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When it’s hot, consider heading to higher elevations to hike. There’s Oak Creek Canyon, of course, but Red Mountain Trail No. 159 north of Flagstaff is much more user-friendly (it’s relatively flat and short). Estimated to have formed about 740,000 years ago, Red Mountain is a volcanic cinder cone that rises 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. The trailhead is located on Highway 180, about 25 miles north of Flagstaff – look for mile marker 247, turn left and drive one-quarter mile to the trailhead. The approximately 3-mile round-trip trail meanders through a forest along a primitive road before following a dry wash. At the end of the trail, you’ll climb a 6-foot ladder only to find yourself in a natural amphitheater carved into the northeast flank of Red Mountain. Spires called “hoodoos,” colorful cliffs and sheer walls surround you. Make sure you bring your camera. For a detailed map of the trail, visit The Hike House (431 SR 179 at Hozho Center; 928-282-5820).
Hot House Party
Relish the return of the salon! House parties and salons are making a comeback in cities such as New York and Nashville, and now we have one right here in our posh little corner of the Southwest. Joe Bongiorno and Amy Janelle relocated to the Village of Oak Creek from Seattle last fall, and the two musicians immediately began hosting piano parties out of their new home. To enjoy the intimate 30-seat venue, you need to RSVP at www.pianohavensedona.com well in advance (once you have your reservation, directions to the house will be emailed to you). This summer’s party takes place Aug. 10 at 7 p.m. and will feature Joe, Amy and guest musician Chris Spheeris performing original New Age solo piano compositions on Joe and Amy’s new $80,000 Shigeru Kawai concert grand piano. In between sets, partygoers are invited to pour a glass of wine, sample some of Amy’s delish brownies, mingle with the musicians and make new friends.
Joe has released eight albums and has won numerous awards. He tours North America, performing 30 to 40 concerts each year, so catch him in Sedona when you can. Amy burst onto the scene in 2010 with her debut album, Shining True. (Amy was also featured in the April 2013 issue of Sedona Monthly. When she’s not making music, she works as a massage therapist.) Both artists’ music can be heard on Pandora, Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio, Rhapsody, Spotify and XM/Sirius.
Get ready to laugh out loud when comedienne Rita Rudner returns to Sedona on Aug. 31 for a fundraiser benefiting Sedona Red Rock High School’s Never Ending Activities Club, an afterschool program for disabled children; the high school’s Scorpion Booster Club; and the Sedona International Film Festival. Rita will take the stage at the Sedona Performing Arts Center (995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road at Sedona Red Rock High School) at 8 p.m. Magician Ben Silver will keep audiences entertained in the lobby before the show. A VIP cocktail reception will also be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa (2250 SR 89A in West Sedona). Tickets to the show are $35 for general admission and $50 for priority seating. Tickets to the show and the reception are $100. Visit www.sedonafilmfestival.org for info.
Rita, who has a standing gig at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, fell in love with Red Rock Country thanks to her best friend of 30 years, Sedona resident Bonny Singer. Rita was the star of the Casino Royale fundraiser three years ago when she had everyone in stitches at Enchantment Resort. But this year’s fundraiser is especially personal: Bonny has a disabled son who benefits from Never Ending Activities Club (Bonny actually co-founded the program). “The club benefits a population that doesn’t get much or have much to do,” says Bonny. “Rita gets it. In fact, this was her idea. And for Sedona residents to get to see Rita perform for much less than they would pay in Las Vegas is incredible.”
Hot Photo Op
Got a case of the summertime blues? Sick and tired of posing for photos in front of the red rocks? Lighten up! Check out Pistols & Petticoats – The World’s Greatest Old-Time Portrait Parlor in Uptown (311 N. SR 89A; 928-282-0029). John and Lauri Maeder from Kentucky opened the studio last September after spending 16 years on the road with a traveling studio, photographing at fairs and festivals across the country. The studio specializes in kids’ photos, and pets are also welcome. Dress up as a cowboy/girl, outlaw, sheriff, gambler, saloon girl, Native American, Civil War soldier or bride and groom.
“It’s something to do as much as it is something to buy,” says John, who has a college degree in photography. You can purchase individual prints, mats and frames. Or opt for a postcard and Pistols & Petticoats will pay for the postage.