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Performing arts GUIDE WHAT TO

See, Do


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Features 24 Crisis in the Borderlands By Walt Lockley

Arizona’s iconic cattle industry faces threats from every direction. 30 The Bike Life By Si Robins

Many Valley residents find that two-wheeled culture—part social movement, part ethical choice— adds quality to their lives. 36 Journey Home By Amy Abrams

An innovative prison program helps incarcerated women find freedom through the arts.





Why does this inmate feel like an artist? Find out on page 36.

On the Cover Recently, the issue of the border has been at the forefront of national news, but it’s nothing new for the people of southern Arizona. Read how cattle ranchers and others are affected on page 24. Fall 2010 1

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Departments 10 Fronteras: The Changing America Desk

A new KJZZ initiative aims to understand the Southwest through stories. By Vicki Louk Balint 16 Fall! Arts! Preview!

What do bullrings, Steve Martin and vibrators have in common? They’re just a handful of surprising headliners for this season’s top performances. By Elizabeth Exline 46 Escape to Rim Country

In his final column in Wavelength, the writer reveals the secret pleasures of his new hometown. By Peter Aleshire 52 Healthy Appetite

Who doesn’t aim to eat better? Wavelength encourages the effort by offering places health-conscious listeners can dine without guilt.


By Trisha Coffman

Featured Listener Stories Pages 14, 22, 44 and 59

Also Inside 4 6

Contributors Editor’s Note 60 KBAQ Programming Guide 62 KJZZ Programming Guide 64 Looking Back




Think food this delectable can’t be healthy? Wrong! Find out where to score grub that’s good for you on page 52.

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Wavelength P U B L I C R A D IO


Fall 2010

Production of Wavelength is underwritten by Friends of Public Radio Arizona (FPRAZ), 2323 W. 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281 Amy Abrams Amy relocated from New York City to Phoenix 10 years ago. Formerly with Art & Antiques and Museum & Arts Washington magazines, she has more recently contributed hundreds of articles about Arizona culture to publications such as Southwest Art, Arizona Highways and Phoenix Magazine. Peter Aleshire An award-winning writer and editor, Peter has written eight books, including four history books, three geology books and a book about training F-16 pilots. Vicki Louk Balint A former producer of KJZZ’s local weekly edition of Here and Now, Vicki writes, podcasts and produces Web video for Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Find her blog at David M. Brown David has been a publisher, reporter and editor and now freelances in subjects such as architecture, entertainment, tourism, food, cars and wine. Trisha Coffman Trisha works as a freelance features writer and sometime editor. She has contributed widely to local magazines, and these days writes mainly about business and science for Web and print publications. Stephanie Conner Stephanie has more than a decade of writing and editing experience. Her work has appeared in nearly 20 regional and national publications. She also has taught news and magazine writing at her alma mater, ASU. Ginger S. Eiden An award-winning journalist, Ginger is also the Webmaster for the City of Glendale and a faculty associate for ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. She has worked as a reporter and editor for several Valley publications and is a freelance writer for many local and regional magazines. 4 Wavelength

Elizabeth Exline Elizabeth is a freelance writer who frequently covers design and architecture. Her work has appeared in Robb Report, Estates West and Travel Savvy, among other publications. Kristen Forbes Kristen is a freelance writer living outside Portland, Oregon. To view her blog, visit Daniel Friedman Over the years, Dan has worked as a photojournalist at a daily newspaper, a commercial photographer, and an elementary and middle school teacher. He’s now a writer and photographer for Raising Arizona Kids magazine. Art Holeman A commercial photographer for 30 years, Art has garnered national awards, including appearances in Communication Arts, Applied Arts and Graphis. To see more of his work, visit



Susich Design Company FPRAZ BOARD OFFICERS

Phil Hagenah Dan Schweiker Susan Edwards Mark Dioguardi

Chair Vice Chair Treasurer Secretary


Larry Ashkin Steve Curley Jennifer Hadley Dioguardi Mark Feldman Bob Frank LeRoy Gaintner Erik Hellum Dr. Laura W. Martin

Carol L. McElroy Michael Moskowitz Dr. Jim Paluzzi Edward Plotkin Luis Ramirez Todd Sanders Linda Saunders Dr. Chris Bustamante




Ralph Hogan, Bill Shedd, Lou Stanley ADVERTISING SALES

Walt Lockley Walt was born in Texas and educated in the back seat of a 1972 Buick Riviera crisscrossing the continent. His work on disappearing mid-century modern architecture in Phoenix is at Emily Piraino From the moment she lifted her first camera, Emily knew she wanted to spend her life documenting the world through a lens. She lives for the thrill of preserving in print the way the human spirit thrives. Si Robins Si is the editor of Downtown Phoenix Journal and a family of green living websites. You can find him riding his bike throughout downtown Phoenix, and drinking too much espresso at local coffee shops. Drop Si a line at

Nancy Mitchell, Public Radio Partners 602.824.9480 KBAQ / KJZZ 2323 W. 14th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281 KBAQ 89.5 FM 480.833.1122 KJZZ 91.5 FM 480.834.5627 KJZZ can also be found: In Tucson—98.9 FM In Globe—106.9 FM KBAQ, your classical music station, can also be heard in Ahwatukee on 89.3 FM, and North Scottsdale on 89.7 FM. Both KBAQ and KJZZ are streamed live on the Web 24 hours a day to provide worldwide access to our programming at: and The views expressed in Wavelength are solely those of the individuals providing them and do not necessarily represent the opinions of KBAQ, KJZZ, FPRAZ, their agents or their affiliates. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information herein, we do not assume responsibility or liability for errors or omissions. © 2010 FPRAZ. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction in any manner is prohibited.

Fall 2010 5

editor’s note

Fondly, Farewell

Karen Werner “This little magazine has given me many happy moments.”

hen we started Wavelength five years ago, magazines were thick and hopes were high. Today, I’m looking at an empty page, searching for the right words to say goodbye. The assignment I was handed when we launched this publication was to cover the world of public radio—specifically the bailiwick of KJZZ and KBAQ. As a listener, I adore these stations and strove, as an editor, to honor them. In return, this little magazine has given me many happy moments. Standing in the moonlight, waiting for the right time to take a picture of a listener dancing. Sitting hunched over a microphone in the StoryCorps trailer, recording an interview with the love of my life. Playing bongos in a drum circle with a roomful of cancer survivors. Touring a world-class museum as it was being built. And watching a 60-something luthier do handstands in a parking lot while my tape recorder rolled. I’ll always count myself lucky to have lucked into a gig where experiences like these are work. Earning the right to be editor of Wavelength, year after year, was its reward. I could spin this last issue all sorts of ways, each with a little bit of truth. I could say I welcome spending more time with my family (which I do) or I’m looking forward to new professional challenges (which I am). But the fact is this magazine is folding because it wasn’t making sufficient economic sense, and the stations decided to concentrate their resources on endeavors more firmly within their domains. To have led and learned from the people who put this magazine together for a half-decade was my delight and good fortune, and a privilege, too. I thank the talented writers, creative photographers, wonderful art director and my KJZZ, KBAQ and FPRAZ colleagues and friends, who joined me on a thrilling editorial experiment. But most of all, I thank the listeners who came along with us. Speaking of, I’ve been thinking a lot about listeners lately—the various people Wavelength has covered over the years. If there’s one who stands out it’s got to be Max Henry, the cowboy we introduced you to in our very first issue. Max lived alone on a 40-acre ranch in Ash Fork, Arizona, and KJZZ was his news source, companion, and just about only contact with the outside world. After I interviewed him for an article in Wavelength’s premiere issue, he wrote me a beautiful letter, explaining how proud he was to be featured in the magazine. So I felt like I owed it to Max to say goodbye. I called his cell phone, but the call was answered by an automated message. I wrote him a letter, but it came back stamped, “Return to sender. Attempted—not known. Unable to forward.” I don’t know if Max has moved on, dropped out, taken shelter, or passed away. But I want him to know I was touched by knowing him and telling his story. So in lieu of a private farewell, I’ll say goodbye here, proud of what we’ve accomplished and thankful for the chance to create and curate a magazine celebrating public radio and the incredible people, like Max, who listen to it. We’ve had an exhilarating run and I’ve loved thinking of you all as my friends. And even if we don’t meet up on these pages, we’ll all stay connected when we convene each day at two certain spots on the radio dial.


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Fall 2010 9

inside the station By Vicki Louk Balint

Fronteras: The Changing America Desk New KJZZ initiative aims to understand the Southwest through stories.

The Café Justo story focused on the border town, Agua Prieta. But the coverage of Fronteras, the project it inspired, will span the entire Southwest.

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JZZ reporter Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez was following a story about coffee. She’d heard about Café Justo, a coffee roasting cooperative located in Agua Prieta, Mexico, just over the border from Douglas, Arizona. She figured she’d report on free trade and some lively entrepreneurs, and the challenge of roasting, marketing and selling the organic Arabica and Marago


feed their family, a way to care for them,” says Rodriguez. “This cooperative has kept young men from crossing the border.” Listeners will hear more indepth coverage like the Café Justo story this fall when KJZZ launches Fronteras: The Changing America Desk. Funded by a $1.5 million dollar grant by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), newly hired reporters will explore the changing culture and demographics of the Southwest, with an emphasis on Latino and Native American life. They’ll also look at how border issues affect American politics, social order and the environment. It’s an ambitious task for a local station that until fairly recently broadcast a meager menu of original, local news programming. But the Fronteras project, along with the hiring of three investigative reporters and the revival of the blends online, at a profit, to coffee youth media project, indicates aficionados in the U.S. and Canada. that innovation is in the works at But beyond the beans and the KJZZ. With a solid staff—and solid financial footing—the blends, another story emerged. station stands poised to catch up Interviews in Agua Prieta led its news coverage with the rapid Rodriguez two thousand miles south, to the tiny town of Salvador growth of the Valley. “There’s a Urbina, in Chiapas, Mexico, where latent, pent-up demand for the station to shine even brighter,” the beans are grown. She found says KJZZ general manager Jim that because of the Café Justo Paluzzi. “It is our turn to shine.” cooperative, coffee farmers sell The genesis for the Fronteras their beans for a fair price and concept is change. Research led earn enough money to live on. by the Brookings Institution That fosters economic developconcluded the Southwest is in ment in their small town, where transition, says Paluzzi—changing typically jobs are scarce and wages are low. “All they’re looking at a velocity greater than anywhere else in the United States. for, as they tell me, is a way to

KJZZ general manager Jim Paluzzi (above) teamed up with news director Mark Moran (right) to write the proposal that won a $1.5 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. presented to local and sometimes even national audiences, through multiple dimensions and platforms. Interactive maps, web videos, mobile technologies and even documentaries would enhance in-depth stories readied for the radio. Competition was fierce; 105 public stations joined the pool, hoping for funding. Says Moran, “You wanted to put the best possible product in front of that board. We worked hard on it, making it mean something—it had the added advantage of coming from the heart.” Their efforts paid off. KJZZ was chosen as one of seven local journalism centers in the United States, along with other stations in the plains of Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, the upper Midwest, central Florida and upstate New York. There’s never been a news delivery structure set up like Fronteras, so plenty of new challenges lie ahead, says Moran, who likens the desk to a mini NPR. “We will have reporters in international locations, and we have to think about the risks associated with that. How do you staff and manage six bureaus—five of which are not in-house? How do you have an


Demographically, socially, politically, culturally—name the parameter. Covering issues associated with this change involves more than simply reading facts and figures into a microphone. “People want a greater level of context about the news—more than just the facts,” he says. Many of the stories of change are hidden stories—like the Café Justo cooperative. “It’s a glimpse into the impact of the news into the lives of individuals. We think by telling the stories of how individuals are affected by the news, we can present the news in the way that makes most sense to people who really care about where our country is going. We understand our world through stories.” As Paluzzi pondered a longterm plan for serving this changing audience, opportunity knocked. CPB announced a major initiative to help fund new local journalism centers in selected regions around the country, hoping to boost the number of original, locally reported stories. So Paluzzi and KJZZ news director Mark Moran went to work. They collaborated on a grant proposal seeking CPB funding for a multi-city project that would help reporters ferret out stories in the Southwest. They’d hire new reporters and place them at KNAU in Flagstaff, KPBS in San Diego, KUAZ in Tucson, KRWG in Las Cruces, and at KNPR in Las Vegas. Two managing editors and Moran, based at KJZZ, would coordinate the team and assign the stories, which would be

editorial meeting? You’ve got to make use of the existing technology, video chat, Google messaging, that kind of thing. What happens if somebody’s computer crashes in Las Cruces? We have to be tech-prepared to overnight them a back-up computer. We have to set up the backbone, the infrastructure.” Success will depend on not only the communication skills for telling great stories, says Moran, but communication between the actual people involved in the project. “It’s a good thing we’re in the communication business,” he says. What is particularly remarkable about the Fronteras project is the timing. Moran and his hiring crew have been inundated with top-notch, out-of work-journalists (some Pulitzer Prize winners) as media outlets cut staff and skimp on coverage. But complex issues of the Southwest—water rights, illegal

“People want a greater level of context about the news— more than just the facts.”

