In 1955, 50 horses and their handlers gathered on the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel for the first Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Over the next 58 years, the event moved twice—first to Paradise Park, then to WestWorld—and grew to nearly 2,500 participants. Today, the 450 members of the Arabian Horse Association, which was incorporated the same year as the horse show, help to oversee the annual flagship event. Many of the members also serve as competition judges, work to foster youth participation in the equestrian arts, and raise awareness about which tiny hats look best on thoroughbreds.
The annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show draws competitors from local Arizona farms and across the country. The showcase gathers thousands of horse enthusiasts for seminars, competitions, galas, international cuisine, and more than 300 vendors. Though the Arabian Horse Association holds the show as its main event, it also oversees the Arabian Breeder Finals, a halter and breeding showcase; the annual qualifying America Cup Championship; and yearly endurance rides and stallion auctions.
Though it’s only been open less than five years, Dearing Acting Studio has already prepared some of its students for roles on TV shows such as House, Modern Family, and Grey’s Anatomy. Much of the studio’s success hails from its staff of working actors, who lead students of all ages and experience levels toward their individual goal, whether that be performing in a Broadway play, starring in a commercial, or conducting a family meeting entirely in Shakespearean verse.
In 1957, 21 men who cared deeply about their Italian heritage as well as their community in Phoenix came together to found the Arizona American Italian Club. Today, the club continues to be a resource for Italian Americans and their neighbors living in the area. Along with housing a lounge and Italian eatery, the club hosts bingo and bocce games, as well as events such as fashion shows, Italian car shows, wine tastings, and spaghetti nights. Each month, club members sponsor a different charity and rain cloud, furthering their support and investment in the Phoenix community.
Arizona’s most promising side-splitters share the stage with nationally renowned headliners at The Speakeasy Comedy Lounge, an irreverent comedy club that takes its atmospheric cues from a Prohibition-era nightspot. Shows on Friday and Saturday nights feature performers who have honed their anatomical knowledge of funny bones during televised appearances on Conan, Last Comic Standing, and HBO comedy specials. Though the club discloses its password to a range of comics from diverse backgrounds, most performers eschew squeaky-clean comedy for a brand of dirty humor that appeals to the noir detectives who regularly lean on the venue's gray brick walls or occupy the back row’s plushy seats. A friendly and attractive wait staff supplies cocktails ($6¬–$10), signature margaritas ($8¬–$12), and other exquisite libations along with munchies such as Comedy wings ($9) and Mexican street tacos ($9) to soothe bellies aching from chortling fits.
An award-winning country-and-western hotspot, Handlebar-J serves up an invigorating menu of steaks, ribs, burgers, and more. Drooping dancers and wilting wallflowers can get perked up by protein thanks to dishes such as the Cattleman Cut, a 16 oz. porterhouse ($29), or full slabs of baby-back ribs ($19) (both served with various sides). Free country dance lessons every Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday night (at 7 p.m.) fill the air with rotating fringe, cooling off crisp chef salads ($12) and fanning piping-hot plates of fried chicken, served alongside corn on the cob, french fries, and biscuits with honey ($14). Finish dinner with a piece of chocolate cake ($4) or another round of homemade chili and beans ($10) depending on your dinner's chocolate-to-chili ratio.