Arizona Storytellers Project

One of the most fascinating parts of the human condition is our need to be storytellers. It is beautiful, simple and one of our best traits. The Arizona Storytellers Project is an amazing grass roots collective that brings drama and laughs to the valley with nothing more than the voices of its members. For an inspiring and unique evening out, follow up with the Arizona Storytellers Project for their latest news and events.

Most stories require great drama, unexpected conflict or terrifying tension to create the kind of catharsis listeners love at the end of a satisfying yarn.

But Eleanor Gobrecht’s true, first-person story didn’t have that kind of big moment when she told it Monday night at the Phoenix Theatre as part of the Arizona Storytellers Project. She told a simple story that got a super-long applause from a sold-out crowd of more than 240, and that closed the night of true, first-person stories with a heart-warming, unexpected finish.

The 86-year-old former sailing expert and University of Southern California professor recounted a story about a totally perfect trip down the Mexican coast and across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii in 1969. The crowd sat rapt as Gobrecht, in a coordinating white jacket and capris, told the story of Trade Winds at her back, waves pushing the boat along steadily, and generous Mexican fisherman and their families.

“It was just a wonderful, wonderful time,” Gobrecht said of her first trip across the Pacific with her lifelong partner.

That trip taught her, she told the audience, that if you do the right things, and trust your planning, things will work out fine, as long as you keep going. And, she said, there will be times in life when things go unaccountably well, and it’s best not to wonder why or investigate too much into how.

Gobrecht was one of seven community members who shared stories at Phoenix Theatre about adventures in the outdoors and the lessons they learned as part of The Republic’s regular storytelling nights. The stories varied from everyday adventures such as biking and hiking to more daring ones such as canyoneering.

The night’s storytellers were Republic news reporter Dennis Wagner, outdoors reporter Bob Young, photojournalist David Wallace and community storytellers Josey Borman, Gobrecht, Margaret Smith and Matt Storrs.

Other highlights included:

– Learning what foreboding joy means, as explained by Borman via superstar academic Brene Brown, and how it applies to lots of moms on lots of family vacations.

– Learning just how far a young man will go to win over his future in-laws from the apparently unflappable Storrs.

– Learning that one Republic staffer’s idea of a good time is to dangle in canyons, squeeze between rock cracks, swim in silt-filled, murky pools and tromp through the desert while carrying a 70-pound pack, according to Wallace.

Since 2011, the Arizona Storytellers Project has coordinated more than 70 nights of true stories, told live, in which artists, community leaders and everyday Phoenix residents prepare a brief, first-person story on a theme, addressing it literally or metaphorically.

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Fall Concerts in Phoenix

Phoenix is the perfect mix of big city, suburban spread and gorgeous untouched desert. Being the 6th largest city in the nation, spanning over 70 square miles, it has so much to offer in terms of things to do and musical guests. This fall is not going to disappoint when it comes to the music scene. There are some absolutely phenomenal shows coming to town that you don’t want to miss. Check out this star-studded calendar and plan to rock out in Phoenix this fall!

Florence + the Machine

This tour is in support of the U.K. rockers’ first chart-topping album in the States, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” which has already sent one song, “What Kind of Man,” to No. 1 on the Billboard adult-alternative charts. Led by the powerful voice of Florence Welch, they made their U.S. chart debut in 2008 with the double-platinum breakthrough hit “Dog Days Are Over.” Other hits include the platinum “Cosmic Love” and double-platinum “Shake it Out.”

Details: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13. Ak-Chin Pavilion, 2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix. $26-$80.50. 800-745-3000,

Twenty One Pilots

The Columbus, Ohio-based rockers bring a handful of rock and alternative-radio singles to the table, including “Holding On to You,” “House of Gold” and three songs from their latest record, “Fairly Local,” “Tear in My Heart” and “Stressed Out.” The tour is in support of “Blurryface,” their fourth studio effort, which hit the charts at No. 1 in May.

Details: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $29. 602-379-2888,


Best known in the U.S. for the singles “Breezeblocks,” “Tessellate,” “Left Hand Free” and “Every Other Freckle,” these British indie-rockers earned a Grammy nod for last year’s model, “This Is All Yours,” which made year-end best-of lists at Rolling Stone, Time and NPR. Spotify also named them last year’s breakout artist of the year.

Details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $35-$42.50. 602-379-2888,

Garth Brooks

The man is playing six shows in two weekends. That’s how popular the country star remains after taking a 14-year hiatus from the music business. These shows are the singer’s first Valley performances in 19 years. And demand is so high that tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. and in less than two hours, he’d already broken his previous Phoenix record, set in 1996, when he sold 53,248 tickets at America West Arena.