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“The Fronteras desk wants to reveal, show, ask the questions. That’s our job.”

KJZZ reporter Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez traveled to Mexico to tell the Café Justo story. Above, some components of the tale, including coffee grower Eri Cifuentes, beans drying in the sun, and onepound bags of Café Justo coffee at the company headquarters in Agua Prieta.

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immigration, how tax revenues are generated—demand in-depth, ongoing and balanced reporting, says Paluzzi. “Public radio is just the kind of entity to step in to cover these stories, and it’s the financial support of the CPB and listeners who value intelligent news that make this possible.” The CPB grant, to be dispersed over two years, is the largest in KJZZ history, says Lou Stanley, associate general manager and director of development for the station. That’s just enough to kick-start Fronteras. “We’re going to have to really step up our fundraising,” says

Stanley. “It means we’re going to have to go from raising six-anda-half million dollars a year in a couple of years to a 10 to 12 million dollar fundraising operation. That’s a challenge, but it’s one that all of us are excited about.”

Look for an expansion of event fundraising as well as the creation of a regional fundraising project, adds Stanley, who says the positive vibe from the business community about Fronteras and the investigative reporting program has been robust. Conversations are in the works with other national program providers who are interested in running material generated from the project on stations around the country. “Our hope is that by elevating the station’s involvement in the community, we can bring a perspective to Arizona that hasn’t been brought to other radio markets.” Perspective through stories. It’s about understanding the whole picture, says Rodriguez, presenting the idiosyncrasies within issues like immigration; peeling back the layers of a story about coffee and learning much more. “The Fronteras desk, that’s what it wants to do. It wants to reveal, show, tell more stories. To look, to explore, to ask the questions. That’s our job,” she says.

theTHAT Stories STARTED IT ALL A Second Chance for Mexican Coffee Growers: Coffee Farmers Build a Dream at the Border:

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listener profile By Ginger S. Eiden

The Running Man

In addition to his life in the fast lane, David Daer finds time to volunteer for KJZZ and KBAQ, answering phones during pledge drives and providing testimonials to be played on air.

“Whenever I’m in the car, it’s tuned to KJZZ.”

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David Daer


A faithful NPR listener for more than 20 years, David Daer won’t quite call Morning Edition and This American Life the soundtrack of his life, but will say they’ve provided the theme music for the breaks between his avocations. “Whenever I’m in the car, it’s tuned to KJZZ,” he says. The Tempe resident got his first taste of radio as an ASU student in the late 80’s, working for the college radio station. He started as a curious listener with a few friends who worked for Sun Devil radio. Then, after stumbling into an organizational meeting, he worked his way into an on-air role and, eventually, became music director.


KJZZ listener loves marathons, Mini Coopers and “Morning Edition.”

“I just sort of kept hanging around,” he says. “It was a cool thing to be part of.” The radio bug wasn’t the career kind for Daer, who found his passion was more for listening. And when he wasn’t dialed in to the campus signal, NPR was his choice. Now a financial analyst at SRP, Daer still finds a way to keep his foot in the radio door. For nearly two decades he’s volunteered at KJZZ and KBAQ. “I remember when I first started listening. I got hooked,” he says. It’s not the only thing Daer got hooked on. At 14, he ran his first footrace as a way to stay in shape between basketball seasons at Phoenix’s Cortez High School. More than 560 races later, Daer has completed 31 marathons in 22 states, and he hopes to have crossed a finish line in every state by the time he hangs up his sneakers. “I love to compete, but time and place aren’t as important to me as they once were,” says Daer, whose best marathon time is just under three hours. “It’s not a time that’s going to win a major race, but it’s respectable.” Daer has also captured quite a few of his competitors, as well as some of the country’s fastest college athletes, in photos. “I started taking pictures when I was 5 or 6,” he says. “My parents gave me their old Instamatic. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed looking at life through the lens.” Daer also likes looking at life from the fast lane. He started racing indoor go-karts in 2005, which led to a few visits to the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, which led to purchasing a Mini Cooper for track days at Firebird International Raceway and eventually to becoming an instructor with the ProAutoSports club. “I like the precision of it, finding the best lines,” he says. Daer drives in silence when he’s on the track—avoiding any distractions. But when he’s done with the real-life car talk, he’s quick to climb back behind the wheel and take to the city streets, where he can tune in KJZZ on the way to his next destination.

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the arts By Elizabeth Exline

Fall! Arts! Preview! What do bullrings, Steve Martin and vibrators have in common? They’re just a handful of surprising headliners for this season’s top performances. alk to any artistic director these days, and you’ll likely get an earful on collaboration and outreach. From the Arizona Opera, which is celebrating its 40th season, to newbies like the Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix, it seems like everyone is partnering with everyone else—and enticing audiences along the way. The sea of attractions is wide and deep, which is why we enlisted five Valley arts insiders to dish on the best of what’s coming to town. In the pages that follow, you’ll not only snag a handy must-see list for the season, you’ll also get a sense of the movers and shakers behind the curtain.

Unfortunately, Revzen just doesn’t have the time. Between the 20 opera performances he conducts each year (not counting his guestconducting commitments at the Metropolitan Opera) and a serious equestrian habit, Revzen has nary a moment to spare. And with this season marking the 40th anniversary of the Arizona Opera, there’s little chance of that changing. “It’s our 40th-anniversary season,” he says, “and we’ve really pulled out all the stops.” Two comedies bookend this season: Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, which will be directed by Arizona Theatre Company’s David Ira Goldstein, and Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, which has, until now, never been produced by Arizona Opera. In between these performances is a fairly daunting lineup. “Most companies of our size would never tackle Carmen, Turandot and Otello back-to-back,” Joel Revzen, Arizona Opera Revzen admits of his choices. want to go to another Suns “We’re going out on a limb.” “ game!” laughs Joel Revzen, the But Revzen is excited, and artistic director at Arizona Opera. rightly so. In Carmen, Arizona TIM FULLER




Pirates of Penzance (Oct. 16 and 17 in Tucson; Oct. 22 to 24 in Phoenix); Carmen (Nov. 13 and 14 in Tucson; Nov. 19 to 21 in Phoenix); Turandot (Jan. 21 to 23 in Phoenix; Jan. 29 and 30 in Tucson); Otello (March 5 and 6 in Tucson; March 11 to 13 in Phoenix); Abduction from the Seraglio (April 8 to 10 in Phoenix; April 16 and 17 in Tucson). The Phoenix Symphony: Elijah (Feb. 3 and 5); Symphonic Voyages (April 21 and 23).

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Arizona Opera’s production of ‘Carmen’ is highlighted by a daring new concept in staging—bullring seating!

ith just five or six dancers on staff, Desert Dance Theatre’s modest size belies its legacy, for this company has been stretching, leaping, emoting and entertaining for more than 30 years. According to artistic director/ company manager Lisa R. Chow, the reason is at least partly the art form itself. “The funny thing about dance is it’s universal,” she opines. “I think that movement affects people in a deep way emotionally.” Perhaps that’s why Desert Dance Theatre has been able to keep things fresh, despite its longevity. Its “Arizona Dance Festival,” for instance, unites dance groups from New York to California in one series of performances that push the boundaries of modern dance. From multimedia approaches (think video and image interaction) to extreme athleticism—“My husband calls it ‘kamikaze dance,’” Chow quips—the dancers use the Festival to showcase the latest trends. And Desert Dance Theatre itself is not excluded. It will premiere a

Will love melt the frozen heart of a ruthless princess? Find out this January, in the first local staging of Giacomo Puccini’s ‘Turandot’ in more than a decade.



new abstract work titled “Things in the Sky,” likely in the Festival, that Chow is excited to see performed. “It has some video images,” she explains of this cosmically inclined work, “and it makes you feel like you’re in outer space for a moment.” Not all of the company’s performances are cutting-edge modern, however. One that’s near to Chow’s heart is “Sister Moses: The Story of Harriet Tubman,” which Desert Dance Theatre has performed since 1993. The piece includes spiritual singers, narration, African percussion, live music and, of course, dramatic dance to tell the story of Tubman’s role in the Underground Railroad. And while it has earned a reputation as a classic, Chow believes it’s maintained its relevance. Dance, after all, is one more opportunity for social

The multidisciplinary dance/drama ‘Sister Moses’ has been a mainstay at Desert Dance Theatre for nearly 20 years.


Lisa R. Chow, Desert Dance Theatre



Opera will construct an onstage bullring in which audience members can actually buy seats. And Otello’s “love, treachery and jealousy” thrill Revzen’s heart of hearts because they translate so well to good opera. Outside of the opera, Revzen has a gig conducting Symphonic Voyages with The Phoenix Symphony, which harks back to Revzen’s earlier life as a Juilliard-trained symphony conductor. (It also speaks to his commitment to forging more industry alliances.) Arizona Opera may have now achieved veteran status, but its season and partnerships all point to a vibrant future. For more information, call 602-266-7464 or go to

commentary, and reminding audiences of the sacrifices fighting oppression sometimes requires still resonates strongly today. For more information, call 480-962-4584 or go to

LISA CHOW’S TOP PICKS Desert Dance Theatre: “Arizona Dance Festival” (Oct. 7 to 9); “Sister Moses: The Story of Harriet Tubman” (February 15, 16 and 25); “Desert Dance Theatre Celebrates Marion Kirk Jones’ 90th Birthday!” (June 4).

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Badi Assad (pronounced Bah-Jee Ah-Sahje) blends traditional styles of her native Brazil with an exotic mixture of sounds from around the world. She performs at MIM Music Theater this October.

Sunni Fass, Musical Instrument Museum t’s rare to find somebody with a background that perfectly mirrors an institution’s mission, but Sunni Fass is that person for the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). Before she became the artistic and managing director of the MIM Music Theater, Fass majored in English but earned a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology; and she worked in the Peace Corps, as well as with the National Council for the Traditional Arts. She proves, in other words, that boundaries exist to be crossed.


