Tag Archives: Entertainment

CityScape Plaza - Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

CityScape At The Center Of It All

CityScape revitalizing downtown Phoenix with its myriad dining, shopping and entertainment choices.

The arrival of CityScape has done more than change the business and entertainment landscape of Downtown Phoenix.

“CityScape has been a boon for booking meetings and conventions because of the dining, shopping and entertainment options it provides right at the doorstep of the convention center and downtown hotels,” says Scott Dunn, associate director of communications for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s not like downtown has a dearth of restaurants or nightlife; but what it largely lacked before CityScape was a sort of concentrated, recognizable ‘bug light’ zone that attracts pedestrian visitors. With CityScape and the nearby Legends Entertainment District, downtown now has that, and meeting planners the CVB brings to town take notice.”

Since CityScape opened in 2010, the $500 million, mixed-use urban development has become Downtown Phoenix’s destination for business, nightlife, shopping, entertainment, and special events. CityScape has capitalized on being bordered on three sides by the city’s new light rail transit system, and the fact that its neighbors include US Airways Center, Chase Field, the Phoenix Convention Center, Arizona State University’s 8,000-student downtown Phoenix campus, City Hall and the Maricopa County administrative and court complex.

“CityScape has become an authentic urban space for residents and tourists to organically gather and interact in a way that has never existed in Downtown Phoenix,” says Jeff Moloznik, general manager of CityScape.

Because of that, CityScape has come to define the resurgence of Downtown Phoenix.

“Probably the biggest indication that the perception of Downtown Phoenix has changed is the NFL’s decision to bring the Super Bowl back to Arizona in 2015,” Dunn says. “The transformation of downtown was a major part of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee’s pitch to the NFL, and the NFL obviously liked what it saw. Remember: The last time the Super Bowl was here, there was no CityScape, there was no light rail, there was no new Sheraton or Westin. Downtown was pretty much a construction zone. CityScape embodies the renaissance of the city’s urban core — and in 2015, when the world is watching, it will be even better.”

CityScape, like downtown, continues to evolve. It added three new restaurants in late 2011 — The Breakfast Club, The Strand and Chipotle — and will continue add to its dynamic roster in 2012.

“Starbucks and Chloe’s Corner opened earlier this year and Palomar Phoenix at CityScape, a 242-room luxury boutique hotel operated by Kimpton Hotels, will open later this spring,” Moloznik says. “Silk Sushi is also a new local spot that will join our diverse restaurant offering this summer.”

CityScape has started to drive more traffic downtown through special events and activities, including an ice skating rink over the winter and a well-received Saint Patrick’s Day party.

“No matter the time or day, something is always happening at CityScape,” Moloznik says. “We’ve introduced a community-focused lineup of unique, interactive outdoor events at Patriots Square, which is located in the heart of CityScape. Just one example is our weekday ‘Pop Up Park,’ where lunch-goers can soak up the sunshine and socialize with fun, free activities from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. At no cost, you can play Scrabble, Jenga, corn hole, get books and magazines from a free loaner library, use lawn chairs and blankets, Frisbees and a basketball hoop. A DJ spins live music and you can have a picnic in the park by grabbing a quick lunch at Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, Five Guys, Vitamin T or Chloe’s Corner.”

Beyond the delicious food from The Arrogant Butcher and the fun of Stand Up Live, Copper Blues, and Lucky Strike, CityScape has become an epicenter for the Phoenix business community. The office tower at CityScape is at nearly full with major employers, including UnitedHealthcare, Alliance Bank and several of the Valley’s most powerful law firms.

“CityScape is a collection of the best of businesses and individuals in the Valley,” Moloznik says. “From (restaurateur) Sam Fox’s Arrogant Butcher to (Phoenix Suns owner) Robert Sarver’s Western Alliance Bank, the most progressive and entrepreneurial talent in the Valley have convened at CityScape. The impact our tenants’ businesses have brought to Downtown Phoenix is noticeable and significant. In an area that once lacked a central core, there is now energy, creativity, enterprise and excitement all day, every day in once central location.”

