Author Archives: Huan Vo

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Pluggz Footwear Keeps You Grounded

When electrons from the Earth enter the human body, they neutralize the excess positive charge and balance the electrical potential in the body, a process that is beneficial to our health, also known as “grounding.” This very concept is the driven force behind Pluggz, a brand of footwear that is embedded with a proprietary “grounding” technology that maintains the wearer’s health with every step.
In 2011, veteran entrepreneur Sharon Whiteley founded LiSTEN Brands Inc., an innovative enterprise that serves the needs of the health-conscious and the informed.
“I was attending a health and wellness conference, and it was there that I learned about the concept of grounding, which is also called ‘earthing’,” Whiteley says. “As I learned more about it, [it] just came to me in a big aha moment that there will be no better way to ground people than through their feet.”
pluggzThat idea soon became a groundwork that spawned a line of footwear that enables the wearer to stay healthy without requiring much energy; grounding also boasts a long list of benefits that it brings to the human body.
“Grounding reduces inflammation, and inflammation is proven to be a really major cause of many conditions and even diseases, so that’s a huge benefit,” Whiteley says.
Aside from decreasing inflammation, electrons stabilize blood pressure, increase circulation and reduce stress.
With a solid concept, Whiteley and her team dedicated a whole year to researching and Spring_Flipper_2developing the most great-looking and comfortable shoes they possibly could.
The reason for that dedication is that Whiteley didn’t want her product to appeal only to the health-conscious. She wanted to target the mainstream marketplace, so she set out with a goal to make footwear that looks and feels great.
Comfortable with the design, Whiteley launched the first line in the Pluggz brand last fall. She said that the reception she’s received from customers has been terrific.
“There are some women probably buying them because they’re great looking and very comfortable,” says Whiteley. “And there are people probably buying them because they ground you.”
Whiteley believes another selling point of her products is that they use natural energy to benefit wearers, a concept with which a lot of people can get on board.
“People understand nature and the fact that there’s a lot of natural energy near us, so it’s an incredible concept and it’s really beneficial to peoples’ bodies,” Whiteley says.
The shoe market is a battlefield filled with countless brand names and shoes that come with limitless sizes and shapes, but Whiteley is confident that her products have what it takes to stand out from the flock.
“We’re the only shoe company that has grounded footwear,” claims Whiteley. “We’re really a company that has gone through great effort to make a shoe that is very well-engineered and well-constructed – but also very fashionable.”
Riding on positive reception, Whiteley is looking forward to expanding the Pluggz brand with new products that boast new design – launching this Fall. Whiteley also shares her plan to include more product choices for men.

Feet-on Impression:

I had the opportunity to try out a pair of Pluggz flip-flops myself, and it’s unlike any footwear I’ve put on before. The difference is immediately noticeable, as the pair gave my feet the sensation as if they were bare. Due to the unique design of the flip-flop – it has a little bump right at the middle, which took me a bit of time to get used to, but when I eventually did, it became my default pair of flip-flops. And  – it works great with the hot, dry weather of a Phoenix summer.

Pluggz can be found online at http://www.pluggz.com

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Volunteers Use Combined Knowledge to 'Green' School

 

Changes can bring about benefits and overhaul the way something operates. In the case of Canyon State Academy in Queen Creek, the greening process changes the way the academy operates, saving cost and building a firm foundation for present students and future youth.

The project started with a meeting in 2010 between the academy and the President’s Group, an association comprised of leaders from the Valley’s industry groups.

“CSA took on an initiative to reduce utility costs and make this campus environmentally responsible,” says John Motley, director of business and logistics for CSA. “The President’s Group had an initiative of providing community service to a school/organization to create ‘greener’ schools through our combined skills. It was at this point we came together.”

This led to a multi-association volunteer effort for the academy by the President’s Group, the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), International Facility Management Association (IFMA), United States Green Building Council (USGBC), FM Forum, and Arizona Cool Roof Council (ACRC), says Dave Munn, chief technical officer of Chelsea Group.

“(CSA) was chosen because we wanted to see what kind of changes could be done at a school when you don’t have to worry about the politics of a school board,” Munn says. “The hope was with the success of this project it would speak volumes to public school districts that changes can save money.”

A team consisting of 33 volunteer auditors from AEE made the trip to the 50-year-old campus and performed energy audits of the entire campus and analyzed collected data on energy use. The results then were used to make recommendations for low- and no-cost energy conservation options.