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Which brings us to MIM. An intimate venue with 299 seats, the MIM Music Theater not only showcases the world’s wealth of instruments, it also gives a stage and microphone to some of the most compelling and diverse acts around. Take as an example the string quartet ETHEL and its TruckStop® Tour project, where the group partners with regional artists in each place it performs. In Phoenix, ETHEL is teaming up with two Grammy winners: Native American flutist Robert Mirabal and Hawaiian

slack-key guitarist Jeff Peterson. “It’s a really interesting blend of their classical string-quartet chamber music with these other influences,” Fass explains, “which I think is a good testament to what MIM is trying to do.” Similarly, Fass is looking forward to the “collision” between the Chilean group Inti-Illimani and the Québécois singer Francesca Gagnon when they perform together in September. “It’s just a riot of instruments on stage when they perform,” Fass says of


Musical Instrument Museum: ETHEL, “TruckStop Tour with Robert Mirabel and Jeff Peterson” (Sept. 16); Inti-Illimani with Francesca Gagnon (Sept. 23 and 24); Badi Assad (Oct. 16); Gamelan Çudamani: “Bamboo to Bronze” (Nov. 14 and 15); 10th Annual International Guitar Night (Feb. 4).

Inti-Illimani. And Gagnon is no stranger to lots of action onstage: Her claim to fame has been her work with Cirque du Soleil. Badi Assad, meanwhile, is a Brazilian guitarist who redefines the concept of what a musical instrument is. “She uses her mouth and her hands in very interesting ways, showing how the human body can function as an instrument,” Fass observes. All told, it’s an exciting season for this new kid on the performing-arts block. And if everything goes as planned, we’ll be hearing a lot more about (unorthodox, unexpected and original) performances in years to come. For more information, call 480-478-6000 or go to

Matthew Wiener, Actors Theatre fter 15 years with the boundary-pushing Actors Theatre, producing artistic director Matthew Wiener knows what he likes when it comes to selecting a season’s performances. “I love plays that are about important things but are funny,” he says simply. Take as an example “In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play).” Set in the late 19th century, this Tony-nominated play explores concepts of intimacy and how the medical field has historically viewed and treated “hysterical” women—including cure-byvibrator. “And yes,” Wiener adds, “it is that kind of vibrator.” But while Actors Theatre has an entire season of eyebrow-raising performances to anticipate, Wiener is quick to share the spotlight with the work of other companies as well. He’s looking forward to Stray Cat Theatre’s “Abraham Lincoln’s





Big Gay Dance Party,” for one, partly because the audience gets to vote on the order of the three acts. And Wiener is directing “Noises Off ” at Phoenix Theatre, which also has him excited. “There’s a group of actors who are putting on a play called ‘Nothing On,’ which is a kind of classical English bedroom sex farce,” Wiener explains of the play-within-a-play. “The audience, they will have to hold their sides. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.” One performance where humor takes a backseat to morals, however, is Arizona Theatre Company’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Written by the renowned playwright August Wilson, the performance covers “the legendary singer who had to fight for every scrap of respect she got,” Wiener says. This is an example of Wiener’s other commitment. For while he seeks good dialogue and strong humor, he also likes plays—whether he’s directing or watching—that “amplify or touch the cultural conversation.” For more information, call 602-253-6701 or go to


Phoenix Theatre: “Noises Off” (Aug. 25 to Sept. 12). Arizona Theatre Company: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Oct. 16 to Nov. 6 in Tucson; Nov. 11 to 28 in Phoenix). Actors Theatre: “In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play)” (Oct. 29 to Nov. 14). Stray Cat Theatre: “Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party” (May 20 to June 11).

At Arizona Theatre Company, ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ will explore the historic exploitation of black recording artists, delving deep into the heart of racism.


Gamelan Çudamani (top and middle) is a visually arresting music, theater and dance work that draws on traditional and contemporary Indonesian art forms. The postclassical quartet ETHEL (bottom) breaks down barriers between chamber music and other musical genres. At MIM, they’ll perform with a Native American flutist and a Hawaiian slack-key guitarist. Fall 2010 19

ucked within an idyllic campus where fountains and public art share space with grassy knolls and leisurely passersby, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts occupies a curious niche. It’s fairly small with just 850 seats, and it’s historic, although the Bennie Gonzales-designed building was recently overhauled. But it is also irresistible to an impressive number of big-name acts. This season alone, for example, will welcome Steve Martin, John Lithgow and David Sedaris, among others. Of course, says Center director Cory Baker, this is no accident. “We really see ourselves as a gem in the community,” Baker notes. “It is an intimate space.” Such close quarters make for powerful interactions with the performer. Take Steve Martin, who’s shelving his comedian status for a night to play banjo with a bluegrass group called the Steep Canyon Rangers. Or John Lithgow, whose storytelling


performance speaks to the human connection forged by sharing stories. “When you see an amazing one-person show, it’s like nothing else,” Baker says. “It really is the stark reality of one person commanding the stage and sucking you into this whole world.” Anyone who saw David Sedaris a couple years back can attest to that. The Center brought Sedaris to ASU Gammage where he sold out the performance. “He’s a rock star,” Baker laughs. “The line was three hours long to get him to autograph books.” He returns with a new book this April. Other attractions speak to the Center’s established role as a venue for dance and jazz performances. The Merce Cunningham Legacy Tour, for example, is the last tour this famous company will make before dissolving. Baker describes the performance as a “choreographic montage” from past works, and it will be exclusive to Scottsdale. Dee Dee Bridgewater’s tribute to Billie Holiday, meanwhile, is sure to fill seats, as is the Venice Baroque Orchestra’s performance of both Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Philip Glass’ “The American Four Seasons.” For more information, call 480-994-ARTS (2787) or go to


Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (Oct.10); John Lithgow, “Stories by Heart” (Oct. 21 and 22); Venice Baroque Orchestra with Robert McDuffie, violin soloist and leader, “The Seasons Project” (Oct. 30); Dee Dee Bridgewater, “To Billie With Love: A Celebration of Lady Day” (Feb. 25); Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Legacy Tour (March 10); “An Evening With David Sedaris” (April 22).

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Cory Baker, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts


Comedian, author and NPR contributor David Sedaris will come to Arizona this April.

Comedian Steve Martin will take the stage with bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers this October.

ArtsSMARTS Whether you’re an “American Idol” wannabe, a committed blogger or just curious about the elusive world of artists, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will launch an interactive program this season called Arts Connect that unites audiences with performers. It may sound like a nebulous concept, but the possibilities are intriguing. “We have everything from salsa dancing to memoir-writing classes,” says Cory Baker, the director for the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Each program takes its cue from the performance du jour, which means, for example,

that the audience for the final performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company can use Arts Connect to tour the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Dance with Camera” exhibit beforehand to deepen their appreciation of what they’re about to see. Acting workshops are also on the itinerary as are Q&A sessions, like the one scheduled with jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater on Feb. 25. For details and tickets to Arts Connect programs, call 480-994-ARTS (2787), ext. 2; or visit

Violinist Robert McDuffie will lead the Venice Baroque Orchestra in a performance of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ this October.

Dee Dee Bridgewater, host of NPR’s popular ‘JazzSet’ program, will perform songs made famous by Billie Holiday in February.


This March, audiences will have a final chance to see Merce Cunningham’s choreography performed by the company he personally trained.

When “High School Musical” is the closest thing to theater that a high school student has seen, something is wrong. And it’s precisely this problem that Arizona Theatre Company’s Open Doors program aims to mend. Following in the footsteps of Wendy Wasserstein’s New York program, Open Doors takes students who’ve never been to the theater—and who have no plans to become artists themselves—and introduces them to professional theater and arts programs. Students may sit in on an opera, they may watch a dance performance, and they’ll likely see a play at Arizona Theatre Company. But after the performances, discussions and projects, the kids leave with first-hand knowledge of art and its inherent power, an experience that, if done right, can’t fail to change them. For more information about Open Doors, visit and find the Open Doors link under “Education.”

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listener profile By Stephanie Conner

Sufficient Grounds The owner of a local coffee roastery finds many reasons to love public radio.

Hannah Romberg “KJZZ is stimulating. At different times of the day, you get totally different exposure.”

22 Wavelength



“Public radio does a tremendous job of keeping you globally aware,” says Hannah Romberg. “It’s hard to go about your dayto-day business without thinking about the people you hear.”

When Hannah Romberg moved from Texas to Phoenix after graduating from college, she went on a quest for a truly great cup of coffee. But at the time—a period pre-Coffee Plantation, she points out—it couldn’t be found. “Some of the restaurants I worked for in college had really, really good coffee,” she says. “I tried to seek it out when I got here.” That’s when, in 1989, Romberg founded Espressions Coffee Roastery, which works with restaurants, coffeehouses and gourmet retailers to develop custom house blends. After more than 20 years in the business, Romberg remains dedicated to excellent coffees (and teas), and relies on public radio to keep her informed during her busy days.

Her workday involves getting to know her clients and their menus. “Different restaurants have different needs,” Romberg explains. “For example, we work with a Thai restaurant where the chef uses curries and jalapeños and other peppers. If you have a mild coffee next to food that flavorful, the coffee will taste like water. But if you have delicate foods, coffee that’s too strong will overwhelm it.” That’s why her staff of five works with chefs or management and does internal tastings. “We’re actually quite varied in what we like,” she says. “When the whole staff agrees on something, it tends to be a safe bet that the public at large is going to like it.” Whether Romberg is coming to work, headed home or running around town, her dial is tuned to KJZZ. “It’s stimulating,” she says. “At different times of the day, you get totally different exposure.” Romberg, a Car Talk fan, adds that at home, she, her husband and their three dogs all listen to public radio. The pet-loving couple has also sponsored classical music at the Animal Welfare League. “It’s a sound system that goes into the kennels. Studies have shown that classical music calms dogs down,” she explains. And while Romberg enjoys public radio’s programming, listening to NPR isn’t simply leisure. “World events directly impact our business,” she explains. “The strength of the dollar impacts the coffee market. The world weather impacts the coffee market. There’s almost nothing that doesn’t touch the coffee market.” She also stays dialed in to local news. “If fewer people are coming to the state, fewer people are staying at resorts and fewer eating at restaurants, then there are fewer people buying coffee,” she says. “This business is service-industry based. If our customers feel it, we feel it.” It’s this holistic view of business that keeps Romberg tuned in to both her community and to KJZZ. “I’m hoping the same people who support public radio also support their local coffee bars,” she says with a smile.

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Crisis in the Borderlands Arizona’s iconic cattle industry faces threats from every direction. By Walt Lockley


f course cattle ranching in southern Arizona is like any other business. It’s like any of the Five C’s on the state seal, at the historical foundation of Arizona’s economy. Like any other business always at the mercy of unpredictable weather and unpredictable markets. And like any other operation where the workplace is a set of enduring mythic images—wide open spaces, dramatic red canyons, thundering herds through rugged landscapes. This is an American way of life. But now Arizona ranchers have unwillingly found themselves in the center of another unpredictable storm: the debate over illegal immigration from Mexico. The murder of longtime Arizona rancher Robert Krentz in March was appropriated and told and retold on the national stage, sending a political message amplified past the point of distortion. Politics aside, it’s beyond question there’s a crisis in the borderlands, a crisis with enormous stakes.

