Sure, every First Friday offers the opportunity to meander down a closed-off Roosevelt Street or watch naked people have their bodies painted in the back room of a gallery space off Grand Avenue. That’s all fine and good, but sometimes we need something a bit out of the ordinary during our beloved four-hour window of joy. For something different this First Friday, check out the preview event of Fractal, a collaborative space inside the Bragg’s Pie building.
So, what is Fractal? It’s a space and an idea formed by a collection of community-minded organizations — communitasPHX, Dojo Collective and MethodLab Media. There is no denying that Downtown Phoenix has long needed a space for co-working, collaboration, idea sharing, workshopping and presentation. Fractal aims to be that place. It’s positioning itself as “a home for the socially responsible creative class,” and we like the sound of that. In recent months, the Bragg’s Pie building has welcomed a diverse number of tenants — Sapna Café and Modern Cat among them — and Fractal will be a complementary piece to its jigsaw-like layout.
The preview event, running during the traditional 6-10 First Friday hours, is meant to raise awareness about the space and display the work of several prominent designers and artists from Phoenix, including Megan Wright, Chad Knapp, Tyson Crosbie, Mark Dudlik, Andrew Coppola, Jason Ayers, Jamie Martin, Jenny Messerly and more.
As an added bonus, networking group Phoenix Friday Night will host its Downtown Friday Night (@downtownfn or #DTFN on Twitter) get-together at Fractal as well, which always guarantees good socializing, Downtown exploration and more than a few laughs. As if that doesn’t sound totally rad already, it’s BYOB, so… it’ll be a really good time. To RSVP, hit up the Facebook.
If you’re interested in contributing to Fractal, click here.
Fractal is located at 1301 NW Grand Avenue in the Bragg’s Pie building.
First off, let it be known that I’m not a wino. Sure, I appreciate a good pinot noir now and again, but I couldn’t tell you the difference between a viognier and a zinfandel. Having said that, I’m learning to appreciate wine. Events like the Arizona Wine Growers Festival at the Farm are helping me reach that goal.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. Hundreds of wines, over a dozen wineries… from Arizona? I heard the lead singer of Tool has a vineyard near Jerome, but up until Saturday’s event, I had little knowledge of Arizona wine culture beyond that. Man, was I off base. What went down was a fantastic affair on one of the most beautiful days of the year in one of Phoenix’s prized locales, the Farm at South Mountain. What I realized is Arizona’s wine culture is not only budding, but also experiencing a grassroots explosion of sorts.
Yes, I tasted the 2008 Primer Paso from Verde Valley’s Caduceus Cellars, made famous when a few rock journalists traveled to the Arizona high country to check out Tool’s Maynard James Keenan’s personal vineyard. Caduceus was one of the few wineries that had rock concert-style t-shirts for sale (I should have known), but the wine was the true star here. Blood red with citrus and pine notes, it was hefty, but went down surprisingly smooth. It paired well with the hummus I snacked on from the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.
Up next, Elgin’s Canelo Hills Vineyard 2007 Sangiovese. Wow, that’s a mouthful. Good thing it tasted delicious. The host told me this stuff goes well with Italian fare. It made me want some Chicken Parmesan, so they’re doing something right. It was bright and fruity, and much less intimidating than the previous taste.
The other star of the show? Local favorite Su Vino Winery out of Old Town Scottsdale. Yeah, it’s not so earthy there, but hey, these people make killer wines. The Ruby, the lone red at the table, was like sangria in a bottle, minus the floating fruit. Big, punchy bursts of fruity flavor in that sucker. And, though I usually don’t care for white wine, the Summer Rain (which, luckily, is available at the Urban Grocery), really fit the description of tasting like “a day by the pool.” It was like apple juice with an alcohol kick. Yes, it’s that dangerous. Beware.
As the pictures below attest, the event was masterfully organized, and the attendees really lucked out on the weather. What a perfect day to be outside enjoying a nice Gewurztraminer. Yes, I just said that.