Calling CityScape Home

Alliance Bank  *  Alvarez and Marsal  *  Ballard Spahrz  *  Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck  *  Buzz Mouth  *  Cantor Law Group  *  Charming Charlie  *  Chipotle  *  Chloe’s Corner  *  Copper Blues Rock Pub and Kitchen  *  Corporate Office Centers  *  CVS Pharmacy  *  Fidelity Title  *  Five Guys Burgers and Fries  *  Gold’s Gym  *  Gordon Silver  *  Gust Rosenfeld  *  Jennings, Strouss and Salmon, PLC  *  Jimmy John’s  *  Kimpton Palomar (opens in June)  *  Lucky Strike  *  Mybullfrog.com Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer  *  Par Exsalonce  *  Polsinelli Shughart  *  Raza Development Fund  *  RED CityScape Management Office  *  RED Development  *  Republic of Couture  *  Silk Sushi  *  Squire Sanders (US) LLP  *  Stand Up Live  *  Starbucks  *  The Arrogant Butcher  *  The Breakfast Club  *  The Strand  *  Tilted Kilt  *  UnitedHealthcare  *  Urban Outfitters  *  Vitamin T  *  West of SoHo  *  Yogurtini

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012


Top Five Superbowl Commercials of 2011


Volkswagen:  “Use the FORCE, young car owner”

A wildly popular commercial, Volkswagen’s Darth Vader was a huge success.  It was funny, well made and had iconic references to Star Wars — what more could you ask for?


Eminem & Chrysler:  “Detroit’s two biggest names”

It starts with an intro of “Lose Yourself” from his hit movie 8 Mile; it’s simplistic, serious view of the Detroit life for which Eminem has become famous gave the viewer a chilling, honest feeling.  A perfect example of how being simple can be most effective.


Doritos:  “Finger lickin’ good!”

The past two Superbowls, Doritos has had hit or miss commercials as it attempts to implant itself as an NFL staple.  This one, in particular, was arguably the best they’ve created.  Funny and weird makes for an interesting take — like a Jim Carey film.


Bridgestone: “REPLY ALL”

Bridgestone has been fairly quiet in the Superbowl commercial world, but this year they stepped it up.  An interesting, unrelated way to present car tires, it’s an office nightmare!  “REPLY ALL” can only lead to trouble.


CareerBuilder.com:  “Monkeys!”

Careerbuilder.com delivered a laugh with an unusual take on employee relations in the parking lot — using monkeys.  With success in the past, Careerbuilder delivers another laugh, and let’s be honest…nothing’s funnier than monkeys in suits!

luxury movie theater lobby

Luxury At UltraLuxe Scottsdale Theater

Going to the movies will never be the same thanks to the newly remodeled luxury theater UltraLuxe, owned by San Diego-based UltraStar Cinemas. Located on Indian Bend Road and the 101 in Scottsdale, the renovation of the former United Artists theater was completed by DeRito Partners, an Arizona brokerage firm specializing in retail.

The grand opening was Nov. 16 with former Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzales serving as the guest of honor to cut the “film” to open the theater.

The theater, know as UltraLuxe, is located in the Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center just behind the new Diamondbacks spring training facility in Scottsdale. It will feature 11 auditoriums showcasing state-of-the-art Pure Digital Cinema, which UltraStar Cinemas describes as the crispest motion picture technology available. Each house will have stadium or luxury VIP seating in high-back reclining chairs.

UltaLuxe also will include special D-BOX enhanced motion chair technology, which moves the seats with the motion of the screen. For example, if there is an explosion in the movie that occurs on the left side of the screen, the seats move to the right to simulate the blast — creating a true movie experience.

There will also be five “Star Class” auditoriums, which will include seating reserved for guests 21 and older, special VIP viewing rooms with extra large leather chairs, menus and a call button for servers. Menu items include flavored popcorns, hummus, pizza and a selection of panini sandwiches. Specialty coffees, Italian sodas, beer and wine, and desserts will also be available in the Café and Star Class auditoriums.

