This cool street art project caught our eye and we definitely wanted to share it with you, so we reached out to the artist, Pete Petrisko, to get the scoop on what it all means.
Shiny Happy People Happening is a city-centered conceptual art street project, where anybody can “experience tomorrow’s art of downtown livin’… today” by spotting one (or more) of 93 silver and gold one-inch figures, semi-permanently attached to our urban landscape throughout downtown Phoenix. There is no specific list of locations, just this loose direction: “(From) Jackson to Roosevelt Streets, between the 7s (Ave/St).”
But for those who like spoilers: the fewest number are nearest the 7th Ave/Jackson corner, and the sculptural “population density” increases as you approach downtown center (which, for the sake of argument, let’s say is somewhere near Chase Tower) and/or when you near higher “pedestrian traffic” areas.
While everybody loves the street art you can see from a block away in downtown Phoenix, let’s not forget the joys of finding art that’s literally hidden in plain sight. Providing a more detailed map would kind of defeat that purpose. As far as where they could be sitting or standing, discovery is often found in the urban details.
Remember, one-inch folks will avoid actual benches and public walkways, because they don’t want to be accidentally crushed by a giant! However, just look around. Where on or near buildings, or other urban objects in our downtown-scape, might they be… hidden in plain sight?
There are no exact answers, but the best plan might include bringing a child with you. They are much better at spotting tiny shiny objects than your average adult, and this public art is family-friendly because the fun of “discovery in the details” has no age limit!
Shiny Happy Factoids
Total number of new sculptural residents downtown: 93
Time spent to install ‘em: Four hours
Cost of project: Under twenty bucks
With the above helpful hints and useless factoids in mind, you might be asking yourself, “Is this downtown adventure for me?” “Are pictures allowed?” or “Didn’t I read about something like this in Mary Norton’s The Borrowers?”
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Is this a memorial to artists migrating out of downtown as their actually-affordable-to-artists housing options dwindle?” or even “Does this have anything to do with culture becoming an ornament for gentrification, like in Jamming the Gentrification Machine: A Manifesto?”
Or, more likely you’re thinking, “Why are you telling me this? Did I ever even once claim to be a fan of conceptual art of any kind?”
These are all excellent questions. The short answer is “Quite possibly.”
And it’s the best possible answer when the spectacle of Shiny Happy People Happening awaits discovery!
Photos by Pete Petrisko.
David Krietor has served as CEO of the newly-formed Downtown Phoenix, Inc. (“DPI”) since April 8, 2013. In that time, he has begun work with community stakeholders to develop the downtown we want. “Your Downtown” shares his thoughts and DPI’s progress with the downtown community and beyond. Read the other chats here.
I want you to mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 26, 5 to 7 p.m., at the Virginia G. Piper Auditorium, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. It’s the premiere of RadiatePHX, a monthly networking event for business, community, and city leaders. Hosted by Downtown Phoenix, Inc. and Downtown Phoenix Journal, RadiatePHX provides a monthly opportunity to connect with a broad spectrum of downtown advocates, receive key updates from guest speakers on what’s happening in the city core, and learn how you can connect and contribute. RSVP here.
The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is seeking 5,000 volunteers to help out over a nearly two-week timeframe at various Super Bowl-related events, including Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix. If you have friends, family, or employees interested in helping to showcase our downtown (and I know you do), have them visit the Super Bowl Volunteer webpage.
This Could Be PHX, a website that promotes downtown businesses, launched PHX Coffee Culture last month to emphasize the city’s growing coffee movement, highlighting 13 coffee shops in central Phoenix. The project is a joint effort between Ryan Tempest and Quinn Whissen, co-founders of This Could Be PHX, and Jonathan Carroll, owner of Songbird Coffee & Tea House.
Turning Phoenix Green
According to the Arizona Republic, homes and businesses along light rail routes in Phoenix should save about $13 million a year on electricity bills from new energy-efficiency projects paid for by Energize Phoenix grants under the federal government’s 2009 stimulus program. But an audit released earlier this year showed that energy savings from upgrades, which included better lighting, shade screens, cooling systems, and duct repairs, were lower than predicted.
Progress is being made on the renovation of the 1931 Professional Building at 15 E. Monroe St. in downtown Phoenix. The project, renamed the Monroe Hilton Garden Inn, is now in the city permitting stage.
Several recent studies highlight how Arizonans and Phoenicians are becoming less reliant on a car-centric transportation system:
- Arizonans Driving Like It’s 1994, Streetsblog USA, July 23, 2014
- When Car-Loving Cities Start to Embrace Light Rail, Next City, July 15, 2014
- HUD Sustainable Communities Grantees Take a Healthy Path Toward Urban Development, National Prevention Strategy, July 1, 2014
- Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros, Smart Growth America, June 16, 2014
Snell & Wilmer LLP has renewed its lease for approximately 10 years at Arizona Center. A long-standing anchor tenant at the downtown development, Snell & Wilmer is the largest commercial law firm in metro Phoenix.
Buffalo Wild Wings is seeking a new restaurant location in central Phoenix, possibly downtown Phoenix, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.
