Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Smart Phone Photo Phobia: Cured

Taken with Android phone
You are out and about when suddenly the most amazing thing happens. But, when reaching for the trusty camera,  I sometimes come up empty. No time to try and figure out where my camera might be. The pic is that important and a must take. Putting down my phone I realize that hey it’s got as camera. This used to cause a strained looked of disappointment meets disgust to wash over my face.

That was until recently, I took a smartphone photography class at Capture 12  with Stephen Gittins in his office in the amazing monOrchid. Think Art Gallery meets hip office space.  The discussion was on how to improve the quality of images, how to share them. Since the class, I have now ventured into the world of camera apps to get better control of my images. and downloaded two apps for my driod and contemplating a third. It was fun and easy to get over my smartphone photophobia and to meet with others interested in documenting their environment with the convenience of at the ever ready cell phone. No if only I can keep it charged up!

Phoestivus: Open-air market

Phoestivus: Open-air Market
Thank you to all that made the first night of Phoestivus a great success! It’s great to see it continue to grow and this the 3rd year is bigger, better and has more vendors,a beer garden and it is local.. local... local. Going on from 4-8p on Wed Dec 12! That is this Wednesday! It will wrap up the 3rd annual Phoestivus. You don't want to miss this one. It’s at the Downtown Phoenix Market at Central and Pierce in the shadow of the Westward Ho at 14 E Pierce. I’ll have more shirts with Arizona icons on them and have a few canvas bags with images on them so you can tote so you can tote around your acquisitions.

Steam Before it was Punk


Did you know that Arizona holds the distinction of the being the home of where the first motorized bicycle was created? Meet Mr. Lucius Copeland, it was the 1880's and bikes were a crazy new way to travel. Lucius an engineer and inventor, had an idea. Take an existing bicycle and add a hand built engine. Now it was not gasoline powered (too early,) but STEAM! That's right! STEAM... placed right between your legs was a canister of piping hot water vapor under pressure. Don't know a place, I would rather have a it. This steam powered bicycle was said to have heralded the age of rapid transit. It traveled at the break neck speed of a whole 15 miles an hour. One day Lucius was riding his unique velocipede through the streets of downtown Phoenix, on the not so smooth dirt roads when he struck a rock and was knocked unconscious for a few days. This injury was not a rare occurrence, but rather the imputes for the Good Roads Movement. A grass roots effort to create smoothly paved roads for bicycles and economic development. This was before cars dominated the roads. The first exhibition of this mechanized wonder was the 1884 Territorial Fair, which is now known as the Arizona State Fair. With the invention of the gasoline engine, the steam powered bicycle was eclipsed it never caught on and as far as the record shows none were ever sold. The only known existing example of Lucius's invention is a single engine that resides at the Arizona Science Center. Mr. Copeland with his mustache and his bicycle look like something that would be created today for the Steampunk esthetic, but no 1880's and right here in Arizona!
Here is a image highlighting Arizona's bicycle history. This is the newest addition to the Arizona Icon series from Retro Spectacular. Which are T-shirt and other apparel that you can wear to celebrate Arizona history.   

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Madison Time, or not?

Met a guy standing on the street who said you look like you're in the arts. "Yes" I replied, "What kind?" I was asked "I tell stories about forgotten Arizona." He launched into a story about the Madison Hotel re-purposed as the Madison Bar. He remembered having to come down here and pull his old man home drunk his Mom would say "It's paycheck Friday, where is your Father?" He already knew he would come have to come down and get him. Though this individual and his story are not about a big fish who wielded power. It is an important story in the landscape of Arizona history, a story about the folks that without them Phoenix would not be what it is. Working class people who are the backbone and made the city and state, what it is.