This month’s RadiatePhx event is a bit unique. Usually the discussion centers on the great things happening around Central Phoenix. This time, RadiatePhx wants to hear what you don’t like about living in Downtown Phoenix. What can we improve? What needs fixing? How do we create a world-class Downtown that we can all respect? Don’t think of these points as complaints — think of them as constructive criticism. Join moderator Tyler Hurst at the event and let your thoughts be known. Tyler’s guest blog below is just the tip of the iceberg. See you on Tuesday. -Ed.
Downtown Phoenix isn’t about businesses, buildings or parks. It’s about people. Those that live, work and/or play here make this place what it is. It’s not that great. Sure, there’s plenty of potential and lots of usable space, but we really haven’t done much.
Copper Square was a failed experiment. Have you EVER seen that place busy? Elsewhere, it’s impossible to walk anywhere north of I-10. And what are we doing about it? Well, nothing, really. We’re having our little events and hoping that something good will happen. Then we congratulate each other. It’s time to stop flailing blindly and get on the same page. Let’s share our gripes and figure out ways to get better. Here are mine.
- Anything fun is spaced too far away. We have small little hives of activity connected with long, dark patches of absolutely nothing.
- A lot of the people living here are liberal artists. They don’t make much money, don’t understand how to make money and seem content with First Fridays for selling anything. Yeah, good luck with that.
- We have tons of groups, yet no one talks to each other. Go ask marketing people they’ll tell you the same. We all have our own thing on our own day, and they’re all sparsely attended.
- Everyone wants a creative class down here, but no one understands what the hell that even is.
- Most are against anything corporate or chain, yet they don’t understand that’s where the money comes from.
- Everything is shiny happy unicorn rainbows all the time. THE BEST EVENT EVER! First Friday was a blast! The little scavenger hunt we had changed my life (OK, that last one was actually fun)! It’s called perspective. Try it.
- No one looks around. Nice TwitterHunt last week, CenPho businesses. Didn’t bother to check that many of the people using social media had their own GeekWeekAZ and were too tired to participate, did you?
- Too many businesses think A) Twitter is the answer or B) don’t have a clue what the internet, much less social media, even is. I live downtown and I don’t hear a damn thing about what goes on down here, and I’m constantly searching social media channels. It’s about BALANCE.
- Everyone bitches, but no one bitches out loud and in public. Pissed about Modified Arts? SAY SOMETHING. Want to start a music venue? ASK AROUND.
- We want our Downtown to be just like someone else’s. It doesn’t work that way. While I love the Gaslamp District, our city leaders seem too concerned with north Phoenix to make that happen. You want to improve your city? DO IT.
- Phoenix thinks it has an image problem, when Phoenix IS THE PROBLEM. It’s foot-burning, nose-drying, armpit-sweating hot five months every year here, and we have a Downtown WITHOUT ANY SHADED SIDEWALKS.
- You built a park in the middle of the city and didn’t bother to shade it. Instead, we got a floating cervix that only looks good at night.
- The Arizona Republic still exists, apparently above questioning. Does anyone even read that rag anymore? Arpaio met with Biden? WHO’S REPORTING WHAT?
- Businesses think light rail is the answer. No, being amazing is the answer. Light rail is just a more efficient way of bringing people to you.
- Too often, criticism is passed off as complaining. Ever try asking a critic if they’re willing to help? I bet they are!
- ASU has been allowed to grow in the middle of Downtown, without any sort of clear plan as to what role it will play in the community. Right now, it offers residents limited WiFi. Woohoo.
- There’s always talk about shopping local, yet no one actually does it. Ever seen unmanageable lines at the Phoenix Public Market? Me neither.
- That people probably haven’t even read this far.
Agree or disagree, get down to Local Breeze on Tuesday, November 24 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and get your point across. You don’t count if you don’t show up. Let’s be constructive and make a difference.
Local Breeze is located at 606 N. 4th Ave. in Roosevelt (602.368.3613) — light rail station at Central/1st avenues and Van Buren Street.
This past Saturday evening was bustling with various activities throughout the Valley. With the Big Pour in Scottsdale, the Phoenix Parade of Arts on 5th Street, Phoenix Green Streets on Roosevelt, Rock Support for Decent Shelter at Trinity Cathedral and more, it was hard to select the right adventure to take. Since I am so with the times, I have relegated Twitter as my guide to what event will fill up my evening. I noticed a buzz about Phoenix Brew Party and, after perusing its nifty website, the beer snob in me decided it was a noble venture.
