Arts & Culture
Remember those awful cafeteria lunches from your elementary days? The very thought of it sends a chill down the spine, so you can only imagine the poor children who are still suffering with it. If you want healthy, delicious food to grace our public schools’ cafeterias, now you can take a stand. This Labor Day (Monday, September 7) Slow Food Phoenix will be staging an eat-in at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in response to the Child Nutrition Act, and the public is welcome to come and show its support.
The bill is up for reauthorization by Congress this fall, and these kiddos need your help. All you need to do is show up, bring a picnic lunch and show your support. Participants are also encouraged to bring a dessert for a sweet and tasty potluck following lunchtime.
Beyond a simple picnic, participants will get to see a school garden demonstration, take a kids cooking class with a famous local chef, get more information on food in schools and most importantly, send a message to our legislators that we want REAL FOOD in SCHOOLS!
The eat-in will take place in the Home Arts Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Rd., from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, email email@example.com.
Kia’s Soul Collective event motors into Downtown Phoenix this week, and it gives visitors the opportunity to test drive a sweet ride and witness some some face-melting rock. Running Thursday through Sunday at the Icehouse (429 W. Jackson St.), Soul Collective showcases Kia’s new 2010 Soul model, with local DJs and bands playing free sets for everyone that stops in. Everyone that takes a free test drive will receive two tickets for Sunday’s private show with Florida punk group Against Me! The schedule follows:
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.