A few weeks ago, via this column, I learned that Phoenix has an already rich but growing literary culture. Add that to the nation’s largest self-guided art walk, an ever-burgeoning music scene that this writer believes is far from “ovah,” a theatrical subculture that is anything but boring, and what do you get? An amazing place to call home.
And, in the spirit of continually making home even more amazing, I suggest to you that supporting local artistic endeavors should be at the top of your holiday shopping list. My wife and I have made a commitment to support some amazing local artists — not only pumping a little cash flow into the Phoenix art community, but also showcasing some of the fantastic talent we have in the Valley. In our home we have work from local artists Pete Deise, Tyson Crosbie, Hoge Day, Colton Brock, Randall Wilson and Pirate Vereker, with hopes of collecting work from dozens of other luminaries in the Valley.
Engaging with art is an experience that you can have more than every First Friday, and it isn’t all that intimidating to start collecting. Find something you like, and buy it. Voila! You’re an art collector. If you’re looking for a community of other collectors, check out the Monte Vista Club at the Heard Museum or the Young Collectors group at the Phoenix Art Museum.
I understand that there is a good chance that I’m preaching to the choir here, since all seven of you reading this are most likely already aboard this thought train. But, if you aren’t, come join in the fun. We have a vibrant art scene — no matter what medium floats your proverbial boat. This holiday season, do your part to rise the tide…
Previous week’s games
12/05/09 SUNS 115, Kings 107
12/06/09 Lakers 108, SUNS 88
12/08/09 Mavericks 102, SUNS 101
This week’s games
12/11/09 SUNS vs Magic, 8:30 p.m., ESPN
12/12/09 SUNS @ Nuggets, 7 p.m., My45
12/15/09 SUNS vs Spurs, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
Here at the Suns Spot we like to focus on the good. Keep a positive vibe, if you will. So, with that said, we’re going to go ahead and brush over last week’s games and focus on one of the great Suns events coming up.
Next Tuesday, December 15, the Phoenix Suns will be hosting their second annual @Phoenix Suns Tweet-Up, presented by Arizona Grand Resort (@ArizonaGrand) as they face the heavily hated San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center. The event is put together for the many Suns fans that follow the team on Twitter, and the evening will be filled with many special, exclusive activities for Tweet-Up attendees.
So, what’s a Tweet-Up? Jeramie McPeek, the Suns’ webmaster, fills us in.
“A ‘tweet-up’ is just a social gathering of people on Twitter,” McPeek says. “There are all different types of tweet-ups happening around the country, but our tweet-ups are held on a Suns game night, and give our followers a chance to attend a game at a discounted ticket price, and sit with fellow tweeps. We also try to come up with some unique perks for these events, because we want our followers to feel special. They are serious, hardcore, passionate Suns fans who are tweeting about us on a daily basis, so we want them to really have a fun experience.”
But, what if you don’t use Twitter, or you do, but just don’t follow the Suns? McPeek thinks any Suns fan should be a follower.
“Through our primary account, @PhoenixSuns, we tweet breaking news, behind-the-scenes stories, pictures or videos from practices and events, quotes from the locker room and courtside observations from games,” McPeek says. “We also provide a lot of information about fan events or promotions, and are regularly giving away tickets or merchandise to our Twitter followers. And, of course, we’re also interacting with our fans.”
At the Tweet-Up, tweeps will be granted early access inside US Airways Center (@SunsCrib) to watch Suns players warm up before the game. Fans will also be able to purchase discounted concessions during the pregame “Twitter Tailgate,” as well as receive a free Suns Tweet-Up shirt, only available to those fans that purchase tickets to the event, and have group seating with their fellow Twitter users.
During the game fans will be able to have their tweets shown on the big screen inside the arena as well as on the live game broadcast on FSN Arizona (@FoxSportsAZ). Anyone who currently follows the Suns on Twitter might be thinking, So what, the Suns post tweets during every home game? While that is true, fans that send in their tweets during the Tweet-Up will have a chance to win prizes for best Twitpic (picture via tweet), and who doesn’t love winning prizes?
Want some tips on how to win prizes for best Twitpic? Go all out. Wear some face paint. Do your face up half orange and half purple. Wigs are a nice touch as well. We’re playing the freakin’ Spurs, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to get up for this game and show everyone that you’re ORNG. Get a stuffed animal coyote, tie a rope around it’s neck and drag it around the Purple Palace. I’m pretty sure if you do any of those things and Twitpic them, your chances at winning a prize will be greatly increased.
