No matter how old you get, the allure of breakfast for dinner never lessens. The exciting feeling one gets straying from the typical meal schedule is what drove many Phoenicians to the “PJs and Eggs: Breakfast for Dinner” event, sponsored by Hickman Family Farms.
The event took place on Friday, August 14 and featured nine Valley breakfast hot spots. Patrons were invited to donate a pair of children’s pajamas to receive a dozen free Hickman eggs and an opportunity to win a breakfast party for 65 friends.
At Matt’s Big Breakfast, on 1st Street, many of the event’s participants came wearing their pajamas. The Owens family decided to join in on the fun on the suggestion of daughter Sienna Owens, who celebrated her 9th birthday Friday.
“She wanted to come out and help the kids,” said mother Jill Owens, “As well as eat breakfast for dinner on her birthday.”
Chandler resident Cheerilyn Snow has been meaning to visit Matt’s since she saw it featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but hasn’t been able to make it out since the restaurant closes early.
“It’s nice to see people out at night,” said owner Matt Pool. “Something like this is fun for all.”
Unfortunately, one featured participant was unable to stay open for the event due to contract restrictions by the landlord. Locally owned restaurant Over Easy had originally been listed as a participant on Hickman’s website, but due to a miscommunication was informed on Thursday, August 13 that its contract did not permit it to stay open later on a Friday.
“I am very disappointed in the landlord for handling this matter in the way they did,” said owner Brad May. “However, they are still the landlord and they have every right to run to conduct their business in any way they see fit.”
Despite the setback, May was still on the premise to accept donations, as well as give out eggs and coupons to the dozen or so patrons who were not aware of the change. “It is not the kids’ fault that all of this happened,” said May. “We are very community minded and these kids still have needs.”
Due to the closure during the event, Over Easy will be donated 10% of its profits from normal operating hours on Saturday and Sunday to benefit Arizona foster children. “We expect to net close to $1,000 for the kids,” said May. “Plus, we have a box full of pajamas thanks to our wonderful customers.”
In a world where animation has come to mean glossy, 3-D Pixar films, it is refreshing to see a movie that represents the painstakingly hand-drawn vision of a true artist. The modern master of animation, Hayao Miyazaki, presents Ponyo, a contemporary fairy tale that is a blend of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid and Wagner’s The Valkyrie with his own brand of environmentalism, feminism and some spectacular wizardry thrown in for good measure.
The story features a young fish-girl (Noah Cyrus), daughter of a powerful undersea wizard (Liam Neeson), who ventures to the surface and ends up in the care of Sosuke (Frankie Jonas), a young boy who lives with his mother (Tina Fey) in an isolated house on top of a cliff. Sosuke names the fish-girl Ponyo, and cares for her until he loses her to the sea at the hands of her father. Her father (who insists on calling Ponyo Brünhildde, à la Wagner) is unable to keep her underwater for long, and she uses her powerful magic to rise to the surface to be with Sosuke, whom she has fallen in love with. Sensing the inevitable, her father and mother (Cate Blanchett) realize that she is determined to live her life on dry land, so they arrange a test to determine whether the young Sosuke is worthy of being her companion. Sosuke passes the test and Ponyo becomes human, restoring the balance of nature in the process.
From the hand-drawn landscapes to the masterfully crafted action sequences, Ponyo is a visual delight. Miyazaki did a significant amount of the animation himself on this project, and his vision shows through. The scenes in which the raging water is personified as giant blue fish, crashing as waves on the land, is not mere storytelling or even art as much as it is a perfect anthropomorphizing of nature with a tender strength that only Miyazaki could pull off.
The cast of characters includes Lily Tomlin, Betty White and Cloris Leachman as a group of seniors who provide comic relief to the story. Their witty banter belies their key role in the closing scenes of the movie, in which they undergo transformations that lead them to physical restoration, as the young Ponyo and Sosuke demonstrate their emotional maturity.
While I am predisposed to reject the contrived confusion of dubbed voice talent, the casting was spot on — with one exception. Cyrus and Jonas were well-suited to the two young lead roles. Tina Fey’s slightly tinny-yet-loving tone was just right for Sosuke’s mother, and Cate Blanchett’s performance as Ponyo’s mystical mother, while bordering on a re-enactment of her portrayal of Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings, fit perfectly. Liam Neeson’s booming baritone missed the mark, though. He was not believable as the thin, gangly, smarmy sea wizard.
The one major disappointment in the film is the climactic scene in which Sosuke is asked to perform a test of love, to prove he is worthy of Ponyo. The film builds to a crescendo leading to the moment in which Ponyo’s parents, in a mystical, life-regenerating bubble under the flooded surface of the earth, tell him what his test of love is. His test of love, the pinnacle that the film has been building to, is simply a question. After over an hour of drama, leitmotif, action and frantic emotion, they just ask him to promise that he will love Ponyo no matter what form she is in. But it isn’t a question that is beautiful in its simplicity, instead, it comes across as an awkwardly worded letdown.