Details: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, and Saturday, Oct. 17; 7 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24. Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly US Airways Center), 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. $63.98. 800-745-3000,

Bret Michaels

He was huge in the ’80s, fronting Poison on a string of giant hits, from glam-punk classic “Talk Dirty to Me” and “Nothin’ But a Good Time” to the chart-topping power ballad, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” More recently, Michaels emerged as a force to be reckoned with on reality television, winning “The Celebrity Apprentice 3” in 2010 and starring in two series of his own on VH1 while living in the Valley. His latest solo album is “Jammin’ with Friends,” a star-studded effort that more than lives up to its title, from Loretta Lynn to Miley Cyrus.

Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

Meat Loaf

For listeners of a certain age and hipness quotient, Meat Loaf’s greatest hits should be the comfort food his name implies — from such early pop classics as “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” to the chart-topping comeback anthem, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).” And he hasn’t released a new studio effort since “Hell in a Handbasket” dropped in 2012, which means he should be going with a greatest-hits approach.

Details: 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

Janet Jackson

Jackson’s hits include “What Have You Done for Me Lately?,” “Nasty,” “Miss You Much,” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “Again” and “I Want You.” She’s topped the Billboard album charts with six releases, including the six-times-platinum efforts “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” and “janet.” She’s also won six Grammys, two Emmys, a Golden Globe Award, an Oscar nomination and dozens of American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards and Billboard Music Awards.

Details: 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $45-$125. 602-379-2888,

My Morning Jacket

Their love affair with reverb took the blogosphere by storm in 1999 with “The Tennessee Fire,” an acclaimed debut on which they underscored the melancholy nature of Jim James’ upper register by recording many of his vocals in an empty silo. Their sound at the time was alternative-country as Flaming Lips would probably have done it. But they’ve managed to evolve with each new effort, trying new approaches as they move from strength to strength. “The Waterfall,” released in May, has pulled in raves from a variety of outlets, from the New York Times to Q and Pitchfork. And James’ voice remains an instrument of haunted majesty.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington St., Phoenix. $46. 602-379-2888,

All Time Low

Taking their name from a song by fellow Warped Tour veterans New Found Glory, these Baltimore pop-punk veterans first got together as high-school kids covering Blink-182. Their breakthrough single, “Dear Maria, Count Me In,” was recently certified platinum, and they’re touring in support of “Future Hearts,” an ambitious new album that finds them expanding the scope of their sound while scoring guest appearances by pop-punk icons Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 and Joel Madden of Good Riddance.

Details: 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Mesa Amphitheater, 263 N. Center St. $32; $29.99 in advance. 480-644-2560,

Rick Springfield

This Australian rocker had a minor pop hit in the early ’70s with a single called “Speak to the Sky.” But Springfield’s proper mainstream breakthrough came a decade later when he topped the charts with “Jessie’s Girl” and followed through with Sammy Hagar’s “I’ve Done Everything for You.” Other hits include “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “Affair of the Heart” and “Human Touch.”

Details: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

Mesa Meltdown Day 1

Shinedown’s biggest hits include mainstream-rock chart-toppers “Save Me,” “Devour,” “Second Chance,” “Sound of Madness,” “The Crow & the Butterfly,” “Diamond Eyes (Boom-lay, Boom-lay, Boom),” “Bully,” “Unity” and “Cut the Cord.” They’re joined by co-headliners Breaking Benjamin, whose hits include mainstream-rock chart-topper “Breath,” “I Will Not Bow” and “Failure,” and Nothingmore.

Details: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21. Mesa Amphitheater, 263 N. Center St. $45-$50. 480-644-2560,

Mesa Meltdown Day 2

British rockers Bring Me the Horizon are best known in the States for rock-radio hits “Sleepwalking,” “Go to Hell, For Heaven’s Sake,” “Drown” and “Throne.” They’re joined on Day 2 of this KUPD-FM festival by by Issues and Pvris.

Details: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Mesa Amphitheater, 263 N. Center St. $30-$40. 480-644-2560,


Taylor Swift may sell more records in the new millennium, but Madge remains the biggest-selling female artist ever and the highest-rated solo artist on the Billboard Hot 100 all-time top artists countdown, second only to the Beatles overall. She’s won a Golden Globe Award for acting (despite not being very good at it) and been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which outraged rock purists to no end even though she clearly earned her spot). The Rebel Hearts Tour takes its name from Madonna’s new album, to which the New York Times responded with, “They won’t experience the celebrity of Madonna the fashion statement but the Madonna who has kept us listening for decades: Madonna the musician.”Madonna

Details: 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Gila River Arena, Loop 101 and Glendale Avenue, Glendale. $50-$355. 623-772-3200,

Sheryl Crow

This nine-time Grammy winner hit the mainstream hard with a seven-times-platinum debut titled “Tuesday Night Music Club,” which spawned two Top 5 pop hits, “All I Wanna Do” and “Strong Enough.” Subsequent hits included “If It Makes You Happy,” “Everyday is a Winding Road,” “My Favorite Mistake” and “Soak Up the Sun.”