The fun doesn’t stop at the end of 48 minutes, though. After the game, Suns tweeps attending the event will be invited to an exclusive question-and-answer session with All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire (@Amareisreal).
Tweet-Up ticket packages are available in the lower level for $64 — fans can save over $60, according to McPeek — and the upper level for $32 and can be purchased at Suns.com by using the password “tweeps.”
The Suns are also planning Facebook and PlanetOrange.net nights for later in the season.
Suns fans attending the Tweet-Up are highly encouraged to attend US Airways Center via the METRO light rail through the Ride Rail Event program, which allows fans attending a game to use their game ticket as light rail fare four hours prior to tip-off through the end of the transit day.
He said: ‘I am but one small instrument.’ Do you remember that?
As Jim Adkins rifled these melodic words into the crowded Arizona night, I realized that history was in the making. What that history is exactly remains to be seen.
The creaky floorboards of Modified Arts trembled in the wake of a rock that has become all too familiar. The lyrics were shouted back with fervor and angst that seemed to settle in the room’s thick air. This was the place to be, Phoenix. For a “secret” show, it sure was let out of the bag. As Jimmy Eat World had tweeted earlier in the day, “If you live in PHX and have plans for tonight, cancel them.” This seemed like a fair warning at the time.
Jeff Bufano of Reubens Accomplice, the supposed headliner before the news broke, crowed, “[You must] have that Twitter thing on your phones or something.” Perhaps that is the truth, as the masses started assembling as early as 3 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start. Who says Twitter isn’t powerful?
Upon arriving at around 6:10, the line wrapped entirely around the place; to the point that it began to wind back up to the front entrance. It didn’t seem long until the cry was let out that it was sold out and the lines weren’t getting in. “Extremely limited space” is not a joke.
The lineup for the night included Ian Stupar of El Oso Negro, Source Victoria and Reubens Accomplice. For the most part, the opening bands were making way for the much-anticipated headliners to take the stage. Stupar opened it up with a few original songs and finished up a mellow set with covers of Reubens and JEW songs, respectively. Source Victoria took the stage with melodic guitars and harmonic vocals to tame the room. “You guys are here for Reubens, right?” was the joke of the night from our openers. Once Reubens Accomplice took the stage, you could feel the room on the edge of its seat. Reubens threw some eagerly anticipated songs at us. As far as their several-years-in-the-making album, Bufano joked, “We’ll release it in four years. But, it will have 176 tracks and you guys will be blown away.”
By the time Jim Adkins and crew took the stage, the eagerness was dripping off the walls. There was definitely something special about this “secret” show. You could feel it in the room. Even though I did not have the privilege of growing up here, this concert felt like it was drumming up the spirits of 10 years ago. Everything was perfect in that regard. From Adkins beckoning Sam Means (The Format) to the stage in jest, to the strained voices in the back crying out for “one more song” or to “play all night,” this night belonged to the fans, the bands and this city. “Bleed American” began the shouted refrains and huddled, rhythmic masses in their dance with the night. Once “Goodbye Sky Harbor” echoed in the room, you could feel the excitement that this city has, not just for its most notable band, but for its music scene.
I can still feel the guitar riffs pumping through my veins. I imagine that I will for days. If you were not one of the privileged to get inside the doors, I feel that an important message was passed down. Adkins, at the chanting for an encore, returned to the stage. He said something that I think all of Phoenix needs to hear: “If you love the arts and the music, support them. Go to the shows. Support the bands.” This seems simple enough, but it is something that we as a community need to do perhaps now more than ever. We need to coddle these young, talented musicians and venues and treat them like the treasure they are.
So, the big “secret” show wasn’t about how popular Jimmy Eat World is in this place, but more about how much these little places, artists and stages mean to our community.
Modified Arts’ final three shows of the Kimber Lanning era are tonight, Friday and Saturday. See its website for full details.
I decided to brave Phoenix’s version of a hurricane to venture out and try one of our supposed best kept secrets: the $3 burger at Maizie’s.
Tucked away in the shadow of the Landmark Tower resides Maizie’s Café & Bistro, a unique bistro that knows how to attract the hungry — offer their delicious burgers for $3 from 4 to close on Mondays. I had heard that these were pretty amazingly good. I must admit that the line coming out of the door and the smell emanating from this place surely comforted any trepidation I had about the burgers.
