Triple Espresso, the java-soaked Actors Theatre performance that received rave reviews last year, is returning to the Herberger Theater Center in September, and through Saturday, August 29 at 8 a.m., you can get 2-for-1 tickets to the opening weekend.
Triple Espresso chronicles three gents’ quest for fame and fortune in rags-to-riches fashion. Along the way, there’s coffee, dancing in Zaire, Nebraska references (yes, really), gorillas and hand shadow puppets. It’s as zany as it sounds, and it’s a can’t-miss.
The 2-for-1 discount is good for performances at 8 p.m. on September 11 and 12 and 2 p.m. on September 13. Use the code “JOLT” online or over the phone to enjoy the savings.
To purchase, visit the Herberger ticketing site, or call 602.252.8497. The Herberger Theater Center is located at 222 E. Monroe St. Triple Espresso performances run through September.
Each month, The Improvised Book Club, an ensemble of some of Phoenix’s best improvisers, chooses a different book to read. Then, on the fourth Sunday of the month, they get together at Space 55 to discuss the book in an open setting and providing their unique take on things. Oprah’s Book Club this is not…
I had the pleasure of attending this past month’s discussion on World War Z by Max Brooks. (Fun aside: Max Brooks is the son of famous director and funnyman Mel Brooks.) World War Z is a fictionalized collection of firsthand experiences and interviews from survivors 10 years after a war between the living and undead (read: zombies) that nearly wiped out humanity.
The discussion was lively, with all members of the group commenting on topics ranging from how fighting a war against zombies cannot be done in a traditional sense, and how that parallels current world events, to society’s obsession with famous people and reality television, which plays into a section of the book.
Periodically, the group would create fictitious scenes based upon the themes and ideas presented in the source material. These scenes included a healthy dose of pop culture references and had the audience laughing heartily. Where else would you find subject matter ranging from the Jonas Brothers, to anthropomorphic tumors, to the online difficulties zombies would have with CAPTCHAs, to the reinvigoration of the Weekend at Bernie’s franchise?
After the discussion, The Improvised Book Club followed with 10 minutes of straight-up improvisation. As with the scenes during the discussion, the subject matter varied widely, from conjoined police officers to how the District of Columbia came to be.
Next month’s book is Aldous Huxley’s classic and controversial science fiction novel Brave New World.
Space 55 is located at 636 E. Pierce St. For more information, call 602.663.4032.
On Thursday, August 20, I attended the monthly Get Your Phx (Fix) event at After Hours Creative. Get Your Phx is a monthly gathering of approximately 40 urban enthusiasts who meet at various studios, restaurants and galleries in and around Downtown Phoenix. According to organizer Ken Clark, the goal of Get Your Phx is to support the people and projects that have “taken a risk” in Central Phoenix.
After Hours Creative definitely fits the bill of a project that has taken a risk in Central Phoenix. The mixed-use building is the fulfillment of a dream for owners Mike Oleskow and Russ Haan. Not only is the 7,400-sq.-ft. building home to their business venture, After Hours Creative, and their gallery, After Hours Gallery, but also their incredible 1,100-sq.-ft. condo overlooking Central Avenue — all on a quarter-acre single-family lot bordering the Willo historical neighborhood. Mike and Russ wanted a building that would not only meet their needs today, but also the needs of owners 50 years down the road. So, while the building’s current configuration hosts an art gallery, graphic design studio, private office and condo, it is designed in such a way that one could easily imagine the building hosting a restaurant, law office, clothing store, tattoo parlor or more living spaces in future iterations.
During the course of the evening, architect Scott Roeder, the project manager that turned Russ and Mike’s dream into a reality, showed guests around the building. The primary goal of the project was to maximize the floor area of the property while conforming to the commercial zoning restrictions of two stories. To manage this, Scott studied the ins and outs of the city ordinances and determined that while technically limited to two stories, buildings can have mezzanine levels as well as basements. As a result, he and his team were able to design four levels of living, work and storage space all within the official two-story limit. The building’s close proximity to the Central Avenue light rail line allows it to take advantage of the transit overlay district provisions regarding parking and lot coverage. However, the project did not receive any of the tax incentives or subsidies that major developments elsewhere in the city, such as CityScape or CityNorth, have enjoyed.
Everyone I spoke to was in awe of the building and what Russ, Mike and Scott and his team have achieved. They all agreed that Phoenix, especially Downtown Phoenix, needs more of this type of space to flourish as a dynamic hub for the region. Alas, this is the only example of a small-scale, multi-use infill development around. Jim McPherson, Vice President of the Arizona Heritage Foundation and member of the Downtown Voices Coalition, would like to change this. During the event, he talked about the need to support this type of development throughout Downtown and called on City Hall to initiate an urban infill task force to investigate ways to encourage these projects in the Downtown core.
If you haven’t been to the After Hours building yet, put it on your “must-see” list. The gallery is open weekdays from 10-5, as well as First Fridays.
The building, including the condo, is also available to rent for private engagements, and is located at 116 W. McDowell Rd. See www.afterhoursgallery.com for more information, or contact After Hours Creative at www.ahcreative.com to schedule a visit.
While First Friday is an all-you-can-see, raucous affair spread over a whirlwind four hours, its younger brother, Third Friday, is more subdued, less obtrusive and generally left to his quiet ways. But with options abound this Third Friday, it’s time to get out for more than a casual stroll through that gallery that was too packed a few Fridays back.
Light rail riders love Fair Trade Café‘s chill vibe. Now ASUers will, too. Just in time for Third Friday and the new school year, Fair Trade is opening its second location at Civic Space Park Friday morning. The festivities run from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and will include far more than a standard java buzz. Fair Trade will be roasting fresh beans all day long, and offering drink specials as well (ASU students get even more special offers). Tours of its historic digs, right in the heart of the park, will be offered from 6 p.m. on. At 7 p.m., a free swing dance crash course will lead to tunes from the Sugar Thieves, which will echo throughout the park until 10:30 p.m. Even the Hudson Club will be on hand to display some fancy cars.
Up the light rail line, the Heard Museum is throwing its monthly NU (Native+You) event from 5:30-9 p.m. Always free with a cash bar (usually with some pretty darn good drinks as well), NU is a great way to take in the entire museum free of charge and enjoy great live music in a unique after-hours setting. This month, Heard welcomes the Wanderers from 6-8 p.m., along with the Axe Capoeira dance crew, which will perform at 6:30 and 8. An auction of work by Kathy and Patrick Murillo‘s La Casa Murillo will also take place at 7.
Fair Trade Café’s new location is located at 424 N. Central Ave. (light rail stops at Central/1st Avenue and Van Buren).
The Heard Museum is located at 2301 N. Central Ave. (light rail stop at Central and Encanto) For more information, call 602.252.8848.
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.”