A group of us had formed to morn the loss of the Madison, a pre-statehood hotel, built in 1909. That's four years before Arizona became a state. This hotel was a couple block north of the railroad track, back when that's how people come to the valley. Whether it was Jackie Gleason coming to via private train to relax and stay at the Westward Ho or a salesman hopping off the rail and hoping to make a some sales and pay bills. Both stories are important to the fabric of Arizona and this building deserved better than being a paring lot. Lack of imagination and lack of community stewardship score one, Phoenix zip.

This picture take from the roof of the new Palomar Hotel at Cityscape, a funky/ cool vibe  place that attracts clients from across the globe that are not looking for a bland, beige, sterile experience. Could have enjoyed a hip bar serving up the the latest libations. But, desire for additional parking outweighed the the creativity to see what it could have been. No one driving by stopped to ask about where to park in the sea of parking lots, but then none of them were VIPs. Farewell Madison Hotel/ Bar. Hope the St. James, next door, has a better outcome. 

It's Madison Time



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Phoenix Alert: Hotels in Danger




Phoenix is under a global microscope, as the David Wright House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, for his son. Is under fear of destruction and the New York Times, BBC and local news sources have taken notice. While the world is watching this Arcadia home; Downtown Phoenix is on alert. A permit to demolish two historic buildings has been issued. I am writing about the Madison and St James Hotels located near Central and Madison, two block north of the train line. These two hotels considered SRO’s, single room occupancy, or considered to flop houses. Though they were built to accommodate the travelers and weary business men coming to Phoenix on the, now passenger less rail. Located in the warehouse district they share a unique history of Phoenix that no other buildings can. The Madison hotel was built before Arizona was a state, in 1909 and the St James was open in 1929. There has been some press garnered to inform the public of the intent to create another parking lot, Vanishing Phoenix, the Arizona Republic, and Phoenix Business Journal. Via Facebook a few people like Chris Petroff and Michael Levine have set up pages to raise awareness of peril of these historic hotels or offer alternatives.  Even, My Plan Phoenix has an idea under Save our Historic Buildings, "Please tell the Phoenix Suns NOT to demolish the Madison and St. James hotels! Let's not destroy what little history we have!!!!!" How can you help? Contact your elected officials! Let them know that our history is important to our community!




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Arizona's Most Infamous Murderess and Haunted Phoenix


Arizona is dotted with ghost towns, so it should come as no surprise that Phoenix, with it's layers of history, has a fair share of hauntings and nefarious deeds. 

Sunday Oct 28th, the Winnie Ruth Judd and Haunted Phoenix tours both begin at The Clarendon Hotel. The Clarendon holds a unique place in Arizona history as the place where an Arizona Republic journalist (Don Bolles) car blew up.

The Winnie Ruth Judd Bus Tour Follows the Footsteps of Infamous Winnie Ruth Judd
and the Phoenix Trunk Murders


The Haunted Phoenix tour will take you around to many haunted sites such as the Hotel San Carlos, said to the most haunted hotel in Arizona. Catch rare glimpse inside of the First Baptists Church that lost it’s roof to a fire and has been sitting dormant for more than 2 decades. These and other historic sites that are said to be inhabited by ghost will be included on the tour.

Did you know that several popular eateries are supposed to haunted?
and relax at Gallo Blanco Cafe get ready for some hair raising history by Marshall Shore.

Winnie Ruth Judd Tour - http://wrj28.eventbrite.com
Haunted Phoenix Tour - http://hauntdphx28.eventbrite.com

Saturday, September 29, 2012

DO NOT HANDLE the Jackalope....

