Arts & Culture
Central Phoenix is slowly becoming a green living hot spot as more eco-friendly commercial and residential infill projects pop up from the dust of our dirt lots — so much so that the USGBC Greenbuild conference is coming to Downtown Phoenix.
Local green building pioneers [merz]project built the Link building (adjacent to Cancer Survivors Park near the Burton Barr Library) as the company’s headquarters, but it’s quickly become one of Downtown’s iconic urban renewal structures since opening its doors in the summer of 2008. Itself at 1950s office structure revamp, the Link is a true landmark in conservation, producing very little construction waste in its rebuild process. Now architects, builders and designers from around the world will get to check it out.
The Link is the official site for the “Environmental Ideas in Green Building” showcase, taking place during the Greenbuild conference November 10-14. The exhibit is open to all and features work and materials from green building projects around the U.S. The goal is to bring these conservation concepts and products to the public in a unique way. Local companies JAG Development, Solar City, UEB Builders, LG Surfaces and GeOasis are among those that will be featured. Attendees will also get to see Matt Pool’s soon-to-be-open coffeehouse, Giant Coffee, on the lower level of the structure.
The After Hours Gallery, located just blocks away and also designed by [merz]project, will also be open for tours throughout the week.
The Link is located at 1437 N. 1st St. After Hours Gallery is located at 116 W. McDowell Rd. (Light rail station at Central/McDowell for both.) Exhibit hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Great news! We are gearing up for our annual Taste of Downtown event in Downtown Phoenix. Each year we invite the community to celebrate Downtown Phoenix and its great restaurants and businesses. This year’s celebration, called “Dining in the Streets,” will be held on Tuesday, November 17 at the Civic Space Park between Central and 1st avenues on Polk Street.
For this event to be as successful as years past, we want to offer the opportunity to participate to Downtown area restaurants and businesses with samplings of their food or interactive displays — no paper passing please, as we want to be as “green” as possible!
We are expecting 2,000 attendees for this free event. It is a great opportunity to highlight your restaurant or business and to promote all that Downtown Phoenix has to offer. If you would like more information, or know that you want to participate in the event again this year, please contact Leila Gamiz in my office at Leila.Gamiz@phoenix.gov or at 602.261.8983.
Space is limited, but we are hoping to offer more variety than ever before for this sixth annual Taste of Downtown, so please join us! There is no cost to you to have a booth for your samples or interactive display.
Kyle Jordre’s artist’s statement opens with “When I paint, I get lost.” He may get lost in his paintings, but they have helped him find himself and his place in Downtown Phoenix. Just a few years ago, Jordre was a middle school teacher in Minnesota. Today, he’s a well-known local artist who was recently named the New Times “Best Artist Who Colors Outside the Lines.”
Before moving to Phoenix, a high school drafting class was the only formal art training that Jordre had ever taken. His background is in primary education, a career he pursued for nearly a decade, teaching fifth and sixth grade social studies in a middle school in Egan, MN, a Minneapolis suburb. Needing a shift in perspective, he took some time off and moved to San Diego, then headed to San Francisco after landing a job as a corporate trainer for a Silicon Valley high-tech firm. After a few years in this field, including a brief stint in North Carolina, Jordre remained restless.
It wasn’t until he was renovating his North Carolina home in 2005 that Jordre stumbled upon painting. Needing a piece of art to fill a blank wall in his home, he picked up a canvas from a craft store, filled two plastic condiment bottles with paint and started splattering away. His hands ached for weeks afterward. But, it was worth the temporary pain, as it launched his career as an artist. The original piece now hangs in his parents’ home.
Jordre moved to Phoenix in the spring of 2006. He had visited on several occasions, and enjoyed the culture of First Friday art walks. While looking for houses, on a whim, Jordre asked his real estate agent if there were any art studios on the market. The agent showed him a small vintage building on Grand Avenue. Jordre knew immediately that this former grocery store-turned-art gallery was the right space, and Jordre Studio was born.
Since then, Jordre has progressed from creating art with condiment bottles to other kitchen implements such as wooden spoons, spatulas and serving forks. One tool he has never used, however, is a paint brush. Jordre uses his unconventional implements as a way to get a lot of paint on a canvas quickly, as he says doesn’t have a lot of patience and wants to see his work come to life in front of him.
