Arts & Culture
When people look for music in Downtown Phoenix, they ultimately find their way to Stinkweeds. Stinkweeds is an independently owned and operated music store and website dedicated to independent labels and bands. A Valley institution since 1987, Stinkweeds has been a fixture at the corner of Camelback and Central Avenue since 2004. While owner Kimber Lanning can often be found in and around the store, she relies on a committed staff to keep things humming. One of these people is store manager Lindsay Cates.
Lindsay has been working at Stinkweeds for the past decade, and is also responsible for keeping stinkweeds.com up to date. When asked what she likes most about working at Stinkweeds, Lindsay doesn’t hesitate to mention Kimber, who she says is the ideal boss: positive and passionate with a contagious good attitude. Lindsay also cites working at an independent business and her customers as job perks. “It is awesome being able to engage with others about music,” Lindsay says. She sees many customers on a weekly, if not daily, basis and notes that the customers, staff and bands that frequent Stinkweeds are like family. “If a regular doesn’t come around for a while, we miss them,” she says.
Lindsay eats, breathes and sleeps music. In addition to working at Stinkweeds, she is also the data entry guru behind SilverPlatter.info, a website dedicated to bringing Phoenicians the most comprehensive information about live music shows, venues and bands in the Valley. When Lindsay steps away from Stinkweeds her passion for music goes with her. She plays bass for several local bands, including Farewell Review, snow songs and Harcuvar. If she’s not working or on stage, Lindsay can be found at local music venues (especially the Rhythm Room), supporting as much live music as possible. On one of the odd days the Lindsay isn’t immersed in the local music community, she enjoys spending time at Downtown spots Copper Star Coffee, Conspire and The Lost Leaf. When asked where she likes taking visitors to Phoenix, Lindsay names her favorite new restaurant, Moira Sushi.
Lindsay is a Phoenix native, who, like many people who grew up in the Valley, had long desired to leave. Over the past few years, however, she has changed her mind and is now excited to be part of the Downtown Phoenix community, noting, “Downtown Phoenix is becoming a destination, with new, exciting businesses opening up.” In addition, Lindsay is thrilled about the cross pollination of local businesses, such as how local coffee institution Lux plays music from Stinkweeds, and refers customers to the store to buy music they hear while enjoying a coffee.
She acknowledges that Downtown Phoenix is still a work in progress, but encourages people to get out and participate in the Downtown community. “Getting around Downtown is easier than many people think,” says Lindsay, noting that by light rail, bicycle or walking, people have several options to get around and between the hubs that are developing along Roosevelt Row and near Central and Camelback.
Lindsay can be found behind the counter at Stinkweeds,12 W. Camelback Rd., weekdays from 11 a.m. until around 5 p.m.
All photos by Paul Valach
The First Friday in October, KBAQ and the Phoenix Chorale are teaming up to expose listeners to the vibrant arts scene in Downtown Phoenix through the first-ever First Friday scavenger hunt!
Head to KBAQ.org now to download a virtual scavenger hunt of things you would see on a First Friday artwalk — it may be a new view of a familiar gallery or an unfamiliar art space that could be a fabulous find. Your mission is to identify correctly all images on the KBAQ.org Scavenger Hunt webpage at tonight’s (September 4) First Friday artwalk for a chance to win a fun Phoenix Chorale prize package.
Then, come visit KBAQ and the Phoenix Chorale on First Friday, October 2 at the Trinity Cathedral (100 W. Roosevelt St.) from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. to turn in your entry sheet and see how many you answered correctly. Stick around to listen to the Chorale’s open rehearsal for its fall performance! Test your eagle eyes against other arts enthusiasts this September – and discover a new part of the Phoenix arts scene — with KBAQ and the Phoenix Chorale.
What happens when you pair local bands and musicians together to pay homage to each other? Valley resident Nick Kizer asked the same question, and created the When in AZ music compilation as the answer. Kizer graciously coordinated the idea to expose Arizona music in a unique way by bringing together numerous artists to cover each other’s songs. The CD explores the different sounds of the Valley, ranging from alternative country to electronica. The genius behind the compilation is that it compels you to explore not only the original artist’s versions of the songs, but also the covering band’s original work.
If you aren’t familiar with the local music scene, or aren’t sure what is out there, this is a great way to be exposed to the vast musical talent Arizona has to offer. You get a real sense of community from these artists coming together to pay respect to each other, plus, it’s for a great cause, as all proceeds will be donated to Valley nonprofit organizations that support music education in schools and around the community. Some of the Valley’s most popular bands and up-and-coming artists have put their hearts into the compilation, which features nearly 3.5 hours of tunes. Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself at www.wheninaz.com or at one of the several CD release shows going on this month. The first show is this Friday, September 4, at Modified Arts starting at 9 p.m. It’s free for all ages, featuring artists Matthew Reveles, Stellaluna and Flyaway Tigers.
