Arts & Culture
In just a few short days, the city sidewalks of CityScape will be decked in holiday style when the downtown Phoenix entertainment hub makes its annual transformation to a winter wonderland.
Thanksgiving weekend marks the beginning of the holiday festivities at CityScape, including their Alternative Black Friday featuring a Vintage Market with unique local shopping on November 29, and CitySkate, the glittering ice skating rink and light display set in the middle of Central Avenue from November 30 through January 14.
According to Jeff Moloznik, vice president of development for RED, CityScape’s real estate development company, downtown is a natural fit for events like this that showcase what a “creative, diverse, and entrepreneurial community Phoenix really is.”
With the sounds of ice skaters swirling around a frozen rink, shoppers finding that (sugar) plum gift that’s been dancing in their heads, and with the holidays’ greatest hits filling the air in downtown, CityScape will be buzzing like lights on the tree over the next six weeks.
Ready to bring on the downtown holiday cheer? Here’s what you need to know:
Alternative Black Friday – Vintage Market
Shop over 20 local vendors including Meat Market Vintage, Antique Sugar, Grow-Op and Annie Boomer Vintage for clothing, home decor, jewelry and lots more. Also score some sweet Black Friday deals at CityScape shops like Urban Outfitters, Lawless Denim & Co., Charming Charlie and Jos A. Bank.
Make your shopping experience a little merrier with mimosas, local beer and wine from Chloe’s Corner and live music and DJ’s or take a spin on the ice with half-price skating during a sneak-peek of CitySkate.
When: Friday, November 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Patriots Square at CityScape
Take in the sights and sounds of the season while cruising around the ice. CitySkate’s official opening is set for Saturday, November 30, beginning at 3 p.m. with crafts for kids, a visit from Santa, and live music from the ASU Gospel Choir and The Phoenix Symphony.
At 6 p.m. that night, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and his family will be on hand for the official City of Phoenix tree lighting, followed by a figure skating performance and the official opening of the CitySkate rink..
Along with daily skating, the next six weeks are filled with activities to keep kids and adults in the holiday spirit. Look for a Monday through Friday Lunch and Skate special, Adult Skate every Saturday night with DJ’s and games and a special Disney on Ice performance on January 8.
And if you’re not quite ready to leave the festivities, Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix is offering a “Stay & Skate” package that includes a special room rate from $129 per night, two tickets to CitySkate, and 20 percent off all spa services at Repose Salon & Spa.
NRG Energy is the presenting sponsor for CitySkate and a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to Republic Media’s Season for Sharing campaign.
Ice Rink Dates and Hours
Nov. 30 through Jan. 14
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Christmas Eve: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Christmas Day: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission includes skate rental and unlimited skating all day
Kids and Adults – $12 each
Military – $6 each
Seniors – $10 each
Kids under 3 – $6 each
Students (with ID) – $10 each
Groups of 10 or more – $10 each
Tickets available at the rink or online through Ticketmaster
For more information about the CityScape Phoenix, visit www.cityscapephoenix.com.
Images provided by CityScape
Detainees, military families, scholars, interrogators, and refugees offer perspectives of the controversial United States Naval Base at Guantánamo — also known as GTMO or Gitmo — through the final weekend of an exhibition at Burton Barr Central Library.
The 13-panel Guantánamo Public Memory Project exhibit, arranged on the library’s second floor, scratches the surface of a historical debate that continues to resonate with current issues of borders, indefinite and preventive detention, and foreign relations.
Established as a Caribbean base on indefinite lease in 1903 despite Cuban protests, and later made notorious as the purgatorial site of incarceration for thousands of Haitians and Cubans, GTMO is now infamous as an internment camp for war prisoners.
The exhibit explores Guantánamo’s history, the many roles of the base, and its potential closure through video testimonies, interactive discussions and activities, and complementary films at Phoenix Art Museum (Dirty Wars on Nov. 24 and Zero Dark Thirty on Dec. 8). Related topics include the progression of detention from the Japanese concentration camps in Arizona to refugees and enemy combatants at GTMO.
Initiated by Columbia University, the Guantánamo Public Memory Project continues to grow through collaboration and support from universities, organizations, and individuals, and solicits new narratives via its website and its traveling exhibit.
Although the second-floor exhibit runs through Sunday, November 24, the companion first-floor @Central Gallery photo exhibition Cuba: Through Each Others Eyes [sic] continues through December 1, displaying the work of five photographers from a 2002 Phoenix-Havana exchange.