Details: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

Gary Allan

He’s topped the country charts with four singles since hitting his stride in the early 2000s — “Man to Man,” “Tough Little Boys,” “Nothing On But the Radio” and the platinum “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain),” which hit the top in 2013. He hasn’t had much luck with hits since then, despite releasing songs with names that should sound right at home at country radio (“It Ain’t the Whiskey” and “Hangover Tonight”).

Details: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

Arizona Jazz Festival

As usual, the main attractions don’t have anything to do with jazz, from Erykah Badu and Common to Anthony Hamilton, the Roots, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Toni Braxton, Maxwell, Kem and Blackstreet. But for anyone who’s even slightly into modern soul and R&B, that lineup is pretty amazing. Also playing: Keith Sweat, Jodeci, Eric Roberson, Ledisi, Mint Condition, Peter White, Euge Groove and Rick Braun.

Details: Friday, Oct. 23-Sunday, Oct. 25. Rawhide Event Center, 5700 W. N. Loop Road, Chandler. Three-day passes — $50-$1,175; single-day tickets — $50-$375. 602-244-8444,

School d’AZ

Best Coast will top the bill at ALT AZ 93.3’s Now Music Festival, which also brings the Maine, Atlas Genius, New Politics, MS MR, Saint Motel and Bully to Mesa. Few performers have captured the bittersweet charm of ’60s girl-group music more effectively than Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino, whether pining for the friend who’s dating someone “prettier and skinnier” in “Boyfriend” or settling for sex without commitment from the friend with benefits in the aching “Our Deal.” Those songs are both on their first album, “Crazy For You,” but 2012’s “The Only Place” and especially this year’s “California Nights” are just as good, some songs expanding the scope of their sound while others go straight for that first-album sweet spot.

Details: 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. Mesa Amphitheater, 263 N. Center St. $25-$40. 480-644-2560,

Austin Mahone

The teen sensation hit the charts at No. 5 last year with “The Secret,” his first full-length effort, which spawned his biggest hit to date, “Mmm Yeah” (featuring Pitbull). And that’s after being named MTV’s Artist to Watch at the 2013 VMAs and breakout star at the same year’s Radio Disney Music Awards.

Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

Jack & Jack

These pop-rap Viners took a song called “Wild Life” all the way to No. 2 at iTunes (although it should be noted that the single only got to No. 87 on the Billboard Hot 100). They’ve since followed through with a four-song EP, “Calibraska,” which hit the charts at No. 12.

Details: 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

Jackson Browne

This Rock and Roll Hall of Famer launched his career with a Top 10 breakthrough hit, “Doctor My Eyes,” in the early ’70s, following through with such Top 40 singles as “Running on Empty,” his cover of “Stay” (a doo-wop hit for Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs), “Boulevard,” “Somebody’s Baby” and “Lawyers in Love.” And he’s still adding songs to the set list, touring an acclaimed new album, “Standing in the Breach.”

Details: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell Road, Phoenix. General admission is free with Arizona State Fair admission. 602-252-6771,

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Bed Bug Problem Growing Nationwide

Bed bugs can have devastating effects on those who are infested by them. Unfortunately, the number of people who have felt the bed bugs bite is rising at an alarming rate in the United States as bed bugs are finding more and more vulnerable places to penetrate. So here’s the skinny on everything US bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that crawl out like vampires in the night, feeding on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Although they’re found worldwide, bed bugs were considered largely eradicated in the US until recent decades.

Now, they’re spreading rapidly in North America, including in the US where they’ve been detected in every state. Cleanliness is no deterrent for these pesky creatures, and they’ve popped up everywhere from five-star resorts and cruise ships to libraries, schools, and day care centers.

While a bed bug may go for months without eating, they prefer to feed every several days, and will travel up to 100 feet to find a meal (although most live within eight feet of a sleeping surface).1

Bed bugs typically hide during the day, in mattress seams, bed frames, headboards, dressers, behind wallpaper, and any other small crack or crevice they can find. This is why one of the first things you should do while traveling is to check your sleeping area thoroughly for bed bugs or signs that they’re around (like feces).

Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?

Bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a danger, although they can prompt serious allergic reactions in some people. Although more than 40 human diseases have been detected in bed bugs, they’re not known to spread diseases, although evidence in this area is lacking.2

Their bites can cause significant itching, however, which can in turn lead to a secondary skin infection if excessive scratching damages your skin. They can also lead to loss of sleep, although this is typically due to anxiety over the bed bugs and not the bites themselves. When you’re bitten by a bed bug, it injects anesthetic and anticoagulant at the same time, so you won’t feel the bite until later.

