses and there’s obstruction of airflow,” Belenky said. “There are lots of nerve ending in the upper airway, and it is very sensitive to blocking. When it gets blocked, it screams bloody murder.” People then wake up just enough to start breathing again. However, people with sleep apnea typically don’t wake to consciousness and are often unaware of it. Muscle tone is key, another reason why aging is a factor in snoring more. Taking a muscle relaxant can contribute, as can drinking alcohol before sleep. Obesity also contributes because the body has to work harder at breathing in sleep. Another factor might be that the nose is obstructed. “So in some patients, you can eliminate nasal obstruction,” Cruz said. People then can breathe through the nose at night and don’t snore as much. Tonsils also could be issue. It’s less frequent, but children can have snoring and sleep apnea, Swanson added. It’s sometimes misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder because of lingering sleep and breathing problems. Those kids

REASONS TO SEE A DOCTOR are often helped when tonsils are removed, he added. “There are a lot of contributing factors to snoring,” Cruz said. “It’s mostly related to muscle tone, so patients who are really fatigued will often snore more than patients who aren’t.”


Positive airway pressure therapy, with a PAP device, is a common treatment for sleep apnea. The term CPAP for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is becoming outdated, Swanson said. Doctors now can set a range of pressure and the device detects when a patient needs a higher level. “(Continuous) is an old term because that’s rarely used anymore. The machine is smart enough to know when the patient needs a higher pressure, like if they’re on their back or in REM sleep.” PAP masks of the past were bulky. Today’s models are smaller and fit more comfortably, he said. However, some patients turn to dental appliances. Dr. Robb Heinrich, a Spokane dentist, also offers sleep dentistry providing oral appliances used for sleep apnea or primary snoring. The device, worn similarly to an orthodontic retainer, is made from sturdier material and pushes out the lower jaw to help open the airway. Patients can select from five oral appliances, while ones for sleep apnea tend to be more durable with design differences. Most medical insurance companies will cover an appliance if it’s for diagnosed sleep apnea, he said. “By moving the lower jaw forward and opening up the jaw a little bit, it makes more room for the tongue,” Heinrich said. “Since the tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth, by bringing the lower jaw forward, that tongue comes forward.” The appliance also helps to stabilize the airway where soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse, he said. “The third thing it does over time, to a certain extent, is it helps strengthen muscles around the airway, which in turn helps to keep the airway from collapsing.” But Heinrich adds that PAP therapy is still considered a gold standard for sleep apnea. If you have basic snoring, doctors suggest avoiding alcohol and muscle relaxants before bedtime, keeping weight down and sleeping on your side. “But for some patients, it could be a Breathe Right strip on the nose, so they can breathe better through the nose when they sleep,” Cruz said.


The House of Apache Fire remains a Sedona curiosity and state park landmark



A house


isitors to Red Rock State Park south of Sedona might expect to find a tranquil riparian area along the banks of Oak Creek, loops of trails that pass through high-desert flora along the tawny sandstone outcrops and signs of wildlife. What they might not expect are the remains of a curious structure, its Hopi-style pueblo exterior making it look halfway between a former luxury home and a ruin. Anyone who inquires about it will find it carries an intriguing story and equally intriguing name. House of Apache Fire stands as a cornerstone feature centralized within Red Rock State Park. It was built by couple Helen and Jack Frye, who, in the early 1940s, caught sight of the land during a flyover. Jack, a commercial aviation mogul who was president of TWA Airlines, and his artist wife sought a quiet refuge from their busy lives. By 1947, construction began for the home on what the Fryes dubbed the Smoke Trail Ranch—some 700 acres of red-rock country land with the creek running through it. During a recent visit, I joined park manager Heidi Erickson on a tour of the interior and immediate exterior of the House of Apache Fire. Typically off-limits to park visitors due to safety concerns, the former residence is perched on the edge of a 50-foot cliff that drops off near Oak Creek. We toured the multiple levels of the

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If you go Red Rock State Park is located nine miles south of Sedona off of U.S. 89A and Red Rock Loop Road. Although visitors cannot enter House of Apache Fire, the exterior is viewable from a nearby trail with featured signage. A brochure about the home is available at the visitor center. Learn more at www.azstateparks.com/red-rock/.

home, which has fallen into disrepair over time, but even with the wear and age, the design of Helen appears in some flourishes. With the Hopi pueblo design, the features include pine vigas and two stone fireplaces designed by the artist. The layout of the home, which appears like an L shape from above, includes a master bedroom with a commanding view of Oak Creek and the sentinels of red rock that surround the area. The master connects to a dressing room and separate bathrooms. The next level down is where Jack set up his office, with a door that leads directly out to the edge of the cliff.

