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.
DPJ is proud to bring you the best Yelp reviews of your favorite Downtown restaurants, boutiques, venues and everything in between. Every Tuesday, visit DPJ for a finely crafted, tell-all account of a Downtown spot straight from the experts: the people!
I love the atmosphere of this place. Definitely somewhere you can find something very special if you look hard enough. I popped in to check on Lani from Olive Annie (sadly she had to close and has her inventory at Sage until it’s gone). I had been in before and picked up some cute vintage signs.
It’s antiques but with a bit of a twist – lots of European salvage type stuff. If I had more money to spend I’d probably redo my bedroom. Since I am not rollin in it at the moment my purchase was a Mer-made peace sign necklace from Lani’s inventory at 50% – a total steal.
If you love vintage, retro, European style, I would recommend Sage for an hour of treasure hunting.
Sage is located at 335 W. McDowell Road. (602) 258.3033
The DPJ Yelper of the Week offers honest insight on a Downtown business to help you explore your core. DPJ hopes that by partnering with Yelp to spread the good word about well-loved Downtown spots, you’ll spread your patronage and support local business.
Yelp is a social networking and local search engine that provides the reviews of places and things that matter to you. Simply log in, pick a place and queue up your inner critic. You can write a beaming review of your favorite gelato spot, or a scathing portrayal of that rental car facility you had to use after that curb came out of nowhere. Yelp’s reviews are at once honest, uncensored, wildly hilarious and true. Heck, the site must be doing something right — it had 25 million viewers just last month!
The Kooky Krafts Shop, at 1500 Grand Avenue, will officially open on First Friday, September 4. Specializing in queer, quirky, fun and fabulous one-of-a-kind handmade items by local artists and crafters, the shop is housed in a historic building on the corner of Grand and 15th Avenue, in the Lower Grand Avenue neighborhood and small business district.
Chenille and pipe cleaner wreaths and sundry items with vintage decorations by Beatrice Moore, colored cement and porcelain figurine sculptures by Tony Zahn, colorful paper tiki gods by Tom Cooper and wild felt and feathered hats by Abby Messmer are just a few of the quirky items that can be found at this one-of-a-kind shopping destination.
For more information, contact Beatrice Moore at 602.391.4016.
As of this morning, METRO has enacted an Adopt-A-Station initiative along the light rail line. During the press conference, which took place at the Roosevelt/Central station (aka “Arts District” station), Mesa Vice Mayor and METRO Board Vice Chairman Kyle Jones boasted that Mesa’s lone stop at Main and Sycamore is the busiest of any of the rail stations, much to the chagrin of Phoenix Vice Mayor and METRO Board Chairman Tom Simplot. (Simplot argued that 19th and Montebello, the line’s “first” station, is by far the busiest.) Though fisticuffs didn’t ensue, a staged challenge between the Mesan and the Phoenician was presented: During September, if Mesa’s line proves to indeed be the busiest, Simplot will personally maintain the station’s appearance. The same goes for Jones and the Montebello station. Game on!
While these shenanigans play out, there’s business to attend to. Specifically, local business. Downtown has stations that need neighborhood sponsors. Here are my suggestions. Let me know what you want.
- Camelback/Central station: There’s a cluster of great, quirky business on the northwest corner of this intersection. Stinkweeds, Frances, Smeeks, Red Hot Robot: I’m looking at you guys.
- Campbell/Central station: It’s not like Lux or Pane Bianco need the press, but you can’t deny that these two spots bring vibrancy to this intersection. I’d be fine with Lux baristas pouring cappuccinos, then running outside to sweep up debris from last night’s storm.
- Indian School/Central station: I guess the fight club/storage facility got demolished. So, that’s out. How about Steele Indian School Park? It’s one of the city’s biggest parks, yet one of its hidden gems.
- Osborn/Central station: Tossup between Phoenix Country Club and Encanto Park. Golfing downtown, anyone?
- Thomas/Central station: The hospital will probably win out here. Either that or Phillips and Associates. They’re everywhere.
- Encanto/Central station: We need the Heard to take this, right?
- McDowell/Central station: I’d prefer Thai Hut take this. Can we somehow make this happen?
- Roosevelt/Central station: The obvious answers here would be NBC 12, Fair Trade Café or Portland’s. But, how about Portland Place lofts, with several units in escrow and a bankrupt developer, getting its name out there? Any advertising would help!
- Van Buren/Central and Van Buren/1st Avenue stations: I’m sure Michael Crow already put in his bid.
- Washington/Central and Jefferson/Central: Hello, CityScape.
- Washington/3rd Street and Jefferson/3rd Street: The Phoenix Suns are going to need as much money coming in as possible this season with the way things are looking. Take that into consideration, Robert Sarver.
Anyone have any other thoughts?
Downtown Phoenix’s newest addition, CityScape, celebrated the “Topping Out” of their 27-story Phase I office tower yesterday.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer joined management leaders from RED Development and Hunt Construction Group at the ceremony to announce nine new tenants signing on for CityScape’s Phase I office tower. The tower is slated to open in Spring 2010.
The nine new tenants include six restaurants: The Breakfast Club, Blu Burger Grille, Press Coffee, Mojo Yogurt and two new Aaron May restaurants including an Asian Noodle House and a Mexican-style restaurant. Two clothing retailers, including a Scottsdale-based denim retailer, Designer District, and Republic of Couture, join the rapidly growing list. Gust Rosenfeld, one of the Valley’s oldest and most prestigious law firms, has also signed on.
These nine join 11 other tenants in the CityScape Phase I project. AJ’s Fine Foods, Urban Outfitters, Gold’s Gym, CVS Pharmacy, the Kimpton Palomar Hotel and others have already committed to the project.
Despite Bashas’ Supermarket Inc., owners of AJ’s Fine Foods and Food City, filing for Chapter 11 protection earlier this week, CityScape remains hopeful that they will still choose to be a part of the project.
“We know that all of their reasons for wanting to put an AJ’s in Phoenix are still the same. We continue to hope that it still makes sense for them,” said Jeff Moloznik, Development Manager for RED Development.
If AJ’s Fine Food’s does have to pull out the project, Moloznik assures that the space will remain grocery space.
The development group behind the 600,000-square-foot tower worked hard to achieve a balance between national retail chains and local, owner operated stores. The local stores are unique additions to the CityScape project because they will be the first or second of their kind in Phoenix.
Mayor Phil Gordon is pleased with the balance that CityScape’s retail is aiming to achieve.
“What are retail places trying to become? Faux-downtowns. Well, Phoenix has the only downtown [in Arizona] so we don’t need the faux,” Gordon said. “People will come because they enjoy it. It is vibrant and eclectic.”
Hunt Construction, the company behind the Phoenix Convention Center expansion, Cardinal’s Stadium and the Civic Space Park, became Arizona’s first and only building contractor to receive Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s Voluntary Protection Program STAR status for the CityScape construction. This means they now manage themselves in the areas of safety.
In conclusion to the topping-off ceremony, a boxed pine tree was lifted 368 feet to the top of the tower. As Scandinavian tradition goes, to appease the tree-dwelling spirits the final timber is lifted into place in celebration. Today, many construction companies place a pine branch at the top of the completed building.
Look for CityScape’s Phase I tenants taking residence between March-June 2010.