DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
A Cheeky Menu to Hoppy Living
If you could bottle a virtue, what would it be?
The 6th Avenue Gallery and local designer Erik von Weber brews up intoxicating fun with Grin and Beer It. The show inspires renewed appreciation for the oft-forgotten virtues of life through a series of cleverly crafted, fictitious beer labels. The beer-themed exhibit opens on First Friday, September 6 with live music and sampling of real craft beer.
The public also will have an opportunity to vote for the label and virtue they would most like to see exhibited in life, and as a future craft beer. Results will determine the theme for a 6th Avenue Gallery show in the new year, and possibly a future craft beer. Voting will kick off First Friday and continue on 6th Avenue Gallery’s Facebook page through Sept. 13.
Eating is very important for a thinking, doing person. Sometimes, rapt in a creative fervor, one forgets, and ends up grazing on odds and ends left in the cabinet or fridge: the bottom of a cereal box, a questionably old apple, a bag of flour.
Forced breaks are good. Getting up from the desk, the computer, the studio, and venturing out into the world where people bring you food is one of the wonders of living in a city. Being able to stay put at a table for hours without the staff angrily tapping their fingers is also a relaxing blessing.
My favorite place for a midday work break used to be the Urban Grocery at the Phoenix Public Market. You could get a half sandwich, soup and a drink next door at Royal Coffee for under ten dollars. Sadly, since they closed, I realized how important it was to find a place where you could take a break and eat or where you could work all day and have good food available to you.
Aaron Chamberlin’s Public Market Café has stepped up to fill the Grocery’s shoes with small nutritious meals and a great indoor or outdoor seating environment. Even on the hottest days, it feels comfortable and welcome to sit outside in the shade under the misters. Refillable iced tea and hours until 10 p.m. make it possible to cover all your meals, should you choose to stay there all day, or at least be available for a reliable break at any hour.
For so long I’d been searching for a place where I could work in relative peace and possibly have a beer without having to fight (sometimes perhaps literally) with downtown sports enthusiasts and banners advertising Budweiser or Blue Moon. Angel’s Trumpet has answered those prayers. Not only is the staff super friendly and knowledgeable but the place is also large enough that you can carve out a corner to set up and write, work or computerize. They are also open late with food served all day, so you can easily drop in for a lunch or break from work.
If these places seem a bit too pricey and you just need a place to eat and not work, La Tolteca, on Van Buren cannot be beat anywhere in the vicinity. The menu is huge, the staff is friendly, there’s always seating available and you have the added benefit of hovering over the baked items while you wait for your food. Al Pastor tacos, ceviche for less than six dollars, a giant cup of jamaica and a great salsa selection make this place a must-stop for all artists and musicians trying to save a buck, but have tons of food. I dare you to try to eat the entire burrito at once (please don’t).
Other locations that do wonderfully as eat/work or break/eat places include Fair Trade Cafe, America’s Taco Shop, Jobot, Bonjour Vietnam at the Hotel San Carlos, and Athenian Express (cheapest breakfast anywhere!).
Don’t forget, too, that most of these places are likely staffed by budding artists, musicians and performers. Working in a restaurant provides people somewhat flexible schedules so they can make a living and still be able to create their work. This comes in handy for occasional “hey I know you” discounts for artists or, for non-artists you have the opportunity to boost an artist’s ego by asking what they do.
Founder and director Lisa Starry takes another step toward her ambitions for downtown Phoenix-based Scorpius Dance Theatre when the troupe travels to Scotland next week. As the first Arizona company ever selected to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by Booking Dance, an organization specializing in worldwide tours, Scorpius takes the stage to prove its merits to international presenters.
“My goal for Scorpius…is to become a highly sought-after touring company. This exposure will be invaluable…to take the company to the next level,” says Starry, who founded Scorpius in 1999 and currently serves as Associate Head of School at Metropolitan Arts Institute.
“It’s very exciting, but I’m nervous,” she continues. “This is the first time for us — we were invited last year, but we were so busy with going to the Bram Stoker International Film Festival…we couldn’t do both things.” Scorpius performed Starry’s signature work, A Vampire Tale, at the Stoker Festival in England last autumn. “It went really well,” says Starry. “We felt like we…got a nice following in Europe.”
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe dates back to 1947, when eight uninvited theater groups performed at the newly-established Edinburgh International Festival, setting a precedent that led to the creation of the Festival Fringe Society in 1958. 55 years later, the Fringe brings thousands of performers to stages across Scotland’s capital in shows ranging from comedy to opera to physical theater and beyond.
Ten dancers from Scorpius will appear in five shows from August 14-18, described by Starry as “shared showcases.” She explains, “I can only perform two pieces — I only have 10 minutes.” Luckily, that’s enough time to demonstrate the troupe’s technique and Starry’s choreographic creativity.
Scorpius plans to offer scenes from a full-length production called Dreaming in Water mounted at Chandler Center for the Arts this past April. “I’m bringing kind of a mixed excerpt of my Water Dreams piece with an aerial piece, because I’m trying to show as much as I can without overwhelming everybody,” says Starry.
From the other end of the spectrum comes Fünf, sechs, sieben, acht (Five, six, seven, eight), recreating a decade-old work from Scorpius’s Repertory Showcase, connecting high technical movements with hard techno beats from a German tune by DJ Taylor & Flow.