Additional volunteer projects by President’s Group helped CSA realize opportunities for efficiencies in other areas as well. A cool roof audit performed by Kim Scholten of ACRC showed a potential savings of 15% energy usage in one of the most utilized buildings. Landscaping suggestions by IFMA showed areas of water efficiency and maintenance savings. Ted Ritter of IFMA provided a software tool called Alteris, allowing paperless work orders and core asset lists for preventative maintenance practices. Finally, Curtis Slife of USGBC provided a comprehensive list of best practices for all assets, defined maintenance plans, develop a 10-year capital and operating and maintenance budget and benchmarking for all campus assets.

“When all recommended efficient energy measures are in place, CSA will show an annual savings of $48,674 in electrical savings per year alone — a reduction of 20.2% from the 2010 energy consumption,” Motley says.

Besides bringing in monetary savings, the project impacts the academy on an educational level, teaching students and the staff at the academy the value of being energy conscience, a lesson that will be passed along to generations, Motley says. Everyone at the academy welcomes the positive changes with appreciation. But the impact doesn’t end there.

“The greatest value is having an organized facility management team armed with money-saving, earth-saving tasks,” Munn says. “They will save money in manpower, electricity, purchasing, and will be better prepared from year-to-year on large capital expenses and preventative maintenance practices.”

Adds Motley: “All savings made through good conservation practices go directly back to the youth that we serve, allowing CSA to provide additional opportunities.”

Canyon State Academy serves the needs of at-risk youth requiring therapeutic residential education and treatment. It is an academy model school for 380 disadvantaged youth, placed by DES between the ages of 11 and 18.

 

 

after bar room

Stand Up Scottsdale Featured on "Bar Rescue" Airs April 14

Despite being a small and little-known comedy club, Stand Up Scottsdale features national touring comedians who are talented enough to capture the laughter of comic enthusiasts.

Ever since Owner Howard Hughes took over the mantle of the club last March, the club has been a destination for those seeking laughter and a good time. Unfortunately, being little-known boasts a challenge that Hughes couldn’t overlook.

“Not many people know about it,” Hughes said. “People who came, they loved it, but we just needed more for the marketing, and it’s obvious that this is a very old building.”

Searching for a solution to boost the club’s publicity was a challenge in and of itself, but little did Hughes know that the solution was right in front of him.

One night, Hughes was watching Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue,” one of his favorite TV shows, and when the announcer turned to the audience and asked for a bar in need of help, Hughes didn’t hesitate one second as he crafted an email and sent it to the show.

A month later, he got in touch with people who ran the show. Three months after his email, he shook hands with the ones he talked to on the phone, and 36 hours later Hughes gazed at the changes that were made to the club.

Before "Bar Rescue"

Before “Bar Rescue”

 

After "Bar Rescue"

After “Bar Rescue”

The upcoming episode of “Bar Rescue” airs on April 14 featuring Stand Up Scottsdale, and Hughes hopes that the bar will get the shot in the arm that it needs to boost publicity and popularity.

“Overall, I think it’s going to be good once the show comes out; I think people will be curious and they want to come in,” Hughes said.

To celebrate the airing of the episode, Stand Up Scottsdale will have a free show beginning at 8 p.m. on April 14, featuring comedians that are on the TV show, followed by the screening of the episode at 10 p.m.

Before "Bar Rescue"

Before “Bar Rescue”

After "Bar Rescue"

After “Bar Rescue”

JoyKillsSorrow_5.30_MIM

Celebrate Summer With Latest Series From Musical Instrument Museum

With summer fast approaching, Musical Instrument Museum celebrates the season with a series that brings big names such as iconic hipster Rickie Lee Jones and folk singer Tom Rush to the Valley. The museum will also put the spotlight on the culture of India with live music and exhibit talks that guarantee a good time for all ages.

Doc Severinsen and the San Miguel Five

Wednesday, May 1, 7-9 p.m.

Tickets: $37.50-$47.50

The vivacious trumpeter and bandleader Doc Severinsen leads the San Miguel Five in an evening of sophisticated Latin rhythms and jazz. It is virtuoso classical Spanish with a jazz flair, gorgeous ballads, both Latino and American, plus some great movie music and gypsy jazz, à la Django Reinhardt. Together with guitarist (and co-leader) Gil Gutiérrez, Doc has crafted an innovative and exciting program.

