Arts & Culture
The living dead are invading First Friday, but fear not, they won’t be there looking for brains. No, instead of brains, these reanimated corpses will be on the hunt for random items in the Second Annual First Friday Zombie Scavenger Hunt. Presented by the upcoming International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, the event will be kicking off with a zombie walk starting at the Arizona Ghostbusters (exactly what it sounds like) booth located a 501 E. Roosevelt St. The walk will end at the film festival’s booth, and from there the scavenger hunt will take place with teams of four trying to find as many items on their list as they can. Their hunt will end at the Alwun House, where all contestants will receive free entry to the premiere of Blood Bath of the Bat Beast that night. More details and entry forms can be found at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival site.
We all know First Friday’s grasp on Downtown is ever expanding, so it’s no surprise that Civic Space Park is getting in on the fun. Friday debuts First @ Park, where Civic Space’s businesses, arts spaces and, well, park space all come together in celebration of First Friday.
First @ Park is a community collaborative event between the city of Phoenix, the Dean’s office at Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Phoenix, Karuna Village Fair Trade and Las Otras Hermanas.
The event will feature performances at the park amphitheater starting at 7 p.m. Capoeira Brasil Arizona will be on hand to perform its 500-year-old disciplined martial arts improvisational dance (a true feat of athleticism!). A storyteller volunteer from a Las Otras Hermanas will also be on hand.
As October is National Fair Trade Month, it’s only fitting to celebrate with the grand opening of the Fair Trade Store, right next to Fair Trade Café on the park’s courtyard level. The volunteer-run store is a nonprofit retail space run by Karuna Village Fair Trade and Las Otras Hermanas that houses organic wearables, housewares, trinkets and body products, all of course sourced through fair trade practices — over 30 collectives from around the globe.
And, no First Friday event would be complete without artwork, so stroll through the park to gander at photography, paintings and found art. Photographer Jeff Jones and artist Debbie Sexton will both have their work on display.
Civic Space Park is located at 424 N. Central Ave.
Other First Friday happenings
Besides the typical hullabaloo that ensues on Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue, here are a few other low-key First Friday events.
Phoenix New Times‘ opening reception for “Wonderland,” a collection of Phoenix artists’ breezy depictions of the city, will take place at [merz]project, 1437 N. 1st St, Ste. 201.
The “Taste of the Rosson House” tour and lecture series will guide participants through one of Downtown Phoenix’s most cherished, historical museums, 6-9 p.m. at the Rosson House Museum, 113 N. 6th St.
The “Ghosts of Phoenix” tour will trek through the Hotel San Carlos, one of the Valley’s famed haunted structures. Tickets are $10-12, visit ghostsofphoenix.com for more info. Tours are at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at the hotel, 202 N. Central Ave.
The Alwun House kicks off a month-long celebration of all things ghouls and ghosts with a screening of Blood Bath of the Bat Beast, directed by Valley filmmaker Larry Lopresti. Tickets, available at the Alwun House website, are $6 in advance, $9 at the door. The film starts at 7 p.m., 1202 E. Roosevelt St.
For a more festive approach, at the Executive Tower at the State Capitol, think holidays. Yes, they’re right around the corner, and it’s time to vote on how to best represent them. An exhibition to select a work of art distinguished for its quality artistic approach to the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree theme, “Arizona’s Gift from the Grand Canyon State” is underway. Hosted by Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Arizona Commission on the Arts and Arizona Art Alliance, the night is a total First Friday event, complete with an Artlink shuttle to the State Capitol, refreshments compliments of FEZ and an intriguing cello-and-DJ musical performance. The exhibition runs from 5:30-8 p.m., 1700 W. Washington St.
First Fridays are back at the Coe House! View the latest contemporary works from Robert Denning, Rocco Menaguale and Galen Hasenpflug. Plus, specific pieces will be at “recession pricing,” ooh la la! The reception is from 7-10 p.m, 365 N. 4th Ave.
After a week of mild (well, for September in Phoenix) temperatures, the mercury soared yet again just in time for the Grand Avenue Festival. Phoenix’s notoriously anti-conformist diagonal roadway, however, proved to be a worthy draw for thousands who braved the heat. From the Trunk Space all the way down Jordre Studio, the day was a scorching success. The lure of free snowcones probably helped, too.
As a group of about 25 people congregated on the grounds of the Tilt Gallery at 9:30 a.m., it was already 102º, but that didn’t stop them from crisscrossing Grand Avenue for an hour-and-a-half, learning about adaptive reuse processes in several key buildings that line the avenue.