Into the Empty Spaces The four southern counties of Arizona—from west to east they’re Yuma, Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise— are immense, empty-looking arid landscapes, with a background of jagged mountains, sparsely populated 24 Wavelength

and lightly fenced. It’s quiet. It’s in the nature of the place that the southern frontier looms in the imagination. Robert Krentz lived and worked on his family ranch, established more than a century ago, near Portal, in Cochise County. The best Arizona grassland for year-round ranching lies toward the east, in Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties. Beef is still the numberone agricultural product in the state. The most common breeds are Hereford, Angus, Beefmaster, Braford, Brangus and Longhorn, and the size of the local operations vary from 19 sections (each section is a square mile, or 640 acres) to 100 sections. Cattle-ranch economics tend to favor relatively small, independent cow-calf operations. The whole calf-raising enterprise rests on the notion that grazing on land leased from the federal Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service is cheaper than buying feed. An “AUM,” an “animal unit,” is the amount of forage necessary to feed one 1,000-pound cow or its equivalent for a month, and that number runs around 14 per section around Portal, evidence of the marginal nature of the land, under constant threat of drought. You need rain to get grass. So ranchers have cause to worry, even in the best of times.

Rancher Geoffrey Patch looks over the U.S.Mexico border at Montezuma Pass, Arizona.

Fall 2010 25


The Economic Drain Foremost among the southern Arizona ranchers speaking out is Bill McDonald. McDonald is a fifthgeneration rancher, conservationist, friend and colleague of Robert Krentz, founder and executive director of the Malpai Borderlands Group, and a 1998 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the “genius” grant, for his environmental work. For instance, he’s arranged for fellow ranchers to sell conservation easements that simultaneously protect the land from 26 Wavelength

development and put some desperately needed money in the bank. Asked to provide a balanced summary of the impact on Arizona ranchers for the Foreign Affairs Committee in late May, McDonald testified: [The result has been] mountains of trash in the landscape. Water is our lifeline out there, as you can imagine, in the arid Southwest, for our animals, as well as for the wildlife. And we would lose thousands of gallons of water storage when people would leave valves on and cut water lines, or break off floats in water troughs. It still goes on. Wildfires get started on a regular basis, gates left down, fences are cut. There are trails made by human traffic going over the same places, to the point where we have gully erosion as a result. Roads are torn up by the use of Border Patrol, almost exclusively now. We use them a small percentage of the time in comparison. These are significant costs to us, in equipment repairs and extra days of work, not to mention the negative impact it has on our resource and our landscape. But we’ve hung in there and kept hoping it would get better. It’s gotten worse. Photographs of the trash bring the problem home immediately. Castoff camping gear and backpacks by the dozen, abandoned clothes (including, in one case, high-heeled shoes), food cans, toothpaste tubes and, primarily, empty plastic water jugs and bottles. The trash accumulates along eroding pathways and in the canyons, and serves as an unsettling reminder of several things at once: how easy it is to spoil the fragile desert environment, the nature of the crossing as a life-and-death risk, and the humanity of those taking that risk, driven by their own needs and dreams and the conditions south of the border. McDonald didn’t mention the loss of stock. According to Patrick Bray, the loss of cattle to ingesting plastic is an occasional problem, but there’s a more immediate problem with immigrants cutting the fences to get through, especially fence lines along the international boundary. American cattle get out and wander south, and Mexican cattle wander north. Ranchers on both sides tend to have good longterm relationships. But livestock health standards are different in Mexico, even in Sonora, with the highest standards in Mexico. So the threat of disease is very real, particularly tickborne disease. To address this, some ranchers have gone to the expense of installing gates where the fences are most often cut. The crossers see the gates, suspect that the gate is monitored or tricked up in some way, and simply find another stretch of fence to cut.


Cattle kings living in baronial splendor are, to put it mildly, hard to find. What you will find are mature ranchers who run operations in their families for generations. As a group, they’re dedicated to their livelihoods, articulate, proudly self-reliant and uninterested in any kind of sensationalism. Their opinions about the immigration problem are also tempered by a good deal of compassion for the suffering of ordinary Mexicans. But they’re up against it. Everybody agrees that in the last decade, after 9/11, immigration and smuggling crackdowns in the major crossing areas like San Diego have redirected traffic into the “Arizona Corridor.” The 354-mile line represents only 18 percent of the entire U.S.-Mexico border and, according to Homeland Security statistics for 2005, bears more than two-thirds of the illegal traffic. The number of apprehensions that year topped 403,000. And those were the ones who got caught. On top of that, according to Patrick Bray, the deputy director of government affairs for the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, other efforts like “Operation Gatekeeper,” concentrated in Nogales and Douglas with their law-enforcement resources, pushed traffic away from those cities and their two-mile buffer zones, and concentrated it even more effectively. Into the empty spaces. The result is that long lines of UDAs (“undocumented aliens”) in denim and backpacks, hundreds and thousands of them making their long way north single file, have been channeled onto the land of those least equipped to resist. Ranchers, on the front lines, in a seemingly empty landscape, are inherently exposed. It tends to be solitary work. The livestock is always out in the open. The crossers, whether they’re drug smuggling or human trafficking or both, are shadowy, unpredictable, unmeasurable and take advantage of any opening they sense. As rancher Wendy Glenn of the Malpai Borderlands Group puts it, “A shift in where they are coming in happens when a certain area is hit hard by the law enforcement. After a large number of apprehensions, they just shift to the east or to the west of the main areas they were using. There are the same numbers, but it takes the Border Patrol awhile to find where they shifted.” It’s a match made in hell.

Although the U.S. government has spent billions of dollars on border defenses in the last decade, critics say that Arizona’s border with Mexico has been less protected compared with California and Texas. Below, left, ancient archaeological ruins littered with trash left by border crossers. Below, right, a sign on the U.S.Mexico border warning of illegal activity.

Fall 2010 27

28 Wavelength

International Boundary Marker 178, located in the borderlands of Yuma County, serves as the physical representation of the dark line on maps that give Mexico and the United States their shapes.

The Problems in Scope


Skeptics might point out that Arizona ranchers themselves use undocumented ranchhands. It was true before the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that made it illegal, and it’s still commonplace. When asked to confirm, one knowledgeable source for this story provided a plain “yes.” When pressed to explain whether ranchers depend on Mexican workers, the answer was also effectively yes: “I’m not sure if they depend on them, but the ranchers can’t afford to hire anyone who lives in the USA, because they aren’t able to pay for them.” Skeptics also might say that the environmental damage happens on leased government land, rather than deeded property, and that ranchers are able to seek federal reimbursement for their own losses. Again, true. But it doesn’t happen very often. That’s a frustrating piecemeal process at best, with multiple agencies involved: the Forest Service (which falls under the USDA), the Bureau of Land Management (under the Department of the Interior) and now Border Patrol (under Homeland Security). It’s even difficult for ranchers seeking reimbursement for the damage caused to land and property by Homeland Security agents while in active pursuit of illegals. They need an eyewitness to get any compensation, according to Patrick Bray of the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, and many ranchers deem it plainly not worth their time. The chances of getting reimbursed in some of these cases is “about equal to winning the lottery,” Bray says. And isn’t it true that the problems are receding? Yes, the flow of immigrants seems to be down. Yet Wendy Glenn reports that in her experience, “They are still coming in, just in more groups that are smaller in number. More groups of 8 to 10 people rather than 30 to 40 or more.” But they’re still coming.

The Threat of Violence Put all of this together—the constant drain on an already-precarious business model, the costs of vandalism, theft, of collecting and hauling out trash, replacing stolen solar panels, locating stray cattle across the international line, disease, wildfires, erosion, lost water—and it all pales in comparison

to a more ominous and basic threat. The threat of violence. The fatal shooting of Robert Krentz on March 27 on his own family ranch, by a person who escaped south to the border and is assumed to be a drug smuggler, was doubly tragic. Tragic because Krentz was humane, well-liked, one of those working toward a solution. And tragic because it was completely anticipated. The feeling was, it was only a matter of time before the violence escalated to this point. And nobody could do anything to avoid it. The ranchers stay aware of the outrageous level of violence on the far side of the border, the evident power of the drug cartels to coerce those who resist, and the fact that it can literally take hours for law enforcement to respond to their calls. The Border Patrol reports that they’re facing an increasingly wellinformed and well-funded enemy, good at changing tactics and exploiting operational weaknesses, for instance the communications ‘seam’ between their Yuma and Tucson sectors. Patrick Bray sees two problems, and one has to be solved before the other: “The most important thing to us is that we have to gain operational control of the border, first, before any conversation about immigration reform,” he says. “This affects the residents of four states, and those residents, those economies, are being impacted first. We’re talking about American citizens being able to live and work on their land in peace.”

Bordering on Chaos—What’s the Answer? Obviously, the situation along Arizona’s border is complicated, and many people and groups are searching for a solution. The Arizona Cattle Grower’s Association has developed a “Restore Our Border (ROB)” security plan, a detailed action plan, based on their own fact-finding. To see the list of items the association says require the immediate attention of local, state and federal authorities charged with securing the U.S.-Mexico border, check out the plan at Fall 2010 29


e k i BL I F E By Si Robins

Photography by Art Holeman

hoenix has a reputation for endless car commutes, packed freeways and smog. But a growing number of Valley residents are getting around on two narrow wheels, biking to and from school or work (or for—gasp—their personal life), reducing pollution and getting exercise while getting out from behind glass and wheel. Here, we delve into the Valley’s bicycle culture, from city infrastructure to the urban commuter, from the hip fixie movement to the passionate family man. So come along for the ride.


The Fixies Nearly every day of the week, organized rides take off from locations around the Valley. Not well publicized, but not necessarily word of mouth either, the groups range from intimate affairs to the rapidly expanding monthly Critical Mass, where hundreds of bikers roll over Central Phoenix streets to promote sharing the road. Two of those riders, husband and wife Chris Altman and Erica Lucci, immersed themselves in the bike world at, searching for a fun, pressurefree way to exercise. “A lot of my social life was based on the Internet,” Lucci admits. “I felt for a long time I needed to be more active, but I’m not really the softball-team type.” Then she realized fixed-gear culture was the group she wanted to be part of. Fixed-gear bikes (or “fixies,” as they’re known) are bikes that have no freewheel—meaning, they can’t coast because the pedals are always in motion. They’re all the rage these days, and a small but thriving subculture devoted to them has emerged in the Valley. The AZFixed group, several hundred strong, stays in touch via the website’s forum, where they plan rides 30 Wavelength

Many Vall ey residen ts find that t wo-wheele d culture—p art social movemen t, part eth ical choice—a dds qualit y to their liv es. Erica Lucci an d Chris Altman have be come bike-polo enth usiasts, despite Arizo na’s prodigious heat —and they’re not th e only ones. “We’ve tr aditionally seen a ri se in summer polo playing because there is no school,” Altm an explains. “No one wants to do an ything during the day, but a lot of people go at night.”