36 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

Another set of stairs leads into what would have been the living room, which featured the larger of two fireplaces. It sweeps into a dining room area and back to the kitchen, where some of the original turquoise paint Helen selected is still intact. Separate from

the main living areas was Helen’s artist studio, located on a second floor above where the master bathrooms would have been. The exterior of the House of Apache Fire includes the flat roofs of the pueblo-style residence that offer 360-degree

views—likely the scene of rooftop parties featuring an outdoor fireplace and barbecue grill setup. The remains of the vigas jut from the outside of the home, and the ancient Southwest-inspired masonry is still intact. As for where the dramatic Southwest name came from, Erickson explained that popular local lore said the builder of the home, Elmer Purtymun, hired Apache workers to help complete the home based on Helen’s design. They preferred to camp along the creek rather than stay in the ranch cabins, and Helen would look out and see

their campfires. However, some have questioned the veracity of the account. By 1950, the couple had divorced and Helen took over the property. She finalized the home in 1956 and worked with an associate to turn it into an art center. Later, Helen’s connection to the religious organization Eckankar led to her selling the property to them. It was in the early 1980s that the state of Arizona identified the parcel for natural protection of what would become

annual inventory

the 286-acre Red Rock State Park in 1991. The Fryes’ story has remained an integral part of Sedona’s history, and their lives have been novelized by regional writer Randall Reynolds in Jack & Helen Frye Story: The Camelot Years of TWA. For the future of the building, Erickson and the staff at Red Rock State Park hope to secure funding to stabilize and restore the House of Apache Fire. Erickson said she envisions a timeline museum for park visitors to enjoy.


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‘Mad River’ explores memory and time through poetry



oward the end of the first section of poems in Justin Bigos’ Mad River is a longer prose piece spanning two and a half pages. Devoid of all punctuation except for commas, it is addressed to “Patron Saint” and titled the same. In this poem, the author writes, “memory as hot as the vinyl seats in the Pontiac, or screw/ memory, let’s go with a Corvette, Patron Saint of stolen cars/ and junk shops...” This line sticks out as memorable because it centers on the power of memory, how it can trigger emotional as well as physical responses and how memory is subject to change and even embellishment, especially after trauma and time and the trauma of time. In 30 poems and 78 pages, Bigos, a former creative writing professor at Northern Arizona University, considers the modern-day implications of Father Time as well as his own late father. He depicts memories as portraits and faded photographs; memories as lists and recipes; memories as alleyways, mountains and flowing rivers; and, most importantly, memories as quiet prayers for a better future. Mad River is structured into 38 Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine

five parts with religious imagery and themes of homelessness and parenthood as primary connectors. The first piece, “Prayer (After Refusing to Pray),” is addressed to “You” with a capital “y,” not unlike God. After “[refusing] to pray/ all summer,” the speaker holds space for his father, who recovers after being attacked by adolescent boys alongside “the car/ that was his home.” Meanwhile, the “You” in question “did not lift a finger.” Memories of his father’s faith invite the speaker to gaze above toward “what my father,/ barely breathing on his back,/ calls the heavens.” Swept up in an ocean of anger, shame and guilt, the lost son seeks his troubled father—not in the sky but somewhere in the forest. The scene Bigos creates in the opening poem finds companionship in other poems. “My Father’s Car” asks the reader to “squint at his briefcase—/ it sits in the passenger seat, half open;/ the corner of an eviction notice.” As an instructional guide, the poem cautions against “scanning for whiskey bottles, cigarettes,/ or any vice you can hold in your hand…stand back from his car …

you will be forced to admit/ there is such a thing as bad luck.” Bigos changes the vantage point from the son to onlookers in order to capture the father’s humility as well as his home of Styrofoam cups, spare change, lottery tickets and a bookmarked Bible. Even though Bigos pens “my father who art in every poem I write” in “Patron Saint,” not all poems in Mad River are outwardly concerned with the father/son dynamic. For example, “Fassbinder,” which won the 2010 Ploughshares’ Readers Choice Award, explores persistence—the desire to “squeeze/ it all in and keep it up”—through the lens of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. “The Superintendent” and “Twenty Thousand Pigeons,” also from the chapbook, provide commen-

tary on casual racism, ghosts of past wars and the ever-present search for belonging. “Feral,” a poem about allowing one’s yard to grow wildly and feeding stray cats, connects to homelessness when a husband asks his wife, “Why love a thing less when there is/ more of it? Why find it less beautiful?” Despite the dark recollections Mad River confronts, it is one of the most hopeful collections of poetry in years. Emotive, empathetic and conscious, it sticks to the mind like memory itself. Emily Hoover is a widely published journalist, poet and fiction writer living in the Southwest. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University in 2015. Her book reviews have been most recently featured in Southern Literary Review, Fiction Writers Review and Ploughshares.