David Bromberg

Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $37.50-$42.50

David Bromberg is a master’s master, a string wizard whose virtuosity led him to be a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (“New Morning,” “Self Portrait,” “Dylan”), Link Wray, the Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson and Carly Simon. He’s played with everyone and he’s toured everywhere. He can lead a raucous big band or hold an audience silent with solo acoustic blues. Over time, Bromberg’s range of material, based in the folk and blues idioms, grew to encompass bluegrass, ragtime, country and ethnic music.

Experience India

Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5

Tickets: Free with museum admission

Save the date for Experience India. See performances by local and international artists, make your own ankle rattle, and participate in a drumming workshop! This weekend will also feature a presentation on Indian musical instruments by ASU’s Dr. Ted Solis, a program made possible by the Arizona Humanities Council. More details available soon.

Lecture: The World on a String: Indian Musical Instruments in Cultural Context by Dr. Ted Solis, Arizona State University

Saturday, May 4, 2-3 p.m.

Tickets: Free with museum admission

Discover the vivid panorama of the colorful history of the Indian subcontinent in a presentation through instruments by Dr. Ted Solis.

Simone Dinnerstein & Tift Merritt

Saturday, May 4, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $29.50-$37.50

Simone Dinnerstein, a Juilliard-trained classical pianist, and Tift Merritt, a singer-songwriter whose father taught her to play piano and guitar by ear, join forces for the first time in “Night,” a unique collaboration uniting the classical, folk and rock worlds, exploring common terrain, and uncovering new musical landscapes. When the two met, they immediately realized that their passion for music and performance was kindred, if not the same.

Lecture: The World on a String: Indian Musical Instruments in Cultural Context by Dr. Ted Solis, Arizona State University

Sunday, May 5, 2-3 p.m.

Tickets: Free with museum admission

Discover the vivid panorama of the colorful history of the Indian subcontinent through musical instruments in a presentation by Dr. Ted Solis.

Sara Watkins

Sunday, May 5, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $22.50-$27.50

Acclaimed singer, songwriter and fiddle player Sara Watkins first came to prominence in the Grammy-winning, platinum-selling bluegrass-hybrid band Nickel Creek. She’s just released “Sun Midnight Sun,” her second solo album, and has been a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.”

La Santa Cecilia

Thursday, May 9, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $19.50-$27.50

La Santa Cecilia is a Los Angeles‒based Mexican American band that exemplifies the modern-day creative hybrid of Latin culture, rock, and world music by utilizing Pan-American rhythms like cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango, jazz, rock and klezmer music.

R. Carlos Nakai & Will Clipman

Saturday, May 11, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $32.50-$37.50

Tucson-based multi-instrumentalist R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s premier performer of the Native American flute. A cultural anthropologist of Navajo-Ute descent, he began his musical studies on the trumpet but his musical interests took a turn when he was given a traditional cedar flute as a gift and challenged to master it. Nakai is a traditionalist who views his cultural heritage not only as a source of inspiration, but also as a dynamic continuum of natural change, growth, and adaptation subject to expressive needs. He creates original compositions that capture the essence of his heritage in highly personalized ways.

Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole

Sunday, May 12, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $32.50-$37.50

Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole is a five-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano (Hawaiian Grammy) Award winner and is considered “the voice of Hawaii’s new generation.” Heir to seven generations of culture borne by the esteemed Kanaka’ole family of the Big Island, he carries the mantle proudly with ancient oli (chant) traditions, modern melodies, and original mele (songs) in a powerful mix of music that speaks to the heart and to the soul.

I Am AZ Music: Extreme Acoustic Guitar

Monday, May 13, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $15

Jake Allen, Bill Dutcher, Duffy King and Anthony Mazzella bring their jaw-dropping talents to MIM Music Theater for an evening of acoustic guitar music that is sure to leave you spellbound.

BelaFleck_5.15_MIMBéla Fleck

Wednesday, May 15, 7-9 p.m.

Tickets: $52.50-$62.50

Just in case you are not familiar with Béla Fleck, there are some who say he is the premier banjo player in the world. Others claim that he has virtually reinvented the image and sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations. If you are familiar with Fleck, you know that he just loves to play the banjo and put it into unique settings.

Marcia Ball

Friday, May 17, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $29.50-$37.50

2012 Grammy-nominee Marcia Ball is a living example of how East Texas blues meets southwest Louisiana swamp rock, as Rolling Stone described, “Rollicking, playful, good time blues and intimate, reflective balladry … her songs ring with emotional depth.”