Fall 2010 31

ge Tony Heat doesn’t chan ding Arranaga’s bike-ri general in habits. “It’s hot in nix, so oe the summer in Ph ,” he at th you can’t escape you , ke says. “But on a bi low, rf ai have that constant I . er ol so it keeps you co bike y m g actually like ridin .” er during the summ

32 Wavelength

The Sustainable Cyclist and events, snap pictures of their bikes and talk about what “crews” they’re with. “It’s something that’s active, outdoors and engaging, but it’s not competitive,” Altman says. “You don’t have to pay dues.” “For me, one of the best parts was getting to know the city,” Lucci says. “There’s so much you miss when you’re driving. On a bike you take in much more. And you can interact with people.” Altman also digs the bike-polo niche, where fixies glide over a paved expanse—typically a large, curbenclosed parking lot—playing polo. Homemade mallets are a source of pride, and street hockey balls serve as the game ball. Spills are common, since the handling is never easy, but that hasn’t stopped a small legion of fans from supporting weekly games. An organization, League of Bike Polo, holds regular tournaments. Interestingly, the AZFixed community is spread across the Valley. With the hipster fixie wave over the past few years, ’hoods in Tempe and Central Phoenix became home to many of the riders, but even Lucci and Altman, who live in north Phoenix, have no problem staying in the loop. “A great thing about Phoenix is that the city has really thought about biking infrastructure,” Lucci says. “The bike lanes, the canal paths—you can get anywhere in the Valley on a bike. It’s pretty amazing, actually.” The Car-Free Experience Slowly but surely, a small subculture of Phoenicians is ditching cars altogether in favor of bikes and mass transit. One downtown Phoenix resident, Tony Arranaga,

Zack Newsome, founder of Communitas, says the majority of the pe ople he sees at Rusty Sp oke have to use bikes to tr avel. “So hanging up the bi kes for the summer isn’t really an option,” he sa ys.

A writer’s quest for a (more) eco-friendly bike. By Si Robins ero-emissions bike travel is fantastic. It’s a calorie-burning,

Zenjoyable ride, and it sure beats polluting. When I was

looking to purchase a bike last year, I got to thinking about the entire lifecycle of the bike—from manufacturing, to shipping, to riding, to disposal. I was astounded to realize how much carbon is generated in making a typical bike, that they feature the same toxic paints as cars, their metal frames are commonly made by exhaust-pumping machines and their mass-produced rubber tires have short lives. So, I was ecstatic to learn about Trek’s Eco line, a growing series of bikes manufactured with conservation in mind. The result is a bike as carbon-neutral as possible. The steel frame is made from recycled parts, and the rubber tires are certified sustainable harvest. The headlight and rear light are both pedal powered, never requiring disposable batteries. Even the seat and handlebars are fully recyclable. It isn’t a perfect solution—nothing is—but I do feel a bit greener riding it.

is a pioneer of this movement. Arranaga started a light rail-focused blog ( when it debuted in town and quickly realized the benefits of combining train trips with quick, efficient bike rides to get where he travels most. “When I started a blog, it was all about how cool light rail was going to be,” Arranaga points out. “Soon, I realized I needed something to build upon. I came up with the idea to go car-free for a month. I enjoyed it so much I just kept going.” Arranaga initially wanted to see how much money he could save by not driving, but quickly immersed himself in the lifestyle. Sure, he uses the light rail system, but his main mode of transportation these days is a bike he purchased on Craigslist for $40. A loyal blog reader helped scope it out for him, and he took a light rail and bus trek to Mesa to get it. The bike, a 1950s cruiser he custom-updated and named Vern, is the frequent subject of blog posts, photo essays and video clips on his site. At any time in downtown Phoenix, you can spot Arranaga carrying groceries in Vern’s basket or pedaling off to the nearest light rail platform. Arranaga lists exercise, enjoyment and not causing congestion and pollution as his principle reasons for biking. Yet he’s still not sure Phoenix is ready to embrace the life. “A lot of cars don’t respect the bicycle rider,” Arranaga confesses. “Having said that, I feel like me being out on the streets on my bike helps raise biking awareness.” He points out that many businesses have installed bike racks and some are even offering discounts to riders. For now, he’ll continue to cruise the city streets, setting an example for others to follow. The Community Connection In the heart of Lower Grand Avenue, a Sunday ritual quietly gains traction. An old factory space has been Fall 2010 33

converted into a mixed-use office and community collaboration room called Fractal, where the doors open on Sunday afternoons for the Rusty Spoke bike co-op, a place where bike enthusiasts of all backgrounds come to talk shop and learn the underappreciated craft of bike building. Zack Newsome, founder of Communitas, a Phoenix-based nonprofit, and co-owner of Fractal, welcomed the co-op into the building for two reasons: He loves helping others, and he loves biking. “Bikes weren’t a big part of my life or my family’s life until we moved to Central Phoenix,” Newsome confesses. “I wanted to explore a more urban way of life. Part of it was how do we rely less on our cars, live locally and see life in a much smaller circle. Inevitably, bikes were a huge part of that.” Fast-forward two years, and the Newsome family has eight or so bikes parked in their yard. Newsome has taken to riding several types of bikes—he mentions his former love, a cruiser, and his current favorite, a fixie—and his wife and kids are now hooked as well. He admits that his bike collecting was partly to entice friends outside of the city to come visit and experience life here in a different way—with a sense of ease he couldn’t believe. “My family started riding more and more,” Newsome says. “It was really exciting to ride to dinner or a coffee shop or the park and not get in the car.” When Newsome met the Rusty Spoke guys, he saw an opportunity to meld Communitas’ mission— “caring for the broken, the hurting, the sick and the poor” outside of the church—with his newfound passion for biking. Rusty Spoke had been operating in a yard near 5th Street and Roosevelt, and Newsome thought Fractal could improve the co-op’s reputation and user experience. The result is an educational venue that has connected the area’s homeless and working-poor populations with the bike community. “At Rusty Spoke you can have a guy who lives on the streets teaching a hipster how to fix a bike,” Newsome beams. “How crazy is that?” Biking Infrastructure Just steps from ASU’s main campus, the Bicycle Cellar acts as a hub for East Valley bike commuters. Located in the Tempe Transportation Center, the membershipbased business is a great place to connect with the rail and Tempe’s slew of bus routes, or simply stow your bike and walk to work or class. Joseph Perez, co-founder of the Bicycle Cellar and an engineer with the city of Phoenix Street Transportation Department, sees it as just another piece of the Valley’s infrastructure puzzle. Perez has been biking for 24 years, mostly in Phoenix, and works tirelessly to improve biking options in the metro area. 34 Wavelength

Though Perez recently downsized to eight bicycles, he bikes to his city job every day—about a 1.5-mile commute. He acted as bike coordinator for the city of Phoenix in 2008, adding bike lanes in Central Phoenix and championing Bicycle to Work Day as part of the city’s Earth Day festivities. The Bicycle Cellar, which Perez started in 2009 with John Romero, a fellow bike advocate, is a labor of love. “It’s a bicycle shop, but it’s also a membership bicycle-storage area,” Perez explains. “It’s based on the bike station model in California and Chicago. We sell practical bikes. We’re trying to serve as many people as possible, especially those interested in bicycle commuting.” The clientele is varied—dues run $144 a year—with members from all over the Valley. For those working and living around downtown Tempe and ASU, it’s a no-brainer. The challenge is to sustain during ASU’s summer vacation and the brutal summer heat. But Perez thinks it can work. “Bike culture in Tempe is largely from the college,” Perez says. “In Phoenix, it’s everybody, but it’s not dense.” In a perfect world, if the city found, say, $50 million, Perez would love a “bicycle boulevard,” a bikes-only parkway to commute with ease; more bike lanes; and improved canals with more crossings and tunnels. Ah, if money were no object.

BIKING RESOURCES Bike Co-ops —601 W. University Drive, Tempe; This nonprofit bike shop provides affordable used bikes and parts, low-cost repairs, and repair/maintenance workshops, as well as a bike library for people who need a bike temporarily. —918 N. 5th St., Phoenix; This group gives free bike tours of downtown galleries, public art, coffee shops and bars. —located at Fractal, 1301 NW Grand Ave., Phoenix; This volunteer-based organization provides space for DIY bicycle repair and recycling, helping people build, maintain and beautify their bikes.

Bike Groups — A forum for Arizona’s fixed-gear bike enthusiasts. (T.B.A.G.)— This nonprofit group provides cycling information, organizes grassroots events, and promotes civic participation in an effort to unite Tempe-area cyclists.

Bike Routes Google Maps has added a Biking Directions feature, which lets cyclists select convenient routes that avoid traffic and make use of dedicated bike lanes. Just look for the bicycle icon when you do a directions search.

r of the co-founde e th ), ft e ders have rez (l long as ri Joseph Pe s ’t a s y sa llar, iking doesn Bicycle Ce nscreen, Arizona b e h ,” g in ov su st keep m water and ju u o is “Y z . re Pe blem pose a pro to work every day.” Romero. e n h ik o b J says. “I artner, p is h h it re w shown he Fall 2010 35

journey home

An innovative prison program helps incarcerated women find freedom through the arts. By Amy Abrams Photography by Emily Piraino

36 Wavelength


ourney Home is an arts program for incarcerated women at Estrella Jail in Phoenix. On five consecutive Saturdays this past spring, qualifying women were

released from their cells to participate in creative writing, dance, storytelling and the visual arts, culminating in a performance, open to the public, where boxes of tissues were placed throughout the auditorium. Program coordinators know from past performances over the eight years this program has been offered in the jail that

Since 2002, nearly 300 inmates have taken part in Journey Home’s unique arts program. Left, Emilee, an inmate at Estrella Jail, is put in handcuffs to be escorted back to her shared unit. Above, another inmate rehearses for the performance.

audience members are consistently moved to tears. Indeed, as an arts writer covering events throughout the state for more than 10 years, I have seen no performance more touching. This extraordinary workshop encourages incarcerated women to look deeply into themselves, evaluate the choices they’ve made, and explore healing through creative self-expression. Their journey is to a home that never existed for most of these women, who come from dire circumstances and serious abuse. At Estrella Jail, through the power of the arts, they create their own foundation to nurture themselves, to provide a place from which to launch back into the world and make better choices.

Fall 2010 37


dmittedly, I arrive at Estrella Jail skeptical and scared. I am to attend one of a series of five workshops, two weeks prior to the performance. I know that approximately 1,000 inmates, all female, are housed here. While some are in for murder and arson, the women participating in the arts program are minimum- or medium-security inmates, many arrested for drug offenses. Some face weapons charges. Others were arrested for prostitution or theft. They are, as yet, “unsentenced” (the word emblazoned across their black-and-white suits), awaiting overburdened courts to deem them innocent (the best-possible and prayed-for outcome), grant them probation (the next-best thing), or send them to prison for years (the option they dread). Pregnant women who’ve been sentenced are also housed at Estrella, until they have their child. Then, they’re sent to prison. After entering the large, flat, fenced-in building on a dusty plot off Interstate 10 at 19th Avenue (also the location of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent prisons), I’m ushered into a classroom where about 20 women sit crossed-legged on the carpeted floor, their eyes glued to Fatimah Halim, who I learn is the director of Journey Home. A former New Yorker and backup singer to Laura Nyro, Halim also recorded with Jimi Hendrix. Her résumé could fill the room, but here’s the short of it: She launched and directs a program for Phoenix youth called Rites of Passage, produces books, plays, films and special events to empower women, as well as co-hosts TV and radio shows, many of which have garnered prestigious awards, both regionally and nationally. Her focus with the inmates is on creative writing and storytelling. Halim’s words are carefully composed and clearly enunciated and I construe she’s helping “the ladies,” as she calls them, prepare to perform poetry they’ve penned in class. “There is a dimension that you carry,” she instructs, “that gives each of you depth. You are the teacher,” she says. “Yes, you. When you speak, you offer wisdom that the folks outside aren’t getting. You are privileged. Speak from that godliness. Period. Do your poem as a teacher. Generate healing energy for the audience.” One of the older women is stifling tears, can’t hold back, and starts to cry. A young girl seated next to her—who looks shy of 20—gently puts her arm around the woman, who contains herself, and the class continues. Kristie (last name use is forbidden), a 36-year-old 38 Wavelength

mother of six with wild curls and a cautious smile, who is awaiting trial on drug and weapon-possession charges, rises to read her poem, “The Image in the Mirror.” When I look in the mirror, what do I see? I see the wounded child looking back at me. My reflection of my past, the hurt and the pain, I find myself searching for who is the blame. Empty memories I have from my parents’ neglect But truly, I can’t blame them for the long-term effect. My shortcomings were my decisions to make; I’m the one responsible for my future—my fate. So I look for my healing to my trauma, you see I want to be better for you and for me. Kristie’s poem is a response to the workshop’s main curriculum, which is about archetypes—psychological patterns derived from historical roles that influence behavior. Archetypes were popularized by the teachings of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who proposed that if these patterns are recognized and faced, rather than feared and denied, one can more easily overcome destructive behavior, leading to personal and spiritual empowerment. This is deep and profound work and, therefore, an appointed psychologist is an integral part of the Journey Home program. The program focuses on four primary archetypes: wounded child, prostitute, saboteur and victim.

