Blog | This Could Be Phoenix - Part 6
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Some time ago, we started a series called My Phoenix Story. This column features members of the Downtown/Central Phoenix community and tells their unique experiences of life in this city. It serves as a snapshot of the community where we live, work and play, providing a firsthand look at what it’s really like to experience Phoenix on a daily basis. We’ve seen wonderful stories ranging from the transplant who found her passion in advocacy to the Phoenix native who has watched Phoenix reinvent itself before his eyes. But we want to see more. That’s where you come in. We are now opening a call for submissions to our My Phoenix Story column. We are looking for strong first-person accounts of what brought you to Phoenix, why you stayed, and what Phoenix means to you. Stories should have an emphasis on Phoenix’s good qualities and potential. We know you love your city. Here’s your chance to tell us why.

This is a post from Steve Weiss, head organizer of the No Festival Required Independent Film Festival and the upcoming FILMS FOR THINKERS series. This series will be screened in Downtown Phoenix and we are proud to be a sponsor of this great event, helping to encourage community building and thoughtful discussions in our core. If you'd like to be entered to win 2 tickets to the first screening of "Electric Signs" on Wednesday, February 4th, send us a photo capturing an electric sign in your neighborhood that exemplifies light and movement in the city. When I first began No Festival Required, it was to do several things for the Valley. Bring unseen films, screen them in a way that complements the film and pays the filmmakers, and find works that aren't easily forgettable. There is a ton of "polemic" preachy films designed to tell you how to think, but I don't like to show them. Instead, I prefer a strong documentary that starts with a simple premise and elaborates on that premise with arguments and solutions.

"Living Downtown" and "saved me money" are two phrases that don’t normally go together. Up until a year ago I would have agreed, but then I realized that living in Downtown Phoenix could actually be a great way to fill my pockets with some spare change, and then some. I've heard a lot of people talk about moving out of the city in order to cut costs or not choosing to move Downtown because of the higher costs of urban living. It's true; many places in the city are expensive to live in, especially if you are expecting to live in a 1,500 sf – 2,000 sf apartment or condo with outrageous HOA fees. So I am sure you must be asking; how in the world does living in Downtown Phoenix save you money? The answer: transportation.

Where is Phoenix, Arizona? If I asked you to drive me to Phoenix, where would I end up? Deer Valley? Ahwatukee? Somewhere west of Anthem? I could drive on the I-17 with no traffic for an hour and still be in Phoenix! I find it odd that, "Where is Chicago" sits as an easier question for me to answer accurately, and I've never been to Illinois. Predicting the Tipping Point for Downtown Phoenix IdentityUndoubtedly, the question of "Where is Phoenix?" was much easier to answer when the city was a single-road neighborhood in 1867, forty-five years before Arizona was a state. Forty-five years! Can you imagine the mental state of someone who was willing to come settle out here when there was nothing? You'd have to assume some degree of insanity.

Arizona is my home- and the years I have spent living here have truly shaped me as a person. This integral part of me most likely derived from my parents’ adoration for the state. Both my parents were transplants to Arizona. My father’s family relocated from Long Island, New York when he was just thirteen years old. Meanwhile, my mother moved to Arizona right after high school from Detroit, Michigan.

An Arizona Childhood

If I had to categorize my father, I would say he is somewhat of an explorer. In his younger years, he took advantage of what the state has to offer including by exploring the various parks, rivers, mountains, and lakes. My fondest childhood memories all include my father’s enthusiasm about showing my brother and me everything he had discovered. I have had the privilege to experience parts of Arizona that most people will never see-or did not even know existed. I developed an understanding early on of how unique Arizona is and how lucky I am to live in a place filled with such beauty. Still to this day, I can’t think of a more radiant sunrise or sunset other than those in Arizona. I couldn't imagine starting or finishing my day in any other place-again, this is my home.