I suppose the chaotic weather kept the crowds a little smaller than they normally are. Hearsay was that the wait would be quite extensive, but we were seated fairly quickly. The wait staff obviously holds the ability to read minds; or they have just served up their fair share of burgers on Monday nights, because the waitress only needed to ask what was required on the burger. So, I selected the pepperjack cheese and a cold Blue Moon to wash it down.
As I was awaiting my cheap treat, I noticed the dining area was extremely packed. It seems that the extensive patio that Maizie’s possesses falls silent on nights of inclement weather. Good thing this is Arizona and rain is about as frequent as a viable Elvis sighting.
The wait for the burger was not too long. As it arrived in its splendor, I almost expected an angelic chorus to erupt. For $3, I was expecting a Krystal (or White Castle, for you Midwestern folk)-sized burger, but I was pleasantly surprised. I could hardly wait to sink my teeth in. Each bite was better than the first. Any form of ravenous hunger I had owned before this was wiped away. This burger was top-shelf quality with a shoestring budget price.
So, if you find yourself scraping the bottom of the piggy bank on some lonely Monday night, forget about the fast food malarkey and go to Maizie’s. You will definitely get more than you bargained for.
Maizie’s Café and Bistro is located at 4750 N. Central Ave. in Uptown (light rail station at Central/Camelback). 602.274.2828
Note: Below is some good writing, which obviously means that it isn’t mine… Please enjoy a wonderful piece on ASU’s role in the development of Downtown Phoenix written by Beth Wischnia. I’ll be back next week with some fresh work. — Sam
The once-lifeless capital city of Arizona has taken on a new look and feel recently, complete with a bustling Arizona State University campus in the heart of Downtown. The influx of students on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus has directly affected the development of Phoenix.
The campus includes nationally recognized schools such as the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation. The campus opened in fall 2006, however it was when the Cronkite School opened in fall 2008 that many more students relocated to Phoenix.
Paul Martinez, manager of local restaurant Hanny’s, said the Downtown Phoenix campus has brought multiple businesses to the community because of the “youth’s energy.”
A Starbucks is in operation on the first floor of Taylor Place and Hsin, a Chinese restaurant, is expected to open in Taylor Place in the near future. Other recent additions to the Downtown Phoenix area include Fair Trade Café and the Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.
Arianna Heet, a sophomore nursing major, has been working at Starbucks in Taylor Place for more than a year. The job sparked her interest because of the “convenience factor”, which allowed her to wake up and walk downstairs to work. In addition to the convenience factor, Heet said she enjoys the atmosphere of the student-friendly on-campus Starbucks as opposed to off-campus locations.
“We have a different dynamic,” Heet said. “We have a strong student-based business.”
Armark, the company that manages the various dining options in Taylor Place, owns the location in Taylor Place, unlike most Starbucks. Heet said the location she works at is a licensed store and not a corporate store. The Taylor Place baristas are employed by Armark and simply buy their product from Starbucks.
“It’s essentially the same business, but run by another company,” Heet explained.
Hanny’s, an Italian-inspired restaurant located just a few blocks away from the Downtown Phoenix campus, draws in customers by combining great food and service with a “historic piece of property,” Martinez said.
The building that is now home to Hanny’s was built in 1947 and underwent a restoration process that took three years. In addition to the unique building’s historical significance, the location is ideal, as it is located adjacent next to the area’s developmental milestone, the light rail.
“The light rail and us were opening about a month apart,” Martinez explained. “It was exciting to have that advancement next to that historic piece of property.”
Lenni Rosenblum, a sophomore journalism student, lives at Taylor Place because she was elected into a leadership position in a residential program. Rosenblum has been living at Taylor Place since the building opened in fall 2008 because of its convenient location. While she enjoys living Phoenix because of what it has to offer, she recognizes there is room for improvement in the development of the area.
Despite some new development in Phoenix, many students who lived at Taylor Place last year chose to live in Tempe this year. Sophomore communications major Amy Gauvin said that part of the reason she no longer lives in Downtown Phoenix is because of the lack of city development in comparison to Tempe.
“After class you can walk to Mill and go shopping, or you can go to Barney’s and get food and go to happy hour. Downtown Phoenix doesn’t offer any of that,” Gauvin said. “I would literally go to class then go back to my dorm until my next class.”
City of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon addressed the effect the students have had on the Phoenix community during his State of Downtown address on Nov. 17, 2009 in the city’s new Civic Space park, which was built by a partnership between the city of Phoenix and ASU.
