In 1966, Chuck Mabery bought a cattle ranch that dated back to the late 19th century, planting the seeds of the Blazin' M Ranch. After stints herding and growing vegetables, the flood of 1993 forced the Mabery family to start over, inspiring them to show off their musical talents at a traditional chuck-wagon dinner staged on the property. Fully renovated in 2010, the ranch now hosts an authentic Arizona frontier town where visitors can experience the cowboy life through such activities as lassoing mechanical steers, shooting wax bullets out of a real Colt .45, and learning how to easily covert ten-gallon hats into metric. A selection of shops fits customers out in Western-themed apparel, the copper Spur Saloon serves local wines and microbrews, and a museum delves into the history of the ranch, pioneer-era Arizona, and the Yavapai-Apache Nation. An old-time photo studio, "Pistols and Petticoats", allows groups to have their likeness captured while wearing Victorian costumes. At the museum, the unique Wood'n West Gallery enthralls visitors with moving dioramas of Western life, hand carved over 30 years by a master whittler.
Local thespians Matt McAuley and Richard Vines banded together with the Dysart Community Education Department to conceptualize Ghostlight Theatre on the tenets of entertaining and educating the community with the dramatic arts. The theatre's live productions give members of the community an opportunity to flex their theatrical muscles through acting, designing costumes, and pursuing careers as prop trees. Meanwhile, Ghostlight Theatre’s summer camps prepare budding thespians aged 10–18 for their moments in the spotlight.
Since 1986, Theater Works Peoria's mission has been to shower northwest suburban Phoenix with engaging entertainment, produced by members of their own community. Directors mount productions of Broadway plays and musicals, holiday classics, and adaptations from film, literature, and Bazooka bubblegum wrappers. A bevy of youth programs line up a parallel season of plays, workshops, and camps.
For 37 years, Marilyn's Academy of Dance has set shoulders and feet a-shimmy with a limb-limbering roster of fun classes. Fleet-footed pupils unveil their latent rhythmic prowess in a plethora of styles, involving disciplines drawn from hip-hop, tap, jazz, ballet, and MacGyver's second season. Classes meet once per week for four consecutive weeks and welcome dancers ages 3 to adult, creating a fun environment full of first-timers alongside more experienced movers. Along with 10–15 other greenhorns, learn how dancing can unlock inner vaults of self-expression, discipline, and the mechanics of movement before moving on to more advanced steps and sultry glares.
At Stand-Up, Scottsdale! bellies ache from a rotating selection of nationally known comedians seen on Comedy Central and late-night talk shows. The intimate 180-person venue, where such local legends as David Spade got their start, beckons a cast of talented funny persons that changes regularly. Voted Best Comedy Club of 2012 by Arizona Foothills magazine, the ha-ha hot spot has recently hosted performances by noted names including Dana Carvey, Frank Caliendo, and Norm Macdonald. A full menu of pub-food appetizers and entrees keeps would-be hecklers otherwise occupied, and Wednesday evening open-mic nights allow rookie comics to test their mettle.
The rule of three is more than a spooky truth about celebrity deaths—it's also the body of law that governs comedic extemporaneity. In accordance with this rule, you'll laugh harder and be more attractive if you tell three, six, nine, and other multiples of three friends about today's deal to Jester'Z Improv Comedy Troupe. For $5, you get a ticket to see Jester'Z sidesplitting improvised comedy show on Friday or Saturday nights at 10 p.m.—that's less than the cost of a comedy movie, hardbound comedy book, or admission to the comedy museum in Cedar Falls. To avoid this common improv pitfall, print out this handy list of suggestions by clicking Print, located under the File menu in most browsers.