If these delicious incentives and exciting amenities don’t get you into the theater, maybe the affordable prices will further entice you. Ticket prices are $7.50 for an adult matinee; $9.75 for an adult evening ticket; $7 for seniors and ages 12 and under; $8.75 for students and military with I.D.; and $5.50 for “early bird” tickets to the first matinee showing of each movie. 3-D, D-BOX seats or star class auditoriums add $2 to $8 to each ticket price.

AJ’s Fine Foods Best of the Best 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Best of the Best Awards 2009: Entertainment

Entertainment Honoree: Wine Specialty Shops

AJ’s Fine Foods

AJ's Fine Foods - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Photograph by Duane Darling

AJ’s Fine Foods provides an unparalleled shopping experience that delights the senses. As Arizona’s leading gourmet and specialty store, AJ’s offers the highest level of customer service and attention to detail. AJ’s Cellar Masters are on hand in every location to recommend new varietal experiences and to suggest the perfect wine to pair with a steak or fish dinner. Every year during the Summer Wine Spectacular, Cellar Masters personally taste, evaluate and rank more than 200 wines from around the world to bring only the best to AJ’s.

Owned and operated by Bashas’ Family of Stores, AJ’s operates 14 stores in Arizona. AJ’s has been voted Best Place to Work by its members three years in a row. For more information, visit www.ajsfinefoods.com.

22402 S. Basha Road, Chandler

Year Est: 1985 
Wine Tasting: At Desig. Locations
Principal(s): Bashas’ Family of Stores

Entertainment Finalist: Restaurants: Southwest/Eclectic

LON’s at the Hermosa

Built in the 1930s by cowboy artist Lon Megargee, LON’S at the Hermosa has a rich history and melds artful American cuisine and spectacular views to create a truly unique dining experience. LON’s diners can enjoy awardwinning, artful American cuisine on a romantic patio or by one of the glowing fireplaces. In addition to the warm ambience, LON’s is the proud recipient of the AAA Four-Diamond award. The menu at LON’s offers a memorable culinary experience, which captures spirit, creativity and warmth using bold flavors and compelling combinations that reflect a contemporary take on a multitude of foods originating in the Western Hemisphere.

5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley

Entertainment Finalist: Restaurants: International

T. Cook’s at Royal Palms

Under the direction of Executive Chef Lee Hillson, Royal Palms Resort and Spa features the awardwinning T. Cook’s restaurant — serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Located in the original 1929 mansion of the Royal Palms, it creates a residential dining experience that’s comfortable yet elegant. Enveloped by palm trees, citrus, flowers and fountains, T. Cook’s is a true oasis in the desert. Receiving the highest ratings from both national food critics and locals for its select seasonal dishes, the menus feature a wide variety of creative dishes from the Mediterranean and exotic surrounding regions.

5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix

Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona


Cover Story: Monster Empire

Clarity in Chaos

Diving into the mind of Todd McFarlane, creator of “Spawn” and business entrepreneur


Most know Todd McFarlane for the work he did at Marvel as one of the top-selling artists for Spider-Man, or as the creator of the comic book creature “Spawn” and inventor of official sports figurines so realistic they seem to run, slide or jump right off of their plastic pedestals. One description he hears a lot is “that crazy guy who paid $3 million for a baseball.” However, after spending a few minutes digging into the business mind of McFarlane, supposed chaos turns into methodic choices to create successful opportunities.


Pinning down one title that accurately encompasses all that is McFarlane is impossible. He is a Grammy- and Emmy-winning producer and director, creator of one of the best selling independent comics, and official licensed creator of NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL toy figures—just to name a few of his ventures. However, McFarlane will be the first to say few things are impossible, especially in the business world.

“It’s easy for big businesses to fall into flat status quos and comfort zones, so when people come in with a radical idea and break the mold a bit, people get nervous,” he says. “They think if you do something different, it’s an insult to what they were doing before. But there are always other ways to ‘skin a cat.’” For McFarlane, his ways of “skinning” an idea involve what most businesses consider backward thinking.