The leisurely adaptive reuse tours slowly snaked northwest along Grand, popping in and out of buildings erected from the early 1900s to the 1950s — structures that were once groceries and mechanic garages that now house artists, office spaces and cafés. Three separate tours throughout the morning hours accommodated a total of 80-some people, each learning a bit about Grand’s storied past. At Jordre Studio, painter Kyle Jordre openly told attendees to head into his living quarters in back of his studio to see his “cute ruby red” (his words, not ours) bathroom. Up the street at Paisley Town, listeners heard tales of the colorful cottages moving from Papago Park to 17th Avenue to their final spot in the quaint courtyard.
As the morning rolled into the afternoon, most galleries and eateries were reporting strong foot traffic, often first-time Grand Avenue visitors. By late afternoon, side streets along Grand were lined with cars and bikes chained to fence posts. More than a few houses nearby were enjoying raucous parties, clearly welcoming the attention on the normally quiet avenues.
Music could be heard rounding nearly every corner. On the rooftop of the Loft, bands such as Bolt and Haunted Cologne rocked patrons sitting outside Sapna Café (which, by the way, had long wait times the entire evening). The PHiX hosted two stages: raucous indie bands inside the cavernous space, and the more subdued River Jones PRESENTS! stage just to the north of the building. A makeshift stage popped up in a lot next to Jordre Studio, while the Paisley Violin hosted tunes for 12 hours straight.
At the Bragg’s Pie building, a packed house came to see “trashy” art on display, and stayed into the evening hours for the recycled wearables and local boutique fashion shows.
It’s tough to say just how many people were on Lower Grand throughout the day, but the first Grand Avenue Festival was an undoubted success. We have something to build on for next fall’s festivities — Grand has once again proven that it is a relevant, important and constantly budding cultural landscape in Phoenix.
By now most have heard the news that broke yesterday that Kimber Lanning is stepping down from her helm at Modified Arts, and the indie music that is oh so loved here is going with her (see her statement below). Though it’s certainly not a shock due to her massive commitments elsewhere (Kimber is the closest thing Phoenix has to Superwoman), it is also certainly the end of an era.
Right off the bat, I want to say that I’ll continue to fully support Modified and its new owners, Kim Larkin and Adam Murray, in whatever direction they choose to take. But, I must also say that it’s tremendously sad that Downtown Phoenix (well, the Valley, really) is losing its independent music mecca, whether the space continues to throw one-off local shows or not.
Phoenix has struggled with its music identity for decades now, as evidenced by the sheer number of venues that have come and gone in recent years (off the top of my head: the Nile, Nita’s Hideaway, Long Wongs on Mill, Bash on Ash, the Paper Heart, Onespace, the Mason Jar, Fat Cats, Neckbeards, etc.). Put Modified at or near the top of that list. Over its decade-long run, that little hole-in-the-wall art gallery, creaky floorboards and all, put on some killer shows, and brought in talent from all over the world — much of which has graduated to the likes of major music festivals, theaters and arenas. No one can argue that Modified allowed Phoenix to be on countless tour itineraries. Sure, someone will come along — hopefully in Downtown Phoenix, although there are whispers of an all-ages music renaissance about to crop up once again in Tempe — and open a new space that will one day reclaim the booking prowess that Modified earned over its years of service. But, it won’t happen overnight. And, until then, the independent music scene here is at a serious loss.From Kimber: Hello Phoenix,
I think you all know how much I love this town, right? Maybe some of you know me from Stinkweeds, or Modified Arts, or some of my newer friends know me from the work I’m doing with Local First Arizona. Well, I want to talk to you about some upcoming changes that you should know about. It’s important that you hear this from me, and that you know that you can ask me any question you may have at any time.
A brief history of Modified Arts: we opened in January of 1999 as a dedicated art space, providing a place for painters, musicians, actors, dancers, and poets to share their work in an affordable and welcoming environment. As you know, Roosevelt Street has blossomed over the years and is now home to an astonishing array of galleries, shops, and restaurants. I am proud to have been part of what has been nothing less than the complete transformation of a community.
Over the past 10 years, I have changed as well. I am now actively involved in community development, and work extensively on both city and state initiatives that I believe will be for the betterment of us all. Encouraging density and infill, sustainable policies- rather than suburban policies of the 50’s, local procurement, economic development, and entrepreneurship are my top priorities. Many of you who know me know that I have worked hard to walk the line between indie rock shows and city council meetings, between stocking the fridge and public speaking engagements.
It’s time for something to give.