A ceramic jackalope between a chicken and it's trophy proudly holding upright the sign DO NOT HANDLE. Thanks, but the though had not entered my mind.  Located a real jackalope on the wall of the Buckhorn Baths. Looking around the grounds of the Buckhorn there a multitude of signs, many hand painted. Professing mineral content of the water, the sanitation, or care of the many pieces of displayed taxidermy. The signs, many of them created by the artist in residence. at that baths.  Whatever  those signs tell me to do, I am happy to comply with. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lounging in a Time Capsule

Neon, taxidermy, baseball and leopard print naugahyde wagon wheel rocker. Not my usual descriptors of how I spent my weekend. But this was no average adventure. I found myself at a time capsule motel, The Buckhorn Baths in  Mesa, Arizona, closed 1998. Driving out Main Street almost to Apache Junction is a colossal neon sign, once meant to lure weary travelers to the motel. Once there you are enveloped in Arizona history. The late 30's, Ted and Alice Sliger drilled a well and struck liquid gold, or mineral water. Those healing waters led to the opening of an early spa. Attracting the attention of New York Giants and Chicago Cubs. This was place where the players would relax and prepare for spring training. The beginnings of the Cactus League. Now the Buckhorn also houses the largest collection of Arizona taxidermy that is astounding to see. This iconic time capsule, needs your help! There is a up coming bond election in Mesa and a portion of that is to acquire the Buckhorn. After that private funds will be sought to bring this well worn piece of history back to life so that others can enjoy the history, the neon, baseball and that gorgeous leopard print naugahyde wagon wheel furniture.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Have you seen the 7th Ave Train!


Drive along the Melrose Curve (7th Ave between Indian School and Camelback,) and catch a glimpse of a train coming directly towards you, so realistic the headlamp, lights up. Retro Ranch has really out done it's self with a better than usual window display. This once doughnut shop (can you see it in the sign) uses those great windows to attract attention. Some places like New York known for window shopping, where there is stiff competition to get recognition for window displays. I think Retro Ranch is our local undisputed champions of widow displays. What about you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Caution - Valley National Bank

A friend, recently, stopped by The Clarendon Hotel, and revealed a stack of letterhead from the Valley National Bank, including the CAUTION sheet meant to informing staff of a paper shortage. Caution is quite appropriate for this vacant Art Deco skyscraper located on Central Ave. and Monroe St, called the Professional Building. Was supposed to become The Hotel Monroe, a boutique hotel, until the lender, Mortgages Ltd. went bankrupt, following its CEO’s suicide. The building was recently in escrow with Evergreen Devco, but word is that it expired. So, the fate of this streamlined beauty, is unknown? 


Built in 1932,and stands at 171 feet tall. The Professional Building originally was the result of combining the office space needs of Maricopa County Medical Society and the Valley Bank and Trust Company.

The building appears in the opening pan of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho, the building and the rotating sign were a part of the then-skyline of downtown Phoenix.That sign was the world's largest rotating sign and was designed by the Valley's iconic designer Glenn Guyett. That same year a saw the addition of another floor and  placement a obvious 45 degree angle wall of windows. 1993, the building was place on the National resister of historic places. But, CAUTION what will become of this vacant beauty? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to be Two Places at Once

Now normally I would say that this is not possible, but  …. let me explain... Introducing a spectacular collaboration called “Arizona Unzipped.” It’s an Arizona history themed burlesque show that is brought to life by the talented performers of Scandalesque and narrated by HIPstorian, Marshall Shore. It includes history of Arizona's territorial day at Tombstone’s infamous Birdcage, the early adaption of prohibition , Phoenix’s own Playboy Club, Legend City Arizona's amusement park and much more. Narration includes interviews with a member of one of Arizona's first motorcycle gang and a Playboy Bunny as well as a few clips from Arizona 8mm. The performances will be 28 and 29 of Sept. at the Phoenix Center for the arts, at 1202 North 3rd Street  Phoenix, AZ. Together, we have been talking about this event for a quite a while and I am thrilled to see it come to fruition. Scheduling this show was no easy task. When the dates were locked in, I had a conflict; Arizona Unzipped vs. a trip to LA for a Totally 80’s event at the Hollywood Bowl. Scandalesque had the perfect solution! I could do both. Cloning was not the answer, because I will be appearing at Arizona Unzipped via video. Filmed last week at the Jackson Street studios and includes multiple costume changes of eye wear, suit coats, and rhinestones. Though technically I will not be there, I will be there larger than life on the big screen . Regretfully, I will see it after the fact on video. The event will be amazing and there is hope that we get other chances to perform the entire show live, another time. Get your tickets will you can!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1959 Phoenix Skyline