Tom Rush

Sunday, May 19, 7 p.m.

Tickets: $29.50-$37.50

Tom Rush’s impact on the American music scene has been profound; artists ranging from Tom Petty and Emmylou Harris to Garth Brooks have named him one of their major influences. He helped shape the folk revival in the 1960s and the renaissance of the 1980s and 1990s, and his return to touring a few years ago has brought him to a new generation of fans.

Carla Morrison

Thursday, May 23, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $29.50-$37.59

Morrison is a Mexican singer-songwriter whose powerful vocals and heart-wrenching lyrics have earned her two Latin Grammy Awards and multiple Latin Grammy nominations. ABC News called her “Mexico’s answer to Adele.”

Get the Beat! World Drumming Series: Rhythms of Asia

Saturday, May 25, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $12 per class; museum admission may be purchased separately

Join the circle and get the beat! Frank Thompson, founder of AZ Rhythm Connection, offers a chance to experience community drumming for all levels, from absolute beginners to enthusiastic professionals. Each fun, relaxing, and family-friendly session will highlight a new culture or genre, plus provide plenty of time for making music and jam sessions. Guest artists and MIM curators will stop in to demonstrate or share information about instruments, cultures, or rhythms. Bring your own drum or use one provided. To register, please contact Annabel Rimmer at 480-245-6919 or grouptours@MIM.org.

Maria Muldaur and Her Red Hot Bluesiana Band

Saturday, May 25, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $27.50-$32.50

Best known for her seductive 1970s pop staple “Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria Muldaur has since become an acclaimed interpreter of American roots music: blues, early jazz, gospel, and New Orleans music, with her Bluesiana Band.

Jane Monheit

Wednesday, May 29, 7-9 p.m.

Tickets: $29.50-$42.50

Praised for her exceptional sultry jazz vocals, Grammy-nominee Jane Monheit electrifies critics and audiences with her expressive interpretation, tone, and poise. The Guardian of London said: “Monheit decorates a melody, lights up a lyric, but never loses the essential thread of the song itself.”

Joy Kills Sorrow

Thursday, May 30, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $17.50-$22.50

Bringing together a national flat-picking guitar champion, a Béla Fleck‒inflected banjoist, a young mandolin dazzler, and a John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner with a haunting voice, Joy Kills Sorrow is a modern American string band with an indie rock sensibility.

Rickie Lee Jones: My Life in Words and Music

Friday, May 31, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $42.50-$57.50

Rickie Lee Jones, the iconic hipster, defined a laid-back style along with her then boyfriend, Tom Waits, and when she told everyone that “Chuck E.’s in Love,” the world fell for her. Her 2012 release of deconstructed rock classics, “The Devil You Know,” got rave reviews. “Rickie Lee Jones has made a career out of surprising people. She takes on these iconic tracks fearlessly and never disappoints,” said National Public Radio.

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Arizona Offroad Tours Launches in Arizona

Arizona Offroad Tours offers a whole new way to explore the heart of Arizona by giving guests the freedom to drive their own ATV in Verde Valley starting April 1.

DSC_0148The guided tours depart from Camp Verde, and guests have the choice to ride solo or ride with a companion on an ATV to take in the beauty of Verde Valley with panoramic views of Sedona from a distance.

Thanks to special use permits from the Prescott National Forest, Arizona Offroad Tours opens up opportunities for guests to explore the unique backdrop of Arizona’s high country and navigate trails on their own ATV, led by an experienced guide fitted with safety in mind.

On top of that, guests with special needs are accommodated for, and pets are welcome to join in on the adventure.

Each guest has their own needs, that’s why Arizona Offroad Tours has the ride to suite all needs. Trails are suited for individual riding skills as well as any time of the year. Guests can choose from Copper Canyon, Squaw Peak, and Hayfield/Grief Hill to start their journey and marvel the diverse wildlife and the beauty of Arizona’s high desert terrain.

For more information, please visit myarizonaoffroadtour.com.

housecleaning

5 Easy Homemade Cleaning Products to Try

Observed on April 22 each year, Earth Day demonstrates support for environmental protection, evident in events celebrated in more than 192 countries in the world.