I am pleased to introduce you to Kim Larkin and Adam Murray, a husband and wife team who will be the perfect people to carry on the Modified banner without me. I am overwhelmingly happy to have found a solution to a difficult situation. I will never give up that building, but I didn’t want to place a business in there that wouldn’t actively contribute to the neighborhood, and in particular to Roosevelt Row. Kim and Adam will be able to advance Modified in a way that I am unable to do with my current work load.
Kim’s background is in arts management, and she has already run a gallery of her own in Salt Lake City. Adam is a sound engineer whom some of you may know as a sound guy at Modified now. They have big plans for Modified Arts and I expect you all to get behind them and show support. Modified Arts will be more of a traditional gallery, though Adam will still be doing shows. However, we must tell you that the big, indie rock shows you’ve come to know and love at Modified will have to find another home. The programming will be changing to better accommodate a gallery, so the slant will be more experimental and progressive.
We will be closing Modified Arts as it exists right now the second weekend in December and re-opening with a new look for Third Friday in January. The stage and green room will be gone, giving way to a cleaner look that will better suit the artwork.
I know some of you will have a hard time with the change but I am asking you to embrace it the best you can and recognize that for almost 11 years we did something no one thought we could do. We ran in independent music venue and art gallery with volunteers from the community and kept the rent at $160 so that bands could play and make some money, and promoters could still bring the small bands and make ends meet. We provided the stepping stones for most of the bands playing at the Rhythm Room today. In fact, some of the bands playing at the Marquee or Cricket Pavilion got their first show in Phoenix at Modified. If you were there for one of those shows, please hold the memory dear.
As a city grows, things change. Be proud of what each of you contributed and be grateful you were there. Looking forward, Modified Arts will be something new to explore and yet familiar. Kim and Adam have promised to keep working with many of the mid-career artists I’ve worked to develop over the years, and I feel the situation could not be better. They will give the website a new look and have lots of plans for better events. I’m sure they will be in touch with many of you in the coming weeks to introduce themselves and to communicate their plans to you directly. You will like them a lot, I promise. Kim and I are collaborating on a show in January (my last, her first) that will document the history of the Phoenix arts scene going all they way back to the early 70’s.
I could talk to you all for days about the ways Modified has changed over the years- some good and some bad. The community has changed, too. I know I have certainly been distracted with all of the policy work I’ve been submerged in, but I will save that discussion for a book one day. Suffice to say I am happy I was able to be a part of it, and I’m happy I found someone to carry it on.
For all of you who were there along the way: thank you. Modified is a shining example of what a community can do when we work together. I look forward to whatever we decide to do next.
Here is the latest live music schedule for the Grand Avenue Festival. Check when you arrive at Grand for the most accurate, up-to-date list.
Paisley Town (1028 W. Grand Ave.)
Noon: Frequent Kings
1 p.m.: Mike Ferrara
2 p.m.: Deadly Night Shades
3 p.m.: Brian Chapman
4 p.m.: Dirty Lingo
5 p.m.: Lil Jamaica
6 p.m.: Carnuba
7 p.m.: Burn Riders
8 p.m.: Free Sushi Records presents: Thankful Birds
9 p.m.: Free Sushi Records presents: Race You There
10 p.m.: Free Sushi Records presents: Mobius
The PHiX (1113 W. Grand Ave.)
4 p.m.: Flyaway Tigers, The Super Funk All-Stars
5 p.m.: The Chandails
6 p.m.: Snake Snake Snakes!
7 p.m.: Boys and Frogs
8 p.m.: Some Never Sleep
9 p.m.: Azul
10 p.m.: Somber Sounds
Outside of the PHiX (1113 W. Grand Ave.)
5-8 p.m.: River Jones PRESENTS! featuring Courtney Marie Andrews, Poem, You Me and Apollo, Saddles, Owl and Penny, Bradley and the Materials, the You and Me Thing, See/Hear, So & So (with face painting from the Bears and the Bees!)
8 p.m.: The Package
9 p.m.: Flux Manifesto
Sweets & Beats (1504 W. Grand Ave.)
4 p.m.: The Boys
5 p.m.: Great Job
6 p.m.: Liam and the Ladies
The Loft (1231 W. Grand Ave.)
5 p.m.: The Complainiacs
6 p.m.: Ray Reeves & the Phoenix Sons
7 p.m.: Bolt
8 p.m.: Scorpion vs. Tarantula
9 p.m.: Haunted Cologne
10 p.m.: Man About a Dog
11 p.m.: The Skinwalkers
For a map to plan out your musical adventures, head over here.