This was once the Phoenix Skyline view from Van Buren St. There is a sign for the Sahara Hotel, which, became known affectionately as the Marilyn Monroe Hotel (now a parking lot,) The Valley National Bank building (which is supposedly back on track to becoming a boutique hotel,) The Adams Hotel, currently the site of the Renaissance Hotel, and wait.... What is that... a car on a Pole? with a mannequin? No, is looks like a real real person. Indeed! That was Lonesome Long John Roller a KHAT radio personality.

If Roller could live in the car and break the world's record for flagpole sitting, he would receive a FREE car. He never left the car in 244 days. How did he do it? Three meals a day were delivered via a tray on a rope and pulley system. Bath was done 3 times a week in a plastic kiddie pool. The '59 Ford Sunliner was equipped with a mattress, portable TV, PA system, his guitar, several pairs of long underwear,  and his cat. Visited in the car by Al Casey a legendary Arizona Guitar player and Al's wife, to record 2 songs "Hay Mama" and "Flagpole Rock". The later could be purchased from John at the Flagpole. John succeeded and won the car. Though, afterwards the sales staff were have said to have overcharged him for food and supplies. So much, in fact that he immediately sold the car to pay those bills. 

We are looking for John Roller. If you have information let me know? Special Thanks to John Dixon and Charles Phoenix for their assistance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Trumpeting some Arizona Music History


Found a bit of Arizona history on my doorstep, when I tripped over a box left by the mailman. Not an unusual occurrence since every once an a while my family ships random treasures looking for a new residence. Slicing through the tape I realized, it was a much bigger surprise. When, I saw Nadine Jansen staring back at me. She was famous for playing piano with the left hand and trumpet with right at the same time.  This tribute CD shows off her great voice. “The Very Best of Nadine Jansen” (Jantone) is a retrospective of her music selected from her five-decade career and recordings in various settings.  While listening, shocked to hear something recorded live from the Flame (where the US Bank tower now stands.) A restaurant that was in Downtown Phoenix famous for it’s jungle decor that included Yum Yum, a live monkey behind plate glass. Who had learned to pleasure himself in full view of families dinning and quickly he disappeared. Thank You! John Dixon for the treasures of Arizona Music.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mel's Diner!


Yeah, I am a sucker for a good sign. This Phoenix diner had me captivated with it’s large coffee cup pouring out on arrow pointing the way to yummy food. The word Mel’s written across it had my memory banks whirring. Could this be the one? Really.....A step inside and the question is answered. This place is a super star! The pictures on the wall and the script in the display case give the answer. Yes! this place was featured in the sitcom Alice running 1976-1985 . Staring Linda Lavin as a singer following her dreams of moving to LA, but her car broke down in Phoenix. Though, there is no Flo, screaming “Kiss my grits!” It is still filled with characters and regulars, greeted by name and asked if they want the usual. The staff dress in retro-esque black and pink waitress uniforms and keep your coffee cup filled and warm. The skillet arrived with biscuits and gravy and was satisfying. This is one of my favorites spots to bring folks because it’s celebrity status, but the good food at Mel’s Diner keeps me coming back for more. Open 7 days a week and that sign is always visible! Mel's Diner is located at 1747 N.W Grand Ave. in Phoenix.






Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Arizona: The Birthplace of Americana!

The McDonald brothers started the McDonald’s franchise in San Bernardino, California and popular legend is that Ray Croc became involved and the rest is history, but, not so fast. As another famous Phoenician, Paul Harvey, would say, “Now, the rest of the story.”