- Guantánamo Public Memory Project at Phoenix Public Library’s Burton Barr Central Library
- Witness to Guantánamo website
- Recent news about the potential closure of GTMO
- The American Civil Liberties Union’s “Guantánamo by the Numbers” infographic
- A brief history of GTMO from Paul Kramer in The New Yorker
- Further reading recommended by Phoenix Public Library staff
Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love. Beyond the stories that make us love downtown, we often come across things that catch our eye, tingle our senses or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures that make our day, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
When I was young I thought that artists were born fully formed and able to accomplish amazing work right out of the gate. Later I came to recognize that what makes an artist truly great is all of the time spent learning technique, honing their craft, refining their vision, solving problems, and growing into their talent. Recently I stumbled across an example of that kind of evolution in the work of a remarkable local artist, Jordan Alexander Thomas.
I first came across his delicious robot constructions at Made art boutique a few years ago. I don’t really care one way or another about robots, but these charmed me immediately. Not only were they imaginative, cheerful and affordable, they also had magical little “secret compartments” built into their bodies. I am a sucker for a box, and the hidden boxes in these robot bodies had me leaping for joy.
Flash forward a couple of years to just a week or so ago, when I wandered into Practical Art one afternoon with a friend and discovered an entire exhibition of Thomas’s newest robots. In just a few short years his constructions have evolved from charming, slightly rough-hewn curiosities, to gorgeously wrought works of art. I kid you not, they are absolutely beautiful.
So, quick like a bunny, before the show comes down, trundle yourself off to Practical Art and spend a little time marveling at these fabulous constructions. They’d make a perfect gift, especially if you tuck a little surprise into the secret compartment. For those of you who don’t want to commit to a larger piece, Thomas has created smaller scale “busts,” as well as some sweet and wearable pins.
Jordan Alexander Thomas bills himself as a robot artist, which might lead some people to overlook his work. Don’t make that mistake. He has created unique, exquisite, finely detailed sculptures that just happen to be robots. When you slow down enough to look closely, you will be amazed and delighted. Your mind will be blown and Santa may just have to bring me one for Christmas!
A professional design team working on an updated vision for downtown Phoenix’s Hance Park will present their first concept design to the public this week.
After a lengthy RFQ process, the city of Phoenix contracted with a multi-disciplinary design team to conduct an exhaustive public process to gather input on what residents, neighbors and other stakeholders envision for a renovated Hance Park and then develop a conceptual Master Plan design.
The team, led by primary consultants Weddle Gilmore and !Melk, has incorporated the extensive public input into a design concept that it will unveil at public meetings on Nov. 20 and 21, 2013.
The first meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at the Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, 122 E. Culver St. in downtown Phoenix. The public also can view the designs at the regularly scheduled Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board monthly meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Phoenix City Council Chambers, 200 W. Jefferson St.
After decades away from Arizona, baritone and Grand Canyon University alumnus Mark Delavan returns to the Valley in the title role of Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (Der Fliegende Holländer). Arizona Opera’s production continues this weekend at Symphony Hall and closes next Sunday in Tucson.
Starting in 1966, Delavan spent 14 years growing up in Phoenix while his father Macon served as chairman of the music department at then-Grand Canyon College, which gained a stellar reputation under his leadership and that of Mark’s mother, fellow professor Marlene Delavan.
“My father and mother brought…the Westminster Choir College school of vocal teaching here,” says Delavan, “and we had some amazing choirs. And I had the unique privilege of being…raised on it.”
He remembers touring in Europe with one of those choirs at the age of 17. “My opera career probably directly correlated to my Choralaire experience, because we got five days a week of choral training, of vocal training, of assisted vocal pedagogy.” Delavan qualifies his description. “It wasn’t listed that way, but my father was giving voice lessons all the time. He’d stop and have the bass section go through one thing…a passage…and say, ‘Support that! Come on! Put the shout in the voice.’”
He chuckles. “It was my dad, you know? I didn’t know what I was getting — I had no idea. It was just Dad. And now that I’m in my 50s and I’m looking back on it…he was pretty gifted.” Delavan continues, “But you don’t know what you are at 17…nobody knows what they are at 17. So I…went on my merry way.”
Delavan played football at Scottsdale Community College — where he says he learned about “ego and team play” — and earned a degree in art with a music minor before singing in his first opera, Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. “This is not his best work,” says the singer, “but I had a really cool aria in it, and it’s like the bug bit.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in music at Oral Roberts University, Delavan worked in Arkansas and North Carolina before continuing on to the now-defunct Western Opera Theater tour and an Adler Fellowship at San Francisco Opera, also placing as a national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera auditions.