College students and Millennials are driving the local multi-family housing market as younger demographics are pushing new apartment developments in central Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Despite this trend, the Phoenix-area housing market is officially in a slump, according to a new report from ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business.
According to the Wall Street Journal, as Millennials and other urban dwellers have children, their needs are changing. And cities, like Phoenix, want to hold on to them by becoming more “playable,” for both children and adults.
Parking meter changes in downtown Phoenix take effect next week. Hours that drivers have to pay to park are extended to seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., including holidays. How much drivers pay will vary depending on what area or “zone” they are located.
AZ + Africa
The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, a six-week professional civic leadership training institute for 25 young African leaders, was recently concluded by the ASU College of Public Programs. Listen to Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College, and Al Kags, one of the ASU Fellows, recap the time spent in downtown Phoenix in this KJZZ Radio interview.
A $1 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will enable ASU journalism students to produce daily coverage of business and economic issues for regional and national media outlets. The Reynolds Business Reporting Bureau will be located in a state-of-the-art newsroom at the Cronkite School on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.
The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program, in partnership with Friendly House and the ASU School of Film, Dance, and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, will receive a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant. The funds will be used to create “Story Days,” a two-year series of story-based arts programs and events that explore the connections Phoenix residents have to their communities.
Congratulations to three young downtown advocates who received significant recognition this past month. Kimber Lanning (right), director of Local First Arizona, a small business owner, and member of the Downtown Phoenix, Inc. board of directors, has been named the recipient of the International Economic Development Council’s 2014 Citizen Leadership Award.
As summer moves toward autumn, don’t miss a final opportunity to catch Actors Theatre’s very funny two-play repertory before it slips away. Presented at the Helen K Mason Performing Arts Center, The Cottage by Sandy Rustin continues through August 10, while The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarías ends its run August 17.
By scheduling performances throughout June, July, and August, Producing Artistic Director Matthew Wiener deliberately bucked a common misconception about Valley audiences. “There used to be this kind of prevailing wisdom that everyone left Phoenix in the summer…that’s why no one did anything,” says Wiener. “And that’s just not true. I mean, a lot of people take vacations and holidays but they don’t go away for 12 weeks.”
“Actors Theatre is trying to actively reinvent after leaving the Herberger, which was a shock to our system,” he continues, “and I think this summer program is one way that we’re trying to stay vital and relevant and exciting and important to the community.”
According to Wiener, the strength of the company’s performances lies in strong casting. “They’re just marvelous performers,” he says. “I was actually trying to cast both shows together…the characters seemed to line up…and so I started kind of making up my fantasy football.” Wiener laughs. “It was like fantasy casting, and I pretty much got my first choice — my first draft.”
He explains, “I was really looking for actors who are very flexible, who could manage the language — because the language of both plays is pretty challenging — and people who I thought would get along well for 10 weeks.” Weiner continues, “These are very long contracts for the actors…and it was important to me that we work with all local people.” He adds with a smile, “I think I just got really, really lucky.”
Both plays feature Maren Maclean, who’s performed for Phoenix Theatre, Southwest Shakespeare Company, and Verse Theatre Manhattan. Joseph Kremer, who starred in a potent Actors Theatre production of A Steady Rain last season, joins Angelica Howland — familiar from performances with Phoenix Theatre, Stray Cat Theatre, and Childsplay — and Tyler Eglen, an actor-educator with a diverse background in theater and science. Ian Christiansen of Southwest Shakespeare, Stray Cat, and Phoenix Theatre rounds out the cast with recent ASU graduate Alexis Green.
“I think they’re all lovely,” says Wiener, “and they all have different moments.” He points out, “Maren, who plays Ana [in The Book Club Play] — she really has to run the gamut of emotionality. And we actually worked on that, because…you want it to be emotionally truthful, but by the same token you don’t want it to get so deep and horrifying that you can never work yourself out of it.” Wiener smiles. “Because after all they have to live happily ever after — it’s a comedy.”
The Book Club Play delves into the dynamics of a long-running book club, with plenty of shocking revelations and laughably realistic interplay. “I think it’s fun when they talk about the ‘homoerotic undertones of Moby Dick,’ [and] making fun of Twilight,” says Wiener. He explains that the play began as a more satirical, hard-hitting piece until Zacarías — the experienced, award-winning author of The Bare-chested Man, Looking for Roberto Clemente, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana, and an adaptation of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents – reworked it.
“I think it’s a testament to the writing, and the fact that it’s been rewritten several times,” he says. “Karen is a very careful writer — the language is very specific. And I just have an amazing ‘A’ team up there.”
The Cottage, on the other hand, is pure farce written by actress Sandy Rustin, who created the Off-Broadway sketch comedy musical Rated P (for parenthood). “It has some of the style of Nöel Coward,” says Wiener. “It’s informed by that kind of English aristocracy or English wit.” He adds, “It’s not an earth-shattering piece of theater, but it’s pretty damn funny for an hour and a half.”
