Arts & Culture
I’m a big fan of The Insecure Critic. Have you read it? You should.
Chad Swaney reviews movies and pairs them with a great meal or decadent dessert. My favorite is, “‘Juno’ and Delux — Now I Feel Pregnant.” They are all solid, though; be sure to not miss out. In any case, I’ve had an idea hiding away for a long time and only recently has it reemerged into the daylight — largely thanks to Chad’s inspiration.
For those of us living, working and playing in and around Downtown Phoenix the movie selection is pretty limited. There’s the AMC 24 at Arizona Center and… and… yup, that’s about it.* Furthermore, to watch a decent film on the big screen, one has to travel out to Camelview 5 or over to Tempe Valley Art. Sometimes it’s worth it. Sometimes. I would, however, be way more apt to take a risk on an unknown art flick or independent film if the theater were closer. And, I’d practically run there if it had a bar to go along with it.
The concept is not new — Tucson, Portland and many cities around the country have movie theaters and bars in the same building. But, as light rail, professional sports and great food has showed us, it doesn’t need to be a new idea to have a huge impact on Downtown Phoenix.
I’m not a stranger to crazy ideas, but this one has some validity. A movie theater that shows worthwhile films within walking distance of the rail? A movie theater with beer? Something to do Downtown that doesn’t involve coffee or sports? Shoot, there’s even an opportunity for adaptive reuse: The sanctuary of that abandoned church on the northwest corner of 3rd Avenue and Monroe Street would make a perfect spot for (warning: working title) The Swig & Screen. Who’s in?
*No Festival Required shows outstanding films at Space 55, including one next Saturday. The thoughts here are in no way meant to diminish the work of those bringing film into the friendly confines of Downtown Phoenix.
This Third Friday’s concert at Civic Space Park will feature Scottsdale’s own Sydney Sprague and Ash and the Impulse. Sprague, who is affiliated with the Arizona-founded Chicks with Picks, will play for free at 7:30 p.m. Come out and enjoy the ever-cooling weather!
Grand Avenue has gained quite a reputation over the years: home to the notorious dive Bikini Lounge, warehouses converted to art spaces, always-stuffy whiskey-fueled rock shows and even a few triangular-shaped storefronts that cut diagonally northwest, mimicking the avenue itself. So, it’s only fitting that a festival has popped up in its honor. Enter the Grand Avenue Festival, a celebration of all things Grand.
Set for Saturday, September 26, this all-day affair will give attendees the complete Grand Avenue experience: lots of free live music, art exhibits, historic building tours and more.
At the heart of Grand’s revival is its art spaces, and fittingly, they’ll all be open for passersby. Fifteen artist studios in all will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.: Jordre Studio (1007 W. Grand Ave.), The Lodge Art Studio (1231 W. Grand Ave.), Lucky Rabbit Studio (1020 W. Grand Ave.), Studio of Jen Urso & Christy Puetz (1341 W. Woodland Ave.), Studio of Lee Berger (PHiX) (1113 W. Grand Ave.), the ambient studio (1023 W. Grand Ave.), Deus Ex Machina Gallery (1023 W. Grand Ave.), Phoenix Fall Space (1023 W. Grand Ave.), Studio 8 (1301 W. Grand Ave.), Moderncat Studio (1301 W. Grand Ave.), Barry Sparkman Studio (1301 W. Grand Ave.), Brad Konick Sculpture Studio (701 N. 15th Ave.), R. Booker Studio (701 N. 15th Ave.), Chris Caufield Studio and Trillion Clarke Studio (701 N. 15th Ave.).
Adaptive reuse is a key element to the revitalization of Grand, and the Grand Avenue Festival plans to celebrate that fact with adaptive reuse tours throughout the morning. The tours begin at the Tilt Gallery (919 W. Fillmore St.) and visit Jordre Studios, Paisley Town (1028 W. Grand Ave.), the Motley Design Building (1114 W. Grand Ave.), Arnold’s Auto Body Shop (1209 W. Grand Ave.) and the old Bragg’s Pie Factory building (1301 W. Grand Ave.), which has recently started housing several art spaces and Sapna Café. The tour costs $10 (the only paying event at the festival!) and is scheduled for 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Tickets are available at the Tilt Gallery.
Live music will start at 4 p.m. and carry on until at least midnight, with an impressive lineup of great local acts taking various spots along Grand: the PHiX, Sweets & Beats (1504 W. Grand Ave.), Rockin’ A (1209 W. Grand Ave.) and the Loft. Check for a full schedule of tunes the day of the festival.
To celebrate Grand’s budding boutique hub status, three fashion shows will take place: A recycled wearables show at 5 p.m. at Bragg’s Pie Factory, a local boutiques show at 7 p.m. at Bragg’s Pie Factory and a “BoHo Haute Hippie Movement” (guess we’ll have to attend to figure out what that is exactly) show at 8:30 p.m. at Soul Invictus (1022 W. Grand Ave.).
On top of all of this, expect demonstrations, quirky gifts for sale, tons of free acoustic tunes and even free snow cones! For fans of Grand and newcomers alike, this is a great opportunity to experience the other art row Downtown.
Parking is available along Grand’s side streets, or you could huff it from the light rail station at Van Buren and Central/1st Ave and head west to Grand.
The Tilt Gallery is tucked away on a stretch of 10th Avenue just north of Grand Avenue that is populated mostly by early 1900s bungalows (many still without proper air conditioning systems). Standing out front, one can see the varied colors and rooftops of Paisley Town, and though it’s just a block away, it seems like a million miles.
The Tilt, with its mangy exterior of funky-colored beams, white brick and ever-glowing accent lights, is the perfect setting for a display of Angela Franks Wells‘ work. In stark contrast, Wells’ prints — all in black, white and copper — mellow the space the likes most art couldn’t. The collection, called “Parts & Labor,” focuses on the dirty, rugged profession of Midwestern tradition: skilled labor.
Raised by a mechanic and a machinist, Wells, who has shot and taught photography in the Valley for years, knows a thing or two about hard labor. And, the aged hands, tattered clothes, oil-slicked furniture and old engine parts depicted here tell the story well. Wells traveled to independent shops of skilled laborers — mechanics, plumbers, welders and construction contractors — in search of these scenes and the tired souls that occupy them. Portrayed in copper-plated photogravure and gelatin silver prints, the testament to hard work comes through in eerie depiction. When you leave the Tilt this Third Friday, you’ll appreciate that beer down the street at the Paisley Violin a bit more.
The Tilt Gallery is located at 919 W. Fillmore St. 602.716.5667. Open 6-9 p.m. Third Friday.
The scene from last week’s When in AZ compilation release show at the Rhythm Room was sweaty, full of cheap beer and sometimes oddly confusing. The show featured Treasure Mammal, Colorstore, Lonna Kelley, Sweetbleeders and Coats and Villa. Check out the photos below for all the rockin’ good times and make sure to stop by the final release show this Friday, September 18, at Hard Rock Café.
All photos by Deona Smith