Arizona Revealed: Phoenix

What makes a destination unique? Who are the people that give a place life and spirit? The video series “Arizona Revealed” delves into these questions – and more – as it explores the state’s big cities and small towns. This episode takes us to Phoenix.

As Ken Koshio says in this episode of “Arizona Revealed,” when it comes to understanding the spirit of Phoenix, it’s all in the name. Phoenix: an immortal bird linked forever with the sun, a winged creature that regenerates again and again, rising from the ashes to be born anew.

That’s the label given to this desert city. It’s fitting because it’s a place formed on the footprint created by the ancient Hohokam people – a city risen quite literally from the ashes of what came before – and because the people who live here find an opportunity to reinvent themselves. To carve out a space that’s all their own. To take a chance, to discover what’s possible, and to find that here, anything is possible.

In this episode of “Arizona Revealed,” you’ll meet:

  • Laurel Darren - A love of the outdoors and a fondness for the strange and beautiful Sonoran Desert that surrounds Phoenix inspired Darren to launch her boutique adventure company, Wild Bunch Desert Guides, where she empowers others to embark on a journey they never thought possible.
  • Lucinda “La Morena” Hinojos - Born and raised in metro Phoenix, the internationally renowned muralist and painter adorns the city’s walls with color and heart, sharing stories of her Apache, Pima and Yaqui ancestry through powerful imagery rooted in Chicano and Indigenous themes.
  • Ken Koshio - A Japanese taiko drummer and cultural ambassador, Koshio is perhaps best known for summiting Phoenix’s tallest peak – Piestewa – every day at sunrise since March 2020. With a drum strapped to his back and a flock of hikers trailing him, Koshio hikes high above the city to greet the sun.
  • Lawrence Smith - Chef and co-owner of the nationally awarded and locally loved Chilte Restaurant, Smith pursued an NFL football career before finding his true calling: to tell a story through food, to inspire a new culture in Phoenix’s culinary scene, and do it all with unapologetic authenticity.
  • David Tyda - Co-owner of Barcoa Agaveria, a back-alley, hand-built mezcal bar that honors the spirit of Mexico in a million different thoughtful details, from serving heritage spirits to commissioning Mexican and Indigenous artists. Tyda also founded three local food festivals, each its own tribute to Phoenix.



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About the Author

Jessica Dunham

Jessica Dunham is a travel, food and fitness writer whose work has been published in PHOENIX Magazine, Runner's World, Phoenix New Times, Valley Guide, Phoenix Travel Guide, Modern Luxury Scottsdale and more. She is passionate about all things Arizona, especially spontaneous Saturday daytrips around the state. She can be reached at


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From the abundance of Saguaro cactuses and unique wildlife in the Sonoran Desert to the high country and forests of the White Mountains to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Arizona’s regions are full of experiences that don’t disappoint.