McFarlane says toy creation is usually a formulaic process. Big businesses meet together, figure out how much money they want to make, come up with a business model and profit margin, and then determine the price of the toy before bringing the idea to artists. The end result—artists end up having to make a better toy for less than the previous one. But McFarlane flips the traditional business model. He approaches the artists first in order to make the best product possible, and figures out pricing later. This business model markets high quality and toy value rather than pricing. “As long as you give people the value of the price on the toy, the price isn’t really relevant,” McFarlane says.

Marketing to the consumer’s interest rather than his/her pocketbook seems to be one of the underlying themes of McFarlane’s success in all of his business ventures.

“Look at the stereotypes of toys and comic books—they equal a kid product. Animation is another one that equals a kid product, however, I rarely sell to kids,” McFarlane says. “We just have a stereotype that says, ‘when I was a kid I watched cartoons and now I don’t watch them anymore.’ The only reason you don’t watch them anymore is because nobody is giving you content that makes sense. So I come in, do ‘Spawn,’ make it R-rated because we’re doing adult theme stuff, and I can sell it to adults. It’s just content. It doesn’t matter how it’s done, it matters what the story is around it.” McFarlane applies the same theory of his comic book “Spawn” to what he does with his entertainment productions and toys.

“I make toys that look like something relevant to a 32-year-old,” he says. “Call it whatever you want, but all of a sudden it makes sense to that person because of it’s content. Ultimately as we grow up, we still buy toys till the day we die. We just convert the toy from a G.I. Joe to a cell phone or fancy car with spinning rims. We [as adults] just don’t want to acknowledge them as toys.”

Another marketing success for McFarlane is asking simple questions no one thinks to ask. “Most of what I do comes from the simple question—why isn’t anyone else doing this? And after awhile I go do it myself,” he says. “Luckily that ‘what if’ question is a question a lot of other people are asking, so all of a sudden you get a lot of credit for doing something there was a hunger for, just no one was feeding the hunger.”

Consumers’ hunger for more realistic sports figures was another easy space to fill for McFarlane. It was just a matter of waiting for old contracts to end, and creating enough buzz to enable him to step in as the new supplier. No amount of buzz could top McFarlane’s move to buy Mark McGwire’s 70th homerun ball from the 1998 season for a record breaking $3 million. That seemingly “crazy” purchase enabled McFarlane to step in as the new official producer for all major North American sports, including football, baseball, basketball and hockey. Another example of his avant-garde business approach is captured by McFarlane Toys’ extensive detail of official sports figures.

“The question isn’t how I got it to look that realistic, the question is how did they not get it realistic for hundreds of years,” says McFarlane. “How do people making a baseball player [figurine] who have access to magazines, TVs, movies, films and sports highlights, A—ignore that information, or B—look at it and still come up with the stuff they did. The real answer is A in most cases. There’s no way you can look at a guy in a costume with wrinkles in it and sculpt a guy in a costume without wrinkles, unless you’re intentionally making that choice.” McFarlane points out consumers became accustomed to bad quality because exclusive contracts permitted only one company to do it. “The only reason people weren’t complaining is because they didn’t think anyone could do it differently.”

But that’s the key to McFarlane’s backward business model—doing what everyone else thinks cannot be done, and doing it in an unconventional way.

“Most people don’t start their own companies. I got it. Most people don’t spend their own money, you’re supposed to go and ask for it somewhere else. I got it. You’re not supposed to do it this way. I got it,” he says. “But that’s what you guys think. It’s my life and I’ll do as I see fit, and I can live every single day of my life without guilt or remorse because I know the success or failure came from my actions and mine alone.”

And for McFarlane that’s the best success of all—freedom.

AZ Business Magazine June - July 2007“I only have one piece of advice, well, besides location, location, location. That’s pretty good. But for everyone out there, try it on your own once,” he says. “Here’s why—if you fail, you can go back to where you came from. Go back to corporate land; they’re waiting for you. But if you go, every now and then a couple of you succeed and that’s freedom. They do these commercials on what’s priceless, but what’s priceless to me is that I get to wake up and make the calls in my life.”



AZ Business Magazine June July ’07 | Next: Accounting Enigma