“Right now there’s a fair amount of dialogue in the theater industry about the lack of women’s plays being produced,” Wiener continues, “and it’s something odd going on that we’re so far away from parity. But Actors Theatre has traditionally done a lot of plays by women.” He says with a laugh, “Maybe there’s just something about the voices that I enjoy — I grew up in a house filled with women; I live in house filled with women.”
Actors Theatre also presents That’s Life: From Sinatra to Sondheim on August 10, featuring Kristen Drathman, Rusty Ferracane and Craig Bohmler performing standards from the Great American Songbook and Broadway, including tunes by Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer, Stephen Sondheim, and more.
Look for a future DPJ story previewing Actors Theatre’s upcoming 2014-2015 season, which includes Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar, Sharr White’s Annapurna, Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss, and Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.
If you go:
- Troupe: Actors Theatre at www.actorstheatrephx.org or 602-253-6701
- General admission
- Venue: The Helen K Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 E. Washington
(nearby free parking available)
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“Food and Drink Inspired TEDx Event Happening in Downtown Phoenix on August 28th“
“If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get out of the Kitchen” is the theme of the upcoming TEDxEvansChurchill event, which will bring chefs, bartenders, food growers, scientists, artists and restaurateurs out of their kitchens and onto the stage to talk about the things that get them excited in the world of food and beverages.
What do a tobacco smoked cocktail, vegetables growing under the shade of city buildings, mind-expanding edibles, and the newest craze in printing all have in common? They are just a few of the enlightening topics to be discussed at the upcoming TEDxEvansChurchill event at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown Phoenix, AZ on August 28. TEDxEvansChurchill, sponsored by New Belgium Brewery and Downtown Phoenix Inc., will feature more than 8 speakers who will share inspiring and thought-provoking insights on their areas of expertise.
Some of the presenters include: Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktail’s Stephanie Teslar, Brat Haus‘s Payton Curry, Short Leash’s Brad Moore and a local beer cicerone. The emcees for the evening will be Arizona Republic’s Megan Finnerty and David Tyda of Affordable Food Festivals.
FED after TED will take place directly following the presentations and will include beer samples paired with small plates from downtown restaurants (Marston’s Cafe, Phoenix Public Market, Kincaid’s and more) while mingling and meeting the speakers. Tickets are available for the presentation and after party separately, or offered at a discount if purchased together. 21+ with photo ID for beer wristband, under 18 must be accompanied by legal guardian.
7 PM to 8 PM (Registration will begin at 6 PM.)
FED after TED – 8 PM to 10 PM
Where: Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel
50 E Adams St., Phoenix, AZ 85004
Tickets: $20 for TEDxEvansChurchill, $10 for FED after TED, or $25 for both events.
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Dinosaur fan convention returns to Phoenix August 2: Pop culture event features creator of “Jurassic Park” T.rex, panels, demos and dinosaur-themed exhibitors
From behind-the-scenes stories of Jurassic Park, to nostalgic jabs at The Land Before Time, Arizona’s original dinosaur fan convention Phoenix DinoCon devours movie and TV dinosaurs from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 2 at the Phoenix Center for the Arts.
Nationally unique within the fan event landscape in subject and scope, this 2nd annual dinosaur and kaiju party is suitable for ages 12 and above, but geared toward adults with an everlasting love for dinos. Phoenix DinoCon gives fans a chance to interact with pop culture experts, learn reptilian crafts, purchase locally-produced dinosaur art and even vote a legendary pop culture icon into the Bookmans and Phoenix DinoCon Hall of Distinguished Dinosaurs.
The convention’s extensive Jurassic Park and Jurassic World related programming provides a first-hand account of the original movie’s T.rex – from concept to life-sized, working model – by Sedona resident, sculptor and special effects artist Michael Trcic in the Phoenix DinoCon Tyrannosaurus Theater.
In addition to panels focused on Godzilla and Pacific Rim, Phoenix Dinocon explores appearances of dinosaurs in steampunk and tabletop games. Geologist Melanie Dolberg pits Hollywood dinosaurs against their scientific counterparts and FilmBar‘s Andrea Beesley heads a dinosaur-themed spin-off of her annual Phoenix Comicon signature event, the first-ever Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown: Turbo Dinosaur Edition.
New this year to Phoenix DinoCon is the Diplodocus Demo Den, where fans gain hands-on drawing and crafting experiences like a special make-and-take opportunity: DIY mini-notebooks featuring the hunks of the “Jurassic Park” franchise, depicted in Tiger Beat likenesses.
A Velociraptor Vendor Hall roars through the day with dinosaur-inspired local artists, crafters and business owners. Returning this year are Jon Garza and Damien Hernandez, who make dream dinosaur scenarios a reality on location with pencil and watercolor (think Ron Swansonasaurus or your pet Chihuahuas as dueling sauropods.)
Admission is $5 at phxdinocon.brownpapertickets.com or at the door on August 2 upon availability. After-party tickets to a screening of the ’90s B movie Adventures in Dinosaur City are available for $9 at thefilmbarphx.com/event/619291-adventures-in-dinosaur-city-phoenix.