Fatimah Halim (opposite) works with Estrella Jail inmates to help them discover the artist inside. The emphasis is on healing, rather than any creative product or performance.

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Working with the wounded-child archetype, for example, the women explore the abuse and neglect they endured as children. The thinking goes that if one faces childhood trauma and ultimately forgives the perpetrator, healing ensues, often awakening a profound sense of compassion for oneself, as well as the abuser. If left unexplored and thereby in shadow, the wounded child replicates the victimization, blames others for her shortcomings and disowns her power. Kristie’s goal is to summon forgiveness for her parents’ neglect. Rather than continue to blame her childhood wounds for her poor decisions, she is claiming responsibility, empowering herself to move on, enabling better choices for her future. Dance and visual arts instruction is enthusiastically led by a highly spirited young woman, Teniqua Broughton, who is the program director at Free Arts of Arizona, a Phoenix-based nonprofit that brings therapeutic arts programs to abused and homeless children. The soulful melodies of female vocalists and funky dance tunes allow program participants to release pent-up energy and employ movement to 40 Wavelength

By working collaboratively and delving into archetypal patterns, the women involved in Journey Home create highly personal artworks.

express themselves. After distributing art supplies and small, square canvases, Broughton instructs the women to create collages from magazine pictures, illustrating their archetypal patterns. Soon after, I am summoned (along with this story’s photographer) to attend a tour of the jail, for which we’ve been cleared, a weeklong bureaucratic process. While I’m eager to explore the jail, the long, stark corridors leading to the dormitory-style rooms that house the inmates, their recreational areas and their

food facility, seem menacing. I see that most women at Estrella Jail sleep in bunk beds, as many as 150 in one large room. Tiny, triangular outdoor areas— fenced-in concrete, like in movies and on TV— provide the only daylight these women see while behind bars. The officer who leads our tour explains the other programs offered to inmates to reduce recidivism rates, which include substance-abuse programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, general education development (GED), and a unique program called DIGNITY (Developing Individual Growth and New Independence Through Yourself) that helps women in prostitution leave the sex industry and overcome destructive lifestyles. The Journey Home program was built on the national model of the Pat Graney Company’s prison project, Keeping the Faith. Graney, a Seattle-based choreographer, taught performance, visual arts and creative writing to incarcerated girls and women for 16 years. Eight years ago, Colleen JenningsRoggensack, the executive director of ASU Gammage, and the Journey Home team attended a training and observation program to begin collaboration on this arts-based education program within Estrella Jail. Through Roggensack’s unwavering devotion to the project, the program continues today. “The arts can serve as a way back into community,” Roggensack says. “When I began Journey Home, I’ll never forget one of the inmates saying, ‘Thank you … we thought we were forgotten.’ To me, being forgotten seemed the most horrible thing. These women felt that no one listened, and therefore, they didn’t listen to themselves. Within this program, these women find their voices; they have something to say and have people willing to listen.” When I return two weeks after attending the workshop and facility tour to watch the evening’s performance, I am

The Power of Art Do you believe art can heal emotional wounds? Researchers have proven that art therapy alters brain-wave patterns, shifts patterns in the autonomic nervous system, and creates changes in the brain’s neurotransmitters. When working with imagery, dance, storytelling, poetry and music, the right brain is accessed (where emotions reside), not the analytical left brain (where intellectual processes occur). By employing creative selfexpression to tap into thoughts, feelings and emotions, art therapy can provide understanding of destructive behavioral patterns, leading to positive and life-affirming choices. Unencumbered by the assessment of artistic talent (with a focus on the process, not the product of self-expression), therapeutic artmaking is integrated into programs for children, teens and adults in varied settings. In addition to rehabilitation programs in jails, art therapy is employed by professional therapists in rehab facilities, schools, hospitals, clinics, private practice and senior centers to assist healing both emotional and physical illnesses. In most cultures, children freely create with no preconceived notions of failing until they begin formal schooling, where they experience recognition and reward for leftbrain thinking (language, math and sequential logic). By the time they reach adulthood, leftbrain reasoning and logic are favored over feelings, images and intuition, and the healing potential of art-making is compromised, and in some cases, destroyed.

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stunned to see how far the women have progressed with their dancing, singing and poetry, and the extraordinary spirit of cooperation among them. Margaret Brazel, section commander of Adult Inmate Programs, considers Journey Home one of the most powerful of her inmate programs. “The trust built through this program is one of most remarkable things, since these women are used to only watching out for themselves,” she says. I’m particularly touched by Emilee’s grace and style while performing the dance routines. Emilee is a 20year-old inmate who studied ballet, tap and hip-hop and won numerous competitions for her dancing before her arrest for smuggling drugs, at her husband’s insistence, she assures. “Don’t rely on a man,” she says to me, with a wide, wry smile, after sharing that her parents encouraged him to move into the family home when Emilee was 14. She got pregnant not long after. “You make mistakes and then, you keep going,” she says, self-consciously running her fingers through her hair, revealing tattoos on her wrists, in bold, black letters, stating “Hope” and “Faith.” It is her resilience, an eager grasping of the hope and faith offered by Journey Home and her 42 Wavelength

undeniable pride in her performance that bring me and many audience members to tears. As the performance closes, the women huddle center stage and recite, “We had the opportunity to make right choices, but didn’t. We chose to make wrong decisions. Who hasn’t made a wrong decision? Maybe you could learn from our mistakes.”

About 100 people ventured into Estrella Jail on a Saturday night to see the women perform. Many were visibly moved by the lessons the inmates shared.

patron profile By David M. Brown

What a Dahle!

Lu Dahle


For years, Lu Dahle has tuned in to KBAQ every day from her home in Scottsdale. And through the ongoing “Meet the Musicians of The Phoenix Symphony” series, which she sponsors at Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, the 86-year-old introduces as many as 300 Valley dwellers to classical music every time she takes the podium. “They sometimes tell me, ‘Well, I don’t like classical music,’ and I tell them to just turn on KBAQ,” Dahle says. But Dahle does more than promote her favorite radio station. She also visits local schools to help expose children to the great composers. Once, after playing Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf ” to a fourth-grade class, a boy approached her. “I thought he was going to ask me about the music,” she recalls, “but he just looked up and said, ‘You’re so pretty.’ I wanted to hug him.” Grandmother to two, Dahle was born in 44 Wavelength

1924 in Minneapolis. There, as a child, she developed a love for classical music. “Once at our school, Eugene Ormandy visited to show us some of the instruments of the orchestra,” she recalls. Before conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ormandy led the then Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (now the Minnesota Orchestra) from 1931 to 1936. “I said to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life,’” she smiles. Dahle and her husband of 40 years, Robert Henry, ran a business selling records. They did well but found the Northern winters brutal. “We lived about 60 miles outside the city, and days were often 20 to 30 degrees below zero. We just wanted to get out of the cold,” she says. So they traveled—this was in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s—and when Henry arrived in Phoenix, he said, “This is the place.” So, in 1974, they retired and moved to Scottsdale.


KBAQ listener shares lifelong love of classical music.

The Patrons Leadership Society (PLS) is a diverse group of philanthropic individuals and families committed to sustaining KJZZ & KBAQ’s ability to inspire and inform members of our community with world-class news, music and informational programming. Members of the PLS share the distinction of being our stations’ most generous annual contributors, giving $1,000 or more each year to one or both stations. In return, PLS members are granted behindthe-scenes access to our studios and are invited to participate in exclusive programming and private visits with public radio personalities from across the country. For more information about the PLS, please contact Aaron Pratt at 480-774-8453 or

But retirement didn’t work for either of them. So they ran music stores throughout the Valley, and Dahle began visiting schools, talking about music education. She also started “Music in the Library” at the Mustang Branch in Scottsdale. “I invited players from The Phoenix Symphony, and we paid them by passing around the plate,” she says. “They didn’t make very much money at that time playing concerts.” That motif—the early library programs— has grown. Likewise, Dahle’s program at her church now offers seven programs a year, typically the fourth Monday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon, October through April. Jan Septon, a second violinist with The Phoenix Symphony, selects the musicians, and the audience comes—retirees, parents with young children, anyone who wants to appreciate the classical masters, old and new. And to appreciate the passion of Lu Dahle.

travel Story and photos by Peter Aleshire

Escape to Rim Country In his final piece for Wavelength, the writer reveals the secret pleasures of his new hometown. itting on a blue-blackveined boulder of floodsmoothed rock, I contemplate life’s beginnings and endings—the disasters and rebirths, out of sight behind the river’s next bend. Wavelength has run down from the high places to this last quiet stretch, where it will merge with some larger current. So I won’t get to share my little treasures and adventures with so interesting a group anymore. Got me wondering where I should take you on our last trip together. Which, of course made me think of Rim Country— where my own unpredictable turn of the river round the blind corner has deposited me. I think about that, sitting here alongside the East Verde River, right where a little tributary creek cascades into the larger flow—tinted turquoiseblue with dissolved limestone laid down on some longvanished sea bottom. Overhead, a storm is gathering—working itself up to something spectacular. The stripped electrons have not quite built up sufficiently in the roiling clouds to begin the lightning display. In the pool in front of me, trout have begun to rise—testing the floating flies and the darting larvae


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of one of the Southwest’s best little streams—spring-fed and undammed. The moment is perfect. At just this moment, a big elk emerges from the thick screen of trees upstream. He pauses, sniffs the air and then turns his antlered head toward me, regarding me with wary disdain. I just shake my head. There goes God: Overdoing it again. That often happens to me here in Rim Country, where I’ve rooted after a long, tumbleweed roll through life. When I started writing for Wavelength, I was editor of Arizona Highways magazine, after a long career at newspapers in big cities. I loved the Highways job, mostly because it gave me the excuse to slip away in search of places just like this and call it work. I tried to engineer such moments once a month or so. Funny how life works out. I’m with John Lennon, who observed: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” So the Highways publisher and I got a little crosswise about the best way to save that wonderful magazine, which has been bleeding subscribers for years. But publishers almost always win arguments with editors, so I went spinning off into the world—my life plan in disarray, white-knuckling the job search. I never planned to end up here in Payson, working for a twice-

weekly newspaper. I’d traveled all over Arizona in 15 years of writing articles about every nook and cranny in this state. Thought I knew all the secret places. But all I’d ever done in Payson was fill my gas tank and get a burger on my way to someplace cool. But hey: Gotta work—any rowboat in a flood is my motto. And now two years later, here I sit—the sound of water all around as I receive the Blessing of the Elk, just before the storm. Looking for shelter, I stumbled onto the place I’d been searching for all my life, not knowing it. Now, just for emphasis, a big old rainbow trout clears the water in front of me, falling back to the stream with a glad splash. Thank you, Lord, for my many belly flops. So, I thought I would share the blessing a little, on our last visit for a while. I offer it not only because the Rim Country is an unexpectedly wonderful place—but because my list of favorites also proves that things work out, if you can just stop thrashing, turn on your back and let the current take you. And in case we don’t meet up again somewhere downstream, just wanted to say what a great and varied pleasure it’s been, paddling this stretch with you all. Now on to my list of hidden treasures.

