Arts & Culture
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.
Think Big Picture.
Come join RadiatePhx, on August 25th from 5:30 to 7:30 at Hanny’s (40 N. 1st Street, Phoenix) and answer the question “What do you value most about Phoenix?”
This is the first “big question” the City will be asking during the visioning phase of the Phoenix General Plan Update.
Stay tuned for more information by following the planning department on Twitter: @planPHX
Tuesday, August 25
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion will start a little after 6 pm.
40 N. 1st Street
For the latest RadiatePhx updates, follow us on Twitter: @radiatephx
You are creative, entrepreneurial, care about how Phoenix develops, appreciate good design, have a social conscience, and enjoy converging with eclectic people. We love Downtown Phoenix and want to develop the City from our core.
RadiatePhx is a non-traditional networking group that meets once a month to support smart growth in our emerging city. It is intended to be an informal and fun forum for connecting people, ideas, and vision.
To activate spirited and stimulating dialogue around Phoenix’s emerging urban culture. To meet others who are making things happen…to connect the dots.
Stop complaining and join people who have vision, vitality, and a thirst for what is possible.
What it Isn’t
There are no presidents, treasurers, committees or dues. The only costs are the drinks and/or food you consume.
Increase your Radiation Index
Everyone who submits an RSVP will receive an invitation to join the RadiatePhx group on Ning.com.
It’s a user friendly site that allows us to interact with new and familiar faces. You’re invited to blog, post pics and events, or just say hi to fellow “Radiators.”
Note: keep an eye for Ning invitations in your spam filter! Already have a Ning ID? Log on at: http://www.radiatephoenix.com
Urban Affair (publisher of Downtown Phoenix Journal)
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.