Neil Fox forever changed the fast food landscape right here in Central Phoenix. His franchise was built near Central and Indian School (and can be located via the public art photos at the light rail stop) and was the first to use the new McDonald’s building design featuring the now iconic golden arches. Used to support a slanted roof, the golden arches were twice as high as the roofline and lit, so they could be seen for quite a distance. When the McDonald brothers saw the completed structure they were amazed – not by the gorgeous building destined to be a classic, but because Fox had used the McDonald’s name. They thought they were just selling the speedy food concept and the building design. They had assumed that the restaurant itself would be called Fox’s because McDonald’s would mean nothing in Phoenix. Fox’s response was “Why change it? It’s great as it is.” The brothers agreed, and thus, the iconic look and branded name of McDonald’s began here.

Another Valley icon, the 76-year-old Bob’s Big Boy, also started here and then went on to fill our memories and the country with the famous fiberglass statues. The business actually began in Glendale, CA in 1936, but the 50s buzz word was franchise, so the original Bob Wian sent four staff to the growing city of Phoenix to experiment with the idea of a Big Boy franchise. It was 1954 and the location they chose was the NE corner of Thomas and Central, where the statue of the Native Code Talker is currently located. The restaurant had the first carhops in Phoenix and featured Kachina artwork on the back wall. Some people thought it was a little crazy to spend that much on a building and business in such a small town, but we all know what happened. The Phoenix location was a huge success and soon Big Boy statues began popping up across the country, but the franchise started right here. Though Bob’s Big Boy is long gone from Phoenix, it’s not gone from our memories. You can see footage of the iconic Phoenix’s Bob’s Big Boy being built.

Those first McDonald’s and Bob’s Big Boys are gone, some icons of the past have been rehabilitated and reused, such as My Florist on McDowell. While the building is undergoing major renovation, the large purple My Florist sign has been an iconic part of the Valley’s landscape since Vada Pearl Schwartz opened My Florist as a floral shop in 1947. She was a local legend who was known to wear a purple dress with a purple orchid every day. If, by chance, she was not wearing an orchid, your flower order was free. The store was purple inside and out, including all of the delivery vans, and she drove a one-of-a-kind purple car: a Besasie X-2, custom built by Raymond Besasie of Milwaukee. When Vada died in late 1966, her daughter, Norma Brooking, took over and ran it until she died and left it to her employees. The employees ran My Florist until 1996 when it closed as a floral shop and later reopened as the Willo Bakery and My Florist CafĂ©, whose doors were closed and locked in October, 2010. The site is currently under renovation and is slated to reopen with a new restaurant and the iconic sign, which has been long used by other businesses as a locator.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thank You for a Great Centennial

Centennial and Best Fest! What a once in a lifetime celebration met so many history minded folks! Hopefully, I can soon report on some of the treasures that were located (with pictures of course.) Valentines Day or Statehood Day in Arizona was an awe inspiring presentation about Masque of the Moon. Just like that long running Phoenix event this event was steeped in community. From the oldest indepenent record label that recorded in 1952 and provided the music, to friends as models, Perry Monge Salon for additional models and hair and makeup! It was a moment when those three dresses from Phoenix Union Alumni Association appeared on stage for the first time since the 30’s. Right down to the jacket that was created by Glen Guyett, a great sign designer. I still get goose bumps thinking about the excitement of offering this obscured bit of history, back to the community that created it.
Here is a short list of thanks:

The team that organized the Centennial Celebrations

Costumes: On loan from Phoenix Union Alumni Association, Donated by Billie Jane (Becker) Baguley; Gay 90‘s (1937), Russian Military(1935), & Art Deco Aztec (1936) worn by Jenny Kuller

Hair, Make up, and additional models: Perry Monge Salon

Centennial Sport Coat: by Glen Guyett.

Music: VALLEY OF THE SUN SUITE, 1952
Arizona State College (Tempe) Symphonic Orchestra Conducted/ Composed by Ferde Grofe.
Recorded by Arizona Recoding Productions, Phoenix. Known as Cayon Records
(Canyon ARP 249)

And you that make this all possible!