In addition to spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, the East Verde River provides a perfect place for a little introspection. Fall 2010 47

dramatically increased its flows and left the water clear and clean and cold. The stretch of river that runs through Whispering Pines along Forest Road 269 is particularly nice and well stocked with trout. It’s a treasure: Please be good to it.

Tonto Creek From Payson, head east up State Route 260 through Star Valley toward the Mogollon Rim. In about 18 miles, you’ll come to Tonto Creek. If you turn north off the highway, you’ll follow a dirt road up and along the troutstocked creek. Eventually, you’ll hit the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery, which produces the fish that stock all of the Rim Country streams. You can take a tour of the hatchery or find places to park all along that road leading up to the hatchery and head down to the creek. The creek gets heavy use during summer weekends, but even then you can hike up and down the creek and find your own little swimming hole. Alternately, you can turn off State 260 before you get to the hatchery road and make your way down the narrow dirt road to Bear Flat, where you can evade some of the crowds on prime weekends. By the way— Tonto Creek also boasts one of the best places to stay in Rim Country, the marvelous and historic Kohl’s Ranch, which rents cabins and horses right on the banks of Tonto Creek.

Fossil Creek

Tonto Creek starts right beneath the Mogollon Rim and snakes for 30 miles through the Tonto National Forest. Hike up and down the creek a bit and you'll find your own private place to splash about.

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Drive to Pine on State Route 87 and take the Fossil Creek Road turnoff that leads through StrawEast Verde River berry. Be sure to make a stop at An all-but-unknown treasure, ex- ness canyon far from the road. the Fossil Creek Creamery, where cept to the locals who live along You can fish and hike and you can pet the goats and llamas its banks. The river gushes from splash about at several sites along and stock up on their awarda spring up above Washington Houston Mesa and Flowing winning goat milk fudge. Then Park, runs for 15 miles along Springs Roads, just outside of return to the road and hairpin Houston Mesa Road, crosses the Payson. The Salt River Project down into the canyon, although highway at Flowing Springs Road, is now releasing 40 cubic feet you may have to squeeze to the side flows past East Verde Estates and per second into the stream at and wait to let other traffic pass. on down through miles of wilder- Washington Park, which has About five years ago, Arizona

ervation and end up in Show Low. Go left and you pass a couple of beautiful lakes well stocked with trout and often attended by bald eagles. Bear Canyon Lake is one of the most popular fishing spots in the whole state. The road winds for miles along the edge of forever before rejoining the pavement just above Pine. Spectacular views either way—and lots of vivid history.

A beloved backcountry drive, Forest Road 300 boasts expansive views that range from lovely to jaw-dropping.

Public Service shut down a hydroelectric plant that had diverted the spring-fed waters of the creek from its bed for a century and returned the river to its bed, creating one of the most remarkable places in Arizona. The gushing spring is laden with travertine, dissolved limestone that forms dams and drip castles—and tints the long succession of crystal-clear, turquoise-blue pools. The stream had become one of the best refuges in the world for native fish like Verde trout, headwater chub and Sonora suckers. The Forest Service has banned camping and fires near the creek to protect it from heavy use. Make sure you never leave without hauling out a bag full of litter left by idiots.

Forest Road 300 About 30 miles northeast of Payson, State Route 260 tops out on the Mogollon Rim—a 200mile long chain of limestone and sandstone cliffs, 2,000 feet high in some places, that defines the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. On the way up to the Rim on State 260, you’ll pass the Christopher Creek Loop turnoff, a worthy detour if you want to have lunch at the rustic, homey Christopher Creek Lodge. You can also rent creekside cabins here. Right after you top out on the Rim, you’ll cross Forest Road 300. This historic wagon trail hugs the edge of the Rim in both directions. Go right, and you skirt the White Mountain Apache Res-

center of the massive wall of travertine and went burbling on its way. Make sure you allow time to actually hike through the cavern and sit by the big, deep pool in the center, listening to the drip of water from the soaring ceiling far overhead.

Horton Springs Trail

The popular, but intermittently strenuous hike along Horton Creek offers one of the best hikes in Rim Tonto Natural Bridge Country. You start at Horton State Park The world’s largest natural travertine Campground alongside Tonto Creek, hike up to the gushing arch lies about halfway between Pine and Strawberry. Threatened spring that feeds Horton Creek, then return to Horton Creek repeatedly by closure due to the Campground on the longer, drier state budget crisis, the park has Derrick Trail. All told, that loop remained open five days a week covers almost 10 miles and should all summer with help from the take all day to accomplish. Along town of Payson. (At press time, the way, you’ll gain and lose about it’s slated to close Sept. 27, so 1,000 feet in elevation. visit soon.) The park features a historic, century-old lodge, grassy expanses where deer and javelina Downtown Pine If your taste runs more to browsbrowse, and a short, steep trail down to the massive, tunnel-like ing than to hiking, you should enjoy downtown Pine. There’s a arch dissolved in a great dam wonderful little store devoted of limestone by the fitful but entirely to selling the most persistent waters of Pine Creek. The limestone formed originally flavorful variations on honey (and fresh eggs, if you arrive from the bodies of sea creatures early enough). There’s also the in the bottom of an inland sea. friendly Sidewinder Saloon, The limestone was fused and a couple of art galleries, some uplifted, after which water moving funky antique shops, the historic through fissures dissolved the Randall House, ice cream at the limestone and re-deposited as Gingerbread House and a a great dam that attempted to host of other cool and funky thwart Pine Creek. Instead, the creek chewed a hole through the little businesses.

Make plans to see the largest natural travertine arch in the world while you still can. A victim of budget cuts, Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is slated to close in September.

Fall 2010 49

The Cracker Jack Mine Road offers serene views of Rim Country, along with a very bumpy ride.

unvisited backroad adventure, with access to water at several points.

Downtown Payson

Cracker Jack Mine Road Pick up this long, sometimes rough dirt road just outside of Payson as you head toward Pine. It’s the only dirt road turnoff from the highway dignified by a stop sign. The road leads through the woods down to the East Verde River, crosses the river, then continues along the high plateau as it 50 Wavelength

winds down toward another crossing of the Verde River at Doll Baby Ranch. The road demands a high clearance vehicle—preferably with fourwheel drive. It’s treacherously muddy in the spring or after a big rain—don’t go near it when it’s wet. But otherwise, it provides a scenic, relatively

Payson’s got about 17,000 people and the Walmart there sells more fishing licenses than anyplace else in Arizona. Businesses are a bit more spread out than in Pine. The town’s working on developing a pedestrian-friendly string of shops on Main Street and has made a down payment with some antique stores and a couple of art galleries with local artists. Green Valley, with trout-stocked lakes, and the Rim Country Museum, built around a replica of Zane Grey’s cabin, provide a lure down at the end of the block. My favorite place in town for breakfast is the Small Café, in the back of a little commercial strip off the highway; my favorite place for lunch is the 260 Café, with Arizona’s best lemonade. When I want to treat myself to dinner I end up at Fargo’s Steakhouse, with an outstanding spinach salad. The upbeat Buffalo Bar & Grill passes for nightlife, with live music on Fridays and Saturdays and a country band and lots of two-stepping for the quieter set on Sunday nights. And don’t miss Granny’s Attic for antiquing. All in all, it’s a good life.

Winter 2010 51

local flavor By Trisha Coffman Photography by Emily Piraino

Healthy Appetite Who doesn’t aim to eat better? ‘Wavelength’ encourages the effort by offering places health-conscious listeners can dine without guilt. “

at real food.”


That’s the dictum we’re hearing an awful lot these days, and you have to admit it’s a compelling one. These three short words are part of a movement to lessen our reliance on powdered foodstuffs in plastic packets, on processed edibles high on flavor but low on nourishment, on who-really-knows-what tucked into paper sacks and passed to us through sliding glass windows. Luckily, the Valley has a growing share of restaurants in the business of serving “real food”—vittles as virtuous as much for what they contain (antioxidants, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids) as for what they lack (high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, gluten). And because our notion of what’s healthful has expanded beyond just nourishment of body to include nourishment of Earth, several restaurant owners have taken up that cause as well, buying local produce, ditching meat-centric menus and sending leftovers home in recycled or biodegradable takeout containers.

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Wellness guru Dr. Andrew Weil teamed up with restaurant impresario Sam Fox to create a health-food eatery in the guise of an urban nosh spot.

True Food Kitchen: The Doctor Was In ou can tell a lot about a restaurant by its kids’ menu, even if you don’t have tiny diners in tow. When a restaurant like True Food Kitchen touts a whole-food philosophy and then backs it up with dishes that are familiar to the wee set (like the Little Chopped Salad of romaine, broccoli, cucumber and carrots or the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl with brown rice) but that aren’t the standard childhood-obesitycrisis fare (oily chicken fingers, oozy cheese with soggy mac), you know there’s sincerity behind the PR gloss. That brand of sincerity runs deep at True Food, as it works superior ingredients like spelt, flax and agave nectar into the same sorts of dishes—pizza, sandwiches, salads—you might order at any restaurant. Like other Sam Fox eateries, this one comes with a hook: Its menu was built in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Weil and follows the health and healing principles of his anti-inflammatory food pyramid. Every menu item is engineered to offer a nutritional boost, many ingredients are local and organic, and there are several vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free selections. Yes, you’ve ordered spaghetti puttanesca and a glass of red before, but most restaurants don’t bother preparing it with omega-3-rich pasta or letting you


Don’t fear didactic service—it’s a dining experience, not a lecture. know the wine is biodynamic (basically, organic to the nth power). But don’t fear didactic service— it’s a dining experience, not a lecture. For all its prolific kale and trustworthy meats (hormone- and antibiotic-free), True Food comes off as just a restaurant, albeit one full of topical references to this age of sustainable, back-to-the-land eating. The place has sleek, natural appeal with reclaimed wood floors, rattan and metal chairs, and decorative grasses that surround the patio’s perimeter, as well as turf wrapping on the hostess station (artificial plants are one way to qualify as low-water use). Even the check comes delivered on an unremarkable plank of wood. It all tastes of responsible deliciousness, and leaves you feeling like you’ve been out for a treat, and eaten one, too. True Food Kitchen 2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix; 602-774-3488;

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Pomegranate Café: Power (Food) Duo ou know what you’re in for the second you step into Pomegranate Café. Walk past the cooler on the way to the counter and there’s no mistaking it: Whatever you order is going to be fresh. Wire bins are ever ready with produce like young coconut, heaping bags of carrots and celery, unwaxed apples, an assortment of berries, red and green cabbage. And fresh fruits and vegetables are “planted” throughout the restaurant: a butternut squash poses next to the register and a wooden crate of lemons acts casual below. There’s even a squad of pineapple and a bucket of bright flowers on the counter. This Ahwatukee eatery exists to serve vegetarian, often raw, dishes fashioned from whatever organic, locally sourced ingredients rolled in that morning (Maya’s Farm and One Windmill Farm are two suppliers). It’s owned by mother-daughter team Marlene and Cassie Tolman,


Card-carrying locovores should find sustenance at Pomegranate Café, a cozy Ahwatukee nook that celebrates fresh, locally sourced products in unexpected dishes.