Being green and energy sufficient and producing less waste are solutions each person can adopt to protect the environment. In that spirit, homemade cleaning products are perfect, as they are easy to make and work just as well as general products found in stores. Here are five homemade products everyone can try:

 

dishsoapDish Soap

What you will need:

Funnel

Measuring cup and spoon

24-oz. squirt bottle (or empty dishwashing-liquid bottle)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup liquid castile soap

3 tsp. vegetable glycerin

5 drops tea-tree essential oil

20 drops lemon essential oil

1 1/3 cups water

Instructions: Using funnel, pour soap, glycerin, tea-tree oil, lemon oil and water into bottle. Shake well to emulsify. Place soap beside sink and use on dishes and hands. This fragrant formula also will clean your kitchen counter tops beautifully.

 

showerShower Cleaner

What you will need:

Funnel

Measuring cup and spoons

32-oz. spray bottle

Rubber gloves

Sponge

Ingredients:

2 tsp. borax

1/2 tsp. liquid castile soap

½ cup distilled white vinegar

3 cups of hot water

Instructions: Using funnel, pour borax, soap, vinegar and water into spray bottle. Shake well to mix. Put on rubber gloves and spray surfaces, scrubbing with sponge as you work. Rinse with water.

 

glasscleanerGlass Cleaner

What you will need:

Funnel

Measuring cup and spoons

32-oz. spray bottle

Newspaper

Ingredients:

3 cups water

2 tbsp. rubbing alcohol

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, for scent)

1/2 tbsp. liquid castile soap

Instructions: In a well-ventilated area, use funnel to pour water, alcohol, vinegar and oil, if desired, into bottle. Shake. Add soap. Shake well. Spray windows; wipe with newspaper.

 

polishFurniture Polish

What you will need:

Funnel

Measuring cup and spoons

Lidded 8-oz. plastic squirt bottle

Microfiber cloth (or clean, soft rag)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 tsp. lemon oil (or fresh lemon juice)

Instructions: Using funnel, pour olive oil, vinegar and lemon oil into bottle. Shake well to emulsify. Squirt polish onto microfiber cloth and rub onto finished-wood furniture. Always go with the grain and evenly distribute polish. Remove any excess polish with a clean cloth.

 

greenspraybottleAntibacterial Spray

What you will need:

Funnel

Measuring cup and spoon

24-oz. spray bottle

Microfiber cloth

Ingredients:

2 cups water

2 tbsp. liquid castile soap

1 tbsp. white thyme essential oil

10 drops lavender essential oil

Instructions: Using funnel, pour water, soap and oils into bottle. Shake. Spray and let sit for 20 minutes. Wipe down surfaces with damp cloth.

For more information and recipes, please visit allyou.com. All photos and recipes are from allyou.com.

Feast On The Street Banner Logo

Celebrate the London Way at Phoenix's First Feast on the Street

ASU Art Museum and Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation bring Feast on the Street to Phoenix, a London-inspired strolling celebration for the eyes and the palate Saturday, April 13.

The urban harvest festival will link guests through a half-mile long community dining table, artist-driven street entertainment, demonstrations of sustainability and the shared joy of exploring the heart of downtown Phoenix through food and music.

With an emphasis on sustainability, “Feast on the Street has set its sights on being a zero waste event. This first year will be an educational effort,” said Greg Esser, desert initiative director with ASU Art Museum. “People will see compost and recycle bins throughout the event. Through ASU, the City of Phoenix and other partners, we’ll have numerous demonstrations encourage people to divert green waste from the landfill and create healthier soil for their gardens at home.”

Clare Patey, the curator of Feast on the Bridge in London which takes place on Southwark Bridge that overpasses the Thames River, brings Arizona the Phoenix version of “Feast” in partnership with Matthew Moore, a fourth-generation Phoenix farmer and renowned Arizona artist.

Entry to the Feast is free, offering guests a rediscovery of the simple pleasure of eating and imbibing with neighbors in a common place. Area restaurants will prepare grab-and-go meals for purchase along with participating gourmet food trucks. Beer and wine will be served. Guests will be able to marvel “table art installations,” created by Arizona artist Joan Baron and team using desert-indigenous creosote plants throughout the vast communal table.

Entertainment, Activities, Parades and More

 

A variety of artists and interactive art, music and sustainability activities will be featured at the event. Moore will create a massive commemorative salad toss using greens and vegetables typically discarded due to their bruised appearance.