Jack Durant Author at Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular March 8th

Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular
 From Durant's to a Castle

Mabel Leo, author of the Jack Durant Series (yes--The notable Phoenix restaurant) will be speaking. Hear how Leo uncovered the secrets behind the mysterious Jack Durant of the Durant’s Restaurant! 

Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular will cover an adventures that includes Toverea Castle and other more.

Don’t miss this informative talk and book signing....
Time: Thursday, March 8th, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: Phoenix Metro Retro
708 W. Hazelwood St.
Price: $7.00

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winnie Ruth Judd Tour

Tickets available at Eventbrite. http://www.
Tickets available at Eventbrite

Bus Tour Follows the Footsteps of Infamous Winnie Ruth Judd
and the Phoenix Trunk Murders

Marshall Shore steeps himself in the history of Phoenix that others might overlook: the cultural anomalies, the fads, the dreamers, the artists and the eccentrics that provide a unique window into our city’s past. One such character was the infamous Phoenix trunk murderer, Winnie Ruth Judd.

Back in 1931, the nation was rocked by the grisly details of this gruesome crime. On October 16, 1931, Winnie purportedly killed her two roommates, one of the bodies was cut up, both were stuffed into trunks, and taken by train to Los Angeles. It was a big job for a small woman, and the twisted tale of adultery, jealousy and murder was complicated by rumors, speculation and uncertainty. Bits and pieces of the story continue to come to light, even to this day.

“As I talk with people in my research, the most interesting things come to light, ” said Marshall, “Just recently, my phone rang and someone began telling me about the Winnie Ruth Judd victim that was cut up in their house’s basement.”

Sunday, April 1st, in true Marshall Shore style, he’s hosting a bus tour to commemorate the historical crime. The tour runs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, and begins and ends at the historic MacAlpine’s Coffee Shoppe and Soda Fountain Coffee Shop on 7th Street. The bus will travel along the old Brill trolley line, which will give tour-goers an idea of the shape and size of Phoenix back in Winnie’s day. Other stops will include the houses where she lived and where she met Jack Holleran, a well-known Phoenix businessman with whom she had an adulterous affair; the Grunow Clinic (still a medical clinic!) where she worked; the house where the murders took place; the train station where she attempted to board with the oozing trunks; and the old Maricopa County Courthouse where the trial took place.

Marshall promises a few surprise stops along the way and tour participants will be among the first to hear about details in the story that have recently come to light. The tour will cover more information than found in any book, and Marshall will reveal a little known connection to the story that explains why MacApline’s was chosen as the meeting place.

Tickets available at Eventbrite


Friday, February 3, 2012

Phoenix in the Centennial



@ Phoenix Metro Retro

708 W. Hazelwood

Melrose District


Thursday, February 9

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

$7.00 at the door

Join Marshall Shore: RetroSpectacular (New Times Best Unofficial Phoenix Historian – 2011) for a look at the “C’s” of Arizona. Along with Marshall, join Jim McPherson, Suad Mahmuljin, and J. Seth Anderson – authors of Downtown Phoenix by Arcadia Publishing for an evening of celebrating the history of Phoenix in this Arizona Centennial year.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Gatsby Style! Phoenix in the 20s

January 9, 2012

Marshall Shore: retro Spectacular presentsGatsby Style! Phoenix in the 20s @ Phoenix Metro Retro, 708 W. Hazelwood, Melrose District, Thursday, January 12, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., $7.00 at the door

Join Marshall Shore: RetroSpectacular (New Times Best Unofficial Phoenix Historian – 2011) for a look back at the idiosyncratic Phoenix places and events that informed one of the greatest style decades of the past. Marshall shares stories about the Riverside Ballroom, Prohibition in Phoenix, the history of KOY – our first radio station, the curious tradition of the Masque of the Yellow Moon, the Powderpuff Derby, and more.