Ariztical Entertainment was “born” out of Phoenix Distributors, a small company started in 1985 by Michael J. Shoel and his late partner, Donald Zelkowski. Out of their office on the corner of Hollywood and Vine they specialized in the distribution of low-budget horror films like “Cannibal Campout” (Where Saturday’s campers become Sunday’s brunch.), and “The Assault of the Killer Bimbos.”
In 1994, after the Northridge earthquake, Michael and Donald moved the company base to Tucson, AZ, and opened the basis for what has become the Ariztical we know today.
In the years following, Ariztical has made a name for itself by releasing films like ‘Kizuna’, the first gay male Anime to be released on DVD in the US, and “Different Strokes: The Story of Jack and Jill and Jill,” starring Dana Plato, in her infamous lesbian role.
In 2004 came another huge step as Ariztical released its first ever theatrical release, “Eating Out,” which has since been gaining a huge fan base as it plays in festivals all over the country.
Ariztical has a wide variety of LGBT films to please even the most discerning customer. Whether you’re looking for dramas, comedies, ‘family’ flicks, light erotica or male nudity you’ll find what you’re looking for at our company.
We at Ariztical are proud to see the company grow into what is sure to become one of the leading names in quality LGBT, independent and art house films.
• Michael Jack Shoel, President
Producer and Executive Producer of Eating Out 1 & 2, President and founder of Ariztical Entertainment, Michael Jack Shoel has been building bridges between independent film and retail distribution for close to 20 years. In addition to green lighting and producing the first American Gay Sequel (Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds) Michael was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of the first gay themed Japanese Anime title Kizuna. Through his company Ariztical Entertainment he has distributed over a million individual independent videos and DVD’s in major national retail and independent stores including Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story, starring Mario Lopez and Dame Edna’s Neighborhood Watch. Michael was inspired by the March on Washington where he was arrested for civil disobedience, blocking the Supreme Court in protest of the Bowers vs. Hardwick decision, a decision that allowed states to arrest people caught in the act of homosexuality in the privacy of their own home. Michael considered it a good omen that that decision was reversed years later during the filming of the first EATING OUT. Recently Michael experienced a full circle moment of a career that has blended his personal passion and politics with commerce when his participation in that march was to his surprise included on the cover of an ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter fundraising promotional piece at a gay film industry fund raiser.
• Eric Peterson, Director of Sales
Eric Peterson is a veteran of over 31 years in the Entertainment Field. During a four year stint in the U.S. Air Force, Eric traveled the world as a Ground Crew Member of the famed USAF Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Team, based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Following the Air Force, Eric moved to Los Angeles, and began his Entertainment career in the Recording Industry, working on Promotions with the likes of Ann Murray, Bernadette Peters, Maureen McGovern, The Village People, Foreigner, and Joan Rivers. As the Home Video Industry took over the Recording Industry, Eric segued to the Video side of the business. Highlights of his career include over 3 _ years at Showtime Networks, where he was instrumental in the formation of Showtime’s in-house Home Entertainment Division, and subsequently, the Marketing and Sales of “Queer As Folk” Season One and Two. On the Producing side, Eric Executive Produced the 1st ever Men’s Workout Series for “Esquire Magazine,” and the Hearst Corporation, and won an International Award for “Best Sports Video of the Year.” Producing credits also include the 1st ever Home Video Workout for “Exercise For Men Only” Magazine (Chelo Publications). Eric is very proud to be a part of the Ariztical Team.
• Dre Sleipnes, Distribution Coordinator
As a fine art photographer hailing from Southern California, Dre has had his fair share of the entertainment industry. While studying at the University of Washington, Dre started his own private photography studio. Photo shoots included various Seattle bands, theater actors and artists. While pursuing his status in the Seattle Gay Artist scene, he began work for Beyond the Closet Bookstore, which had been the only completely gay owned and operated bookstore in Seattle until its doors closed in 2005.
After graduating with a BA in Fine Art Photography, Dre headed back to Los Angeles, where his love/hate relationship with the city landed him in Hollywood. He picked up a job with the Eastman Kodak Company, working for five years managing their flagship photo lab at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Dre has been working for Ariztical Entertainment since 2007 and continues to fulfill his passion for photography during his free time.
• Shane Patrick McCabe, Accountant
Shane has been associated with the entertainment industry for his entire career. A graduate of the University of Washington he worked for eight years for King Enterprises, first as Controller for the corporate offices for tennis great Billie Jean King, he then moved into public relations handling worldwide public relations for Billie Jean on road.
In 1978 he joined the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco to pursue his passion for acting, eventually moving to Los Angeles where he acted in numerous motion picture and television productions over the next fifteen years, while heading the accounting department for a major production company in Los Angeles and Phoenix. In addition he is the author of the award winning play No Place Like Home.
He has headed the accounting department, since his move to Tucson, for Ariztical Entertainment for the past five years.