Anywhere from a day to several days later red, swollen bumps, similar to mosquito bites, will appear, typically on your neck, arms, hands, and face (although they can be anywhere on your body). They may itch or feel irritated, but try not to scratch them.

The psychological toll that bed bugs exact can be steep, however. There is one case report showing a woman who committed suicide following repeated bed bug infestations in her apartment, and the researchers concluded, the bed bug infestations were the likely trigger for the onset a negative psychological state that ultimately led to suicide.”3

Research has also shown that people who have experienced bed bugs in their living environment are significantly more likely to report anxiety and sleep disturbances.4 Emotional distress and even psychological and emotional effects associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have also been reported after bed-bug infestations.

How to Detect a Bed Bud Infestation – and the Top 10 Bed Bug Cities

Bed bugs’ bodies are flat and range in size from one to seven millimeters (mm). Their shape, combined with their reddish-brown color, makes it easy for bed bugs to hide out along baseboards and the folds of luggage, bedding, folded clothing, furniture, and more.

If you look carefully, you may be able to spot bed bugs near your sleeping area, but they may also be present if you detect the following signs:5

  • Bed bug exoskeletons, which are released after molting
  • Rust-colored blood spots on mattresses or furniture (this is from their blood-filled fecal matter)
  • A sweet, musty odor

While bed bugs are found year-round, infestations tend to peak during the summer months, perhaps because more people are travelling during this time. And if you’ll be travelling, you might be interested to know if you’re going to one of the worst cities for bed bugs in the US, as compiled in Orkin Pest Control’s 2014 Bed Bug Cities List:6

  1. Chicago, IL
  2. Detroit, MI
  3. Columbus, OH
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Cleveland, OH
  6. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  7. Cincinnati, OH
  8. Denver, CO
  9. Richmond-Petersburg, VA
  10. Dayton, OHRead more at:

New Method of Infestation

Going to library to check out your favorite book? You could be checking out your worst nightmare…a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs have found a new way to get into homes and that is though books checked out in public libraries. They hide as unassuming stowaways on your favorite novels and get into your bed when you lay down to do some reading. Because they are so small, they often go unnoticed. This allows the infestation to grow. Be vigilante and be sure to check anything that goes in and out of your home to prevent infestation.

READING in bed, once considered a relatively safe pastime, is now seen by some as a riskier proposition.

That’s because bedbugs have discovered a new way to hitchhike in and out of beds: library books. It turns out that tiny bedbugs and their eggs can hide in the spines of hardcover books. The bugs crawl out at night to feed, find a new home in a headboard, and soon readers are enjoying not only plot twists but post-bite welts.

As libraries are scrambling to deal with the problem, so are some book borrowers. Not wanting to spread the misery, considerate patrons sometimes call ahead to discuss with librarians how best to return lent materials from their bedbug-infested homes. Usually, a meeting is arranged so the patron can hand off the offending books or DVDs in Ziploc bags to an employee outside the library.

John Furman, the owner of Boot-a-Pest, a team of bedbug exterminators based on Long Island, said he has had hundreds of clients buy a portable heater called PackTite to kill bedbug life, baking any used or borrowed book as a preventive measure before taking it to bed.


Mark Lillis of Schendel Pest Services examines quarantined crates filled with library books in Wichita, Kan. Credit Steve Hebert for The New York Times
But others have stopped borrowing books altogether. Each month, Angelica McAdoo, a jewelry designer, and her children used to bring home a stack of books from the Los Angeles Central Library — until Mrs. McAdoo heard that the library had had a bedbug scare in September. She had already battled bedbugs in her two-bedroom apartment in East Hollywood and hired an exterminator, who sprayed the perimeter of her bookshelves with pesticide, among other precautions.

For now, she is buying books at Target and is ambivalent about borrowing library books again. “I will not step foot in a library ever again — right now,” she said.

To reassure skittish patrons like Mrs. McAdoo, libraries are training circulation staff members to look for carcasses and live insects. Some employees treat suspect books with heat before re-shelving them, to kill bedbugs, which are about the size of an apple seed when fully grown. Others vacuum the crevices of couches, and some furniture is being reupholstered with vinyl or leatherette to make it less hospitable to insects.

As Michael Potter, a professor of entomology at University of Kentucky in Lexington, noted: “There’s no question in past few years there are more and more reports of bedbugs showing up in libraries.”

Pest-control experts say the bugs are increasingly moving from homes, dorms and other lodging to settings like retail stores, offices and libraries, migrating not only in book spines, but also on patrons or their belongings.

And some librarians are not only confronting the public relations challenges in their communities, but trying to get ahead of the problem rather than hiding its existence.

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