Check back with DPJ for full recaps of each of the When in AZ shows.
From my experience, it seems that many people have the misconception that Arizona is lacking when it comes to having an actual musical scene. Hopefully the release of the new When in AZ compilation can change their tune. When in AZ is the brainchild of Nick Kizer, a member of the Tempe band Babaluca, and features 55 Valley artists covering songs by other Arizona artists. The compilation is available for download for $8, and there will be several live events throughout September showcasing some of the contributing artists.
The compilation features a wide variety of local artists such as The Necronauts, Dry River Yacht Club, Andrew Jackson Jihad, FutureKind, Emperors of Japan and The Premiere. With such an eclectic mix of performers, the music styles presented are as varied as you would expect. The songs range from the folky to the funky, from the rocking to the electronic and everywhere in between. The compilation is put together in such a way that the styles are well dispersed throughout the track listing, and it flows well from one track to the next.
Not only does the compilation provide for great exposure for those involved — both those performing and those whose work is being performed — but it also benefits the community. Proceeds will benefit two nonprofits, Ear Candy and the Phoenix Conservatory of Music, whose mission is to provide musical education to children.
The future is being invented in Downtown Phoenix. While much recent attention has been focused on CityScape and the Downtown ASU campus, a few blocks away, some of the brightest high school students in the state are pushing the boundaries of science and math. Working alongside Phoenix’s advanced education and bioscience communities, these students are helping to solve the problems of tomorrow.
Here, rising from the empty lots south of Roosevelt Row, is Bioscience High School. While officially a part of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Bioscience is quickly forging a unique identity of its own and becoming an integrated part of the Downtown community.
In the fall of 2006, Bioscience High School opened its doors at the Phoenix Prep Academy to 43 freshman, seven teachers, two staff and a principal. A year later, the school’s new building opened at the corner of 6th Street and Pierce. By 2008-09, enrollment grew to 180 students. This fall there are 253 students, including its first senior class that comprises all of the original 43 students. Next year, the school expects to achieve its full capacity of 400 students.
According to Bioscience principal Dr. Deedee Falls, the aim of Bioscience High School is to work with students to “invent the future” by preparing students for jobs “that don’t yet exist” and to solve problems that “we don’t yet know about.” Judging by their early academic success, this approach is working well. In 2008, 97% of its 10th graders meet or exceed the AIMS math exam, which is the highest public (non-charter) school percentage in the Valley, and second best in the state. Its science scores were third best in the state among non-charter schools. Moreover, in its first two years of eligibility, the school earned two consecutive AZ Learns ‘Excelling’ Achievement Profiles from the state, the highest a school can attain.
Even more impressive: Bioscience has achieved such outcomes with a high percentage of traditionally under-represented students. The school is part of the Phoenix Union High School District, but enrollment is open to all students in the Phoenix area; the main requirement is a passion for science. “Science is for everybody,” states Dr. Falls. “We give more weight to motivation than grades.” The composition of the student population illustrates this philosophy. Bioscience has one of the most diverse student bodies in Arizona, with 57% Hispanic, 11% African American, 6% Native American, 4% Asian and 21% Caucasian students. But, while they come from diverse backgrounds, their love of science has brought them together and forged a strong community dedicated to creating knowledge.
The school’s Downtown location plays a role in its success. As part of the Phoenix Bioscience campus, the school is in immediate proximity of some of the most advanced scientific research organizations in the Valley, including TGen, Arizona Science Center, ASU Downtown and Phoenix College. Bioscience students benefit from this concentration of local scientific and academic resources through site visits, guest lectures and student internships.
Bioscience’s connection to the Downtown community is not just limited to scientific collaboration. The school has also woven itself into the social fabric of Downtown as well. A great example of this has been the school’s involvement in First Fridays. Not only does the school rent out spaces in its parking structure to those participating in the monthly artwalk, but the students also set up a table to sell their own arts and crafts. Proceeds from these activities help fund school projects.
Additionally, the school is paying respect to the history of its Downtown location. It has recently received a $2.4-million grant from the city of Phoenix to renovate the historic McKinley schoolhouse for a biomedical program. This site has been connected to education since 1902, when a school was built (the current building was completed in 1919). When complete in the fall of 2010, the renovated schoolhouse building will include administrative offices, classrooms, a library/community room and student demonstration area. The renovated facility will act as a historic foil to the modern architecture of the rest of the Bioscience campus. The renovations will maintain the schoolhouse’s green space along Pierce Street, acting as a pocket oasis for students and local residents alike.
To find out more, contact Bioscience High School at 602-764-5600 or go to www.biosciencehs.org. The school is located at 512 E. Pierce Street.
All photos by Paul Valach