As a rule, Jordre doesn’t name his paintings, nor sign them to indicate orientation. He “wants people to look at the art and react for themselves.” Leaving paintings unnamed allows for people to be drawn in and find their own meaning. Jordre feels this encourages dialogue, and ultimately broadens the meaning of his work over time.
Jordre has no formal training or connection to the art world. Far from limiting him, however, he credits it with his early success. “Not going to art school was a benefit to me,” he says. He feels that his lack of formal training has freed him to experiment and left him open to new ideas and methods that he may not otherwise have attempted. He jokes, “If I went to art school, I’d probably be painting with a brush!”
One benefit of being new to the art scene was that Jordre had no had no clue about how difficult it is to sell art. “If I did,” Jordre comments, “I would never have started.” He estimates that it takes at least 1,000 people viewing a piece of art to find the right buyer. That’s a lot of eyeballs. To attract them, Jordre participates in First Friday art walks, holds several shows each year and uses the Web and social media to market his work.
Another unique aspect of Jordre’s art is its sustainability. He makes every effort to reuse and repurpose materials in his work. All the paint he uses comes from the “oops” section in local paint and hardware stores. He also reuses the paint cans, turning them into sculptures, furniture or room dividers. An upcoming show, opening November 14 at the Sunrise Mountain Library in Peoria, highlights his dedication to the environment by asking, “What color is green?” He is promoting it using cut-up pieces of some of his paintings.
A self-declared introvert, Jordre has nonetheless channeled the educator in him to reach out and interact with his community. He says that as an artist, you need to take part in the a community to survive. To this end, Jordre views his gallery space as a community resource for others. Not only does he open his gallery on First Fridays, but he also allows other artists to use it for openings and receptions.
Jordre also uses his studio space to hold small workshops and retreats for friends, other artists and other small groups. During these sessions, Jordre talks about his work, how he creates it and his “no rule” approach. He then turns the participants loose with stir sticks, grilling forks, squeegees, spatulas and power drills on large group-sized and smaller personal canvases. Jordre enjoys these sessions, as they combine his education and facilitation background with his passion for painting. He has had great feedback from participants as well. Even the most reticent people end up enjoying these events, channeling their inner artists.
In addition, Jordre has donated several pieces of his art to local fundraising efforts. Some highlights include a 2007 Free Arts of Arizona ‘Chair’-ty Fundraiser, the “Diner in the Stacks” 2007 fundraiser for the Phoenix Public Library Association at the at Burton Barr Library, a “belly cast” to benefit the Phoenix Birthing Project and a Twestival fundraiser earlier this fall benefiting St. Mary’s Foodbank. This fall, Jordre will participate in two charitable projects: The Mannequin is our Muse Design Competition at the newly opened Barney’s in Scottsdale benefiting the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the All Decks on Hand auction at After Hours Creative benefiting the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center.
Jordre’s dedication to his community has begun to pay off. Recently, the city of Peoria purchased one of his paintings (and a pair of boots he wore while creating it). The painting (#117) now hangs immediate inside the newly opened Sunrise Public Library, and is the centerpiece of the building. A short video of the painting’s creation is available for viewing here. Next year, some of his work will appear in the Glendale Public Library.
Jordre is glad that he is part of Grand Avenue. He enjoys the energy and vitality that is building along the street. He also enjoys the fact that people are able to do their own thing, whether it be painting, other forms of arts or the many crafts-related galleries and stores that are popping up. As for the future of the street, he would love to see it live up to its full potential and is looking forward to its continued evolution. He admits that such an evolution is dismaying to some — noting that emotions and business don’t always mix. Nevertheless, Jordre asserts that like art itself, a successful arts district can’t be static; it needs to adapt to changing times and demographics. The challenge is finding appropriate ways of doing so, namely through encouraging small businesses, artists and entrepreneurs who can connect with a community in a way that larger business cannot.
Jordre Studio is located at 1007 Grand Ave. To schedule a studio visit, or for further inquiry, contact Kyle by email or by calling 602.254.6303.