54 Wavelength

and the duo is bent on feeding not just die-hard raw foodists, but the unconverted as well— including wary husbands. Cassie, who trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, cleverly finagles menu items—shakes, scrambles and sandwiches at breakfast; salads, wraps and sandwiches at lunch—around what’s in peak season. Marlene, the official pastry chef, also looks after their customers. When one was disappointed the restaurant had replaced the granola listed on the menu with a different flavor, for instance, Marlene and Cassie decided there was no reason they couldn’t stock both. “Tell us stuff like that!” Marlene urges. “We want to know!” This flexible sensibility means that almost every dish is an example of moving the vegetarian concept away from its rabbit-food relations and taking it in a refreshing, even tongue-in-cheek, direction: Veggie crackers add salt, crackle and whimsy to the Quinoa Tabbouli Salad; Donut Holes aren’t donuts at all, but raw, vegan compositions of sweet and crunch; and housejuiced beverages intrigue with names like Abundance, Intuition and Adventure. Who knew healthy eats could be equal parts affirming and fun? Pomegranate Café 4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix; 480-706-7472;

Every dish is an example of moving the vegetarian concept away from its rabbitfood relations and taking it in a refreshing, even tongue-in-cheek, direction.

Fall 2010 55

You won’t miss the meat at Green New American Vegetarian. The restaurant specializes in vegan comfort food, without a whiff of pretension.

“We want to be like every other restaurant that has great food, but that happens to be vegan.”

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Green New American Vegetarian: Don’t Mock the “Meat” “ reen” is an unquestionably loaded word, and this Tempe restaurant has about every connotation covered. From the literal (“greens”—as in “Eat your…”—are plentiful, and half of the exposed-duct ceiling is decked in bright green) to the figurative (local, organic and recycled were part of the philosophy before they were buzzworthy). The one meaning of the word that doesn’t come to mind when eating here is “inexperienced” —unless, of course, you’re new to the idea that what you put on your plate doesn’t have to revolve around an all-important hunk of meat. For diners hunting no-harm dining, whether they’re astutely vegan or simply curious, Green serves up comforting dishes rendered with mock meat. The barbecue and burgers, noodle


bowls and po-boys are made with mock chicken, mock beef or tofu. Chef Damon Brasch, who also owns That’s a Wrap in Phoenix, may have subtracted the animal protein, but he’s left the stuff that really counts: The flavor and texture profiles in his dishes neatly match those of their meaty predecessors. Glance around this purposely eclectic eatery and you’ll get an eyeful of color and kitsch: local art for sale hangs on orange walls above eggplant wainscoting; an etiquette manifesto is scrawled ceiling-to-floor in a corner; swags of blue twinkle lights brighten the concrete communal table; and an assembly of wooden Santas mingles with a golden cat on a ledge above the soda fountain. But the aesthetic dissonance works, just as it makes perfect sense to have the choice of corporate Coke or a bottle of agave- or stevia-sweetened soda with your Egglessrolls or Apricot

Miso bowl. That’s because, Brasch says, “we want to be a restaurant that has something for everybody. We don’t want to be this far-out place. We want to be like every other restaurant that has great food, but that happens to be vegan.” Brasch says he’s all about two things: taking seriously the task of nourishing others, and celebrating food. What better way to bring the two together

than with one of Green’s famous Tsoynamis: house-made organic soy soft-serve “ice cream” mixed with goodies like chocolate, cookies and even ricemellow fluff. Green New American Vegetarian 2240 N. Scottsdale Road, Tempe; 480-941-9003;

Been There and Happy to Share

meatloaf without feeling guilty. What’s not to like? —Rick Davidson

Forget bark and twigs. Listeners suggest places that prove just how delicious healthy eating can be.


4980 W. Ray Road, Chandler; 1-877-Veg-Dosa


This casual, pay-at-the-counter place serves huge portions of vegetarian South Indian food. Best of all for vegans like me, it codes every vegan dish, so I know what’s “safe” to eat. Woodlands also offers lots of glutenfree options. You won’t leave hungry, I promise! —Anna Ridgeway

6140 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler; 480-753-4411;

The food is all organic, mostly local, and yummy to boot. They even have organic almond butter and jelly/fruit sandwiches for kids. They also make smoothies and delicious homemade granola (daily, I think). —Narry Savage UDUPI CAFÉ

1636 N. Scottsdale Road, Tempe; 480-994 8787;

Don’t know what I ate, but I’d eat it again. Based on a recommendation from a Tucson doctor, who said her family regularly makes the drive to the Valley just to dine here, I tried

Udupi Cafe, a small family-owned Indian restaurant tucked into a nondescript strip center. The fare is vegetarian, and Udupi claims 80 percent of the dishes are vegan. What those folks do with just vegetables and spices is amazing! I opted for the lunch buffet to sample a variety of dishes. I tried them all—including two soups—cleared my plate and went back for seconds. Wish I could have filled my purse up with a par-

ticularly tantalizing potato dish to enjoy later. I’ll be back—any chance I get. —Donna Hogan NOURISH

7147 E. Rancho Vista Drive, Scottsdale; 480-684-2233; This new(ish) restaurant is my kind of place. It serves comfort food with a healthy twist. I can eat sweet potato fries, mac and cheese and


4804 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix; 480-785-4846 It may take a little while to get your food at this family-run restaurant, but the wait is worth it. The little eatery serves nutritious wraps, soups, salads, gyros and kebabs, and provides a healthy alternative to fast food. —Mark Silverman Fall 2010 57

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listener profile By Kristen Forbes

Music Man, Medicine Man Blues doctor bridges the gap.

Petar Novakovic “Music helps me recharge the batteries.”



KJZZ loving physician Petar Novakovic has no trouble mixing music and medicine—but he never quite leaves his profession behind. “I’m a doctor,” he laughs. “If they’re going to throw a tomato, it should be organic.”

A visit to his website says it all: The left side of the screen features Petar “Pedja” Novakovic as a white-coated doctor, pens in his pocket and a stethoscope draped around his neck. On the right, he is dressed in black, clutching a guitar, a bracelet wrapped around his wrist. A doctor by day, Novakovic transforms into a blues musician after hours.

Born in Kosovo, Novakovic has been in the United States since 1989. He did his medical residency in Chicago and settled in the Valley, where he runs Novakovic Family Practice. In addition to the main location in Chandler, Novakovic has a satellite office in north Phoenix, where the majority of his patients are Bosnian refugees, a group he says has been “chronically underserved.” Novakovic leaned toward music at an early age, inspired by a mother with “a beautiful voice.” He began dancing in a folklore company in his hometown, then picked up a guitar when he was 13 and started performing with bands. Though his Gibson Les Paul Deluxe collected dust during medical school and residency, he eventually started playing regularly again. “I went to a local jam session,” he says. “I collected my courage one day and walked up to the stage and played. I think that was five years ago and they haven’t kicked me out yet.” Since then, he’s recorded several CDs and donates the proceeds to charity. Many of his songs are inspired by family members, including wife Milica, son Aleksandar, and daughters Nina and Natasha. Novakovic often leaves work as late as 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. and KJZZ is his companion on the drive home, as well as on evenings during the weekend. “Music is a creation,” he says. “Medicine is research, searching for a solution. When it comes to music, I listen to my heart. When it comes to medicine, I use the method I tell my patients: Seek and you shall find. I’m stubborn as a physician because I try not to give up until I figure out what is going on. Music helps me recharge the batteries and unload the burden of the day.” Fall 2010 59



kbaq 89.5



FM Public Radio Schedule





midnight 1:00 2:00 Classical Music Throughout the night

3:00 4:00 5:00 6:00 Classical Music


with Sterling Beeaff

Classical Music

with Jane Hilton


Sunday Baroque

with Suzanne Bona

9:00 10:00

Classical Music

Classical Music

with Jane Hilton

with Janine Miller

Classical Music Classical Music

with Katrina Becker


with Jane Hilton

Mozart Buffet with Randy Kinkel


Saturday at the Opera


Classical Music

with Katrina Becker

Classical Music with Randy Kinkel

2:00 3:00

Classical Music

with Duart Martin

Classical Music


with Jon Town

Classical Music

with Duart Martin

5:00 Performance Today

6:00 7:00

Performance Today with Fred Child and Jon Town From the Top Classical Music

with Katrina Becker

Southwest Season Ticket

Classical Music SymphonyCast

ASU in Concert


with Duart Martin

Classical Music


Bruce Durmmond Classical Music

9:00 Classical Music

with Katrina Becker

10:00 11:00

60 Wavelength

Classical Music

Classical Music

with Bruce Durmmond

with Duart Martin

Classical Music

Throughout the night

with Brian Dredla

Fall 2010 61

kjzz 91.5





midnight 1:00

FM Public Radio Schedule





Classic Jazz

Classic Jazz

with Paul Anderson

with Michele Robins

Classic Jazz Classic Jazz Classic Jazz

2:00 Classic Jazz

3:00 4:00 BBC Newshour


BBC Newshour

Morning Edition National and Arizona News, Traffic and Weather Reports

6:00 7:00 Weekend Edition

8:00 9:00 The Diane Rehm Show 1-800-433-8850


Car Talk


Here and Now

Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!


Talk of the Nation 1-800-989-8255


BBC Newshour


PRI’s The World

Car Talk Whad’ya Know? On the Media

3:00 4:00

A Prairie Home Companion

All Things Considered

This American Life

The Splendid Table

Marketplace Money

Best of Public Radio

All Things Considered

5:00 A Prairie Home Companion


Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!

6:00 BBC’s World Today


Fresh Air American Routes


Those Lowdown Blues

with Bob Corritore


Classic Jazz

Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz

with Blaise Lantana

Riverwalk Jazz

10:00 Classic Jazz


62 Wavelength

Classic Jazz

with Paul Anderson

with Michele Robins

Classic Jazz

with Michele Robins

Fall 2008 2010 63


looking back

FALL 2006

FALL 2007

Micaela Robles <<<

FALL 2005

FALL 2009


Rita Jo Anthony <<<

Adam Klawonn <<<


Louise Howaniec <<<

FALL 2005

Hazem Olwan <<<






Tammy McLeod <<<

Milt Johnson <<<




Elisabeth Janssen <<<



Dr. Steven Wininger <<<

Isaac Bravo <<<


photo rewind < < <

Robert Brandow <<< 64 Wavelength

FALL 2008



Wavelength has covered a lot of ground over the last five years, exploring the myriad interests of public radio fans. It’s looked at autism and ants, brain waves and blues singers, house concerts and heart rhythms—a wide variety of topics that could, at any time, be humorous, informative, provocative or moving. Just like public radio. We’ve done this because, at its core, Wavelength has always been for and about the disparate and intellectually insatiable fans of KBAQ and KJZZ. The smart, idiosyncratic and delightful community of people who, by filling out questionnaires, being profiled or simply reading this magazine, showed us what public radio means to them. So we conclude this issue—our last—with a look back at a few of our favorite friends.

Max Henry <<<

FALL 2005

Fall 2008 65

66 Wavelength


Fall 2010 Edition


Fall 2010 Edition