Roaming musicians will lend their talents to the event as well, with New Orleans-style Bad Cactus Brass Band leading a parade, and Dry River Yacht Club and Cumbia-style Chicha Dust from Tucson headlining the stage. The Haymarket Squares, a premier punkgrass band local to Phoenix, will roam the event as they perform.

As part of the sustainability vision of the event, community gardens, farms, school groups and those who simply have a love for growing food are invited to Mobile Garden Parade where they’ll put their garden on wheels – in wheelbarrows, bike baskets, hats, buckets, backpacks or anything that makes a garden portable.

ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability will produce compost demonstrations; ASU’s Advanced Special Management Program will host interactive art activities using and celebrating indigenous plants and materials throughout, where guests can work with palm fronds and natural dyes, make leaf prints and even sunflower stalk frames.

A pop-up park in the event footprint will offer games of bags and more, and the ever-popular Arizona Storytellers series will host humorous first-person accounts on the topic “gathering around the dinner table.” Stories are scheduled every half-hour.

For more information and schedule for Feast on the Street, please visit feastonthestreet.org

When: Saturday, April 13, 2 – 9 p.m.

Where: First Street between Taylor Place and Moreland

Cost: Free entry

Pinnacle Peak Patio

Pinnacle Peak Patio Steakhouse To Celebrate Reopening This Spring

Longtime owners of Pinnacle Peak Patio Steakhouse are planning for a rebranding party in February to reintroduce the restaurant to the public as well as to celebrate its return to owner Harvey McElhanon who regained ownership after it was purchased and slated to be redeveloped into a resort..

Pinnacle Peak Patio, 1969Opened in 1957, Pinnacle Peak Patio is one of Scottsdale’s oldest restaurants. The restaurant offers a wide breadth of cowboy-inspired meals, ranging from the signature 32 oz. porterhouse steaks and filet mignon to baby back ribs with the Peaks’ signature prickly pear chipotle barbeque sauce and home-brewed “Sonoran” brand beers.

The restaurant is also famous for its collection of clipped neckties and various traditions, including the “well-done steak,” which entails an old leather boot on a plate when someone orders a well-done steak.

The restaurant has attracted a veritable “Who’s Who” of American diners, including the likes of former U.S. President George W. Bush, Arizona Senators Barry Goldwater and John Bobby Flay at Pinnacle Peak PatioMcCain and A-list celebrity diners, including Jane Russell, Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Glen Campbell, Wayne Newton, Alice Cooper, Hugh Downs, Patrick Swayze, David Hasselhoff, Liza Minnelli, Willie Mays, Michael J. Fox and Tanya Tucker, among others.

Pinnacle Peak Patio also served as a backdrop for Steven Spielberg’s very first project ― a nine-minute, 8mm film entitled “The Last Gunfight” in 1958.

Pinnacle Peak Patio houses seven different areas that can host a wide range of events. West 40 is a bi-level room with two bars, two fireplaces and a dance floor. The Gunslinger Saloon is home to an on-site “Sonoran” brewery from which guests can have fresh drinks.

There are also patios for those who prefer old-fashioned cookouts. On top of that, inside dining is available in the lower level and the upper level of the restaurant where wooden tables with red-and-white checkered cloths are placed next to memorabilia telling the tales of the restaurant from a different day and age.

“We have been here for 50 years, and we look forward to the next 50 years, as I have never enjoyed so much as my 80-plus-hour-work weeks at (Pinnacle Peak Patio) with my favorite staff and family,” says Harvey McElhanon, owner of Pinnacle Peak Patio, in a press release.

Even though the restaurant will undergo several improvements in the next few months, it will remain open for business. It will also have a grand reopening this spring.

For more information about Pinnacle Peak Patio Steakhouse, including hours and its menu, please visit pppatio.com.

Pinnacle Peak Patio Steakhouse

When: Monday – Thursday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: 10426 E. Jomax Rd., Scottsdale
Contact: (480) 585-1599
Online: pppatio.com

48 West logo

48 West Celebrates Tech, Food And Music In Chandler Feb. 15-16

48 West Food, Music and Tech Festival is set to kick off President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 15-16, in Chandler, Ariz., with speakers discussing entrepreneurship, downtown restaurants bringing their best dishes, and local bands lighting up the night.

As an attempt to put the Valley on the technology map that Silicon Valley and Austin, Texas are so prominently featured, 48 West brings together some of the brightest minds in technology to share techniques and practices for entrepreneurship, commerce, technology innovation and interactive media. Attendees can expect to see Jaime Casap, senior education evangelist at Google Inc., and Bob Worsley, founder of Arizona-based SkyMall, among others.