In spite of the mis-step with the climactic scene, and a couple of odd scenes that didn’t translate very well to the American screen (including an unsettling discussion about the origins of human breast milk), Ponyo is a brilliant work of art by a man who may be the last great master of hand-drawn animation. It is a must see.
On Monday, August 17 at 1:30 p.m., head over to the Heard Museum for another great film, part of the museum’s weekly Movie Mondays program.
The museum will show Our Nationhood. Canadian First Nation filmmaker and artist Alanis Obomsawin chronicles the determination and tenacity of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq people to use and manage the natural resources of their traditional lands.
The Heard Museum is located at 2301 N. Central Ave. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors age 65 or older, $5 for students with a valid student ID and $3 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under 6, Heard Museum members and American Indians receive free admission.
For more information, call 602.252.8848 or visit www.heard.org.
Downtown denizens are mixing business with pleasure at a weekend event that will introduce ASU students to the benefits of an urban lifestyle.
The City of Phoenix, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Artlink, Inc. and ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus are partnering on a special trolley tour to encourage and engage student leaders to take advantage of the variety of amenities offered in the city’s core.
The tour, which showcases entertainment venues, restaurants, boutiques, and cultural attractions in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, August 15 at Taylor Place residence hall, 120 E. Taylor Place. Three trolley cars will pick up approximately 60 community assistants, student engagement supervisors and workers and residential college peer leaders for a fun-filled evening of art, commerce and culture.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said the tour will be comparable to a treasure hunt.
Please join me in welcoming our ASU students to downtown Phoenix for our 2009 tour. Our new students will experience an emerging downtown in the heart of this city on the rise,” Gordon said. “We have so many hidden treasures that won’t stay hidden for much longer. I thank ASU, Artlink, Inc. and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership for shining a light on Downtown Phoenix.”
Student leaders selected for the tour have extensive exposure to the ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus student community and were invited because of their ability to promote the area. Tour stops include the Arizona Science Center Dorrance Planetarium, Arizona Center, Roosevelt Row and several restaurants and boutiques.
“The idea is to introduce student leaders what Phoenix has to offer,” said Terry Madeksza, director of operations for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “We want to expose them to all of our entertainment, retail, dining and cultural opportunities, which are all within walking distance of where they’ll live.”
The tour will also expose students to ASU’s Sun Card “Use it Here” program, a new business incentive program. Members can simply show their Sun Card at participating businesses and venues for discounts on products and services. Participating vendors will display placards that say, “Use it Here” with ASU’s mascot, “Sparky,” holding a Sun Card. Faculty and staff will be encouraged to load dollars onto their cards and use them at participating vendors in the downtown area.
Artlink President Sloane Burwell said her organization couldn’t be happier to participate in what will hopefully be a time-honored tradition.
“It’s a natural, organic partnership. For the last 20 years Artlink has been a vital part of bringing people downtown and we’ve contributed to the development of our city,” Burwell said. “Working with ASU in this way is like introducing the next generation of leaders to our neighborhoods.”
The Downtown Phoenix campus is embedded in the heart of the city. The colleges and schools on the campus directly interact with more than 500 agencies to provide internships, research, partnerships, programs and clinical practices. Funded by a voter-approved $223 million bond, the campus will comprise nine buildings that cover approximately 20 acres, accommodate 15,000 students, employ 1,800 faculty and staff and generate about $948 million in construction costs and occupy more than 1.5 million square feet by its projected build-out in 2020. The campus will have an annual operational economic impact of $570 million not only producing the intellectual assets for the city, state, nation and the world, but also proving to be an economic force as well.
The Lunchtime Speaker Series at the Carnegie Center, 1101 W. Washington St., features a different speaker every month for free to the public.
On Thursday, August 20, Dr. Jay Craváth will present “The Instrument as a Time Capsule.” Craváth is a composer, writer and scholar in the field of music and American Indian studies. He crafts programs from these interests into discussions that include stories, musical performance and dance. His publications include North American Indian Music and Songs for Ancient Days.
For a musician, the song is often recalled most easily with instrument in hand, which conjures history when played in the manner of the day. The rolling gourd rattle before a Mohave Bird song carries the vocal. A banjo’s four-bar intro brings the audience to quiet and readies the dancers. Musical instruments in Arizona are as diverse as the immigrants who traveled through and settled in our state. Craváth, a multi-instrumentalist, discusses and demonstrates how instruments have been an integral part of the musical experience, from assisting with oral memory of pieces, to providing a time capsule opened when the song is played. Among the instruments demonstrated are the balalaika, dulcimer, harp guitar, Hohokam bone flute and mandola.
Light refreshments will be served but attendees should bring their own lunches. Free parking will be available.
For more information, call 602.926.3368 or email email@example.com.