This event is hosted and conceived from a local non-profit group that is helping our community in its own way. Communitas is doing its part for our community. It hosts some pretty intriguing events: Taco Day, a taco-eating frenzy that supports a new charity each year; On Bike with Love, where you form a charitable bike gang that delivers care packages to the needy; and many more.
So, I approach this event with some suspicion. After all, who gives away free beer with no strings attached? Apparently Communitas does. At a house on 7th Street and Coronado, there was a yard full of guests and a porch full of some of the finest local brews you can imagine. It started off with some judging from some local patrons, and then it came the mob’s turn to judge. We were encouraged to vote for the beer we preferred by placing a dollar or two in the bin next to each keg — a charitable gesture. The proceeds were not kept, but collected to help some of our local transients with acquiring necessities. This is all well and good, but inside this lovely 1920s bungalow resided a table loaded with homemade goodies — everything from pulled pork barbecue to seafood pasta. If anything, these people know how to throw a party and support their community.
I feel inclined to jump on board with them. Check them out. Become a part of the cure.
All photos by Andrew Langdal
What’s this, a puppet slam? Never heard of it, no clue what that means… puppets… slam? Who knew a puppet show could be adult oriented? The Great Arizona Puppet Theater did! It isn’t very often that great puppeteers get together and do a puppet show for the 18+ crowd, so when it does happen, it is a must-see. This special occasion was in honor of Thanksgiving, labeled “The Raw Turkey Puppet Slam,” and our host for the evening was Hector the sock puppet. Now, being forewarned of the obscenities that were to come, we knew we were in for some sort of treat.
The first puppet show up for the evening was performed by Nataliya Khusid, who is from Russia and now resides in Detroit. The piece was entitled “L’Histoire d’Amour,” a beautiful French love story portrayed with two small hand-face puppets and French music. It was simply gorgeous to watch, as her hands mimicked the bodies of these faces and showed us a story about a woman reluctant to fall in love and a man persistent enough to pursue her until she gave in.
Next up, Dan Dan the Puppet Man presented Dolly Parton performing “Great Balls of Fire.” That’s right, a Dolly Parton string puppet performing the popular song from Jerry Lee Lewis. It’s incredible to watch someone move every part of the puppet with strings as though it were a real person performing live. The performance was clever and quite entertaining!
Nancy Smith, Director of Great Arizona Puppet Theater, put on the next show for us, “Owl & the Pussycat.” Imagine a person dressed as a puppet box with hand-drawn puppets on a stick. Yes, that is the kind of show she put on for us. It was another love story, this one about an owl and a pussycat who travel the world in a boat, find a ring from a pig and get married by a turkey. Are you intrigued by all this yet? We were clamoring for more!
Khusid performed another short show for us just after intermission, and then it was on to Tommy Cannon of Cannon Bros. performing “Gila Monster.” This puppet show did not star your average puppet — no sock, no strings and no masks. No, this puppet was made out of Khusid’s hand and a pair of eyes. Wildly entertaining and silly, we laughed as Tommy performed behind the curtain yet interacted with the Gila monster that was his hand.
The final performance of the evening was called “Little Bunny’s Halloween” and was performed by Gwen Bonar of Rude Rabbit Productions. Acted out with a stuffed mama bunny and a stuffed baby boy bunny, this piece was the perfect nightcap! Baby boy bunny was afraid of Halloween, so mama bunny decided they should practice Santeria instead. You can only imagine the antics that followed.
The group performs on a regular basis for children Wednesdays through Fridays at 10 a.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. The next adult puppet slam will be on January 1, 2010, and DPJ thinks it’s a great idea to ring in the New Year with an off-the-wall puppet show! The best way to stay informed is to check out our calendar of events, or you can visit the theater’s website at azpuppets.org or call 602.262.2050.
The Great Arizona Puppet Theater is located at 302 W. Latham St.
Photos by Greg Humphrey