“We put together speakers and panel sessions that we think will help people frame the conversation of, ‘What are the great things that are going on in Arizona for entrepreneurship or technology?’ and ‘How do all the people operating in a tech ecosystem work together?’ ” said Leigh Dow, president and CEO of Dow Media Group and founder of 48 West.

The panels on Feb. 15 will focus on entrepreneurship, business development, partnership and new media, and the focal points of discussions on Feb. 16 are workshop and building tech-ready workforce. There will also be startup camps.

On top of technology, the event also plays host to two concert nights with performances from Arizona-based bands Mogollon, Jared & The Mill, Banana Gun, The Wiley One, Doctor Bones and the Veragroove, and Tomorrows Bad Seeds and Micah Brown from California.

In addition, 48 West is partnering with FIRST to host the “Duel in The Desert” Robotics Competition for high school students.

“The robots this year are required to be able to throw a Frisbee through a slot at the end of a playing field, and they get extra points for being able to climb a pyramid,” Dow said.

To top it off, several restaurants, including The Sushi Room and the Living Room, will be offering their best dishes at the events.

The concerts are free to attendees of all ages. The technology panels will net attendees $30 for each day and $50 for both days.

To purchase tickets or for more information about 48 West, please visit 48-west.com.

48 West Food, Music and Tech Festival

When: Friday and Saturday, February 15-16, 2013, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Where: Friday:
Startup Camp, Gangplank Chandler, 260 S. Arizona Ave.
Main Event, Chandler City Hall, 175 S. Arizona Ave.
Concert, Dr. A. J. Chandler Part, 3 S. Arizona Ave.
Saturday:
Startup Camp, Gangplank Chandler, 260 S. Arizona Ave.
“Duel in The Desert,” Continuum Science and Technology Park, 2501 S. Price Rd.
Main Event, Chandler City Hall, 175 S. Arizona Ave.
Concert, Downtown Ocotillo, 2475 W. Queen Creed Rd.
Cost: Panels $30 per person per day, $50 per person both days; concerts are free
Online: 48-west.com

 

From left: Steven Murray, president of Direct Energy; Jim Lundy, chairman of GPEC; Kevin Sullivan and Matt George of the Arizona Commerce Authority. Photo by Huan Vo/Az Business

Direct Energy bringing 500 jobs to Valley

Wednesday marked the official announcement of the expansion into Arizona of Direct Energy, a multibillion-dollar energy company which promises to create about 500 new jobs by the end of this year.

Based in Houston and specializing in upstream production and downstream delivery, Direct Energy is one of North America’s largest energy services providers with approximately 6,000 employees.

The company worked with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Greater Phoenix Economic Council to open a new call center in Tempe, which is expected to bring $7 million of capital investment to the region and create 250 to 300 new jobs when it’s open.

“I can’t tell you how easy they have made it for us to expand and invest in Arizona,” said Steven Murray, president of Direct Energy. “It’s an easy, pleasant experience.”

Expected to be fully functional by the end of the first quarter year of 2013, the new call center will be tasked with call taking for the residential energy business, which will enable Direct Energy to “offer a wide range of products and services in one location,” according to the company’s news release.

Working with the ACA and GPEC gave Direct Energy an understanding of and access to a quality workforce that attracted Direct Energy in the first place, Murray said.

“Beyond the ease, I mean the quality workforce, you can have an entirely educated, motivated, hardworking people, and it really makes it easy,” he said.

“I think this commitment just illustrates that we do have a quality workforce in addition to the quality, smart economics policies that GPEC and ACA, the governor’s office, the state Legislature have been working behind the scenes just to get this economy going again,” said Jim Lundy, chairman of GPEC’s board of directors and CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona.

Direct Energy is on a mission to make a difference to its customers through the provision of choice, which will help families with tight budgets.

“In a world of constraint household economics, people on tight budgets need to have products that meet their needs and give them control of how they are actually consuming and spending money,” Murray said.

Murray said Direct Energy has grown quickly over the years, and with each step in growth, the company is doing its best to invest and create jobs in communities where it started.

Direct Energy is accepting job applications online at www.directyourenergy.com, and at the Nation Career Fair at Phoenix Airport Marriott, 1101 N. 44thSt., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on January 21.