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 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
First Friday on September 5 kicked off the When in AZ music compilation festivities with a bang! Drawing what seemed like record-breaking crowds Downtown, with Roosevelt Street closed from 3rd to 7th streets, Modified Arts was open and ready for all to enjoy the fresh tunes of Matthew Reveles, Stellaluna and Flyaway Tigers, who opened the show. As the music continued on, more people wandered in and out to catch a glimpse of who was on stage. With each band that played offering a different sound, it was exactly what Nick Kizer, organizer of the compilation, envisioned it to be. In between the Stellaluna and Matthew Reveles sets, Nick Kizer and Renee Saxon from the Phoenix Conservatory of Music stepped on stage to say a few words about the project itself. The true vision for the compilation is to support the arts and provide funds to such charitable organizations as PCM and Ear Candy, both nonprofit organizations doing the best they can to provide music education to children. Many people were on hand volunteering their services to sell merchandise and collect donations as the night went on. With Matthew Reveles winding the evening down, a sense of accomplishment was felt throughout Modified.
If we continue to support and nurture the talent we have, Phoenix will become a music mecca. As River Jones, founder of River Jones Music, which has brought us such talent as Courtney Marie Andrews and Michelle Blades, said, “When it comes to music, there are no boundaries. The goal is to bring all of Arizona together to create one scene and put Arizona on the map as a large music community.”
If you missed the first two shows to kick off the CD release, head down to The Rhythm Room Thursday, September 10 to see Treasure Mammal, Colorstore, Lonna Kelly, Sweetbleeders, Coats & Villa and special guest DJ Sleepy Cub. For an $8 donation at the door, you receive a download card for the 55-song compilation. Each artist is featured on the compilation and will perform their covers from the album along with their own original music.
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.