“I want to highlight the steady heartbeat of Arizona State University, which continues to pump life into Downtown Phoenix, continues to generate revenue to the state,” Gordon said, “and continues to do what universities are supposed to do: educate our residents and prepare them to change the world for the better.”
“ASU has brought that fun, youthful life back to Downtown that we didn’t have before,” Martinez said. “We are trying to help pioneer the movement of revitalizing Downtown by taking a local business owner, restoring a building and giving people a place to congregate.”
Samuel Richard, a senior nonprofit leadership and management student, calls himself a “defacto community activist” in Downtown Phoenix. Richard lives and works in the community. He also was part of the team that reimagined the Downtown Phoenix Journal in January of 2009 and is a weekly contributor. He is optimistic about the future of Phoenix because he said that community development takes time.
“Our civic and business leaders have showed a renewed interest in developing the heart of our city,” Richard said. “Thankfully, ASU has been able to play a large part of this renaissance.”
“The area is now seen as a stable, desirable place for the community to be,” Panetta explained. “It’s more attractive for those who might want to live in the area or open a business.”
Also pioneering the revitalization of Downtown Phoenix is CityScape, a multi-use destination blocks away from the Downtown Phoenix campus that will feature retail, restaurants and entertainment. The complex will feature The Breakfast Club, a taqueria bar, Lucky Strike Lanes and an Urban Outfitters, to name a few.
John Matthews, senior leasing associate of RED Development for CityScape, attributes snagging the prime, central location to being at the right place at the right time.
“After reviewing what the city and state had done with getting the ASU campus Downtown, the time seemed to be right,” Matthews said. “Rarely do you get three blocks in the center of a downtown that are available to develop.”
Matthews said the students on the Downtown Phoenix campus were like a “built-in population”, which is an additional reason CityScape is in Phoenix.
“It’s a huge benefit being near a university campus,” Matthews said. “That, and the diversity downtown has to offer.”
Panetta said the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus acts as a “catalyst for development” in an area that was previously underutilized. He explained such a high concentration of students in a relatively compact area creates an economic effect on the community.
Panetta said the indirect impact students have had far exceeds the direct impact.
“The area is now seen as a stable, desirable place for the community to be,” Panetta explained. “It’s more attractive for those who might want to live in the area or open a business.”
“With an increase in the student population comes an increase in the number of students who will locally rent apartments, go out to dinner and attend local entertainment events, for example,” Rosenblum said
Gordon and Martinez said that ASU’s existence Downtown has helped the city appeal to potential Phoenicians who are looking for an enriching environment to live in.
“We have seen a huge surge of people interested in the Downtown area whose businesses were once solely located in the Scottsdale area,” Martinez said. “They’re starting to branch our because they see more people focusing on Downtown.”
“It’s [ASU] attracted…businesses, restaurants and galleries,” Mayor Gordon said.
“ASU has been in Tempe since 1885, and in Downtown Phoenix since 2006,” Richard explained. “If the community at-large can gain a little perspective and patience, our future will be brighter.”
Martinez said that with increased student population comes increased activity in various businesses located in the area.
“Anytime that you bring in the youth and that kind of energy, especially in large amounts, businesses tend to flourish as they strive to provide for the youth,” Martinez explained. “ASU brought dollars and young energy to support and help the Downtown area grow.”
Arizona State University has “long-range plans” in place to accommodate the projected student growth rate at each campus. Panetta said plans include retail opportunities and more student housing, adding there has been a strong trend for convenient food spots on and near campus.
“Additional retail opportunities will likely emerge in the campus and neighborhood, as well as office and residential projects that will desire proximity to the Downtown campus and the energy and activity it generates as well as the market stability it can help foster,” Panetta said.
Richard said it is a combination of multiple sources that creates a successful Downtown area. Additionally, all major development takes time.
ASU President Michael Crow spoke about the Downtown Phoenix campus during a forum held on Dec. 1, 2009. Crow explained how the city of Phoenix and ASU Downtown have an ideal partnership.
“The Downtown campus is a perfect example of a university and a city with objectives that overlapped with each other,” Crow said. “The city was looking for enterprise and we were looking to expand from the Tempe campus.”
Crow added that there are plans for expanding the Downtown campus’ programs and facilities because it has proved to be a successful campus so far. Additional future plans include moving the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Downtown, building a third residence hall and creating more retail space.
“We’re at the end of phase one,” Crow said. “We need to finish our planning for phase two.”
Contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.