Twitter has been all, well, a-twitter about the new DIY-style horror flick Paranormal Activity, so I thought I would check it out. Originally released to the film festival circuit in 2007, now picked up by Paramount, Paranormal Activity purports to be the footage taken by a San Diego couple from their camcorder as they experience a series of supernatural events.
Through the lens of the couple’s camera, we see doors slam, a Ouija board become possessed and some creepy footprints magically appear in their bedroom. A well-meaning psychic tries to help the couple out, but is unable, then unwilling, to do so, leaving them to fend for themselves when the final attack of the demon is captured on tape. The extremely predictable ending is insulting to anyone with more complex emotions than a 13-year-old.
There is no clever editing or creative storytelling; instead, we just see the events as the director wants us to see them, painfully aware that the characters are dragging the camera around their house, even when it is highly implausible that they would be doing so.
Paranormal Activity also misses the mark on its sense of timing and suspense. It is so painfully obvious when the audience is supposed to feel impending doom or fear, and the “scary” events are trumpeted with a chorus fitting the entry of a monarch. The movie is “boo” scary, like an uncle surprising you by jumping out from behind a door, but it isn’t metaphysically, emotionally or psychically crazy. No one leaves the theater thinking that the events in the movie could happen to them; one just leaves with the same feeling of adrenaline depletion one gets after a short roller coaster ride.
I haven’t visited the new restaurant that occupies the former Fate, so I was excited to get the chance to do so during a Downtown Friday Night event. The remodeled, revamped Nine|05 is a stark contrast to the old restaurant that occupied the space. While I can appreciate the aesthetics of a building that is more house than restaurant, it is refreshing to see that Nine|05 now looks like it is complete, instead of the “sort of, not quite” look that characterized Fate.
The soba noodles were delicious — I am a big cashew fan, so I was excited to try the combination of cabbage, radish and cashews with classic soba. The seasoning was strong, but well tempered. The fried heirloom tomatoes were also delicious, with a savory aioli and basil that made them almost feel like the start of a sort of deconstructed Asian caprese.
The wine selection is decent — we had a bottle of the Brazin Old Vine Zin, a Lodi wine with a heavy dose of cherry.
The service was good, and the front patio is great for a casual hangout with friends. Nine|05 ranks right up there with Gallo Blanco as a great place to eat and drink, and wait for people to show up. The pricing is on the high side, though. Seared scallops or Hoisin Short Rib will put you back $26, but if you are looking to splurge just a bit and stay Downtown, try out Nine|05.
It’s hard to make a buck in this sour economy, so most of us just sit and complain about it on Twitter all day. Luckily, Haus Modern Living owner Lew Gallo thought of a clever way to bring the two concepts together — spending money at deserving local businesses and tweeting while doing it. He’s introducing TwitterHunt. The concept is pretty simple and fun, and it only requires that you want to spend some cash and have a Twitter account. Here’s the scoop.
Twelve local businesses will be participating in the event on November 12 (Haus, Oliver & Annie, Stinkweeds, Urban Cookies, Postino, Lisa G, Hula’s Modern Tiki, Gallo Blanco Café, Maizie’s, Frances, Red Hot Robot and Smeeks). This is how it works:
- At 4 p.m. all of the businesses participating in the TwitterHunt will be sending out their first tweet instructing all of their followers to go to one of three businesses to begin.
- When you arrive at the first business, you make a purchase and receive an envelope marked either A, B or C that contains a prize to be redeemed at another store in the hunt. DO NOT OPEN THE ENVELOPE OR THE PRIZE IS VOID!
- At 5 p.m. you will receive the next tweet that lets you know which store to go to based on your marked envelope.
- When you arrive at the next business, you hand the envelope to the cashier and they will open it and give you your prize.
- To stay in the hunt, you then make a purchase at that store and receive another envelope marked A, B or C that works the same way. Wait until 6 p.m. to find out which store to proceed to next and claim your prize. The tweets will be sent out every hour on the hour from 4 until 8 p.m. — that’s 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. TwitterHunt is over at 10 p.m.
For more information, become a fan of TwitterHunt on Facebook.