Executive Director, Theatrikos Theatre Company

Tell us a bit about your involvement in the world of theater thus far. I’ve been doing theater, public television and public radio for 35 years. In my career, I’ve worked on more than 100 shows totaling more than 2,000 performances.

Since moving to Flagstaff and joining Theatrikos Theatre Company as executive director in early 2019, what has stood out most to you? I wanted to come to a theater and a community with amazing talent and amazing potential. Flagstaff in general and Theatrikos specifically has an amazing artistic community. But from an audience, ticket sales and economic perspective, it isn’t living up to its potential. Yet. This was the opportunity the board of directors wanted to capitalize on when they hired me, and this was the reason I came to Flagstaff.

In regard to the unfortunate sewage spill in the basement, it seems you’ve been able to turn an undesirable situation into opportunity for growth. Can you share more information about the basement renovations, proposed beautification project and other endeavors? We’re making headway since our April sewage flood. The disaster was the theater’s own Reichenbach Falls, so to speak. Our props and costumes, which were in Phoenix for nine months, are now cleaned and sanitized and arrived back in Flagstaff in early

January. Lease and reconstruction issues will take months or even years to resolve, but we’re moving forward. The generosity of the Flagstaff community and Theatrikos cast and crew who are still working overtime have kept the doors open. The show must go on. The chair of the facilities committee of Theatrikos board of directors and the Flagstaff city manager have already met to move forward on these issues. In conjunction with many arts organizations in Flagstaff, we’re launching Canyon Arts Festival in April 2021. At a minimum, it’s an opportunity for strategic programming and effective cross promotion. More than that, if we’re lucky, it may also lead to artistic endeavors created by multiple organizations, not just promoting collaboratively, but maybe also creating collaboratively.

How were the productions featured in Theatrikos’ 48th season chosen? Theatrikos’ artistic committee chooses our shows. The committee is composed of directors who have been involved in Flagstaff theater for, in some cases, as long as 20 or 30 years. Their mission is twofold: 1) Select popular shows the audience wants to see and 2) select shows that will have an impact on the northern Arizona community. The audience will go nuts over hugely popular shows like Matilda, Lend Me a Tenor and Miracle on 34th Street. And studio series shows like 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche and Well will inspire conversation, provoke thought and enrich the soul of northern Arizona.

Theatrikos is so excited about our 2020 season that we’ve extended the runs of half our shows. The runs of Matilda, Lend Me a Tenor and Miracle on 34th Street have been extended from three weeks to four weeks, [offering] more opportunities for you to see great theater in downtown Flagstaff. Theatrikos chooses [to extend] shows that the audience wants to see. In 2019, our musical Little Shop of Horrors sold out most performances so, in that spirit, we extended the run for the musical Matilda. It isn’t rocket science. When we give the audience shows they want to see, they turn out, and in droves. It’s great for both the community and the theater. We’re also thrilled that we’ve already sold more 2020 season tickets than we did in 2019. The arts sure are thriving on Cherry Avenue. Theatrikos embodies the spirit of Broadway in northern Arizona, and if you don’t have your season tickets yet, there’s still time. Season tickets will be available until the close of Holmes and Watson on February 16. Plus, on top of that, we’ve added Thursday performances to the runs of all our shows. These first Thursdays will have special discounted prices so even more people can enjoy live theater.

For those who want to get involved with the nonprofit, what are some ways they can volunteer? Experienced and aspiring actors are strongly encouraged to audition for our shows or get involved in crew roles. Cast and crew from diverse backgrounds are especially encouraged. Come on down. The doors are open to new folks. Theatrikos recently launched First Sunday Drama Club. It’s a great way for people to come out, have fun, make friends and learn about live theater—and, if they’re so inspired, to get involved in a show. At First Sunday Drama Club, people can learn about acting, improv, auditioning, scene painting and all sorts of theater-related games and skills. Theatrikos Theatre Company opened its 48th season with Jeffrey Hatcher’s Holmes and Watson Jan. 31, 2020. Performances continue Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Feb. 16 at the Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse, 11 W. Cherry Ave. Visit www.theatrikos.com for more information on upcoming performances and ways to get involved. Spring 2020 namlm.com


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