“We’ll see what happens,” says Starry. “Hopefully we’ll have promoters see us and want to hire us so we can tour internationally.”
Beset by financial demands, college students have become increasingly more inventive in devising ways to fund their educations. Arizona State University undergraduate Chaz Salazar has been literally playing his way through school.
At 21, Salazar is a success story from Rosie’s House, the downtown Phoenix-based non-profit providing lessons and instruments for young musicians. “I started to play [the flute] in fifth grade when I was at Valley View Elementary School,” says Salazar. “In eighth grade…my band director, Mr. [Edward] Gaona, told me about Rosie’s House and said, ‘…The next step to being a musician is to take private lessons.’”
Thanks to a recommendation from Phoenix Symphony flutist Joe Corral, Salazar was able to begin lessons with longtime Rosie’s House teacher Judy Conrad. “My first lesson was so packed and filled with things I didn’t even know,” exclaims Salazar, “…so much…and she told me about long tones and I started to do them and my sound just bloomed.” He smiles and continues, “It’s been amazing — Judy is like a grandma to me. She’s taught me so much…I owe most of it to her.”
Salazar went on to win a spot on the National Public Radio show From the Top, garnering a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award and performing on several broadcasts. From that experience he was inspired to coach weekly sectionals and give private lessons to students at Valley View, his alma mater.
Now Salazar studies with Elizabeth Buck at Arizona State University’s School of Music, although he’s also worked with another Phoenix Symphony flutist, Brian Gordon. “He just gave me free private lessons out of the kindness of his heart,” says Salazar of Gordon. “He was very generous to me…and I still go to study with him every now and then.”
Salazar has a tangible affinity for his instrument. “I thought [of] the flute as being of a very pure sound, with a pure tone,” he explains, “and I wanted to be the one making that sound.” Today he performs on a high-quality Altus flute given to him by Arizona Musicfest during his freshman year of high school. “The flute really sings,” says Salazar.
The young flutist’s infectious enthusiasm, natural talent, and innate good manners have won him loyal supporters like Don Morse, Minister of Worship and the Arts at Central United Methodist Church, which hosted Salazar’s benefit recital in early June. Salazar raised funds to participate in two summer festivals: Canada’s Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA), and the Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy. “They’re very intensive, so we get high doses of information as far as our learning…very concentrated doses,” says Salazar.
His other patrons include Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust president and CEO Harriet Ivey, who matches funds earned by Salazar through his fundraising efforts and his part-time job at Target. Another source of encouragement is businessman James Hagger, who lives in the Phoenix retirement community where Salazar’s mother works as a caregiver. “He’s one of my big supporters as well,” says the flutist, “both financially and emotionally. Salazar’s father is a server assistant at Aunt Chilada’s, a restaurant at the Arizona Grand Resort, and neither he nor Chaz’s mother are musical. “Even though my dad knew nothing about this kind of music,” adds Salazar, “…he heard me play and that’s when it sold him.”
Salazar began performing benefit recitals as a high school sophomore, raising money to pay for school while gaining experience onstage and expanding his repertoire. “My idea is to get a good, small audience and really to move them,” he says, and that’s just what happened at his June recital with pianist Snezana Krstic, which was one of the best of the season.
The program opened with Philippe Gaubert’s rich but playful Fantasie, and continued with a brilliant, wide-ranging new sonata by ASU graduate Eric Hessel. “I gave the world premiere of the piece…and loved it so much that I programmed it on my recital,” declares Salazar.
He continued with the unaccompanied Syrinx by Claude Debussy, a haunting, unforgettable work, and ended with the vigorous Fantasie on themes from Der Freischutz by Paul Taffanel. “The piece is based on Weber’s opera by the same name, which loosely translates to The Free Shooter,” says Salazar. “There are very fast variations in the middle section that are quite virtuosic…it’s definitely a barn-burner.”
Keep an eye out for Salazar’s future performances — he’s an active member of Buck’s flute studio at ASU, and he occasionally offers free community recitals that you won’t want to miss as you follow his progress through the world of professional classical music.
“Etsy” sounds as fun, quirky and creative as the products sold in its user-run stores.
Did you know the amount of sales generated through Etsy in 2012 totaled nearly $900 million?
That’s a lot of quirky fun.
If you’re ready to open a store on this online marketplace, head to MADE Art Boutique this Sunday, July 28. The boutique retailer is hosting a free panel discussion with local artists Sebastien Millon, Cassandra Uhl, and Matt Hinrichs, who will share the ins and outs of starting and running your own Etsy store.
The discussion will be moderated by Christy Brown, MADE’s Program Manager. “We want to help support local artists in the community and Etsy is an amazing tool for them,” said Brown. “It is an easy and inexpensive way for artists to promote their products and already has a built in audience of customers looking to buy handmade items. We hope that this panel will help more artists be more successful in their businesses.”
Come armed with questions for these successful Etsy sellers and get ideas on how you can start a store of your own.
If you go
What: Etsy Success Panel Discussion
When: Sunday, July 28, 2012, 10-11am at MADE
Where: MADE Art Boutique, 922 North 5th St.