Delavan moved to New Jersey in 1990, and, by his own account “kind of crashed and burned” between 1992 and 1993. But thanks to the intervention of great Metropolitan Opera bass Jerome Hines, he says, “I started pulling myself together.”
The role of John the Baptist in Hines’s opera I Am the Way led to a year of work with New York City Opera and eventually Delavan’s Met Opera debut as Amonasro in Aida with an all-star cast of Luciano Pavarotti as Radames, Deborah Voigt as Aida, and Olga Borodina as Amneris. “It was a wrecking crew,” Delavan recalls with a smile. “It was like the ‘90s Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan — if you get on the court you’d better pass, shoot, or get out of the way.”
“And…for all of my faults,” he continues emphatically, “when you put that kind of pressure on me, I will go with reckless abandon. And it worked out really well…I worked there for seven seasons in a row.” After performances throughout Europe at the Edinburgh Festival, the Bavarian State Opera, the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, and recently with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Delavan returned to the Met to critical acclaim as Gianciotto in Francesca da Rimini and Wotan in Wagner’s epic Ring cycle.
Delavan’s signature roles include villains like Otello’s Iago and Tosca’s Scarpia as well as the title characters in Rigoletto, Falstaff, and The Flying Dutchman, written in 1841 by a 28-year-old Richard Wagner as one of his first mature works. The composer based his libretto and music on the legend of a sea captain who swears to conquer a storm even if he must sail forever. Hearing his oath, the Devil condemns the captain to sail until Judgment Day unless he find a woman who will love him faithfully until death.
In his quest for redemption, the Dutchman is allowed to make landfall once every seven years to find and woo the bride who will break his curse, ultimately ending the perpetual existence of the immortal captain and his crew aboard their ghostly ship.
Wagner, who identified with his tortured hero, emulated Beethoven’s symphonies in The Flying Dutchman and used musical motifs so effectively memorable that scholars have compared them to advertising jingles — the famously popular “Spinning Chorus” and the Dutchman’s theme are two examples.
“It’s one of his earliest pieces, and he wrote it in the Italian style,” says Delavan. “You have set pieces, you have duets…you have repeated words.” He continues, “Now admittedly the Dutchman’s monologue is a piece of genius writing.” Delavan sings a bit of the motif, and compares it to a theme from Wagner’s later opera Götterdämmerung. “Both of them are very eerie.”
“And it’s very short,” the baritone adds with a chuckle. “The duration [of Dutchman] is just right under the pain threshold.” Wagner’s later operas are renowned for lengths greater than five hours, a challenging proposition for audiences and singers alike.
“But here’s what it has in common [with Wagner's other works],” Delavan says. “It has a mythological theme and…redemption. And one could make the argument that poor Richard [Wagner] desperately needed redemption of some kind, because he was one tortured soul.” He laughs. “I mean, it’s common knowledge.”
The singer overcame his own struggles with this opera when he learned it years ago. “The first role that I did after my father died in 1995 was my first Flying Dutchman,” Delavan says, “and I’ve got to tell you — I couldn’t remember ‘come to Jesus.’” He continues, “Memorizing this role was the equivalent of trying to memorize…all of Shakespeare’s pieces. It was impossible…I had no ability to retain anything.”
He recalls a particularly difficult section of text, which translates as “Could you possibly be moved by my suffering with this deep pity?”
“That line I think I memorized ten times until it finally stayed. So that line…I go by it — I kind of close my eyes and move on.”
The Flying Dutchman is sung in German, with English supertitles projected above the stage. Arizona Opera revisits the large-scale projection techniques used in last season’s Il Trovatore to augment the production’s scenery and otherworldly atmosphere. Brought out of the pit and arranged onstage behind a scrim, the orchestra shares the majority of the space with the chorus. The main cast performs in a small area downstage on the raised floor of the orchestra pit, near the audience.
Delavan cheerfully anticipates better reviews for these performances than one he recalls from his last appearance with Arizona Opera, as Escamillo in 1989’s Carmen. “I got the worst review of my entire career in The Arizona Republic, and I probably had it coming, truthfully,” he says with a self-deprecating laugh. “Painful.”
For this production, Delavan shares the stage with soprano Lori Phillips as Senta, the heroine who redeems him, and bass Raymond Aceto as her father Daland. Joseph Rescigno conducts, and Bernard Uzan is the director.
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